For Joanie and Heather, both busy moms, blogging was the best way to get their business up and running in the time they had available. In this post, you can learn from Joanie and Heather’s success and discover what you need to get your own new blog up and running today!
Joanie and Heather’s Blogging Start-up 101
If you haven't already, first things first—read through these two blog posts from Joanie and Heather. By the time you’re finished following the instructions in each, you’ll be up and running with your own potentially lucrative blog!
How to Start a Coupon Blog and Make It Profitable in 30 Days by Joanie Demer
How to Set Up Google Analytics on Your Blog in 10 Minutes by Heather Wheeler
Once you have the basic mechanics in place (blog setup, affiliates links, analytics), it’s time to give your brand new blog a firm foundation to succeed…and earn.
1. Articulate your USP (Unique Selling Point)
Depending on who you ask, your USP might be called your Mission and Vision or your Business Statement. It doesn't matter what you call it. What matters is that you know it and factor it in each time you craft a blog post.
Your USP should answer this one question: "Why will readers choose to visit my blog rather than someone else's?"
If you’re daunted by the challenge of answering this question (especially so early in your blog's young life) start by answering this question instead, "Why do you visit KCL instead of other couponing blogs?" or "Why is KCL one of your favorite couponing blogs?" Then, take your answer and apply it to your own blog. What can you do to make your new blog attractive to readers the way KCL is attractive to you?
2. Create at least 4 weeks' worth of posts
This isn't as challenging as it sounds—your goal here will be to write one blog post per week so you’ll be working to create your first four blog posts. Not only will working on this task help you further refine your USP, but you will then free up your available time to work on a few other necessary items your new blog needs right away, because your content will already be written and scheduled for the next four weeks!
3. Choose a way to capture readers' email addresses
Many bloggers use an email management system to do this (for instance, Mail Chimp, Constant Contact, Mad Mimi, AWeber, etc.). You want to capture email addresses so you can begin building a relationship with your readers. Once you choose your email management system, you can install their "Opt-In" form on your blog to capture email addresses.
Here are a few fun ways to capture readers' email addresses:
- Offer a free subscription-based e-newsletter with weekly discounts or giveaways.
- Run a poll or contest.
- Give out a free excerpt from a book or white paper you're written.
- Offer a special free coupon or discount to a product or service (yours or another blogger’s).
4. Link your blog to your social networks
If you’re using WordPress for your blog, you can easily link your social media networks so your blog posts are automatically distributed to your network as soon as they’re published (in fact, most blogging platforms now offer a way to do this). Alternately, you can use a third-party app such as Hoot Suite, TwitterFeed, or Buffer App to distribute your content to various social media pages and profiles for you.
5. Set your blog-networking machine in motion
If you already know (or can meet) influencers in the topic area your blog addresses, reach out to them and initiate a relationship. This can help you "share" readers in a way that will benefit you both (KCL does this in their affiliate relationship with Coupons.com).
There are several ways to begin building rapport with influential bloggers:
- Offer to write a guest post on another blogger's blog.
- Invite another blogger to write a guest post for your blog.
- Purchase products from a fellow blogger, then blog about them, link back to the other blogger's blog, and alert that blogger and ask for a follow-up post.
- Create a "Best of" or "Top 10" list and name your favorite influential bloggers, then post comments on each of their blogs to alert them.
- Read influential blogs and post comments regularly so they begin to recognize you.
6. Watch your Google Analytics closely
When Joanie and Heather first launched KCL's blog, they didn't even have a site counter installed (a site counter tells you how many "hits" or page views your blog gets each day).
When they finally did install a site counter, Joanie recalls, "When we first added a site counter, we were surprised at the number of views we'd get." Heather remembers thinking, "We're already doing work so why not monetize it? We signed up for an affiliate and started making money."
So watch your analytics closely. They will tell you which posts are most popular with readers. You can learn valuable information to help you boost readership in future posts by watching how current and past posts have performed. You can also link back to popular previous posts in future blog posts to continue building traffic.
By just following the steps in this post, you can have your blogging business up and running in a minimum amount of time. Simply continue working to build your readership (and affiliate income) as your schedule permits!