Rock Solid Elements of a Profitable Blog
What makes a blog profitable? Well, technically, profit is calculated by subtracting your total costs from your revenue. In layman’s terms, subtract what you spent from how much money you made and whatever’s left over is profit. Pretty simple, right?
I wish it were that simple. Fortunately, there are some things that you can do to position your blog so that it can potentially become profitable. We’ll get into the specifics in a minute. But first, let’s talk about why you should implement these elements into your blog.
Throughout my career in the corporate world I’ve been fortunate enough to be a part of some very successful companies. My current employer reported over $600 million dollars in revenue in 2014.
However, one thing that remains constant throughout these company’s multimillion dollar earnings is that they’ve all followed certain guidelines. All I’ve done is transferred this business philosophy to how I run my blogs.
Now if you’re reading this, I’m assuming that you’re a reasonable and grounded individual. However, by no means, am I guaranteeing that these tips will turn your blog into a profitable blog. Nothing in this life is guaranteed, however, preparation and patience can go a long way in increasing your blog’s earning potential. Now, let’s take a look at some of the ways you can set your blog up so that it can potentially turn a profit.
Have a Strong Foundation
Build your house on rock, not sand. The same logic should go into building your blog. You don’t want to start out on a flimsy digital platform. A strong infrastructure is paramount to your blog’s success, and when it comes to a blog’s infrastructure, you can break it down into three categories; web hosting, content management system (CMS), and design.
Let’s start with web hosting. You have a ton of options when it comes to web hosting. To be honest, the market is saturated. However, there are a few companies that I would refer to as being staples within the industry. Bluehost, would be one of those companies.
I’ve been a customer of theirs for many years, and I can honestly say that I’m 110% satisfied with their service. Everything from their backend support, customer service, and prices are unmatched in the web hosting space. I should also mention that they offer cloud hosting as well. Bluehost (affiliate link) is definitely an innovative solution to your blog’s web hosting needs.
The next aspect of a strong digital foundation is your content management system, or CMS. Think of your CMS as how you publish content on the web. Let’s face it, we aren’t all web developers. However, the right CMS can allow non-technical end-users to produce high-quality web content.
From my experience, WordPress is by far one of the most powerful content management systems when it comes to blogging. For starters, it’s an open source CMS…not proprietary. What that means to you is that it’s free. Additionally, WordPress is backed by a community of millions of users, it’s easily integrated with Bluehost, and is easy to use. Plus, it comes with built in blogging capabilities. It’s a very powerful CMS….that’s 100% free.
The final aspect of a strong blogging foundation is design. Your digital platform is a representation of not only you, but the message that you’re trying to communicate to your audience. Aesthetically, your blog needs to be clean, professional, and well made.
One of the many reasons why I love WordPress is that it puts the power of web design in the hands of non-technical users. With the right WordPress theme, anyone can easily turn a basic website into a digital work of art. Literally.
From my experience, ElegantThemes and StudioPress offer some of the finest WordPress themes to date. Yes, these are affiliate links, but I used ElegantThemes to build the blog that you’re readying at this very moment. If you want to start your blog off on the right foot, invest in a premium theme.
Be The Solution
People want to be helped. Some of the most successful products and services are things that help people. The businesses and minds behind these products and services have found a way to satisfy a need. That’s what I mean by “be the solution”. Find a way to help people, and the rest will fall in place.
Whenever you find a way to solve a problem, people will line up to hear what you have to say. Additionally, we live in an era where access to information is literally at our fingertips. If you have the ability to solve a problem, and you have a platform, then you’re on the right path.
That’s why blogging is so powerful. With a blog, you can provide instant value on a consistent basis through a digital platform. Regardless of what you decide to blog about, your blog’s value proposition should present some sort of solution. That’s where you’ll find a loyal and receptive audience.
Transparency, Transparency, Transparency
I can literally sum this section up with one phrase, and that is, just be yourself. Whenever you try to be the person, or company, that you think your audience wants you to be, you fail every time. People aren’t stupid, they’ll call you out on your bullshit.
However, transparency is really quite simple. Be open, be honest, and be straightforward. By doing so, you’ll not only gain the trust of your audience, but people will be more willing to share your information with others.
Being transparent not only builds trust, but it breaks down barriers that people tend to have when they first come across a blog that’s pitching them a product or service. If you’re up front and honest, people will trust you and the information that you’re presenting to them.
Know Your Audience
In the marketing world, we call this knowing the buyer persona. I’ve also heard individuals in the digital marketing space refer to the buyer persona as an “avatar”. Either way, it’s basically a detailed description of your lead.
In my line of work, the buyer persona is determined through extensive market research, customer focus groups, and interviews. An accurate buyer persona will typically include their demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, and goals.
However, as a blogger/solopreneur, you probably won’t have the resources or manpower to conduct this type of market research. Thankfully, social media can quickly help you understand who your target audience is.
To get started, I recommend creating a Facebook page that’s dedicated to your blog. This will be separate from your personal Facebook page and will most likely be a business page. Once created, access the Facebook Insights. This is an extensive analytics tool that gives you all types of data on people who visit your page. Insight data gives you a much better understanding of who your audience is and it allows you to tailor your content to fit their needs.
The more you give, the more you get. It’s truly a way of life for some, yet a culture shift for most. To this day, I still have a hard time with letting go. However, giving back to my community has lead me to a life of financial fulfillment and happiness that I never could have imagined.
Businesses refer to giving as corporate social responsibility. In fact, studies show that consumers prefer companies that give back to their communities. They even incorporate whether or not a company is socially responsible when they’re making buying decisions.
As a blogger, you have many ways to give back. However, the most powerful way to give back is through your content. Free information that has a strong value proposition to your target audience will not only build community engagement, but it will boost your bottom line. I don’t care what your blog’s business model is. If you’re giving away valuable information, it will most certainly pay dividends down the road.
In conclusion, by implementing these guidelines when you start a blog, you’re setting yourself up for success. These elements have helped numerous businesses reach financial success, and they’re easily integrated into any blogging platform. Now, don’t you think it’s time you joined in on the fun?
Written by Ben Cummings
Founder of blogwithben.com
Ben is a Digital Marketing and CMS Specialist for Bridgepoint Education who holds an MBA with a specialization in Entrepreneurship. He enjoys teaching, blogging, startups, a hoppy IPA, and college basketball. Whenever he’s not blogging, you can find him cruising around sunny San Diego with his amazing family.