Running a blog that’s getting plenty of visitors and want to know how to build a business off the back of it?
Or perhaps you’re just about to launch a new blog that you aim to turn into a business sooner rather than later.
In this guide, we’ll explore the different ways you can grow your blog into a full-scale business.
Before we start, it’s important to say that if you want to turn your blog into a business, you need to make sure that you’re not relying on a free blog host.
Although many successful blogs are built on platforms such as Blogger or the free version of WordPress, using a free blog site will make it much harder to turn your blog into a business. This guide explains more about why you should avoid free blog sites if you’re serious about blogging.
This is mainly because using a free blog site makes it very hard to earn money from your blog. If you use a free blog, you won’t be able to include adverts on your site or add ecommerce functionality.
If you create a blog with a custom domain name and paid for hosting, you’ll have more freedom to turn it into a business.
Already got a successful blog built on a free platform that you want to turn into a business? Don’t despair, it’s possible to move your existing blog over to a custom domain and paid for hosting. This guide explains how to move your blog from a free site to paid hosting.
Before you turn your blog into a business
No matter how you decide to turn your blog into a business, there are some preparatory steps you can take to help you on the path to success.
If you’re running a successful blog, you might be doing some of these things already, but be sure to start if not.
Create a mailing list
Email marketing is a great way to keep in touch with your readers and, when you turn your blog into a business, it’s a great way to turn those readers into customers.
To get started with building your mailing list, you’ll need a tool like Email Marketing from GoDaddy.
You can learn about how to get started with email marketing in this guide. Be sure that you comply with all relevant data protection regulations when building your email list. You can learn more about email marketing and data protection here.
Understand your existing audience
Most successful blogs target a particular niche, which means you have a head start when it comes to understanding what your audience is interested in.
But you should go deeper and create customer personas for your blog readers. A persona is an idealized version of a reader/customer which details things like their interests, what they do for a living and their personal information.
By creating personas for your blog readers, you’ll be able to understand who your readers are and what they want, which will help you when it comes to developing ideas for products and services.
Ways to turn your blog into a business
There are two main ways to turn a blog into a business: launching your own products/services or promoting other business’s products/services in a way that makes you money.
Launching your own products/services
Launching a new product or service is a big step, but it could be a logical way to turn your blog into a business.
The product you launch could range from the simple – such as an instructional ebook – to something much more complex – like a new gadget.
Obviously, the simpler your product, the easier it will be to launch it, so you may want to take that into account when planning your business.
In terms of services, consider options such as consulting, teaching and even freelance writing.
You’ll need to make sure that whatever product/service you choose to offer is a good fit for your blog and its audience.
There’s also no need to limit yourself to just products or services and, in some cases, it even makes sense to offer both. For example, if you decide to offer online yoga classes, you could also sell instructional videos.
When planning which products or services you want to sell, you should also think about the changes you’ll need to make to your blog to add ecommerce functionality.
Fortunately, if you’re using WordPress, hosting it should be easy to add product pages to your site. However, you may need to update your blog’s theme to accommodate the change. You may also need to upgrade your hosting package.
If you’re a GoDaddy customer, you can speak to a GoDaddy Guide on 020 7084 1810 to discuss your plans, and they’ll be able to make sure you’re on an appropriate hosting package.
Promoting other business’s products/services
Existing businesses are always looking for new customers, which means they’re also interested in partnering with blogs that have an existing audience.
This means there’s the opportunity to build a blogging business by promoting other businesses. There are three ways to do this: advertising, affiliate marketing and influencer partnerships.
Note: If you choose to turn your blog into a business using any of these methods, it’s important that you’re open and honest about what you’re doing. Sneakily promoting products will likely damage your readers’ trust in you if they find out and, just as importantly, you may be breaking the law if you don’t label ads and other promotional content clearly.
Including ads on your blog is an easy way to start earning money it. In the simplest of terms, all you have to do is sign up for an ad network such as Google’s AdSense or Facebook’s Audience Network, add some code to your site and make sure that the ads are displaying correctly.
Given it’s so easy to start including ads on your site, you might think it’s the best way to turn your blog into a business.
Unfortunately, the downside of these kinds of ads is that they don’t tend to pay very much – just a few pence per click. And because most people who visit your blog won’t click an ad, you’ll need to attract tens of thousands of visitors to stand any chance of making a decent income from ads.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could earn money every time you recommend something to your blog readers and they buy it? That’s essentially how affiliate marketing works.
As a brief overview, to get started with affiliate marketing you need to find an affiliate scheme that’s a good fit for your blog, sign up and start promoting the product/service.
Affiliate schemes tend to pay more than simple ads, so you have a chance of making a decent income even if you’re not attracting tens of thousands of visitors. The downside is that the best paying affiliate schemes tend to be very competitive, so you may find yourself fighting for affiliate sales with other well-established blogs.
You can learn more about how to make money with affiliate marketing.
If you command the attention of a significant, engaged audience interested in a particular topic, then you may find that brands are keen to join forces with you to promote their products and services through your blog posts.
This method of turning a blog into a business used to be referred to as “sponsored posts”, but now tends to fall under the scope of influencers partnerships.
Building influencer relationships proactively can be difficult, as often brands approach bloggers they’re interested in working with directly rather than the other way round.
However, to boost your chances of building influencers partnerships, you may want to make it clear on your contact page that you’re open to such promotions.
There are also agencies which specialise in connecting suitable bloggers with brands, so you may want to sign up for one or more of these as well.
Promoting your blog as a business
If your blog is already successful, you’ll already have a strong idea of how to get your content out there.
However, there are a few new techniques you can add into the mix to help your blog grow as a business.
Product launch emails
If you’ve got an email list, you can use it to let people know about a new product/service launch. If your new product is aligned with the interests of the audience you’ve built up over the year, you should make sales through this method.
You can also use email to promote sponsored posts and/or posts with affiliate links.
Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising
If you launch a product/service, you can use PPC ads to promote it. PPC can get your product ads to appear at the top of search engines, on people’s social media streams and on relevant high-traffic websites.
PPC isn’t easy to master and, if you’re not careful, you may end up spending more on ads than they generate in sales. But it is more than possible to teach yourself the skills required to master PPC ads. You can learn how to get started with PPC in this guide.
Social media influencers can help you get your products in front of potential customers. The idea is that you offer the influencer a free product and they recommend you to their followers.
If you’re offering a service, you can consider giving it away for free to an influencer, or you may want to identify paying customers with a significant social media presence and ask them to recommend you to their followers.
You can also ask influencers to share your blog posts that feature affiliate links. Just make sure that you’re creating high-quality, interesting content that high-profile people in your niche will want to share with their audience.
You can learn more about how to find influencers in this guide.
Launching a business is never easy, but if you already have a blog that’s getting attention, you have a head start on most people.
The key is to make sure that your new business matches the interests of your blog readers. That way you’ll have a readymade audience that’s potentially interested in becoming your customers.