3, 2, 1… A Blog is the Perfect Launching Pad to Blast Off Your Online Business

January 14, 2009 - Written by Gyutae Park  

blastoffA few days ago I wrote that blogging for ads is dead and that you sell yourself short by doing so.  There are so many better and more effective ways to monetize your blog and selling ads becomes rubbish once you realize them.  Be sure to read that post if you haven’t already.

Today I want to expand on the topic and talk more specifically about building a business starting with your blog.  In fact, a blog is an amazing tool and offers the perfect launching pad to blast off your business.

What do I mean?

Say that you’re looking to start a new online business in a niche that you’re passionate about.  You have the knowledge and you have the skills, but you have absolutely no idea what kind of site you want to create and how you’ll make money from it.  If this kind of mindset is holding you back, you’re severely limiting your potential.  What makes you think the perfect business idea will suddenly come to you?  Without action it most likely won’t.

shakespeare blog not blogEven if you don’t have a clear business idea, start off with a blog covering the topic you’re interested in.  Utilizing this strategy comes with a lot of benefits that will help you to jump start your business.  Later in this post, I’ll go into more detail about why this is the case and how you can best use blogging to launch your venture.

With improving technology, blogs are becoming extremely easy to set up and maintain.  Simply download the free WordPress software and you’ll be up and running in as little as 5 minutes.  Large corporations are using blogs as marketing tools to communicate with customers and to complement their businesses.  Why not start off with one and reap the benefits?

Don’t wait to get started in Internet marketing or to start your new online business.  Every rocket needs a launching pad and a blog is the perfect one for you.

Need more convincing?  Take a look at how some of these successful Internet entrepreneurs started their businesses.

  • Yaro Starak of Entrepreneurs Journey first started his blog to talk about his Internet marketing ventures.  Now he has the Blog Mastermind coaching program which makes him  five figures every single month.
  • Brian Clark of Copyblogger first started his blog to share his insights on Internet marketing and writing effective copy.  Now he uses his big reputation to sell related products like Teaching Sells, Thesis WordPress Theme, Partnering Profits, and Lateral Action.
  • Timothy Sykes, a penny stock trader, first started his blog to promote his book about trading.  Now he sells stock alerts and DVDs that make him over $75,000 every month.
  • Michael Arrington of TechCrunch first started his blog because he loved analyzing tech startups.  Now he has an established brand and network of tech properties that net him millions of dollars every year.

As you can see, none of these people started off knowing exactly what they could do to make money online.  Instead, each of them started off with a blog and leveraged it to build a profitable business.

4 Reasons Why Your Blog is the Perfect Launching Pad

1. Develop connections with important people

You know how the saying goes, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”.  While I don’t think this is entirely true, having lots of key contacts and being well-connected certainly gives you an advantage.  For example, if two people were starting movie businesses tomorrow – a former Hollywood film producer and a random Joe Schmoe, who do you think would have the edge?  The film producer can easily ask friends in the industry for favors while Joe has no one to rely on but himself.

In the same way, starting a blog throws you into the industry that you’re interested in and helps you to establish key relationships with other people.  Instead of having to rely on yourself, you have influential people to back you up and provide support.

After starting Winning the Web last year, I’ve gotten the chance to talk to other Internet marketers who I admire and bounce ideas off of them.  There is such a thing as “blogger bonding” that will help you to get the attention of the key players in your industry.  For example, I’m much more likely to promote a blogger friend’s product than I would a random person’s.  Sure, the random person’s product could be better, but the trust factor just isn’t there.

Blogging is the ultimate online relationship building tool.  Use it now and you won’t regret it later.

2. Build a customer base

How would you feel if I said you could have rabid customers begging to give you money before you even launched your business?  Would you be interested?  This isn’t just hype, I’m telling you what’s possible with a blog and some hard work.  Blogging enables you to attain leads and develop a loyal customer base before you even launch your real business.

For example, I plan on creating a premium content Internet marketing membership site here on Winning the Web in the next few months.  If I was to start from scratch, it would probably take me a tremendous amount of time and money to acquire new leads and gain customers.  In fact, I probably wouldn’t be very successful.  However, after blogging for over a year, I now have a solid customer base (you guys) of over 2,000 RSS subscribers and loyal readers.  People know what to expect from me and they know me on a more personal level.  There’s brand recognition so they’re much more willing to buy (hopefully).

Start a blog and get your ideas out there.  The most important thing you can do while blogging is to establish a strong brand and reputation.  Develop relationships with your readers and keep them coming back for more.  The more leads you have via your blog, RSS feeds, and email lists, the easier it will be for you to expand into new projects.

3. Research your market

You can’t own your own McDonald’s without first eating at one and working at one, right?  In the same way, a blog gives you a taste of your market – what people want, what people are interested in, and what value you can provide to the industry.  Blogging is a great market research tool that engulfs you in the culture and allows you to experience the needs of your potential customers first hand.

Use your blog to communicate with your readers.  Write posts on related topics and look at your analytics and user feedback to assess what works and what doesn’t.  You’ll learn how the market reacts to certain things and you’ll learn what kind of value you can bring to the table.  This valuable information will not only help you to run your future business, but it will also give you a better understanding of what type of business to start in the first place.

4. Get the cash flowing

Other than the lack of “good ideas”, the other roadblock that holds people back from starting their online businesses now is money.  You need money to make money, right?  While it certainly helps, money shouldn’t be the reason why you can’t get started.  A blog costs just a few dollars to maintain every month and is attainable by pretty much anyone with a computer.  All you need is time, and if you can’t spare a few hours a day then you really shouldn’t be thinking about an online business anyway.

When I started Winning the Web in 2007, it pretty much made me no money.  Now it makes around $1,000 every month through advertising deals and affiliate marketing offers.  I then reinvest that money to further promote the blog and work on launching my big money-making projects.

Unlike most other businesses, a blog has extremely low startup costs – and yet has the potential to bring in cash flow that you can use to leverage other sites.

With all of the benefits I just mentioned, starting a blog is really a no brainer especially if you’re just getting started.

How to Prepare Your Blog For Blast Off

Now that you understand the benefits of starting up a blog before creating any sort of online business, it’s important that you know how to do it.  What do you need to do to prepare for blast off success?

1. Stop thinking and build it now – action brings clarity

Stop thinking about starting your online business – planning and contemplating what to do.  While planning is important to an extent, it’s my belief that action brings clarity.  You never know what will change tomorrow so you have to take action today and implement your ideas.  Experience is simply the best teacher and dwarfs anything you might learn in a book or blog post.  Quit whining and start your blog.  It’s the first step to a successful business.

2. Participate in the community and make connections

You can’t do this Internet marketing thing on your own.  The sooner you realize this, the better off you’ll be.  A blog is a great vehicle for building relationships and making connections.  Use it to its maximum potential.

3. Spread your ideas – be known for something

When I say to build a blog, I don’t mean to copy what everyone else is doing in your industry.  If you want to see success, you have to be unique and spread new ideas to your audience.  People will remember you for them and support you in your new ventures.  A blog without new ideas or unique value is dead.

4. Build a brand

In the past month, I’ve given you 2 posts about how to build your brand: How to Be a Top 100 Online Marketer in 2009 – 8 Lessons in Personal Branding and How to Build a Brand Today – The Future of Your Online Business Depends on It.  Read through them if you haven’t done so already and put them into practice.  A brand is the most valuable asset you can have and it’s extremely important if you want to leverage your blog to build a business.

5. Develop your conversion funnel

Even as you begin writing on your blog, collect as many leads as possible.  Talk to your readers, encourage them to subscribe to your RSS feed, give away a free resource, and build your email list.  Like I mentioned, the more leads you collect over time, the more leverage you’ll have once you launch a new product.

6. Always work towards your goal

With blogging, it’s very easy to settle for what you have.  Once you get advertisers and start making some money, you’ll inevitably become more comfortable with what you’re doing.  Your blog essentially becomes your business.  While this does work for some people, you sell yourself short by doing so.  Work towards your goal and have a plan in mind to develop it over time.  Remember that your blog is a means to an end, not the final destination.

7. Get ready for lift off!

After you’ve spent some time blogging and plugging yourself into the community, something will click inside your head – a new business idea and a plan of action.  Take it and run with it.  Use your blog to blast off your business.  3, 2, 1…  If you work hard and keep at it, it’s only a matter of time.

How are you using your blog to build your business?  Is there anything you can add to the post?  Agree or disagree?  Share your stories and feedback in the comments below.

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34 Responses to “3, 2, 1… A Blog is the Perfect Launching Pad to Blast Off Your Online Business”

Jonathan Muller on January 14th, 2009 Subscribed to comments via email

A blog is an awesome way to launch your online business. I think way to many people think a successful blog is the end goal, but that’s entirely not the case. Sure you can make some money from it, but a blog should be to record your experience and use it as an anchor for your other projects. I’m using mine to build a brand like you said, and so then when I release my product, I’ll be able to brand it with mastersofseo, and it’ll mean something. You can only make so much money with a blog, but you can have numerous products off of the blog, that can be highly successful. Nice post man, I’m really enjoying your recent works.

Gyutae Park on January 15th, 2009

Hey Jonathan,
Thanks for the feedback. I’m glad that you’re enjoying the recent posts. I think we’re pretty much on the same page – I don’t consider success with a blog the end goal as you mentioned as well. In fact I want to leverage the blog to branch out into new more profitable businesses.

Btw, I like what you’re doing at Masters of SEO. You have a pretty cool domain name that can easily be branded and I think you can definitely work with your blog now to create some sort of product.

 
 
Tom - StandOutBlogger.com on January 14th, 2009 Subscribed to comments via email

This is definately the goal with my blog. It is all about building a sphere of influence!

Gyutae Park on January 15th, 2009

Hey Tom,
Agreed. Blogging is a great tool that builds enormous influence. You’ve done a great job with Standout Blogger and it’s come a long way since you started off with ThomasSinfield.com. Looking forward to more of your progress.

 
 
Scott Mahler-Datex Media on January 14th, 2009

Blogs are fantastic ways to market yourself/business. I have to disagree with you a bit though. While a blog is a great companion site to your website, and a great way to go into more detail about your expertise in your particular field or industry, you still get much more flexibility and freedom with a website. Yes, there are more and more sites like wordpress that offer quick ways to set up your site, but you still have to have at least a bit of knowledge in html, css and seo in order to get the most out of it. With a professionally built website, you have experts that know what they’re doing and have the ability to build your vision for you. It may be more expensive, but in the long run, I believe it will make up for it in revenue.

Gyutae Park on January 15th, 2009

Hey Scott,
I think you’re focusing more about the technical aspects of a blog, while I’m discussing the benefits from a business standpoint. A blog is merely a platform where people can easily share their ideas and connect with readers.

Even so, I’d still have to disagree with you about creating professionally built websites. WordPress is an extremely easy and cost-effective solution that any new blogger can implement without much technical know-how. Most of the time, spending money on a new design isn’t an option for newbies.

 
 
Ann Arbor Web Design on January 14th, 2009

Good post; more and more people are realizing the importance of having a blog which makes any service or product seem more accessible and easily understandable to people. A blog can be a excellent value addition to a static site.

Gyutae Park on January 15th, 2009

You’re right. Blogs come with a ton of benefits in so many ways – SEO, branding, relationship building. They help to communicate with potential customers and essentially sell the product indirectly in a subtle way.

 
 
Donny Gamble on January 14th, 2009

If you blog, you have a competitive advantage over another business or service who don’t blog simply due to the fact that you can literally meet and netowrk with people from all around the globe. If you run into the right person, who knows were it might take you

Gyutae Park on January 15th, 2009

Hey Donny,
I completely agree. A blog appends a personality to an otherwise impersonal site. More people are inclined to interact and thus do business. The relationship building opportunities as you mentioned are pretty amazing as well. Have you met the “right person” using your blog yet? ;)

 
 
Lyndsay Cabildo on January 15th, 2009

Ahhm…you know for the fact that free hosting is not as good as paid hosting for traffic, right? you want to have a search engine friendly sites and not just a free hosted website…if personal blogging, that’s fine, but not when monetizing comes in to the situation.

Gyutae Park on January 17th, 2009

Hey Lyndsay,
I agree that paid hosting is a lot better than free ones (that usually come with ads plastered all over). However, I’m not too sure how that relates to the topic of this post. Care to explain?

 
 
Dawid Ryba on January 15th, 2009 Subscribed to comments via email

Good post, blogs come with a ton of benefits in so many ways ,for me Blog is list building and relationship building. I me opinion having blog is important no matter what area you are in . You can have personal blog , teaching blog or niche blog .

Gyutae Park on January 17th, 2009

Blogs are beneficial to any business model. Every business can gain from added relationships and and exposure. Growing a blog takes a lot of work, but it really is worth the effort.

 
 
TheMadHat on January 15th, 2009

Excellent post!

Gyutae Park on January 17th, 2009

Thanks, Aaron! I appreciate that. Good to have nods of approval from fellow bloggers like yourself.

 
 
Useless Affiliate on January 15th, 2009 Subscribed to comments via email

I wish i started my blog back then but hey..times are new and right now that’s my main focus

Gyutae Park on January 17th, 2009

Yeah, it’s useless dwelling on the past. It’s important to take action now when you have the chance. Five years from now, you’ll be saying the same thing about what you could have done now.

 
 
Karri Flatla on January 16th, 2009 Subscribed to comments via email

“Action brings clarity.” Indeed! Interestingly this is true in writing itself and definitely in terms of the so-called writer’s block that every blogger faces now and then. The more you do the more you know WHAT to do. As always I enjoy your insights. Best to ya!

Gyutae Park on January 17th, 2009

Thanks Karri! “Action brings clarity” is a concept I picked up from Rich Schefren and and it’s definitely a very important one to live by. Experience is the best teacher and it’s true that you know what to do as you start to take initiative.

 
 
Nick Stamoulis on January 16th, 2009 Subscribed to comments via email

I think the branding is a very important aspect. People want to come to a website or blog and feel like they are part of a great story. branding is what gets people to remember you down the road when they are with their friends hanging out.

Gyutae Park on January 17th, 2009

Hey Nick,
In the next 5 years, I think that brands will become increasingly important to survive online. You need to build a business rather than just take up random opportunities to make money. That way you’ll gain loyal fans who will stick with you and talk about you to others like you mentioned.

 
 
Will Lowrey on January 16th, 2009 Subscribed to comments via email

I am going to need to send this post to a number of my clients. I was just talking with my business partner the other day about methods of making money with a blog – and the best way of doing so is to use the blog to create a platform for your own services and/or products.

Gyutae Park on January 17th, 2009

Will,
That’s great! I’m glad that you find the article useful enough to share with your clients. Hopefully it will get the message across to them. A blog is definitely a great platform to sell some of your own services and products.

 
 
Bernard Giles on January 16th, 2009 Subscribed to comments via email

Hey Gyutae,

another superb post. Just taking some action – any action, has such a tremendous impact. As Karri mentions above regarding writers block, for me starting out on the blog has been a challenge…what to write about? My plans are still a loose collection of ideas, so I’ve just started writing some of what I know about and post by post the clarity is emerging. If I hadn’t taken some action and just started, I’d still be wondering…

I think 6 months from now the blog will look nothing like now in content and format, but it had to start somewhere…

Cheers,
Bernard

Gyutae Park on January 17th, 2009

Hey Bernard,
I’m pretty much in the same boat as you. When I first started Winning the Web I was all over the place – news posts, reviews, long articles, short articles, etc. But as I kept writing and learned what works and what doesn’t, I had the insights to understand what direction to take the blog. Good luck with your blog! I’m sure you’ll make a lot of big strides in the next 6 months.

 
 
Proven Online Business on January 22nd, 2009

What a great and thorough post! Yes I very much agree with you that a BLOG can be your launching pad to online success. I thought that having a web presence was a hard thing but now know that I can set up a niche blog site with WordPress (from within my hosting account) within 10 minutes. Its funny how much you learn when you get stuck in!

 
Classifieds on January 29th, 2009 Subscribed to comments via email

I agree blogging is a great way to get known and to make relations with other people in your niche.

 
J. T. on February 5th, 2009 Subscribed to comments via email

[late to the party]
Agreed, great post! Having recreated my own site recently, with an aim toward building business, the next step is to begin adding value (content). In the past, I did it through static HTML…clearly a labor-intensive non-productive approach.

In addition to my other social networking efforts, this (blogging) is clearly the next tool to employ. Thank you for the article.

 
Abigail on April 15th, 2009 Subscribed to comments via email

I am asking for some patience here – I am new to all this “blog” thing and have only just learned about it. I am a free lance florist but would like to market my “package weddings” and have been told that a blog is the way to do it. Now I just have to figure out how! I have taken on board what you say about getting “experts” on your team but can’t see how that relates to me – is this “blogging” thing just suitable for corporate types?

 
Karri Flatla on April 15th, 2009 Subscribed to comments via email

@Abigail – An emphatic “YES” that blogging absolutely has a place in your marketing strategy! The very thing about blogging that makes it so powerful is that you can use a blog to leverage your knowledge and your brand in just about any market you can think of and it just fits. The key is to think about the type of content you want to create to reach out to and engage your market. As a florist, I can see a ton of potential in a blog! For example, you might want to post pics and commentary on your latest wedding projects. Ask for feedback on new floral arrangements you want to try. Post tips on how to select the right arrangement/colors/etc for your wedding. And on and on!

But don’t over think it either. Just get started and the momentum can build.

HTH!

 
Chris Peterson on January 28th, 2010

Blogging, a big industry set to overtake all others in the world of Internet is advancing like some rocket science, till yesterday no one knew about what the blogs are? And how do we earn money from it? How does blogging take place? And today everyone knows about it, and are going ga-ga over it for it has become a source of income for many, that too handsome money, plus it brings lots of rewards and popularity in the blogging networks. If you are a blogger who has just started off, you will know the fruits 5 years down the line, there is no need to panic if you are not earning good money like other bloggers do.

 
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