Fat Stacks quote from Breaking Bad by Jesse Pinkman

How to Start a Business Blog that Makes Money (7 Steps)

Busy trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange

I publish 4 trade rag blogs which fall into the business realm.  Actually, what I do is have a trade rag component to large blogs..  It’s a great combo that I enjoy.  Few sites do it.  I find it very effective.

Here’s an example (I’m not in these niches).  Combine both travel website with marketing tips for tour operators.  That’s what I do in 4 niches.

However, trade rags are not the only type of business blog.  There are many approaches, several of which I set out below.

There are many positives to starting a business blog.  They include:

  • Not hard to trounce the big players with expertise
  • Very broad niches within the business sector
  • Many approaches/sub-niches to pursue
  • High RPMs
  • Many ways to monetize it
  • Potential traffic is very high

Cons

  • None other than it’s pretty competitive.  But then most good niches are.  If you put out good content, you can break in.

Preamble

It is true there are some big players in the business sector.  Forbes.com, Entrepreneur.com, Fast Company, The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Post, Investopedia and many more.  These are absolutely monster websites which are seemingly impossible to take on for search traffic.

However, don’t despair.

True expertise can prevail.  If you have expertise in a business area, you can publish content that the big players can’t.  The big players hire writers who generally know the area, but few have real-world experience (otherwise, they’d be in business for themselves, right?).

For example, if you worked as an analyst in a bank, you have some really great expertise.

Or, maybe you’ve successfully invested money in growth stocks over the last 10 years turning $50,000 into $200,000.  That’s a heckuva track record.

Or, maybe you finished collect with $100K in debt and paid it off in 4 years with a regular salary.  You’ve obviously figured out a great way to get out of debt.  Many personal finance blogs have been founded on paying down a lot of debt quickly.

What if you don’t have expertise?

This makes it harder.  While in some other niches expertise is not as important, it is important for most business niches.  Business news is an exception.

I would recommend getting some expertise first (as I outline in my how to start a marketing blog which is a type of business blog).

Now the step-by-step process on how to start a business blog.

Step 1: Choose a sub-niche to get started

I’m all for expanding blogs into all kinds of related topics, but it’s a good idea to pick a sub-niche within the business realm to get started.  Here are options:

  • Investing: You should have credentials or hire writers with credentials.  You could niche down further such as:
    • Growth stocks
    • Value stocks
    • ETFs
    • Mutural funds
    • Dividend stocks
    • Options
    • Investing software
    • REITs
    • Bonds
    • Currency investing
    • Or… cover a specific sector like tech or mining and cover it in-depth.
  • Fund coverage:  Instead of covering a sector (i.e. mining) or individual companies, you could cover various funds – be it hedge funds, mutual funds, etc.
  • Personal finance:  Again, you should have credentials given the Google medic update.  You might make it work without credentials, but it’s a lot of work to find you’re subject to the medic update.
  • Business news:  If you can commit to publishing timely business news and you include smart editorials and/or analysis, you can build up a solid audience.
  • Entrepreneurship/Start-Ups:  This is more qualitative than quantitative.  It’s a huge topic with a huge audience.
  • Marketing niches:  I discuss starting a marketing blog here.
  • Trade rag:  A trade rag is a blog that serves a business industry.  An example would a business blog for plumbers which covers plumber business topics.
  • Real estate investing:  A good example is a blog I read daily which is the GreaterFool.ca (a really great blog name BTW).  Sub-niches include:
    • Flipping
    • Landlording – info for landlords
    • REITs
  • Careers niche:  I actually like this niche (but am not in it).  It’s kind of restrictive, but there are some amazing affiliate programs and the AdSense RPM is incredibly high.  Think education programs, how to become such and such, etc.  Sub-niches in the careers area include:
    • Education niches (online degrees, how to become a X…)
    • How to get a job as X (includes resume writing, interviewing, etc.)
  • Interviews and profile coverage of prominent business leaders:  You could dedicate a website by publishing text, audio (podcast) or video interviews of business leaders.  You could also write about various businesses and/or leaders.
  • Wealth/luxury niche:  You could cover the consumer side of business by launching a luxury/wealth oriented blog.

TIP:  One thing I really like about a business blog is you can combine it with “how to make money online” offers.  After all, people interested in making money are quite possibly interested in making money online.  This creates a super-niche because of all the monetization and content options that become available.

There are many sub-niches within the suggestions above.  For example, there are many types of investments you could cover (or cover them all).

You could cover business news for a specific sector such as tech.

There are many marketing niches you could go with.

As you can see, a business blog can go in many directions.

Can you expand into multiple sub-niches?

Yes, absolutely you can in the long.  But choose something specific to get started and expand over time.

Unless you buy an established website you will need to come up with a good name with an available domain.  The logo follows.

For a business blog, I would get a corporate brand instead of using your name.  That’s just my preference, but there are strong arguments for using your name.  Both are good.

As for choosing a corporate brand name choose something that’s memorable and distinct.  2 of my favorite business blog names are Wolfstreet.com and Greaterfool.ca.

Businessinsider.com isn’t a bad name, but a bit bland.  However, anyone would be thrilled to a have a site at that caliber so it’s not all bad.

As for a logo, don’t spend a lot on it.  Hire a logo created on Fiverr.  You can always change the logo once you have money coming.

Step 3: Keyword research

Your approach to keyword research will vary.  However, because most business topics are timely, a lot of your content will be based on what’s happening today and will be old news in 2 days.

That said, there are many evergreen opportunities as well.

It’s the evergreen opportunities that requires keyword research.

Don’t expect a lot of low competition keywords with okay search volume like other niches such as food niches.

2 starting KW research approaches to get ideas for your business blog:

a. Competitor KW analysis:  Use Ahrefs or SEMRush to assess what keywords the bigger business websites rank for.  Be sure to analyze business sites similar to the type of business website you want to publish.  If you’re interested in a real estate blog, don’t assess a marketing blog.

This simple process will reveal many topics and keywords to go after.

b. Seed keyword analysis:  Using Ahrefs or SEMRush again, input the main topics of your potential business blog and see what comes up.  Play around with the keyword difficulty filters and the number of words in the keyword phrase to find some good opportunities.

Once you have a list of decent keywords, it’s time to produce the content.

There are many other more detailed approaches to keyword research which I cover in my course.

Step 4: Register your domain and install WordPress on the domain

If you’re just starting, this might seem like the most difficult step, but it’s not.

All you need to do is follow the tutorials with your hosting service.  I started with Bluehost and now use Kinsta.  Both offer easy-to-follow instructions for registering the domain, pointing it to their servers and getting WordPress installed.  In fact, most hosting services have detailed tutorials.  They also offer customer support.

The point is don’t sweat this.  It will seem complicated and foreign to you the first time, but it’ll work just fine.  Once it’s done, it’s done.

FYI, my preferred WP themes are those by MyThemeShop and StudioPress.  I use MyThemeShop these days but for years used StudioPress.  Both are good – choose according to your personal preference in design.

Step 5: Write and/or outsource content creation

As with all niche sites, you need to produce good content these days for your niche sites.

TIP:  Write the first of any specific type of article.

For example, if you want to do a series of investing guides, do the first one so that you have an example for writers.  Put a lot of effort into that first one (which I refer to as a prototype).

Then, when you order articles, you can tell writers it must be the same quality as your prototype as well as structured and formatted exactly the same.

Should you outsource?

Yes and no.

It depends on the article.  If you’re a Certified Financial Analyst (CFA) publishing “how to invest” articles, you either need to find credentialed writers or do much of it yourself (i.e. extensive editing).

On the flip side, if you’re publishing a news blog, you can more easily outsource this or hire writers for it.

The point is some articles require a certain level of expertise while other articles don’t.

Keep in mind there are many great business websites out there so you need to publish content as good as theirs.

Another thing to keep in mind is you can always try outsourcing.  Use a variety of writing services to see which one delivers the best work for the best price.  You never know unless you try.   Expect to be disappointed with some ordered content though.  I always am.

The final thing to remember is a business niche is not visual.  Your audience expects excellent content.  Visual niches can get away with lesser quality content if the real focus on the content is images.  An example would be nail art.

With business articles, the meat of the content is text. The audience is fairly sophisticated.  Therefore, the text must be very good.

Article ideas:

Here are some article concepts to get you started.  Please note that this is not an exhaustive list.

  • 25 Best Growth Stocks (substitute “Growth Stocks” for any type of investment).  This type of article would need to be updated regularly since investment quality changes regularly.
  • My favorite day trading software platform (you could twist this into a review-oriented article).
  • Latest news on any business issue:  You could write short articles or long, investigative articles about various companies, investments, etc.
  • How to invest/buy/grow – unlimited number of “how-to” content opportunities.
  • Listicle – aaaaaaaahhhh, the potential here is ridiculous.  Consider “the 25 greatest…”, “The 25 smartest…” etc.
  • Analysis articles – if you know how to analyze companies, this could totally separate you from other business blogs.  You do in-depth analysis based on companies’ annual and/or quarterly reports.  I love this angle because you can create really valuable content easily (assuming you know how to analyze financial reports and documents).

Step 6: Website traffic to your business blog

There are 4 viable traffic options.  They include:

  1. Google search
  2. Guest contributor referral traffic
  3. Email
  4. Direct

Each type of traffic takes time to learn, but assuming you set the foundation with really good content that is actually good, the traffic part won’t be all that hard.  But it will take patience.

Google search

I’m going to assume you’ll pin down your on-site SEO.  That alone is a huge topic and there are many proficient bloggers who discuss what’s involved here.

a. Attracting links

What I want to discuss is what needs to be done in business niches to attract links to improve your SEO.

In addition to great content, you need to test concepts that attract links.  You will need links to rank.  In my view, one of the best ways to create linkbait content is to come up with data charts and statistics.  I don’t suggest that you copy data from elsewhere (although it’s perfectly fine to reference stats and data from other sites – I do that too).

What I’m suggesting is you need to come up with a way to find good data that you can incorporate into your articles.  Dress up the data with charts.  If you can do this over and over, other sites will likely link to you because they also like incorporating data into their content.

I do this… it works.  I collected a ton of really good industry data for a local business industry.  I spent 6 months collecting it.  I then published some of it in articles.  I ended up getting links from Yahoo Finance, Business Insider and a few other top-tier business websites.

b. Guest posting

I’m not a big fan of guest posting in most niches, but I think it’s actually a good option in business niches, especially if you can get on top-tier sites.  Not only are the links very valuable, but you will actually get real traffic, which is what you want.  A few fabulous guest posts on the top-tier business sites can seed your site with traffic and subscribers to get the ball rolling.

c. Email

While email marketing isn’t lucrative in a lot of niches (contrary to what a lot of “how to blog” bloggers will tell you), it is lucrative in most business niches.  This means you need to incentivize visitors to join your email list.

As your email list grows, you have instant traffic to new and updated content.  All you have to do is email your readers every time you publish a new article.

The key for getting visitors to sign up to your email is to offer something your audience wants.  If you publish a trade rag, they would want a free business plan or proven digital marketing plan (I know this from my trade rag blogs).  They also want access to industry data – so once you’ve collected industry data, you can offer it as an incentive.  This works really well.

My email tools:

d. Direct traffic

Direct traffic is the very best traffic you can ever get.  I think all websites should strive to get as much direct traffic as they can.  What this means is people want to see what’s new instead of being referred to it via search or social media.

Imagine having 100,000 daily direct visitors.  You’d be totally set assuming you can continue to publish content your direct visitors want to read.

The top-tier sites obviously get a lot of search and email traffic, but they also get truckloads of direct traffic.  For example, I visit BusinessInsider.com at least once per day.

Step 7: How to make money from your business blog

I love business niches because it’s pretty easy to make money.  Here are my favorite options.

Display ads

Display ads typically pay well on business niche sites.  I list out 17 ad networks to check out here.

Affiliate offers

I think affiliate offers could be hot or cold. It depends on the sub-niche of your business blog.  If it’s a personal finance blog, there are many great affiliate programs to promote.

If it’s a business news site, affiliate offers won’t be as good.

As with most niche sites you need to test various offers to see what, if anything, works.

TIP: Business software is often a very good type of product to promote.  I promote tons of it effectively across my trade rag content.

Sell info products

If you know your stuff and are credentialed, you could sell info products via reports and/or premium email newsletter.  This can amount to a lot of revenue if your premium content is good.  And if it’s good, your audience usually has money and are happy to pay premium rates for premium content.

Return to my niche ideas page.

Best blogging email newsletter ever

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