Maybe you’re ready to start a new career. Maybe you’re looking for a creative outlet but want to go pro with it. Maybe you want to turn your side hustle into a small business. Whatever your circumstance is, you’re probably here because you’re considering starting a professional blog.
So how do people become professional bloggers? It’s not always as simple as signing up for a free blogging platform and writing. Strategy is important if you want to turn a profit. We’re here to help with that part of it. These are our tips for making your blog a viable source of income.
Before starting a blog business, you may be wondering if blogs are still relevant. Well, you’re in luck. Blogs are still one of the top forms of media when it comes to content strategy.
It is, however, still important to choose the right niche. The blogging sphere is already fairly saturated, meaning general interest blogs are unlikely to stand out. Make sure your blog targets a more specific topic — ideally territory that isn’t highly covered by competitor blogs — so you set yourself apart.
You also should be prepared to commit wholeheartedly to the blogging process. Blogging as a hobby is a great way to stretch your creativity, but pro bloggers have to put in some extra elbow grease. This might mean long hours spent managing the blog, writing, and researching potential ways to monetize. The blog may take some time before it gains traction with a regular audience, so it’s important that you prepare yourself for the long haul.
You’ve got the motivation. The fire is lit underneath you. You’re ready to start your blogging career. But don’t let your eagerness lead you into putting the cart before the horse. Before you start blogging, you need to make sure you’re approaching it in the right way.
Now is the time to get organized and figure out what you’ll need to get started. One of the best ways to do so is to create a blog business plan. Let’s take a look at how to create a blog business plan to set yourself up for success and explore some of the other administrative considerations of becoming a professional blogger, such as if you need blogger insurance.
When we refer to “blogger/blogging insurance,” we mean any one or combination of multiple business insurance policies that will help cover a blogging business. Click the link above for more details.
A business plan is essential for anyone looking to start their own business. Blog businesses are no exception. A business plan will help you outline exactly what your blog is going to be about, what your priorities are, and what you hope to achieve. Here’s how to make a rock-solid blog business plan.
Outline your blog niche and your goals.
Summarize what your blog is going to be about, being sure to point out what sets it apart, and what your goals are. Having clearly presented goals can help you break down the monumental task of getting started into more manageable pieces. These goals might include how many readers you want to get, how many subscribers you hope to acquire by a certain date, or even a monetary goal. This gives you something to reach for.
Make sure you have fully defined the boundaries of your blog’s niche so that it doesn’t end up becoming too general. Choosing the right type of blog to start is a critical decision when trying to start a successful — and profitable — blog. Your area of focus is what will help set your blog apart.
Learn about your competition.
Locate other successful blogs that are in the same wheelhouse as yours. Try searching online for major keywords and phrases related to your niche, and check out any blogs that show up toward the top of your search results. Pay close attention to how they title and tag their content, as well as any affiliate programs or sponsored content they may have.
Seeing what a successful blogger does can help you apply some of the tools and tricks to your own blog.
Establish a schedule.
Consistent publishing is something that can set professional bloggers apart from hobbyists. Make a posting schedule for yourself. Having a schedule to adhere to may help keep you on track, and make sure your blog doesn’t go dormant. It also could help encourage readers to return to your blog again if they know it is regularly updated!
Find a host.
The success of a blog hinges on many factors. One is where the blog is hosted, which we’ll get into later in this article. Once you’ve decided on a domain name, it’s time to look at blog hosting sites. Weigh your options. Costs and features vary from site to site, so find what works best for you and your budget and technical abilities.
Create a design aesthetic.
Don’t let a boring-looking website stand in the way of your blog’s success. Settle on how you want your blog to look, and customize it to fit your vision. It may be helpful to work with a graphic designer or web developer to ensure your design is implemented correctly and looks the best it possibly can.
Decide on monetization strategies.
It may take a while to make money through your blog business, but it’s important to think ahead regarding what forms of monetization you’d like to implement.
If you want to work with brands and create sponsored content, keep your feelers out for brands you’d like to work with. If you hope to use affiliate links in your blog posts, research affiliate programs that you can apply to when the time comes. And it doesn’t hurt to learn a bit about Google AdSense and whether it’s the right fit for your blog.
If you sell or rent goods through your blog, or provide any other taxable service, you may need a business license. Defer to your state’s guidelines to see what’s required — most states require a business license in these cases.
There are definitely some benefits to registering your business as an LLC. It’s relatively easy and inexpensive. More importantly, it entitles you to Limited Liability Protection. This means that if your business runs into legal issues, your personal assets likely won’t be affected.
Registering as an LLC also has tax advantages. While other types of businesses may be taxed on both the business income and the shareholder dividends, an LLC’s profits are passed through to the partners and included in their respective income taxes. More information on this type of tax structure can be found here. As always, if you have any questions, your best bet is to consult a tax advisor.
Before starting any creative or professional venture, it’s important to get an idea regarding the related costs. Let’s look into some potential costs to consider when starting a blog.
Blogging as a hobby can generally be done at little or no cost, depending on where your blog is hosted. However, there are plenty of potential associated costs for bloggers looking to level-up their content. Depending on your blog’s niche, these might include:
Your mileage may vary! Blogging doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive, but blogging professionally could potentially mean lots of added up-front costs. These costs may not be necessary, but professional bloggers may find they add value to their content.
While there are plenty of free blogging websites you can use, you might find that your capabilities are limited with them. As your blog grows, you might consider customizing and enhancing it. Free platforms often have limited customization tools, and you may find yourself wishing you’d chosen a more robust option.
If you plan on doing brand deals with companies or monetizing your content, a self-hosted blog is your best bet. “Self-hosted” means the blog is owned and operated by the blogger, and not the platform hosting it. Many brands won’t consider working with you if your blog isn’t self-hosted. This means you’ll have to purchase your domain name. On average, domain names cost between $10 and $20 per year, but could be more, depending on the name itself.
Wordpress.org is a popular platform for self-hosting a blog. Starting a blog with Wordpress will likely cost you anywhere from $150 to $200 as an upfront cost. Once your blog is up, your monthly cost will depend on which extras you decide to include to help host and promote your blog and can range between $5-200.
If you’re wondering when you can expect your blog to begin generating income, there isn’t a simple answer. It depends on a variety of factors, including how large an audience you’re reaching. Some advertisers require at least 1,000 monthly views before you see a cent.
On average, it takes about two years for blogs to start making a full-time income, but some bloggers start bringing in revenue within about six months. Regardless, if you’re starting a blog, don’t expect to turn a profit right away. Hope for the best, but be prepared to be in it for the long haul.
Let’s back it up a little. Before you make money from blogging, you need to know how exactly a blog can make money in the first place. Read on to learn more about how blog monetization works.
The short answer: Yes.
The slightly longer answer: As long as you go about it the right way and are willing to put some effort into it. It’s not only about writing interesting content. Making money from a blog takes some strategizing. Here are some good rules of thumb to making a profitable blog:
Ads are one of the most common ways of turning your blog into a profitable business. With Google AdSense, you can get paid for displaying Google ads on your blog. If you get a lot of monthly views, the AdSense can add up.
If ads aren’t your cup of tea, however, there are a few other options for monetizing your blog.
Affiliate marketing. Bloggers often list the equipment, products, and tools they use. Readers are curious! Through an affiliate program, you get a unique link to a product you can include in your posts. Like a salesperson gets commission from a sale, a blogger can get a cut of the profit for sales made through their affiliate link.
Sponsored posts. Reviews and testimonials are valuable for companies. As a result, some will work with bloggers offering compensation for posting an approved piece, such as a review, thought piece, or endorsement.
Paid content. Offering additional content behind a paywall can be a great way to make money. If you have a particular skill that can be taught online, consider creating an online course. If you have a loyal readership, it also might be worth starting a subscription model offering additional content.
Sell your services. Depending on your blog’s niche, you may have the opportunity to sell yourself as a consultant, writer, or teacher. If your blog focuses on finances, for instance, and you have the appropriate credentials, you could use your blog to promote one-on-one financial advising. Or maybe you want to dip your toes into freelance writing. Your blog is a great place to offer up your services to potential clients.
Finding sponsorships can be tricky. But there are some best practices for getting a piece of the sponsorship pie:
You can never be too careful. You may think there’s no danger in running a blog business. In reality, it has risks, just like any other career. Blogging insurance can help you in the event of a general liability claim, property claim, and even a reputational claim. These might include:
Simply Business® makes it easy to find blogger insurance for your business. With policies starting as low as $22.13 a month,* we shop options from leading commercial insurance carriers to find coverage that fits your business and budget. Tell us a little about your business with our free online quote tool. We’ll have a quote ready for you in minutes.
Leave it to us. You’ve got the creativity; we’ve got the rest.
Just about anyone can blog. That’s the beauty of it! When blogging came onto the scene, it allowed anyone from just about anywhere to share their passions, ideas, and expertise. But it takes extra motivation and inspiration to commit to making a business out of it.
If you know what you want to blog about, and after doing research you believe that it’s an idea with opportunity, it might just be the right time to start. There’s no time like the present. The sooner you start building your blog business model, the sooner your efforts may start to pay off.
*Monthly payment calculations (i) do not include initial premium down payment and (ii) may vary by state, insurance provider, and nature of your business. Averages based on April - June 2022 data of 10% of our total policies sold.
After several years of working in insurance while also freelance writing, I've finally found where the two interests intersect. I'm a writer with Simply Business with an insurance processing background and a love of research.
Kristin writes on a number of topics such as small business trends, license reciprocity, and BOP insurance.
This content is for general, informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal, tax, accounting, or financial advice. Please obtain expert advice from industry specific professionals who may better understand your business’s needs. Read our full disclaimer
*Harborway Insurance policies are underwritten by Spinnaker Insurance Company and reinsured by Munich Re, an A+ (Superior) rated insurance carrier by AM Best. Harborway Insurance is a brand name of Harborway Insurance Agency, LLC, a licensed insurance producer in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. California license #6004217.