Blogging as a business is still something of a mystery to most if people’s reactions to ‘I’m a full-time blogger’ are anything to go by. From the confused looks to the asking ‘if I’m searching for a real job’ to the downright incredulous, many people still hold the misconception that blogging isn’t something you can make money from. In the beginning, I also had no idea what it would be like turning your blog into a business, or even how to do it!
I still remember the first time I hit the ‘publish’ button on my first blog post. I was so scared. I was so nervous. I was so worried about what people would think. This was close to four years ago, and now this little corner of the internet is my full-time job and sees hundreds of thousands of visitors a month (and reaches millions more on social media). Here’s what I now know…
Focus on your passion(s)
If I were to only give you one blogging tip, it would be to focus on what you’re actually passionate about. While, of course, if your goal is to eventually monetise your blog then you’ll need to pick something that has a large enough audience to create enough of an income (so if you were to write about plants, write about succulents, as opposed to just one type of succulent!), if you don’t have passion then you’re likely going to lose the motivation to go the distance.
As humans, it’s only natural that we’re curious about multiple things! I’ve written before about how I’m not sure you need one specifically focused blog niche. After all, if you’re interested in history and travel, then you’re likely also going to be interested in reading and learning! Write about what you’re passionate about and you’re likely to find your own mini-niche that’s a combination of everything you love.
Have a consistent posting schedule
And leading on from writing about what you’re passionate about, having a consistent posting schedule is certainly key to retaining an engaged audience and growing your traffic. While I’m sure you could grow a blog by writing about topics that you’re not interested in, it’s certainly easier to create articles about what you love and likely know more about!
Monetisation can take more forms than you might expect
Of course, if you’re going to go full-time on your blog, then you’re going to (probably) need an income that’s a full-time salary. Before turning my blog into a business, I didn’t really realise how many potential revenue streams there really are. And when blogging becomes your income, you’ll soon learn that diversification is key.
You don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket and you might even consider creating multiple websites. From affiliate links to adverts, you can also do consulting work, produce your own products (between Lightroom presets to eBooks, the sky- or, your imagination, is really the limit!), there’s really no shortage of ways you can monetise your website and associated social media channels.
Be yourself when you blog
While it’s only normal that we occasionally dream of what it might be like to be someone else, you are you and no one can change that, or indeed be you. In a crowded world and marketplace where everyone seems to be vying for attention in an economy that values attention above all else (this Mark Manson article on the ‘attention economy’ is wonderful!), your POD (point of difference) is simply being you.
Focus on your strengths and go from there. Once you’ve begun turning your blog into a business, you’ll soon realise that you can delegate out what you’re not as great at. Truth be told, one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in creating my own business is that you’re definitely not great at everything! Instead, play to your strengths. I’m personally terrible at things like timekeeping, accounting, finishing drafts, staying on track, and the list goes on…
Being self-employed is the best feeling in the world (if it’s for you)
While being self-employed is not for everyone (it’s definitely a pretty personal choice that depends on your own circumstances), having the freedom to decide your schedule and focus on your passions is honestly one of the best feelings in the world.
I personally love waking up and making a conscious choice as to what I’ll be working on for the day, not to mention not having to deal with a boss (I’ve always been terrible at following directions and instruction), and having the freedom to say ‘no’ to projects I’m not passionate about. Side note: don’t ever fall into the trap into thinking that your readers aren’t your most valuable asset, because, in reality, they’re the lifeblood of your site!
It’s never too crowded for you to start your own blog
Back when I started my blog in 2015, I believed that it would be too late to start a travel and culture blog. I read plenty of posts declaring that ‘blogging is dead’ and yet years later blogs are more widely read than ever before. It’s not too late to start your own blog, and I would argue that turning your blog into a business is actually easier than ever before.
After all, the tools are all available, ad networks are fully established (I personally use and love Mediavine!) Other considerations when starting your own blog include a good host; I personally recommend starting out on a self-hosted site with Siteground. Once your site is a little larger, you’ll want to consider moving to managed hosting. I now use Performance Foundry and love having a more ‘hands-off’ approach to the technical side of my website, allowing me to concentrate on producing content!
Having a team/ support network is essential
And I don’t mean a team in the way that you’re probably thinking. While it would be great to have multiple people working on your blog as you’re turning it into a business, this is often simply not realistic. Instead, what I mean is that for me personally, it’s been essential to have a support network of friends/ family who you can speak to and chat with.
They keep you grounded and are a great source of inspiration to bounce ideas off when you need another perspective. Other bloggers are also a great support network, and I’m personally part of plenty of supportive Facebook groups. I even started my own group for fellow female bloggers. Once you start making money from your blog, my number one tip would be to get an accountant- you’ll thank me later!
Not everyone is going to be supportive
While I remember purchasing my domain and hitting ‘publish’ on that very first post, I also still remember the first ‘hate’ comment I received. I hate to be negative in such a positive post (this is the best job in the world if it’s for you!), but I remember seeing comments by an ex and his friends making fun of me on a local uni news website.
I also remember another ex-boyfriend telling me that ‘no one can make money blogging’. Of course, there’s a reason (or rather, several) that I’m no longer dating any of them. There are also the people who will continuously ask you ‘when you’ll get a real job’ or ‘how much money you make.’ If you’re interested, here’s how I make money blogging.
Obviously, the joy of being self-employed largely negates the negatives, but it can also be quite draining after a while to constantly have to explain yourself. And, let’s not get started on the creepy comments and downright harassment that you end up receiving on a daily basis (here’s an article where Kristin of Be My Travel Muse discusses her terrible experience of harassment).
But because I don’t want to end a post about the joy of turning your blog into a business on a negative note, if you’re thinking about starting your own website based around your passions then go for it! For more information, tips, tricks, and practical advice regarding business and blogging check out my blogging tips archives!