It seems you can’t go anywhere these days without tripping over the latest “make money online” scheme. “I was living in a cardboard box on the street until I discovered blogging and now I’m worth millions.”
All these schemes advise you to pick a good niche with loads of traffic and no competition, write a blog and earn money from advertising, affiliate commissions and products. This may work for blogs with years of experience and huge traffic but, to me, this misses the entire point of blogging.
I have run a profitable business on the back of my blog for years but I don’t make much money from advertising, affiliate commissions or products. I make all my money from clients who have contacted me through my blog. And you don’t need huge traffic to do that.
I never chose my niche. My niche chose me. I was a “creative artworker” when I started blogging. You don’t know what a “creative artworker” is? Don’t worry, I realized no-one else did so I quickly changed to being a “graphic designer”.
Rule 1 of Business Blogging: Research Keywords
Head over to Google Keyword Research (or just google “keyword research” and click the first organic result) and see how many people are searching for the words you use to describe the job you do. Whether you’re a “basket weaver”, a “stock broker” or a “widget making guru” it is essential to know if there is demand for your services in the first place and what words people use to describe you.
People may not use the words you use to describe what you do. In fact, you may have been working in your niche for so long that you’ve forgotten what words you used before you became an expert. This is important. People want experts to talk like experts but they want to communicate with people. So use the language of the lay-person as well as the language of the expert.
So, once I’d finally come to my senses and realized it would be better to advertise services that people actually required, I started to write in my blog about graphic design.
OK, maybe it was luck, maybe the economy was better than now (this was 2006), or maybe there weren’t as many billions of webpages as there are now, but, I began to get clients.
Suddenly, I was in the embarrassing position of having to take calls from prospective clients whilst freelancing in other people’s offices!
Life got a little complicated as I worked in design studios during the day and with my own clients during the evening.
At this time I was a print designer but I was noticing that people were increasingly asking me to do web design work.
Rule 2 of Business Blogging: Adapt to the Needs of the Audience
This is when I realized that the internet isn’t set in stone. If you want to modify the title and subject matter of your blog you can – slowly, over months and months, you can write about subjects that are tangental to your original content.
As any good SEO article will tell you, there are two sides to getting found on the internet. One, constantly create valuable blog posts with your well-researched keywords in the titles. Two, have links to your site from other authority sites in your niche with your well-researched keywords in the anchor text.
What’s anchor text? Anchor text are the clickable words that form hyperlinks. So, in HTML, this is anchor text.
So, I found over time I could change the subject of my blog from being about graphic design to web design and now to web design and marketing.
Slowly changing the content to related fields has kept my original readers happy whilst attracting new visitors.
This should be done with care, however, changes in the subject of your blog should be subtle and done over long periods.
Rule 3 of Business Blogging: Don’t Stop
I’m going to give you the best piece of advice about blogging, SEO, social media and internet marketing. It only consists of a few words and it puts little details like keyword density, meta tags and internal PageRank sculpting into the stage.
And here it is: don’t stop! What I mean is, do these three things:
- Create useful, credible content on your blog
- Back it up with useful, credible content on Twitter and other social networks
- Forge partnerships with other reputable bloggers in your niche so that the links keep coming in
If you do those three things consistently over a period of time you will have a blog that will bring clients and success to your company.