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You may have heard that blogging is dead. Ruth Soukup has too, every year for the past 10 years. After so many years of blogging and starting Elite Blog Academy to coach other bloggers, she believes there is no better time than right now to start an online business. While it’s true that many aspects of blogging have changed, and that those who haven’t changed have gotten left behind, there is a wealth of opportunity for bloggers who are willing to learn and grow.
How to Blog for Profit Without Selling Your Soul will guide you through the first steps of setting up a blog. If you are confused about which platform to use, she goes into the pros and cons of each. She also provides information about how to access step-by-step instructions for setting up a blog on Wordpress and Squarespace as well as setting up a store on Shopify. What kind of content to create and how to communicate with them via email. Another wonderful book about this is The Million Dollar One Person Business.
Once your blog is up and running, you need to know who your audience is and what kind of content they want. Since you’ll be writing the blog, the first question to ask is what you want to talk about. What are you so interested in that you never get tired of talking about?
Once you’ve decided on this, and it can be fairly broad or extremely narrow, you need to figure out who your avatar is and what they need. You should really flesh this out, and not settle for a general gender and age demographic. The better you understand your avatar, the better you will be able to fulfill their needs. The perfect book about building the right content for these people is They Ask You Answer.
Before you start worrying about what to sell to your audience, you need to create trust with them by providing great content. Ruth suggests creating an editorial calendar to keep yourself accountable for consistent posting. Writing takes discipline, and having a deadline, even a self-imposed one, can help you achieve your goals. For more on this subject read the book The Checklist Manifesto.
This is the time to focus on creating what Ruth calls “pillar content,” content that provides value to your avatar. Every blog post needs to be share-worthy and optimized for gaining traffic. If you’re still not sure what this means, read F#ck Content Marketing.
Now that you’ve refined your message by creating stellar content, it’s time to focus on growing your audience. To build your business, you have to have customers. Ruth demystifies the issue of generating traffic by outlining strategies for optimizing both paid and organic traffic. There is no magic formula for generating growth, but there are several avenues you should understand. SEO is a constantly evolving field, so if you are going to succeed as a blogger, you have to accept that you will need to keep learning.
What worked five or even two years ago doesn’t necessarily work now. Social media channels are constantly changing and refining their algorithms. The most important thing to understand is that Google’s only goal is to bring in the best search results for a given term. Your main focus should always be on creating the best content for your niche.
After establishing that your content resonates with your readers, it’s time to look into monetization. Ruth reiterates that you can’t have a business if you’re not selling something. But you don’t have to be obnoxious about it. If you truly understand your readers and what they want, they will be happy about buying products you create. Your product will solve a problem for them. Unlike in a traditional business model, you should build your audience first and then listen to them about which products they need.
Not only does this limit your initial monetary investment, it ensures that your product will be successful. Your customers will be telling you what they want. While she does discuss earning income from selling ads and affiliate marketing, Ruth explains why selling your own product is the most lucrative use of your blog. For more information on starting and selling products like this online read the books 4 Hour Work Week & Ready Fire Aim.
If you’ve reached this stage, it can be tempting to sit back and let your blog coast on cruise control, but this is the time to grow your business. You now know what works and what it takes to grow a successful business. This is the time to start streamlining your processes so that you can continue to grow. The strategies you use when you have 100 customers probably will not work when you have 1,000 or 100,000 customers.
How to Blog for Profit Without Selling Your Soul is a great resource for beginning or intermediate level bloggers who are looking to level up their blogs and businesses. This book is for you if you don’t yet have a blog or an online business, already have one and are struggling or tuck.
Ruth Soukup started her company in 2010 as a stay-at-home mom of toddlers to hold herself accountable for sticking to a budget. She realized that a lot of people were facing the same struggles she was with blogging, so she started Elite Blog Academy to help other bloggers achieve their dreams. Her business has grown from just her blogging at home to a company that includes a team of people, bringing in seven figures a year.
She still has her blog, Living Well Spending Less, and she has started Elite Blog Academy, which has helped over 11,000 bloggers. In addition, she now offers coaching services through her program Do It Scared.
You can follow Ruth at her blog Living Well Spending Less or Elite Blog Academy or listen to her podcast Do It Scared