Have you always wanted to be your own boss? Perhaps you have that entrepreneur spirit in you that is ready to break out and start a small business.
Either way one of the best ways to take the leap from dream to money making business is with a blog. Yes you heard that right. I will explain how you can turn a blog into a small business.
To get started you need to have a self-hosted blog. The reason I say this is because when you have a self hosted blog as opposed to say a free WordPress site you have more control. When you self host you are able to do things like run ads and sell items through an online shop that you can’t when you use a free WordPress site.
This site contains affiliate links. That means that if you purchase hosting through Siteground for example, I will receive a small commission from that sale at no cost to you. Thank you in advance!
Trust me you will want to self host your website for your small business.
To get you started, read my post step by step to starting a blog with Siteground (affiliate). The post provides easy to follow step by step instructions to starting a blog as well as video tutorials. So if you are more of a visual learner you will enjoy actually seeing how to start a blog.
Step #1 – Decide Your Small Business Focus
You might already know what you would like to sell. But many of us don’t at first, and that is okay. Often times all we know is that we want to make money online, and that we want to be running the show. Its a good place to start, that’s why you are reading this after all.
To narrow a focus, start thinking of things that you are already knowledgeable of or hobbies you love, and expand on that. Maybe you are really good with putting together outfits. You could start a fashion blog, and sell printables of wardrobe capsules for instance.
Great with make-up? Create a beauty blog and produce how to make-up tutorials and looks.
Love travel? Start a travel blog and create itineraries that you can sell online. I’ve seen people do this.
If You Can’t Narrow Your Focus Opt For A Lifestyle Blog
When I was starting this blog, I originally wanted to focus just on coffee. Then I thought about focusing on travel, but the domain name I had in mind was taken. So as a last resort I chose to call this blog Plain Jane Lifestyle.
When I look back now, I am happy that I have a lifestyle blog because it allows me to have a broad audience and write about all kinds of things. While the word “lifestyle” is vague, it does allow me a broad reach.
What I Am Trying To Say Is…
It’s okay to go broad if you don’t have a narrow focus. You will hear a lot of people state that you should focus on a niche. The reason behind this thought is that you can then be a good go-to source for a very specific topic. Some say that overtime, with writing long form (2,500+ words per post) on a very niche topic will ultimately give you more domain authority down the line.
Basically, when you have a niche site, the hope is that other websites will link back to you, as an expert in a specific topic. Once this happens over and over again, you gain more domain authority and other sources link back to your website.
Going Niche is Best Practice, But Going Broad is Okay too.
Sometimes we just wait for the perfect time or the perfect idea to come along before we get started. I understand that, its good to have a plan. But at the same time, know that there is never going to be that quintessential perfect time. Don’t be afraid to get started and you will learn as you go.
Step #2 – Set Up An Online Shop
Once you have your blog up and running you can now get an online shop set up!
To do so, click on the word “plugins” on the side bar of your website.
Next, click “add new” at the top of the page next to the word “plugins”.
From here you can simply search in the search box for the type of online shop you want to add to your website.
The online shop that I use is Woo Commerce. It works really well, is free, and integrates nicely with my site.
Here are the top online shop plugin options. Look through them and then decide what works best for you.
- Woo Commerce
- Etsy Shop (can be integrated to your site)
Start Writing Content
Now that you have your website up and running and have installed an online shop, its time to start generating some content so you can bring readers in.
If people are not visiting your website than how will you make sales? You won’t. The hard truth is that traffic matters for making money with a blog.
I have been blogging since 2017 and finally in 2020 I broke down and purchased the e-book from Carly Campbell called Pinteresting Strategies (affiliate) which has increased my blog traffic considerably. Just look at this screen shot below of what happened to my blog traffic after implementing the strategies.
As you can see from the graph above I went from about 500 views a month to 7,000!
Don’t be afraid to invest in yourself.
When starting a blog, you can’t possibly know everything. You will learn as you go that is a fact. But why keep guessing when you can leap ahead with a proven strategic plan? I just wish I would have learned the strategies to manually pinning on Pinterest sooner. Because it has made a huge impact to me. Check out my post titled, How Pinteresting Strategies Exploded My Traffic.
An Online Shop Is Just One Piece of Making Money Online With A Blog
In addition to selling products through your online shop, the other methods of earning money with a blog come through advertisements and affiliate marketing.
Running A Small Business Through Your Blog Requires Multiple Income Methods
With an online shop, I recommend on selling something digital rather than a physical product because it is easier. Think about it, you don’t need to worry about having a room filled with products waiting to be shipped. You don’t need to physically ship items, pay for the mailing fees, etc.
With digital products, customers can download your product immediately. You don’t need to do anything else. It can essentially become a passive revenue stream for you.
I have a Woo Commerce online shop integrated on my website where I have started to sell stock images that I have taken. This has been a fun way to solve a need that online business owners, bloggers and influencers have, which is more stock images.
I like using free stock images, but I have also paid for stock images in the past too. Now, for the most part, I try to use all of my own photography.
Bringing in Income Through Ads
Advertising is a wonderfully passive way to make money. Like most methods of making money from blogging, it too requires lots of traffic to make lots of money. Are you seeing a theme here?
More Traffic = More Money
The good news is that even if you have a brand new blog, there are advertising agencies that will accept you as a client. Just because you don’t have a ton of traffic in the beginning (no one does trust me) you can get there.
You will learn how to place ads, see what looks good, what doesn’t and your ad income will grow as your blog does. Its a win win!
For a break down on the ad agencies that will accept new blogs without a specific visitor requirement as well as those premium ad agencies we strive to be a part of, check out my blog post How Do Bloggers Make Money?
How to leverage affiliate links for your small business
Making money through affiliate marketing is a great way to generate money for your small business blog!
From all of the bloggers making money out there one of the top ways they earn money is through affiliate marketing. In my post titled How to Make Passive Income While You Sleep I explain how affiliate marketing strategies can generate a passive income stream for your small business.
Bloggers love affiliate marketing because typically it pays well, depending on the program. One of the best affiliates will always be through your blogging hosting program. I promise.
For instance, I host through Siteground and they pay well! For your first 5 customers that sign up for web hosting in a month period by using your affiliate link you get $50 each. For the next 6-10 customers, you get $75 each, and from referrals of 11 or more people you get $100 each!
For example if you got 12 people referred to purchase web hosting with Siteground by using your affiliate link within a month, you would earn a commission of $825!
As You Can See Earning Money Through A Blog Can Start To Add Up Quickly
Before you know it as traffic grows with your new blog so will your earnings. The more people visiting your blog and online store will increase sales through your digital products, ads and affiliate links.
The Most Important Thing Is Not To Give Up
Blogging is a lot of work, and for the majority of us overnight success is not common. But I assure you that if you are committed and work hard at it success will come.
People that are making money through their small business blogs are not very different from you. It just takes dedication. For most it is a gradual climb.
As I am closing in on my third year of blogging, I do this part time, when I can fit it in. That usually equates to nights and weekends. But I have noticed some major changes this year.
My traffic has increased immensely. I promise I never thought anyone would be reading this blog, but somehow people are. It makes me so happy, and that helps me continue.
Blogging is also a lot of fun. I personally really enjoy writing, always have. So if you have the drive, enjoy writing and creating, blogging can work for you.