If I had a hundred dollar bill for every time that I’ve been asked how to start a blog, I’d be well on my way to becoming a millionaire. Believe it or not, blogging is a fairly new career path. Blogs have only been around since the late 90s and telling someone that you’re a full-time blogger will still have people looking at you in astonishment.
Even still, making it your career is not impossible at all. Before diving into the wonderful world of blogging as a profession, here are 10 things to consider.
1. Do you have the time?
This is the number one thing you must consider before even thinking about creating a blog and sharing it with your audience. Even if you’re just blogging as a hobby, your point is to share your writing with the world, right? (Otherwise you could just write in a journal.) This means that you have to dedicate enough time to actually write your posts, as well as maintain the upkeep of your website and social networks. I spend more time on “blog work” than I do anything else. Time will without a doubt be your biggest investment.
2. Do you have basic writing skills?
This should be a no-brainer but if you don’t have the ability to write and edit your work, blogging will be difficult. People expect a certain level of quality from professional bloggers (bloggers who have logos, business models, etc.) and blogs in general and every grammatical or spelling error reduces the credibility of your website. You don’t have to be the next Toni Morrison but you need to know how to write or at the very least have someone to help you.
3. Are you a self-starter or do you need constant motivation?
Most, if not all, successful bloggers have the ability to govern themselves. If you’re starting your own blog, you have to be able to work without someone telling you what to do and when to do it. You’re technically your own boss and it’s up to you whether or not that article gets posted or that tweet gets a response. I still struggle with this from time to time because some days I just don’t feel like working. The key to staying motivated is always thinking of your end goal and realizing that you are the only person that can stand in the way of it.
4. Are you creative?
Blogging involves a certain level of creativity, especially when there are millions and millions of blogs floating around the Internet. Creativity isn’t just about coming up with a cool name or logo, you have to be creative through the entire process. You have to think of original articles and other content, events (if you want to host some), creative ways to market yourself and the list goes on. If you need some help organizing your posts, download my FREE blog post planner printable here.
5. What is your motive or end-goal?
If becoming famous or making money is your motive, don’t ever become a blogger. I’m not saying fame or money won’t come, but it cannot be what drives you. I’ve been blogging for three years and it definitely is not because of money or name recognition. I love writing and I enjoy connecting with people who share similar interests or find value in what I write about. That is more fulfilling that money could ever be.
6. Are you shy?
The moment you publish your first post, you’re feeding yourself to the wolves. Ok, I’m being a little dramatic but hopefully you get my point. People will Google you, they’ll ask you questions, they’ll want to meet you and see you at events and it doesn’t stop there. You may even be asked to host an event or be a guest speaker. This doesn’t happen to all bloggers, especially those who blog for fun…but most professional bloggers (or those who are aspiring to be a professional blogger) will experience being front and center at some point. You can ask people that I’ve worked with whether or not I’m shy and they’ll tell you that I really am. So shyness won’t hinder you as long as you have an alter ego to tap into. :)
7. How well do you receive criticism, whether constructive or destructive?
This is another way that you’re feeding yourself to the wolves. When you share your work, you will be criticized and not always in a constructive manner. People may love or hate what you write about, what you wore to an event, how you handled an offensive comment and so on. However they deliver it, receive it with class and decide what to do with it later. I’ve had readers to give me constructive criticism that ultimately helped make my blog better, so being open to hearing it is key.
8. How do you feel about privacy?
When it comes to privacy, you are without a doubt feeding yourself to the wolves! Your personal privacy will become more and more limited as your blog grows and you become recognized as being a blogger. I don’t share every aspect of my life online but at the same time, I’m pretty transparent on my blog and it mostly works in my favor. There are times when I want to disconnect from social media for a few days or times when I can’t post that picture of me and my boo thang just because I don’t want the extra attention. In a worst case scenario, I have someone who is using Twitter to impersonate me through a fake account and they’re even making false claims about my work. It’s annoying as hell and it goes to show that there are some sick people in the world. As my friends told me, it comes with the territory and you have to deal with it unfortunately.
9. What type of blog do you want to create?
This one really amazes me. I never understood how people have this burning desire for wanting to become a blogger but they have no clue what type of blog they want to own. [insert confused face here] If you’re one of those people, you’re moving a little too fast. As I’ve mentioned above, blogging takes time, creativity and dedication. You must have passion for what you write about, otherwise you will get burnt out (take Necole Bitchie for example). Knowing what you want to do from the start, while giving yourself room to evolve and go in another direction will be key to being successful and having longevity.
10. What unique perspective do you have to offer?
As I said earlier in this post, there are millions of blogs on the Internet. That is both a pro and a con. The con is that it’s going to take a lot of work to dominate and make waves among the masses but the pro is that there is no one else in the world like you. With that being said, the pro outweighs the con by a long shot. Honing in on what makes you unique is yet another way to build a successful blog and brand. Ask yourself: how will I be different from the masses while still offering my audience value?
Your turn to talk…
I hope these points have helped you decide whether or not blogging is for you. Leave a comment about some of the challenges you’ve faced or questions you have about starting a blog. You can also leave a link to your blog so that others can chime in and offer feedback.