This was a guest post I wrote for Marko from How to Make My Blog. Here it is for your pleasure . . .
Blogging is one of the easiest turn-key solutions for a busy professional with a full time job looking to establish a passive income stream online.
Many professionals are realizing that blogging is a great platform for them to discuss their skills, expertise, experiences or voice out their theories, opinions and frustrations, all while having a very good chance of profiting from it.
Even for those professionals that want to stay in and progress within the corporate environment, blogging is a great way to establish preeminence in your field, and develop the perception as being an expert in your field.
Blogging is particularly favored because modern day tools like Thesis allows anyone, young or old, tech or non tech, to start blogging within minutes. Blogging doesn’t involve any financial commitment up front, can be worked on as time permits and for those that travel or have unpredictable work schedules, it’s an activity that can be conducted anytime and from any place,
Not many business models, if any at all, can compete with blogging. However, not every day is a sunny day in the blogosphere. This post is not a warning per se, but just a compilation of facts from my experience as a relatively new blogger.
Although I’ve enjoyed a lot of success online since 1998 mainly through e-commerce and niche content websites, I decided to embark on a capstone project that had been on my TO DO list since day one this past July.
I started this blog late July this Summer and therefore consider myself relatively new in the field of blogging. But before you stop reading, let me assure you that you will take away at least one valuable lesson from this post, especially if you are also relatively new to blogging, or are contemplating blogging in the near future.
Blogging shares some basic fundamentals with static websites, or other web-based ventures both tactically and strategically. That said, there are differences significant enough that have to be overcome through learning and experience. And although there is plenty of help online in forms of blogs, forums and informational websites, being new to the blogosphere can be lonely.
If you’ve been around the blogosphere, you may have noticed guest posts on many popular and well established blogs. These guest posts are typically written by other successful, experienced and well established bloggers. So where does a newbie like me fit? Right now on the bench, waiting for the coach to tap my shoulder to get in the game.
Young and inexperienced bloggers have energy and enthusiasm going for them, and assuming you can keep that up over an extended period of time, someone will inevitably take notice. You do have to be proactive in the mean time by participating in discussions on other blogs as a guest, leaving quality comments and helping the community, basically getting into the public eye.
After consistently doing so for a period of time, you may want to approach the blogger and express interest in posting as a guest. This often times is a hit or miss initiative, but you have to try. You just never know. I was pleasantly surprised when I approached established bloggers. I credit success to consistent effort interacting in conversations and adding value to discussions.
The message I am conveying is that gaining exposure blogging in a long term play, and one that takes some time and proactive work on your part. There are exceptions to the rule. If your content is superb and the blog is well optimized, your posts can get noticed and an established blogger may approach you. However, I suggest proactive measures rather than wait for fate to bestow its blessings on you.
Blogging is not easy, especially in the beginning as you are trying to get established. Observing other blogs and how far they have gotten can be intimidating, and the idea of getting to their level someday can be daunting. This can certainly be overcome, or best yet ignored, however I did want to convey the fact for what it is worth.
The reason I am sharing my experience as a relatively new blogger is to acknowledge that what you must be going through right now is completely natural. Your feelings and concerns are valid. Best of all, you are not alone in this boat. We are all together – All of the millions of bloggers that start every year.
If you are an experienced blogger, you are likely smiling right now and nodding your head aren’t you? Does this remind you of your early days as a blogger? But look at where you are at now. The other reason I am sharing my experience is to demonstrate that good things happen with progress over time.
Although less than a year old, my blog is gaining significant exposure in search engines, traffic is ramping up, folks are signing up to receive updates via RSS as well as email, and the blog is generating income through affiliate products.
That said, I have not monetized this blog at all aside from the handful of affiliates I have talked about in my posts. I don’t plan on doing so until I have established a solid foundation in the form of followership.
Right now, you likely don’t have anyone commenting on your blog at all. So yes, blogging can be a long and lonely process that requires a lot of commitment, patience and persistence on your end. I will also go as far as saying that not everyone is a blogger.
Not everyone should blog just because they are told they write well, or have good ideas. I am not saying this because of what a blogger might have to say, but rather because aside from good quality content, blogging also requires many intangible characteristics to succeed.
I have come across several individuals who have started and shut down blogs by the month, without giving each any real chance to get anywhere near success. A common theme I noticed in all these individuals is that they didn’t write about topics they were passionate about.
Because of lack of interest or passion, each of these individuals ran out of topics to talk about. Instead, they scoured the internet and rehashed same old stuff on their blog until they got tired of doing so. Not to mention they half-assed the effort, so you can just imagine the quality of the output.
I consider myself very fortunate to have had exposure to such examples before I started blogging. I may have not know everything that I am supposed to do as a new blogger, but at least I knew what NOT to do. The lesson here is that you should NOT jump into blogging just because you think you are interested in a topic. You MUST know that you are interested indeed.
If you have even a little bit of a doubt, you will eventually run out of things to talk about. What you have to consider is whether you will be able to blog about your topic in the coming weeks, months and years. When you hit a wall, are you passionate about the topic to read about it and research it at length to learn more? Or are you going to abandon your blog and move on to the next idea that comes to your mind?
So if you just started, or if blogging is in your future, take a step back now and think. Evaluate whether you have what it takes before diving in nose first. What is your topic? Is it focused but broad enough to where you can discuss it infinitely? Are you passionate about it to learn and research more as you progress as a blogger?
The last thing you want is a dead blog where no one comments, including yourself. Blogging by yourself and with yourself is the best way to die from boredom and loneliness.
The day I received my first legitimate comment from a blog guest was a key milestone for me. It is then when I realized that loneliness can vanish immediately when you have guests interacting with you and amongst each other through your blog, thus developing a community.
None of this would have been possible without publishing good content and getting out there to comment on other blogs to let folks know that I read their blogs and help their readers by adding value to their discussions.
In other words, I treated blogging as a part of me. So if you are new to blogging or are contemplating starting soon, plan appropriately and make your blog an extension of you.
By making your blog a part of you, you will develop and enhance relationships with other bloggers who share similar interests with you. Your blog represents you, so share your thoughts, experiences and failures as candidly and people that your message resonates with will embrace that.
In the few months that I have been blogging, I have seen an increase in guest interaction.
I feel like I am finally starting to build a community of like minded individuals, and the feeling is very satisfactory.