I own a localized life-hacking blog, the name of which is a very generic term in South Asia for frugal innovation / life hacking. The blog has been online and active with regular posts since May 2013 and has acquired regular readership as well as email subscribers. I would like to convert it into a sustainable business as opposed to ad based revenue as I think readership would depreciate if I do not go for continuous change. I have already set up MediaWiki software and testing it on the website in an attempt to attract user generated content rather than blogging myself, however, I think the name being a very popular, generic, term has much more potential as a brand and business. Any ideas how I should go with expanding it to something more than just a blog?
Congratulations - you're in a very enviable position compared to many startups - you already have an audience.
I would recommend that you open a dialog with your readers - it doesn't have to be obvious (it can be), but you should include them in the decision, and find out what they want.
You could take a direct approach and poll them. That might seem a bit uncomfortable, but if you believe in the value of what you'll offer them - and give them a say in that offering, it shouldn't.
You could also take an "offers" approach - where you test a few limited quantity, limited time offers (via email, banner, inline, etc) - this allows you to test the waters with multiple products before committing to a consistent offering. You can test products (physical, digital), services, affiliate offerings, and the list goes on.
What to offer is a hard question to answer without more details - but suffice it to say you should look at what has performed historically among the ads on your site - as that will give you insight on what has captured their interest in the past.
Something very important to remember - you've built this based on the value you add via the blog - don't stop doing that. I've seen more than one blog make a commercial attempt - and in doing so stop or greatly reduce their content after getting excited about initial conversions. Once they'd hit their entire initial population of users with product marketing, things slowed down, and then they had to play catchup on the content front to regain traffic.
You should first change your mindset about what you currently have, and don't have:
- You have a brand
- You have an audience
- You have a new customer acquisition channel
- You do not have a product
A business needs a product to sell. Adding a wiki is not adding a product, it's only increase the customer acquisition channel.... something you probably don;t need any more of yet.
What you need to do is create a single simple product, and then use your blog and brand as a channel to that product.
If you're really keen on writing, it could be an ebook or training course (adding videos to your case makes a huge difference). There are many resources online specific to one of these avenues.
I know a lot of friends and fellow entrepreneurs who make full time incomes from books, courses and other info products that are 100% powered from their blog. Happy to dive deeper on a call.
This may be the best problem that anyone can have. You need to quickly develop an Informational Product, direct your herd to this product and send frequent newsletters to them with useful information and always have a link to an offer.
You could also partner with someone who has an informational product.
I would be glad to help as my time permits.
Best of Luck,
From the Trenches to the Towers Marketing
Thanks alot for all the advice. Juggaar, being a generic term for its niche itself, has the advantage of being a blog that can target a huge market in South Asia and related diaspora. However, inherently, those interested in juggaar culture don't usually pay for information products or any thing that can come under DIY for that matter; it is a spirit of the niche itself, the reason the blog is popular in the first place.
I am thinking of online products that are not merely information products / ebooks... my niche is likely not going to pay for it. Hence my question of how to getting it around and turning it into something that either actually converts sales or snowballs users (or user generated content / activity / interaction) if it has to be just information.