Should You Start a Blog? 8 Important Things to Keep in Mind
Not too long ago, blogging was a bit like maintaining on online diary. Bloggers would write stories about their daily lives and share them with their friends and relatives.
But over the years, blogging has turned into a real industry. An industry where money is to be spent and earned.
Driven by the many inspiring stories of bloggers making money online and enjoying the digital nomad lifestyle, lots of people have tried to get a piece of that blogging pie.
But starting and growing a blog is not as easy as some may think. And in a way that’s a good thing, because only the best blogs and websites will survive.
So, should you start a blog? Is it still worth your time and effort? Yes, it certainly is, but you need to keep the following 8 things in mind before you register that desired domain.
1. Blogging Can Be Very Solitary
Do you hate your corporate job? Do you often ask yourself why you go to work every day and sit in that boring cubicle from Monday to Friday?
When my last corporate job was declared redundant five years ago, I was happy. It felt liberating. I hadn’t been comfortable in my job for a while at that point, and when my manager called me into his office at the end of another Thursday, I knew what was going to happen.
That was it. I was free. At that time I had already played around with Internet marketing a bit, and I was keen to try and grow an online business so that I would never have to work for someone else again.
I was great fun the first few months. All that freedom is just awesome, do whatever you like, no one to report to, and no annoying colleagues to deal with.
But after a year or so, I actually started to miss being in an office environment with people around me to chat and have a laugh with.
I certainly wasn’t feeling lonely, but working on big things all by yourself can have its challenges. It’s easy to get bored and distracted.
Yes, blogging is fun, it’s exciting, but it’s also just you and no one else. Blogging fulltime means quite a solitary lifestyle, and sometimes even boring. Fact.
How Do I Deal with This?
After blogging for several years, I’ve learned to know at what time of day I can be most productive. So I try to stay home and work during those hours, and then leave the house to do something else.
This can be a a gym session, a coffee at the beach, a game of tennis, or simply a short trip to the supermarket. It’s important to not try to work when you know that you’re not going to be productive. Use those hours to refresh and switch off.
That’s the beauty of running a blog or online business on a full-time basis. You are the boss. You make your own hours. You decide when to work and when to go out to do something fun.
So to beat boredom, or even loneliness, when working on your blog or online business, you simply need to go out more often. Stop thinking like a 9-5 office slave and work when you want to and go out when you want to.
2. Growing a Blog Is Hard Work
Writing a couple of blog posts every month, and sharing them on Facebook, how hard can it be, right?
I get those reactions a lot when I try to explain what I do for a living. People just don’t understand how much work is involved in publishing quality content, being and staying friends with Google, growing social media accounts, increasing brand awareness, resolving technical website issues, and so on.
There’s no such thing as passive income. Let go of that dream, now. You will need to work very hard to be able to eventually make money online. It will take many months, if not years, before your blog starts generating a full-time income.
3. It’s Not a Get-Rich-Quick Scheme
You may have read some of these online income reports of bloggers that are successful online. Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income was the first to set that trend and many others followed.
They do that not just because of transparency and credibility, but also because these income reports are often their most visited pages.
That’s right, we love reading how much money people are making online. It inspires us, and secretly we get a little envious inside.
So if all these self-made bloggers can make thousands of dollars each and every month, everyone can do it, right?
Well, no, not really. If money is your one and only reason to start a blog, you might just get very disillusioned. And if you think that you can make a full-time living from blogging within, let’s say, six months, you’re going to be disappointed.
As mentioned, blogging is hard work. And not just that, it also requires a lot of skill, creativity and perseverance. Yes, there are bloggers out there who have been able to achieve success within a short time-frame, but they are the exception, not the norm.
So, unfortunately, blogging is not a get-rich-quick scheme, far from it.
4. You Need to Be Passionate About Your Blog
Okay, so the word “passionate” is perhaps a bit too much, but it certainly helps when you’re blogging about stuff that excites you, or stuff that you know a lot about.
If you don’t care, or know enough, about the niche you’ve chosen for your blog, it probably won’t get very far.
It’s the same as getting out of bed every day to go to a job you don’t like. You simply won’t be able to give 100%, because that drive is missing.
A situation like that doesn’t benefit anyone. It doesn’t benefit you (even though you get paid), and it doesn’t benefit your employer.
In blogging terms, if you have to write another blog post about something you don’t care about, it will just take a lot longer to complete, the quality won’t be as good, and your readers most likely won’t be too impressed either.
I’ve made this mistake a few times myself when building affiliate sites. And even though I’ve often been able to turn these websites into revenue-generating assets, the whole process of growing these types of websites never really gets very enjoyable.
In short, before you start a blog, think long and hard about what you’re keen on writing about and make sure you know your stuff.
5. You Will Feel Like Giving up at Some Point
Literally everyone who starts a blog or affiliate website will at some point lose hope or confidence, and will want to give up.
Traffic to your blog is very low, no one wants to read your content, your social media followers count just isn’t growing very fast, no one is paying you to do what you do…
You will ask yourself, why on earth am I spending so much time, energy and money on this blogging thing? Where’s the return? When does the money start rolling in?
And you know what? Lots of people will actually give up on their blog, affiliate site or online business. My advice? When you hit that wall, do not give up. Blogging is a long-term commitment and if you keep putting in the hard work, you will get rewarded.
Also, if you feel that you’re lacking skills in certain areas, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Or to even pay for a course.
Keep at It
I am good at SEO, it’s what drives my online business. But I (used to) suck at Pinterest. It simply never really interested me, but I always knew that Pinterest offers incredible opportunities for traffic diversity.
So I took the plunge, purchased a Tailwind subscription, read everything I could from Pinterest experts, asked for a little help here and there, and guess what? Pinterest traffic to one of my sites is steadily on the rise, yay!
The point is, don’t just give up. Instead, keep putting in the hard work and keep educating yourself. It will pay off.
6. You Need to Be Self-Reliant
I mentioned that blogging full-time can be a very solitary way of making a living. This also means that you need to be able to be self-reliant.
When working in a “normal” office environment, there’s different types of teams and individuals, each with their own expertise and set of responsibilities.
SEO, social media, technical issues, hosting… As a blogger you are ultimately responsible for all those things.
Of course, when blogging full-time you can outsource all the things you’re not good at. But outsourcing can cost a lot of money and requires management time.
Similarly, as a blogger, there’s no manager that gives you deadlines. You will need to set your own deadlines, hold yourself accountable, and keep motivating yourself.
This is definitely not for everyone. Some people actually do need a manager or a team to stay motivated, or else nothing happens.
So, if you’re not a very self-reliant type of person, you may end up wasting a lot of time and energy on unforeseen issues and challenges. Or worse, you may not be able to find the motivation to get any work done.
7. Being an “Influencer” Is Not the Same as Being a Blogger
I personally hate the word “influencer”, but that’s just me. So many people call themselves influencers as soon as they have a bunch of followers on Instagram, backed up by a mediocre website with poorly written content.
While social media is an important aspect of running and managing a blog or online business, you will still need to publish content. Quality content, that is. You’re going to be spending a lot of time researching, writing and editing, on an ongoing basis.
Publishing a killer blog post takes a lot of time and effort. So if you think that blogging is nothing more than chasing those Insta followers, you’re most likely going to be disillusioned.
8. You Need to Be Creative and Unique
Writing content that has been written about so many times already, or worse, just writing about yourself is not going to excite anyone.
Your job as a blogger is to entertain, surprise, help, inform readers. If you don’t add value in whichever shape or form, your readers won’t stay, Google won’t rank you, and your blog is going nowhere.
Each day you’re going to have to think about what your next blog post will be about, what your next social media update will be, what you’re going to say in your next newsletter, and just so much more. If you lack that creativity and personal touch, you will at some point feel the struggle to keep going.
However, if you are a creative person, blogging can be the ideal outlet for you, it will allow you to capitalize on that creativity.
So, can you relate to some or all of these things?
I’d love to hear about your personal experiences too, so don’t hesitate to leave a comment below, or send me an email if you’d like my advice on something.