Blogging started out as a hobby for many people, but it’s fast become a lucrative business idea. Companies use blogs to promote and sell products and services, but it’s also possible to turn a blog into a business and to utilize the ever-growing popularity of the Internet to generate an income. If you enjoy writing, and you want to engage with online users and set up a successful sideline, here’s a handy guide.

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Find your niche

When you blog as a hobby, you can cover any subject, but if you’re trying to connect with an audience and make your blog appealing to subscribers, members, social media followers or fellow bloggers, it’s always wise to try and find a niche. Think carefully about what you want to talk and write about, and focus on subjects that interest you. When you run a blog, you need to be able to come up with high-quality content on a regular basis, so try and avoid choosing to cover areas that don’t interest you and topics you don’t know much about. Concentrate on your hobbies, your passions, your life experiences, and subjects that you like to chat about to colleagues, friends, or family members. You don’t have to zone in a very specific category, but it’s beneficial for articles to link to others. If you have a lifestyle blog, for example, you could cover a series of related issues, from family life and health and fitness to fashion, travel, and interior design. Sometimes, it can prove advantageous to pinpoint a more niche subject matter, for example, if you’re a massive fan of gaming. It wouldn’t make sense to talk about doing up a house or offering tips for getting a pet alongside games reviews and tips to improve your performance on a PC. Figure out what you want to talk about and then streamline the content accordingly.

Establish your target market

To run a popular blog, which will also generate an income, you need to make sure that people read your articles and interact with your posts. The first step to make this happen is establishing a target market. Who do you want to read your posts? Who exactly are you trying to reach out to? It’s wise to have an ideal reader in your mind. Once you have an impression of this persona, you can find out more about them. Research the target market, get to know the kind of people you want to visit your blog, and learn about how they spend their time online and what kinds of content they want to view or read. Use research techniques, have a look at what types of blogs they are already following, and get conversations started. Interaction is key when you’re trying to build a follower base online.

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Focus on creating top quality content consistently

There are millions of blogs out there, and competition for attention is fierce. Readers today want blogs to serve a purpose. They want posts that are either informative, useful, entertaining, funny, or insightful. Every article you post should tick those boxes and leave the reader with some form of emotional response. You don’t want to lose followers because you’re producing similar content over and over again, or you’re writing articles that skim over the details or don’t contain factual or useful information. Make it your mission to produce high-quality content on a consistent basis, and focus on quality rather than quantity.

Producing content that turns heads

There is so much content out there in the ether that it’s difficult to stand out from the crowd. The aim for bloggers who are looking to take their business idea to the next level is to be able to turn heads. Make use of titles and tags, lure the reader in, and use keywords in a natural manner. You don’t want to stuff paragraphs full of search terms and nuanced links that don’t really make sense. You can use content to promote your blog or to advertise products or services offered by partner organizations or paying clients, but your readers should never feel like they’re getting the hard sell.

Marketing your blog

Marketing plays an instrumental role in promoting any kind of product, including websites and digital products like online courses, articles, webinars and blog series. If you have a passion for writing, you may be brilliant at producing fantastic content, but do you know how to promote your blog in a way that will build your follower base and make you money? If you don’t have experience in marketing or business management, it pays to learn. You could look into online colleges business administration courses, you can investigate workshops and seminars, or you could consider working with a marketing agency or freelancers with expertise in digital marketing. One of the most critical aspects to get right is choosing the right channels to market your new business. There’s no point in having a series of exquisite articles if nobody can find them online. You can utilize techniques like social media advertising and marketing and SEO (search engine optimization) to create a buzz, attract new readers and ensure your links get noticed when web users conduct searches that are relevant to your

Encouraging repeat visits

If you’ve got new people coming to visit your website, this is great news, but resist the temptation to rest on your laurels. You want to encourage new readers to come again and ensure that people who have read your articles before return to your site. Encourage repeat visits by asking readers to sign up and subscribe to email news and updates, and ask followers to recommend your pieces to friends and family. Send out emails and social media posts when you have new content you want people to see, but don’t bombard people with messages as soon as they subscribe. You want to strike the right balance between communicating and interacting with readers and giving them space.

Monetizing your blog

If you’re keen to use a blog to boost your income, you’ll need to research potential streams of revenue. There are multiple ways to make money, but most bloggers use three main income channels. These include paid advertising, affiliate marketing and ads, and selling your own products or services. If you blog about marketing, for example, and you’re an expert in this field, you could sell online courses, access to group or one-to-one coaching or webinars. If you don’t want to sell your own products, you can promote other peoples’ by running adverts on your blog and charging for advertising space or advertorial links. Affiliate ads enable you to earn money by writing reviews or sharing articles that feature products. When a web user clicks on the affiliate link and either subscribes or makes a purchase, the blog owner takes a fee. Consider which options work best for you based on the type of blog and your target market.

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Ask for feedback

One of the most beneficial aspects of blogging is the ability to connect with people and get to know those who have similar interests. As a blogger with grand plans, it’s really important to interact with readers and to keep communication channels open, but it’s also vital to ensure that you have an insight into what your readers want and how they feel about the content you share. Ask for feedback on posts, invite and encourage readers to leave comments and offer ideas, and respond to trends. If you see that people are incredibly excited or animated about specific subjects, explore this area in more detail and keep the conversation flowing. If people take the time to leave feedback, make sure you read it, digest it, and use it. It’s not easy to see negative comments, but try not to take anything too personally, and use that feedback to improve your blog.

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Inject some originality

Now that the Internet is no longer a novelty, our desires and demands have evolved. Today, web users are looking for an experience, and they don’t just want to open an article that comprises a chunk of text or see a status update on social media. People want to see images, view video clips, look at tables, graphs or infographics, and they want the opportunity to react to posts, to share and talk about them with friends and to see something they might not have come across before. You don’t have to try and conjure up pieces that will rival Hollywood blockbusters when it comes to entertainment value on a daily basis, but try and be original and imaginative.

Blogging is an incredibly popular hobby, but for many, it forms the basis of a successful business sideline. If you enjoy writing, or you’re thinking about turning a basic blog into a profitable venture, there’s no reason why you can’t start earning money, building a brand and attracting attention online. Research your market, develop your skill set and business acumen, promote your site, interact with web users, and make sure your content is visible. Prioritize quality over quantity, be original, explore different revenue paths, and make the most of reader feedback. Good luck!

Tom Parillo

Tom Parillo

I am interested in all things technology, especially automation, robotics and tech that helps change how society will live in the future.