A blog is not enough. You can be doing more.
A few years ago it actually wasn’t that uncommon to make a decent income from a simple series of blog posts and a revenue stream like advertising or Adsense ads.
These days, however, the competition is such that you need to be doing a lot more if you want to take it to that professional level. And if you are doing well from just a plain old blog then there might be a lot of further opportunities that you are missing out on.
In this post I want to talk about a few things that me and my online friends are doing in order to take advantage of the modern-day gold rush that is the world wide web.
I hope this gives you some ideas!
BONUS: Here is a post about making money when your blog is brand new that might be good to read after this one.
The two opportunities your blog has going for it
Sometimes I get the feeling that many bloggers think that a blog is a kind of standalone entity that exists by itself and has only one fixed purpose.
In reality, a blog should be part of a bigger picture that you create in order to promote a business, product or profile. – Tweet this.
Broadly speaking a blog gives you two types of opportunities: the direct ones that happen on your site, and the indirect ones that can happen elsewhere.
Sometimes there is crossover but here’s a rough graphical representation of what I mean:
If you are just focusing on writing great content and earning money directly there is a chance that you are missing out on a big chunk of opportunities that could be coming your way.
And if you are an entrepreneurial type of person you might start to think that maybe a blog by itself is just not enough.
Some examples of bloggers who do more
What I’d like to do now is show you a few cool examples that I have found of people who have great blogs but also take advantage of additional opportunities that are either created by, or promoted on, their blogs.
This post isn’t designed to give you a step-by-step guide on what to do with your blog. Rather, I’m hoping to give you a few ideas on how you might take things further in the future.
1. Darren Rowse and his ProBlogger Events
Darren Rowse is the perfect example of someone who uses his blog not directly as a huge earner, but more as a profile builder. While I’m sure ProBlogger does make a great income, Darren has been open in the past about the fact that Digital Photography School is his main revenue stream and ProBlogger is perhaps more a “tool” for other opportunities.
ProBlogger initially started off as a very simple blog but has now expanded out to a whole brand that includes a paid forum, eBook sales and the ProBlogger Events. These conferences sell out every year within minutes and attract some really huge speakers (like Dooce…).
What a powerful way to network and elevate one’s own status within the niche. You hear so much positive feedback after the conferences finish and the buzz about ProBlogger really spreads wide while solidifying some very important relationships. If you want to start a joint venture with someone it’s always nice to have met them first.
2. Pat Flynn’s niche sites
Pat Flynn is in an interesting position whereby his main website is about earning a Smart Passive Income. That kind of means that he is “forced” into using alternate methods to make money on the Internet.
And alternate he does. Pat is a serial entrepreneur and has a series of famous podcasts, books and even a podcast plugin.
But the thing that really interests me is the fact that Pat still experiments with niche sites like his security guard training. These sites really diversify his income, give him new experiment-based skills and provide a fallback in case he ever needs to move away from the SPI brand which, incidentally, can promote these other websites quite nicely.
3. Chris Ducker and his Virtual Assistant companies
For me, Chris Ducker is one of the ultimate brands on the web. And he does it by being a transparent gentleman seeping generosity, honesty and value.
If you don’t know him already, Chris owns a bunch of companies that focus on matching up Virtual Assistants and call center staff with companies who need a good solution. He then promotes these companies via his own personal blog which mostly focuses on how he uses VAs and so on to grow his business.
This is a great example of how to use a blog to promote something outside and separate from the blog itself. It’s an incredible use of content strategy.
4. Glen and his plugins and services
ViperChill is a really interesting example because it has gone through quite a few different iterations and methods of making money.
First of all Glen focused on blogging and marketing, but then moved towards promoting his paid plugins that he developed. Now he’s firmly rooted in the SEO industry and is making an absolute killing by selling SEO services to premium clients.
The sexy thing about this is that all of those clients come from posts on ViperChill where Glen shares his methods for ranking on Google. All of his clients are thus advocates of the way he does things and super excited to get on board.
5. Zoella and her now famous book
Zoella is a fascinating case of someone who has absolutely killed it using video blogging. Her YouTube channel now has over seven million subscribers.
Recently Zoe launched a book and promoted it to her online subscribers. It made headlines for beating JK Rowling’s record for the most sales in opening week.
There was some controversy over the fact that Zoe didn’t fully write her book but instead had the help of a ghost writer. That doesn’t really bother me, however, and I am wildly impressed at how an online video blogger can break such incredible records.
6. Amy Porterfield and her Facebook empire
Amy has one of the slickest approaches to online marketing in a very specific niche. She is the prime example of someone who was smart enough to ride the growing popularity of Facebook and tapped into all the individuals and businesses who needed help using the platform.
Amy runs a popular blog which is used, in my opinion, almost more like a trust-building landing page that gets people interested in all of her other offerings.
7. Unbounce and their conversion optimization software
A company blog could seem like a pretty boring example but the folks over at Unbounce run one of the best IM blogs on the web.
I rarely read these types of technical blogs anymore, but I find myself getting stuck for a good hour at Unbounce at least once a month. The subject matter is tight and the ideas and editing of the posts are remarkable.
Their blog makes them no money. It’s all a tool to get people to look at their split testing software – each post giving you more ideas about what you could be doing and how their product might grow your own business.
Got it… What do I do next?
If you are conscious of the fact that you want to be doing more with your blog then there are a few little things I think it is good to consider:
- Think verticals
Verticals are a fancy marketing word for related and cross-pollenating products. For example, if you have a pool safety blog you might eventually think about getting into the swimming lessons or safety fence market.
- Remember that it’s all circular
The blogs mentioned above all seem to be very circular. That is, the blog promotes the product and the product is so good that it promotes the blog. It all works in a big circle; feeding into each element and growing the whole.
- Try the new mediums
If you want to expand on your blog’s existing presence it isn’t always a good idea just to launch another website. That’s more written content. It can work but often it’s better to tap into related markets like plugins, videos, podcasts, etc. because they have different audiences that can then get all circular on your existing blog.
- As per usual, copy
I’m not saying go out and plagarize people, don’t do that. But there is nothing wrong with looking at what the competition is doing and then trying to do it better. This is called research and it is a very wise thing indeed.
- Stay passionate
A lot of the time I see people start up new projects because they feel like they should be doing it. And they often fail because the owner gets bored. Try and think about areas that you love, and ways that you can help people, because it will help you maintain that energy that you need to make it work.
Remember, there are lots of opportunities out there for you to expand your blog but you really don’t have to be too stressed about it. Take your time (not too long!) and make sure you get the right fit.
Do you have plans to expand your blog?
I’d be really interested to know whether your blog is a standalone entity and, if so, whether or not you plan to make something else that compliments or expands on it. Also, if you know of anyone who is doing something cool with their blog like the above please let me know. As always, I love getting your comments.