Blogging 101: Starting a Blog for Your Brand

Don’t underestimate the power of starting a blog for your business. Here’s everything you need to know from choosing a platform to monetizing your content.

Businesses of all types are creating blogs as a method for selling products, providing information, and generating a long-term audience. However, with more businesses starting blogs, a higher level of competition is resulting. Not jumping in on the ground floor and ignoring this trend is an effective way to lose sales and not get your brand or product out on the market.

One of the greatest challenges faced by companies is creating an audience to discuss and promote their products. However, if your brand already has an offline presence, then creating a blog to promote them can only help. That isn’t always the case, but with proper SEO techniques, quality content, and good rankings, you will drive traffic over time.

Before jumping in, it’s important to learn more about starting a blog, the blog writing process, and general information that can help you be successful.

What is a blog?

Unlike more official articles and publications, blogs typically have a more personalized tone, which is why they are so helpful at connecting with their target audience. As a result, blogging can be a highly fulfilling activity, especially when strangers begin seeing you as an authority on a topic, but it’s also a major commitment.

How do bloggers get paid?

Bloggers can generate revenue by monetizing their blogs. One of the most common monetization methods is being an affiliate for assorted products within a specific niche and scattering links to products you recommend throughout the video and written content. To be able to make money in this manner, you must work to become an authority on the topic so your followers will listen to your recommendations.

Another way bloggers get paid is by selling website ads. This may include adding banners and other visuals at the top, on the sidebars, or within the content in exchange for a fee. Two routes exist for this option: negotiating directly with different companies or using an advertising network, which is a more hands-off approach.

Offering different services is also a fantastic way to earn cash on a blog. Developing an audience means visitors and followers associate your name with the topics you blog about. When individuals want to hire a service, most will want to bring in a proven authority on the topic at hand. Examples of services that are sold from blogs include classes or workshops, consulting sessions, freelance writing, graphic design, and virtual assistance.

Bloggers can also create e-commerce websites where they sell digital or physical products. Digital products are a scalable method of making money without worrying about shipping and manufacturing. You can create digital products and sell them in a number of ways. To get started, determine what digital products your target consumer is searching for to fulfill their needs. Physical products can be sold using the dropshipping method, whereby each order goes directly to a supplier who prepares and sends the product on your behalf.

Finally, bloggers can monetize YouTube videos. For example, some folks would rather watch video reviews of a product than read a written article, and research has shown that consumers are more likely to purchase an item after watching a video that reviews the product. And since Google and YouTube are two of the world's most popular search engines, publishing a video can help boost your chances of bringing more eyes to your content—and your business.

Do bloggers make good money?

The answer to this question varies based on several factors, including authority level, Google rankings, organic traffic to the blog, local SEO, overall strategy, age of the blog, the blogging niche, ad sponsorships, and many other attributes. Some blogs earn thousands of dollars each month, while others have yet to be monetized at all. Still, with enough time and commitment, the potential is unlimited.

How to create a blog

Creating a blog is a relatively straightforward process; for many new bloggers, the biggest challenge is finding the time and ideas required to be consistent.

That said, following these steps can help you create a blog that has the potential to be a long-term business:

Determine how your blog can make money

It may sound counterintuitive, but if your goal is to make money from your blog, you should think about potential monetization strategies before focusing on the content. Your strategy will determine the content types you publish and how you plan to grow long-term. Therefore, as you create a blog, you want to think like an entrepreneur.

Sometimes, folks who are new to blogging think Google AdSense is the only way to make money. And while ads can be a terrific way to create blogging income, they also require considerable traffic before becoming economically viable. Fortunately, bloggers don’t need to rely solely on ads (or a large audience) to successfully build a business. Here are 6 ways you could monetize your blog:

  1. Focus on digital products: Online courses are one way that digital products can make bloggers money. The most successful bloggers are content creators, so courses can capitalize on the skills you already have.
  2. Have subscription options: Subscription tiers have become a popular monetization method for bloggers and other content creators in recent years. When your audience finds value in the information you provide, they may be willing to pay a monthly fee in exchange for exclusive bonus content.
  3. Offer services: As an aspiring blogger, chances are you have some sort of expertise to share with the world. Services like coaching, consulting, or speaking at digital or in-person events are great ways to earn money.
  4. Sell a book: Author and entrepreneur James Clear wrote a self-development blog followed by Atomic Habits, an e-book that helped monetize his blog and capitalize on the extensive knowledge he has gained by writing posts over the years. Amazon has an extensive e-book collection, which anyone with internet access and a computer can use to sell their stories.
  5. Sell physical products: Physical products always align with the brand message and goal. Glossier is a fitting example of a makeup brand that exploded from Into the Gloss, a fashion blog from Emily Weiss.
  6. Utilize affiliate marketing: Affiliate marketing allows you to earn commissions each time you sell a physical or digital product or service. When executed properly, affiliate commissions can be an incredible method of earning passive income.

Choose a niche for your blog

There’s an endless amount of content on the web, but you can compete by finding your niche and creating content that readers cannot find elsewhere. This niche will be an integral part of your online branding, ranging from the blog name to your domain name, and any logos you decide to create.

You must also ensure that your niche has the depth to create an audience that is consistent with your monetization strategy. Here's how to do it:

  1. Compete with high-quality, detailed posts and content.
  2. Deliver content in a different voice, like humor.
  3. Focus on a specific location.
  4. Focus on a smaller segment within a larger category (i.e., vegan recipes).

Select a blogging platform

Another critical aspect to consider as you're starting a blog is which platform to invest your time and money into. You'll want to pick a platform that aligns with your technical proficiency and skill level. If you're a beginner, it might be best to choose a hosted platform that doesn’t require HTML or coding skills, is easy to use and navigate around, and can scale up with you and your business.

When determining which platform to select, you want to find one that doesn’t require HTML or coding skills, is easy to use and navigate around, and can scale up with you and your business. Throughout this blogging 101 journey, you’ll come to realize that you may want to review your site’s functionality as your traffic grows, your brand matures, and you present more posts to the world. You also want to ensure the platform boasts many apps and plugins, which are used to improve your site’s performance, simplify mundane tasks, market your blog, and run site backups.

Pick a domain and blog name

Once you’ve determined your niche and picked a platform, you want to choose and purchase a domain name. Shopify makes it easy to search for and register a domain name directly through their portal. However, other options exist through hosting companies like Bluehost, or individually through GoDaddy. Hosting companies offer free domain names when you sign up for a hosting plan, so this is the most economic option.

When shopping for a domain name, also consider the website name. Unless your goal is to create a portfolio site or personal blog, don’t use your name as a custom domain. While you can continue to be the face of the blog, it’s easier to build a stick brand when inventing a creative name that reflects your products and goals. Choose a domain name that’s unique, easy to spell, fun to say, and memorable.

Plan your posting strategy

Every blogger must have a regular supply of ideas, so planning always ensures you will never run out of content to create. Planning is as simple as creating a content calendar that helps you track ideas and keep you on track with posting. You can create a simple spreadsheet to plan your content creation, which should include the content you’re creating, the target audience, distribution channels you plan to use, and the dates of content release to the public. While there are countless other more effective tools to utilize, start with a spreadsheet and move on to other resources as your needs grow.

Entice the audience to read your posts consistently

It’s always discussed to grow your audience after beginning publishing, but if you want to generate fast momentum, you must consider how to grow them before launching the blog. Most bloggers struggle with distribution for two reasons: they don’t have a repeatable and concrete distribution strategy built with the publishing process and publishing is already an anxiety-laden process, so amplifying your reach makes it scarier.

Of course, as you produce more content, you eventually get over the latter, but the former requires an extensive initial time investment. You can best plan for growth by gathering emails as soon as possible, brainstorming opportunities to achieve post search engine traffic, and developing a social media strategy. You will also want to resurface, reuse, and reduce your content by creating micro-content for social media based on existing posts, creating a roundup of past blogs, recycling blog posts as other content types, and adding blog posts to emails. Finally, you want to understand analytics and how it relates to your target audience.

Understand the importance of SEO

As you write a blog post, it’s critical to incorporate search engine optimization (SEO), which helps you rank better within search engines, like Google. SEO can be added to everything from written content to videos and captions when you add images. In addition to offering higher rankings, there are other excellent benefits to ensuring it’s part of your content, including:

  • Attracts more clients – attracting visibility organically indicates that your website is appearing because your customers search for specific products, services, or information related to your blog. Customers seek your blog out based on necessity, which is why keywords are a critical aspect of SEO.
  • Better organic searches – a major aspect of digital marketing is search engine marketing, which is paid search marketing. Pay-per-click campaigns utilize strategic research to increase your return on investment. Organic traffic is improved by using paid search campaigns and better SEO tactics.
  • Building trust with visitors – SEO and the user experience work together to provide the best possible visitor experience. Creating trust organically is how SEO can improve your online business and rankings. When a consumer has a positive experience with your blog, you will receive more web clicks, thus increasing traffic and improving your SEO. This naturally occurs over time and helps you with search engine rankings.
  • Improved click share – click share is an estimate of all clicks a small business blog receives, either organically or paid. This means the better your SEO, the higher number of click shares you will receive, which usually equates to higher sales for a blog.

Build your blog on Mailchimp

Mailchimp is a technology platform that helps deliver world-class support for launches, growth and building. The Mailchimp platform allows you to create a beautiful and functional blog to start creating content, selling products, and more.

Features of Mailchimp include finding and owning a custom domain, launching an online store, and allowing customers to create appointments from your blog or website. Mailchimp has helped countless small businesses drive traffic and expand over the years and can help your blog as well.

Best of all, Mailchimp can help you customize your blog, which helps you create a voice and brand through blogging! Now that you have the basics behind creating a blog and the technology to aid in your journey, happy blogging!

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