With the rise of social media and influencer culture, it seems like blogging has reached its peak. No longer limited to niche hobbies, almost everyone has a blog now in some form or another.
For those of you who haven’t yet jumped on the bandwagon, blogging has its many attractions.
But the truth is, your level of success depends on why and what you’re blogging for.
There are many reasons why you might wish to start a blog and in the same vein, there are plenty of reasons why you shouldn’t.
Let’s look at both sides of the argument:
9 reasons you should start a blog
Based on my personal experience, blogging has the potential to open so many doors. Some might come as a surprise, while others need no explanation.
1. To inspire your audience
Being able to inspire an audience through writing is a satisfying feeling. It makes you want to do it all the more. And when people respond to you in positive ways, you generate a portion of influence over them.
As a blogger, you can inspire people in an infinite number of ways.
Imagine using your words to inspire people to:
- Change their lives for the better
- Make their days more productive
- Create something beautiful
- Help other people
All this is achievable through the power of your blog, so use it wisely.
2. To improve your writing ability
One thing that’s self-explanatory is that starting a blog has a huge impact on your ability to write.
Starting out might feel awkward and even slightly alien. But as you get into the swing of writing, you’ll notice it getting easier. The words will flow with greater efficiency and you’ll develop a style that’s uniquely you.
Through writing often, you’ll also get a good idea of what people respond to. This stretches your creativity, helping you write more about what people love to read. And in turn, that translates into a larger audience.
3. To learn new skills
When I started blogging I did it for the fun of it. I never in a million years imagined I’d learn enough to turn writing into my full-time career.
Blogging can help you learn so many new skills and abilities. Here are some I’ve picked up along the way:
- Designing for WordPress
- Writing for different audiences
- SEO best practices
- Creating web graphics
- Email marketing
- Social media marketing
- Content management
- Website hosting
It’s not just through the act of building and managing a blog that you can learn. The content you write about also builds your knowledge.
To give you an example, I spent a few years writing about personal finance for a small business blog. It’s now a subject I know inside-out that I can use in other areas of my work and personal life.
4. To build your online brand
Along with learning new skills, the more you write about a subject, the more of an authority you become about it. Becoming an authority in your niche helps build your online brand.
By providing value to readers, you’ll soon become recognisable in the community.
You’ll be that blogger everyone goes to. They’ll know your knowledge and advice is worth the effort of seeking out.
Building your brand is a springboard for transforming your blog into something more.
5. To confront your fears
For me, blogging was an effective way for me to break out of my shell. As an anxious introvert, I found it hard to put myself out there and allow my thoughts and ideas to be heard.
Blogging gave me a platform to shout from – a way to confront my fear of being noticed. And in doing so I realised there are people out there just like me.
There are many other ways to use blogging to confront your fears. It can be used to overcome impostor syndrome and feelings of not being good enough. Writing about a topic you’re fearful of can be cathartic and help you work through those emotions.
In fact, many people use blogging as a way to aid in their struggles with mental health. This shows that a blog doesn’t always have to be a meticulously planned venture. Sometimes, it can just be a place to collect your thoughts.
6. To generate an income
This is probably the one point you’re most interested in. Yes, it is perfectly possible to earn a living through your blog, lots of people are doing it.
But while it’s possible, it’s not easy.
Those people you see making a success and a living as bloggers have been honing their craft for years. Through that time they’ve been experimenting and testing things to see what works.
And those years of hustle, go hand-in-hand with long hours of work.
Choosing a profitable niche for your blog is a good place to start. Some are easier to earn money from than others. But, selling your services via your blog requires you to build an audience targeting the people most likely to hire you.
Whichever route you go down, be prepared to work long and hard for it.
7. To meet new people
One thing that can’t be denied, is that starting a blog, exposes you to a huge community of new people. For each blogging niche, there is a lively community to go with it.
What’s wonderful about this is it provides a great way for you to meet new, like minded people. It will be easier to make friends since you share common interests. And, you’ll find blogging communities are not only welcoming but helpful to new bloggers too.
Then there’s the events and meetups held in various communities:
- WordPress enthusiasts can enjoy the many WordCamps held around the world
- Unsplash hold local photography walks and meetups
- Craft blog communities hold regular craft retreats
- Parent bloggers can enjoy meetups and conferences
Whatever your niche, you can guarantee there’ll be a vibrant community waiting to embrace you.
8. To document your life
Let’s go back to the early days of blogging. A blog was where you would write about the happenings of your every-day life. I think I may even have an old LiveJournal dedicated to just that, hidden away somewhere.
But just because it’s become unfashionable in recent years, doesn’t mean you can’t start a blog for that reason.
Blogging to document your life, is a wonderful way to reflect. Past joys and past mistakes, can all be learned from to some extent. So having somewhere to store those memories, can help you see how far you’ve come and how much you’ve learned.
9. To land your dream job
In the early stages of starting a blog, your dream job might be simply that – a dream. But the truth is, blogging can be the perfect stepping stone towards the job that will transform your working life.
When I started blogging, I never thought I’d end up working in content marketing. Yet the things I’ve learned throughout my blogging journey, have combined to make that job a reality.
And who knows, from there, it may lead to even greater things.
7 reasons to not start a blog
As I mentioned earlier, there are also many pitfalls to starting and maintaining a blog. It’s not an instant road to success. And, if you’re not prepared, it can end up being more stressful than you anticipated.
Keep reading to learn more about the downsides of jumping into the blogging world.
1. It’s really hard work
Running a blog isn’t a piece of cake. Successful bloggers may make it look easy, but we rarely see what’s going on behind the scenes.
Behind the great graphics and snappy writing, is a whole heap of stress, hustle and long working days.
For a blog to thrive, expect yourself to be working more hours than a standard day job. And those hours often extend into the evenings and weekends when you’d normally be relaxing.
Staying on the ball in blogging takes dedication, patience and commitment. It’s only through that, you can reap the rewards.
2. It’s not a solution to make cash fast
Despite many bloggers extolling the virtues of blogging for money, you won’t be making any fast. Blogging is not a route to making quick cash and if you’re starting a blog, for this reason, you’re doomed to fail.
As I mentioned earlier, it takes time, planning and hard work to even begin to consider making a living from your blog.
3. There’s no fixed income
Even if you do manage to make a living from your blog, things will be hard.
Don’t go quitting your day job just yet, because your blog’s income will fluctuate wildly. Some months you might do well, while others you’ll be lucky to earn a small percentage.
I know many bloggers who have been doing really well over the years – well enough to work full time on their blogs. But even they hit months where their income is not what they expected.
It’s tough and it’s part of the blogging life. If you’re prepared for these fluctuations, it’s probably best you keep blogging as a side hustle.
4. Blogging is a lonely pursuit
If you get into blogging as a way to enter the work-from-home marketplace, prepare yourself for a lonely ride. Unless you rent a co-working space or spend your days in a coffee shop, working from home as a blogger can be incredibly lonely.
I’ve gone hours without saying a word to anyone (apart from myself) and if it becomes a regular thing, the effect of loneliness is real. You start craving the human connection you had in your day job and even doubt your ability to keep going.
In times like this, reach out to your community and if you still struggle, it may not be the job for you.
5. The blogging landscape constantly changes
No amount of reading can prepare you for how quickly things change in the blogging world. Just as you learn one thing, you have to re-learn it all over again.
Google algorithms are a prime example. The gate posts are always moving, forcing you to change your approach over and over.
It’s not just Google either. Facebook and other social networks are always changing to reflect their business goals, which may not align with your own.
Then there’s GDPR which had everyone in a flurry.
If you’re serious about blogging, make sure you have the ability to keep up with the changes.
6. Overuse of social media can impact mental health
With blogging and the over-use of social media, come risks to your mental health. While the positive aspects of connecting with your audience via social platforms, can help with social anxiety, there are some downsides.
Many bloggers, including myself, have the habit of comparing ourselves to our blogging peers. Often it’s something we can’t help but do. Yet, according to research, comparisons and negative interactions relate to higher levels of depression and anxiety.
That said, comparisons & negative interactions are not limited to blogging.
7. Long hours eat into family time
Remember the hard work I said you have to put into your blog to make it successful? Well, those long hours in the early days can also eat into the time you’d normally spend resting and with your family.
Be prepared to take your work on vacation with you. During a family dinner, one eye will always be on your phone. At the park with your kids, the notifications will continue to disrupt.
It’s not until you develop systems to manage your workflow, that you’ll be able to enjoy some rest and family time.
The truth about starting a blog
Starting a blog has its pros and pitfalls and no single size fits all.
When considering whether to start a blog or not, consider both sides of the argument and weigh them against your own personality, lifestyle and ambitions. See what fits you and be honest about what you really want out of the experience.
You’ll be the one doing the work and on the flip side, you’ll be the one reaping the rewards in the end.
Remember: Blogging is a marathon. Not a sprint.