Since the first blog was launched in the mid-1990’s blogging has grown and grown, from a niche tool available only to a few computer experts to a platform that anyone can access. There are millions of blogs on every subject you can think of, and the writers are from every country and background.
Have you been trying to decide whether to throw your hat in the ring and start a blog? This post will help you to decide by running through the pros and cons and some tips I’ve learned by blogging. Oh, and in fairness I have to say I’m biased towards starting a blog as I write three of them!
First the cons, because let’s start with the negative then head upwards!
Cons to starting a blog
- It takes time to build a readership, which can be disheartening. Writing and editing takes time and effort, and you want it to be read, but building an audience is a slow, long-term part of blogging that takes patience and persistence.
- If you want to attract readers you’ll need to share your blog. If you’re not keen on social media or uncomfortable saying “Look, I did this!” this may be daunting.
- Unless you’re writing only for yourself you’ll need to be consistent so that readers know when to expect new posts. This is challenging when you can’t think of anything to write about and can lead to ‘blogger burn out’ where you feel you’re all out ideas.
- You can make money out of blogging if that’s your aim but this isn’t as easy as many blogging gurus make out and it can take the joy out of writing as you’re churning out new content.
- It can get overwhelming, trying to think of things to write about, do the writing, editing, making it look pretty and sharing it on social media.
Pros to starting a blog
- A blog is a creative outlet where you get to share what’s important to you, what excites and interests you, your passion. It can be rewarding and a lot of fun, something to enjoy and be proud of.
- You can use your blog to help people, how cool’s that? Writer Alexandra Franzen refers to blog posts as creating little miracles; having a blog give you a space to do this, sharing your knowledge and experience generously so that other people can live better lives.
- It’s quick and easy to set up a blog and there are high quality free options so you can set up a site in minutes. I use the paid version of WordPress for this blog and for Ghost Hunt Girls as I have them as part of my websites and I prefer it to Blogger, which is a free blogging platform I use for Crafty Blueberry, an occasional blog that’s mainly for me to look back on places I’ve been. Alongside the free/low cost options for blogging there are lots of articles and courses online to show you how to set up and run a blog.
- Unlike social media you’re not limited for space and your content is entirely your own. You have space to expand your ideas and explore a subject thoroughly.
- Blogging challenges you to write regularly, which is good practice if you want to write a book or anything that you need to write consistently. It’s a good way to practice discipline in your writing.
- You can blog about anything you like. Really, ANYTHING. There are no limits except the limits you put on yourself, oh – and the law I guess! But other than that it becomes your space for your pet subjects.
- If you run a business a blog is a way to show and share your expertise, add value for your customers and also show the human face of your business. You can also run a blog as a business; like any other self-employment it takes work and skill, but many people make a living from blogging.
- A blog is a place for you to develop your voice in a public online space without it feeling too big and scary. It’s public yet enclosed.
5 tips for starting a blog
- Be realistic about how often you can post good quality articles and aim to be consistent. I post a new article once a week as this is what I can reasonably manage whilst working full time and on other work for my business. Being consistent means your readers know when to expect a new post and gives you a structure to work within.
- Speaking of structure, I’ve found it helpful to find a rough structure to stick to for every blog post I write. I use this five question method to get my thoughts in order before I write anything, then to keep me on topic as I write. I also have a process I follow for how I choose and add pictures, use subheadings and decide on a title. These aren’t set in stone but they’re emerged over time and they make posting easier.
- Before starting a blog decide what you want to achieve. Do you want to write for fun? Is it to make money? Do you want to include a blog on your business website? Are you focussed on helping people with what you know?
- Keep a list of ideas for future blog posts and add to it whenever you think of something else. The list will inspire you on days when you can’t think what to write about.
- Try not to get overwhelmed. Writing a blog can be simple or complicated: It’s up to you. Like everything in life, with blogging you bring your weather with you ie. If you’re a perfectionist or you over think things that will show up in blogging. It’s actually a good way to challenge habits in your way of thinking and to grow out of them.
So my heavily biased advice is….
…if you’ve been dithering over starting a blog, just do it. It’s a safe space to write, experiment and grow. Starting a blog doesn’t mean you’ve committed to it for life, if you like you can change your mind and delete it or set it to private. Whatever you decide to do, know that you have a skills, knowledge and experience worth giving a voice to, you just have to challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone. The world lights up when genuine, thoughtful, creative people share their voice, contrasting with the often trite, hardened, fear creating voices in mainstream media.