From Hobby to Business: 5 Things to Transition Your Blog

This post is by Treacle of  The Lingerie Addict

A regular income from doing what you love…that's everyone's dream, and especially every fashion blogger's dream.  However, like most dreams, turning it into reality is another thing entirely.  The fact is, transitioning from “just a blogger” into a small business is hard, and a lot people don't succeed.  But you can…and this article gives you five things you can do immediately to get on the right track.  So let's get started.

 

1) Professionalize your blog. If you're going to be a business, then it's important to look like a business.  That includes purchasing your own domain (no more .wordpress.com or .blogspot.com), investing in a custom template, and removing any unnecessary widgets from your layout.  Not only will other brands, retailers, and PR people take you more seriously…you'll take yourself more seriously too.

 

2) Don't reinvent the wheel. You are definitely not the first blogger to become a business, so spend the time researching and finding community. Independent Fashion Bloggers is, of course, a great place to do that.  So is another forum that I'm a member of named ProBlogger.com.  In addition, get comfortable with looking outside your niche for resources. ProBlogger.net and CopyBlogger.com are two of my faves, and both are chock full of amazing information.

 

3) Be okay with spending money. Whether it's for purchasing your own domain, signing up a for newsletter service, or attending a blogging conference, the mantra that “you have to spend money to make money” is true.  I'm not saying you have to drop hundreds of dollars on a “how to blog” e-course, but you will have to invest in your business in order for other people to invest in you.

 

4) Start small. Rome wasn't built in a day, and your blogging empire won't be either. If the idea of becoming a small business owner sounds too intimidating, start by adding Google Adsense to your blog, signing up with an affiliate program like ShareaSale, LinkShare, or Commission Junction, or doing sponsored tweets through a service like MyLikes.  It may sound small, but these first few steps are important for changing your mindset from hobby blogger to business blogger.

 

5) Be patient. Perhaps most important of all, you have to set reasonable expectations and be patient with your progress…even if it seems slight.  Blogging's really weird in that you won't see any change at all for the longest time, then, quite suddenly, everything happens at once.  So rest assured that even if you can't see the difference, other people can.

 

I hope these 5 tips help with your transition from hobby blogger to business blogger?  Got any of your own advice to share?  Please tell us in the comments!

 

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49 Responses

  1. Ashe Mischief

    Yes, yes to #3! When people would bitch about the cost of the IFB conference, that was exactly my reaction… “You want to go pro? This is your business expenses.” I have a list, A LIST! right now of all the areas I need to spend money for my blog for the upcoming year.

    Reply
    • Treacle

      Same here!

      I won’t be able to afford everything I want to do in 2011, but that’s not the point. The point is that I’m doing something to develop my business.

      Reply
  2. fuyume

    Its good to know that i’m doing everything right so far as im already following all those steps. Thanks treacle 🙂

    Reply
  3. crosby

    Like Ashe, I appreciate mention of number 3. It was a rough transition from “I’ll just figure that out myself,” to no, I’m going to pay somebody to build me what I want. As someone who works with brands as clients, I can attest to number 1 – I am much more likely to recommend you when you have your own look/feel on your own domain name.

    Reply
    • Treacle

      Wow…I’m a big fan of your blog, Crosby, and it really means a lot to hear you back-up what I’m saying in this article. Thanks for the comment!

      Reply
  4. Laura Connell

    What has worked best for me is helping others. That means linking to their blog, commenting on other blogs and generally promoting others’ good content. It’s basic karma that tends to flow and come around even when you don’t expect it. Also creates lots of warm fuzzy feelings 🙂

    Reply
    • Treacle

      You have some good points here. Your suggestions above work really well for self-promotion…but backlinks, comments, and promoting others isn’t what turns a blog into a business. As you stated, it’s just good karma, nothing more.

      Reply
  5. Lua

    Those are great tips! I’ve already invested in my own domain and done a mini-redesign but I’m going for a professional redesign next month.

    You’re absolutely right! You HAVE TO invest in yourself & your blog if you want it to be successful. You get back what you put IN!

    Reply
    • Treacle

      It’s so great to get input from people at different stages of their blogging journey! I wish you the best of success in your upcoming redesign. 🙂

      P.S. If you need a recommendation, my designer, Judith Shakes, is top notch.

      Reply
    • Treacle

      Hi Penny!

      If you’re not sure what you want your domain to be or what you want the final version of your website to look like…it’s okay to wait awhile. I’ve gone through 3 domain names this year, and it would have been better for everybody if I’d just spent some time thinking about what I wanted my blog to be.

      In this case, what counts is that 1) you want a domain and 2) you’re thinking about the future. Definitely keep us updated. 🙂

      Reply
  6. Style Eyes

    Some great ideas – thanks. I am already working full time blogging and online marketing but there is always room for improvements and new ideas.

    Thanks for this useful post

    Reply
  7. Amy

    I started blogging in August 2009 but only started blogging frequently in recent months, as I’ve started to enjoy blogging.

    Though I’ve been reading other people’s blogs for years.

    I have considered spending money on buying a domain name but it’s not worth it in my current situation, as my blog is current a hobby that I enjoy spending time in my free time.

    Perhaps if I gain a large audience base etc, then maybe I’ll consider paying for my own domain name.

    Reply
    • Treacle

      Amy,

      The honest truth is that if you wait until you have a “large audience” you will never do anything.

      Domains are cheap, and if don’t even want to spend the $10 a year it takes to buy one, you will always be a hobby blogger and your audience will always be small.

      Reply
  8. BILOTEcouture

    I absolutely agree that Rome wasn’t built in a day and it takes time for a blog to start yielding fruit. One just hast to stay the course.

    Reply
  9. Camden

    It’s definitely taking time, but I’m learning more each day. I’ve never heard of MY LIKES – thanks for the tip!

    Reply
  10. vanessa

    Great advice. Hopefully I will switch to a domain name soon. I think it’s hard when you truly don’t have the money. But, I guess I could give up my thrifting for a month or two.

    Reply
    • Treacle

      Domains are dirt cheap. Literally.

      $10 a year is all it takes, and honestly, purchasing your own domain is the first thing that separates the hobby bloggers from the business bloggers.

      Reply
  11. Fashionista622

    I have to thank you for posting this!! So true that “everything happens for a reason”. Reading this today, when I started my official research on starting a blog. I’ve been wanting to do this for some time now. It’s just overwhelming to read so much out there. Still, I am determined to make it work, even if its one day at a time.

    Good luck to all of you out there blogging your hearts out! Hope to join you all shortly.

    Reply
  12. Chic 'n Cheap Living

    Thanks Treacle and you’re so right! I bought a domain but got overwhelmed when I wanted to do a WordPress transfer and had to find a hosting site too. I gotta just do it!

    Reply
  13. Christina

    Great tips! I am also doing these things, and have seen great results. It’s true, although you may not see something right away, stay consistent, and all of a sudden your subscriptions, traffic, etc. will skyrocket! The only other thing I would add is to network your butt off! It will move your business forward so much faster than trying to gain organic search engine rankings (this is super important also!)

    Reply
    • Treacle

      Great point! I’ve only recently gotten into networking (I met Jennine at BlogHer) but you’re right…it’s necessary too. 🙂

      Reply
  14. Vogue & Vintage

    Another Great post on IFB! Always resourceful keeping us in the loop. I will start to apply and see what happens. Just curious I have always had issues with AD sense any tips? I’ve had my blog for 2 years now and haven’t made a dime. suggestions anyone?? send me a line.

    xoxo,
    Vogue & Vintage

    Reply
    • Treacle

      Adsense isn’t really lucrative unless you have a LOT of traffic or are in a high market value niche (I’m thinking people who review Apple products, for example).

      But 2 things that helped me make more money from Adsense were 1) barring ads which weren’t a good fit for my blog (I deleted a bunch of ads for senior support hose for example) and 2) toying around with ad size, placement, and type. Definitely be willing to experiment until you find what works. 🙂

      Reply
  15. Buckle Button Zip

    Thanks a push in the right direction. I’ve been wanting to drop my .wordpress.com for awhile and you’ve given me added incentive. New year, new goals. I’m ready!

    –Laura

    Reply
  16. JayMarie

    Thanks for this! I just started my blog not too long ago. I know I won’t be a professional anytime soon, these are great tips! #5 is true to all fashion bloggers! 🙂

    Reply
  17. Mazz ALee

    I have considered spending money on buying a domain name but it’s not worth it in my current situation, as my blog is current a hobby that I enjoy spending time in my free time.

    You’re absolutely right! You HAVE TO invest in yourself & your blog if you want it to be successful. You get back what you put IN!

    Some great ideas – thanks. I am already working full time blogging and online marketing but there is always room for improvements and new ideas.

    Thanks for this useful post

    Reply
  18. Christy L.

    There are some great tips here, thanks for sharing these.

    When I first started my blog I focused so much on the content that I haven’t really developed other important things such as layout, domain name, networking etc… I finally bought my domain in August/September and now I’m looking to purchase a better camera. Next up hopefully a redesign and maybe moving to WordPress from Blogger.

    Reply
  19. Arash Mazinani

    Pretty much done all the steps that you mentioned except that I haven’t monetized my blog yet. I’ve read that you shouldn’t really rush to do it and until you have a decent amount of traffic you’re not going to make much money from it. Just out of interest when did you start to monetize your blog Treacle?

    Reply
  20. Nickie Frye

    Patience is certainly not my forte. I’ve been blogging since June & I think my blog has gotten A LOT better from when I first started, but the growth has been sloooooooow. I’m actually feeling super discouraged today, which is why I came here to begin with. Thanks for the tips & the encouragement.

    Reply
  21. Chandra @ShiftC

    Thanks for this timely info, Treacle. I work full time as a teacher, and my blog was initially just a way to “destress”. As 2010 comes to a close, I’m reflecting more on my blog and the steps necessary to be better, do better, and write better. My first step is to take advantage of IFB and Problogger. My teaching career puts some limitations on the number of conferences I can attend within the school year; since San Francisco is a 4 hour drive away from me and my boyfriend works there, one of my 2011 goals is to attempt to attend more blogger meetups and conferences within the bay area.

    Thank you!

    Chandra

    Reply
  22. MISSY VINTAGE

    Fantastic read. I really enjoyed the article and the replies.I bought a domain name a while ago but my blog is on blogspot which is fine but I have ideas to build a ‘band’ and that’s why I feel I need a domain name.

    I am on a tight budget though, so I need to find a way to do where I won’t have to throw too much money at it, and I am not techie enough to do it myself! I am also toying with changing the blog name too which I need to consider carefully as I hope to also have a site that is not just a blog but an online shop. I am worried a combination or name change and switching from blogspot will effect my blogs popularity which so far has been pretty good.

    So many questions in my head right now!

    Reply
  23. souther.easy.style

    Thanks for the advice! I originally started my blog on a free site (tried it on 2 free sites to be exact!) but I’m glad I ended up purchasing the domain because it ultimately gives you a lot more freedom.

    kinsey

    Reply