From Blogs To Business
Nearly all online businesses interested in growing into new markets invest time to develop a blog. Blog articles, if constructed carefully, are indexed in search engine result pages and can be targeted towards both existing and new markets in both local and international areas. Blogs are a way of building a long term audience however blogs can also be a catalyst for business and making an additional income.
While online businesses are faced with the challenge of building a client base for their products, bloggers alternatively, build an audience first by publishing relevant and entertaining content and then introduce their audience to products and services over time. Setting up a blog using WordPress is relatively easy however making money from the blog will require a strategy to be successful.
Type Of Blog
Blog publications and articles are different to most other genres in that they are more personal, connecting at a deeper level with the audience. Deciding on what to write about can include all the areas you’re interested in. These areas may relate to a business activity or a personal interest but whatever you choose to write about make sure you’re genuinely interested and passionate about the subject. Bloggers write for all sorts of reasons, including:
- Providing advice and personal experience with products or services.
- Simply sharing their opinions about their day to day experiences.
- Extending their personal brand to expert levels.
- Testing, selling and providing how to guides about products.
While the above reasons for developing a blog can be a great experience when interacting with new markets and businesses it’s also a commitment in providing consistent good quality articles that benefit the audience in one way or another. Developing a blog takes time, so it’s important to keep focused and stay on track with strategy for blog content that opens new markets while satisfying your existing audience.
One of the hardest parts about starting a blog is deciding on which platform to use. Here a Kodako we use WordPress, as it was originally designed as a blogging platform but has since evolved into far more than that. With that said, WordPress at its core still offers, in our opinion, the easiest and best editor and dashboard to create and manage your blog postings. Moving a blog into a business however still requires a strategy which we will explore below.
- Consider what articles about what subjects could be monetised.
- What type of audience is going to read your blog and what do they need to know.
- What type of services and products would your audience be interested in.
- Picking a name for your blog that serves your blog’s purpose.
- Design a strategy for blog content and distribution via search engines and back links.
Monetising Your Blog
There are a number of different strategies for monetising your blog which don’t require huge amounts of traffic. The main overall strategy at successfully monetising your blog is to develop a loyal audience rather than a large one. An audience that relates to you on a personal level and trusts your judgement can really help in making sales of services and products that you can provide or are demonstrating. It’s important that you maintain an honest and frank approach to everything you blog about particularly if it involves monetising content. Blog can be monetised by:
Reviewing unique and original products that are new and align with the interests of your audience.
- Selling digital downloadable products such as graphics and photos.
- Selling services such as writing, consulting and design.
- Publishing a book and selling as a physical product or digital download.
- Being an affiliate with another brand and making a commission for every product sale.
- Creating a subscription based website where users pay monthly for content.
- Doing paid promotions for products and services that you use yourself, know and trust.
- Promoting a drop shipping business for yourself or others.
In order to be successful, your blog needs to honest and practical otherwise you may well undermine what blogs are all about which is to provide an honest and personal experience to others that inform and teach an audience about the services and products that you or your businesses uses. So one of the most important considerations for a good blog strategy is determining who will be the audience and how you are going to inform them with what type of products and services you use.
A Niche Blog
- Picking niche content for your blog can differentiate your blog from others but there are also other ways of doing this. For example:
- Focus the content on a particular location such as city or state.
- Alternatively focus content on particular types of products and services.
- Focus on specific genres of content within a subject such as watercolour paintings within a painting or art subject.
- Use a specific theme or tone with how you deliver your content that your audience will relate too.
- Delve into detail and specifics that other blogs ignore.
Ultimately, the niche that you choose to follow has to relate to your audience. There needs to be sustainable approach to developing content over and over again for the niche area you’ve chosen and in order to monetise the blog you’ll need to be well educated about all areas of the niche.
WordPress is a self hosted platform that we use at Kodako because it offers bespoke design and layout options allowing us to create new content while changing templates if required. Once setup, using the block editor in WordPress makes it easy to add all types of media content with many different text formatting options including using CSS. The main reason we use WordPress is because if we wanted to monetise our blog we could do it easily, allowing users to purchase both physical and digital products and services directly from the blog.
Getting The Right Blog Name
After deciding on a platform to develop a blog, picking a name and researching the best domain name type will be required. Choose something that’s memorable, easy to type and of course isn’t taken by another competing brand. Try not to use your own name but rather something that perhaps can be easily associated with it if it’s going to be important because you’re building a personal brand. Regardless, you can still be the face of your blog even if your name isn’t in the URL. You’ll find it a lot easier build a catchy brand name that reflects the blogs content and target audience. You can even add a logo to the blog to help distinguish it from other content on your site. Wrapping a catchy name in a logo design can be the best way of marketing the blog and making easily identifiable on other third party sites.
Once the name is sorted it’s then time to develop a theme or layout for your blog. Your blog may use a lot of images or video and you may require a side menu for navigation that has thumbnails, titles and excerpts for users to easily view and select. Alternatively you may have a news article type of layout taking up much of the screen with images breaking up large blocks of copy. Either way it’s important to consider how your audience is going to navigate the content and develop a template or two that works for them and makes your site easy to deal with. As an example this blog uses a news article layout because the blog is about new developments in WordPress, plugins and online technologies so it’s not going to have a lot of gallery images but it will have a lot of blocks of text so we’ve included a sticky table of contents that allows users to easily navigate each article. In addition our site search also will include blog articles allowing users to find relevant content they are looking for.
Developing The Blog To Grow
Developing an audience often requires some thought into how you’re going to achieve this before you even get your blog online. Some bloggers will establish a blog but then struggle with the distribution of the content. It’s important to have a repeatable distribution strategy to get you blog to new and existing audiences. With a Kodako website we include an email marketing platform integrated with a subscriber form that can appear at the footer of both your site content and your blog or as a popup form for the user to subscribe to your content. When users subscribe, they will be welcomed with an email containing images and links to your latest posts. This is then repeated every time there is new content in the blog that users can be made aware of. Picking frequency of emails and using different email strategies is covered in our online booklets that you can download for free upon subscribing to Kodako. Offering your users something useful in return for subscribing is also mutually beneficial but at the end of the day developing an email list of subscribers who are interested in your content is critical to the success of your blog. It’s also important not to overload your user’s inbox and only send email when you’ve got new content that will be of interest.
Social Media Strategy
Setting up your blog post excerpts and images to appear on social media is a good method of engaging new users to visit and subscribe. Picking the right social media channels for your blog is important for example if your blog has a large diverse audience potential then using Facebook and Twitter might be the right choice however if your blog has a lot of images you might find Pinterest or Instagram to be a better pick. If your blog is about houses and interior design you might choose Houzz. Social media can be very time consuming and the various channels are designed to keep you on them for as long as possible. Often posting content can take a long time so keep the channels you use relevant to your target audience and keep them to a minimum if you want to have a life.
Business networks that are concerned with your blog’s content can also be a good early source of subscribers. Using LinkedIn to find new contacts can help broaden your subscriber base.
Redevelop And Redeploy
To get the most mileage out of a blog post be prepared to edit the content and repurpose it for different target markets. Create blog posts with links to previous posts and give it new name that gives users an overview of specific topics. Recreate posts as quizzes or FAQ’s to get users to look at the content differently. Republish the more successful posts on new platforms with links back to your original posts. Republish old content each season with new images and infographics for users who may of missed the original post. Encourage clients and business colleagues to be guest bloggers. They will often give your blog more credibility and provide insights into content that may not be obvious to you. Guest authors will also share this content with their own user base. Make sure to add a few links within the content to third party sites and internal links to your own content at the end of the article.
With a Kodako blog we install Google SiteKit that display Google Analytics right in the WordPress dashboard. Understanding where and when your visitors are arriving can tell you a lot about your blog’s performance. Using Google Analytics directly will give you even more granular data insights and it’s worth setting up as it’s free to do so with a Google Account. You can even view reader in real time who are on the site currently. Data can also be used to prove how much traffic you blog is generating and will be a vital asset in gaining interest from third parties wanting to get involved and pay a price for doing so.
Structured Content Mixes
Organising your content mix is also a good approach to keep users engaged. Diversity in subject matter can help broaden the scope of your blog while maintaining your audiences interest as long as it is of interest to them. Using a spreadsheet and organising what category to post next and when will be a good start in getting a mix the keeps users engaged. Using a drip feed of articles which further develops or adds upon existing articles is another good approach. The articles can be linked and provide a much larger scope for an existing topic. Different mixes include:
- Evergreen content that is concerned with everyday questions, problems and solutions.
- Topical content that approaches trending topics that are on the minds of users.
- Curated content that is specific to a niche
- Featured articles that about specific product brands, services or people.
- Entertainment content that includes quizzes, animations, videos or illustrations that are entertaining.
Planning your content every month while try to stay ahead of the posts by three months is often a good way to proceed at creating a mix of posts that really work well together over a period of time.
When developing a blog and an audience you have think like an entrepreneur and aim high when it comes to growth. With a good blog you can build a valuable audience for a long time into the future.