How to Start and Run a Successful Education Blog
If you’ve ever thought about starting an education blog, then you likely already know that supplementary education services are big business.
The education industry is bout a $19.4 billion dollar industry. The analysis of the education industry also estimates that there are as many as 74 million students attending schools grades K-12 in the United States alone. That doesn’t even include outreach to countries in other parts of the world and college aged students as well as adults who need educational tips on a variety of topics.
- 1 What Is an Education Blog?
- 2 Target Audiences for Education Blogs
- 3 Building Traffic to Your Education Blog
- 4 Ways to Monetize an Educational Blog
- 5 Specialize or Widen Focus?
- 6 Make Your Blog the Best
What Is an Education Blog?
An education blog can be anything from lesson plans homeschool parents can use, to current news about the state of education, to actual tutoring and even online courses.
There are so many different niches within education that you won’t be lacking for possible topics to cover. Your main problem will be narrowing your focus enough to create a strong target demographic among your readers.
Some typical education blogs:
- Lesson plans
- Tips for doing well in school
- Teacher blogs where the teacher keeps students and parents updated
- Tutoring blogs
- Blogs to train adults
- Blogs to offer advice to college students on how to succeed in higher education
- Blogs about technology in education
- Blogs about computer programs of an educational nature
- Review blogs about curriculum and other education products
And the ideas listed above are just a small portion of what you’ll find if you do a search for “educational blogs” online.
Places to host your education blog
If you are a teacher, Edublogs.org is a great place to host your education blog for free. The platform, powered by WordPress, has been around since 2005 and powered a great number of teachers to run their blog online.
If you intend to host your education blog with a paid hosting services (which is more conveneient for monetization down the road) – hosting companies I’d recommend include A2 Hosting, Scala Hosting, TMD Hosting – all of them offer competitive pricing and great hosting performance.
Target Audiences for Education Blogs
Your target audiences for education blogs is a bit different than say a web hosting advice blog like this one. While WHSR offers articles that appeal to people wanting to grow their blog, find a better web host, or build their business, an education blog will cater to people wanting information about education, to improve their education, or to find help for their children’s education.
Building Traffic to Your Education Blog
Just where can you find these people and drive the traffic to your site?
- Reach out to the local parenting community and let them know what your blog has to offer.
- Engage the audience of influencers in your niche. For example, if you are offering tips on how to improve grades, what organizations, schools and services would be willing to review your blog and give you a shout out on social media?
- Advertise based on well-researched keywords in your niche. What terms are people searching for who might want to read your blog?
- Visit online forums. If you are creating a blog aimed at parents who want to help their children succeed in school, then you need to get involved in forums filled with parents concerned about education. Interact, offer some value to the community, and where appropriate mention your own blog. Be very careful not to spam, though. Nobody cares for that.
- Offer guest posts to other bloggers in the education community. The key here is to find education blogs that offer something different than you do, but who have a similar audience. For example, if you are planning to offer lesson plans for home-schoolers, then look for bloggers who offer advice, tips, and resources for homeschoolers, but don’t offer lesson plans on their blog.
- Get active on social media with a very targeted page specifically made for your blog. On your social media, you’ll want to post links to your own blog posts, but you’ll also want to share useful information from other pages. In turn, they will likely share your posts or retweet you.
- Host a Twitter chat on a topic of interest to the people you want to reach. Let’s say your target audience is first-year college students. Host a Twitter chat about succeeding your first year of college, how to pick the best professors, or something else of interest to freshman college students.
Ways to Monetize an Educational Blog
Monetizing an education blog can seem pretty difficult at first. If you’re a teacher and you want to monetize your blog, you have the worry of what advertising goes on your blog and how that might impact your students and parents. Even if you aren’t a teacher, any advertising does reflect on your overall brand and mission for your blog. Fortunately, ads are just one monetization strategy.
Ads are the most obvious way to monetize your blog. You can use something like Google AdSense to automatically place ads on your blog. AdSense allows you to make a list of what you will and won’t allow on your site, meaning that you can create limits that ensure the ads are PG. However, you may still see things pop up from time to time that you see as questionable.
Another drawback to this type of advertising is that you need a lot of traffic before you begin to see much money from AdSense ads.
2. Banner Ads
These can be a nice solution for an education blog, because you can approach local businesses and encourage them to purchase banner ad space. You also have a lot more control over the types of ads you choose to place on your blog and the content in them. However, again, unless you get a lot of traffic on your site, most businesses won’t be willing to pay you very much for a banner ad. After all, they need to know they’ll see a return on their investment.
3. Donations and Sponsorships
If you don’t like the idea of blatant advertising, you can easily add a donation button to your blog. If people find your work valuable, they simply donate a few dollars at a time. The drawback to this option is that most people won’t donate, in my experience, and if they do it will be pretty sporadic. You simply can’t count on donations to even pay your annual hosting fees.
If your site offers free value to the education community, you might have some success in securing a sponsorship from organizations or businesses. However, a business that sponsors your site is likely going to want some form of advertising in return, even if just a link and thank you for their sponsorship.
4. Fundraisers and Grants
If you truly believe in your blog and the value it offers, but you absolutely don’t want to add overt advertising, you might be able to raise enough money to cover your costs through grants or fundraisers, particularly if the site is of value to the local community.
If you go ahead and organize your business as a non-profit, you also open up a lot of opportunities for fundraising to cover the costs of operating your non-profit. For example, you can host a night at a local restaurant, where a portion of the proceeds go to your organization. Get the community involved in keeping this value available to everyone in the area. Again, this option works best when the focus is localized.
5. Affiliate Sales
Another way to monetize your education blog is to review and offer affiliate links to products you believe in. If you start a blog offering study help to parents and students, you might review and link out to products you truly believe will help, such as a specific calculator or a study guide.
Places to find affiliate programs include:
- Commission Junction
- Share A Sale
- Google Affiliate Network
- Individual product websites offering affiliate referral bonuses
6. Selling Products/Services
Another option to make money on your educational blog is to create and sell your own products/services. This might include a study guide to ace the SATs or checklists and lesson planning pages for teachers. Whatever your target audience is, figure out what they would enjoy as a tool to help them. You may want to do a survey if you aren’t sure and ask them what types of products they’d like to see or what topics they want to know more about.
Use a program like Payloadz to automatically sell and deliver digital content. This is actually one of the best ways to market to your mailing list, especially if your traffic isn’t as large as some of the mega sites out there.
Specialize or Widen Focus?
When starting a blog, it is tempting to try to cover everything. You will reach more people, right? This actually isn’t a great idea, though. You will stretch your focus so thin that it will be difficult to figure out User Personas and to market to the right audience.
In Darren Rowse’s book “ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income,” he says that both a wide and narrow niche can work. Just remember that a wide niche requires a lot more work to keep up with. You’ll be casting a wide net. A narrow niche, on the other hand, may mean that you quickly run out of topics to cover. A better course of action is probably somewhere in the middle of the two.
Rowse goes on to explain to offer a case study of blogger Gala Darling. Darling started off describing her blog as a fashion blog, but then changed her focus to a blog for eccentric and youthful women. This shows that she understands her readership and what types of material they want to read. It’s an interesting concept and seems to be a shift in the way many different types of blogs are operating these days.
Make Your Blog the Best
There are thousands of education blogs online with new ones started every week. Making your blog stand out from the crowd requires creativity, understanding your target audience, and a lot of hard work and determination. However, running an education blog can be rewarding. You’ll help build young minds of people who will soon contribute to society in a variety of ways. In a roundabout way, you’re making the world a better place.