3, 2, 1… A Blog is the Perfect Launching Pad to Blast Off Your Online Business
January 14, 2009 - Written by Gyutae Park
A 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.
Even 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.If you like this post, subscribe to the RSS feed. Get the latest updates delivered straight to your email or news reader.