If You Want Your Blog To Be A Business, You Must Be Intentional About Setting It Up That Way

Is a blog a business? To be blunt, it’s not.

It can become a business, and Joe Pulizzi certainly makes a strong case for the viability of the Content Inc. model in which you first build an audience and then find out what they want. Once they get to know, like and trust you, they’ll buy virtually anything you put out.

But that requires strategy — especially around list-building — and so does turning your blog into a business. A lot of people that want to make money from blogging don’t really have a plan for how they’re going to make that happen.

And by the time they’ve gotten around to monetizing their blog, their research has turned them onto ads and affiliate offers, which they soon litter across their entire site.

There is good money in ads and affiliate promotions. But unless you do it right, you’ll quickly become discouraged with your results.

If you want your blog to be a business, you must be intentional about setting it up that way. Let’s consider, for a moment, how Darren Rowse did it.

Case Study: Darren Rowse of ProBlogger

Have you read Darren Rowse’s ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income?

He talks about this very thing — that he was very intentional about having a strategy for monetization. It wasn’t an afterthought!

Yes, he did use ads and affiliate links, but in total he leveraged 12 different income streams (as of 2013) to create the empire that is ProBlogger. You can read more about those here, but I’ll list them off below for your convenience:

• AdSense
• Amazon affiliate
• Direct ad sales
• Other affiliate
• Ad networks
• Speaking
• Book
• Consulting
• Job board
• eBooks
• Membership
• Events

The lesson here is quite simple. You need to be thinking about how you’re going to make money from your blog well in advance of making your first cent! Some bloggers do “stumble” onto viable income sources, but it’s important to realize that they are generally the exception rather than the rule.

It’s also not uncommon for bloggers like Rowse to have a fairly diversified income portfolio. But do keep in mind that he started with only two sources and built up from there.

Start Building Your Own Monetization Strategy

As we’ve already talked about, if you want to treat your blog like a business, you should start building your monetization strategy immediately. It doesn’t matter where you’re at in your journey, the time is now.

First of all, think about the various income streams you’re planning on creating. Take a look at other successful bloggers and what their major income sources are. Consider which ones you’d like to leverage, and make a comprehensive list for yourself. It’s okay if you end up crossing off items later. The point is to become aware of the possibilities.

Second of all, consider whether or not there’s any room to innovate or to come up with unique income-producing assets. Many niches and product types are already saturated. If you can offer something different, there may be an opportunity to disrupt an industry or create your own market.

Third of all, consider the possibility of building your blog on the back of an existing business (or vice versa), like a SaaS app. You can also make a considerable amount of money by becoming a consultant or service provider. These may not be paths you’ve thought about, but it’s encouraging to see money coming in from your blogging efforts, even if these are somewhat “indirect” approaches to making money as a blogger.

Don’t forget — everything takes time, and writing eBooks or setting up effective affiliate promotions can be a lot of work, especially if you’re working alone. Be patient with yourself, and don’t put undue pressure on your blog to produce for you.

Final Thoughts

Is there anything I missed? Are there other ways of making money as a blogger? What income sources have you been leveraging so far? Have you successfully turned your blog into a business? Feel free to leave a comment below — I promise I don’t bite.

And if you’d like to read more about this subject, we’ve prepared further reading for you here.