People get into blogging for all kinds of different reasons, and they quit with justifications that can be just as diverse. The truth is that not everybody is cut out for blogging, whether as a hobby or as a business, and it can take a long time to find out if blogging is right for you.
No matter why you blog, there are a few basic character traits and lifestyles that lend themselves to blogging more than others. You have to be an ambitious and self-motivated person, and you really have to be willing to invest your time into running a successful blog. Below are some of the traits and potential pitfalls of blogging, which should help you to at least know what you are getting yourself into.
1. You’ve got to have free time. Lots of it.
And it’s not going to feel like your free time anymore, necessarily. It’s not as though blogging will take up your entire life, and it should be enjoyable, but this is not something that you should get into thinking it is only going to take five or ten minutes every day to quickly write a post. It’s a part-time job.
First of all, you will have to keep up with your niche, and with blogging trends. You can spend an hour or two every day just reading posts in your feed reader, and if you don’t bother with this step you probably won’t be able to call yourself an authority within your niche.
2. Do you have a good idea?
Second, having an idea and an ability to write is only one part of a blog post’s life cycle. A good blog post will have accompanying images, and at least some consideration for SEO. You’ll want to share it through social media and bookmarking services, and when the readers do start to come in you will want to be active in your blog comments, as well as a part of the discussion on a site like Twitter.
Blogging is almost a lifestyle unto itself. If you’re already a social media junkie, and you have the interest and ambition to promote yourself, you’ll enjoy it. If it all sounds like a tedious chore, well, you probably won’t.
3. You can’t be easily discouraged.
Few people really seem to understand how much work goes into a blog, and that is especially true early on because it can feel like you aren’t getting the results you’re after. Why put in all of that work if nobody seems to care?
It takes time to get a blog off the ground, and in those early days you are going to feel like your website exists alone on the Internet. It will take some time to make connections with other bloggers and see links coming back to you, so that you can start building a following of readers. None of these things happen overnight, so you’ve got to stick with it.
If you believe in yourself and what you are doing, a little perseverance will take you from unknown to one of the central figures in your niche. But you have to pay your dues and put in the work to get there, without a whole lot of reward or encouragement to begin with.
4. What motivates you? Money, a voice?
Why do you want to start a blog in the first place? Identifying this shouldn’t be too hard, but understanding what it means for you is one of the keys to knowing how well you are going to do, and how soon you can expect your expectations to be met.
If you’re doing it for the money, it’s not a bad idea, but it’s not a quick cash-in either. A blog is a great long-term investment, and you have to look at it as something that is going to cost more money than it earns in the beginning. Blogging doesn’t cost much at all– you can find hosting for $8/month that will suffice for now– but it doesn’t pay for itself until you have a real readership and plan for monetization.
If you want a platform to share your thoughts and ideas, this is probably the best reason to get into blogging, because you don’t necessarily have to strive towards a certain goal every week. You simply feel that you have something valuable to add to the discussion, and this will probably get you further faster than anything else. You do have to understand what you want to say, and make sure you are putting yourself in the position to say it to people who want to listen.
5. Blog about what you love.
Don’t just pick a niche you’ve heard is profitable and force yourself to write within it. There is a lot of variety out there, and you can be successful in any number of scenarios, so try to find something that you are genuinely interested in so you won’t get burned out on it very easily.
What are your hobbies and interests? If you can combine something you love to do with your blogging, you will be a whole lot happier for it. Think of things that you love to do, and then brainstorm ideas for how to approach those areas in ways that will help you to reach an audience, or make a nice profit.
You will probably have the best results if you choose a niche. The man in the photo above is a chef, and he could start a blog about all things cooking, but he would actually have a better chance of success if he wanted to blog about one specific type of cuisine, or focus on restaurants targeting one region. Big media publishers can’t beat a passionate individual in these areas.