Mar 282012

Many—perhaps most—blogs start life as hobby blogs. We have a special interest, and we want to share our passion with others, so we start a blog. But then somewhere along the line, a large proportion of bloggers decide they’d really like to make some money from their blogs.

This is my story—I started blogging for fun, and liked it so much I set myself the goal of doing it for profit. Examples like this convince many to try their hand at turning hobby blogs into businesses, but the process really isn’t as simple as it seems on the surface.

There are a few tasks I believe we really must spend time on before we consider turning a hobby blog into a business.

1. Assess the niche

If you have a hobby blog, you’ve probably already chosen a niche. But to make the decision to turn it into a business, you need to know if the niche is large enough, and profitable enough, to generate an income for you. I’ve written about choosing a blog niche before, but basically there are a few things you’ll need to assess:

  1. the size and popularity of the niche
  2. the size and strength of competition
  3. the scope within the niche for ongoing, growing monetization (some niches and markets are, obviously, easier to monetize than others).

2. See if your monetization plan suits

It’s one thing to blog in a niche with a strong profit potential; it’s another to actually make money from your blogging within that space. Different niches are suited to different kinds of monetization. While you might love blogging in your hobby niche, and it might have strong potential to generate advertising revenue, for example, you may not want to put ads on your site or in your newsletters. If you want to make money in this niche, you’ll have to find another way to do it—and that way might be different from what everyone else is doing.

On the other hand, you might have big plans for monetization, but find that your niche can’t sustain them. This doesn’t necessarily mean that your ideas are “bad”—it may just be that the niche isn’t sufficiently mature for there to be enough people to take up your offer, or that, for instance, the niche is a low-value one and audience members aren’t used to paying higher prices for more value-rich offerings.

If your hobby blog’s going to become a business, you need to pitch your

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