Your Blog as a Startup: Tips to Manage Your Finances and Make Money Blogging
Remember when blogging started? It was the late ’90s, and at the time bloggers were called diarists, journal writers or journalers. Their first efforts were merely online extensions of their personal diaries, and as these early bloggers built up their audiences, many thought they could possibly profit from their new passion.
Today, blogs are often used as business opportunities to generate interest in a topic, reach out to existing customers and find new ones. Professional bloggers work hard to find untapped, niche topics that will attract readers and advertisers. Blogging for money is not a get-rich-quick thing, despite what some may claim – it takes time to build an audience, a brand, readers’ trust and a good reputation.
Your blog really is like a startup business. If you want to make full-time money from it, you’ll need to treat it as such.
Getting Your Blog Going
Startup entrepreneurs and bloggers have many similarities; both need to generate leads and sales to make and grow their income. Just as important, they need to manage their finances in order to thrive in the long term.
First, think of yourself as the first and only employee of your own startup. You’ll need to do everything for yourself unless you’re willing and able to pay someone else to help. Next, you need to know what the blog’s focus and passion will be. According to BloggingTips.com, you need to start with a solid knowledge base which you can pass along to your readers and, down the road, use to attract advertisers to your pulpit.
Tips to Help Bloggers Manage Their Finances
Open a Business Credit Card. Consider putting all your blogging expenses on one credit card. The American Express small business credit card helps you organize and track expenses and provides you with an end-of-year itemized statement. Managing your blog-related finances is easier when it’s all in one place.
Guest Post for Income. You can make extra money by guest posting on other blogs. This comes with an added benefit – it puts you “out there” on blogs besides your own and raises your visibility in the blogging community.
Personal Loans. Taking out a personal loan can provide you with working capital while you get your blog off the ground. It enables you to pay for a professional design and logo, which should enhance your brand. A loan can also be used to buy advertising, which may bring more targeted traffic to your blog.
Get a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Not necessary if you’re diligent with your finances and you enjoy doing your own taxes. If not, a CPA will guide you on financial decisions during the year and do your taxes at its end. By hiring an expert, you can focus more on blogging and building your brand.
Keep a Simple Monthly Revenue and Expense Spreadsheet. Nothing too fancy is required here, but building a spreadsheet to track all monthly revenues and expenses helps you realize “where it all went.” At the end of the year, you can give it to your CPA, to help him (or her) help you.
Sell Things You No Longer Need. If you have “stuff” you no longer use, consider selling it. Advertise them for sale with your local paper or on Craigslist or donate them to charity. The idea here is to downsize other areas of your life so you can concentrate of your new endeavor. Plus, who couldn’t use the extra income generated from selling things you don’t use anyway?
Who’s Making Money by Blogging?
Recently, Darren Rowse of Problogger fame conducted a survey of bloggers and posted the results in his piece, “Can You Really Make Money Blogging? [7 Things I know About Making Money from Blogging].” Of the 1,508 bloggers he surveyed, 65 (4 percent) were making more than $10,000 per month and 9 percent were pulling in more than $1,000 per month.
Considered an expert in this field, Rowse wrote, “My feeling, having been attending blogging conferences for six or so years now, is that the number of full-time bloggers is on the rise, and there are actually quite a few more people now at least making the equivalent of a couple of days’ work a week in income from their blogs.”
Note that patience and perseverance may be the keys to successful blogging; when Rowse analyzed his stats, of those who are in the top income bracket, 85 percent have been blogging for four years or more.
Leverage Social Media Accounts
Think of your social media accounts like Facebook and Twitter as channels to help you sell your products and service. Of course, you want to make it easy for your readers to share your posts with their friends and followers, so utilize any of the free social media icons that are available to you and your blog.
In addition to your regular informational tweets and posts, be sure to include specific mentions of what you’re selling. Keep a balance of about 90 percent general content and 10 percent content directly aimed at sales. This way you can market your blog while still delivering great information to followers.
Some of the best blogs on the Web evolved from consistent journalistic prowess, timely coverage or sensationalist stories. All of them had to start somewhere. So pick a niche, create great content and post regularly – you’ll build up traffic over time. Share your blog posts with other social networks to help generate interest in your blog, which helps monetize traffic through ads for products and services appropriate for your audience.
Peter Trapasso is a self-taught social media and wine expert. In addition to PeterTrapasso.com which is listed on Alltop Social Media, he also writes for VinoPete.com, LeadersWest.com, andSocialMediaLedger.com. He was invited to guest blog on several others including Jeff Bullas (JeffBullas.com) and Michelle Schaeffer (MichelleSchaeffer.com). Also seen on InformationWeek.com – 5 Free Twitter Analytics Tools: How Do They Measure Up?. As part of a 14+ year corporate career in technology he worked for Fortune 500 and startup companies. He is one of the 200 most followed people on Twitter in San Francisco and a Top 125 Klout Influencer.