Niche blogging tips from Carol Tice’s book ‘Small blog, Big income’

Niche blogging is hip and happening in the digital nomad world. Many try to create a (passive?) income with niche blogs. While most fail, some have success. Carol Tice is one of these successful niche bloggers and she wrote a book about it: Small blog, Big income; one niche blogger’s 7-step success formula. I am always open for more tips on how to become a successful niche blogger, and I guess you are too, so let me give you her best niche blogging tips.

Big audience is not necessary

Lots of newbie bloggers come up with a catchy domain name, make a free blog on WordPress or Blogspot, and start writing about their daily life or a few random topics they are interested in. They are happy with their first 100 visitors (at least, I know I was!), but then the number of visitors remains the same or even decreases. You are probably wondering what you are doing wrong by then…

For earning money with your niche blog, you don’t need 100,000+ subscribers. For example, Carol has around 12,000 blog subscribers and around 60,000 monthly visitors. This is a lot, I know, but not as much as most blog gurus advocate you need. So you don’t need a big audience to earn money with your blog (hence the title of her book, small blog, big income). You only need a good strategy.

Business plan for your niche blog

Writing frequently about your daily life or interests isn’t enough, though. If you want to become successful with niche blogging, you need to do a whole lot more. According to Carol, niche blogs need a ‘business plan’. This might seem overwhelming, but only one sentence can be enough.

Creating your niche blog’s business plan, even if it is only one sentence, starts with envisioning your blog. Essentially, this is based on passion and a business mindset. You have to come up with something that you cannot stop thinking and writing about. And do your research: find out if other bloggers earn money with that topic. Don’t worry about the competition. There is always room for another blog (and lots of competitors will leave the arena within a year). So if you have a unique touch, a fresh insight, and lots of passion, go for it!

Examples of niche blog business plans

Carol’s business plan for her niche blog was: I’ll give advice on how to earn more as a freelance writer, and sell an e-book. She adds that your plan will evolve as your blog grows. Hers did.

So that got me started thinking about my own niche blog business plan for DigitalNomadwithKids.com. Here’s mine: I give advice about the digital nomad lifestyle with kids and inform you about our journey to being location independent. As Carol’s business plan, mine will probably evolve as well. I’m not sure how to monetize this blog, so I’m already doing it wrong according to Carol’s 7-step formula. I should have done more research before I started. So that’s a -1 on the business mindset. But I’ve got lots of passion about this topic, so I hope this will be enough to compensate for my lack of business mindset!

Focus, focus, focus

For your niche blog to become successful, you need to have focus. Posting about many different topics confuses readers and makes them leave. So stick to your topic.

When deciding on what to focus, think of meeting their primal needs by helping readers a) save or make more money, b) be healthier, and c) feel happier. With Digital Nomad with Kids, I hope to bring you advice on how to make money with a location independent job (option a) and feel happier because of the traveling lifestyle with your family (option c).

Carol also advises picking a contrarian point of view. Not everyone will like your perspective, but if it is refreshing it will attract more readers.

Qualities of a successful niche blogger

The one thing you need to do to succeed as a niche blogger is to commit. You have to be serious about your blog, even if you are a newbie and have no readers at all. While I am writing this blog post, I have looked up my visitors: I’ve had a stunning 22 visitors (in total since I started this website 5 weeks ago). I know, this is ridiculously low. Although I only have a few readers, I take my blog very serious and spend lots of hours writing new content. But what should I do next?

Carol gives a list of 5 things committed bloggers do:

  • Learn like crazy | Check! I’m reading ebooks, websites, and articles about niche blogging, freelance writing, and topics like marketing and SEO like crazy!
  • Post on a regular schedule | This is a thing for improvement…
  • Start promoting | I’ve written a marketing plan for my website. Now I need to put it in practice!
  • Get a site | Check! I’ve recently won (lucky me) a premium theme so I’m going to pimp the layout of this website even more
  • Write a tagline | OK, I should think about this one fast!

Tagline for your niche blog

Your one sentence business plan and thinking about the primal needs of your readers helps you with creating the tagline for your niche blog. According to Carol, your tagline should have 3 essential elements:

  1. personality
  2. includes and defines the reader
  3. further defines the topic

My current tagline is Information for (wannabe) location independent families. I could definitely spice this one up.

The importance of guest posting

It can be quite daunting to start guest blogging, but Carol is a true believer. She says guest posting connects you to other bloggers who can help you build your audience. Especially for newbie bloggers, it is a great way to learn more about (freelance) writing and blogging. If it also converts visitors to subscribers, this is a win-win. Should you do it for free? In the beginning, yes. Once you’ve grown your audience you can charge for guest posting.

Interested in freelance writing? Read:

Convert casual visitors into huge fans

Carol gives a ton of tips about how to convert visitors into subscribers. For starters, there are three important elements to conversion:

  1. Useful, relevant, unique, focused content. So put your personality into your posts, write amazing headlines, include an image and produce fresh information.
  2. A tempting offer for subscribers. Offer a free product that really appeals to your readers and make a tempting opt-in box. This opt-in box should be big and should include:
    • monthly visitors (when worth mentioning),
    • a testimonial,
    • a person looking at the button,
    • anti-spam notice,
    • a nice picture of the freebie and
    • a button that says exactly what your reader will get.

    Besides the opt-in box, you can also create a whole sales page about why readers should subscribe. You can call it ‘free stuff’, for example. Carol also advises to put a skinny banner at the bottom of your blog posts and to create a welcome page with your best posts for new visitors.

  3. An appealing design. Remember: less is more. So declutter your website of all non-essential widgets, pick a simple color scheme and put some testimonials on it.

An import step in converting readers into subscribers is to be social. For example, when readers subscribe, you send them a thank you for subscribing email. In this mail, ask what their biggest challenge is. Their answers will create new blog ideas and of course, you need to respond with helpful information so you bond with them.

Monetization of your niche blog

Don’t worry about selling being sleazy. If you sell correctly, you help your readers with their problems. This is not an advertising trick, this is providing service to your valued readers. Carol was afraid of selling, it didn’t feel right in the beginning. But once she realized she truly helped her readers, this bad feeling vanished.

Carol has a 6-step process for creating a paid offer that works reliably:

  1. Ask your subscribers what they need to know.
  2. Ask how they’d like it delivered and what they’d pay.
  3. Presell it by mentioning your upcoming offer in subscriber emails and on social media, by writing related posts about it, and by releasing a sample.
  4. Beta-test the offer with a small group of people who get the first version of your offer (for free or with a huge discount or extra support).
  5. Create a free tease that is related.
  6. Start selling. Launch your offer, send emails to subscribers, write a blog post. Then, gather testimonials and feedback. Make your product better and use testimonials to sell more.

If you’ve just developed your first product, keep the price low. Your first product is not about making money. According to Carol, the point of your first product is to qualify buyers and get your subscribers used to being sold by you. Onze you have a list of previous buyers, selling gets easier.

More tips in Carol Tice’s book about niche blogging

Carol’s book Small blog, Big income; one niche blogger’s 7-step success formula has only 54 pages, but as you noticed by now, it is packed with tips. I’ve only given a portion of them, so if you want to know more about niche blogging, you should read the book for yourself.

Go and visit Carol’s website Make a Living Writing.

 

 


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    • Nanouk October 20, 2016

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