Blogging isn’t for everyone. You should know before you start if you’re up for the challenge. Otherwise you’re just wasting your time and throwing away money for nothing. I’ve been blogging for 12 years and I still enjoy doing it. If you ask yourself these 7 questions, you can find out if blogging is something for you.
1. Do I have the grit and perseverance?
If you start to blog you need a long term goal. Creating great content and people will come, won’t work. Great content isn’t enough. You need to be willing to spend a few hours a day for at least 5 days a week for YEARS to come. What’s your goal? Because if it’s to make money online quick, you might as well not even start.
Ask yourself the question: Am I willing to put in at least 2 hours a day, for 3 years in a row. Am I willing to invest time in weekends? Am I passionate enough about my blogging idea that my motivation will stick around for a couple of years?
Are you willing to invest 100’s of hours for months at a time without seeing any real results? Less than 1% of all the worlds blogs end up getting any significant amount of traffic. Are you the one in a hundred that will get traction? Can you take a beating? Can you go a long time without a big win? Can you celebrate the tiny wins and get a thrill out of those?
Did you know that there are more than 300 million domain registrations every quarter? And that blogs that report they post new content daily or almost daily are the strongest performers? That means you should have a post ready every day or every other day.
On average a post is about 1150 word long up from 1000 a few years back. It takes about 3 hours to write a post. So that means you would need to invest about 15 hours a week to write the necessary content to see the results you probably want. Are you up for that task?
If your answer is yes to most questions you have enough grit and perseverance to become a blogger. You’re going to need it. Because before the traffic needle will start moving you will have spent 150 – 300 hours on creating content. Let’s move on to the next question.
2. Do I have the writing skills and vocabulary to write compelling stories?
Blogging is not just about having a lot of knowledge and writing it down on a piece of paper. It’s about conveying a story to people. To take someone from point A in their lives to point B through your story. Through what you’ve been through. What you’ve done that made an impact.
You’re not writing a book when you’re blogging. You’re taking people on a ride and you should have (create) your own writing style based on what niche you choose, what type of audience you want to address or based on how you want to be perceived by your readers.
Are you ready to amplify your content with fame, controversy, storytelling or another unique value?
3. Am I an expert in a field or do I bring a new angle to the crowded “Blogosphere”?
The world has enough of so-called experts. Not everyone who’s read a book is an expert in something. Not everyone who has 3 years experience in digital marketing is a “guru”.
Through the years I’ve been reading and doing a lot of different things in the digital domain. I learned a lot. I experimented a lot. I also saw how not to do things. I did things the wrong way. I failed at a lot of stuff. But I’m also an optimist that always sees opportunity.
I started this blog because of a challenge. If had no plan. I just knew that I had enough knowledge to get this blog going. Only when I was underway I saw what opportunity their actually was. I’m looking at this from a Search Engine Optimization opportunity mostly. I’ve done quite a bit of research the pas 2 weeks and I’ve seen a lot of options to improve on “what’s out there”. I’m writing them all down along the way so I know where to invest my time in.
So even if you’re not sure if you have the skills right now, I would just say: START!! The road to Rome wasn’t built in a day. It did get started in one day. With the first stone. That first stone can be your first article. Along the way, along the road you’re building, you’ll see a lot of opportunity because you’re building the road. If you only walk the road you miss the experience of digging deep in road building.
4. Do I want to become a personality (these days known as an influencer)?
If you prefer to remain in the shadows and don’t get your name out there, starting a blog probably isn’t the best thing you can do. You need to show yourself. People need to see who you are. Know who they’re talking about and talking to. There aren’t many blogs that feature anonymous bloggers. There are a few mystery guys and girl out there. But few of them are really successful. Probably 99% of successful bloggers are successful because they are very upfront about who they are. They show a picture of themselves for every to see.
It doesn’t mean you should have a personal Instagram account with millions of followers or a YouTube channel with hundreds of videos of yourself. It does mean being “out there”. Not being afraid of showing yourself and to make mistakes.
Showing yourself to everyone and telling stories people can relate to is probably the most important thing you can do as a blogger. That’s why you see my face on every page. That’s why I always try to tell a story with every article I write.
5. Do I have a big network (which can help me launch / grow)?
Build it and they will come is a myth. There’s no such thing really. Building a blog and growing your blog is hard work. You already answered the grit and perseverance question (hopefully with a yes). That means you already know that it’s going to be a long road for you. You won’t be able to do it yourself? You need family, friends, colleagues and partners to make your blog successful.
Before you start a blog, write down all the names of people you currently know that can help you out. I’d say you need at least 50 people to help you. Ask them before you start if they’re willing to share your content. Maybe link out to you.
Having a dozen or so friends with websites can really help you in the first few months. It’s hard to gain traction when you’re new. People don’t know you in the blogosphere. You have nothing to show for. If you can get yourself featured on your friends websites you can make a reference to that in future outreach. If people you outreach to see that you / your blog has already been featured somewhere, you’ll have a bigger chance to be featured on their blog too. Most people don’t want to make a mistake of allowing some weirdo who doesn’t know what he’s talking about on their website. But if you can show previous (guest) posts which look good, you have a much easier entry.
In the end if you want to be successful in building a blog, you need a lot of links. A big part of a blog’s success comes down to being able to build links to your blog. The linkbuilding is a means to an end and links are a very important part of Google’s algorithm in determining which website should get a top spot on their page for a certain query.
There’s nothing wrong with asking your family to help you out with some social luvvvv and some link luvvvv. That’s what any startup founder would do right? They would ask their friends and family for help.
Do you have enough people who can help you? Can you make the right connection with people? If you can’t persuade your friends to help you or are too scared to ask them, what do you think will happen when you reach out to total strangers?
6. Do I have a little bit of technical skills to setup my blog and keep it alive and kicking?
Did you know that 90,000 websites are hacked daily? The majority being blog websites like the one you’re reading now? WordPress is the most popular blogging software out there. So it’s also the most “lucrative” to target by hackers. If they find a vulnerability for a WordPress version (or WordPress Plugin) they can try to exploit it on millions of websites!
Most WordPress websites are hacked because their Plugins aren’t up to date. Most people still update their WordPress installation but they forget to upgrade their plugins.
If you want to start a blog you need to know what you’re doing. You don’t need to have a major in website engineering. You do need to know the basics.
- How to install WordPress on a server (can be done in a few clicks and with an easy walk through)
- How to install the right plugins for your blog (including some security plugins)
- How to keep everything up to date
- How to minimize your exposure to hacks
7. Why haven’t I started yet?
How long have you had the idea of becoming a blogger? Days? Weeks? Months? Years? If you’ve been playing with the idea for months or years but haven’t started yet, you should first sit down and think about why you didn’t make the step yet?
Is it because you don’t know how to setup the blog? Read this post here. Is it because you don’t know what your blog should be about? Create a mind map to help with creating ideas for you blog.
If you connect the dots between what you already have inside you and what people want to know about you should line up 50 blog ideas in no time.
If you’re the procrastinating type and keep postponing stuff, you should think about the following which I learned from Tim Ferris’ TEDx video about fear.
In stead of setting goals. Set your fears.
I’m afraid of starting a blog, because… Define what you’re afraid of will happen.
Ok, so lets say it’s possible that that fear will come true. How can we prevent it from happening? Talk to people who you know who can help you with this. Someone else is usually better at knowing ways of preventing someone else’s fear.
Now let’s say you weren’t able to prevent the defined fear from becoming a reality. How could you repair the effect of the fear so it’s minimized? Here again, you should talk to a friend to help you with this. Because knowing how to repair something is also often just asking a friend for help.
No once you’ve set your fears. Let’s look at the goal. You want to become a blogger. If I did start the blog, how could my life look like in 6 months, 12 months, 3 years? How will it look if I don’t do it? Get into the details. How ill your life look financially? Emotionally? What are you going to miss out on?
Answering these questions should get you into “action” mode. If you fears (still) outweigh your gains, then don’t do it. Don’t become a blogger. But if you can see the benefits. If you’ve realized that your fears can be prevented or even repaired. And that the gain from starting is so large in maybe already 6 months or 12 months, then you should take the leap and just start!!