Making money online: Choosing a blog type
You can decide to blog about your personal habits, but no one would care about that unless you happen to be Paris Hilton. It would still be fine but we are here to help you make money. To achieve this objective, your blog should fall under one of the following categories:
1. Identify a gap in the market, and go for it
If you think everything there is to write on every possible subject is already being written, think again. Despite India not lagging behind in the blog roll calls, there is still a dearth of quality blogs with content being written consistently on them. A majority of blogs still focus on personal musings or public interest issues. Both these categories make for lesser subjects when it comes to making money. Just look around and you will be amazed at the number of topics you could cover: technology, automobiles, health, fitness, business, consumer goods, books, sports, marketing, travel, investing and fashion to name just a few. Even these can be further broken down to give you a niche. In technology, you could have separate blogs for mobiles, computers, social media, gadgets, software, programming etc.
Choosing your Blog topic:
- Decide on Type of blog and focus:
- Is it a hobby blog?
- Is it a business blog?
- Do you want to monetize?
- Will you do Pay per Post etc?
- Who is your target audience?
- What is the purpose of your blog?
- What can you blog?
- Blog your passion.
- Blog your interests.
- Blog what you want to know.
- Blog to enhance business or profile.
- Finding possible popular topics:
- Social media. e.g.: Technorati, StumbleUpon etc.
- Search engines (Google, Yahoo, MSN, Bing etc)
- Lycos Top 50
- Magazine, newspaper, television & other media
- Amazon, bookstore
- Technology (Gadgets, Mobiles, new and notable hardware/software reviews etc)
- Explore the Niche:
- Is it saturated niche?
- Is it too narrow a niche?
- Can you blog on it without burning out?
- How about even if there is no traffic for a while? (Check keyword tools for phrases)
- Can you make justice with more than one blog?
- Can you make justice with more than one topic?
- Are there opportunities to link to your "old" blog?
- What will you benefit from more than one blog?
Ideally, if you have some level of expertise or familiarity with the subject of your choice, its great. But don’t pursue a subject you know about just because that is the case. Assess its financial potential first. Yes, there are some topics you cannot write about till you have an inherent knowledge of the same. But expertise can often be acquired. How do you suppose journalists manage to cover so many different beats, including the ones they would not have known how to spell at one stage? Research, reading up and talking to people can make up for a lot of deficiencies. You can also make up for it by sourcing content from alternate sources as covered later.
You can be assured of attracting traffic at a rate faster than usual if you write about what is either not being covered or is being done so in a limited way. When someone searches for what you have written, chances of your blog coming high up in the results are pretty good. Remember, when we Google for something, all of us tend to click on what appears on the first few pages only. If you make it to these, you are in business. Of course, you have to be writing about something you know lots of people will be searching for.
Once you have traffic coming your way, you can tap into one of the many ways of generating income from your blog including advertising and affiliate sales as covered under a separate head later. Eyeballs matter.
2. A blog to enhance your professional income
Are you a programmer and extremely good at what you do? How does one know that if they have not worked with you? A CV can never say much, and it is easy to mislead in one. Let a blog be the proof of your pudding.
Whatever your domain expertise, start a blog about it. Share your knowledge, experiences and tips through a series of posts. Create an online portfolio of sorts where you talk about your achievements, awards, projects undertaken, assignments completed, testimonials and more. In a manner that your true worth comes across to your target audience.
How will it all help? Here are just some ways it can:
Clients will flock to you: Whether you are an independent professional or working for someone, clients may identify you as the key person they would rather trust their portfolio or assignment with. If someone wants an e-commerce portal developed, reading your blog may convince them on you being the right project leader to handle the work. Remember, it is people who finally do the work no matter how large or successful an organization is.
You charge higher rates: Once you know you are the preferred choice for a client, you may just get away by charging a slight premium on regular rates. If it is your own work, it all comes to your pocket. If you work for someone else, you can be sure of a fatter bonus or raise if you have a fair employer.
An employee in demand: As word gets out about quality clients being happier working with you than others, it will certainly enhance your reputation in the job market. And have companies reaching out to you to work with them. This could be the time to choose to go to not just the company you always desired working for but also at a remuneration package higher and more satisfying than what you would currently be drawing.
Time to strike out on your own: If you are in a sector where your skills matter to the output more than office infrastructure, plant and machinery then it may be time to strike out on your own. Many a professional, especially in fields like programming and consulting, has been able to do so knowing clients they were handling would send business their way from the day they set up shop. Likewise, if you have a million dollar idea of starting your own venture in, say, the dotcom space, VCs are more likely to back you up with money by understanding your capabilities and track record through your blog. For investors, it is the team behind a venture that matters more than the idea itself. Implementation is key to the success of even the best laid out plans, and this can easily go wrong if the people behind it are not suited for it.
3. Businesses need to blog – whether they are your own or you work for one
Do you run your own business? Especially a small or medium sized one? Then blogging about it makes very good sense for many reasons including:
Talk about your product or service: It is amazing how few businesses talk about what they have to offer to customers. Beyond the user manuals and sales promotion material, the only other source of information are salespersons – and we all know how inadequate they usually are. A blog can not only tell you the basic information of the product or service, but can cover its many aspects in more detail and highlights its benefits. This can help the customer make more informed decisions.
Beat the competition: The legendary adman David Ogilvy once advised an airline client to advertise their first class features. When the client said that these are similar to what their competitors offer, Ogilvy replied, “Yes, but who is talking about it?” The client took his advice and went to have one of the more successful campaigns in advertising history. Your blog gives you a similar advantage. In a market where competitive differences can often be miniscule, your talking about what you offer may just send more customers your way. Away from the competition.
Putting customers at ease by conversing: Your willingness to engage with your customers on a blog puts them at ease and positions yours as a business to trust. No one is perfect, and customers would rather be with someone who is willing to have honest and transparent conversations than with someone who would rather not.
Makes your business discoverable: A regularly updated blog means it features higher on search engine rankings than one that is not or just a company website. Translated it means attracting customers you never knew existed till they discovered you on their own.
Improve the search engine rankings of your site: Your website may be a static one with few updates, and not lend itself to going high up on the search engine rankings. But a blog on the subfolder of the main domain, something like www.mycompany.com/blog, is more dynamic with regular updates. This helps the cause of the main site when it comes to search engine rankings.
But you don’t have a business? So how does this benefit you? You can volunteer to blog about the company you work for. If you are in sales, the results will add a glow to your team’s performance directly. Even otherwise, once the company starts to enjoy the benefits of the blog, guess who will be the apple of the management’s eyes? You, who else. Thus ensuring you move up the corporate ladder faster than usual. Even carving out some special strategic position for yourself in the company.