You’ve probably read more than a time or two, that blogging is so easy, you could set up a successful blog in about 20 minutes. The fact that that’s not true is just ONE of the 5 Things You Should Know About Starting a Blog.
According to research by Statista, there are 31.7 million bloggers in United States Alone. That’s a TON of noise to cut through with your own new blog. If you want to make any kind of a ‘splash’, you have to stand out, one way or another.
These are the 5 things you should know about starting a blog.
If They Don’t Make Money, Your Passions Don’t Matter
Don’t let the common advice fool you into thinking it makes sense.
Many bloggers say that you should ‘blog about your passion. But let’s face it; These days, when someone says “I want to start a blog”, they don’t mean that they want to sit at a keyboard and write about their latest whim for the sake of putting in time. When someone says that they want to start a blog, they usually mean that they want to make money writing about something that they’re passionate about.
That’s all well and good, but this is the first of 5 Things You Should Know About Starting a Blog.
Most blogging instruction will tell you that you should write about your passion. But let’s say that you’re passionate about making clothes for baby monkeys, you’re going to starve for lack of interest.
Not all passions make good reading. If your passion happens to be something that we might consider more ‘mainstream’, then by all means, go nuts. If your passion can’t be monetized by way of affiliate products and companies that advertise in that niche, you’ll be left with few other avenues for monetizing your work.
The general rule for deciding what you should blog about, should be;
- Are there more than a couple of ways to monetize this topic?
- Is there a ‘decent’ number of companies who spend money advertising this topic in some way?
Which takes us to the second of the 5 Things You Should Know About Starting a Blog.
2. Choose A Niche that’s Not TOO “Nichey”
If your niche is too narrow, your blog will wither and die.
Like I said before, writing about making clothing for baby monkeys is going to leave you broke, but trying to jump into one of what many bloggers will tell you are the “7 most profitable niches” can also be a losing proposition. Those niches include, lifestyle, self improvement, food/cooking, personal finance, parenting, beauty and fashion, and last but not least by any means, health & fitness.
Granted, these are all great ‘niches’ to blog in, if you started that blog 5 or 7 years ago. But at this point, the field of blogs that participate in these topics is so incredibly saturated, it’s getting more and more difficult to get a foothold in any of them.
If you must blog about one of what I call the “Big 7” blogging niches, narrow down a bit further. By that I mean, choose a niche within that niche to focus your blog on. So instead of blogging about cooking, focus your blog on one specific type of cooking or food. Love pizza? Create a pizza blog! Narrow down a bit further, and create a blog about gluten free pizza (since ‘gluten free’ is a huge discovery right now).
3. Just because the niche makes money, doesn’t mean YOU should blog about it.
If you’re not interested in the niche, it’s not worth the stress.
I feel like I might be contradicting myself a bit here, but hear me out.
A few years ago, I started a blog in the personal finance niche. Sounds great, right? I mean, it’s one of the 7 niches that are supposed to be great at making money, so why not?
The problem is that I despise writing about personal finance. I’d rather stick rusty forks in my eyes and try to watch an episode of “Ren and Stimpy” (dubbed by the LA Times as ‘unwatchable’) than write about personal finance.
Anyway, I digress.
So I started the blog, wrote a few posts, posted a few pins on Pinterest, and there it sat. Over the span of about two years, I think I wrote 7 or 8 posts on that blog. It died a slow and painful death, simply because writing about personal finance bored the living hell out of me.
In addition, this was fairly early in my “blogging for dollars” journey. I was completely uninterested in figuring out what it would take to make the subject interesting enough for me to want to continue with it.
The moral of that story is that you don’t necessarily have to be writing about your ‘passions’, but you should be interested in what you’re writing about (DUH).
4. Blogging IS HARD WORK.
Blogging can be mentally draining.
I don’t mean ‘steel toed boots, dirt under your fingernails’ kind of hard work. I mean blogging is more mentally draining than anything else.
No one ever starts a “how to start a blog” post with “blogging is a ton of work”. But that’s the truth of it.
When you’re starting a new blog, there are so many moving parts that it can be very discouraging to the new blogger. For those who are aware of the income potential of a new blog, and the amount of work that’s involved with realizing that potential, it’s worth every second.
5. Choose Your Blogging Platform Carefully
They’re not all created equal.
Granted, for many, WordPress is the default blogging platform, simply because it’s so flexible, with many functions that can be added to your blog or e-commerce site.
That said, I would advise you to do your research beyond listening to some blogger telling you that “WordPress is easy”. Many will tell you that you can ‘start a blog in 20 minutes’ using WordPress.
THAT IS UNTRUE.
WordPress is NOT easy to learn. The learning curve is MASSIVE, and many new bloggers throw up their hands and run screaming from their laptops within 6 months of starting. I’ve said a time or two before, “WordPress will make you cry”. I promise you that.
That said, once you get a grip on WordPress basics, you won’t want to even try anything else.
Regardless of which blogging platform you choose, you’ll need to choose a domain name (blog name) and hosting, and there are a couple of things that you might want to consider when choosing that company.
One company that I use for many of my blogs is Namecheap, simply because when I was starting out (many moons ago), I wanted to be able to pay for that hosting on a monthly basis. Because I had no idea whether or not I’d be staying with this “blogging thing”, I didn’t want to pay for multiple years of hosting in advance. That’s great if you’re a seasoned blogger, but I wasn’t back then. Many hosting companies require that you pay for at least a year of hosting up front, in order to get a half decent price.
But Namecheap has yearly AND monthly plans, and both are very reasonable. Are the monthly plans more costly than the yearly plans? Absolutely! But not so insanely pricey that you’d turn it down.
If you haven’t yet purchased your domain and hosting, click the box below to search for your perfect domain name!