I started blogging a little less than four years ago because I needed an outlet that would let me write and share what I had written with other people. I’d been writing poetry, essays, and short stories since I was a little girl, and I needed to feel like myself again.
Because I just wanted to write, I wasn’t the least bit concerned about marketing, advertising, followers + readers + subscribers, or even… gasp… making money.
For those who can master SEO and affiliate marketing, there’s no doubt that blogging can be ridiculously profitable, if that’s your aim.
If you’d like to make money blogging, you’ll need to learn, do, and master these things:
- Know your purpose, intention (mission), and long-term blogging goals
- Create a self-hosted blog
- Choose a profitable niche
- Create your unique brand
- Learn how to create quality content, consistently
- Create a schedule for writing and a schedule for learning about blogging
- Develop a writing schedule that works– so you can write and research more efficiently
- Master SEO and keyword research
- Become part of an online community: network and build your follower base
- Decide when, where, and how to get help throughout your blogging journey
- Learn useful time-management strategies
- Create your budget for blogging
- Develop an effective social media strategy
- Make S.M.A.R.T. blogging goals
- Identify time-saving social media management tools
- Understand the ways bloggers make money (and replicate them for yourself)
- Create Ebooks and self-publish
- Create a podcast and/or make videos
- Learn the legal stuff you may need to worry about
- Decide what tasks you’ll assign yourself as homework daily, weekly, and monthly
- Know what decisions you’ll need to make as a brand new blogger
Blogging is great because it enables you….
- To create your own brand.
- To support and be supported by a unique online community of writers and artists.
- To learn and perfect highly marketable skills.
- To clarify your personal and professional goals and challenge yourself to always learn something new.
- To become intentional about creating passive income, and perhaps become an entrepreneur.
But these aren’t things that I knew—or even things that I cared about—before I started blogging.
If money’s not your goal, there are still plenty of reasons to blog.
If you’d like to start a blog for fun (not for money), but you’re not sure exactly how to get started, here’s what you should know, first.
You probably already know why you want to start a blog, so you don’t need me to tell you.
Regardless of your vision, it’s important to know your purpose, intention, and long-term goals BEFORE you start blogging. This will save you time and money in the long (and even in the short) run. I speak from experience.
What’s your purpose for blogging?
When I started blogging, my purpose was to start writing again and to become disciplined enough to write consistently.
My purpose now is different: I want to make money.
I have a plan to achieve this (look forward to some shameless promotion in an upcoming blog post), but most of my efforts are trial by fire for now.
It’s more than okay if this changes, but what’s your purpose right now?
If you don’t care about making money from your blog, let’s discuss what you DON’T NEED. We’ll tackle that first because blogging is really really simple if money and branding aren’t your goals.
IF YOU DON’T CARE ABOUT MAKING MONEY FROM YOUR BLOG
If you don’t care about making money, and you don’t care about using your blog to create a brand for a business you have, a business you might acquire, or a business you’ll start– then blogging becomes much, much simpler.
All you have to do is write and share with whomever you’d like! Easy peasy.
You can blog completely for free with no financial commitment, ever. You can write whenever you like with no need for setting a writing schedule, a learning schedule, or a posting schedule.
More importantly, there’s a whole host of THINGS YOU DON’T NEED IF YOU DON’T CARE ABOUT MAKING MONEY.
1. You don’t need a self-hosted blog.
(If you don’t know what this means yet, don’t worry, we’ll discuss it in the next post.) Not needing a self-hosted blog means you can start blogging today, for free, on any of the available free platforms.
Check out WordPress, Strikingly, Wix, or you can even blog on Medium or Tumbler.
2. You don’t need to choose a specific niche. You can write about whatever you want, all the time.
I like the freedom of being able to write about the history of Houston one day, and whether mud volleyball is better than sand volleyball the next day. (This doesn’t mean anyone will actually want to read those things, but #yolo #liveyourbestlife.)
If you blog for yourself (and a handful of other people), you don’t need to choose a specific, marketable niche. Do you, boo!
3. You don’t need to worry about branding.
When you create a blog to make money, you become mindful of the blog theme you choose (for best functionality), the distinct colors you use (so that you brand is easily recognizable), your specific logo (which you’ll create or outsource), and you may even be particular about the fonts you use and your stock (or original) pictures and images. If you’re not trying to make money, branding doesn’t matter.
4. You don’t need to create a rigid schedule for writing, researching, and learning how to monetize your blog.
You can write whenever you feel like writing, and there’s nothing you need to research or learn about the practice of blogging.
5. You don’t need to master search engine optimization (SEO), keyword research, or track engagement via social media.
And it’s a good thing to, because these things can be really, really time-consuming, even if you have a solid strategy that yields great results.
6. You don’t need to create a budget for blogging. You can blog for free!
I created my first blog, From Outrage to Reform, on WordPress back in 2014.
In 2016, I decided I wanted to change it to Strikingly because I wasn’t very good at tech, and it seemed like I could create a more professional-looking blog with their site vs. WordPress.
Then, I decided I’d rather just blog on Medium because I didn’t have to bother with anything tech-related AT ALL.
A few months after that, I decided to switch BACK to WordPress because it was a more recognized brand which meant, at the very least, I could get a few more readers and subscribers on that platform.
Even though I didn’t completely care about making money two years in to blogging, I was slightly troubled that I only had about 10 regular readers.
Okay… only five.
Anyway, WordPress and Strikingly are both free, so all I wasted was my time, not my money.
7. You don’t need to set S.M.A.R.T. blogging goals or invest (money or mental energy) in time-saving tools.
Once you’re into the nitty-gritty of blogging, you’ll quickly learn how much of a time suck it can be, even if you really like blogging. You’ll have more decisions to make than you care to, and despite your personal or professional expertise, you’ll still have a learning curve.
I can guarantee it.
8. You don’t need to worry about how bloggers make money, the legal stuff associated with blogging, or what homework tasks you should assign yourself each day, week, or month.
BUT even if you’re not concerned with making money or branding, you’ll still want to do these things:
- Create quality content.
- Develop a writing strategy works—meaning one that’s time efficient.
- Become part of an online community of other bloggers.
- Create Ebooks or consider self-publishing.
- Create a podcast or videos.
- Create an effective social media strategy (if you want to attract more viewers to your blog)
If your blog is a passion project or a hobby, it’s incredibly simple to create a blog, for free.
The platform Medium allows you to create blog posts without needing to learn any technical skills at all.
You simply type to your heart’s content, and then hit publish! It’s literally that simple.
If you’d like to play a more active role in designing the layout and customizing its features, try WordPress, Strikingly, or Wix.
Here’s a quick visual recap of what you don’t need if you’re a “hobby blogger,” which means you enjoy blogging for fun or for personal enjoyment—without the intention of one day earning supplemental income or establishing unique branding for a current or future business.
Next time, we’ll talk specifically about what’s needed for new bloggers who want to earn money by blogging, and some important strategies for achieving that goal.
Why do you want to blog?