For Beginner Bloggers: Things to Know Before You Start
I keep getting questions in my email where people ask me random things about blogging, making money online, blogging as a career option. If you are a blogger yourself, you might be familiar with these questions but if you are not, here are some example questions which people often ask
- Are you a full time blogger?
- When did you start blogging?
- How much do you earn from your blogs?
- Is blogging a viable career option for people in their 20’s?
- Which niches are good for beginner bloggers?
And so on and so forth.
While I am no expert in answering these questions, I thought I should write a detailed post about it with the perspectives, learnings and experiences I have had since I started writing this blog during late 2009.
How did it start?
The start was accidental. I wanted to start a programming blog so I could jot down notes and learnings at one place which I can use for future reference. I started it on a Blogspot platform but soon changed to self hosted WordPress. With time I realized that blogging is not really a good way to write down learnings. For personal learnings, you are better off using Evernote or a simple Tumblr. Blogging is more beautiful when you want to share your knowledge and it is for sure a good way to make money online, provided you keep producing quality content regularly and connect with your readers.
In short, the start was accidental. I never thought I would continue it for then this hobby grew over me and I kept writing more. At one point, writing converted to addiction and it hardly felt as if I am giving effort (it became natural as I walked the path). So that was the start.
Is Blogging a viable career option?
The answer is a Yes and No.
Blogging can be a career option. Blogging may not be a career option. It entirely depends on the blogger’s individual goal. You may love blogging for a couple of years and then you may not like it over a broader period of time. You may get bored and feel burned out. It is possible and it happens with so many bloggers, they don’t feel like writing and churning out good content after their blog has reached somewhere. That is the point when you need a team of writers to sustain your blog.
So depending upon the blogger’s individual goal and perspectives, blogging can be a career option for a short stint of time. Let’s say 3-5 years is a good short stint to try blogging as a career and see how that works out. But for a longer term, I doubt it. I doubt whether blogging can be a good career option for a longer term because it depends a lot on the blogger and his individual life goals.
Also, we now live in an age of unconventional careers where career paths are not well defined and are non-linear in nature. If you are a professional blogger making a healthy living from your blogs, it is possible to diversify your career path and take up blog consulting as an avocation. You can take up full time jobs and become a marketing strategist for small-mid sized companies. The gates to diversification are always open, it matters how and when you would want to execute the means of diversification.
How much do you earn from your blogs?
Not much, not even close to paying my bills. I do not blog actively these days so the earnings have taken a back seat. But it is possible to generate a healthy living from your blogs, given that you work hard, be consistent, deliver quality content and be patient.
What niches are good for anyone who is just about to start?
When I started out, I had no idea what I was doing (yes, that is how it is for most of the successful bloggers out there).
See, blogging is a just a way to express your thoughts. It is a way to express what you want to express. If you define success with money, then you need to understand the business behind blogging. Understanding that business takes a couple of years of hustling and determination and once you are in that zone, you can produce a decent income from your blog which would be sufficient enough to pay your everyday bills.
Speaking of niche, you need to first know your area of expertise, understand whether you can deliver content consistently and then check if it is a profitable niche (there are different tools to know whether a particular niche is profitable or not)
I want to start a blog. I don’t know where to start and how to put stuff together?
You don’t have to. Just start. Keep tinkering with it. You will reach there someday. You will reach that zone when words will flow and writing a blog post will take no longer than 15 – 20 minutes.
You don’t have to enjoy writing from day one. Nobody does. The process evolves through practice, mistakes, failures and patience.
Any advice for bloggers who want to make money from their blogs?
If making money from your blog is the only goal you have, learn how to ignore criticism and focus on what really works for your website/blog.
In my early days when money making was a goal, I used to take blog criticism very seriously and focussed my time on useless things which never really mattered. Looking back, I realize that it was a big mistake since most of my time was spent on things which never mattered in the first place.
If you are a starting a blog for making money, remember these things
- Monetize when you have some traffic rolling in. Don’t monetize too early and don’t monetize too late, money motivates blogging in the initial days.
- Experiment aggressively with different mediums. Some people are very successful with affiliate marketing, some are successful with Google Adsense, some are with sponsored posts. So people have different ways to reach that zone. You have to figure out your own way and what works for someone else, might not work for you.
- It takes some time to see results. It may take 2 years, it may take 5 years. It greatly depends on the volume, quality and reach of your content. Do not expect to make decent income with 50 posts written over a span of 5 years. That seldom works. You need quality, you need volume and you need the reach, all at the same time. If anything is missing, things will not work.
I agree this is an unconventional post I wrote, which I seldom do in this blog. Apart from technology updates, tips and tutorials that I write here, I have decided to start writing on things that I have learnt in my blogging and start-up journey. Content will be a little low profile and spread apart at this moment, any suggestions, tips or feedback will be highly appreciated.