Making Money Online: The 4 types of blog – which one do you need?

Making Money Online by Antonia Chitty and Erica DouglasAntonia Chitty and Erica Douglas have teamed up to write Making Money Online, a guide which takes you step by step through the process of building an online profile, finding fans, creating products and making sales. From the basics of getting started, through deciding what to specialize in, to finding and keeping followers, you will find inspiring case studies and useful resources in every chapter.

Antonia Chitty is an award winning entrepreneur and author. She started blogging at www.familyfriendlyworking.co.uk in 2007 which lead to a successful business. Erica Douglas is one of the UK’s leading parenting bloggers. She writes on life and parenting at www.littlemummy.com. Over the last few years Erica has made the journey from mum blogger to business owner. She founded the Mum Blogger eCourse which has helped over 1,000 mums start or improve their blogs. Erica and Antonia provide flexible and affordable training through ACEInspire and help mums start earning through Become a Mumpreneur. Antonia has three small children and lives with her husband, David, on the Sussex coast. Erica is a mum to one and lives with husband Alex near Edinburgh.

Here are Antonia and Erica’s tips for choosing the right blog for you…

Do you want to make money online from a blog? Have you looked at other people’s blogs with envy and wished yours was more effective? A blog is a great basis for a business. The regular fresh content helps your site rise up search engine rankings. But have you considered that there are different types of blog, to fit different purposes? Read on to find out about the different types of blog and which one is right for you. Once you’re clear about this you’ll be able to get a better return on the time you invest in your blog.

Understanding the aims for your business and your website is the start to creating an effective blog. Ask yourself what is the purpose of your blog? Ultimately you may want to build traffic, but what are you going to do with the traffic once you have it? What action do you want readers to take? Now consider what sort of blog will help you achieve those aims:

The market research blog

Do you have an idea for a product or service and want to check demand? Start your blog, and add great content and keyword rich articles on the topic. Build up your following, people who are interested in your topic, who find you via search engine and pay par click traffic. Add a poll to gather people’s views, and an offer of a free eBook or tip sheet in return for completing a longer survey about your plans. Set this sort of site up at least 6 months before you are ready to launch so you can get the numbers you need to see if your idea is a winner. Use your site analytics to see how many people sign up for your tip sheet or vote in the poll as a proportion of total visitors. This can help you scope out the numbers you’ll need to attract to your site when the business is up and running in order to meet sales targets.

The lead generation tool

This type of blog is all about how to get more customers. Choose it if you already have an online business and need more people to buy. A blog is a great long term strategy to build a really strong source of traffic. People who read your blog are already interested in the right topics – they are what are called ‘qualified leads’. Figure out your key words and phrases, and get really specific so you create content for people who want to buy. Weave these phrases into your content and rotate through different phrases. Your search engine traffic will grow significantly within 6 months. Embed banners and links from your blog to draw people through to the business. Mention a product or service and link through. Add a newsletter sign up box too. Tell people that by signing up they will get the best rates or discounts, competitions or other benefits. Your email list will become an effective way to highlight new products to people who are interested in the right topics: you know this because they have found the business through reading an on-topic blog article.

The professional platform

This is a simple idea for anyone who offers a service. Are you a freelance writer, designer, coach, VA? For any professional, the professional platform blog can help you attract clients. Have an ‘about’ page with your image plus examples of your work and testimonials. Create a static page about your services, and maybe your prices too. Add keyword rich articles on a regular basis. These fulfil the dual function of displaying your expertise AND helping your site get picked up on search engines for the topic where you want to be seen as an authority. Blog about the projects you are working on. Be clear how people can get in touch with you to enquire about work. Add an email sign up box and offer an incentive to sign up –for example a ‘Get started with WordPress’ eBook for a website designer who specialises in customising WordPress sites. Consider if you want to take payment online. Self hosted WordPress blogs allow you to integrate a shopping cart and sell eBooks, eCourses and other packages.

The blog as the business

Do you have a niche website: we’re talking about sites on tightly focussed and specialist topics such as guinea pig aromatherapy or model railway weathering! You build up an audience because you have picked such a tight niche that you have little competition for good information. Offer a newsletter or tip sheet to get people to share their contact details with you, then develop your product funnel. You have a growing list of people who are interested in your topic, so consider what they might need to buy to fulfil their interest. If you get a good list you could even consider setting up a membership site of people with this particular interest for a small monthly fee.

Which of these blogs is right for you? Don’t just blog at random: instead be clear about what you want to achieve from your blog and you’ll find it repays your time invested many times over.

Antonia Chitty and Erica Douglas are authors of Making Money Online.

The book is set for publication on 28 September 2012 with a limited time only discount of 30%.

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