Many bloggers blog as a hobby.
Since bloggers are not allocated crystal balls, you don’t know if you will always be a hobby blogger.
Wouldn’t it be great to be able to make money doing something you love?
My guest author Claire Bullerwell considers that possibility.
She advises you how to set up your blog now, so in the event you ever do want to make an income blogging, you will be ready.
A Business Blog Checklist: 25 Ways to Help You Set-Up Your Blog for Business
Do you want to be in this blogging game for the long haul?
Do you want to earn an income from your blog?
If yes, then you need to take your blogging serious enough to spend a little time and some money on laying the foundations to set your blog up for business.
But don’t worry, it’s not as complicated as you might initially think, and I’m here to give you a helping hand.
Below I’ve outlined 25 ways in which you can implement various strategies to give your blog the best possible chance to be a successful, professional-looking business blog.
To make this even easier for you, I’ve separated all the tasks into five separate areas so you can see at a glance what task goes under each ‘blogging element’.
The five areas needed for a blog are:
So, let’s get started …
If you haven’t already, register a domain name which describes and represents your niche. This will show your professionalism and be part of your branding.
I would strongly advise that you own your web hosting, as opposed to using free services such as Google’s ‘blogspot’ and WordPress.com, as these free hosts can easily shut down your account with no notice.
Talking of WordPress, once you have your own web hosting, download the free WordPress software to use as your blogging platform.
The reason WordPress is so popular is because it has an extensive range of plugins which makes it so versatile.
Some plugins to consider using: Askimet for spam blog comments, Yoast SEO, Shareaholic for social shares and Contact 7 to put a contact form on your blog.
Backing up your blog is so important, you can use third party services such as carbonite, or if you have a WordPress blog, you can use the plugin BackupBuddy.
The theme design (look and feel) of your blog is very important in order to give your blog a fresh, professional look. Simply do a search for themes (free or paid) for your blogging platform.
This is equally important as the theme design of your blog, as your header graphic is the first thing visitors will look at then they land on your blog. Make sure it looks professional and lets the visitors know what your blog is about.
What is the ‘mission’ of your blog? How is your blog going to help your visitors? Make sure you portray your ‘mission’ in your header graphic, your ‘About Me’ page and anywhere else you see fit.
In order to give a professional experience for your visitors, make sure you have all the important pages a business blog requires:
Blog Comments Policy
The Internet relies on links from one page to another and from website to website. Make your blog no exception.
When writing blog posts, insert links to other relevant posts and other important pages within your own blog, and from time to time other blogs.
What I mean by ‘your voice’ is what tone are you going to write your blog posts in? Will it be conversational style (recommended), authoritative, humorous or another slant on talking to your visitors?
Develop a writing schedule that suits you, your blog topic and your visitors. This could be daily (for news blogs or daily tips for example), weekly, bi-weekly or monthly.
Once you’ve decided on a schedule, stick to it otherwise you will confuse your blog followers by being ‘random’ and they may just give up on reading your posts altogether.
Blog Post Types
Nothing is set in stone here, you can certainly mix ‘n’ match the types of blog posts you write from time to time.
Blog posts types include:
Top Ten Lists
Images are great to break long blog posts up and they can help reiterate your blog post message in picture form.
Make sure you have the Social Sharing icons on your blog to help make social sharing of your images easier.
Call To Action
A lot of bloggers overlook this little technique as they write a fantastic blog post giving away free information but then ask for nothing in return.
What I mean by ‘asking for something in return’, is that at the end of your blog posts:
Ask your readers to leave a blog comment,
Ask them to watch out for your next post (which could be a review of a product in which you get affiliate commission),
Ask them to share your post (again, use the social sharing icons)
As a question or start a discussion
Don’t just leave your readers hanging, try to get some sort of ‘engagement reaction’ from them.
Sign up for relevant affiliate programs for products which can help solve your visitors’ problems. Write a review on those products and slip in little links back to the product with your affiliate link in of course!
This is my favorite method of monetization, little information products in the form of ebooks or reports in PDF format. You can also create and sell ‘how to’ videos and podcasts.
If you’re good at giving instructions or teaching, then think about becoming a coach or mentor in your niche. Ask people to pay up-front for an hour of coaching (or whatever) and carry this through via Skype or webcam for example.
This is a good way to earn a residual income by setting up your own monthly membership program. Granted it takes a lot to set up and maintain, but the monetary benefits will be worth it.
Create Your ‘Money Plan’
There are other ways to make money via your blog, of course, so sit down and make yourself a money plan on which is the best way to make money whilst also being helpful to your readers.
If you can solve problems and earn money by doing this, then you’ve just discovered the best combination.
In my personal opinion, don’t get too hooked up on doing search engine optimization to try to get to the top of Google for various keywords.
Keep your focus on creating excellent content for your readers and do the basic SEO in your blog posts, which is good enough. Don’t forget to download the free Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress, or find similar if you aren’t using WordPress.
Social Sharing Icons
Yes, I’m mentioning these again as I think that they’re so important to help your blog posts go viral.
I think this is another great plugin to help your visitors find other relevant blog posts that they might find interesting. This keeps them on your blog for longer and can lead them to your products, affiliate reviews etc to help you earn money and for them to ‘social share’ your other posts too.
I’m becoming a new fan of Facebook ads but this does take some time to learn and become effective. Other forms of paid advertising are Google Ads, Solo Ads in ezines (electronic magazines), paid sponsorship blog posts, and banner advertising.
This is the main way bloggers like to get traffic to their blogs – all it takes is your time but no money required. Free marketing can include guest posting, blog commenting, forum posting, YouTube videos, and podcasting.
So there you have it, 25 ways in which you can set-up and organize your blog for it to be a successful, money-making business blog.
I hope that you’ve found this article useful in helping you, at least, see the ‘big picture’ outline of how a blog runs in all the major areas, and how you can use some of the strategies to help set your blog up for business!
Claire Bullerwell is the creator and owner of Blogging Toolkits where she endeavors to help bloggers get organized, make massive progress and start reaching their goals through her interactive worksheets and workbooks.
Claire personally invites you to join her in her free 7 Day Blogging Challenge where she helps you lose the overwhelm and get in control; the challenge includes free checklists, worksheets, and systems.
Admin Blogger’s Commentary:
When I first started blogging, I heard you should think long term. If there was any chance of blogging for an income, you should set up your blog for that scenario sooner than later.
(Note: Claire advises self-hosting. I recommend A Small Orange Web Hosting. You will find the link in the right sidebar.)
The choices you make today shape your world tomorrow. It is better to be prepared to want to make income from blogging eventually and not need it, then want to make money blogging later on and not be prepared. Claire’s advice helps you prepare for that possible future.
Readers, please share, so other bloggers can prepare for a more lucrative tomorrow. Then, go show Claire some blog love and visit her blog Blogging Toolkits.
What is your opinion of Claire’s article? Are some of her tips more valuable than others? If you are at WordPress.com or Blogspot, do you think you might eventually self-host? I look forward to your views.