Blogging as business: A myth or undiscovered gold mine?

Blogging is a blend of fun, business and hard work. How a single concept crosses so many lines, a couple of them across opposite ends could be so confusing. But you don’t need to be. Here’s the reality: It’s a tough job!

Blogging has become tougher and more demanding today than ever. The strategy needed to survive is changing every day, that only disciplined and dynamic bloggers can stand the trends.

Every strategy you learnt last week has already turned obsolete today. You need to be creative and think even while sleeping. It’s competitive and overcrowded with a wide range of experts and amateurs all strategising to hit the bulls eye.

It may surprise you that the vast majority of blogs opened everyday crumbled within it gestation period and got abandoned by the disillusioned operators. A good number of others are just being pushed along, the owners barely putting in efforts to sustain their existence on the blogosphere.

To put the number in the right perspective, let’s consider a couple of statistics on blogging.

Researches defer a bit from one another on the exact number of blogs on the blogosphere. But they all agree that the number tilted more towards 200 million far away from 100 million. So, it will be conservative to say there are about 175 million blogs across the world.

That’s where the battle lies. All 175 million-ish bloggers craving for the attention of just over 3.5 billion internet users. There are about 1.5 million posts made from WordPress alone daily (or 45 million posts every month). The strategies, the marketing and the tricks are revolutionary. It’s the survival of the fittest.

Is blogging really that “bad?”

What? Bad? Not at all! The right words are competitive, tough and challenging. But, you will be better knowing what you are up against before you dabble in. That’s giving you a better chance at success.

So, whether a blog becomes a business or a pastime is entirely dependent on the information at the disposal of the blogger. Whether it succeeds or fails is entirely in your hands.

Damaging misconceptions and blogging bad habits

The major cause of failure in blogging is the quality of information at the disposal of the blogger.

No matter how smart you are, if you can’t think miles ahead of your audience, you’ll frustrate yourself out of a blogging deal.

Short term views: Too many aspiring bloggers assume blogging is a gold mine. While they’re right, they have a twisted understanding of what a gold mine is.

Gold mines are not usually found sleeping glaringly in your backyard. To land a gold mine, you will have to work – dig, expand time and resources.

Expertise: It’s advisable to set up a blog on a field you command a rich amount of expertise. There are enough challenges surrounding blogging that without expertise and passion, you can’t go anywhere.

Do not assume you succeed by merely searching through the internet to provide contents and services for your audience. Build on expertise.

Blogging is fun: Yes, it is. But that’s until you decide to make it a business.

To run a blog as a business, you will need the combinations of expertise, discipline, rigorous schedule, timeliness, planned contents, marketing strategies and financial commitment to ensure your blog is at its best.

It could still be fun, but maybe not the type you assumed.

Passion: This is closely related to the expertise, except that it’s what keeps you going when the chips are down.

Wrong priority: Most bloggers come in with the ideas of making a lot of money from the start. That’s a good idea, but it hardly turns out so.

In fact, plan to create quality services and contents for the major part of your take-off, the real deal will come over time – if you do it rightly and stick to it.

Planned activities: Don’t assume you can post anytime you like, at your convenience and whatever you like.

Blogging is like running a lifetime campaign. Every action taken is planned and must be within certain timelines to achieve a specific purpose.

Lack of focus: Most start-up bloggers think that driving traffic to their blog is about bringing in so many blogging niches on a single platform. Yes, you could plan your blog to address several issues, but that will be a part of your focus.

The truth, however, is that every niche has a rich depth that can be explored. The more specific the niche of your blog, the better. At the end of the day, there is nothing stopping you from operating more than one blog.

At the end of the day, there’s nothing stopping you from operating more than one blog in different niches.

Response to criticism: Many bloggers think criticism means they’ve failed. So, they pack up after the first bout of negativity. Others just throw-up into the faces of their audiences and make a mess of their work.

In blogging, the best response to criticism is the outcome. No matter the intention of the person, your response is the real deal.

Managing traffic and visitors: There are sites that overuse the power of pop-ups.

I’ve seen a couple of these that won’t even allow you to access the materials until you drop your contacts. I call this desperation. Yes, you are free to be desperate, but wearing it like a necklace is another thing entirely.

You need to be professional in your marketing

The quality of content: If there’s one foremost concept that can make or mar your blog, it’s the quality of the content. To start, that’s exactly the reason why people are there in the first place.

So, ensure your contents are of great quality. Get creative and dynamic. Don’t be rigid. Be consistent. Get tidy about the content you push around and invest to get the best of it.

Page optimisation: Ensure your blog is optimised to stand a good chance in the market. Many bloggers think of good content as work that passes CyberSpace’s test. Nope!

Good contents are rich works, informative, relevant and optimised for digital users.

Target audience: Don’t assume there are billions of people on the internet that can be reached. There are billions, but none of them gives a damn about you. Know who your target audience are and go for them. Understand their needs and taste, then, provide the right solutions.

Turn your blog into a money-machine

This is a huge discourse because there are countless ways to make money from blogging. But, I will manage to explain it as briefly as possible.

Build a loyal and trusting followership: In blogging, the number is key. It’s the most important factor in the arts of blogging. It will help if you could even foster a community on your blog.

Create a product and/or service around your blog: One way to get the best from your blog is to create a product around the blog.

You could be offering courses, workshops, e-books, organising lectures and any other goods or services within the reach of your expertise or the niche of the site.

Advertising: If you have the right number, advertising can bring wealth into blogging. From pay per click ads, banner ads, text link ads, sponsored reviews, video and audio ads to advertising widgets, the list is countless.

Offer social media services to other organizations: Since you’ve been successful in blogging, many multinational companies are intimidated by your wealth of experience and may want to use it to their advantage.

Offer digital consultation: You can manage their site, social media platforms, digital campaigns or simply point them in the right direction.

Affiliate marketing: So many companies are willing to offer partnership if they know you have a platform that will generate the result.

You can demand a coupon that will offer discounts through your blog and watch your bank accounts swell.

Donation: This may be more effective for blogs which are involved in social services and non-profit making niches. But, if you can create a need and be convincing enough about the benefits, with the use of PayPal, you can easily integrate a donation function on your blog.

End result

The instructions above may look enormous, but the reward is worth the efforts. If you manage your blogs properly, you will enjoy:

  • Self-satisfaction. That is the result of working on your passion.
  • You will have great rewards in the form of good revenue.
  • Strong marketing platform that great brands will queue to associate with.
  • Corporate relevance. No one will dare to ignore you in the industry.
  • Success experience. You achieve the goals for which you are blogging.
  • Your blogs can be put to work even for you. You can create products and services around your own blog.
  • Great traffic, exposure and reputation.

Lastly, ensure whatever you do on your blog(s), you offer quality services and contents, build loyalty, and, very importantly, give your blog a chance to succeed by sticking on through the tough times.

This post is part of our contributor series. It is written and published independently of TNW.

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