If you’re wondering why you should (or shouldn’t) start a blog, this post is for you!
My wife and I make thousands of dollars each month in display ad revenue from her blog.
We also make a little bit of money from some of the newer blogs I’ve started like this one and studentofguitar.com.
I love blogging, and it’s my absolute favorite online business model.
However, I know it’s not for everyone.
In the following sections, I’ll outline some of the reasons I love blogging as a business model.
I’ll also point out some of the reasons why blogging may not be a good fit for you.
Blogging helps you…
1. Attract an Audience
David Perell is a Twitter master, an excellent writer, and creator of the famous online writing course, Write of Passage.
David’s Tweet captures the essence of what’s possible with a blog:
The benefits of writing online are difficult to understate.
Continue reading for even more of these benefits.
2. Be Your Own Boss
Being your own boss has become a cliche for the pipedream of the many.
Nevertheless, the benefits are obvious.
A blog offers the opportunity for unprecedented levels of personal freedom for those who are willing to put in the work for it.
3. Build a Brand
Even if you don’t want to be a professional blogger, blogging is an excellent tool to build your personal brand.
Building a personal brand might sound salesy in a way you don’t want be salesy.
However, creating a personal brand actually may be one of the best tools to avoid sales.
If you’ve ever looked for a job, you understand how un-fun the process of selling yourself can be.
As you publish content on the web, you increase the odds of professional and relational opportunities falling in your lap!
4. Build Expertise
I always recommend to anyone interested in blogging that they write about something they are passionate about.
If you aren’t passionate about what you’re blogging about, you’ll probably burn out.
Plus, it’s easier to create content about something you’re passionate about (and presumably already know a lot about).
If you asked me to start a blog about gardening, I wouldn’t be able to create content very quickly at all.
Because I’m not passionate about gardening and know hardly anything about it.
So I would have to look up even the most basic gardening concepts to create good content for my blog.
However, I can crank out content quickly for this website because I’m really passionate about lifestyle businesses and know a lot about them.
But the cool thing is:
And this is what happens no matter what you blog about!
Blogging forces you to do even deeper research than you’ve already done on the subjects you care about.
In other words:
blogging forces you to build expertise you probably wouldn’t otherwise build even in subjects you care about.
5. Challenge Yourself
If you’re looking for a get rich quick scheme, blogging is one of the worst options for you.
Heck, if you’re even looking for a get rich slowly scheme, blogging will probably try your patience.
But if you’re looking to do something challenging that can:
- build a variety of skills,
- and potentially earn you an income with theoretically unlimited upside if you stick with it for years,
blogging could be a good option for you.
6. Find Your Element and Connect with Your Tribe
Sir Ken Robinson was an author, speaker, and education and creativity expert.
You may know him from his extremely famous TED talk linked above.
Unfortunately, he passed away in 2020.
But his ideas continue to make waves in education and elsewhere.
One of those ideas is what Robinson describes as your “element.”
And those people who share your same passions and commitment to them are what Robinson calls, your tribe.
Your tribe provides validation, reminding you that you aren’t alone in your passions.
They also spur you on to greater work, helping you find and explore parts of your passion not yet discovered.
Creating a blog is an excellent way to attract your tribe.
When you put your ideas out there on the web, you give your tribe members an opportunity to find those ideas.
This is one of the most exciting parts of blogging.
As you write about what interests you, your interests can connect you with people all over the world you would have never otherwise met!
7. Create Opportunities
A blog isn’t only good for bringing you relationships.
It can bring you exciting opportunities too!
Many high-end hotels have reached out to my wife, Jasmine, with offers to stay at their hotels in exchange for social media and website promotion because of her blog presence.
These are the sorts of exciting opportunities that can happen to you when you start creating content about whatever you love to do.
8. Develop Tech Skills
Although I’ve been interested in technology since I was a kid, I didn’t develop useful tech skills until college.
You might think my college major/specialization made me develop tech skills.
But this actually isn’t the case.
(I majored in French and minored in Business Administration.)
Instead, I started developing useful no-code skills in 2013 because 2013 was when I decided I wanted to blog.
Since then, I have made thousands of dollars building websites for others with my agency alleydigital.com.
I’ve also made thousands of dollars in ad revenue from websites I own personally and with my wife Jasmine.
I made a lot of blogging mistakes over the years.
However, these blogging failures (and successes) taught me so much about technology and business.
If you want to radically accelerate your technology skills related to blogging, I highly recommend starting a blog.
9. Document Personal and Professional Growth
Looking back on the mistakes I’ve made, I wish I would have documented them in some sort of personal blog.
The evolution of my thinking and tactics would have been fascinating to watch.
Plus, this mentality allows you to create content at scale.
And creating content at scale is a necessary ingredient for success as an online content creator.
This is what social media guru, Gary Vaynerchuk recommends in the tweet and article mentioned above.
10. Earn Passive Income with Unlimited Upside
I don’t like the term “passive income.”
It comes with a lot of baggage and get rich quick vibes.
However, it’s the prevailing term to describe what a blog offers:
the opportunity to increase your income independent of time invested.
Don’t get me wrong.
Creating a profitable blog will likely take a lot of time (probably hundreds of hours).
But as your blog scales, you can usually de-couple your time from your income more and more.
This allows you to focus on new projects, lead a more enjoyable life, and experience more financial resilience.
11. Grow Your Business Even If It’s Not Blogging
Zapier is a no-code automation tool that enables you to create plain-English “programs” to share data and perform actions between online services.
For instance, you can use Zapier to automatically add an email address from a Google sheet to an email list.
Or you could use Zapier to message you on slack when a particular file type is uploaded to your DropBox.
These use-cases might not seem particularly handy.
But you can imagine the sophisticated automation possible when you can link almost any two web apps with Zapier.
Zapier is a SAAS company that has grown largely because of its blog.
Here’s how one of the founders describes the importance of the blog in their growth:
We’ve invested pretty heavily into the blog and learn to build up kind of a publication that keeps people reading about Zapier, how to be better at work, how to use different apps at work, and how to get more done.Drift
Zapier is just one of countless examples of non-blog companies using its blog to grow its business.
12. Have A Unique Addition to Your Resume
Most agree that employers are caring more and more about skills and a portfolio of projects proving these skills.
Likewise, employers are caring less and less about grades, resumes, and scholastic achievements.
Having a blog is an excellent way to show to an employer your critical thinking, writing, and communication skills.
Imagine if you were an employer choosing between two seemingly equal candidates but:
- one blogged about the subject matter of the role he applied to and,
- one didn’t.
Who would you choose?
13. Help Others
Helping others is the most rewarding part of blogging.
There are few things better than an email, blog comment, or other message from someone thanking you for the help you provided through your content!
This is especially true when you pour hours of work into your blog without any financial or relational upside (at first).
14. Improve Your Writing
Frequent practice is one of the best ways to improve any skill.
And if you are trying to create a profitable blog, you will need to write frequently!
Writing practice is necessary but not sufficient for improving your writing.
You must still make a concerted effort to improve by focusing on opportunities for improvement.
I’m trying to get better at writing high-quality content more quickly.
One of the methods I use to try to do this is to separate writing and editing.
So instead of writing a little bit and then revising that content, I try to force myself to write until my writing is “complete.”
I’ve found that when I force myself to write continuously without stopping to edit, I more easily get into the flow of writing.
Then, I have a larger body of text that I can edit without switching back to writing more content.
15. Learn the Business of Blogging
Business-sense can help with any money-making endeavor.
And blogging is one of the simplest ways to learn about and build a business.
It’s so simple because the barriers to entry are astonishingly low.
- You can start a blog with literally no money.
- You don’t need any professional certifications or permission from anyone to start a blog.
- If you don’t want to have them, you don’t need to have any employees.
- You don’t need to know how to code or have a lot of technical expertise.
- And you have one of the simplest monetization methods available: advertising.
Of course, you can always add business complexity to your blog operation and learn even more about the business of blogging through that complexity.
But bloggers have an amazing opportunity to achieve financial success with their blog while maintaining business simplicity.
16. Live a Location Independent Lifestyle
You can run a blog anywhere with a solid internet connection.
So bloggers have an amazingly mobile lifestyle available to them if they choose to pursue it!
17. Build a Business With Zero Startup Costs
Did you know you can start a blog with literally zero costs?
Please note that this is not what I recommend.
However, it’s important to realize that cost should never be a barrier in starting a blog.
18. Refine Your Thinking
Famed author and podcaster, Tim Ferriss, has one of my favorite quotes about writing:
Writing is thought crystalized on a piece of paper, which can then be reviewed.Source
Tim’s quote gets at the idea that often times we need to write to figure out what we think, not think to figure out what to write.
Writing forces you to clarify your thoughts into coherence.
The more I write, the better thinker I become.
As you write for your blog, expect to clarify your thinking on your blog topic.
19. Say No to What You Don’t Want to Do
Derek Sivers is a programmer, author, and founder of CD Baby.
His episodes on Tim Ferriss’ podcasts are some of my favorites!
One of my favorite quotes and philosophies of Derek’s is:
“Hell yeah or no”.
The idea behind this philosophy is that life is too short to waste on things we aren’t super-excited about.
So if an opportunity doesn’t elicit a “hell yeah” response, your response should probably be no.
An empty calendar is much more enjoyable than a calendar full of mediocre opportunities that don’t excite you.
A profitable blog can contribute to the financial freedom to be choosy with what you do with your time.
And being able to direct your time is true freedom.
20. Have Better Access to Your Audience than Social Media
In the tweet above, Eric eloquently describes what has happened with social media since it came around.
As long as users stay on a social platform, that platform has the opportunity to make money.
Some social platforms are bigger offenders than others in this respect.
For instance, Instagram is one of the more restrictive platforms, only allowing a profile link and links in stories.
Pinterest, on the other hand, allows nearly every post to link to a website.
In general, platforms that function more like search engines (Google, YouTube, and Pinterest) will send you more recurring traffic than traditional social platforms (like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram).
This is why I always recommend bloggers focus on writing content that will rank in search engines.
If you want, you can always promote your search engine optimized content on social platforms.
However, content that works on social platforms won’t necessarily rank in search engines.
Why You Shouldn’t Start a Blog
There are countless reasons to start a blog.
But there are also reasons why you shouldn’t start a blog if they apply to you.
I’ll run through some of those reasons in the sections below.
1. You want to earn income quickly.
I estimate that building a blog that makes you $1,000 – $2,000 in monthly ad revenue will take approximately 400 hours of work.
And even if you get 10 people to work on your blog for 40 hours in a week, it would still likely take several months for your website to rank in search engines after that.
In short, your blog probably won’t generate significant search engine traffic for several months (if not at least a year).
And without traffic, your blog will not generate income.
In other words, you likely won’t make any material amount of income from your blog for at least a year!
There are countless ways to make an income more quickly online.
So if you’re only interested in a fast payoff, blogging isn’t for you.
2. You want to work closely with a team.
Unless you start building a blog with a lot of capital and can afford to hire a team, blogging is a solo sport.
Right off the bat, this means blogging isn’t for everyone.
Many people are hard-wired to work collaboratively in a team setting.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this.
In fact, I’m so glad people like this exist because many great work comes from teams.
However, blogging, at least at first, is likely going to be an individual activity.
Your blog may be able to support a team of people working on it down the road.
But only the most successful blogs can justify the expense of hiring several full-time employees.
3. You need a professional working environment to get stuff done.
Most bloggers work from home at least in the short term and usually in the medium and long-term too.
Not having an office keeps costs low and is considered a benefit to most.
But if you need an office to work effectively, blogging might not be for you.
For all the same reasons that blogs usually can’t justify the cost of full-time employees, they also usually can’t justify the cost of an office either.
4. You want a steady paycheck.
Being an entrepreneur of any sort typically means sacrificing the stability of a steady paycheck.
In exchange for this sacrifice, you have the opportunity to make a theoretically unlimited income.
But if the stress of a variable income is too much for you, blogging (and entrepreneurship in general) probably isn’t for you.
5. You want benefits often associated with a day job.
If you want top-notch health insurance, dental insurance, life insurance, or any of the other insurance policies or benefits associated with a day job, blogging may not be for you.
As a blogger, you will need to figure out your own insurance policies and retirement plan, because no one else will do it for you.
Also, if I had to guess what the number one thing mother’s ask their entrepreneurial children, it would be:
“What are you going to do about health insurance?”
As a blogger, you’ll need to have a good answer prepared for your mom 🙂
Jasmine and I use Medishare, a Christian health-cost sharing plan.
And we’ve been planning our own retirement ever since we entered the workforce.
It’s important to know that there are relatively low-cost insurance options for entrepreneurs and freelancers.
And it makes me sad that this is one of the big barriers to people pursuing entrepreneurship.
However, if you can’t stand the thought of not having benefits like you would at a day job, blogging may not be for you.
6. You want paid time off.
Many day jobs offer the luxury of paid time off.
And at some day jobs, when you’re on vacation you have zero work responsibilities.
If something catastrophic happens while you’re on vacation, it’s someone else’s responsibility to fix it.
This isn’t true as an entrepreneur, particularly a solopreneur.
If something catastrophic happens as a solopreneur blogger, you are the only one who can and will fix it.
It’s a wonderful and healthy thing to be able to fully unplug from your work responsibilities.
And while this is certainly possible as a blogger (especially for brief periods of time), it can be particularly challenging when you know you are ultimately responsible for every aspect of your business.
7. You want to manage a lot of people.
Many people equate the relative importance of someone’s job by how many people they manage.
CEOs of large companies with thousands or more workers beneath them often receive great respect for their role.
As a blogger and particularly as a solopreneur, you may not have anyone working with you.
As a result, you may not get the respect that those who manage many people receive (even if you make more money than they do).
Like I mentioned, blogging is largely a solo sport.
So if people management is high on your list of professional goals, blogging may not be for you.
8. You want to have an impressive-sounding job.
Many people don’t know what a blog is.
And if they do know what a blog is, they often don’t know how a blog makes money.
Thus, if you tell someone you blog for a living, they likely don’t understand what that means.
However, if you tell someone you are a:
- or [insert impressive-sounding job here],
they understand what that means and often respect you for it.
I’m OK with having a job many people don’t understand or respect.
However, if you aren’t, blogging probably isn’t the best career path for you.
9. You think you can write whatever you want and build an audience.
This is the hardest pill to swallow for most aspiring bloggers.
At one point, the internet was so devoid of content that you could write whatever you wanted and build an audience.
Even some content creators in today’s more saturated internet world win the lottery of success creating whatever content they want.
However, this isn’t the strategy I recommend.
Instead, I recommend a timeless strategy that relies less on luck, and more on diligence.
It is how I recommend any blogger stack the odds of success in his or her favor.
So how do you do it?
In short, you look for phrases people are already searching in Google, YouTube, Pinterest, or any other search engine.
As you research, note opportunities where you can create better content than the current ranking content for those search terms.
Create that content, then you wait for search engines to update with your content at the top of search results.
The basics of this strategy are simple to understand but difficult to execute.
That said, the opportunity to stack the odds of blogging success in your favor is available to those willing to put in the work.
I hope this blog post has given you a better understanding as to why you might start a blog!
Like I’ve mentioned, I think blogging is one of the most promising opportunities for business success online.
If you have more questions about whether blogging is right for you, let me know in the comments!