There are plenty of blog posts out there telling you how to start a blog, but this post is about how to decide if starting a blog is right for you in the first place, what to expect, and how to stick with it.
It is said that 95% of blogs are abandoned at some point. Sometimes it has simply run its course for a variety of reasons, but a lot of times these are blogs where the writer has given up before the blog even had a chance. There are many reasons why this could be – time, work, disinterest, frustration.
I started a blog back in 2008 that was abandoned after a few posts though I had a medical issue that prevented me from writing for several months. After recuperating, getting laid off, and having another baby, I decided to try again and started this blog in September of 2011. I had no idea what I was doing or what I was going to write about at the time.
The fact that I’m still here shocks me because I have to be honest, I often have poor follow through and I lose interest in things rather quickly. But here I am, this person that should have given up long ago, so I thought I would give you some of the realities of writing a blog as well as what has kept me inspired to keep hanging around.
First, let’s go over the reasons why many young blogs fail. One of the most important things you need to do if you’re going to stick to your plan is to be realistic.
Blogging is hard work.
Let’s get this out of the way right now. If you want to succeed then you will need to realize that you can’t sit down at your computer, write a blog post in ten minutes, close the laptop and droves of people will then miraculously discover your awesomeness. The internet is a HUGE place and no matter how amazing you are, you need to work to get people to find you. Also, blog posts don’t always just magically appear in your head every day or a few times a week. You have to work for ideas and keep track of them when they do happen. Trust me, that fabulous blog post you thought of in the shower will probably be gone shortly after you get out.
Figure out your goals.
So you want to start a blog or already have, but why? Figure out your blog model early on. Do you just want to keep family updated? Do you need something to keep yourself busy? Do you want to make some extra income? What is your goal? Figure it out and work toward that goal. Don’t worry, you can change things up as you get going but keep yourself focused first.
Blogging is not a get rich quick scheme. If you’re expecting to make a full-time income within two months then you are barking up the wrong tree. I’ve had this blog for 3½ years and I have just now started making a part-time income over the past year. Sure, there are people who find a magic formula early on and make a full-time income or more but they work their butts off to get there.
No one is reading.
I won’t lie, this is a big downer. I have almost quit several times because I’ve felt that no one was reading the work that I was trying so hard to create. It’s discouraging to see that your giveaway posts have hundreds, even over a thousand views and that post you poured heart and soul into got ten or twenty.
But like everything else, this takes time. Have you noticed the trend yet? Time.
No one is commenting.
To be honest, comments are not the benchmark of success when it comes to writing a blog. Oh sure, getting comments makes my day and for a long time I was equating comments with readership, but that led to a lot of frustration. Think about this: do you comment on every blog post that you read? I know that I don’t. I read a lot of posts, appreciate them, and pin them for future reference but I am not a big commenter. Just because you aren’t getting a lot of comments doesn’t mean that your work isn’t appreciated.
Passion for your topic.
If you aren’t writing about what interests or inspires you then you’re not going to stick with it. This is why I am intentionally not a niche blog. I have a lot of interests and just like life, they ebb and flow. Niche blogs typically do very well but I know myself and I can’t write about one topic indefinitely. If you have a passion or talent and think you can be a niche blog then go for it. If not, you can still be successful, it will just take a little more work.
Now that we’ve gotten the common pitfalls out of the way and you’ve decided that you’re up to the task, how do you keep plugging along?
What keeps me inspired.
Why do I stay? It’s hard work, I don’t make much money, my ego is bruised on the regular, and I was told that I don’t have a real job by someone who I care very much about. But I stay here because I love the opportunity it gives me to express myself in a way that I can’t in my everyday life. I have always liked to write and need to do things that keep my brain working.
- Keep track of your analytics. One of the first things you should do when starting your blog is to install Google Analytics. You will see that over time that one person who is reading your blog (your mom, husband, BFF) will turn into ten, then fifty, then a hundred and so on. It will give you some inspiration to keep going.
- Get readers to your blog by pimping yourself. Join a large-scale giveaway to bring new eyes to your blog and social media pages, pin everything to Pinterest, Tweet with appropriate hashtags.
- Read other blogs often. You will discover what you like and don’t like in a blog and you can incorporate that into your own. Also supporting other bloggers is a great way to get them to support you. Support equals both blogging friends and new followers. A great network is key to blogging success.
- Write everything down! That great post idea you had in the shower? Write it down as soon as you get out of the shower. Eventually, you will have a list of ideas to build on.
- Join blogging groups on Facebook for tips, support, and opportunities. Again, networking is key.
- GET ORGANIZED! I’m serious, blogging is hard work! Organization is one of the things that I struggle with in blogging, parenting, work, life, get the picture? I downloaded some free blog planner printables which you can find easily with a Pinterest or Google search. If you don’t find one planner that fits your needs then downloaded pages from a few different ones like I did.
- For more ideas check out my Blogging category and remember that when you feel burned out, it’s okay. We all go through periods where we need a break. Take it and come back to the blog in a few days or even a few weeks.
If you’re a fellow blogger what inspires you to keep going? If you’ve ever abandoned a blog, what made you quit?