If you’re reading this post, chances are, you already know that many people are turning their blogs or content websites into viable business models. But if you don’t have the know-how, turning your content into an income and viable career path can seem like a far-off pipe dream.
Luckily for you, this guide is here to help. With just a little industry know-how, you can turn what’s already a fulfilling hobby into a successful business.
We’re here to simplify the process – from the initial stages of building your website, right through the administrative procedures like paying taxes. Why not make this year the year to turn your passion into a business?
A Blog Business
Nowadays, it’s a common dream to start your own online publishing business. The idea that you can make money doing something you already love and start for free is particularly enticing.
Knowing how to start an and steer your online publishing business is key..
This doesn’t refer to starting a blog itself – we have plenty of guides on that here. This guide refers more to how to make a business out of publishing – or, how to make an income (and a sustainable one at that) off your content.
Monetizing an already existent (and fairly successful) content website is your way into the internet blogging business. Growing your readership is one of the most important first steps to being able to turn your content into income.
So – is a blog always a business? The basic answer is, well, sometimes.
But really, if you’re a writer and you aren’t already treating your content like a business, you’re missing a trick. Any website has the potential to become a money-maker and a viable career choice. It’s just about finding out how to get there. We are here to help: from making your very first dribs and drabs of cash right up to becoming the CEO of your own little company.
Turn Your Blog into a Business
This can seem like a vague, abstract concept if you’re new to online business. It’s far easier if we break it down into smaller, more manageable ideas..
There are many many ways to start making money blogging. It’s usually by combining a few of these together that a content website can truly become a viable business.
After creating your blog and building your readership, you’re probably ready to get started making some money. There are a few things you want to have sorted out first, though. Firstly, you need to be consistently creating a good quality article. Having great content is the cornerstone of a blog, and shouldn’t stop just because you’re trying to turn it into a business.
After creating content, the most important thing is to ensure a loyal and dedicated readership – without an audience, you simply can’t make any money. Creating a website with content people will want to share is a key facet of this.
Meta descriptions are an important aspect of finding readers, too. Tagging your posts so they can be easily accessible to those who want to read them is essential.
The premier way to begin to create income is through marketing products or services. One of the big themes of any guide on turning a content website into a business is branding. You need to view your content as a commodity – something people want and will pay to get. Branding your website successfully is hugely important.
One of the easiest ways to make money is affiliate marketing. Even smaller publishers can get in on the action. A great place to begin is through affiliate links. You can put your buy links to any product through an affiliate generator, and then when a person buys through the link on your WordPress site, you can earn a commission.
So, for example, if you write about travel, and recommend a particular overnight bag, every time one of your target audience buys it, you will earn a percentage of the sale. It can be small at first, but if you have enough readers and enough clout, you can earn a lot of cash through this method. You can even install plugins to help boost your affiliate income.
Having an Audience
If you already have content with a loyal readership, half the battle is already won. Having an audience is the only real way to turn a content website into a business because you need to create your income from somewhere.
Selling ad space can only really be profitable if you have enough traffic and eyeballs. If you still need to grow your audience, check out this post for tips.
Where Do You Spend Time Online?
If you’re having trouble advertising your site and getting traffic, a good method is to consider whether you would want to read it. If not, why not? Look at other successful websites in your field and see what makes them work. While you should never aim to imitate another publisher, being cognizant of your specific niche or publishing sphere is hugely important.
Do you present any original ideas, stories, or theories, or is everything basically found elsewhere on the internet?
If your website is filled with information that could be found elsewhere, then your target audience has no reason to come to your site in particular. You need to be offering something new and original, or you will just fade into the background. There is an abundance of content available on the internet already – yours needs to be special in order to have any chance of success.
Google Analytics helps you see how many people are visiting your website, where they are coming from, and what are you doing on your website?
Google analytics is a really useful tool in terms of growing your audience.
Once you know your topics, you can use Google analytics to see exactly what people are searching for surrounding those subjects. Tailor your posts to appeal to a wider audience.
You can even use particular highly-searched keywords to make your posts appear higher up on a list of search engine results, thus bringing in more people.
How Do You Control Who Can See Your Blog and Post Comments?
Any of these security aspects can be done through your chosen platform – Google is your friend here. However, especially at the beginning, it tends to be a good idea to have your site be as open as possible – you don’t want to be doing anything which could be minimizing your potential reach.
We recommend WordPress on Bluehost because it’s easy to publish and work with.
Most hosting platforms allow you to move an already established body of content or website across to a new platform with minimum disruption. Check out this post for more details.
Which do You Prefer and Why?
There are pros and cons to a variety of different hosting platforms, and we can’t say that one is particularly the best. All are well-suited for particular types of websites or businesses – depending on your audience, your traffic, your site design, your budget and more.
Researching a few different options should help you decide which is the best hosting platform for your specific needs.
Blogging Business Plan
There is no one blog business model – each of the most successful content businesses got there their own specific way. But don’t forget – before you create a business, you need to create a website from scratch. Starting a content website can be a huge amount of work – and in the beginning, there will be little (if any) pay.
The cornerstone to any good website is innovative ideas. If you’re writing in a particular niche, make sure you know a lot about that niche and have a passion for it, as you’ll be creating content on those topics for years to come.
Once you have your blog set up as a platform, plus a loyal and growing readership, you can start to consider making money. The two most common initial ways to make income is through affiliate marketing (discussed above) and ads. You can sell ad space on your website through tools like Adsense.
This means small parts of your website will have relevant adverts for your readers. Banner ads, for example, can go across the top of your articles or homepage. As you grow in success and readership, these ads can be more inbuilt into your content.
Many publishers make money through brand deals, and what is known as advertorial content. Here, a brand will pay you to discuss their products or service in a post. You must always declare these ads, or risk legal troubles down the line.
What Do I Need to Start a Website Business
It should go without saying that the first step of a blogging business is having a website.
Your content is the platform off of which your business can spring. This doesn’t just mean literally having a self-hosted WordPress site, though.
While getting your web hosting sorted is important, simply owning a website does not an online business make. Your website needs to be active, to be living and growing and changing. You need to have people visiting your content on a regular basis, sharing your website and helping it reach a wider audience.
The most important way to maintain this is through your content. Finding your niche is hugely important. You want to be creating a high-quality post or article at least a couple of times per week, on a topic that people care about and are actually using a search engine for online.
There’s no real way around this: you need to be putting in the time. This however doesn’t mean you have to treat it like a 9-5. One of the joys of blogging is its flexibility. On your WordPress dashboard, you can schedule a post ahead of time. This means you can spend a ton of time creating content and then allow it to go live periodically in order to maximize its reach.
Another aspect of growing your readership you should not ignore is social media. Online content or a website can never exist in a vacuum – it needs to have an overall web presence. Creating Twitter, Instagram and Facebook pages for your site are essential. Not only does this give you wider reach, but it helps grow your audience. And the bigger your audience, the better the potential you have for making money.
How to Register Your Blog as a Business
The law on registering your website as a business varies depending on what country you’re in. But if you’re earning an income on any of your writing or publishing work, it’s important to get the business side of your blog in order. Check the self-employment laws where you live in order to avoid getting into any potential sticky situations down the line.
How is Blogging as a Business Different different than Blogging as a Hobby?
Blogging for most people typically starts as a hobby – even if the idea of turning it into a money-maker is always there. And honestly, the most successful content sites retain this love and passion for their original niche.
Choosing a topic or style because it makes good business sense, rather than because you’re passionate about a topic and have a lot to say about it, is usually a recipe for disaster. Put simply; the most successful online content businesses are born out of the truest hobby-based intentions.
Blogging as a Business
In order to start making money off your content site, it’s imperative that you treat your business like a business. Initially, this means thinking of it as a job. Putting in the hard work writing and promoting your content or website is the only way to take it from hobby to business.
Getting to know things like search engine optimization, and utilizing tools like social media are essential methods of directing traffic to your site. Remember the more readers, the more money-making opportunities.
Alongside the growth of your readership, there are some other aspects to the business of blogging.
Business owners have to deal with a fair amount of administrative tasks.
Blogging for business is really like running any other business in these areas. As soon as money is involved, you are essentially a small-business owner and need to act as such. This means taking care of things like paying taxes, accounting, and a profit and loss statement.
One of the best things about the online publishing industry is that it’s extremely democratic. This means that as long as you have a computer and an internet connection, you can create written content or a website.
This means the blogging community is one of the most diverse communities in the world – which is, in our opinion, one of its biggest strengths.
The basic answer is: never.
However, you do need to have a website which is up-and-running and with at least some readership before you start to think about collaboration. Otherwise, it will seem like you’re just leeching off the popularity of others. Backlink requests should be beneficial to both parties involved.
Where Can You Find Free Images to Use?
One important aspect of your published content or posts is their visual content. Large blocks of text can put readers off, so you want to make sure you have some images. The tricky thing is many images online cost money to use.
There are a few ways around this. You can either find royalty-free images through specific stock photo sites. You could also consider subscribing to an image provider – Getty Images is a popular choice. The final option is to provide the imagery yourself. Simple but high-quality original photography always looks good – although it can be time-consuming.
Okay, so now that you have your website all set up, a content calendar full, and ready to roll, how do you get traffic to it?
There are two main ways to direct traffic to your content. The first is through search engine optimization – cleverly using popular keywords to ensure your site appears high-up on a list of search results. The other is through social media. Having active accounts on the top social media platforms means you can reach out to your target audience directly.
What marketing should I use and where to start from and generate more traffic?
In the beginning, we advise a wide-reaching marketing strategy. Put simply; you want to explore all the different avenues of generating traffic. Only by trying things out will you see what is most successful for your website. You can then hone your marketing strategy based directly on real-life experience.
Is that a marketing ploy to engage readers?
The ploy is the wrong word to use here. You don’t want to try to “trick” people into reading your content – you want to make them want to. The best way to do this is by providing unique, original and high-quality content. There really is no shortcut here!
Do you see a pattern here?
The basic pathway should be thus. Good content plus domain registration plus hosting platform gets you the bare bones of your website. Search engine optimization plus social media campaigns build readers. A website with readership can lead to money-making opportunities.
If you’re at the beginning of your online content business journey, put in the time and work hard. Make sure you’re writing about something you care about and don’t lose that passion. And make sure you run your business in an organized and careful way!