Ok, I know it has been addressed here but I searched back at least 12 months of topics and didn't see it so I figured anything older and the information may have changed. I want to start a blog that will lead into a business. This will be the place to spark interest, showcase experiments, and essentially spell out to the public what my company does once I start doing it. Think of it as real time resume. I don't intend to make money off the website but it would be nice to have that option (sell advertising or have a donate button....) Perhaps an actual website would be better? Or perhaps a blog I would add to a website.....I DON"T KNOW! Oh my gosh, I need so much help!
- topicWAHMtagged by System, 6/13/12
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Last edited: 9/9/13
Warning...this is going to sound very discouraging :(
I run a successful ecommerce site and work with over 400 blogs. It is extremely difficult to make a profit off a blog. It didn't used to be that way but the market is pretty saturated at this point and businesses such as mine have to raise our standards significantly on whom we will pay for advertising. Advertising is a very difficult way to make money. The bloggers I know for sure are making a profit (and I can count them on one hand) are primarily making their money off selling content (ebooks, online classes, etc.) but even that is very hard to do.
I have two ways of working with blogs. The vast majority are through an affiliate program where the bloggers get paid a percentage of the sales they bring in. Only a handful of bloggers end up making more than $100 a month (although a couple do fairly well). I have a very short list of blogs I pay for advertising and they have to be blogs (or blog networks) with very high traffic numbers--numbers that take years to achieve if that even happens. I cannot tell you how many new blogs e-mail me each month wanting to sell advertising. While I feel their pain, the best I can do is let them sign up to be an affiliate.
As a side note, blogs are a lot of work. I know bloggers who work well in excess of 40 hours a week and still don't turn a profit (and I should say there isn't anything "wrong" with their blogs, some have high traffic numbers, and have been doing it for years). It's just the nature of the market.
Blogging is extremely easy to get into and there are enough stories floating around of bloggers making a good living to incentivize people to jump in. In reality though success is extremely rare and since anyone can get in, everyone is. It's very hard to differentiate yourself in a manner that will attract high levels of traffic and consequently companies willing to pay for advertising.
Having said all that, blogging can be useful. For example, it can be a great way to connect with your customers on a regular basis, to humanize your company, etc. When that is the goal, blogs can be very successful. I just wouldn't encourage anyone I care about to start a blog with the goal of making money.
I don't intend to make money off the blog itself. I am thinking of it more as a way to raise interest in my business and showcase what we do. (bringing in a few bucks here and there would not be bad but I know it is not a profitable sort of business). The business will not launch for a while but it will be nice to have a record of our projects and experiments and plans we have done for others. It will also make me feel like I am actively pursuing my dreams. And I AM passionate about what I want to do and don't mind sharing it for free. (I will be selling the labor more than knowledge) Does that make sense?
I say go for it. That is also the strategy I had when I started my blog(s). I actually know a lot of people who are quite successful with their blogs although usually it does take years or at least about half a year. Yes the blogosphere is saturated with a lot of carbon copy blogs, but if you're unique and know how to connect things I think you can make the kind of impression you want to make.
I know I've done really well for myself and if I'd focused on one blog I think I'd be doing really well. I don't regret that I actually branched out and started 6 blogs because they're all getting more successful in their own niche. I also don't try to make money off my blogs specifically. I have signed up to do some reviews and have gotten some good relationships with a few companies, but I also use my blogs to advertise my own website and services which has gotten me some business and helped me refine and show what I do and what my goals and perspective are.
I don't know exactly what you're asking however.
I guess if you're trying to figure out what kind of strategy to take it would help to know what your goals are and the type of business you want to do. You might want to look at stevepavlina.com or just search google for popular blog strategies.
A self-hosted Wordpress.org blog is truly the best option. You buy a domain and hosting, then install the blog as your main site, or as a blog on a site.
You can get hosted blogs, but there are limitations that many prefer to avoid.
If you must have hosted, you can check out Typepad, Wordpress.com, and Blogger.
For some awesome blogging resources check out BlogcastFM.com. They interview bloggers, authors, etc and are a great resource for ideas and info.
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