As of 2020, there are over 500 million blogs in the world today. Isn’t that number insane? I feel like every other day, a new blog pops up. Many people are writing more and more tutorials on how to start a blog, why you should start a blog now, and useful guides on how to market your blog. I think that many of these cover the glamorous sides of blogging or at least the “easy” ways of getting around blogging. The sad reality (truth) of this blogging biz? Some blogs will fail. What you see, if you don’t have a blog or is planning to start one, is not always what you get. There are some honest (and some downright ugly) truths about blogging that you deserve to know. These may or may not appeal to you and may not occur to you until you struggle halfway through the process – being aware of them earlier is good for you.
First off, if you are interested in creating a blog, please do not let this discourage you, but rather take it as advice to understand what kind of commitment you’re going to get yourself into. This is mostly very much directed to you if you plan to have a blog as a business instead of opting for one to be a hobby. Many of these were learned from experience over time because I started my blog simply for a pastime to get me through the hard days of college. I then realized all my written work should be developed with serious aspects to it (work with affiliates, brands, SEO-friendly, etc.), so I had to work hard to shape it more professionally.
You may be wondering, what makes me even qualified to talk on a topic like this? Besides being a blogger that built her own blog organically, I am a professional marketer by trade and have been in the field of marketing for 3 years. I’ve helped businesses improve and I’m constantly learning to help a business run its smoothest to gain leads. It’s what makes me excited to wake up and to use what I know and learn to make it easier for business owners.
I wanted to mention this first because I mentioned how there are millions of blogs out there. You were probably inspired by a few blogs you’ve seen out there that made you think of making your own one that isn’t exactly like those but similar. The saying “If she/he can do it, I can do it too” can be commonly heard or said in our heads. I mean, what’s work without some inspiration behind it right? Even back many centuries ago, artists have seen artists before them and their work and they may have discovered their techniques and way of painting certain elements.
Some say “Don’t reinvent the wheel” but the truth is that the wheel will be reinvented. Simply because they can be accidental and because no idea of topics is really patented in the Internet anyways. We all have a right to write what we think is best for the topic, as long as we can also think outside the box and not copy word-for-word.
For example, I had NO idea due to my lack of research (not good but it happens) that there’s another blog (and it’s freaking wonderful!) using the same words in my blog name (the blog I’m referring to is One Girl: One World). The only difference is there are two extra words in mine lol. I had that blog name from my WordPress.com days so I didn’t think of changing it. So you know what? I think it’s fine because my blog name isn’t exactly the same anyway and my blog niche differentiates from her by a ton.
Sometimes, having competition is good because it can inspire you to learn from what you’re doing to go the extra mile. Competition honestly doesn’t have to affect you negatively and make you think “Damn it, why did I even do this? Why did I write this? Why can’t my post be number one in SEO/Google searches?” You can just use them as reminders to, well, get ahead and don’t give up.
Truth #2: Blogging isn’t an overnight success.
Many people get frustrated that they aren’t seeing enough views after trying a long time to market their blog or they aren’t getting shares or comments or seeing sales on their affiliation. This is the most common and ugliest truth (and if you can’t handle it then blogging as a business simply isn’t for you at all): It TAKES time. It takes time to see a rise in your traffic views, it takes time to learn how to master the art and techniques of marketing, it takes time to build a community, it takes time to have someone be convinced they want to buy something off you, it takes time for Google to crawl into your web page and rank it, and most of all, it takes time to gain the trust and loyalty of readers.
You need to continue your effort to work on your blog by all duties that are required of you. You can’t just be frustrated that you aren’t seeing your hard work pay off because truthfully, there may be something you may not be doing right. You need to look deep into what you think isn’t working out for you and if it’s something you can’t figure out, consult in a professional.
Mastering SEO is easier when you can read more into it or watch tutorials or even take courses on it. There are many resources to reach out to that are there for you to take advantage of. There’s also Pinterest techniques (and Pinterest is the most effective social media for blogs) that can be mastered. You will learn that public relations opportunities matter too! A lot of this takes time and it really will ask you to invest in your time to sit down and learn and practice. You may even have to invest your money into it. How I see it is that if you want a business, you should have to put some money on it.
Truth #3: A blog shouldn’t be all about you.
If you want your blog to be a business, you need to avoid falling into the rabbit hole of having others think you only talk about yourself. Sure, there are many lifestyle blogs and many inspired bloggers who write topics based on what they’ve learned in life and what they’ve done or what they’re wearing and even some hard personal topics to address. Doing those in moderation is okay, but if every post you plan is about writing how bad or great your life is, people may find themselves bored.
Readers come to blogs to seek answers to their own questions. Many want to seek advice, find motivation, find possibilities to make it happen for them and learn a thing or two from how to do something. Making blog posts to help others is the best thing you can do. It’s also what drives traffic and may even have you gain readers who don’t mind returning. I’m a big blog reader myself and I only return to blogs that have fulfilled my curiosities and filled in my knowledge with something new to learn.
Let your blog be a resource for others and not a journal or diary. If you really want to talk about you, maybe sneak that in a useful topic to give out examples (I do this a lot – if you’ve made it this far of reading, you’ve seen it above).
Truth #4: It’s not all rainbows and unicorns. You will get tired and unmotivated and you will feel like some days are harder than others.
When you launch a blog, you may have felt that feeling of excitement and happiness in a new project venture. That’s a cool feeling to feel, but it isn’t going to last forever. It’s like falling in love. There are sparks in the beginning and you start to go into a honeymoon phase. You’re just so heads over heels of everything you’ve created and gone through and in this case of blogging, from your first posts to the theme to your spanking new Instagram.
I felt a huge unmotivation for continuing to create new content around 2018 because I was simply too burnt out for it and I wasn’t seeing the results I wanted. I found out that life happens and this is normal and you really have to push yourself sometimes to continue in your blogging journey. You may not see the pay off sooner as I mentioned in Truth #2, but let time play its part. Also, allow yourself to be ready to take action.
Writer’s block happens. Struggling to put up a new topic to talk about can happen. However, you will get by it. You can always gain that feeling of sparks back into your blog work. It really is like being in love and going through hurdles and working it out with your relationship (well, blog in this case).
Truth #5: Your family and friends should never be your main audience or target.
This is going to be a hard pill to swallow but: your family and friends will not care as much as you expected. They will be happy for you, mainly in the beginning, but they will not always support you and watch out for every new work you put out. I’ll be honest though, as an outdoor travel blogger, I’ve had all my best friends and family support being my photographer when we would explore altogether, but I don’t think they followed up with the content I created using the photos they took for me. Some of them don’t even want to get subscribed to my newsletter. Hey, it’s the truth.
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket and rely on your family and friends to be your main readers. Turn your attention towards those who are as passionate about your niche and who want to find inspiration in all you write for. Focus your blog niche on the audience you want to create! Write to them as if you care mostly to serve them and not what your family and friends will be happy to know.
More importantly, keep engaging with those in your niche and those who can relate to your content. There’s a whole community of other bloggers who do the same work as you and you can create friendships with them. They will support you way more (and more consistently) for your blog.
Truth #6: You won’t make money… at least in the beginning. Don’t quit your full-time job to spend all your time on a blog that is still growing.
You’ve probably heard that many people have made an income from their blogs or have made some money off of it whether it’s coming from affiliates, sponsorships, or sales from products or courses they’ve offered. Those multiple sources of income sound fantastic right? They’re also ultra motivating too. However, does this mean it can happen for you too?
Well, yes, it can happen to you but maybe not just yet. It’s going to take a lot of time (see what the common theme there is?) and a lot of quality effort to get leads. And man, it can take as long as a desert can receive its first rainfall from a drought.
Don’t jump into blogging thinking it’s automatically your new job. It should never replace your job in the first few months to years, so don’t think about quitting what gets you liveable income. Though, it may be discouraging you aren’t seeing money in your pocket from blogging after investing money into your blog, but trust the process. Let your blog grow organically. My advice is to continue learning how to do a kick-ass job in your blog and marketing it effectively.
Truth #7: You may spend long periods of time working on your blog on a daily basis.
I’ve had sleep-deprived nights because I simply wanted to finish a blog post, including, you guessed it, this one (it’s 2 am right now). It could also take me daysssss to complete it from start to finish. I need to plan what I’m going to write with an outline, research keywords, write the blog post as a draft, look over it and edit it, handpick the best photos to go with that post, schedule it, and then get to marketing it once published. It’s such a process!
You are also going to have to work a schedule around your blogging and since we all lead busy lives, we may have to do it after a long day of work and then it will turn to late nights. I warn you that this may not be healthy and it may feel like you’re finishing up a research essay that’s almost due for your class in school, but it’s mandatory. That is if you see it as a responsibility.
If you want to avoid working late on a post, you can always go back to it another day, but don’t wait too long to do that because you might have other things come up and then you’ll slack on working on the post. You may even forget some banging concepts you planned for it (write notes down as soon as you can if it won’t be done at the moment!).
The truth hurts.
I hope this has given you a deep insight into how blogging can be hard work. You have the possibility to not let your blog fail, but you must make a promise to yourself that you can’t think black-and-white on this commitment. Open yourself up to a wide range of possibilities and it doesn’t have to upset you… to the point of letting your blog down.
So, if blogging can be done as a business for you, you got to put 110% of your attention, TLC (tender loving care), and keep MOVING (action, sister/brother!).
If you need help on your blog and need someone to consult in for your blogging strategies, I’m open to discussion with a one-on-one conversation. Contact me and I can offer you my services on improving your blog.
Feature image photo credit: @sannnisahil on Pexels.com