If you've been reading any of my more recent articles, you'll know I've been hanging out on Google+ frequently these days. In a Google+ community I'm a member of, a comment was made by a community member that is a new blogger. The comment contained the following observation:
Blogging isn't as easy as it looks.
She was more right than she knew. In fact, blogging can actually be really hard sometimes.
Many people make the mistake of reading some article on ShoeMoney or JohnChow.com where someone writes an article about all of the money they've made blogging and they think, "Hey! I need to do that". They spend 30 minutes starting a blogger blog, write a few short articles, throw up a few ads and wait for the money to roll in.
The problem? It never does.
Is blogging easy? Absolutely not.
See, blogging, like most other things in this world, takes hard work to be successful. Sure, there are those exceptions where blogs become overnight successes, but that doesn't happen often. New bloggers far too often underestimate the amount of work and time that's required to grow a blog to the point where it begins earning a decent income. On my first blog, it took me three years to get it to a point where it was earning $1500 - $2000 a month fairly consistently.
Let's assume for the sake of this list, that all of the basic steps of setting up your blog are complete. In other words, the blog is live on the internet, just empty. Now the real work begins. Here are just a few things the average blogger has to take care of, often on a daily basis:
- Content - Without content, your blog is nothing. The highest priority task of any blogger is writing great content. But writing content can be hard, especially writing that very first article. Writing poor to average content is easy, but writing great content and truly epic content is hard. Factor in that you should not only write great content, but write it frequently ups the pressure. Why frequently? The more frequently you publish, the faster your blog will grow. On my first blog, I wrote 5 articles per week for more than 3 years. That's 260 articles a year! I think when I sold it, I had over 1000 posts published.
- Technology - Blogs are websites and websites require some level of technical knowledge. This is particularly true if you want to do anything fancy. Chances are you'll need to learn things like HTML, a little CSS, FTP, and a whole lot about WordPress if that's what you're using. Honestly, it's really hard to be successful blogging without some technical knowledge.
- Marketing - People will not just suddenly find your blog if it's sitting out on the internet. The internet just doesn't work that way. To get people to your blog, you have to market and build relationships. Social media plays a huge role in this, along with a number of other strategies that I've discussed before.
- Time management - Many bloggers, including myself, are part time. Meaning we don't spend all day long working on our blogs. We work on our blogs as we have time. Part time blogging requires excellent time management skills. One of the reasons many bloggers don't make it long is due to realizing how much time creating a successful blog takes, and they just quit. Don't do this. I know it might seem like you don't have time, but you really do. Finding time to blog is all about priorities and making optimal use of the time you have.
- Making Money - Many of us blog to earn a little money. Just having a blog with great content won't earn that money for you, you have to include ads, affiliate offers or sell products. Ads have to be found first, then set-up and installed. Appropriate affiliate offers need to located and then integrated into your blog. Finding and managing advertisers can literally be a full-time job. Products take even more time, but can bring significant revenue and visibility for you.
- Bookkeeping - Since you'll be earning income and spending money, you'll need to do some basic book keeping and financial tracking. Keeping good records, will definitely make tax-time much easier. Take it from me, the guy that kept horrible records his first year of blogging, and paid the price.
- Constant Tweaking - Blogs are like homes, they require maintenance. Software and plugins require upgrades, articles need to be tweaked and edited, new social bookmarks need to be added. The list here literally goes on and on. There is always something that needs to be done to my blogs.
- Graphics work - You'll also need to be a graphics artist - ok, maybe just a basic one, but one none the less. Websites need graphics and pictures, especially in the new world of visual social media like Pinterest. You will either need to farm your graphics work out to someone or you'll need to pickup the basics. If you can afford it, for this job, Photoshop should be your tool of choice.
I know I'm missing a number of other smaller jobs that blogging includes, but I'm confident I've hit on the big ones. Blogging involves wearing many different "hats" and can require a great deal of time.
Don't get me wrong, please - I'm not telling you this to scare you off, I'm telling you this so you'll know what you're getting yourself into and be prepared for it. The good news is that all of the above items, assuming your blogging in a niche you love, are incredibly fun! I love blogging, and frankly I think the "wearing of many hats" part is why I like it. I get to do lots of different things everyday and I never get bored.
Blogging - Stay the course
I promise you. I've seen it far too many times - There will be a moment, and maybe a few of them, where you say something along the lines of:
I am sick and tired of working on this blog every single day and getting nothing in return. I write articles, I promote them in social media, I make sure they are SEO optimized, I respond to comments, respond to my readers emails....and I am still making almost nothing on my blog and get less than 100 visitors a day.
I've had these moments and still do to this day. Working so hard, for such little return is hard.
Stay the course...
Yes, you heard me: Stay the course. Keep doing what you're doing. Your hard work may pay off tomorrow, next week, or next month. The point is, that it will payoff. What will happen is that suddenly one day, you'll check your analytics and you'll see your traffic numbers are up, and they'll continue to trend up. As the traffic trends up, so does your income. This same exact thing has happened to me at least three times.
The single worst thing you can do is get frustrated and quit. Do that, and your blog will fail. Stay the course, and it will succeed.
I won't mention any names, but I ran across a really great new blog back in September/October of 2012. The guy could write, he had a great niche, and was on fire to get his blog growing. I even had him write a guest post for me. He hasn't published another article on his blog since. Such a shame, had he just stayed the course and managed his time he could have been very successful.
What happened? I honestly don't know, but I've seen it many times. My guess, he realized how much work it was....He realized the same thing the new blogger I mentioned early on realized: Blogging isn't as easy as it looks.
Is blogging easy? Absolutely not...BUT...blogging is incredibly rewarding if you hang in there.
Photo by: FireChickenTA99