How Bloggers Can Move to Ecommerce (and Why They Should)
Millions of bloggers, thousands of active soundboards, a few blogging success stories, and the chances are that you aren’t there yet. You are not alone in the race for making money off blogs and it’s getting harder as we speak.
Make no mistake: blogging is still a great way to get published, to express your views, to plant the seeds for thought leadership, and generate trust among your readers. It’s just not the kind of moneymaking system, as people would like to think.
Rachael Bridge, author of How to Start a Business Without Any Money, makes an interesting statement in her book. Let me quote:
“Avoid online businesses which depend on advertising to make money.”
She further explains:
“It’s an appealing idea to create a website whose sole purpose is to offer information.”
“Unfortunately, the model doesn’t work for startups. Advertisers aren’t going to spend any money on advertising on sites few people visit, and for the first few years at least, not many people will be visiting yours.”
No, I’m not saying you should pack up your blog. I’m not remotely saying that you shouldn’t blog for money. You very well should.
It’s just that you can’t expect it to pay for a few years. So, what do you until then? You start other projects parallel and become a digital serial entrepreneur. You should move to ecommerce in addition to blogging. Here’s how (and why):
Blogging takes time, ecommerce doesn’t
You could have as many blogs as you want, it’ll all come down to this: you’ll create content on multiple niches, you’ll write like your life depends on it, you’ll promote these blogs to death. Yet, you’ll have to wait until your blogs gain enough traffic to entice advertisers or put affiliate marketing or other forms of monetization to work.
Instead, you could still start blogs and continue with your original plan, but with a twist: create businesses focusing on selling products (or services bundled as products). This way, you can create systems that make money as you go. Apply the same effort you otherwise would to an ecommerce site that’s built to sell directly, and you are likely to make money faster.
Work to develop skills, not money
Most bloggers start out with nothing but a domain name and a hosting account. We all learn as we work on our blogs. The primary purpose of most blogs is to make money. There’s, however, only so much money that information given away for free can bring. It’s no wonder that information publishing isn’t making money today.
If you are blogging for the sole benefit of working up your blogging skills, you stand to gain. Whether you choose to sell products, services, or even information, you know what works and what doesn’t. You get into a position where you rack up enough skills and knowledge to create a business plan, launch products or services, and profit from it, right from inception to forever.
Finally, it’s your skills applied to deliver value to your readers that pays. Not the blog itself. Not even a fully developed, incredibly good-looking ecommerce site with the world’s best products would pay if you didn’t know what exactly to do with your business in the first place.
Business opportunities within business opportunities
Every aspect of building an ecommerce business is an actual business opportunity. Look at what goes into an ecommerce site, compared to setting up a blog:
- Create business plan templates – including PEST, SWOT and industry analysis – for upcoming or startup ecommerce businesses. This is a huge opportunity in itself.
- Take an idea to execution, develop it, and set up an online selling processes and system: it’s a business opportunity by itself.
- Find products or services: source products, create deals with distributors or wholesalers, create partnerships with other businesses to resell their products, etc. What would you get paid if you did this for other ecommerce storeowners?
- Develop content for your store. That could be as big as a stand-alone business of its own now!
- Promote an ecommerce business. That’s another well-paying and valuable skill in demand.
Compare that to blogging: pick a niche, set up a blog, develop content, and promote your blog. Repeat.
Between blogging and full-fledged ecommerce, which of these domains do you think provides you with more skills and opportunities?
Get to the fast lane
Blogging was originally meant for self-publishing. It then became a great way to monetize your efforts that go into producing valuable content. Meanwhile, blogging has also become a standard for content marketing, which is applicable to any business (ecommerce or not).
If you looked at the whole picture today, blogging is like walking on the sidewalk, and most bloggers are hoping to make money while driving on the sidewalk. The fast lane, however, is on the freeway!
Your task then is to get off the sidewalk, take the freeway, but still remember and apply what you learnt when you were on the sidewalk.
Blog as passionately as you do for a website or ecommerce store rigged up with “buy now” buttons and you’ll make money faster. Of course, an unbelievable amount of effort goes into make customers push those “buy now” buttons, but that’s for another post. Blogging, however, is also at the very core of ecommerce.
So, why not put blogging to work for something bigger and more sustainable?
Ecommerce is one level up
As a blogger, you are a publisher, advocate, expert, thought leader, and mostly an affiliate for products or services.
As an ecommerce store business, you will still publish. You’ll advocate. You are deemed to be the expert in your niche, whether you produce your own or resell others’ products. If you create your own goods or if you have a way to source products for a good margin, you become the merchant and a world full of bloggers will become your affiliates.
It’s time to get to the level where you are a producer and not just an affiliate. It’s time to make money off products and services and not just depend on advertising.
Do what you are doing now. Work on your blogs and set them up to make money for you.
My point is simple: don’t just depend on your blogs. Build other businesses (ecommerce is a good option). Create multiple streams of income.