Currently I’m in discussion with bloggers for starting four different blogs – and in each case, the author was stumped when I asked him the following question:
Where do you see yourself and your blog in 2 years?
This isn’t about setting goals for yourself – it’s about knowing what you want to achieve with your blog, and planning for your exit if circumstances require you to do so.
Why you should ALWAYS have an Exit Strategy:
- You might lose interest in the subject
- You may need the extra cash
- You could get a dream gig at another blog
- You might start a new blog / business that needs more of your time
- The niche / blog is peaking and you’d want to strike gold while the the iron’s hot (apologies for mixing metaphors there)
- You’ve fallen ill and can’t blog at the same pace / volume any more
Your reasons for leaving / ending a blog could be positive or negative – the idea is to be prepared so when the time arrives, you are prepared to hand the blog over to someone else, sell it off or further ‘automate’ it so that it takes less of your time.
Done right, you could stand to make good money from your blog in a couple of years.
7 Components to a Blog Exit Strategy
1. Don’t plan to quit
A contradiction – but the fact is that to make a blog successful you need to work smart and put maximum effort where it’s needed. If your heart’s not in it and you’re doing this with the big payday as your goal, you’re not going to get the desired results.
2. Get other bloggers on board as soon as possible
Whether you have to hire them, find like-minded friends or bribe them with fame and fortune, aim to turn your blog into a multi-author blog (or one with substantial guest contributions) asap, preferably as soon as you start.
This way the blog doesn’t become over-dependent on the voice of one person, and it is a lot easier to transition to new owners.
3. Multiple Monetization Methods
This is sound business advice as well as a must if you want to be able to sell your blog in the future – having a business reliant on just one source of revenue (such as AdSense) is risky. Find affiliate programs, sell advertising, sell products / services if possible and find alternatives to AdSense (TLA, Chitika, Intellitxt, Auction Ads, Amazon, etc).
4. Know your costs
There are many hidden costs of running a blog that bloggers often ignore. The biggest one is the cost of the blogger’s time – if a new owner was to come in and hire someone to blog regularly, how much would they pay them?
Other costs include hosting costs (if you are hosting multiple blogs on one server then your personal costs are averaged out but it might not be the case for a new owner), cost of paying your guest bloggers (even if they blog for free now) and the value of time / actual money spent in promotion / administration.
If you subtract all your costs from your revenues and you realise that you’re turning in a loss instead of a profit, it’s time to rethink your business strategy.
5. Treat your blog as a business
You’re here to make money, so don’t kid yourself – get serious and focus on those activities that will bring in advertising dollars.
And remember that without quality content and a strong community, advertising won’t come to your blog.
6. Build a strong community
Internet marketers are fond of saying that ‘the money is in the list’. The parallel in blogging is that a strong, active community around your blog is a monetizable audience and as such is very valuable.
Start a newsletter. Provide free reports to capture email addresses. Develop a community and establish multiple lines of communication with them.
7. Diverse Traffic Sources
If you have a sizeable audience then you are not reliant on search engines.
But are you reliant *just* on the community?
Having regular readers, search engine traffic, constant referrals from other websites – all are important components of building site traffic and you shouldn’t ignore any one of them.
The beauty of preparing for exit is that once it focuses you to develop a business model that is efficient, has optimal monetization and is capable of running without you being involved in day-to-day decisions.
While preparing for your exit, you’ll also have built a hands-off, self-reliant, stable and automated business.
Sounds good, doesn’t it?