Why are you creating a blog? Is it to share your personal thoughts and daily occurrences with the world? Is it to promote yourself or your company? Or is to make money? Of course, it’s very possible to make money with a personal or corporate blog, but if making fast money is the express purpose of your site, you’re possibly setting yourself up for failure. Too many blogs have failed because the owners were doing whatever it took to cash in on what’s popular at the moment. The way to truly make money from your blog is to set it up so that it will survive in the long run. It may take longer to start seeing any revenue in the beginning, but planning to have a long-lasting blog will ultimately lead to more profit overall.
Why Long-Term Planning is Important
If you’re reading this, you’re probably familiar with the “quick way” to start making money with a blog – research a niche market, whip up some content, do plenty of SEO to build up traffic, start hosting ads as soon as possible and get some affiliate relationships. The problem here is that the focus is not on the quality of your content. It’s possible to get a profitable niche site up and running with only a few pages of keyword-rich content, but this is not the type of blog that Google will rank highly. In 2010, Matt Cutts explained how the quality of content is even more important than posting frequency. As Google develops and algorithms change, an authority site that has been producing quality content will be far more profitable than a niche blog that’s been buried in the SERPs because of its posts that have only been designed to help the blog make money.
Also, if you plan your blog out with the long-term in mind, you’ll have several advantages down the road. If you keep the site’s focus somewhat broad, you’ll be able to incorporate new niches as they come along, allowing you to avoid becoming obsolete or only making money during certain times of the year. For example, instead of focusing your blog on something as seasonal as Halloween costumes (which is obviously going to be profitable right around now), you could create a blog that deals with many different holiday accessories in order to generate revenue year-round. Of course, this will take more work, but again, you’ll make more money in the long run.
Some other reasons to think about the long-term include:
- Respect in your niche – Taking your time and developing a thoroughly high-quality site will allow you to get noticed more easily by other people in your field. This will make it easier to get affiliates and organic backlinks, among other advantages.
- Burnout rate – A 2008 Technorati survey found that an astounding 95 percent of blogs are abandoned. Be sure that you choose a niche you’re passionate about, as concentrating on a topic simply because of its profitability can lead to burnout.
- Possible sale – If you don’t take the time to create a quality site, you won’t be able to eventually sell it for a profit. This might not be your endgame anyway, but keep in mind that blogs have been sold for incredible amounts.
How to Do It
So how can you actually plan for the long-term profitability of your blog? Keep this simple rule in mind: don’t limit yourself in the beginning. Sometimes bloggers will be blinded by dollar signs and make poor decisions right from the start. For example, so many bloggers are looking to rank highly by getting an exact-match domain name. This is an excellent SEO strategy, but it can hurt your business in the long run. Sticking with our holiday blog example, let’s say you’re doing some AdWords research and you find that you can get an exact match domain for the keyword phrase “renaissance costumes.” However, after Halloween is over, the popularity of that keyword phrase plummets. You can begin to add Thanksgiving or Christmas-themed aspects to your site, but it’s going to be much harder to sell Christmas items, get Christmas-related affiliates, or any Christmas traffic at all if your domain is renaissancecostumes.com. So, really brainstorm your niche and don’t pigeonhole yourself in the beginning.
Don’t limit yourself in content either. Choosing a niche that’s profitable but incredibly limited in scope (or becoming obsolete) will doom your site to failure. Remember when the iPhone 3.0 came out and included a voice recording feature? All of those previous recording apps became unnecessary. If you were doing reviews of those apps on your blog, you hopefully had some other content ideas to fall back on.
Whether you’re deciding on a URL or your content strategy, it can be helpful to do some mind mapping before you set anything in stone. Focus on your main ideas and expand from there – concentrating too much on making money can actually cause you to make less. Focus instead on creating a well-developed, genuinely interesting blog.