The Bloggerly Life… 5 Tips to Help Build Your Blogging Business
By now, you’ve probably heard that blogging has become a phenomena, one that keeps on gaining in popularity. It’s cool. Glamorous. Fun. People more than likely think you’re awesome for being able to do this bloggerly thing. However, there is a business side that folks don’t see. For me, Live Well… Be Fabulous takes up just as much if not more of my time than my writing does. This means I need a plan of action for getting things done every single day or you won’t get the chance to see what super cute craft I’ve conjured or what fashionable outfit I’ve chosen to showcase on Lookbook this week. Translation… blogging is hard work and if you intend to monetize and turn your blog into a business then you’ve got to nail a few simple steps to help make your attempt a success. My one suggestion would be to thoroughly research each prospect. Each host will have different methods of payments and there is one out there that will work for your budget.
1. Create a Name and Grab a domain. Might as well make the plunge right from the start. I created LiWBF on a free wordpress.com site before moving it to a self-hosted one. If I had a chance to do it all over again, I would’ve started with a self-hosted website right away. Transferring everything to the new domain was a LOT of work. The task was also intimidating and the blog’s progress suffered as a result. There are several hosts out there which I won’t go into detail on in this post because doing so would need to be detailed in an entirely new segment.
2. Set realistic goals. Don’t expect to hit 50,000 views within a matter of months. I cannot tell you how many of my friends dropped out of the rat race after a few months of hearing crickets on their blogs. The buildup to the momentum you want will take time. 1.5 years have passed since I started LiWBF, and I’m just now reaching that 50k mark. And some months I don’t even hit that number. Keep in mind that the competition these days is fierce. Everybody knows there’s something to be said about the bloggerly life. They’ve seen the Beautiful Messes and Blonde Salads and Park and Cube’s success stories. However, these bloggers worked in obscurity for years before their blogs actually started to take off. If you intend to make a mark in this business then you must set daily, monthly and yearly goals. I have a notebook for my blog. Each month I sit down and write down my goals. Call me old fashioned, but there’s just something inherently satisfying about taking the time to physically manifest my goals each month. Think of what level you’d like to move your blog to within the next five years and take action described in the next two steps to get there.
3. Grow Your Social Media Presence. I cannot stress how important social media has become. I, for one, can tell you that using Twitter, goodreads and Facebook to unite my readers took my book sales to the top of the Amazon charts. My self-pubbed books were right beside the likes of my idols, Anne Rice and Stephen King. Social media can be a nasty little time demon if you’re not careful though. I plan to dedicate two whole chapters to social media in the bloggerly life e-course I’m developing as we type-read. For now, I’ll say that you should choose which 3-5 networks (cuz 1 or 2 just isn’t going to cut it anymore) you’d like to concentrate on and go from there. For blogging, I’ve had much success with Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+ and Twitter. Those are LiWBF’ largest traffic generators. The rule to remember with social media is that you should try to post as consistently as possible. My favorite of the moment, Instagram, sometimes gets 2-3 posts every day. I also use scheduling apps to help me post on Twitter and Pinterest.
4. Keep Track of Expenses. Oh boy. Do not let anyone tell you that blogging is cheap. You must incorporate this critical step into your monthly plan or the failure to do so will come back and bite when you least expect it. This tip works for bloggers on all levels. Do not sit idly by and spend money without some type of record as to what the funds were used to do. I have a team of folks working with me to bring you all the great content LiWBF churns out. Imagine what would happen if I didn’t keep track of what it costs to keep them happy. I probably wouldn’t be able to keep them around for very long if suddenly I pay for the service I received. Keeping track of expenses will also help out at tax time when you’ll need a record of expenses to complete your taxes.
5. Reach out to other bloggers. This includes comment love on not only the big box bloggers, but also folks on your level, the ones who are just starting to gain momentum as well. That’s what I have done. I’ve created tribes on almost all my social networks and some of those relationships have carried over to my blog. Commenting and supporting your bloggerly comrades can be time consuming, but networking is so hugely important in this arena. Also, answer emails. I strive to do so within 24hours however time constraints have sometimes kept me from being as responsive as I like.
Moving ahead, the important thing to remember about blogging is that the ultimate goal is to create a sense of community. That will make the difference between reaching your goals as a blogging entity or burning out and falling into obscurity. So head on out there today and start building your empire with these five simple steps.
All Photos by Viktor Hanacek and Used With Licensed Permission