Blogging as a Business

Approaching blogging as an entrepreneur looking to build a business, is very different from the view taken by a hobby blogger. From the very beginning, you will be planning and thinking about the blog as a product: what it will cost, what it might return, how it will grow, and where it’s heading. You might be alone, or you might have partners and investors. You might begin with a lot of capital, or you might bootstrap the operation with whatever resources you can find. Most importantly, as someone looking to build a business, you will always have your eye on the bigger picture.


Opportunities in Blogging

Publishing is changing quickly as more and more readers migrate from paper-based products to electronic media, whether it’s a computer, a tablet, a mobile device, or an e-reader. Change of this sort always creates opportunities, and in the last few years it’s become clear that professional blogging is one of them.

The last decade saw a generation of blogs grow from being side projects and hobbies, into sites with enormous readerships and real revenues. Very quickly blogging has become a legitimate publishing business, and today a survey of the top 100 blogs shows that with a few notable celebrity exceptions, almost all of them are backed by real publishing businesses.

successful-blogWhile today the blogging industry has some very professional outfits operating, there is still lots and lots of room for the newcomer. To start with, there are very few household names in blogging. While most people might recognize and know names like Time, Wired, Vanity Fair, and Vogue, there are significantly less who know Gawker (, TechCrunch (, Huffington Post (, and PopSugar (, which are just three of the more high profile sites. There are still many, many people who don’t read online but who will eventually. These folk mean that blogging is an industry with a lot of growth ahead of it, and growth is good for business and good for newcomers.

Opportunities in blogging also arise from the many niches and topics that are still wide open. If you walk into any bookstore and look through the myriad magazines that line the racks, you’ll find there are audiences interested in reading about everything from sewing to tattoos, boating to cooking, movies to shopping. Can you name the blog to read on tattoos? How about a great blog about boating? Think you can find one?

Moreover, for every niche that is big enough to sustain a real paper publication, there are dozens more that are too small for print but big enough online. Where the distribution costs are small and even nil, distributed groups can be clumped together to form real audiences, and bloggers have access to audiences that have never really counted before: the so-called “long tail.�?

As was often touted during the dotcom boom, the internet is a great equalizer. The difference between one domain name and another is just a few keystrokes. And while you shouldn’t read too much into this (after all, people have to know your domain name to type it in), it is worth remembering that a new voice in blogging can quickly catch on. Of course because blogging is so accessible, it’s a tempting first business to get into. There is a perception that it’s a zero-cost set-up, and in some ways that’s true. You can start a new blog with not much more than a domain name and a cheap-as-chips hosting account. This is certainly a claim that you could never make about, say, starting a magazine or newspaper, where the physical costs of making and distributing the product can be prohibitive.

What isn’t so obvious, is that to build a blog that is self-sustaining and eventually profitable, does require cash, and it can be a significant amount at that. For as easy as it is to start a blog, it is still hard to produce consistent levels of content, to acquire traffic and readership, and to ultimately generate revenue. While thousands of blogs may open their proverbial doors every day, the funnel of survival can be harsh and many fall into disrepair very quickly.

For hobby bloggers, the costs of operating a blog are hidden in the blogger’s own time. They do the posting, the marketing, and all the other chores of running a blog themselves, effectively eating the costs by doing it in their spare time. But make no mistake, those costs are there and if you want to approach blogging with a business mindset, you need to account for them all.

On the flip side, by looking at blogging as a business, you also bring the longevity that blogging needs to succeed. While hobbyists and less organized competitors fall by the wayside, your operation will keep chipping away, building audiences, growing search traffic, creating a bigger and bigger content archive. In many ways, blogging is an endurance race, requiring a lot of momentum to build up to become a true success story.

So building a business out of blogging, like any business, involves investment both in time and money. The questions you want to ask are: What costs need to be accounted for? Where will the revenue come from? How long will it take? Along with these high-level business questions, you’ll also be wondering about the practicalities of running a blog as a business, planning direction, finding and hiring staff, creating content, and marketing.

You will be glad to know that there are so many posts/articles on this blog that will serve as answers to all these questions. You will get hands-on guide to building a business out of blogging. You can search through this blog for answers but please note, like any business, it will take hard work, dedication, savvy, and a bit of luck.