I've had my share of itinerant blogging in the past -- but Wake Up Later has been the one consistent effort I've taken to in this realm. I am fortunate to see its solid growth, but I've realized a few truths about blogging along the way. Here are five of them.
Blogging Is a Huge Commitment
When you first start your blog, posting comes easily because it's exciting and you already have a number of posts mentally composed. But as time goes on, you find yourself covering subjects and ideas that require more coverage and deeper fact checking. As traffic grows, so will accountability, which means more drafts and better proofreading. Furthermore, you'll probably need to keep up with pertinent news and information in your industry and keep tabs on relevant communities. Add all this up and you're looking at a pretty good chunk of time that most people don't have (without giving up other things).
Blogging Is More Than Just Writing
We live in a world where books are labeled "Best-Selling," not "Best-Writtten." So when it comes to blogging and building an audience, you have to market your blog in addition to writing entries. This means being involved on other blogs, writing guest posts, jumping into social media, answering comments and emails, and the list goes on. Furthermore, you will constantly need to be adding value to your posts, which may include tasks such as research, tracking down experts, and finding photos. And then there's the boring stuff, like proofreading or blog software updates.
Blogging Is a Crowded Space
Technorati tracks millions of blogs with some sources estimating that a new blog is created every second. Granted, many of these quickly become defunct or are nowhere near your niche, but the more you get involved in the blogosphere, the more blogs you'll find that are like yours. This can be good if you're just looking to rub shoulders with other like minds. But on the flip side, you're vying for the same visitors who can only subscribe to so many blogs. So you had better find ways to differentiate yourself and make your voice unique. (To be honest, very few blogs find a unique voice and many feel like their only source of information is other blogs.)
Blogging Is Profitable, But Rarely in Financial Terms
Blogging makes you a better writer. Blogging gives you a public identity to help your network and business. Blogging teaches you discipline and time management. But blogging will not make you rich. I'm not saying there aren't exceptions or that you can't make any money. I am saying that in most cases, if you were to look at a pure dollar-per-hour "wage," you would find that many bloggers work rather inexpensively. If your goal is purely to make cash, then there are much better options out there (especially if you're a developer or designer). As I mentioned in a previous post, paying some bills may be nice, but there are better reasons for blogging.
Blogging Is a Starting Point
It's good when people can speak intelligently about a subject. It's better when they can consistently write about it. But until you act upon your own advice, you've given people no reason to listen to you. This may mean starting a business, writing premium content, or just implementing the productivity tips you so often dispense. Because how can you write about business or passive income if your advice hasn't even led you to action? Don't turn into a blogger who begins rehashing what other people have said because your own experience is lacking. And don't get so caught up in blogging that you stagnate in terms of new ideas and projects. Blogging opens you up to the online world -- just keep moving forward.