Do you dream of catapulting your blog from a hobby to a money making machine?
Have you ever wondered what it really takes to transition from the giant sea of aspiring bloggers to the elite pool of professionals?
Yes, I am talking about the small percentage of bloggers that make a living doing what they love.
They are willing to work with a plan.
I mean a business plan. A business plan to become a successful blogger.
I don’t mean the kind of boring long-winded business plan that spans hundreds of pages that make academics drool.
I am talking about bloggers game plan to succeed.
There are several key components your blogger business plan must include.
Niche game plan
Finding the correct niche for your blog is so important that it must be one of your first tasks. You could create the world’s greatest content in vain if there is no audience for it.
As you carefully consider the appropriate niche for your blog, ask and answer the following questions:
- Who is your audience? – Be specific. What do they do? Where do they live, etc? What’s important to them?
- What is the size of your audience? – It is best if you can put a number on it. For example, my audience is real estate professionals in San Diego, CA. There are 27,000 (this is a made up number, but you get the point) real estate professionals in San Diego, CA. It is not enough to say, “well, there are a lot of people that do ‘X’ therefore, they will be interested in my blog.”
If the size of your audience is too small, it might not make financial sense to select that niche. A small niche is not necessarily a no go.
- Where do they hang out? – Check out forums, websites, and social networks to learn where they hang out and become part of the conversation.
- Can you create content around the niche? – If you select a niche that you know nothing about it will make your job super difficult. It is not impossible, but it is better to stick with something you are, at least, familiar with.
- How much competition is there? – You might find a gem with a large audience, but too much competition will make your journey an uphill battle. Check out the players that currently dominate the niche you want. Can you take them on? Is it reasonable?
- Can you monetize the niche? – Just because there is an audience, it doesn’t mean that you can monetize your blog. When you look at the competition try to find out how successful they are in the monetization department.
Technology game plan
If you don’t believe me here are the facts:
- WordPress has been around since 2003. It is proven and established, a technology that works well for millions.
- An open source solution with global adoption. What this means to you is that it is FREE, and free is good.
- WordPress was used by more than 23.2% of the top 10 million websites as of 2013.
- It powers more than 60 million websites.
- Plugins make this platform adaptable for anything you can dream of doing with a blog.
There is more advice and tutorials for WordPress than any other platform. You will save yourself a lot of headaches by choosing WordPress for your blog.
Content game plan
Steve Martin, the legendary actor and comic once said,
Be so good they can’t ignore you.
It’s hard to compete with outstanding.
Are you willing to work so hard that you create outstanding content?
Blogs are full of fluff, but people are always thirsty for great stuff.
You might ask yourself.
How do I create epic content?
- Great content starts with planning – What do you want to create? Why do you want to create it? Who do you want to create it for?
- Time – I have never been able to create great content without putting in significant time. Even a decent article will take several hours. But if you want to create something epic, you might have to spend 10 hours or even longer.
Think of the blog posts you have read that made an impact on you. What was it that made the content so great? Was it the length of the post? Was it the attention to detail? Was it the tone of the writing?
- Make it visual – Check out Payman Taei’s article on what it takes to create eye-catching content.
- Mix it up – Some people respond better to text than visuals while other prefer video. The key here is to mix up the way you create content. You can have great content as text, audio, or video.
- Keep creating – One of the most important characteristics of a successful blogger is consistency. Keep yourself on schedule with your own editorial calendar like CoSchedule (paid) or WordPress Editorial Calendar (free).
Promotion game plan
Content promotion is one of the most often ignored part of blogging. Eyeballs on your content is the name of the game.
Even before you start writing your next post you should have a promotion strategy in mind.
There are several key components of a successful content promotion game plan:
- Email – Your subscribers are your best audience. Even though they have signed up to receive your updates give them a reason to read your blog. Sell it to them. What’s in it for them? How will they benefit? What problem does your post solve? What question(s) does it answer? Ask your subscribers to share.
- Network – Reach out to influencers about your content. Instead of asking them to promote your stuff ask for input. If you create truly awesome content some of them might promote it for you.
You might get a great quote from an influencer about your content, excellent social proof.
- Post on your social networks and bookmarking sites – As a minimum post to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and StumbleUpon. It’s not enough to post just once. Use a tool like Revive Old Post PRO. Post with different titles, snippets, calls to actions. Use tools to manage your social media efforts and save time. This post provides a great comparison between available tools.
- Forums – Identify forums that are relevant to your audience. Don’t spam, but become part of the conversation.
- Repurpose – If you have a text post, turn it into a video and post it on Youtube. Also create a slideshow and post it on Slideshare. If you have a video, create an mp3 file.
- PDF it – Turn your most popular posts into PDFs and offer them as incentives to subscribe to your list.
- Kindle – Turn your most popular posts into free or 99 cent books. Amazon is such a huge marketplace that it can make a big difference with your promotion efforts.
- Guest blog – As a new blogger you should spend more time writing for other peoples’ blogs than your own. Identify 5-10 blogs that share your audience and submit your best stuff. Don’t worry about SEO. Only be concerned with producing really great quality stuff.
- Comment – You should have a list of blogs that you read regularly where you should be commenting. As long as it is relevant you can use commenting to refer back to some of your own work without being spammy.
- Be consistent – Most bloggers give up too soon. Keep at it. Work hard and produce great stuff.
Monetization game plan
The success stories you read about millionaire bloggers can be part of your destiny, if…
You follow through with your blogger business plan; then you will reach the point of monetization.
Most bloggers never reach this point.
Because they give up too soon.
There are many ways to monetize your blog.
Before you start monetizing carefully consider the following:
Google AdSense – How much traffic do you need to get started with AdSense? Very little, but don’t expect to get rich.
AdSense is one of the fastest ways to earn your first pennies as a blogger. The keyword here is pennies. Very few sites ever earn substantial money with AdSense advertising.
Advertising – Once you start to get more traffic advertising it is a great way to make money. Unfortunately most blogs do not generate enough traffic to make decent money this way.
You can reach out to advertisers directly, but don’t expect great results until you have substantial traffic.
Affiliate sales – If you find the right products, affiliate sales gives you a great money making opportunity. You need less traffic to make money with affiliate sales than with advertising. Driving affiliate sales is a solid way to make money.
Do your homework on every company before you start promoting them. Make sure they are an honest business and that they pay their affiliates. There are some bad apples out there. Doing your homework will save you a lot of headaches down the road.
Books – Selling your own books is a great way to continue to make passive income. You can sell your books directly on your own blog or on amazon and other marketplaces.
Consulting and services – Selling your services requires the least amount of traffic. Instead of making pennies you can make thousands on each new client. You don’t rely on affiliate sales or advertising dollars.
For a more in depth guide on how to make money blogging, check out this post by Jerry Low.
There are too many ways to list here all the different ways to monetize your blog. The key is that most successful bloggers monetize their blogs in multiple ways.
The bottom line
If you want to be a professional blogger, one that is blogging as a business, don’t wing it.
Stick to your game plan.
Everything you do should be because you have planned it.
Nothing is an accident.
You make it easier on yourself when you approach blogging with a plan.
When you feel like you are struggling you will be able to look at your plan and get energized.
It will be more difficult to quit and easier to succeed knowing that you have thought it through.
You know why you are doing what you are doing.
You know what you need to do to get to the next step.
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