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Thursday, April 3, 2008

Blogging Tips, Blog Tips, Make Money Through Blog

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Blogging Tips, Blog Tips, Make Money Through Blog
Treating Your Blog as a Business: 8 Aspects to Consider

Last week I wrote a post Is There a Career in Blogging? that examined the possibility of earning a full-time income with a blog (or a network of blogs). One of the keys that were mentioned for running a profitable blog was to treat the blog as a business, not as a hobby. This is probably a pretty obvious statement for those of us that are looking to make money online, but what is really involved? How can you put this into practice? Here are some of the elements that I feel are critical for treating a blog as a legitimate business.

1. Goals

Any traditional business will have goals that are set for a specific period of time, usually monthly, quarterly, and annually. Blogging should really be no different. If you hope to make a full-time income, or even a solid part-time income, you really should have specific goals of revenue that you need to produce. It seems obvious, but I think many of us don’t take goals as seriously as other types of businesses.

In order for your goals to be effective, they should be time-sensitive (meaning they end at a particular date), measurable, and attainable, although not too easily attainable. I think many of the bloggers who actually do set goals get a little caught up in the excitement and set their goals a bit too high right off the bat. As a result, many of them get disappointed and discouraged and quickly assume that blogging is not the way for them to make money online.

2. Accountability

Along with goals comes accountability. As an employee of a business you can be held accountable if you fail to meet the goals that are established for you. This, of course, can mean anything from a loss of a bonus all the way down to being fired. Too many bloggers initially set goals and then never follow up with tracking them or holding themselves accountable. Of course, I’m not suggesting that you fire yourself if you don’t achieve your goals. Rather, I believe that we could all benefit by taking ownership and being willing to honestly evaluate how our performance is living up to expectations.

3. Priority

Almost all of us are willing to get up each morning and go to work all day for someone else in order to make a living. If we are willing to do this for an employer, shouldn’t we make it a priority to put an effort into our own business? Although most bloggers are doing so part-time, as a business it should take priority over some other things in our life (of course this is a decision that each of us will have to make according to what is best for us). If blogging is not on your list of priorities, it’s probably not a real business and your chances of making money are slim.

4. Scheduling

If making money with a blog is a priority, we should dedicate specific time for it. Blogging becomes much more difficult when it only gets your attention when nothing else of interest is going on. Make an effort to decide how much time you are willing and able to dedicate to blogging each week and create a basic schedule that will help you to get that time in throughout the week. It doesn’t have to be something that you follow exactly each week, but get in the habit of seeing your time as being occupied by your efforts of building your blogging business.

5. Time Management

Now that you’ve scheduled some time to work, it can be helpful to track exactly how much of your time is being spent on what efforts. Try using a tool like Toggl (it’s free) or a more advanced tool like Harvest to see where your time is being spent. Most of us waste a lot more time than we realize and these tools can help to increase our efficiency.

6. Spending

Businesses are willing to spend money in order to make money. Bloggers, however, are usually looking only for the free options. I’m not suggesting that you go out and spend loads of money to build and market your blog, but keep an open mind to products and services that can streamline your efforts and increase your productivity.

7. Bookkeeping

If your blog is a business to you, it’s important to keep good records of your income and expenses. As a business, your expenses will most likely be tax deductible (check with a tax professional in your country), so you will obviously want accurate records. Tracking your income can also be helpful for monitoring your progress towards goals and for confidence and moral boosts.

You can use a number of different tools for this purpose, including a spreadsheet program like Excel. If you’re making decent money with your blog and you want a more sophisticated solution, there are several online programs, including Xero. For most bloggers a simple spreadsheet system will do.

8. Outsourcing

Many successful bloggers have found outsourcing to be an effective way to manage multiple projects. Daniel obviously runs several blogs, and I doubt that would be possible for him without outsourcing some of the work to others. He is certainly not alone. Hiring writers can be a good choice if your blog is producing enough money to cover the expenses. It’s not the right move for everyone, and definitely not for all stages of bloggers, but be willing to consider outsourcing as an option to improve your business’s profits.

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Mohit Gupta, mohit gupta
Mohit Gupta
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