How to start business with a blog. How it all started
That was a good thing ten years ago. Back when I started blogging, Facebook, Twitter and Youtube didn’t exist. Let Google+. Only blog hosts like blogspot.com, blog.de, 20six.de, twoday.net or myblog.de. Anyone can sign up with a few clicks and start typing in an instant, regular, often anonymous content. Those were the pioneering years of blogging, in which cat content was still not a concept, but personal sensitivities to individual sizes and “tail comparisons” were the official metric for success. For some, anyway.
At the time, many people experimented wildly – with texts, with real revelations and false revelations, with real and to-be scandals. And with different roles. I admit I am one of them. I was even a woman. And apparently so convincing that I’ve known since then from fan mail: Men really are pigs. At least one of them.
At one point, I was writing my first book, The Career Bible. Writing has been and is my great passion, but unfortunately it also creates suffering at times. Especially when you’re doing your full-time job as a journalist and then keep writing and writing and writing in the evenings… sometimes until 1am.
Of course, there is more career guidance than the world needs. But that was exactly my idea: Why go through all the 15 meters of successful prose I had to read professionally in about ten years of WirtschaftsWoche, when the respective essence could be summed up in one or up to two pages? So I wrote the book for almost a year, distilling, extracting and compressing – and thanks to blogging, I quickly came up with the idea to write vade mecum as a diary: dates instead of page numbers, a The book is like a blog.
After thinking about it, the only opposite conclusion is that you should market the book yourself – through a book blog. Time of birth of karrierebibel.de.
During my teenage blogging, I learned that a blog like this needs about 1000 readers per day for it to attract enough attention and possibly make a difference in the book market. Since book publishers are fortunate to have a lead time that even Berlin airports can build, it took me six months to start karrierebibel.de, six months before the book was published.
Of course, the book was finished by then, but I continued to write, blog at least one article a day, comment on others, link them, cite them, and get attention. The number of readers increased.
Is it design or not?
And I invested. 1500 euros in my first blog design. Back then, it was a lot of money for blogging like that.
And I published under my own domain, no longer with a blog host. It is not an optimistic blog, but unique, distinctive, technically up-to-date and equipped with all the important functions and tools.
In 2007, only a handful of US blogs and a handful of German bloggers had three-column sentences with two narrow sidebars at the edge. By the way, the dominant color back then: red.
I believe the design has contributed a lot to the website becoming popular faster than expected. In any case, at the start of the book, Google Analytics read more than 1200 readers per day. Sure, I was very proud of it.
Blog becomes independent
The book actually became a bestseller (PDF), which was much more surprising: the blog grew faster and farther than expected. 2500 readers after a year, 3500 by the end of 2008. Meanwhile, I happily write two articles a day, either early in the morning with my first coffee of the day or after work, from 8 to 11 p.m. – that’s how I write my book. .
I was able to predate blog posts in WordPress to the next day so that they automatically go online. But I also prescribed quite a few of these over the weekend. Sometimes I sit at the computer for five to six hours.
Saturday in particular now belongs to the blog: at the end of the week series, podcasts, blog parades and video interviews were created, all about the same question: “Is success possible What does that mean to you?”.
But at some point, I got tired of my own blog. I find my layout boring, outdated, and many US blogs are much more modern, fresh, and creative. I also miss the bling-bling on the side, in short: I feel like a change of scenery.
At re:publica, I got to know Hannes Kunstreich, a very talented graphic artist. He loves the career bible, I love his blog ideas. They were quite bold at the time: a three-column magazine layout, not an actual headline, but a logo block packed with functions. The video is definitely on the start page. Best list for each category. Footer in the spirit of reader communication: comments, contact form, and then tweets. There has never been such a design anywhere.
I invested again, this time significantly more money, and in November, the moment came: Career Bible 2.0 came out with a radical relaunch. Oh, and it has its current color: bright blue with a hint of green.
Meanwhile, nearly 1,000 articles have appeared in six categories, have more than 2,000 RSS subscribers and 160,000 good readers each month.
However, after the relaunch, the site came up with a sentence: the number of visits increased rapidly and readers stayed on the site longer. But what’s more important: They’re increasingly sharing content. Those were the social web innovations that I immediately tried, implemented for the blog, and immediately rewrote the blog tips and experiences (which we still do today, we publicize). pass on his knowledge): The career bible is now on Twitter, on Facebook, on Youtube. And we were one of the first blogs in Germany to have our own iPhone app.
Change as a constant for success
Further experiments followed: In 2009, I developed a career newsletter with friends, which we discontinued after a year. 1000 subscribers is great, but not enough for the complexity per week.
For this reason, my second book was published – “The Daily Office Bible”. I studied it live on the blog for a year. So writing is much easier and faster. Another advantage of blogging.
There are also author competitions and our work exchange.
The site is now read by about 10,000 people a day and another 4,000 subscribers via an RSS feed. Oh yes, in 2010 there was also support in the form of the first paid interns. Since then, there have been a total of six people, one of whom – Christian Müller – is now a permanent freelance editor of the career bible and has become a good friend of mine.
However, what was to come: By mid-2011, I was tired of layout #2 again. It no longer suited the social media presence, the database became too complex. complex (more than 1000 articles appear each year) and the homepage is overflowing. The blog has long since become a portal and a small company – with running costs for admins, servers, authors, images, but also income from banner ads for the first time.
Before that, by the way, I paid all the expenses out of my own pocket. In addition to the time invested.
I told myself: if you don’t keep up with the times, you keep up with the times. So I invested a few thousand euros again in my third design, today’s career bible, which was released at the end of 2011.
Once again, the launch comes with side-by-side innovations: a weekly employment law column, an employer check, my third book, and an e-book (PDF) that many Readers joined: the wisdom of success in seven words.
Today’s result is almost 500,000 hits per month and over 930,000 PI. Because of this, we had to move to our own server (our own sheet metal floor), which also helped with load times very well.
Is blogging worth it?
Sure – and not just in terms of money. Many readers have personally emailed me in recent years that they have mastered their application and landed a job thanks to blog posts and tips. That’s completely built in.
I knew from others that we could help them set up their own websites and blogs, and we inspired them in part. I have made a lot of new friends through blogging, and some of them have even become really good friends.
Thanks to Twitter and other networks, it’s rare these days in any German city where I can’t spontaneously meet a coffee drinker. A network I haven’t built in 20 years as a journalist.
And I still wonder today how this blog could become a profitable company with a daily reach of about 50,000 people across all social media channels in less than seven years. This is crazy. Just as crazy as some of the haters, who are of course always available online. But they serve as a useful indicator of success: no hatred, no reach.
What stands out the most, however, is that blogging initially became a profession. After 13 years at Wiwo and 20 years as a photographer and journalist, I moved into business in 2011 and became a social media manager. A job that didn’t exist a few years ago. Nowadays I even run my own business in this field. Among other things, I advise companies on how to set up successful corporate blogs on their own.
Did blogging change my life?
But hello! Like I said, blogging has made me professionally independent now. At the same time, it is no longer so easy to say what my job is: Consultant? Bloggers? Author? Main speaker? Lecturers? Business man? Somehow everything is right.
My family has long gotten used to me watching the news in the morning, reading feeds all at once, writing my first tweets, and maybe even blogging first.
Even in the evening, the operator is often cold. For this, I sit comfortably on the couch, the laptop on my lap, the iPad as a second monitor next to it (for monitoring) and if I see something interesting or an idea pops up , I blog, in addition, tweet, pin or facebook.
On the other hand, on the weekends, we regularly vote on the editorial team. We plan thematics for next week, work on the headlines and learn from the numbers and reactions of the past week.
It all sounds like a lot of work, but it’s not all that wild and now works fast. A few hours a week. Nothing else. This is also one of the benefits of blogging: you get faster over time. Something that I’m sure many bloggers can confirm.
What else have I learned?
There is no patented formula for blogging success, at most a few notable correlations. With that said: I find modern design very important, basic knowledge of SEO and SEM these days is definitely part of it and above all interesting and relevant content in a niche attractive, maybe even lucrative.
But if you really want to grow with your blog, you should think in a business way. In other words: Not only do you have to invest your time, but sometimes you also have to invest your own money. Sure, you can also hope that such a blog will grow organically over time. In most cases this happens, but much more slowly. On the contrary, there is no guarantee of success, but what it really says: no good, no glory!
Innovation is just as important as investment. There are so many great blogs out there these days – so to stand out, you always have to dare and try something. Last but not least, always interesting and talked about.
It doesn’t have to happen every week, but two or three highlights a year don’t matter.
How does it happen?
I’m afraid in two years there will be an in-house reboot. I need this variety.
And that’s probably the best recipe for success:
If blogging is not a hobby or passion for you, then you should give it up…