As your blog continues to grow and mature, you’ll likely start looking for other ways that you can expand this online business. After all, your blog is a legitimate business, even if it may have started out as a personal interest or hobby. When you’ve built up an audience and developed a sizable mailing list, it’s time to capitalize on that reach by building a product or service off your blog.
Release an E-Book or Digital Product
You might remember an earlier article in this series where we talked about writing an e-book to accompany your blog. There are two main ways that you can go about handling the e-book. You could use your branding power and reach, selling the e-book to your audience either directly or through an online marketplace like Clickbank. Alternatively, you can give away your e-book for free, in exchange for people signing up for your mailing list.
Either way, it can prove to be very fruitful to offer an e-book or some sort of digital product. In terms of an e-book, you may already have a wealth of valuable material on your blog. You are updating it on a regular basis, after all, and you are establishing yourself as an expert in your field. This content can be re-purposed as an e-book, which can help to further establish and legitimize your position in the growing “blogosphere.”
If your niche lends itself better to a digital product, that’s a great way to go too. If you’re a software developer, perhaps you could offer some sort of online tool. If you’re a designer, you can offer a WordPress theme. It really depends on what you’re good at, what you like to do, and what you think would be received the best by your readership.
Offer Consulting or Other Services
Having a blog is a great way to establish yourself as an expert in your field. If you are blogging a lot about real estate and you demonstrate knowledge in this area, people will come to respect your opinion on matters related to real estate. The same can be said about nearly every industry and nearly every niche. This “expert” status can prove to be very lucrative.
In this way, you can parlay your blog into a consulting business, allowing the two to work in tandem. If you are a realtor blogging about real estate, your blog can be a great source of referrals. This has also held true for designers, writers, artists, search engine optimization experts, and more. You can sell your services and use your blog as a means of reaching new clients.
If you happen to be a mobile developer, another great option is to sell (or give away) apps for smartphones like the iPhone, Android, and BlackBerry. These can be directly related to your blog or they can be tangentially related. If you blog about mobile games, why not develop and release your own game?
Sell Premium Content and Subscriptions
In addition to premium content that you can offer as a “members only” area on your blog, you can also think about subscriptions in a slightly different way. Using the example above of an online tool or service, you can offer this on a subscription basis.
Say, for instance, that you have developed on online tool that will help camera enthusiasts find the most highly-rated camera based on a set of criteria and preferences. This tool can then be made available to subscribers for a monthly or annual fee. Let your imagination be your guide and ask yourself whether you would pay for such an online service. If you would, there’s a good chance that other people with similar interests might too.
Be creative. Be original. And above all else, offer real value to your readers that is worth their hand-earned money.