I've seen a lot of great people who have put up great work in blogging, became successful and now have some decent source of additional income. But how can blogging be a business? First, let's take a look at some things that make up a business.
Market - Usually a group of people driven by a need such as the need to eat, drink, dress, communicate, etc. A business makes money by filling up this need. A blog can, in the same way feed a need such as how to make extra money by making money online or how to stay up to date with the latest sports news.
The market is very important they are the ones who will buy your product and services. Never start a business without researching if there's an existing market ready to pay you. Likewise, you may want to think twice before entering a saturated market.
The same goes for blogging, experienced bloggers would often suggest that you break your topic into smaller niches. If not, you got to do something different... Something that existing competitors don't do and will be hard for them to copy.
Product - Your product is the solution you present to the problem. A product can come in the form of goods or services. Blogs commonly sell information, which is an intangible form of goods. However, blogs can also render a service such as paid reviews and product promotion.
Content is your primary product if you're into the blogging business. While some blogs earn a significant amount of income compared to other bloggers even when they've made fewer blog posts, I'm inclined to believe that, that is because they effectively targeted the right market for their content.In business terms, they've made the right product for the right market. There has to be enough demand for a product to succeed.
Capital - In the internet where you could get a lot of things for free, capital doesn't always mean money. It can be time or other resources you plan to leverage. For the more serious blogger, one would not hesitate to put up some money because he knows that the return would far exceed what he'll have if he didn't.
In the blogging world, it probably pays to register your own .com domain which requires a capital of... Well... under $12 or approximately 500 pesos. If you're serious about making your blog as a business then you might also put in some money in your blog design and blog logo.
People - In an offline business, a businessman person would involve several people which are called employees. But in blogging that could mean just you or your group of writers. In my other blog, I team up with a group of other people contributing to my site. Though not necessarily writing for me, they deliver information.
If you're the one who writes content for your blog then you are an employee of your own business. As for me, I try as much to disconnect myself from my blog, I also try to separate my personal life (those that are really personal) as much as possible.
I created a facebook page solely for the purpose of communicating with my readers but still in the name of every peso counts and not my whole or real name. Well, there's a reason for that... As a long time IT Professional I value my identity and I want to live a private life.
Alright, that may not be all but at least I think we've identified some of the vital aspects of a business. Now let's talk about the things you would do in a business that makes blogging a similar thing.
Blog Business Necessities
Marketing - You need to attract attention, and that is the art of marketing. The market usually doesn't know what they need, so sometimes (or always) you need to reach out and introduce your product.
This is why you have to start by commenting on other blogs, there are just some people out there who doesn't know that they need your product (your content) and the only way you can let them know is by reaching out.
In blogging, there are several ways to market and one very important thing you shouldn't miss is the thing they call SEO or Search Engine Optimization. SEO allows for organic traffic or being naturally found by people looking for your products and services rather than you telling them.
Satisfying - In a business, you produce a good or service to satisfy a need. Same goes for blogging, you write content to satisfy a need whether that is really a need for significant information or mere just to entertain or motivate. Well... Truth is that humans never get satisfied as as long as you get unsatisfied people looking for information on how to satisfy their need then you are always open for business.
Networking - In order to reach more markets, generate new ideas and expand your business you need to network with other business owners. In the blogsphere, this is quite obvious. When you ask a fellow blogger for a link-exchange, you are networking.
In my other blog, I've talked to a lot of people often from different startup companies around the world asking me to promote their product even at this early stage of that blog, I don't earn much profit from doing so. There is a good reason for that... They allow me to produce content which is what I market to readers.
My readers wouldn't be happy to know that I'm being paid to write those reviews, so I don't accept paid reviews. All I ask for example is a free sample of their product so I can try it for myself. Anyway the whole point of networking in blogging that is similar to business is to get people who have influence over their readers (market) to tell about your product (content).
Profiting - Obviously, the main point of a blog as a business is to make money. For a business to sustain its day-to-day operation it needs money. So I hope you wouldn't get me bad when I promote products here and place advertisements.
I also need some money to sustain this blog and some money to motivate me to write. Money is of course just the result of the things you do. I believe that when you're more inclined to help other people, they'd be more than willing to pay for what you got to offer.
The tricky part of blogging is that it can easily become self-employment. So for those who are just starting out in this blogging business, I suggest picking a topic where you can easily get resources and you can write on your own phase when you want, where you want.
If you ever decide to get into a fast phased business in blogging I highly recommend that you setup a team so that you'll have more time to think about how to grow your online business.
My next article will be about blog marketing or how you can use blogs for marketing your business. It is part IV of my internet marketing strategies series and I suggest that you subscribe to my newsletter so you'll know once it's published.
I was giving this article a lot of thought, proof-reading everything. But then I thought it wouldn't be very interesting if I try to answer everything. We're not perfect after all, and it's an opportunity for my readers to interact with me and point out things where they think I've gone wrong.
So if you think I'm saying something wrong, please comment and I will lend an ear. Do you own a blog? Does your blog serve as a business?
Photo Credit: Kristina B