Guest post: 6 tips for turning your blog into a business

Has your blog grown up out of something that you have a passion for? Would you love to be able to earn a living from your blog? In this article Antonia Chitty of shares her own experiences of building a business from a blog, plus gives you 6 tips so you can do it too. Over to Antonia…

1. Have you got passion? I started blogging about something for which I have a genuine passion. I was really excited when I got a book deal to write Family Friendly Working, a book all about helping mums and dads find flexible ways to work or start their own business, and even after the book was published I was still finding relevant advice and great case studies. The blog was the perfect outlet for all this information.  Where is your passion? Does it show in your writing?

2. Persistence pays off. I added little snippets of news, advice and links to relevant events to the site on a regular basis, often daily, and soon it made sense that the blog should be the first page people would see on the site, rather than just an add-on.  How often do you blog? Whether you write 1,2 or 3 posts a week, as long as you stick to that schedule your readers know when to check in.

3. What’s your plan? I had a difficult pregnancy with my third child, during which I spent a lot of time just sitting. Blogging was the perfect way to fill the time, and so the blog grew. I had worked on Which? magazine so it was easy to take some of the things I’d learnt about how magazines run and apply them to the blog. I decided to run regular profiles of parents with businesses:  we all like reading about how other people do it. Now the site runs business opportunities on Mondays, book reviews on Wednesdays, profiles parents with businesses on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and have fun and family posts on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, with a mix of fashion, cooking, competitions and news of events. Interspersed between these regular slots we include business advice and are always open for guest posts on topics related to parenting, work and enterprise. Could you create a plan like this for your blog? Regular slots can help keep your readers coming back.

4. Grow a list, and stay in touch. I created an email list so I can interact with readers in more than one way: people seem to take action from a newsletter far more than a post! Find an email service provider – Mailchimp offers extensive no-cost services  – and embed a sign up form in your sidebar. Even if you just take time to do a roundup of your best posts once a month you will be drawing readers back in. If you run competitions, promote them to your list to give people more reasons to visit.

5. Find where the money is. A year or so into running the blog I added the chance for people to advertise on the site.  I had a good mailing list and offered people the chance to pay a small subscription to include their business on one of a number of pages: we have directories for mums networking groups, parent run business, business support and business opportunities. For those with a bigger budget you can also book a banner ad, a front page ad or a sponsored post. I run sponsored posts which pay well. I promote my books via the site and find Family Friendly Working readers a ready audience for the Become a Mumpreneur eCourse and membership site. Plus, I offer ghost-blogging services via ACPR which brings in a further steady income.  What I earn from this comfortably covers the costs of running the site and more.  Beyond that, it is a scalable income which comes in regularly every month.

6. Keep it fresh. I’m always trying to look at the site with fresh eyes and continually improve it. New people sign up for my newsletter every week. I’m constantly on the lookout for stories, information, guest writers and people to profile. My blog readership has grown so it is now equivalent to something like Junior magazine.  What can you do to get fresh ideas for your blog?

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