Growing your own blogging business can be tough, especially when you’re first starting out. Whether you run an affiliate blog, an eCommerce side-hustle, or write sponsored posts, with so many potential avenues to explore, it can be hard to see the wood for the trees.
While it’s true that you shouldn’t become obsessed with growth (it’s about quality not quantity!), growing your blogging business is an exciting challenge.
In order to grow as a blogger and a business owner, you need to grab the bull by the horns yourself. Here are some tips on just how to achieve that.
Get back to audience basics
You probably started your blog with a specific aim in mind, an idea that guided you through the early stages of building and monetizing your blog. By now, you might have lost sight of your original idea or target reader, or you’re just lacking in blogging mojo.
Also, you need to get back to basics to nail down who your target audience are and what your blogging aims are.
You should then ensure that every move that you make is genuinely leading you down a path that caters to your reader and your blog’s goal. This is a good chance to reacquaint yourself with the values you set out with when you first started. This will help guide you — and your blog — down the right path.
Ask for help from the community
Going it alone can be tough, especially when you’re running a blog. Grueling stretches in front of a screen creating content, organizing marketing, building your readership — all these can throw up issues and problems that you need to resolve. But the blogger community is wide and far-reaching, and it’s full of people who are only too happy to help you with any issues you might be facing.
Social media is a great place to find advice and help. There are plenty of dedicated blogging groups on Facebook for you to join and crowdsource solutions, and it’s a platform that virtually everyone is active on. Or you could head to industry forums or Q&A sites like Quora to get answers and ideas. You could even trawl the comments sections of other blogs to find some useful tidbits. The blogging community is a friendly one, and the chances are someone out there will have been in your situation before and will know the answer to your problem.
Be ready to grow
This may sound obvious, but it’s crucial that you’re fully prepared for growth. If growth comes at the wrong time, you’ll just end up picking up the pieces. Both mental and practical preparation are key to a profitable growth spurt.
Here are some ways to prepare:
- Have a financial system in place that can take a bit of strain. If everything is still being run out of your shoebox, you will find it hard to keep your bookkeeping in order when more readers, clients, and brands start knocking at your door. An online system like Zoho will help you manage invoicing and ensure that you don’t hit any cash flow issues.
- Have a break or holiday. If you have been working non-stop for a year, you’re not ready to grow, you’re probably ready to burn out! It’s very important that you prepare yourself for growth with some ‘me time’. You will come back to your work with a renewed sense of purpose.
- Cultivating relationships with people is always important. Before a growth period, nurturing existing relationships with readers can help you manage during those first crazy weeks.
You can also hack your way into speedy growth by going into a blogging partnership or purchasing an already profitable business and making it even better. Online, you are never far away from the ‘next big thing’: there are plenty of existing business sites for sale from brands that are already making a healthy profit. You could also look into buying up profitable domains, creating content, and then selling them on.
Look deep into your blogging strategy to see whether there are smarter ways to scale and be profitable. Investing in a second business can help alleviate existing financial issues, meaning you can focus on growing your blog.
Tackle issues you find hard head on
It’s very easy to procrastinate, especially when it comes to things that are genuinely difficult and stress-inducing. If you really want to commit to fearless growth, you need to become tackle your business issues head on.
It might seem daunting but knuckling down and grappling with an issue that’s been holding you back for a few good hours can prevent more stress further down the line.
Invest in processes and automation to super-charge growth
Stop relying on yourself to remember and do everything: a smart blog is a series of smart processes.
Automation is a great way to lighten the entrepreneurial burden, and help you scale without stress. The latest generation of growth-hacking shortcuts are largely free or cheap. If you’re looking for a quick solution to a business problem, one of the best places to start looking is on an app marketplace.
- Tools such as IFTTT can help streamline your workflow, by getting apps like Gmail, Dropbox and a myriad of other programs to interact in a variety of different ways. IFTTT requires very minimal expertise and can make a real difference to the daily functioning of your business
- Organizational tools like Trello can help you manage your business and are particularly good for anyone want to take their creative work to the next level. Trello is also easy to manage on the go, and boards can be shared amongst colleagues and clients.
- Martech means that the world is just brimming with clever apps and plugins that will help you scale your social media efforts, automate your list building, and generally make you into a better full-stack marketer. Take advantage of tech and learn how to use it to super-charge your website and social efforts.
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Markets can be volatile, and they change just as much as people. Fads like unicorn cupcakes and fidget spinners come and go, and new platforms and channels jostle for space on a crowded marketplace. As a business blogger, it’s smarter to embrace change than to work against it.
If you’re struggling to make things profitable, consider whether you have really found product-market fit? Do you need to go back and reevaluate your blog’s aim and direction? Are you meeting your readers’ needs? It could be that growth will only come after you have fixed these things about your business.
You might also need a second (or third, or fourth!) pair of eyes when it comes to analyzing your blogging business. It’s important to take in feedback from the market and other people, and not become ‘business blind’ (the enemy of growth). Ultimately, change can breathe new life into your blog, providing you with the jumpstart you need to see fresh growth in your business.
Growing your blogging business shouldn’t be painful if you approach it right. Embrace change, innovate wherever possible, and take a deep dive into your blog’s business direction, and you will find growth that is long-lasting and sustainable.
About the author: Kayleigh Alexandra is a content writer for Micro Startups — a site dedicated to giving through growth hacking. Visit the blog for your latest dose of startup, entrepreneur, and charity insights from top experts around the globe. Follow us on Twitter @getmicrostarted.