How to Take your Blog to the Next Level
Everyone can take up blogging and make it a source of income. It might be just a nice amount of money on top of your salary, or it can become a full-time job. It’s all up to you.
I’m not saying that you will earn a full-time income overnight. I’m not telling you that you will earn thousands of dollars with your 3 months old blog. Blogging, as any entrepreneurial adventure, takes time and commitment. It takes more commitment than time actually. My question is: are you ready to commit?
To those who don’t believe you can make money blogging I ask: did you try? How consistent were you? How many hours did you spend blogging? Did you leverage what you do best?
There are many more blogs today than 5 or 10 years ago, that’s for sure. But there also are many more people getting online every day. The web is a growing market. It’s not like you’re opening a video rental shop!
Why Most People Fail
I have started blogging many years ago. At the beginning I was on Livejournal, then I moved to Myspace. When Facebook came, I opened a Blogger blog. I decided to take the next step ad I moved everything to self-hosted WordPress after one year. After another good 3 years, I decided to take my blog to the next level and here I am. I got a web developer helping me to redesign my website. I joined an affiliate program. I created a media kit. I started going to events. I took up contributors.
Why did I do this? Why did I continue writing this blog even when I worked 14 hours a day? Why did I keep writing even when I had to write 3 articles a day for another blog? Because I love it. I love writing. I love talking about my passions. I always got back to blogging when I had a nagging thought in my mind. When I had to speak out about something. It was almost never about telling my own experiences or posting my photos. It was always about my need to write. Which easily translates into blogging when you also happen to love fashion, graphic design and you’re a Gemini 😉 .
I think that most people who start blogging with the idea of earning a lot of money end up giving up because they don’t see results quick enough. Most people start a fashion blog or a lifestyle blog because they think it’s an easy way to earn money. Unfortunately, it’s not like that at all. It takes passion. You need to love sitting at your computer for hours, Tweeting, chatting with other bloggers, writing. Guys, you need to love writing if you want to take up blogging. What’s the point if you hate writing? I definitely don’t agree with people that say that you don’t have to write to have a fashion blog. Maybe you can have a fashion blog where you post your outfits and earn money with affiliate links. But I don’t see the point in that kind of blogs anymore. I want blogs that give value. I want blogs that make a connection with their readers. And so do brands and PR people.
Why most people fail at blogging? Because they lack passion. They fail to make time for blogging. They don’t commit enough. Sometimes we do things just because everyone else is doing them. Everyone has a blog, so I’ll get a blog. If she can earn money blogging, why shouldn’t I? It isn’t like that folks: you need to do your own thing. You need to understand if blogging is right for you. Maybe you actually don’t like technology. You dislike computers and you get a headache looking at your phone for more than 5 minutes. Maybe you don’t even like taking photos so much and you definitely don’t like sharing anything about your private life. Maybe you should write a book about that passion of yours instead of starting a blog. Maybe you should work with kids instead of starting another mommy blog.
Blogging is entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone. Which is completely fine: don’t fall into the trap of feeling any less because you don’t want the things that everyone seems to be wanting.
It’s a Pinnable! Mouse over the image to Pin it.
How to Go Pro with your Blog
- Ask yourself if you’re ready to commit. Deciding to take your blog to the next level is an important decision. Whether you’re in a 9 to 5 job or not, you have to be able to spend a few hours a day on your blog (and your social medias, and other people’s blog, and on your e-mail. You get the point.)
- Identify what sets you apart from the rest. Why should people follow you instead of the next blogger? Why should a PR choose your blog over the plethora of blogs available? This is also another reason we could add to the list of things that make bloggers fail. You need to have a clear idea of what your blog is offering. Who are you talking to, how do you make them feel. How is your personal experience merging with the message you’re sending out to the world?
- Prepare yourself. You wouldn’t start a company without knowing what you’re doing, right? You would study your market niche, your product, your target. You would create a logo, hire a graphic designer. “Entrepreneur”: the owner or manager of a business enterprise who, by risk and initiative, attempts to make profits. Aren’t you doing the same with your blog? Act like an entrepreneur. You can’t expect to earn money if you don’t invest in yourself and your blog first (we’re talking all kind of investments here, not necessarily monetary investments. Time, study, books, networking.)
- Invest in your blog. Now I’m talking monetary investment. To take your blog to the next level, you need a few things that aren’t free. You will need a self-hosted WordPress website (that’s mandatory guys! Blogger is cool, but not as much as WordPress!), a proper domain (heyitsme.tumblr.com won’t cut it), some tools like social media scheduling apps and an email marketing service (you can find both for free, but the free versions only serve your amateur needs. You will need to go pro one day or another anyway). But most importantly, you need to invest in yourself. You need to invest in your preparation, just like I told you in point 3.
You wouldn’t take an exam without having bought the books you need to study, right? You wouldn’t take your driving test if you hadn’t taken a bunch of driving lessons before. This is the same thing. I don’t understand how people expect to earn money from a profession (ok, it’s a hobby that you want to turn into a profession, but still) if they don’t invest in their education first. It’s the same for every profession, why would blogging be different?
Best Resources to Blog Like a Pro
Last year I took up a blogging gig with a big company. I wrote their blog for 8 months, but I didn’t feel like it was the right thing for me. I love writing, but I also love being completely free of writing about what I want to write about. Also, I don’t like deadlines. Working as a blogger for someone else helped me understand how important blogging is and how it can be turned into a profession. I was paid good money to do what I love doing on my blog every day so I asked myself: “Why am I not doing this on my own blog?”
I tried to do it by myself. I tried different ways to monetize my blog, but things didn’t work the way I wanted them to work. I wasn’t committed enough and I didn’t even know it.
In December I decided to commit to taking my blog to the next level and I got into Kate McKibbin’s course Bloggers MBA. You might already know it as “Secret Bloggers Business Bootcamp”; it’s the same course, it only changed its name. Kate and her team have also updated the content and added more modules, so I’m going to do the course all over again when it starts again in a few days.
Bloggers MBA will start again in April 2015 and enrollment closes on March 25th. The course is $397: honestly? Best $397 I have ever spent on my blog (I have spent a lot of money on this blog and most of it for things I didn’t even need. Some examples? I’ve bought the Thesis theme and I never quite figured out how to use it. I then hired a developer to fix my Thesis theme and he only made a bigger mess. I have bought a bunch of plugins that don’t work well with my theme, so I had to ditch them. I have spent money on Facebook Ads when I didn’t even know how they worked, so more money wasted. I paid for people to leave comments on my blog when I first started, just to make it look a bit more “lively”. Ugh, don’t do that! More wasted money. I could go on…!)
Why You Should Enroll in Bloggers MBA
- Actually investing money on a course will automatically make you commit. If you invest $397 on something you are at the very least encouraged to implement the things they suggest you. This is what Secret Bloggers Business Bootcamp (Bloggers MBA) did for me. I have invested the money and I followed the course religiously (ok, I got stuck here and there, but hey, it happens! :P) A course might just be the thing that finally makes you take the leap!
- The founder of the course – Kate McKibbin – is the real deal. She has a blog she makes a living out of, she has a team, she walks her talk. Her blog is Drop Dead Gorgeous Daily and she shares all her stats and earnings in the Bloggers MBA course. So you get to know exactly how she did it.
- Every module in the course is a step by step guide. Everything is really easy, you get all the tools you need to blog like a pro and everything is explained clearly and concisely. Every module has action points so you don’t get lost in the theory and you take immediate action to improve your blog. There are plenty of cheatsheets, checklists and pdf files you can use. And you get life access to the course!
- With the course you get to be part of the Facebook group. The community is very supportive and it includes the students of Ready Set Blog course. Kate is very active in the group and she will answer your questions and generally participate in discussions. Participating to the weekly follow fests, comments fests and so on will also give your blog and social media a nice boost!
Get to know more about the Bloggers MBA course here. Please note this is an affiliate link: I have done this course and I am proud to suggest it to other bloggers. Trust me, if you can’t figure out how to monetize your blog, this course is what it takes for you. Please consider purchasing the course through this link if you decide to enroll. Thank you in advance!
Why You Shouldn’t Enroll in Bloggers MBA
As you might already know, I’m a very straightforward person. I like telling things how they are and I don’t like beating around the bush (“OK Elisa we got it!”). The Bloggers MBA course will be most useful to those who have an established blog but never tackled the monetization thing. Kate herself tells you that she started DDG from scratch, but there’s a “but”… Kate worked as online editor for some fashion magazines before she started her fashion blog, so she already knew a thing or two about the world of online fashion. Her network of contacts (some of which worked in fashion magazines) helped her spread the word about DDG, which at the time was just a daily e-mail with a sign-up page, not a real blog. Obviously the job she did previous to launching her blog helped her with making DDG her main source of income now, but she really worked hard on it to make it so. At the end of each module in the course you’ll have a “Lesson Learned” from her own story where she’ll tell you about her first years of business (she goes into deep detail so it’s really interesting as case study).
So, Bloggers MBA is NOT for you if:
- You don’t have a blog or you have literally just started one. You need to already have a blog with at least a small following to monetize it. If you don’t have a blog yet, the Ready Set Blog course is the right course for you!
- You are not willing to invest time in this course. It is an actionable course, so reading the modules and not taking action won’t cut it!
- Your blog niche is very far from fashion and lifestyle. Many of the examples that are in the course are clearly referred to fashion and lifestyle blogs. If your blog is about psychology or quantum physics, this course is not for you.
And we’re done! Did you like this post? Would you like to read more posts about this topic? Would you like me to go into details about every different way to monetize your blog, how do I do it? Would you find some “technical” tutorials useful? Let me know in a comment below!
About the Author
Hey, it's Elisa, founder of styleonvega.com. I'm a social media strategist & consultant by day and blogger by night (honing my multitasking skills since 2006 ;). I'm an atypical Italian, freedom lifestyle advocate and modern spirituality enthusiast. Feel like we could get along? Join me just above this box or get in touch with me on Facebook or Twitter.