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3 No-nonsense Strategies for Profitable Part-time Blogging

This is a guest post by Matt Alden S. of DividendMonk.com.

If you’re blogging as a part-time income stream rather than a full-time profession, then your priorities can be substantially different from the fill-time blogger’s.

A full-time problogger will likely focus on maximizing overall revenue, whereas a part-time problogger will focus on maximizing revenue per hour.

One of the largest problems I see with some underperforming smaller blogs is that they’re not focused on that key difference. Part-time bloggers often do not have advice given to them that is specialized to their part-time situation, and instead they end up following what full-time bloggers are doing, with mixed results.

Darren wrote a great post on part-time blogging over three years ago, but that post missed these three strategies that I’ve found invaluable for achieving part-time blogging success.

1. Be selective with social media

Full-time bloggers have hours every day where they can try new things, and can afford to spend time in areas that don’t yet give them a great ROI. Part-time bloggers, however, need to have a higher ROI on most of their activities.

In other words, don’t be on every social network just because you feel you ought to be. Don’t worry about doing every thing that every blogger is doing.

For example, I’m on Twitter, but Twitter is not where I spend any real time and it’s not where any real traffic is going to come from for me. Why? Because I write about long-term value investing, which is like watching paint dry. Not exactly enthralling Twitter material.

And yet, I have received over 50,000 visitors and over 130,000 pageviews from a single social media platform: Seeking Alpha. It’s a large site that brings investors and readers together. Moreover, the traffic statistics show that in terms of pages per visit and time per visit, it’s my single highest quality source of traffic.

The point here is to follow the 80/20 rule: focus 80% of your time on the stuff that gives you an excellent ROI, and use the other 20% for experimentation.

2. Stand out with ridiculously high-quality posts

Large blogs and websites can afford to publish mediocre content. That’s not to say that all large sites do so (in fact they generally got to their size by being well above average in the first place); it’s just to say that they can do it if they want to, and some of them do.

Very large sites that have years of full-time focus or multiple writers have strong enough domain authority to get mediocre content to rank well in search engines. Plus, their intangible brand authority can make fair content appear to be superior content.

Part-time bloggers don’t have this luxury. You’re not going to be able to write mediocre content and get it to rank well, and your brand is not yet strong enough to carry its own weight.

The emphasis on the part-timer should be to maximize individual post value. Spending 12 hours a week writing two or three extraordinarily high-quality articles will usually get you further than spending the same amount of time publishing every single day with less unique and compelling content.

When you’re setting out to write an awesome post, there are small things you can do to give yourself a huge advantage. If you’re preparing to write about something, first stop and do a Google search for it. Check out the main articles on that subject that are on the first page of the search results. Read or skim through them, and gauge their quality.

Your goal now is to write a post that is far superior to any of the posts on the first page of Google for this subject. Your post will not be a “me too” post, but will instead be the new high-water mark of quality and authority for this subject. You’ll write it in a more personal, more complete, more concise, and more original way.

3. Having a product helps greatly

Successfully selling a product or service online revolves around content marketing these days. That is, you get an audience by providing excellent free content that solves their problems, and then you use this content platform to present products or services to your readers that further solve their problems or help them in some way.

Your revenue per visitor, and therefore usually your revenue per hour, generally goes up substantially if you offer a high-quality product that fits your audience, compared to relying strictly on advertising or affiliate sales. Consider spending some time to create an outstanding product that requires little maintenance when it’s finished, and then offer it up on your blog.

When I did this, and published a $16 ebook and spreadsheet tool that stood out in the niche, the revenue from the ebook outpaced my advertising revenue and brought in thousands of extra dollars in profit. Higher-priced offerings will generally do even better than this. A good product or service genuinely solves problems or creates opportunities, improves your authority in your niche, and can bring in some solid income for your invested time.

A key advantage of having your own product or service is that you can get access to other bloggers’ platforms. When you rely on advertising, you’re limited to the size of your own platform, which generally isn’t going to be huge if you’re working part time. Similarly, when you sell affiliate products on your platform, you’re still limited to the size of your own platform.

But when you produce your own, high-quality product, then you now have something that can be sold on other writers’ platforms as well as your own. You can tap into other peoples’ email lists, social media accounts, and blog articles, if you’re the source of the product and they’re the marketer.

Use these strategies if you’re focusing on part-time blogging. Maximize your revenue per hour by being selective about what digital real estate you spend time on, by focusing on quality over quantity, and by leveraging your expertise onto platforms that are larger than your own.

What other advice can you add from your own experience? I’d love to hear it in the comments below.

Matt Alden S. publishes the free Dividend Insights Newsletter, and helps readers build wealth through investing for the long term in dividend stocks and other assets.

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Comments

  1. Derek Hippler says:

    This article came at a perfect time for me. I’m incredibly busy with several offline projects and a full-time job, all while trying to launch a website. Thank you for this.

    Problogger could definitely use some more advice for part-time bloggers. I feel like most time-management posts assume all of us have no obligations aside from the blog.

    • Matt says:

      Hi Derek, I’m glad the article was helpful. Getting enough stuff done in a fraction of the time is certainly a challenge for part-timers.

      • mohit says:

        first of all a awesome piece,must say.Yes you are right their is very less time for the part timers to make so much of it.

  2. Wow! So encouraged by this post. As a young startup, me and my team are balancing our services with our time spent building an online platform. And, as we’re closing in on finishing our first product, time is starting to become even more valuable and difficult to distribute appropriately. Thanks for shedding some light on this for us!

  3. Great tips – I’d definitely emphasize the idea of having a product. I’ve seen too many bloggers (part-time or otherwise) fall into the trap of thinking that writing blog posts alone represents a business model. But if you aren’t actively trying to make sales as well – preferably, sales of products that you control – you aren’t really in business at all.

    Thanks for sharing this advice!

  4. Gjivan says:

    Perfect article. I also work part time online. Gonna move ahead with keeping these points on mind. Thankx!!

  5. Jatin Sharma says:

    Well, Good Post but there is only one mistake and i.e., only big blogs with mediocre content can rank well in search engines. That’s not true, because I have seen many blogs ranking well with poor english but good SEO. So, the thing is it will take some more years for Google to become smart. And there is a mistake in one of the last word of the first sentence “fill time”.

  6. sheshnath says:

    Great Tips I liked this article and it will surely help me a lot as I am a Part time Blogger. Thanks for this tips

  7. Archie Jones says:

    I really appreciate a post geared toward part-time blogging. I’ve got a rewarding career, but also have a hobby online presence.

    I like your 3rd point the most. Small sites and advertising just seem like a losing battle. Having your own product can be a real game changer.

  8. Chris says:

    This is a great post. In looking at part-time posting, do you have a recommendation on what would be a good medium? Obviously, I am not going to do overkill, but is one post per week too little? Is four too much?

  9. Ravi says:

    One of the Great Mistakes is Over Advertising Your Brand which can make the Look of Your Brand little Spammy. Another while using twitter,many people just stuff the hashtags to attract twitters, this is another mistake

  10. Taline says:

    This was a great article. I definitely only do this on a part time basis as my day job is too good to walk away from. Nice to finally see some articles that cover part time bloggers. Thank you!

  11. Eric says:

    This is good information and I would agree that there probably is a huge different across the board from time, budget, investments, and etc that makes things so different for the part time bloggers. Though this 3 simple things you pointed out add great value in the discussion. I guess one thing that I see that has made a pretty large difference is the increase of outsourcing or VA which can truly benefit both the part and full time bloggers.

    Thanks for sharing this one!

  12. Rahul says:

    its a awesome post for a newbie blogger very helpful become a full time blogger nice opportunity and earn hug amount of money..
    thanks for sharing..

  13. Matt –

    Great article! Very helpful and I believe it hits the mark. One statement in particular stands out for me: “Spending 12 hours a week writing two or three extraordinarily high-quality articles will usually get you further than spending the same amount of time publishing every single day with less unique and compelling content.”

    For me that’s the sweet spot that I believe everyone should ‘subscribe’ to. Quality, compelling content….oh what a wonderful world it would be if everyone achieved that with each post :-)

    Thank you for your insight and helpful tips!
    Lisa

  14. Joan says:

    Good info and post. I am the part-time one who does my blog on the side. I always thought to do only 2 or 3 good posts a week and not just some little post each day. And I need to work on the ebook that is still in my head! Thank you for great advice, as always!

  15. Tom Southern says:

    All great points Matt, especially on not falling for social media sirens.

    I’d add a 4th highly important strategy. Taking time to really define a topic that has an audience already
    waiting, and wanting answers.

    Instead of spending time on keyword research as a way of picking niches or topics if you’re short on time, head for blogs already serving your topic. Read the popular posts and then study the comments.
    You’ll find what people already in your audience are looking for, and not yet getting.

    You’ll have a ready-made answer to start creating your own audience, including subjects for your posts. Both these two will save you time and kick-starting your profitable blog.

    • Matt says:

      Absolutely.

      I think the #1 thing to get right is the overall target audience and the ‘special sauce’ or ‘unique selling proposition’ that makes the blog unique in that niche.

      Knowing the audience greatly helps. And if someone already has a blog, then doing some surveys on the blog can help determine what readers want. When I prepared my ebook, I did a survey to check some things about my readers and then used those results in the final design and marketing of the product, to make sure that it answered popular questions or offered solutions for their specific needs.

      • Tom Southern says:

        Awesome!

        A great example of finding your audience first, before starting a blog (or redefining it), or launching any project such as your ebook, or product, pays off.

  16. Hey Matt,

    I’m going at this full-time, but that advice sounds solid for people in my position too. It’s about being efficient, right? And why would ANY BLOGGER – full or part time – want to do something in anything but the most efficient way possible.

    Thanks for keeping me on my toes.

    Hey, good luck to you with your Internet business projects too. I’m always stoked to see people making this whole thing work.

    Aloha, Chris

  17. John says:

    Nice post, I think that every one should be selective with Social media. you should target only that audience who are interested in your product !
    Thank you

  18. Vikas says:

    I like the first point. Generally people most people think we have to have an account on every social media sites but that’s totally wrong I think. We should focus on that from which we are getting high returns.

    Thanks for the sharing this post.

  19. Michael Sato says:

    As a new entrepreneur with a typical 9 to 5 job, it’s really hard to manage time. I found blogging appropriate for me as I can work on it part time for 2-3 hrs everyday but sometimes we lose focus on what to do.

    This post gave me a great idea especially the 80/20 rule. Helps a lot when it comes to prioritizing tasks.

  20. Deny Saputra says:

    Matt, that was true and useful tips indeed.
    I just can protested nothing.

  21. Matt, your information was straight on. I am just beginning to blog and plan to do so full-time. I believe when a person is new regardless part-time or full-time, your advice still applies. I am all for quality! If I am to be trusted I must produce quality content. Thanks for the great information.

  22. Tony says:

    Having a product is a very good strategy but most of the people ignore this valuable tip for no reason. Own a product and selling it either using ecommerce websites or some other social networking strategy works really great with little hardwork. Well written article.

  23. More time and hard work spent the more profitable it will be.

  24. I have actually started conducting interviews as a means to stay connected. (Your blog has actually provided some good insights about this and it was so timely!) Highlighting people who exemplify the level of success one desires is something that Derek Halpern of Social Triggers himself recommends. It definitely adds that extra sparkle to the site.