This post is going to be a quick explanation of why I like to blog and how new bloggers should approach their own writing (in my humble opinion). Rob Neu retweeted a link to a very good read: The insanely slow road to building a blog (and why most people give up). This post does a great job at encouraging potential and current bloggers to temper their expectations regarding the popularity of a new blog. Reality is that blogging is not easy. Sure, it sounds easy and, technically, it’s not something that requires a significant amount of skill; mostly just patience. With technologies like WordPress, getting a simple blog up and running on the internet is pretty easy. Additionally, writing your first few posts is a breeze when your motivation is high and the creative juices are flowing. The real difficulties rear their heads later down the road.
I’m no seasoned vet at blogging but I’ve been doing it on a fairly consistent basis for a year and a half at the time I’m writing this post. During that time, I’ve seen how awesome and difficult the process can be. I’ve experienced dry spells when I felt I should write something but had no clue on what; I’ve had times I wanted to spend more effort on my blog but didn’t have the time because of other requirements; I know what it’s like to see the first comment come through when the person commenting raves about your site (even though it seemed kind of strange)…then finding out it’s a shitty spam comment; I’ve felt that awesome sense of satisfaction when you have a real person tell you they love your blog and follow your work.
I created this blog and started writing for one reason: to share things I learned doing WordPress work. I knew that writing about new things would help me learn more and help others learn the same things. Money was not the ultimate goal and it’s still not (although I admit that having this blog generate a few extra bucks each month is nice). The bottom line is that I write because it encourages me to learn new things, share the things I learn, and retain what I write about; my blog is my own library of knowledge I’ve gathered during my time as a developer and WordPress user. In the process, I have built a small audience and become a go-to source for development work by people who have read my blog. For me, there are no downfalls to blogging – it’s a win-win.
Where am I taking this?
All that said, I want to reiterate what Belle talked about in her post. Blogging is not something that’s going to generate you tons of money and fame. Not overnight, at least. In fact, probably not anytime in the next few years. Even further, if we’re being totally realistic, blogging likely won’t get you either of those things.
I say this because it’s important for new bloggers and anyone interested in starting a blog to know what they’re getting into before investing the time. Blogging can be a great outlet for a lot of things. Whether you love food and want to share that love with others or, like me, enjoy working with WordPress and code and want to share that interest with like-minded folks. However, when you start out with unrealistic expectations, it will lead to loss of motivation and giving up…very quickly.
My advice to all you new bloggers is to ask yourself one question: “If I write a new post of at least 1,000 words, 1-2 times per week, for a full year and don’t make a penny, will it be a waste of time?” First, for my non-U.S. readers, a penny is the smallest unit of currency in the United States. It’s considered worthless by most people. Second, if you answer yes to this question, I advise you to pursue other options.
The same concept applies for bloggers that applies to “wantrepreneurs” – people who come up with business ideas then give up a few months in because they aren’t making any sales. Like customers, readers don’t just show up and you don’t just start making money. Seeing results and reaping the potential benefits a blog can generate takes a lot of time, patience, and dedication. A little luck also helps. The advice that you should start blogging for fun is sound because that’s probably going to be the only thing keeping you going when starting out. Like Belle wrote, even if you hope to profit from your blog at some point, getting enjoyment out of writing in the beginning will help you get through the time you have no audience, no traffic and no profitability.
Like with many things, blogging will never be a loss when absent financial motive (or at least when money isn’t the #1 goal). Ultimately, don’t set yourself up for disappointment. Enjoy the process of building your blog, creating your content, and growing your readership. If you’re not going to have fun and are only considering a profit, there are plenty of other things that will make you money more quickly.