The following guest post is from Lisa Morosky, author of The Bootstrap VA:
So you’ve set up a new blog. You’ve just started cranking out content, but already you’re wondering how you can make some money (because everyone else seems to be!).
Some people will say you shouldn’t even try to monetize a new blog (build up traffic first). Other people will say to start with Google AdSense and other advertising networks (and watch pennies trickle in).
Those are solid pieces of advice, but I think they may be lacking an overall direction. There’s an easier and more profitable way to begin making money with your blog (no matter how old it is).
Step #1: Identify what your underlying business is.
Your blog, in and of itself, is not your business. Blogging is not a business model. A blog is simply a marketing tool for whatever products or services you’re actually selling (aka. your real business).
So the first thing you need to do is identify what your real business is. What are you going to sell and to whom (e.g., your own products and services, affiliate products, etc)? What are your business goals? How will you use your blog to promote your business? Take some time to figure out what your business actually is and where your blog fits into your business and marketing plans.
Step #2: Create your products or services.
Once you’ve figured out what products or services you’re going to sell, it’s time to create them! Write your eBook, set up pages for your services, integrate affiliate products into your blog and create landing pages, or set up advertising packages.
Whatever you’re selling, get it all set up. Make your offer(s) visible and easy to understand and navigate on your blog. The purpose of your blog is to draw in the right people who will take you up on your offer(s).
Step #3: Go get eyeballs!
You know how they say, “If you build it, they will come”? That’s just plain not true in the blogging world. A community around your blog won’t just happen. It needs to be built by you. You need to be out there engaging with your ideal readers (who are really your ideal customers) where they already are. Then you can direct them to your homebase (your blog). Here are some ways to get lots of eyes on your new blog in a short amount of time.
- Strategically use social networking. Build relationships by being active, giving more than you take, and being a resource for others.
- Guest post on other blogs. Guest posting is a great way to put yourself in front of similar, already-established blogs.
- Be active and helpful on forums. Participate in forums that relate to your blog and answer questions and get to know people.
- Join other people’s communities. Be an active member of other bloggers’ communities by commenting on new posts, liking Facebook pages, replying on Twitter, and sharing their content. People will start to recognize your name and will want to get to know you.
- Introduce yourself! Send personal emails to other bloggers and say hello and share your blog with them. Wrap up these emails with asking if there’s anything you can do for them.
- Advertise on other blogs. Pick a blog with an audience that you’d like to reach.
- Use Google or Facebook ads. Search on Google for free credits you can use to create ads on Google or Facebook. Make sure your ad links to a simple call to action for new visitors!
- Distribute a press release. Use a distribution service to spread news about your blog and gain traffic and inbound links.
You’ll maximize your time and effort if you only focus on methods that your ideal reader can relate to and in places where they’re already hanging out online.
Once you begin seeing your blog for what it really is – a marketing tool for your business backend – and give some direction to your monetization efforts, you’ll find that making money with your new blog isn’t so difficult.
I’d love to hear from you. How do you use your blog to market your products or services? What monetization methods work for you?
Lisa Morosky is a blog helper, virtual assistant coach, and author of “The Bootstrap VA: The Go-Getter’s Guide to Becoming a Virtual Assistant, Getting and Keeping Clients, and More!”. She also enjoys blogging about creating a simple, natural, faith-inspired home life.