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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.

A blog is a collection of articles written about a particular topic and published on a website. And for many businesses, it's an important marketing channel that can help sell products, share useful information, and attract an audience.

Blog posts are a great way to showcase your expertise and the personality of your brand, and when you incorporate the proper search engine optimization (SEO) techniques, blogs can help you rank higher in internet searches and bring more potential customers to your website, too.

There are plenty of benefits to creating a blog for your business, but before you jump in, it's important to learn more about the steps you'll need to follow as you're getting started, your monetization options, and the basics of SEO. Let's take a closer look.

The basics of blogging

Unlike many formal articles and publications, blogs typically have a more casual, personalized tone, which is why they're often so effective at connecting with their target audience. As a result, blogging can become a valuable activity for many business owners—especially if that connection with their audience translates into increased site traffic and sales. But success doesn't occur overnight; blogging can be a substantial commitment that requires your time, resources, and bandwidth.

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.

Keep in mind that, throughout your blogging journey, there's a good chance that you'll want to adjust your site’s functionality as your traffic grows and your brand matures. For that reason, many bloggers opt for platforms that boast a wide variety of apps and plugins that can be 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. Many platforms, like WordPress or Shopify, make it easy to search for and register a domain name directly through their portal.

When shopping for a domain name, also consider the name of your blog itself. 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 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 needs a regular supply of ideas, and planning ahead will help keep you on track—and ensure that you don't run out of content to create. As you're getting started, consider creating a simple spreadsheet that includes the posts you're planning, the target audience, the publish dates, and, if applicable, the channels you'll use to promote each new post.

Build your audience—and keep them coming back

You've probably already thought about how you can grow your audience after you begin publishing content, but establishing an audience (and brainstorming ways to engage them) before your first post goes live can help you build positive momentum right away.

Get a head start by gathering email addresses from potential blog visitors as soon as possible; offer new audience members a few examples of the content you'll be providing and and give them a chance to be the first to know when your new blog officially launches.

Give careful consideration to your social media strategy, too. Think about ways you can engage with your followers in the future and get more eyes on your content. Some bloggers like to create polls to see what content their audience wants to see. Others choose to create short summaries of their posts to share socially, inviting folks to join the conversation on the channel of their choice.

Then, as you move forward, be sure to pay close attention to the reporting tools and analytics data provided by your blogging platform and all of your audience and marketing touchpoints. Notice what works (and what doesn't), so you can be sure that you're always providing content that your target audience wants to read, interact with, and share with their peers.

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 play a role in everything from written content to videos. You can even add SEO to the captions you include with images on your blog. In addition to offering higher search rankings, there are other SEO benefits, including:

  • Attracting more clients. Organically increasing visibility indicates that your customers are searching 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 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 create trust and 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.

Market your blog with Mailchimp

No matter your reason for starting a blog—whether you want to grow your audience, promote your products, earn money, or just talk about the stuff you like—Mailchimp's powerful marketing and automation features can help you reach your goals.

From signup forms and CRM tools that make it easy to collect and organize data from your readers to segmentation and email tools that'll help you stay in touch to digital ads that can help you drive more traffic to your blog, Mailchimp has everything you need to keep your audience engaged and your brand growing.

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