It seems like everyone wants to start a blog these days. I get it because I did too. But what is a blog and is blogging right for you?
Will you find enjoyment and fulfillment with it?
Will you be able to remain consistent and stay motivated?
Before you jump in and invest in starting a blog, (yes you will spend some money in the beginning if you want to start a blog the right way), let’s determine if it’s right for you.
What is a blog anyway?
Before I started blogging, I thought it was just an online diary. I place for people to write their hopes, dreams, frustrations, crushes, etc.
I really had no idea what it was. If you’re wondering too, I hope this provides a little clarity.
Apparently, when blogs first started, they actually were just an online diary. I place for people to share their thoughts about life and whatnot.
“In the beginning, a blog was more of a personal diary that people shared online, and it goes back to 1994” firstsiteguide.com
The term “blog” refers to weblog which was eventually shortened down to just blog. A weblog was an online forum that showed the most recent posts first. Pretty much what we’re used to seeing today.
However, with the birth of themes that provide hundreds of different layouts, the overall look and feel of blogs have changed drastically.
Blogs are no longer just online diaries but provide a wealth of information.
I’m willing to bet that if you perform a keyword search in Google, for whatever you’re needing to know, you’ll land on a blog. I couldn’t find any data to support this. But with an estimated 426 million blogs on Tumblr alone, it’s very likely.
According to WordPress.com, over 409 million people view more than 21.4 billion pages each month. So, it only goes to show that people look to blogs as a source of information.
Of course, there will always be blogs that provide useless content and no real value. But this is the exception, not the rule.
Did you know that 36% of the Fortune 500 companies have blogs and use them for thought leadership, product promotion and engagement?
The world of blogging has changed dramatically.
77% of internet users read blogs and spend 3X more time on blogs than they do on email.
Bloggers today write about everything under the sun. Some of the more popular categories, or what we call “niches” are:
- Health and Fitness
- Personal Finance
This isn’t a complete list, but are niche’s that are hot right now. These are some of the easier niches to monetize because of their popularity.
Easier doesn’t mean that everyone makes money or that it’s a get rich quick scheme. Easier means there’s a larger audience pool.
It takes hard work, sacrifice, consistency, persistence, and determination to make money blogging. It also usually takes bloggers several years to build their brand and start earning real cash.
Is a blog a website?
Great question. Yes, a blog is a website.
However, there are different types of websites. For example, there are those that aren’t regularly updated with new content. They’re static in nature and don’t require as much attention. These wouldn’t be considered a blog.
An example of this is would be a university website. A .edu site has a static homepage with links to different pages to learn about the school, faculty, alumni, etc. They may or may not have a blog and some of the landing pages may require more frequent updates. But in general, new content isn’t being published on a regular basis.
Whereas a blog is continuously updated with new content. That’s the purpose of a blog and it’s what people expect to see when reading and subscribing to blogs.
Your audience expects to be given fresh, relevant content on a consistent basis.
If you’re not consistently publishing relevant content, your blog will never gain traction.
Think of it as a vending machine. The owner will need to keep adding new inventory as people consume items. Although readers won’t physically take your content. After they’ve “digested” it, they’ll want more and you’ll need to provide more “inventory”.
On the other hand, a static website is more like a park. People come to visit, walk, play on the playground, etc. But, it doesn’t change. Each time you visit, the same park benches, playground, and sidewalks are there.
What it takes to start a blog
What does it take to start a blog? I’m not talking about the act of purchasing a domain name, hosting provider, platform, etc. I’m talking more about what it’s going to take from you mentally, physically, and emotionally.
Do you like to write?
This is the first question I ask because it’s the most important. Blogging is writing. You’ll write every week, if not multiple times a week. If writing’s not your thing, then blogging may not be right for you.
Are you self-disciplined and a self-starter?
A blog is a way for you to start your own business. It’s an opportunity to have something for yourself.
Unlike a 9-5, you won’t have a boss outlining your metrics or goals. You’ll be required to develop your own metrics and goals and will be solely responsible for delivering against them. At least in the beginning.
Are you willing to learn new things?
I really enjoy learning new things. I’ve learned new strategies, concepts, and technologies throughout my blogging journey.
Are you someone who can and is willing to learn new things? You’ll be required to learn a blogging platform, which can have a decent learning curve. Don’t worry there are plenty of resources available to help you learn.
If you want to start a blog, you’ll need to be willing to step outside your comfort zone.
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Do you have at least 4 hours a week to commit?
Are you prepared for the time commitment involved? You may also want to read 3 Things You Must Overcome to Start a Blog.
Blogging takes a lot of time and energy when you’re first starting out. For more experienced writers, it may take 1-2 hours to write a post. For others, it may take 2-4 hours or more.
If you’re writing an epic, in-depth post that you’re planning to have as a pillar for your site, these can take a month or more to write.
How often do you plan to post?
It’s ok if you don’t know yet. It depends on your niche, reader expectation, and how much time you can commit. Some blogs post multiple times a week, while others only once.
Figure out what you realistically have time for and can commit too and then stick to that schedule.
Not only will you need to commit the time it takes to write the content, but you’ll need to spend time finding relevant images and then spend time marketing your content.
If you’re like me, you’ll live on the adrenaline and excitement for quite a while. I still feel the adrenaline and excitement when I write and have new ideas. But, the “honeymoon” phase wears off and you’ll need to be driven and self-disciplined enough to keep at it, even when you don’t feel like it.
It takes thick skin
Are you someone who’s easily offended or gets upset when someone disagrees with your thoughts or opinions? Although your community of followers may agree and like what you have to say, not everyone will.
Will you be able to take criticism without attacking the person who wrote it?
Make sure you always follow your brand values when responding to comments or shares of your post. Lashing out could impact your brand perception in a negative way.
You’ll be sharing your thoughts, opinions, and ideas with the world. Make sure you’re comfortable with this and that you understand who you are (have a strong self-awareness). Be committed to your opinions and try not to straddle the fence with every post.
Write for your target audience, not everyone online.
Everyone may not always agree with what you write, but that’s ok. If you need some inspiration, check out these quotes about not worrying about what other people think.
It may sound like I’m trying to talk some of you out of becoming a blogger and maybe I am if it’s not right for you.
It’s one of the most fulfilling and exciting things I’ve done but it requires a large amount of time and dedication.
Make sure you can handle the physical, mental, and emotional commitment it requires before you start a blog.
Why Start a Blog?
If you’re still reading at this point, I’m assuming you’ve decided that blogging is right for you. Congrats!
Blogging can change your life. It’s changed mine! Read Why I Started Blogging to learn more about my blogging journey.
Benefits of blogging.
There’s a laundry list of reasons to start a blog. A couple of my favorites are building a network of other bloggers, helping others solve problems, and earning money.
Blogging provides an opportunity to network and meet other bloggers who are in the same boat as you. They understand the daily grind, the struggles, but also the benefits and opportunities. Building relationships with other bloggers can create opportunities in and of itself.
Instead of viewing them as competitors, he partnered with them to deliver new content, create new income streams, and build even stronger engagement.
Believe it or not, you can make money blogging.
It’s not a get rich quick scheme and it takes hard work, commitment, and consistency coupled with the right strategies. But, it can be done. Thousands of bloggers make a full-time income and even more part-time.
I challenge you to determine if blogging is right for you. Once you find your niche and focus, read my Creating a Domain Name post to claim your spot online!