Today, I want to talk about something important for new bloggers. Something that doesn’t always get covered when talking about starting a blog: the reason why you want to start a blog.
Sometimes people start blogs because they want to make money. Maybe you’re here because your boss wants to know more about all that “content marketing stuff.” Or, maybe you’re tired of your job and want to find a way to make money that doesn’t involve having a boss at all.
Of course, it does help if you enjoy writing about your topic of choice. I spent a good few years writing about technology and gaming. While I did make some decent money from it, it definitely felt like a job I really didn’t want.
So, without further ado, let’s look at some good reasons to start a blog.
1. You can turn your hobby into a business.
There are tons of hobbies that are a lot more profitable than you might think. Whether you enjoy writing, photography, making jewelry, or even giving your opinion on things, you can make money off of just about anything.
But if you don’t have any sort of online presence, it’s kind of hard to market yourself. And your hobby isn’t going to make you any money without a little marketing.
Sure, you might be thinking, “Gross! Marketing! Ew! Sales! I don’t want to be that sleazy salesperson who’s just after people’s money!”
Firstly, let’s get that image out of your head. Marketing is broadcasting to the right people at the right time. And sales? You don’t have to be pushy to make a good pitch! In fact, some of the best salespeople are anything but pushy.
Blogging can help you make sales without actually selling. Share information about you, as an individual or business. Showcase your hobby-gone-business and show how it can help people. If you’re a wedding photographer, write about why you would want a pro at your wedding versus going the DIY route.
2. It helps writers get published.
While this falls under the hobby-to-business category, I wanted to cover this specifically because I have some unpublished friends who would love to be able to get their work published.
I hate to say it, but so many publishing companies won’t work with you if you don’t have a following. They want you to do the work of promoting and selling your book.
When faced with a choice between an awesome writer who can’t market themselves and a semi-decent writer with a huge following, they’re going to pick the semi-decent writer. (Not to say there aren’t exceptions, of course!) Having a blog with dedicated readers, consistent traffic, and a marketing/promotion strategy is a huge help.
3. Businesses can build their online presence.
If you’re a business owner who doesn’t yet have a blog, you’re not alone. Many businesses haven’t quite accepted the fact that a blog can be one of your most valuable marketing tools.
Many companies use blogging as a way to reach more customers by guest posting on other sites. By connecting with other bloggers that have a similar audience, you can get your products and services in front of an audience that already wants to buy them.
Your own company blog can also serve many purposes, such as improving SEO rankings, building rapport with your clients, and giving customers a place to share their thoughts and opinions on your company and services.
4. It makes it easy to connect with your current clients/customers.
Some companies (Buffer and Moz are great examples) use blogging to make their company more transparent. They don’t just toss out annual revenue reports or the occasional press release—we’re talking employee salaries, inner workings, employee insights, metrics, and where their customers’ money is going (down to the dollar!).
While there is such a thing as sharing too much, these companies find a balance and show customers what they think is important. This kind of transparency can forge meaningful relationships and build trust between a business and its customers.
You can also use your blog as a tool to connect with your clients. Encourage them to share how they’re using your products and what goals they’ve realized as a result. Getting these kinds of discussions going is an awesome way to connect with your current customers and show new, potential customers what they have to gain.
5. You can help people solve problems.
Many companies start as the result of a solution. They see a problem lots of people are having and they come up with a solution to fix it.
Perhaps it’s something as simple as making a certain product more affordable. Or, maybe you just want to teach people about a certain topic and make information more accessible by putting it into words that beginners can understand.
Blogs are no different. There are tons of blogs that start out as a solution to a problem. You’ll find a few good beginner-friendly blogs that seek to teach people. Look at WP Beginner. The founder, Syed Balkhi, found a problem. While WordPress had tons of great documentation, most of it was geared towards developers and “techy” people.
That left lots of beginners who didn’t know much about the development side of things stranded. They would either have to read through articles that they may or may not understand or hire someone to make customizations for them.
With sites like WP Beginner, users have the option to learn how to do things themselves without having to have a ton of background knowledge.
6. You can make money online.
It’s no secret that blogs can turn into crazy awesome, profit-generating machines.
You hear all kinds of stories about people making six figures off of a single blog. While that’s not at all typical, you can absolutely make some money. Especially in the beginning, don’t expect to make more than a few hundred a month off your blog.
There are tons of ways to make money with a blog. If you get a lot of traffic, advertising programs like AdSense and other similar programs can help make some money.
If you don’t have much traffic, but people go to you for recommendations on products and services, affiliate marketing is a great way to get paid for your recommendations. (The best part? You don’t have to run a single banner ad to make money.)
Regardless, it does take time and money to get a blog up and running.
You need to decide how much you’re able to dedicate and assume you won’t make anything back for the next year. You don’t have to spend money on advertising, but know that the less money you invest, the more time you’ll have to sink in!
7. It helps you practice and improves your skills.
Chances are if you’re looking to start a blog, you’re also learning things like how to grow traffic, SEO, social media, and marketing, just to name a few things.
Sure, we’ve probably all read on some of these things. But what about actually putting them into practice?
Running a successful blog gives us something that even most college graduates won’t have—experience and proof. And while many companies are looking for someone with a degree, they’ll often go for someone who has experience in the field first. So, if you haven’t completed college yet or are still planning to go back, why not build up your portfolio in the meantime? It’ll put you way ahead of other graduates.
It also helps your writing, which is important in any field that requires a lot of communication. If you’re running a blog, there’s a good chance you’ll be doing some sort of writing every day. Consistent practice is key!
8. Bloggers get the opportunity to work with tons of people.
If you’re only working with local companies, chances are, your opportunities are limited.
Especially if you’re from a small town, like me.
By having an online presence, you increase your visibility and your opportunities to work with tons of awesome companies. (Trust me, I have met so many great people that I just wouldn’t have otherwise met if I only looked locally. I’ve worked with people all over the world and it’s such an amazing experience.)
Don’t get me wrong—I love working with local companies, especially since it makes it easy to meet up in person. But if you enjoy living in a small town and need bigger job opportunities, blogging is definitely a good way to open up some doors.
9. Even introverts can excel.
One of my biggest barriers is being able to interact with people on a regular basis. Interacting with people every day can be frustrating, stressful, and downright draining!
While you’ll still be interacting with a lot of people, most of it’s online. So, if you find in-person interactions and networking events are too much, running a blog doesn’t require you to be a “people person” in the usual sense. A lot of people who I interact with get the impression that I’m social and energetic when in reality, it’s because I get so many breaks in between that I’m able to keep that appearance. (Outside of networking events and occasionally meeting clients, I really don’t interact with people much.)
Blogging lets me keep most of my business where I want it—online!
10. Having a blog brings people to you.
This one is huge.
In the beginning, you’ll have to do a little networking and social media to get your name out there, but more often than not, blogging brings people to you. Which, for someone like me who has less-than-stellar cold-calling skills, is awesome!
You don’t have to reach out to other people very frequently. The most you have to do is fill out an occasional application if you’re looking for advertisers to work with. But beyond that, most companies have managers that reach out to influencers. This is becoming more and more common, making it so much easier for bloggers!
BONUS: I Love My Hobby Too Much. (Why Not to Start a Blog)
I tell people not to start a blog for the same reason I quit working in IT.
I used to love computers—talking about computers, teaching people about computers, building computers, making them look awesome, and turning them into epic gaming rigs. Heck, I used to like it when friends and family would ask me for help—even troubleshooting and repairs were somewhat enjoyable.
After some years in IT, I didn’t want to touch another computer, much less build one. Even after a 4-year hiatus, I’m still burned out.
So, if you enjoy your hobby because you like to do it every now and then, purely for enjoyment, don’t kill it and try to turn it into your full-time career.
I always had a gut feeling that if I took what I loved and turned it into a career, I would hate it. Guess what? I was right.
While I’ve gone from hating it to simply not wanting to talk much about it, it’ll still take a while computers to bounce back to hobby status.
Sometimes, your hobby isn’t meant to turn into a business. That’s okay! Not all of us are keen on the idea of meshing our hobbies and careers together. In that case, find something you enjoy doing (as a career) and expand on that. It’s not worth losing interest in something you love.
Why do you want to blog?
The best piece of advice I can give you is that just about any reason you want to blog is completely valid. Many bloggers will tell you to pick something you’re passionate about. But let’s get real. There are tons of blogs that aren’t born out of passion or endless knowledge on a subject.
Some are simple hobby blogs or portfolios that turn into something bigger. Sometimes the topic that you know a lot about (even if you’re only mildly interested in it) turns out to be your best choice.
Whatever your reason, that reason is enough. I’m not going to tell you not to start a blog if you just want to make money. Some bloggers start out because they want a more flexible work life or want to make money online. A lot of times, that’s enough to drive them to make a great resource for their readers.
Of course, if you can find a profitable topic that you also happen to be genuinely passionate about, that’s great! Make sure you’re being honest with your readers and yourself. This is something you’ll be spending a lot of time with—you don’t want to get things started, only to drop the ball a few months later.
Grab your Blog Starter Workbook and start thinking about some of the questions on the first few pages. We’ll be using this to help plan out your blog and get things rolling!