We have entered into the digital age, and it is obvious that a business without a website has fallen behind the times. Almost everyone carries a smartphone with them everywhere they go, and consumers are turning to online information when making purchases.
In fact, an annual survey conducted by comScore found that consumers polled made 51% of all their purchases online in 2016, compared to 48% in 2015.
So how can you use your business website to increase revenue?
The internet is full of fantastic opportunities for expansion in digital marketing, and it’s time to take advantage of them. One of the greatest ways to really grow your business through its website is by using your business blog.
A business blog is a way to bring traffic to your website. You can think of it as another marketing channel, just like emails or sales pages on your website. However, a business blog is a form of inbound marketing, meaning that your target audience and potential customers are coming to you!
So why does blogging work for businesses, and how can it boost your company’s revenue?
Why Blogging Works for Businesses
· Builds Traffic
We’ve already established that people are searching online for the products or services that they want to buy. So, how will your target audience find you online?
There are many different ways to go about building traffic, and most of them include spending lots of money. For example, if you want to pay for ads on Google, or ads across social media, you will probably do well in promoting your site. However, this can cost you hundreds of dollars, and as soon as you stop paying for those ads, your traffic will plummet again.
So why is blogging different?
Blogging is a natural way to build traffic for your website. According to a study by TechClient, websites with blogs have 434% more indexed pages. That means people have many more chances to find you online!
Also, by producing regular and well-aimed blog posts, you are creating very shareable content for your target audience.
When you make sure that share buttons are easy to find, your readers will be likely to spread your content for you. This means you’re getting even more exposure with hardly any effort!
Blogging goes hand in hand with social media as a way to build traffic to your website. By posting content from your blog on social media pages and linking back to your posts, you can easily build organic traffic to your website. In this way you’re building inbound links, essentially guiding people to your website and your company without immediately asking them to purchase something.
Here’s a statistic from the aforementioned study by TechClient that helps us understand the importance of blogging in building traffic: 70% of consumers learn about a company through articles rather than ads.
Here’s what this means: blogging is not only cheaper than paid ads, it’s actually more effective!
Obviously, blogging is an extremely cost-effective means of driving traffic to your website. This is also due to its close relation to search engine optimization.
· Wins the Approval of Search Engines
If your blog content is well prepared, you’re building organic traffic by raising your website higher in search engines. What does this mean?
Let’s imagine your business sells custom T-shirts. If someone runs a search query for ‘custom T-shirts’, how many pages will they have to click through to find your website? The problem is this: anything beyond the first few pages in Google practically doesn’t exist for the average consumer. He or she will never see your website unless you rank well for relevant keywords.
So how does your blog help?
It’s up to you (or your content manager) to produce a blog that works with search engines, thus helping your website’s rank. This is done through different means, but mainly it involves using keywords.
Finding and using keywords that are relevant to your business niche is essential to building your website’s SEO. This means you need to find out what people are searching for in your industry, and use those words in your blog posts.
Try to aim for keywords that don’t have much competition. Continuing with our example above, there are hundreds of websites that sell custom T-shirts. If you’re optimizing for that particular keyword, you probably still won’t get seen.
However, using what is known as ‘long tail keywords’ helps you get seen by customers searching for specific things. For example, men’s custom T-shirts, or plus-size custom T-shirts, etc., are examples of keywords with multiple words that are less likely to be used by others, and more likely to make you visible.
Of course, this is just an example. To find out what keywords are being searched in your industry, use a keyword research tool such as the keyword planner tool included in your Google AdWords account. (Although you will need to sign up for a Google AdWords account to use the keyword planner, it is free to use.)
When you adapt your blog posts to optimize for certain keywords, your search engine rank will go up and it will be easier for your target audience to find you.
· Establishes Authority
Before consumers purchase from your company, they have to trust you. If they’re skeptical of your business or your competence in the field, they won’t be likely to spend their hard earned money on what you’re offering.
A business blog is a way to build trust in your company.
Use your blog as a place to expound on your knowledge of the industry. This place is where you can write about topics that are of interest in your business niche, perhaps detailing the problems and solutions of your target audience, or giving useful information for them.
For example, imagine your company sells fishing equipment. Each blog post that you produce proves that you know what you’re talking about. You can write detailed posts about the different types of fishing, how different lures attract different fish, etc. Your informative posts prove that you are an expert in your field, thus building confidence in your product.
The key is to know the type of content that your audience is looking for.
This means you need to be active in the niche. Get active on social media, forums, etc. Find out what questions people are asking in your niche, and whether they’re getting solid answers. Once you find a topic or a question that is popular with your potential customers, then it’s time to write a new post!
When you establish authority in your field, you automatically boost sales. When people trust you, they trust your product and are more likely to purchase from you.
· Helps with Conversion
So your blog has now driven tons of new traffic to your website, which is fantastic. People are getting to know your business, and they’re sharing your content to their friends.
However, is building traffic the end of your blog’s usefulness? Not at all!
It’s time to convert that traffic into new leads.
Your blog is still the perfect mechanism to gain new leads for your business. In fact, small businesses with blogs generate 126% more leads. So what do you need to do to turn your readers into your new customers?
The best way to convert using a blog is to include a call-to-action within each post. This is basically an invitation for readers to take some sort of action.
The type of action you invite them to take depends on you and your company goals. For example:
- Learn More: Link to other posts within your blog that explain a certain concept in more detail.
- Subscribe: Get people to subscribe to your blog, thus building your audience.
- Contact Us: If your readers aren’t ready to buy immediately, maybe they’d be willing to consult with one of your sales reps.
- Purchase: If your readers are ready to buy, then lead them to the purchase page!
- Free Trial: Offer your readers a test-run of your products or services.
- Social Media Links: Invite your readers to share your blog post on social media, or to follow you or your business! (Make sure to test all of the links before the post goes live.)
- Join a Mailing List: If you’re looking to build up your mailing list for your e-newsletters or product/service offers, give people a place to sign up right within the post!
These are just some examples of different types of calls-to-action that you could include within your blog. The important part is making sure that every blog post has at least one (or more!) of these calls-to-action.
Where and how you include your call-to-action is up to you. Attractive buttons at the end of a post are a common (and effective) way to invite your readers to take action.
However, don’t underestimate the power of links within your blog posts. For example, let’s say that you are a tour company, and one of the tours you offer is a wine tour in southern France. While writing a blog post about French wine, find an appropriate place to include a link to the sales page for that particular tour.
Two important points: don’t make these links to obvious, and don’t force them in where they don’t belong. Instead, include the links in phrases that are appropriate. Then, they’ll be more likely to click! (Using our example above, you might include the link in a phrase such as: ‘Touring southern France allows you to taste a beautiful selection of French wines’.)
With a little bit of extra work, the traffic that you’ve built using your blog is now converting into new leads and possible sales!
Ways to Earn Money from Your Blog
So now that your blog is off and running, you’re probably seeing new income from it organically because of new leads and sales.
However, boosting sales is not the only way that blogging can earn money for your business. In fact, there are many people that earn an income just by blogging.
How do they do it? Here are four ways that people earn money through blogging, and how these methods can be used in a business blog as well.
· Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing means that you get paid by another business for marketing their product or service on your website. Normally, you would include a special link within your blog, and you get paid a percentage every time someone follows that link and purchases a product or service.
Obviously, we’re not talking about recommending your competitor’s products on your blog. So how can affiliate marketing work on a business blog?
Let’s go back to our tour guide example. If you’re writing about places that you offer tours in, what about using affiliate marketing for hotels or restaurants in the area? Or, what about endorsing some fantastic travel gear?
The key is finding products or services that your audience is interested in, but that are not in direct competition with the products or services that your business offers.
Especially useful is finding a product that is sold on Amazon, and getting involved in the Amazon Affiliate program. This is a very easy program to get into, and is a great way to supplement your business income.
But you may be wondering at this point, how much can I actually make using affiliate marketing? Will it make that much of a difference to my business?
The owner of this blog was able to make over $140,000 in one year through affiliate marketing. Through one blog alone, he was able to make $4,000 per month. He is one of many people who have discovered the means to a lucrative income that is almost completely passive! Affiliate marketing is a fantastic way to augment your business’ income.
However, it is true that turning affiliate marketing into something profitable takes time. You may not see amazing results within your first year, but with a bit of determination, the income will increase!
This is one of the most common ways to earn money with a blog, and it can be rather easy. Let’s take a look at the different ways that you can earn money on your business blog through ads:
- Pay per Click (PPC) Ads
Out of all the different options for advertising on your blog, PPC (also known as Cost per Click, or CPC) is by far the most widely used across the internet.
This is how it works: You place the advertiser’s links within you blog. (Normally, this will be a nice button on the side or a banner at the top which shows relevant advertising.) Then, your readers come. While some ignore the advertisements, some will click and follow the link to the advertiser’s website.
For every time a reader clicks on the link, you get money.
Normally, PPC ads can be placed on your website by going through an ad network. There are many of such networks that you can go through, but you’re probably already familiar with Google AdSense, which is the biggest network out there. You submit your website to them, and once you’re approved, you can start putting on different types of ads. Every time someone clicks, you get your commission (and so does Google).
The advantages of placing PPC ads in your blog include the fact that most advertisers prefer this method, meaning that you’ll easily find advertisers to work with. But remember this: the ads that are placed on your website with PPC advertising will only earn you money if they’re well targeted to your audience.
Of course, how much you earn varies greatly with this model. However, if you have enough visitors to your blog, it can be very profitable.
- Cost per Thousand Impressions (CPM) Ads
This model is very similar to the one above, with one major difference: instead of getting paid per clicks, you’re getting paid for impressions.
The process is the same. The advertiser’s links go into your blog, and are thus visible to readers. However, you get paid whether people click on the ads or not. Google AdSense and other ad networks also offer the option of CPM ads.
The main advantage of CPM ads is obvious: you get paid for the amount of impressions the ad gets, no matter what the readers decide to do with the ad! That means you’re getting paid for every person that visits your site, no questions asked.
However, there is a disadvantage: CPM ads, although productive when you have many visitors, do not pay as well as PPC ads.
Basically, to choose between the two, you need to decide which works better for your audience. Are your readers likely to click on the advertisement? How open is your audience towards clicking on ads? If you think your readers are likely to click on ads, you may choose PPC over CPM for your website.
If you’re not sure, test out different advertising models. Most advertising networks will let you pick and choose, and you’ll be free to change the ads that are on your site. Use both to see which generates the most revenue for your blog.
- Selling Private Ads
We’ve discussed using an ad network to place ads within your website. However, this is not the only option in regards to selling ads.
When you blog has enough traffic, it is possible for you to sell private ads directly to advertisers. Sometimes these advertisers will contact you personally, if they see that your website has enough traffic and that you fit their needs for a target audience. Otherwise, you can get in contact with the advertisers yourself.
The obvious benefit to this method is that there is no ad network taking commission off the ads on your site. That way, all the revenue comes directly to you.
In selling private ads, it’s possible to charge a one-time fee, to use the methods mentioned above, or to charge a monthly fee. Really, it’s up to you.
· Digital Products
Creating a digital product to sell using your blog is a fantastic way to boost income for your site. Even if your company is already in the business of selling products or services, this is just another way to augment that revenue.
Of course, this means you need to listen to your audience. What kind of digital product do they need? What can you provide them?
Let’s go back to our example of the tour company in France. An example of a digital product that you could sell using your blog would be an eBook that talks about travel in France. Another option would be selling stock travel photos for people to use in their own content.
See what products that are relevant to your audience, create them, and promote them using your business blog! Different types of digital products include:
- eBooks: An in-depth guide to any aspect of your business’ niche. This will earn revenue, but also means your company will be seen as an expert in the field.
- Webinars: Find a topic that interests your readers, and discuss it!
- Web Graphics: If your business does any kind of graphic design, this is an easy and simple way to make extra cash from your blog.
- Video Courses or Tutorials: These could even be related to products that you sell. For example, if you’re a web hosting company, offer tutorials on how to set up your hosting, how to use your website builder, etc.
- Photography: If your business is visually based (such as the travel company we mentioned above) you can sell photography for others to use.
- Apps: Building an app that revolves around your products or services is another way for your company to break into the Millennial market and join the digital age.
Here’s the best part: digital products are very easy to create, and they give your business a source of passive income. Once they’re set up, they’ll be making money for you in the background!
· Physical Products
The last way to make money from your business blog that we’ll discuss in this article is selling products. Of course, we know that your company is already selling products. But how can you use your blog to optimize that revenue?
Remember how we talked above about using your blog to promote your products or services? Here is where that comes in. Use your blog to direct traffic back to your products, in this way boosting sales and bringing in new revenue.
Another way to use this avenue is by creating new physical products to sell. Find out what products your audience wants, and add them to your list!
For example, is your brand logo becoming popular? Can you create physical products like T-shirts, hats, shoes, etc. that people would like to wear?
Of course, creating physical products that will sell is highly dependent on your business, but there are many ways for this to become a good source of revenue.
Getting the Know-How
All of the things we discussed above show that your business blog can be a good source of income to your company, boosting sales and creating new sources of revenue.
It must be said that getting to know the ins and outs of setting up a niche website blog is not an easy task. It takes time and hard work to use a blog to increase revenue, but as we’ve seen above, the results are well worth the effort.
Of course, getting your niche site blog up and running is a lot easier when you have someone to guide you through the process. If you want hands-on training and consultation in setting up your business blog, then we’ve got you covered.
Here at Income School, we have the know-how to help your niche site succeed. That’s why the website founders Ricky Kesler and Jim Harmer set up the Niche Site School. This training program assists you in the process of setting up your blog. They’ll take you from the very beginning stages right to the point of making real money from your niche site.
This consultation and training is a step-by-step guide to making money from your website. This includes information on profitable blog ideas, blog setup, marketing, and monetization. The goal is to have your niche site blog set up and ready in 60 days. The training that they provide is invaluable, and provides practical applications towards building a profitable blog site.
Not ready to pay for the whole product? No problem. Jim and Ricky have also set up a FREE niche site tutorial that will help you in this process.
With either product, you’ll be learning from two experts in the field of blog monetization. By taking their advice, you’ll be able to see real results in a short period of time.
In the end, it’s up to you to make your business blog a real source of income. But your hard work in creating a blog that complements your business will bring in new leads and an extra source of revenue for your company.