Growing your blog as a business

I’ve had the idea for this post sitting in the notes on my phone for literally months now but haven’t taken the plunge (plunge… isn’t that a brilliant word) to actually sit down and write it yet. Partly because there’s a lot of information involved and I’m a bit overwhelmed at where to start and secondly, I want it to be a good post (I mean obviously). I want it to be genuinely helpful and not just your average, “work hard and it’ll pay off the end xo” type rubbish. So I’ve taken quite a bit of time to think about what to include in this post, in a friendly and straight forward way. God, there’s nothing worse than clicking onto a “helpful” post only to not understand a word they’ve said, is there? 

So today I’m going to talk about (in words that you’ll actually understand) turning your blog into a business. In case you don’t know, before we get going, I’m a self-employed blogger. I’ve been self-employed for a good 4 or so years now – not always with my blog, I also had a small online book promotion business which I sadly closed down this year for a number of reasons. One of those reasons being that my blog picked up quite considerably to the point where I needed to put all my focus and attention into it. So as of right now, my blog is my main source of income and I’ve worked so bloody hard, especially over the last year or so, to really turn my blog into a business. So here’s what I’ve learnt and how I done it with extra links to take you to more detailed and specific posts on certain topics.

Accept that it will take time

Even now, 6 years into blogging, I know that I’m not going to be a huge success overnight. It will ebb and flow, some months your blog will do better than others, some months will be better income wise than others. That’s just the way it goes. So getting out of the mindset that this is all going to be a quick road to success is a good thing to start doing right now.

Be prepared to work hard

Growing your blog into a brand and a business is hard. It takes a lot of grafting, a lot of learning, a lot of hustling and a lot of time, patience and work. I know there’s a huge taboo and naive outlook on bloggers who make a part-time or full-time income from their blogs, that it’s “not a real job” and that they don’t really do anything, which if you’re a blogger yourself, will know that’s a huge misconception. You really do need to be prepared to put the work in, in order to make it work for you.

Believe you can do it

Okay, I know some of you are rolling your eyes at this one and a few years ago, I probably would have been to but over the last year or so, my mindset really has changed (probably due to doing so much Yoga, meditation and leaning about manifestation which again, I know isn’t for everyone) and I know now that we need to believe in ourselves, even if nobody else does. If you want something that much, your first step is to believe with all your heart that you can achieve it.

Work on your DA, page views and SEO

Okay now the wishy-washy stuff is out of the way, I’m onto the actual practical things which will help. You’ll always hear that “numbers aren’t the be all and end all of blogging” and they’re not, for some people but at the end of the day, if you want to grow your blog into a business, you’re going to want your views to improve and reflect that. Also, I’m not going to beat around the bush but some brand opportunities will require you to have a certain DA score or certain about of followers / views. Whether it’s fair or not is another argument but that’s just the way it goes.

Know where to look and put yourself out there

When it comes to brand opportunities, you need to put yourself out there and not just wait for the work to trickle in. It can be scary, it can be daunting and you might think you’re not good enough (a very common thought, don’t worry!) but you really do need to.

Get organised

Growing your blog means more work and more work means more “stuff” and that means you need to be organised with that “stuff”. I’m a huge advocate for organisation, a bit of a Monica Geller if you will. I know it’s a lot of work for one person but keeping organised will really help you in the long run.

Refine your USP

Each brand has their own unique selling points, their personalities, that “thing” that makes people sit up and pay attention. Think of brands like Lush, Innocent Smoothies, Liz Earle, Jo Malone etc. Blogs and bloggers need that too, especially in a time when there are thousands upon thousands of bloggers who are all trying to do the same thing. You don’t want to be like everyone else, you want to stand out but what makes you, you? What makes your blog unique? Is it your humor? Your photography? The topics you write about? Think very hard about what makes your blog unique, what people keep coming back for and utilize that.

Don’t forget the boring stuff

If you make money from blogging, you need to be registered as self-employed and declare any earnings – even if it’s not enough to pay tax on those earnings. You also need to keep a record of everything you earn if order to fill out your self assessment form at the end of each tax year. It’s really boring, let’s all agree it’s really bloody boring but it needs to be done. You can find out more information here.

Think like a business

If you want to turn your blog into a business, earn money from it and make a real good go of it, you need to alter your perception of your blog slightly. This is your baby after all, something you’ve worked so hard on for so long and it’s not just a hobby for you anymore (FYI, I’m not slating anyone who does just blog as a hobby but obviously this post is focused on those who don’t) so don’t look at it as one. Get your business mind cap on and start looking at your blog from a PR or a brands perspective.

Gain knowledge and advice from other bloggers

You don’t need to do it all by yourself and you’re never too late to learn something new about blogging, blogging as a business and earning money from blogging. Be open to accepting advice from other bloggers, read their posts, and follow their advice (if applicable to you). There’s plenty of bloggers who have already been through what you’re going through and already learnt what you’re trying to learn, so take positives from that.

Learn to accept rejection and failure

Ending on a right positive note here but it’s something that’s really important and something that anyone who works with brands needs to realise that rejection and failure are part of the package. Not all brands are going to want to work with you, not all pitches you send are going to get answered or accepted and sometimes you’re going to feel like you’re going backwards. I guarantee most bloggers have felt like this at some point or another (and if you haven’t, way to go!) but it’s a normal feeling and it sucks. But learning to accept rejection is something that will really benefit your mental state in this big scary blogging world. Remember how many bloggers there actually are, chances are any rejections won’t be personal.

I really hope you found this post helpful! If you have any questions, please do leave them in the comments and if you have any more advice of your own, do share that too!

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90 thoughts on “Growing your blog as a business

  1. Your blog posts are always so helpful! I don’t feel I’m ‘there’ yet but I’m taking on board so many of your points for the future – and I definitely need to treat myself to your book xx

  2. This is yet another blog post you’ve written that I’ve found to be very helpful! You’ve answered a lot of questions I had. Thank you! xxx

  3. Great blog post! I’ve had my blog for years but I only started getting more serious with it in October this year – which I can see how much work I’ve put in from the massive improvements of engagement and views etc, I feel like the most important thing is to enjoy what you’re doing and don’t get too down if one day your stats aren’t as amazing as another day but like you said, if you’re blog is your business then that is going to be important and something to keep an eye on! When I started to get my blog going again I read so many blog posts about so many things like improving your DA etc and it really helped me, I managed to go from a DA of like 5 to 16 in 2 months from learning from other bloggers and their blog posts, so I’m grateful to posts like these! Thank you for sharing 🙂

    Chloe xx
    http://www.chloechats.com

  4. Your blogging posts are always so incredibly helpful! I absolutely agree it takes time, I’ve been blogging almost 5 years now and it’s only this year I’ve really started to earn money from it and been able to see it as a business. Some months are better than others but I’ve learnt that’s just part of it now, no two months will be the same with blogging! Fab tips Jenny xxx

    Tiffany x http://www.foodandotherloves.co.uk

  5. I would love for blogging to one day be my job, and I’ve focused so heavily on SEO and improving my DA from the moment I went self hosted! I’ve struggled this year with my mental health and as a result, blogging has taken a back seat far too often for my liking but I’m determined to keep going and hopefully, one day I’ll achieve my goal! So many great tips in this post, so thankyou ✨

  6. I would love to turn my blog into my business but i’ve got to admit, i have been a bit lenient with it lately. I have put much more effort into my instagram, as it seems it is the platform to be now. Although i still think blogs are powerful! and are a lot of hard work indeed!

  7. Thank you so much for sharing this post with so much helpful information. I’m definitely going to look over your posts that you have linked in here. I would love to grow mine more in the future, it’s going to take a lot of time and working full-time in an apprenticeship means I don’t have that much free time! It’s exciting though, I can’t wait to see where it takes me.

    Amy,
    https://creativenails.uk

  8. I’m so in awe of you and everything you’ve achieved and are continuing to achieve with your blog, Jenny. Your blogger help posts are rightly some of your most popular ones because you’re also incredibly generous with your help and support. This is another fab post, I always learn something from you, I’m so glad you’re going to be doing more of them next year too! xx

    Lisa | http://www.lisasnotebook.com

  9. I’m not certain I’ll ever be brave enough to take that step but this is still a really great post for blogging in general as well as making it into a business. Definitely think the mind set is such an important part. Thanks for another great post.

  10. your blog business posts are always so well written, full of wise words, and meaningful!i literally took notes from this post, it was that helpful.thanks for the amazing advice!

  11. Well done on your success and thanks for sharing these tips! Do you have any information on different blogging platforms? I’m using WordPress now but I’m not sure how to get the best out of it.

      1. Erm, I think the publicise option on blog posts is great, do you use that? The theme is always important and making sure you have clear categories, a clear follow button, clear socials etc. I use the premium plan, which gives you access to more themes and personalisation which I really like!

  12. This is so unbelievably helpful! I don’t really look at my blog as a “business” yet because I’m at uni and it was a hobby that took off more than I could have ever imagined, but I do make some money from it now and I could relate to this a lot. It really ebs and flows! Last month I made the most I ever made and this month I’ve made nothing so far. I’ve found that it really is all about balance, and yes, so much hard work!

    Jas xx | https://thoughtsfromjasmine.co.uk

    1. It’s so tough isn’t it and crazy how the months swing from one extreme to another. I had that earlier in the year, where I made loads in one month and the next was only a fraction of that. I’ve loved seeing your blog grow! 😌

  13. This article is really helpful – I’m gonna have to save it in my browser because I need to get through all those articles you’ve linked! I think what I really need to do is to work on my unique selling point. At the moment, all I can think of is that I like to write in-depth blogging tips (but so do a lot of bloggers). I also post every day, but I’m not even sure that counts! Maybe I should work on my writing style? Yep, this is definitely something I’m going to have to look into a lot more… xx

    Alicia | http://www.aliciabynature.co.uk

  14. This was honestly so helpful! Right now my blog is just a hobby, but I would love to make it into something more. Your post really gave me some insight into what I need to do when I’m ready to take blogging as a job seriously!!

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