Blogging is a Business: How to Start, Run, and Operate Your Blog (It Matters)

Emily Bell, editor-in-chief of Guardian unlimited, published an editorial in the Guardian where she claimed, “Blogging is a Business, just not as we know it” – and it’s completely true!

Skeptics can reel off hundreds of reasons why blogging won’t work, wax eloquent on the inevitable demise of blogging as a viable business model, or sit and wait for new threads of opportunity in the new medium to surface.

Blogging, however, remains as a great way to “try things out at the edge” as Emily puts it, or build a legacy, if you will.

Here’s how you can start, run, and operate your blog as a business:

Plan, Organize, Setup: The Product is Your Blog

Blogging is a Business: How to Start, Run, and Operate Your Blog (It Matters)

Your blog is your business. It’s imperative to painstakingly go through the tasks that are involved in starting up. From registering a domain name to deciding a CMS, from installing plugins to establishing a publishing calendar, you’ve got to plan it all. For instance, one of the most important yet oft forgotten factors for building a reliable blog is web hosting. You can go with Bluehost for as low as 3.95$ /  month. Don’t forget to checkout the cheap wordpress hosting

Read up about content management systems and which one best fits your blog. For instance, if you have any plans to go the ecommerce way later, moving from an open source CMS such as WordPress to a more robust platform such as Adobe Business Catalyst might be inevitable.

All this ought to happen before you throw cash on the table and tie yourself up for years of down payment for blog maintenance.

Launch it Like a Startup

Blogging is a Business: How to Start, Run, and Operate Your Blog (It Matters)

Ever observed how startups take off? There’s a pre-launch, beta phase, the launch itself, and then years of social pulling and hustle. Blogs often don’t start like that.

While startups see a rush of excitement, oodles of press coverage, and a possible mention on TechCrunch, when was the last time you saw a blog launch like that?

Blogs don’t launch like startups do because bloggers aren’t exactly “entrepreneurial.”

Bloggers are in fact “experimental entrepreneurs” who like to “check it out” before they “make things happen.”

Don’t experiment. The blogging scene is matured now and your caution can be better exercised where it really matters.

Hire Staff: Visit the Human Cloud

Blogging is a Business: How to Start, Run, and Operate Your Blog (It Matters)

You don’t need an office, full-time staff, or any other traditional requirements to work on blogging as a business. All you need is a proper plan, a blog, and multi-admin, multi-author set up.

Hiring off the human cloud (hiring virtual assistants and freelancers available for telecommuting) has unbeatable advantages: freelancers are experienced so you don’t have to train them. You don’t have to provide for equipment, facilities, office space, and other employment necessities such as insurance.

You may hire or fire as you please, or have your workers on standby when you don’t have work for them. You have the option of working within your budget and pay as and when you get paid.

Once you are done with the groundwork, it’s time to scale: hire writers, virtual assistants, tech specialists (for maintaining the blog, working on your website’s security, managing your blog, customization, and issue resolution), designers, and marketers for your blog.

Don’t scale up too fast, but don’t wait for too long to scale either.

Embrace Virtual Management

Blogging is a Business: How to Start, Run, and Operate Your Blog (It Matters)

When you are working with a virtual, globally spread-out resources, you’ll have to embrace virtual team management. This is not the same as normal business management. For one, you are working with names, emails, and updates from people without their physical presence. Second, there are time zones you need to take into account. Then there are cultural nuances you have to consider.

As for most things, there are challenges with workarounds. In case you are wondering, Time Magazine has a feature – The Way We’ll Work – that should give you peekaboo into the future of work. Elsewhere on NY Times, Jenna Wortham writes that even internships are a virtual reality today. Mitchell Harper of GigaOm.com also has a few handy tips for managing a remote force that should help.

Work Ahead for Revenue Streams

Blogging is a Business: How to Start, Run, and Operate Your Blog (It Matters)

Here’s where the cow learns to cash: unless you sell something, you aren’t going to make money blogging. Advertising cannot be your only source of income. Monetizing your blog has to be subtle while your revenue flows in – just as any business should work.

While some businesses, including Google, took time to figure out viable business models, you don’t have that luxury. Think of ways you’ll make money from your blog. When we talk money, we mean actual buy-sell transactions. So,

  • Would you be selling subscriptions for access to premium content? Brian Clark of Copyblogger.com now has a two-level access to content: free and premium. Would you like to do something like that?
  • Would you be selling eBooks off your blog? Kristi Hines – a prolific and professional writer – now sells an eBook on her blog titled Blog Post Promotion: The Ultimate Guide. This isn’t an affiliate link. Of course, there are many other bloggers who sell informational products on their blogs.
  • Would you like to leverage your blogging into extended (and paid) opportunities such as speaking, running events, scheduling webinars or seminars, creating information such as videos or podcasts? Brent Weaver of Hotpressweb.com started blogging on BCGurus, created tons of videos for Adobe Business Catalyst partners, and he now speaks regularly at many Adobe events. Do you see a pattern here?

These are just a few options available to you as a blogger with a blogging business to build a reputation and scale up as a viable business.

Some blogs evolve into media bigwigs such as TechCrunch and Mashable. Others morph into ecommerce marketplaces. Some blogs serve as a marketing vehicle to other sustainable businesses. Most blogs, however, stay put as personal journals.

The approach you take to blogging determines what comes out of years of rigorous effort. From a strict economics point of view, you’ll need to be rewarded in some way for all this effort. Without a plan and the right approach, no amount of heaving and sweating gets you where you want to go.

How do you approach blogging?


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Article by

Rohan is a serial guest blogger, contributing to YouMoz, Social Media Today, and other top blogs in the internet marketing and social space. He works as a digital strategist at E2M Solutions. Hit him up on Twitter @searchrook for a chat.

Rohan has written 5 awesome articles for us.

 
Comment below, let me know what do you think?

17 Comments so far add one

  1. hi Rohan

    when it comes to blogging, treating it like a business is key, as you say it.

    However, beware of cheap hosting. for e.g. just last week BlueHost and other similar companies (who were hosted under the same corporate umbrella) went through a major down time.

    It’s always smart to run with at least two different hosting firms, and back-up your site often, at least the big/main sites…

    I own 300+ niche blogs/domain names myself, as I’m a super affiliate and niche blogger, and lately I’ve been hacked and went through some major security issues with my site network… this is no fun, you have to protect yourself, and go with the best hosting firms out there, not necessarily the cheapest.

    Customer support is also something essential when deciding for one web host provider or another…

    Do they reply promptly and answer your q’s to help not just to answer?

    That’s what you should be asking yourself, and testing all hosting companies before going with them full steam.

    • Very true, John. Actually, that’s exactly what I said – unfortunately, my words were completely replaced with the link to Bluehost, and so seem to mean exactly the opposite, by the blog editor :(

      This is my original text:

      “… one of the most important yet oft forgotten factors for building a reliable blog is web hosting. Dig into the reviews and archives available at Review Signal [http://techcrunch.com/2012/09/25/web-hosting-reviews-are-a-cesspool-review-signal-wants-to-fix-that/], WhoIsHostingThis [http://www.whoishostingthis.com/compare/] and The Whir [http://www.thewhir.com/] before you finalize a hosting provider.”

      Avoid cheap hosting at all costs. I also rant about why the “Let’s Scrimp” mentality won’t work for business here if you’d like to take a look: http://inspirationfeed.com/articles/business/dont-be-cheap-why-the-lets-scrimp-mentality-wont-work-for-business/

    • Very true, John. Actually, that’s exactly what I said – unfortunately, my words were completely replaced with the link to Bluehost, and so seem to mean exactly the opposite, by the blog editor :(

      This is my original text:

      “… one of the most important yet oft forgotten factors for building a reliable blog is web hosting. Dig into the reviews and archives available at Review Signal, WhoIsHostingThis.com and The Whir before you finalize a hosting provider.”

      Avoid cheap hosting at all costs. I also rant about why the “Let’s Scrimp” mentality won’t work for business at InspirationFeed.com, if you’d like to head over and take a look.

  2. The first and most important aspect of ANY blog, whether it be a hobby blog or money blog, is to get great content out there.

    Without this, then the above article is irrelevant.

  3. Blogging field is totally fulfilled with a lots of challenges and when you will know well how to play this game then you can convert number of things in favor of you in less time.

  4. Hi Rohan ! It is absolutely most important to go for a good quality hosting vendors that can assure us of good server up time and security. I’ve been getting spam registrations every now over my blog. I’m not sure of their idendity. At the same time choosing a good SEO theme with nice graphics design also matters. Beautiful look can make our blogs rye catchy. As you’ve said ,we must treat blogging as a businesses like anyother businesses. Thanks and cheers!!!!!!

  5. If you choose blogging as your career then you should be serious about it. You should devote your time, hard work and money properly. For starting a blog you should first find out in which niche you are good so that you can share your awesome knowledge with other people and solve their queries.

  6. Would love to try some of this pattern actually and hope to create unique one out of these techniques..

  7. Nice share Rohan, You have shared some good points here. Agree with all your points, one should launch his/her blog just like a startup. Thanks for sharing :)

  8. @Rohan
    Blogging is as same as running your business offline only difference is at offline peoples are limited but online you can target the world.
    Article you submitted is great and useful thank you for sharing with us.
    ……….. :)

  9. Rupak, Kuldeep, Nikhil, Thanks for your appreciation! Glad you found this info useful.

  10. Thanks for your post. I will definitely be using these ideas and pondering more and more about what I am really doing right with the use of my YouTube video channel dedicated to some of the concerns you have mentioned. I’m also considering the actual way it would be if I launched a blog discussing a number of the same issues you’ve dealt with here. Thank you for showing me something so obvious. I used to be blinded from it. Your post has really made an impact on the way I think about my own work and ideas too.

  11. Richard Dambrosi says:

    I found this to be a fact without a doubt blogging is a business without a doubt and a fairly serious one at that because unlike A diary of News paper the internet Never stops and it always hungry for more and if you want the attention must be ready to feed that appetite continually.

  12. I appreciate your work, Rohan!

    You write awesome, and up to the point! Nice post overall awesome!

    You made me spell bond with this!

  13. Hi Rohan,
    very true said that boggers are experimental entrepreneur. And one should try to make something which is adorable and useful.
    Expanding business is also important so one should work with the experienced staff,
    otherwise you will be behind in the race.

  14. Very true that few people think of their blog like a business. One thing I must mention here is that you should also concentrate on creating a brand with your blog. As your blog grows it will become a recognizable brand, so investing a little into design and good logo will go a long way towards helping your business expand and grow.

    By the way been using BlueHost for my MDI blog and it’s been excellent so far.

  15. THis is a great article – so many of my friends don’t really get it when I say I blog for a living. But I do and it certainly is a business. Thaks for reminding me of Dilbert – I’m a big fan

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