When it comes to online business, the first mistake that most people make is looking at their site as “just a blog.” With this mentality, you’ll be lucky if you end up building a subscriber base, much less a money generating website. Instead, the key is to market your blog like a startup while avoiding spammy linking and marketing practices at all costs. Sometimes, all it takes is a small change to your frame of mind to make the money flow.
Now you may wonder why I’m bringing this up. Well, a lot of people want to start blogs to make money. At least, that’s what I’m hearing on twitter and in person.
The Importance of Treating Your Blog Like a Business
One of the biggest advantages that you’ll notice after treating your blog like a startup business is that you’ll be more likely to remain consistent in your marketing efforts – and when it comes to generating money with a blog, consistency is the key. After all, an effective marketing campaign that is consistent is what makes or breaks a business in the offline world. Why would it be any different online?
1. Choose a market (Niche)
How to choose a market:
- Market Size – Who are you targeting? Males, females, families, entrepreneurs, students?
- Market Wealth – Does your market have the time to be online? Are they computer savvy?
- Market Competition – How many other sites are there with the same content?
- Value Proposition – What do you offer thats different? How can you make your site stand out?
Narrow your niche further by defining your keywords. This can be done by spending a bit of time on Google’s Keyword Tool. You’re looking for keywords in your niche that are not as saturated. Ie, Low competition, but high volume.
2. Set Targets
- Play with the Goals Settings in Google Analytics.
- Set Hard Targets for Reader Conversions- RSS readers, twitter follows, Pageviews, visits.
- Monitor Trends/ Industry Growth- Ie. If you’re posting about holiday gift ideas in November, December and you’re getting a lot of search traffic, don’t expect the trend to continue in January.
- Closely analysis each campaign/post/guest post- Having a thorough understanding of what converts with your readers help you plan how to spend your time better in the future.
3. Set a Budget.
We’d like to believe that everything happens in a vacumn and we can do it by ourselves, but thats not possible. Have a budget for the following things.
- Plugins- Split test and see which ones work and which don’t. Don’t be afraid to spend money on something that makes your life easier.
- Staff Writers- Generating content on a daily basis is extremely difficult. Find a team of staff writers that are qualified in different topics within you niche.
- The Overall Look of Your Site- As your traffic grows, you will be looking at redesigning your site. Look for designers that have experience, and can work with you to get the look and feel that you want. As always, you get what you pay for.
- Promotional Campaigns- Is there anything that is both relevant to your readers that you can afford to give away? This could be an ebook, or a giveaway. Never underestimate the value of leads that are generated from the freemium model.
Evergreen Methods of Marketing Your Blog:
- Maintain a regular posting schedule.
There is no set amount of posts that you have to publish each week. However, you should try your best to consistently put fresh content on your blog so that your readers have a reason to keep coming back. This is what builds a strong subscriber base and a community around a website, which in turn equals trust and money.
- Guest blog on related high traffic blogs.
When done for traffic and networking, as opposed to backlinking, guest blogging is a powerful way to drive traffic to a new website. Choosing other websites to guest post on should be chosen based on what you can contribute that will benefit their readers, not on the page rank of the site itself.
- Post in related forums.
Forum posting is another method that works wonderfully for driving targeted visitors to a new website. However, the success you see from forum marketing directly correlates with the value that you provide as a member. If you spend your time posting insightful comments that help other users, then you can expect to see a return on your time in terms of website visitors. It’s important to avoid blatant advertising on forums, unless you are paying for advertising privileges; instead, use your forum signature to your advantage. Don’t forget to read the rules before you start posting!
- Utilize video marketing.
Although many bloggers make video marketing harder than it has to be, you don’t have to be one of them! Ideas for videos include reviewing a product that you regularly use, turning your blog posts into video slide shows, or even hosting a question and answer session every week and then uploading it to the top video sites.
- Learn social media marketing.
Of the social networks, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ are the most important at this time. Of course, just having an account on social media platforms isn’t enough; you should aim to engage with other users on at least one social network regularly. On the other hand, it’s also important to remember that you shouldn’t try to spread yourself too thin. Your followers will appreciate you more if you actively network on one or two social networks, as opposed to giving a half-hearted attempt on twenty. That being said, it is a good idea to reserve your chosen username on all the available social networks, especially if you are trying to establish a brand, because this prevents others from using your brand name.
- Use web 2.0 platforms.
As part of an overall content marketing strategy, Web 2.0 sites are still very powerful. The caveat is that you have to be willing to participate in the community, as well – not just drop your website link and run. Similar to forum posting and blog commenting, web 2.0 platforms work best for driving traffic when you submit quality content that engages or solves the reader’s problem.
Final Thoughts on Marketing Your Blog Like a Startup
In the end, always remember that the way you market your blog is a direct reflection of your brand. In other words, if you use spammy tactics to promote your site, then that’s what your site will amount to; there is no sustainable business in spam. On the other hand, by engaging in social media, drawing in a captive audience, and networking with fellow bloggers, you’ll be able to build marketing campaign for your blog that will continue to snowball.