Most of us blog as a business. We want to make money, either directly or indirectly from our blogging activities.
Making your blog profitable is about doing everything right; from choosing a domain name, to building trust and personality, to having a range of products that people need.
Choosing a Domain Name
Your domain name needs to match your business name, so customers make a mental connection between your blogging and your business. It must be pronounceable and spellable because nobody wants to look a fool by saying it incorrectly, and people are only going to type in your web address if they can spell it.
Ideally, you will be choosing your URL and business name at the same time. That way you can find a short and brandable domain name like ‘Google’ or ‘HuffPo.’
One word of warning before you start searching: Many domain name sellers save your search data and sell it to domain-sitting parasites who buy the domain you were thinking of in the hope of selling it on to you for ten times the original price.
Find a domain name reseller that promises never to sell your search data, test their promise by searching for a domain you don’t want to buy, and repeat your search the next day to see if the URL is still available or whether some hopeful ‘entrepreneur’ has bought it.
The success or failure of your blog depends on the speed and reliability of your web hosting.
It’s much more than a choice between a shared hosting plan and a VPN
Forget the big names you see ads for everywhere. When you check hosting review sites, you find the big conglomerate hosting companies have appalling customer satisfaction ratings.
Independent review sites are the only way to get the big picture on web hosting because every ad and link you find on the Web belongs to an affiliate who earns $100 every time someone buys their hosting through their link. Affiliate reviews never show the weaknesses in the company’s offerings whereas review sites collect thousands of reports from those who have purchased hosting services from hundreds of companies.
When you visit any fast-food franchise or retail store, you look for an assistant who smiles at you, someone who listens to your needs and is helpful without being aggressive.
Online, people are looking for the same thing.
Website visitors are looking to ‘connect.’ Your blog has one super-advantage over Amazon: It is small and personal, the equivalent of a small family-run store in a world of bland retailers that lack any personality.
Write blog posts that show who you are, what you do in your spare time and the factors that motivate you. Use personal photographs in every blog post rather than stock images because they build a better connection with site users: Show off the real ‘You’ if you want blog visitors to identify with your business.
You may be 5,000 miles away from your customers, and unable to meet them in the flesh, so your first step to blogging business success is to build trust. Your site visitors must see you are an expert, and more than that, that you are an expert who wants to help them.
How do you demonstrate your naturally helpful nature across oceans? You share everything you know about their problems. Visitors are impressed that you are so willing to give them the benefit of your expertise without looking for payment.
To take a few simple examples:
- You might share how to wire a plug, but your service might be wiring plugs
- You might share everything you know about body language, but your service might be classes on improving body language in interviews
- You might tell site visitors everything about your city, but your business might be renting out your apartment
You can see that sharing is the precursor to selling your products.
Building Products that Solve Problems
The foundations are useless unless you have products to sell.
You shared everything you know *about* a problem; now it’s time to allow a customer to buy your solution.
Develop products and services that solve ‘bleeding neck’ problems. If a customer has a desperate need, they will be actively *looking* for a solution and more willing to pay what it takes to solve their problem.
You need a range of products that starts off as a low price point and works up in steps to the service that will pay your mortgage or rent: $7 products won’t pay the grocery bill, but they do build trust in new customers, and without that trust they are never going to pay for your $997 course.
Long Story Short
Blogging is more complicated than non-bloggers think, which is why most blogs never turn a profit.
However, if you approach blogging as a business and develop products that solve your tribe’s problems, you have a better chance, especially if you handle the essentials like domain name and hosting the right way.