Taking a leaf out of the top bloggers in various niche to find out how they do business with blogs and what businesses should be considered in 2017.
Blogs that depends only on ad revenue and Adsense as a source of income will see the downtrend continuing in 2017 as it was in 2016. New and fresh business models for blogging are needed.
In 2016, eCommerce was one of the fastest growing sector in India and it will continue to grow at similar pace (or even at much higher pace due to demonetization) in 2017 as well. Sites sharing shopping coupons has grown very fast in 2016 and shopping blogs are already making a mark.
So it is not all about growing traffic numbers but have a monetization strategy as well. There are numerous ways to monetize a blog and we have seen these type of posts being shared by every blogger.
So I take a leaf out of the top bloggers in various niche and see how they are executing business with blogs and share only those business model that I think should be considered by bloggers in 2017.
1. Book / eBook
The most preferred business model for blogging.
It really works because you write what your readers love and if they want more from you, they can grab your book or ebook. There are many bloggers who have books / ebooks as a source of income for their blog and there can be no better example than Seth Godin and Darren Rowse for DPS.
I don’t see books and eBooks going out of business for bloggers in 2017.
When we take examples of such established bloggers, the important aspect to understand is when you should opt to have an eBook for your readers to buy.
Asking readers suddenly to purchase an eBook may not work well and so it is important to be building readership and personal interaction with readers to get what more information they are looking for. This becomes the groundwork for the topic of an eBook.
Once the ebook topic is finalized, you can interact with your loyal readers to improve on it. Make readers part of the process of writing an eBook. Can even share incomplete eBook with your loyal readers for and improve on it. It can make your readers feel they are being part of your ebook.
2. Paid Community / Membership
When can you form a community?
Paid community or paid membership forum in vBulletin or xenForo is one of the better business models than eBook but it is quite tough to make the community a reality.
Michael Hyatt’s platform university is a very good example of such community.
No one will like to be a part of a community that is not active and so you need to have large enough reader-base to form a closed group of members and interact among themselves in the community.
So according to me the when you can assume you will have 1000 active members in a community, it’s the right time to form one. Once you know the time is right, make sure you form a core team to interact in the community and make it active and then open it for others.
If things don’t work out as well as you might have anticipated don’t lower the membership price for more participation because it may not go well for those who opted first. Instead, organize a contest to give away free membership or offer a discount on membership fees for existing customers to reach the golden mark of 1000 active members.
In short, do things that can drive more interaction among users in the community.
If you have too many communities that are free to join in the same niche, you can have a tough time making a paid community work.
For any community to flourish the most active member of the community should be the admin who should be sharing content and interacting on a regular basis with members.
The best way to launch a community is, share your plans with potential members and let them opt-in to be notified once the community is launched. See how many of them wants to be part of it and assess whether you should be going for it or not.
3. Consultation / Services
Sell your services or consultation on your blog.
Your readers can connect with you and your expertise and will be more than happy to work with you. There cannot be any better example than Chris Brogan where he offers speaking and coaching services on his blog.
Any blogger can offer a consultation/services on his blog and there are very few pre-requisite for it. Make sure getting in touch with you is fairly simple and easy.
Some of the top bloggers always offer “speaking at events” service. As a blogger there cannot be a better opportunity than being on a podium to promote your personal brand (not self-promotion) and get paid for it. Should grab such opportunities with both hands because such services can mean a tipping point for your blog.
4. Paid Tools
Tools that can make your audience’s life easier.
Tools can either be free or paid or both where you offer limited options in a free version and full featured version for a fee.
Free tools can help promote your blog and brand and paid tools can help you sustain the business.
There are tons of example of such freemium tools but Moz is possibly the biggest example of it.
You can create tools by filling the gap and reducing the pain points of your audience and they will be more than happy to pay for it. Remember that don’t try to clone a tool unless you have a plan and budget to outdo the features already being provided.
Ask readers for what kind of tools they use and what are the pain points in using them and this can be a good starting point for you to build something useful.
The evergreen affiliate marketing
We have 4 of the best business models implemented by the top bloggers. Can’t we promote what other top bloggers in the same niche are offering instead of trying to create something yet again?
Trying to build your own product is always an option but you can recommend other products and services to your readers.
It is a fairly easy model to monetize a blog but this model can backfire as well if you recommend a subpar tool, product or service that you haven’t tested fully.
As a blogger, you should not recommend anything that you aren’t confident about. Make sure when you are recommending something, it helps your reader and not because you will be paid a good share of commission from the vendor for recommending it.
As a general rule, if you aren’t confident of using it, don’t recommend it.
Further Reading …