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Using Your Blog as a Platform for More

Many of us start blogs as a hobby. Perhaps a way to make a little extra money. We rarely think beyond this to growing them into something more or turning them into a full-time job with a full-time income. But, over time, as we become more comfortable blogging and our audience starts to grow, we can begin to wonder whether it could be more.

You may have made some money from your blog, via advertising, affiliate marketing or working with brands and other businesses. This is a fantastic start. But, you can do more. Your blog can be a way into many other things, or it can grow into something else itself. This is exciting, adventurous and very hard work.

If you want to get more from your blog, it’s essential that you first conquer the basics. Before starting to push forward and expand your ideas, you need to go back to the foundations of blogging. Take some time out from your new ideas to go backward. Look at your older posts. Do they need new photographs or is the writing poor? This is the case for many of us. As we grow and learn as a blogger, we improve. Our most recent posts are very different from our cringe-worthy early attempts. Go back to the start, improve the SEO of all of your posts, tidy up the writing and take new photographs.

Then, look at your audience. You don’t need millions of readers to start to earn money from your blog. Many of us get offers from brands with just a few thousand readers or social media followers as long as our audience is loyal and engaged. But, if you want to take things further and use your blog as a platform for a new business or idea, you do need a large following. These need to be loyal readers, that keep coming back and would be excited about any new venture launched from your blog. They should also be people that are willing to help you by offering feedback or advice and sharing your news and content. If your following isn’t significant, spend some time finding new readers, reaching a wider audience and building loyalty by maintaining positive relationships with your readers.

Then, once your blog is fabulous and your readers are loyal, it’s time to grow. Using your blog as a platform for more is a wonderful idea. You’ve already got something substantial, something that makes money and draws people in. You’ve also got a lot of people that are interested in what you’ve got to say and would follow you and your new ideas. Here are some of the things that you could do next.

Create an App

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Bloggers are comfortable online, so an app might be the next logical step. The two also complement each other well if you want to stick to the same niche and appeal to the same audience. Think about how an app could help your readers.

If you run a parenting blog, you could perhaps launch an app which helps moms find local services that can help you. Or a way to find other moms in their area. A food blogger could launch an app filled with recipes and perhaps a way to order the ingredients to make them. There are apps for everything nowadays. Have a look at some apps in the Appstore that your audience use and take some time to think about what you could offer them that is different or much better.

Creating an app isn’t the same as developing and maintaining a blog. But, it doesn’t have to be particularly difficult either. If it’s something that you are worried about or want some help and guidance about turning your blog into a business in this way, check out software product development services for help.

Sell Your Services

The very best bloggers are those that offer more. They are an authority on their topic of choice. They offer their readers much more than lazy opinions and chatter. They provide information and advice. People ask them for help, and they have the right answers.

If you are one of these bloggers, you’ve already got a brilliant business. Your knowledge and expertise are worth more to some people. So, sell them. Think about your skills and your knowledge and find something that your readers would happily pay for. You could offer your services, write a book, create a course or set up a group with paid membership, where you share your knowledge and offer more, for a fee. But, if you choose to go down this road, it’s important that you remember that you need to provide more to those that pay while still giving enough for free to pull people in and keep them.

Some bloggers chose to do this through their current blog. Adding a member only section or selling courses and books. Others, set up a brand-new blog.

Start a Store

Many bloggers make money from affiliate sales. This is when you become an affiliate for a company and then link to their products on your site. If someone makes a purchase after clicking on one of these links, you receive a small percentage of the sales. This can be a great way to make a little extra cash, but it’s rarely massively profitable unless you are selling something that you feel passionate about or have a huge audience.

Affiliate sales can often lead bloggers to wonder about selling their own products. You get to stop being the middleman and start taking all of the money. You’ve already got an audience to sell to, and if your audience are loyal, they’ll be keen to get their hands on some of your merchandise.

If you blog in a niche like food or fitness, creating merchandise like yoga mats, chopping boards, aprons or activewear with your logo on is easy enough. Stationery like notepads, diaries, and pens is also very popular. Home bloggers might prefer to offer home décor or logoed cups and glasses, and business bloggers might be tempted to write a book.

When selling products, there are three main things that you need to consider. Firstly, what your audience want. What products do they need or already use? Think of things that appeal to them or things that you could do differently from anything else on the market.

Secondly, there’s quality. You certainly don’t just want to go out and buy some cheap t-shirts and take them to a printer. These won’t sell and could hurt your blog. Don’t rush yourself. Find one product that your readers would like, make sure it’s original, creative and long-lasting. Work on some ideas and designs, work out how much it will cost to produce and think about how much you’d be willing to pay for this product. Do lots of market research, ask around, look at the competition and then have a go. Then, add new products, taking your time to get it right.

Thirdly, you need to decide how you are going to sell your products. Will you launch a new blog, add an ecommerce store to your current website, or set up on Etsy? Of course, there’s no reason that you can’t do them all to find out what works.

There are plenty of ways that you can make money from your blog, and you could easily turn it into a business on its own. But, you can also use your blog as a platform to create something more. These ideas are a great starting point to give you some ideas.