How Running a Blog is Like Running a Business

Running a blog is like running a business.

Some people blog for their businesses. Some people use their blogs as their business. I admit though, it was not always like a business in my case; I started out blogging for fun and as a hobby. I didn't know that you could make money from blogging. Even still, I don't make all that much from it but it's turned into a huge part of my life. If you want to start a blog and don't know where to start, Jeremy has a great post with some tips and tricks and things to consider.

Here's how running a blog is like running a business.

bloggers meme
Source: blog.ivman.com

It's Time Consuming

If I'm not at work, school, or asleep, I'm blogging.

Of course, the scale of one's blog also dictates how much work goes into it, but generally speaking, blogs take up a lot of time.

It's not just writing content that is time consuming; in order for your blog to even be read by anyone, you need to network, comment on other blogs, tweet, promote other blogs, guest post, etc.

It's very time consuming and so is running a business.

It Requires Capital

For any business to be successful, the owner needs to put capital out before raking in the profit. Blogs are no different.

Typically, you have to pay for the hosting, the domain, a custom design, a logo or header, and possibly even outsource some things, like carnival submission, commenting, etc.

It's usually not a ton of money, but will typically take some money. That being said, doing all of these things and getting away from free blogs will usually increase your chances of earning blogging income, if that's what you are after.

When I switched to self hosted, not only did my stats sky-rocket, but advertisers also started to contact me.

You Provide a Service

While you aren't cutting anybody's hair or cleaning their gutters, you are still providing a service; that service is entertainment, inspiration, and information.

It's largely a free service, unless you have an eBook that you are selling or a subscription fee. Most blogs are free, but the "profit" that readers provide comes with advertisers. The more readers you have, the more interesting you are to advertisers.

So, readers and visitors pay you in page views, either from a Google search or from their subcription.

It's sort of like a radio station, in that they get more advertisers the more people listen, but other than having a radio (and, in a blogs case, other than having the internet), the service is free.

You Have a Target Market

When you write your posts, even if you are not thinking about who you want to read it, you are targeting a certain demographic.

My target market varies per post; sometimes, I target 20 something females, sometimes, 30 somethings, sometimes other bloggers, but I would say that my target market is anybody who is wishing to improve their life and live for themselves.

If you didn't have a certain demographic that you wanted to pique the interest of, you'd have either a private blog or a paper journal.

You Have Competitors

Luckily, in blogging, your competitors - or, the people who do the same thing as you and produce the same product - can also be your best friends.

Those competitors promote you, link to you, and refer to your posts. They bring your Alexa ranking down and your PageRank up. Your competitors can become your readers, and your readers can become your competitors.

Especially in blogs about a specific topic - ie personal finance or mommy blogs - there are only a limited number of things to discuss before you start repeating each other.

It happens. It's not the end of the world. Sometimes, you don't even know the topic has been done before. You usually hope that your take on it brings something different to the table.

You want to promote your blogging competitors, because at the end of the day it's not like your target market can only read one blog and one blog only - they can read multiple, and usually do.

Sometimes, there are some real and sneaky competitors; just like Blackberry stole the Playbook idea from the iPad, there are some "bloggers" that steal whole identities from other bloggers. I've only seen this happen once, and it's not pretty.

You Need to Advertise

I don't necessarily mean that you need to go out and put on a radio ad or buy ad space on a website. What I mean, is that much of bloggers time is spent getting their names out there in the blogosphere.

They comment, Tweet, and spend time on Google+. They network and email and connect.

As bloggers, we're frequently out there pounding the proverbial pavement finding ways to get our "brand", or our names out there.

I looked up blogger meme and this popped up so I had to share it.

Many bloggers have made their blogs into businesses; they make their incomes off of their blog and work to grow and nurture their work.

I can't claim that WLGYL is run like your average business, in that I don't really have a clear vision (I know where I'd like it to be but that changes sometimes), and my mission is under-developed if at all.

But there are certain elements of business that blogging shares.

Do you run your blog like a business? Do you blog for money or pleasure?

Starting a blog? You may also be interested to read some of my other posts about the subject:

Blogging 101

 

Should You Blog Anonymously?

 

Feel free to email me with any blogging questions and I'd be happy to help!

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56 thoughts on “How Running a Blog is Like Running a Business

  1. It is like running a business only if you see it as a business. Sure, I spent _some_ time cultivating traffic, but I don't care about traffic anymore. I just care about writing my thoughts.

    It's only time consuming if you make it so. I write a week or so worth of posts at once and keep them scheduled far in advance. I don't post every day, so I don't have comments to read and respond to every day. I don't tweet. Do I get 30+ comments a day like you or other blogs do? No. But I'm happy that way.

    I don't want advertisers, so I am perfectly happy staying on hosted WordPress.

    I have finally settled on my niche - young, high income savers.

    I don't think that I will ever run out of things to blog about. As my life evolves, my finances will, and I will always want an outlet for my thoughts.

    1. Post author

      Fair enough; I know of many bloggers who want no more than to just blog, and that's great! It's more of a hobby and less of a "side hustle" for you, then, and that's fine! Mine started out as just that, and it's evolved into what it is now, which is still very much a hobby.

      It's certainly not the writing the posts that's time consuming. It's the networking, connecting, tweeting, etc. If you don't do any of those things, I wouldn't expect it to be time consuming at all! So I can see where you are coming from. I'd say more that it's time consuming if you want to grow your blog - lots of bloggers don't, so then it wouldn't be time consuming.

      At the end of the day, there are so many different types of blogs out there, and that's cool too!

    1. Post author

      LOL. That's ok. Do you want it to do anything for you? Mine was like that for a long time too. I didn't know what I wanted from it!

  2. I am passionate about managing businesses, my own personal finances and writing. I love that I have all three with my blog as I venture out to diversify my online income. It is definitely a LOT of work, but I enjoy it all because I am passionate about every aspect of it. Great post.

    1. I definitely agree with that. With someone who comes from a website marketing background, it was such a nice change of pace to see all the cooperation and friendly networking. When fighting for rankings for some e-commerce website, your competitors are truly your enemies. You might tooth and nail and some resort to some pretty dirty tactics.

  3. I blog for both fun and money. I don't do anything too serious with my blog yet. I know nothing about SEO or anything else.

  4. That's interesting your page views grew significantly when you started self-hosting. I'm thinking of making the leap as well (wordpress currently hosts mine.) How did self-hosting in and of itself increase page views?

    1. Post author

      Ryan,

      I can't really figure out what came first - the chicken or the egg. I went self hosted, joined Yakezie and dedicated 200% more time to WLGYL all at the same time - I'm sure all of those contributed but self hosted definitely helped! (esp. with SE traffic!)

      From what I gather, Google doesn't like free websites, so (and, I could be very very wrong with this) they don't direct as much search engine traffic to free sites.

      I have no knowledge of the inner workings of the interwebz. I'll pass this question on to somebody who does!

  5. blogging is so much hard work =\ haha and it takes quite a few months (mine took a year!) before it starts paying off. It definitely isn't something that makes money the first day you start.

    I make some money blogging, but I'd like to make more. I have a better idea of how to do so now but it's definitely a trial & error experience. I'm trying to take it to the next level of success, but like you said, it is such hard work. And the capital input is intimidating. I hesitated so much about putting money into my blog, but every time I have, it's paid off.

    PS. "there are some “bloggers” that steal whole identities from other bloggers. I’ve only seen this happen once, and it’s not pretty." - made me LOL. thank you <3

  6. My blog is still pretty much for love; I would be very happy if I can make some money from it as well (even simply covering its costs) but haven't done much about this yet. One day...

  7. Thank you for this - not only for the awesome JPGs that basically outline my life, but also for being cool.

    I love blogging and would love to make it my FT job, but until that works out the #1 benefit is like you said - the competition can be your friend because readers can read an infinite amount in a given lifetime. Word!

    1. Post author

      Blogging as a FT job would be hard work! I'd get all confused as to what to do. But I'm sure it would pay off big time!

  8. I think anyone who does start blogging as a business from Day 1 gets a pretty quick dose of reality on how long it takes to build a business through blogging. You have to work slow and steady at building up a readership, and to do that you have to write quality content. So I think the best approach is to treat it like a business but blog because you love talking about your topic. Then if it turns into a business down the road, you're all set to go because its already running like one.

  9. I totally consider my blog a business. And if the CRA ever questions why I filed a loss on my freelance business last year, the blog is going to be the answer. Muahahaha. (Though I do feel this is still somewhat legit, since I spent time on the blog I could have spent earning more freelance income, and it's now starting to actually generate income itself.)

  10. Emily @ evolvingPF

    Right now blogging is a very time-consuming hobby, but I am enjoying it. I hope to monetize in the near future and then maybe get a small stream of income. It's not something I'll do for the money, though.

  11. I love this post! I seriously underestimate the amount of time I need to blog. Even now I have this notion in my head that I'll sit down on Sunday morning, punch out 5 amazing posts and then be done for the week. WHY aren't I realistic with myself???

    1. Post author

      Lol! Vanessa, I do the same thing. Then I find myself, 4 hours/day later, and I've been doing blog related activities the whole time but I have no posts written!

  12. Running a blog is running a business....all on your own. I mean it's crazy, we are all CEOs, marketers (excellent ones at that), researchers, writers, talkers, emailers, I mean it's a TON of work!! And effort, but we all seem to love it so it's worth it. I now understand why people want to hire interns and assistants, but I find that it would just lose my voice if I had someone write for me or comment for me. Besides, those are my favorite parts. I sometimes feel like I need to be on twitter more when I get home but I try to separate myself from it..but it's really hard. No matter what's going on, my head is always thinking of ideas to write about or relating what I talk to in my normal everyday conversations with personal finance.

  13. Even though I started my blog as a hobby, many days it does feel like a full-time job. As mentioned, coming up with ideas to post about, how to be creative, networking, marketing, etc, it makes the days and weeks go by so fast. Initially I wasn't thinking about making exta money, but some people seem to be making a lot of extra money each month through advertising. Now the question is, will that continue for them or not.

    1. Post author

      It's very, very unstable, the blogging income stream - or so I've seen, anyway. Sometimes, Google has a hissy fit or you go on vacation and your stats aren't happy, or whatever. It's probably not sustainable. Some weeks, I'll have dozens of advertisers contact me and some weeks I'll have none. And I'm not even a big blog, yet!

  14. Anthony Thompson

    You're3 right, Daisy. Blogging has all of the elements of a business, and requires a lot of hard work to maintain it and make it a successful endeavor.

  15. It's a hobby for me -- it's going to make me money, but not in the way you described. Writing about spending and saving makes me more conscious of my spending and saving, and the fact that some people read my struggles and successes is awesome, but still just a hobby.

  16. Katie

    I think when I first started blogging I thought it was going to be easy and I was going to make some money. REALITY CHECK...lol I really enjoy it now so I'm not to fixated on making money off of it now.

  17. I thought having a blog was just going to be all fun and games. But that was before I started putting +40 hours per week into it! I 110% agree that this is more of business than anything – real estate to be exact! I like to think of this as creating “the place to be” so that advertisers will want to work with you.

  18. I just started my blog, so I am not treating it like a business yet. It's my hubby and I have fun, so I don't want to make it work just yet. I think I will start working more on it this summer, when I don't have classes.

  19. For me blogging is a hobby and not a business. Sometimes I like the idea of trying to make money off of it (or trying to get free things haha), but I don't have the time to devote to developing content/networking/etc. Luckily I've made a few good friends through blogging, so I feel like I've gained SOMETHING after blogging for almost 2 years.

  20. Eddie

    Great post Daisy.
    I run my blog(s) as businesses. I'm continuing to find creative ways to take the blog to the next level. Trying different products, consulting and attending conferences pertaining to blogging/PF.

  21. I love posts like this! It's very much like a business; you're right. My blog started out like a personal documentation of my journey, but it's kind of evolving. Definitely interesting...

  22. I feel like my blog is a hobby that I treat like a business. I want to do it with excellence, make some extra money (like a business) but never water down my purpose and just have fun with it (like a hobby). You make some great points, especially the time consuming part. It's so true, blogging isn't just about writing (for most of us). It's about commenting, connecting with readers, interacting on social media, answering emails and etc. It's pretty much a 24/7 thing, if you let it. Still, I love it!

  23. Amy

    I'm just starting my PF blog but I can definitely see how it should be treated like a business. I've had blogs in the past, and they are a lot of work. I attempt to do my own design work (I'm not great, but it suffices) so it helps me save on capital and my hosting package is the same price as a fancy coffee, so its economically feasible.

  24. I would agree with Leigh. It all depends on how you approach it. If you just blog for fun then there is no expectation, but if you want to make some money with it then you have to treat it like a business. I think a lot of blogs out there are meant to generate income.

  25. You are so right. Especially when your blog starts to grow, you put in more and more work into it. It does become your business and you have to treat it as such.

  26. I need to treat my blog more like a business - I would like to make enough off it to at least cover my expenses! I have a hobby blog that I don't expect to make $$ off; that's for fun.

    I really need to buckle down and either learn to do the technical stuff I hate, or hire someone to do it for me!

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  29. There is no doubt that the more you put in-- the more you will get out. Just like a business, if you (the owner) don't pour your heart and soul into it.. it will flounder and sink.

    But.. Blogging is also a ton more fun than "working" 🙂

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  32. Young Professional Finances

    You're right that it definitely takes a lot of time. Even as a hobby, I spend a lot of time writing posts, commenting on other blogs, submitting to carnivals, etc. Although I'd like to make money in the future, I know that I'll have to invest a lot more into my blog - so for now, I'll just keep it as a hobby rather than a business.

  33. It's true of anything that one is serious about, really, whether it's photography, cooking, hiking, etc. It takes investment in terms of time, energy and money.

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  35. It's more of a pressure release valve for me. Sure, I'd like to continue to make money at it. For now, though, my site is a place to put the stuff I can't publish at my "real" writing jobs (i.e., the ones that pay the bills).
    The down side is that I'm a bit burned-out. I don't want writing to become a huge chore since, as noted, I do it for a living and can't afford to wear myself out. At times I have felt that I *must* put something up on the site because days have gone by with no original stuff, just roundups or giveaways. Not a good way to come up with compelling writing, this feeling that I *have* to do it.

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  39. Great post! I'm definitely putting in the effort to make The Granola Diaries more fluid with how it looks and the sort of content on it; its a work in progress to figure out what stays and what goes.

    Posts like yours are a great help to keep on moving in the right direction 🙂

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