It’s basically everyone’s dream job: getting paid to hang out at home in your PJ’s, sitting on the couch with a mug of something yummy, and blogging about interesting topics.

And, sure, maybe you already have a blog you use to market your side-gig, or just keep the people in your life informed on what you’ve been up to. But, if you have dreams of making a career out of blogging, you’ll need to get serious about building up your blog. 

Today, we’re tackling this question: how can you turn your blog from a hobby into a business? Read on to find out what you can do to successfully market yourself, grow your following, make key connections, and start getting seriously paid. Consider this your one-stop crash course to getting paid as a blogger.

Decide on Your Direction

If you’re serious about turning your blogging hobby into a full-time career, you need to have a solid idea of the direction you want to take your blog. A blog is basically a blank canvas: there are tons of different ways you can make it your very own, and tons of business models that suit the various types of blog you might run. Here are a few different examples:

  • Inflncer marketing: One popular blog format is the influencer blog. This is where an individual with expertise in a certain area — like beautuey, travel, or cooking — gets paid by large companies to advertise their goods or services. For instance, if you run a popular beauty blog, makeup companies might pay you to market their cosmetics and skincare solutions. This should also tie in closely with your social media feeds for maximum exposure and brand recognition.
  • Freelance writing: Maybe your blog serves as the hub for your freelancing services. Here’s what that might look like: let’s say you’re a writer specializing in cooking and home renovation. Companies selling food or home goods might reach out to you to write articles for their company blogs. They find you through your own personal blog, where you market your services, and maybe write your own topical blog content too. 
  • Consulting: If you’re skilled in another profession, like law, accounting, business, or marketing, your blog can serve as the hub for your consulting services. If you’re a lawyer, you might write blog posts on the difference between trusts and wills, then use those posts to advertise your paid consulting services. You might also consider having a paid premium content feed which informs subscribers on the latest industry hacks. 

Of course, your blog doesn’t have to just be one of these things — plenty of people offer all three! There might even be other, more innovative uses for a blog. The point is that there are a few ways that you might take your blogging business direction, and it’s important to carefully consider that as you expand your blog from hobby to business.

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Invest in SEO

SEO stands for search engine optimization. These days, practically everyone uses Google or Bing or Yahoo! (really, mostly it’s just Google) to find information they’re looking for. In order to succeed as a blogger, you need to be the first one ready and available to answer a user’s question. What does that look like online? It means appearing near the top of the first page of search results for a given question. 

Here’s an example: let’s say you run a fashion blog. Your potential customers are likely to search questions like, “what’s new in fall fashion?” or, “how do I dress up leggings” or other fashion-related questions. SEO helps you get to the top of the search engine results page (or SERP) for questions like that, boosting the chances someone will interact with your page.

There are tons of SEO strategies out there. The most tried-and-true method is to develop high-quality content that meets your users’ desires. So, regarding those two searches we just mentioned, it’d be smart to write engaging blog content describing fall fashion, or tips and tricks to dress up leggings. You can also use well-placed and informative graphics, like this blog post on employee background checks:

Waiting. Waiting. Still Waiting for Results

According to a 2018 HireRight employment screening benchmark report, the top pre-employment screening pain points felt by small business are speed and efficiency

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Graphics are user-friendly, keeping readers on the page, which can further boost your SEO rankings.

Find the Right Partners

Working with partners is an essential part of any business, and blogging is no different. The key, however, is to find the right partners who will help you grow your business effectively without sacrificing the character and values essential to your blog.

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One way many bloggers make money is by allowing advertisers to market their products on their website. This can be a great stream of revenue, and is pretty much free for you. The catch is that you have to make sure you get appropriate advertisers for your space. If you run a parenting blog, for instance, getting diaper, baby powder, and cradle companies to advertise on your page would be a massive win. Violent video game sites? Not so much. 

If you write content for other sites that you advertise on your blog, it’s a good idea to try to keep a general theme. This can be hard, and truthfully, you may end up taking any freelance job you can when you’re first starting out. But, ultimately, it’s a good idea to sell yourself as a specific kind of blogger, like fashion & beauty, entertainment, or personal finance & lifestyle. As you grow, your partners should reflect that commitment.

Get Serious About Scaling

When you’ve got your bearings and you start to see income flow in, it can be pretty exciting. However, at this stage, it’s important not to lose focus. A side hustle is nice, and the extra income can’t hurt, but if you’re serious about expanding your blog to a full-time business endeavor, it’s time to think about scaling. 

Scaling can involve a few different things, but one of the most important considerations is whether you plan on hiring any extra help. After all, if your blog is seriously growing, you may need more writers to help you keep up the content output that your readers and business partners are expecting.

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One way to solve this problem is through freelancing your workload. Instead of hiring full-time employees, which for most bloggers is not a realistic option, freelancers can get the work done for a fraction of the cost. Scaling doesn’t just involve adding on manpower, though. You should also consider scaling financially by investing more into your business, either by taking out a loan or finding an investor who sees promise in your business model. 

Growing your blogging hobby into a full time business certainly has its challenges. However, it’s a tried-and-true model for those who want to work from home and be their own boss. Implement these strategies today, and see whether your blogging business takes off tomorrow!