5 Tips for Running Your Blog Like a Small Business

By Hilary Rushford of Dean Street Society

Turning your blog into a profitable brand takes more than just style savvy. Before the clock strikes midnight, look back at your last year, ahead to the next, and consider which of these tips could help take you to the next level in 2013.

1. Determine what you’re selling.

Are you aspirational, educational, modest, envelope pushing, urban, vintage, high-end? If having to pick just one or two makes you feel confined, think of a brand like Bethenny Franel’s Skinnygirl. She started with healthy baking, which became low-cal cocktails, then all natural skin care. She’s always been in the “living well” wheelhouse, which has allowed her to branch out, while still feeling “on brand”.

2. Consider ROI.

A good entrepreneur is constantly debating their return on investment. Did the amount of time, money or effort it took to produce “x” lead to an equal or greater pay-off? That payoff could be in traffic, comments, new Twitter followers or just a delightful experience that lit you up. Whatever your goals are, keep your eye out for patterns. Which activities take you a ton of time but don’t make many waves? Which do you knock out quickly and your readers adore? You only have so many hours in a week, so make the most of em.

3. Always be aware of your message.

Ashton Kutcher sent one uninformed tweet about the Penn State football scandal this year, and turned over his account to his handlers. Everything you put out speaks for your brand. When you’re having a bad day, my motto is: Text it, don’t tweet it. That’s what besties are for. Or if you’re always touting the beauty of budget shopping, be aware that talking about how much you’re coveting a pricey bag might bum your readers out.

4. Know what your goals are.

Blogging takes a lot of time and hard work. Before you start missing date nights with your beau and stealing time from your day job to blog from your desk, be clear about what your end game is. What’s your 3 year plan? Do you desire to grow a following so you can launch your Etsy shop? If so, what’s your timeline  and how much do you need to sell to turn a profit? It can be easy for a year to pass by without progress if you aren’t clear with yourself about the action steps to make things happen.

5. Invest in a team.

When you first start blogging, you likely have zero budget. But if it’s something you intend to use as a business platform, you eventually need to save up the funds to hire help. This might be in graphic design, photography, or web development, but no one is an expert across the board. Every solo-preneur reaches a tipping point where they have to pay for help to become more profitable. That doesn’t have to be in your first month or even your first year, but when the timing’s right know who you’ll go to first.

Which of these tips would help you focus in December? Which one do you need to embrace to jump start things in the new year?

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23 Responses

  1. Profile photo of Caity @ Moi Contre La Vie
    Caity @ Moi Contre La Vie

    Keeping in mind what your message & goals are whenever you send something out on a social media platform or publish a post is SO important. It gives you a strong voice & helps you connect w/ the right followers.

    • Profile photo of Hilary Rushford & Dean Street Society
      Hilary Rushford & Dean Street Society

      Thanks R&R! So glad you too press mental pause before Tweeting. Was just at a blogger meet-up last night & we were discussing people we’ve seen tarnish their brands because they complain & rant & end up sounding ungrateful. It’s such a shame & so easy to avoid if you’re just wise to it.

      with grace & gumption, Hilary

  2. Jacqueline

    Great post…I have been thinking about these things as I have embarked on the journey of my own little blog. With a Business degree, I have been trying to incorporate what I have learned in school into my blog !

  3. Profile photo of Devon - InformedStyle.com
    Devon - InformedStyle.com

    I like to remind myself of #1 and #4 on a daily basis –
    Establishing goals is a great way to keep up the motivation and make the tough calls when it comes to how to allocate resources…and goal setting pays off the most when you’ve geared them towards your overall branding or business mission.
    Your example of the wheelhouse is right on target – it’s not about selecting one interest, it’s about making sure that all of your pursuits and goals make sense taken as a whole.

    Thanks for posting!

    • Profile photo of Hilary Rushford & Dean Street Society
      Hilary Rushford & Dean Street Society

      Devon, I’m so glad you love the wheelhouse as I think that’s such an ah-hah moment. So many people think or fear they have to pick one thing. Yet you do have to have a strong core in order to be able to build something that’s sustainable. That sweet spot is where I see a lot of the entrepreneurs I admire have succeeded.

      with grace & gumption, Hilary

  4. tasha

    Loving this post. I run a small business now but these tips translate to what I am doing. Number 5 really stood out to me too. I am currently in the process of hiring a web developer and having a graphic designer on my team. Its a learning process but I am willing to learn.

  5. Travelle

    I’m not expert when it comes to web and graphic design. Currently working with designers for my blog and banner. Couldn’t be more stoked.

  6. Maria V

    All of the above quite important… its easy to forget about your goals as well as get confused about the message we’re sending out there. Having a clear strategy (written) that encompasses all of the above helps a lot.

    Thanks for the great tips IFB, as always..

  7. Heather

    Great post! The tips are specific enough to act upon. I also want to compliment te author for responding to comments. I haven’t seen that before here on IFB.

    I need to focus on #2, time vs payoff. Keeping track of what kinds of posts generate the most comments is something I need to do in the future. #4, creating a three year plan, or at least thinking about a three year plan, is something I want to do before the new year.

    Thank you for the tips!

    • Hilary Rushford | Dean Street Society

      Oh thanks Miss Heather! I love replying when I can as I really want to hear what people’s thoughts are so I know how best to help in future columns. I also follow-up with more personal insights on my blog every Friday, in case hearing the specifics of my business & brand can be of more special help. :)

      with grace & gumption, Hilary

  8. Lea

    This is a very practical and easy to implement list. I’m always going back and forth about what I want from the blog. Continue to use it as a creative outlet or hope to turn it into something more. Sounds like I need to make up my mind!

    I just started setting aside some advertising budget and am saving up for a better camera. Step 5, here I come!


    • Hilary Rushford | Dean Street Society

      Lea, I’d say if you’re not sure, then just make sure you’re not investing too much time or money until you do. That’s when it’s really important to get clear — when you start investing in it beyond a hobby. But if you don’t know for a season & are enjoying it, then I say just roll with it & don’t stress to much. :) Then again, perhaps really sitting down with this list to think about it will shed some light!

      with grace & gumption, Hilary

  9. Anne

    Everything you put out speaks for your brand. I believe this big time. That is why we have to treat our small business blog seriously if we want this to echo the brand and reputation of our business.

  10. Jemma Taylor

    This points is very helpful to run your blog better. Thanks for share such a interesting share post with us . I also run my blog and your tips really help me to improve my sales!!


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