To Blog or Not to Blog…that is the question!
So you’re thinking about starting a blog. Jodie and I were living “the great blog debate” for over 2 years. We gathered data. Over and over again we asked people, “Should I start a blog?” One week we were definitely NOT going to start a blog. The next week we were back to definitely starting a blog! We ping ponged back and forth so many times our heads were dizzy. We were warned that it was a huge “time sucker”, that many people abandoned their efforts with not much to show for themselves. However, more and more we yearned to have something of our own, a place where we could share more of ourselves, more of our hearts, homes and lives. In the end you know what we decided because here we are 🙂
The purpose of this article is to help you:
- Decide if blogging is the right fit for you
- Prepare for the realities of blogging
- Give you some resources to help you begin your journey
Should I start a blog? What to know before you begin
I heard this recently at a blogging conference:
The first year you feed your blog.
The second year your blog feeds itself.
The third year your blog feeds you.
Don’t expect to be making money out of the gate. In fact, prepare to invest some money. You are starting your own business. You are not just becoming a writer, photographer, creator of whatever you are blogging about, but you are also going into business. There are so many hats to wear as a blogger. In addition to the ones I just mentioned you will also be in charge of marketing, sales, technology, and more. Creating a blog is much more entrepreneurial than we originally imagined.
Let’s get into the biggest shocker Jodie and I had…..technology (insert wide-eyed emoji here!)
Jodie and I really had no idea how much tech support we would require. We knew we needed help to set ourselves up, but the reality is we need on-going tech support. It is expensive, but essential. The fact is most of us “creatives” don’t have the knowledge or training it takes to create and manage “the underbelly” of a blog.
We received advice to hire a professional to build our blog. No regrets here. We know of people who decided to try to create a blog on their own (of course to save money). It ends up taking a lot longer than anticipated. And time is money. Also, once you realize how important the correct set up is to your success, many wish they had invested up front.
Take your time researching who to hire, and make sure you get a good fit at a fair price. The only way to do this is to research and ask people you trust. We paid roughly $1500 for the creation of our blog and our logo.
Blogging is very time-consuming. We quickly learned that delegating certain aspects, in our case, the tech side, was more survival than extravagance.
On-Going Tech Support
The second thing most people require is on-going tech support. A blog needs regular maintenance, like a car (who knew?). It needs a scheduled “engine check” every so often if nothing else. Most likely, as you evolve you will want to evolve your blog. This is natural and important. You will want to add things, change things, reorganize as your voice and niche become more clear. It is a rare blog that doesn’t evolve. You will need help with all these changes or jeopardize “crashing your site”. Yikes!
It took us 5 months before we found the right tech guy to support us. We love him and will happily share him with those in need because we love him and want both him and others to benefit from his amazing skills. We affectionately call him our “Fairy God Father” and he doesn’t mind (or he says he doesn’t!) Click HERE to contact him. (This is an affiliate link and helps us support our blog. Thank you! 🙂
Pricing for tech support runs anywhere from $30 – $150/hr. across the industry. You can see how this adds up and therefore how important this person will be to you and your business.
No doubt you have given your content plenty of thought. Before we began Jodie and I had no idea what to expect. We didn’t know how long a post would take to write. We wondered if we had enough “material” and if we might struggle to constantly create new blog topics. This turns out to be no problem at all for us. The real key is to know your audience and focus on what THEY really want to read. You can create posts all day long, but if they aren’t engaging, people won’t come. You can try different topics but pay attention to which ones do well. In other words, listen to your readers.
How much and how often you post is up to you. One key way to make money is to be hired as a brand ambassador and to write sponsored posts. To be attractive to brands for these important jobs they look for an active blog, which has been defined as a minimum of 3 posts a week. If you are imagining time for one post a week you should know that it will take longer to build your blog and longer to begin earning.
In order to start making money you are going to need to focus on HOW TO GET FOUND. Ranking for SEO (search engine optimization) which is Google ranking, you will rank higher if you are active and updating your blog often. This article “11 New SEO Practices to Get your Business Noticed, Gain Followers & Increase Engagement” is a great additional read to understand the very latest SEO practices as you get started!
You can build a blog, but if you don’t drive traffic to your site success will be a very long, slow road. In order to be successful blogging is a numbers game. Successful blogs have tens & hundreds of thousands of subscribers. You aren’t even on the map until you have 100,000 page views each month. Where are these people going to come from and how are they going to find you…especially when the competition is fierce? Social Media is how.
So when you begin a blog you soon realize how you ALSO need to learn and maintain active accounts across “all” (or most) social media channels!
at least. Before beginning our blog Jodie and I really didn’t know this. We had Instagram down and we hoped that would be plenty. We had thus far successfully avoided Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter, and we were happy with that choice. But then you start pouring your heart and soul into your blog that no one sees and you soon change your mind. Talk about overwhelming. It’s a lot to learn, and A LOT of time. Are you still excited? (Just kidding 🙂
Should I start a blog?
Yes, it’s challenging. Yes, it takes time, but we also think it’s the most fun we’ve ever had!! Jodie and I are as committed as ever. We absolutely love blogging. We love it more than we could have imagined. Because you can only imagine so much. But we wish we had understood a few of these things before we began. We wish we had been better prepared for the realities of time commitment and the tech challenges.
And if you are like us and are passionate about what you are doing, then these challenges will serve to grow your skills and your entrepreneurial spirit. The phrase, “Nothing worth having comes easily” springs to mind. Blogging, and all that comes with it, is an exciting challenge…it’s like a puzzle we are excited to figure out. And just like anything else, the joy is in the journey!
If you are ready for the next step you might want to check out this resource we found very helpful, created by an amazing woman we met and have worked with named Monica. Her blog is called, The 6 Figure Blog, and it too is a wealth of information.
We welcome your comments and questions. We absolutely LOVE hearing from you! Simply comment below, and we will always happily reply with a personal note.
Best wishes AND HAPPY BLOGGING!
The Design Twins, Julie & Jodie