Pro Blogger Darren Rowse on Taking Blogging From a Hobby to a Business

Creating Solutions and Avoiding Problems with Your Blogging

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Few people are more highly regarded in the blogging-for-business world than Darren Rowse of ProBlogger.net. He has essentially set the blueprint for how to turn a blog into a business, and is one of the go-to sources for tips on how to do as much. He had a chat with WebProNews at BlogWorld last week, after speaking in one of the more popular keynotes at the event. 

Rowse discussed with us how people can get started blogging, and eventually turn their blogs into moneymakers. "You need a blog to start with, then really my first priority would be getting some useful content on there – some content that’s actually going to solve some problems for people," he said. "So if you’re blog’s a how-to type blog, you want to start thinking ‘what’s a beginner in this topic need to know?’ and start writing that type of content that you can be referring back to later, so that when you start promoting it, you’ve got content there that they’ll find, that is engaging for them. So that is probably the first step, and then, it’s about putting yourself out there, and trying to find some readers."

Have you been able to turn your blog into a business? Let us know

If the how-to path is the one you’re interested in traveling, I’d reccommend reading this article, discussing ways to create effective how-to articles, with tips provided by John Hewitt, who has written technical manuals for companies like IBM, Intuit, and Motorola. 

Either way, "First you want to know who you want to attract, because it’s kind of easy to get noticed on the Internet, but if you do it in the wrong way, you could actually 1. take yourself further away from your goals, but 2. find the wrong readers," noted Rowse. "You could get..readers from a place like Digg or StumbleUpon…some of these social bookmarking sites, but they may not actually be the type of person that you want to journey with for the whole long term. So define who you want to reach, and ask the question, ‘where can I find them online?’" 

"Answering that question, for me, on my photography site led me to Flickr. Flickr’s a place where people have cameras, and not everyone takes great photos, so it was a place for me to develop a presence. For other blogs, it may lead you to Twitter or Facebook or another blog or a forum that is related to your particular niche."

Forums can actually be great for your brand (in some cases, maybe even more so than Facebook or Twitter). Forums are a good source of relevant discussion to your niche, provided you engage in the right places. They can help you establish yourself as an expert (not unlike Q&A sites), and they can be particularly good for building a search presence. Forum threads do really well in Google for certain queries, particularly when someone is looking for help with something. 

"I think a lot of bloggers treat their blog as a hobby, and I mean, that certainly is the way I started out," Rowse told us. "I didn’t realize you could make money from blogging when I started. But my wife kind of gave me an ultimatum after a while. I’d began to dream about my blog becoming a business, and certainly was moving in that direction…one day, she kind of said, ‘you need to do it’. Then she gave me six months to get it done."

"Once I had that ultimatum, and that deadline in mind, it just switched in my mind and started making me thinking of it as a business now, and really that was the turning point for me, because I began to think more strategically about who was reading my blog, what they needed, and products that I could launch to them," he continued. "But also, I got on the phone for the fist time and started ringing advertisers to create a direct relationship with them."

Rowse recently discussed using temporary blogs as stepping stones for your broader goals:

"A temporary blog is a blog that I suggest some new users would start," Rowse told WebProNews. "A lot of people say you have to choose a niche, and get a domain name and that, but a lot of bloggers find that so overwhelming that they don’t know what they want to write about yet, they don’t know what their voice is, they don’t know what to name their blog as…so perhaps for some people, it’s more appropriate just to start up any blog – just to start learning about blogging, and start getting into the rhythm of writing, and to find what they actually enjoy about blogging and what topics they enjoy. Get some reader feedback on that."

"That’s kind of how I started," he added. "My first blog, I don’t actually write on anymore, but it helped me to build a bit of an audience, but also refine what I wanted to write about, and learn the tools as well. So, just jump on a WordPress.com blog or a Blogger blog. It doesn’t matter what the platform is if you’re not gonna be there for the long term, and just start blogging for a while, and then you’ll begin to find your ideas are refined."

On the biggest problems Rowse sees from others that are blogging, he said, "I find a lot of bloggers is, their biggest problem is they don’t start. They’re convinced that they should have a blog, but they don’t actually do it. And they can do that because they feel overwhelmed by the choices in setting it up, or they can feel nervous and not worthy to really write, but you can’t let that hold you back. You’ve got to actually start. And then another thing – a lot of bloggers just regurgitate what everyone else is writing, and they don’t actually have anything unique or useful to say to people."

"So really, it’s about identifying human need, and problems that people really have, and build something that matters to people," he concluded. "Even if it’s basic stuff that you think is too basic, a lot of people out there need to know that stuff. They’re asking those questions."

What are the biggest issues you face in your blogging efforts? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Watch our past interviews with Rowse here for even more helpful advice.

Pro Blogger Darren Rowse on Taking Blogging From a Hobby to a Business
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  • http://www.kwatadeal.com Chris

    Blogging as a business is very possible. But I think it is a bit difficult. It way work if you have a website and you set up a blog for it.

  • http://www.teak1indo.com Erza Edwin

    I saw many blogs are already running for business. It’s really possible to do so in my opinion.

  • http://alazula-blog.blogspot.com/ RedDragon


  • John Bonzo


    Writing is a great way to get your own thoughts straight. Blogging is perfect for this. I hope lots of people read your information on blogging as a business and then get in the mood to start writing themselves. The more folks who write, the more ideas appear, and the more we are all edified.

    Thanks for your work,

  • http://www.YouDate.net David

    I think blogging can turn into a business or course a nice plug! I see blogging for big free online dating sites like YouDate.net and paid sites such as Mate1. Especially if one studies the industry like anything else.

  • http://www.dominicancasa.com Antony

    I think so.

  • http://www.butuhdana.net George

    I have 2 webs (Indonesia & English), their name www.butuhdana.net and www.nextwayout.wordpress.com however I interest with your topic about “turn your blog into a business”
    Is it real and possible thing to do with mine ?

  • http://ultimatelistbuildingtips.com Nina Nestoroff

    I know for a fact that it is possible to turn a blog into a business. Many, many people have done it very successfully. There are many places to learn how to do it. I am proud of my blogs and promote them as often as possible. Are they an actual business? No, but I do have readers who follow my advice. As a result, they join me in using the same tools and resources I use or they join me in various opportunities that I promote.

    I’ve only been a “blogger” for less than a year, but I like having that outlet to share my thoughts on different aspects of the networking industry. I also use my blogs as a platform for teaching some of the “how-to’s” of the industry, such as a video showing how to hyperlink or an article on adding images to a blog excerpt.

    Blogging always seemed like a strange idea to me. Why would anyone want to write all that stuff they were doing and why would anyone read it?? Once I started blogging, I found the answers!

    Nina Nestoroff

  • Randy

    I seem to get my blogs spammed by google?

    I’m new to internet marketing.

    I think most people do not make a dime on line?



    • DataSafe Forensics, COO

      Its the rare occurance or instance even, like a word of mouth plug by a radio celeb or a slight nudge in the direction of little green footballs-suddenly you are a virtual ROKSTARR online and then you can’t keep up. Web logging aka Blogging is an ancient art, once in Syria scrolls made of ivory were used to record little known idioms of truth long before the new milleniums and before the electonica revolution…where were they then and why-who was priveledged enough to have access and even read them? Long gone? Yes and few have ever had the privelege since of reading those rare peices of truth etched on bone as artifacts as did I. So the outlook is bleak unless you treat your visitors with overwhelming regard and respect If pushing a product, like secrets of web success on DVD, you will find people everywhere using google sites, google code, google skyscrapper ads and google google…wishing and hoping of success using tired worn out paradeems…think instead way out of the box and promote your name first in response to a new service, one that everyone needs help on, in my case its been a trigger that allows me to focus on solving certain problems that everyone has but for which there is little solution, espcially in the world of internet intellectual property and email espionage…its your brand Randy so do not complain. Find what works and chances are, you will not be following a model except one that you invent. Do not do temporary blogoshpere repeats or do the work of the Devil in Deception, be real do the right thing and trust in the almighty and you will be more than surprised, hey you will succeed beyond your wildest dreams. Why? Because you trust in the work of righteousness instead of doing the work of the Devil and his minions. Oh I know you think me crazy but its a lot more fun being successful than becoming a wannabe. I could go on but I risk losing my own audience…DSF.DFI.net

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