I can still clearly remember that day in early 2012 when I decided to start my own blog. To be honest, I started this blog because I wanted to turn it into a business. When I say “turn it into a business", I meant I wanted to start my own blog and earn from it. On that day back in 2012, I read a few articles about creating a blog, thought of a topic that I am comfortable writing about, chose a blog name, and started my own blog on a free site called WordPress.com. I chose to start blogging on a free website since I didn’t want to invest that early in blogging. Also, I wanted to try first if blogging could be right for me. It was frustratedbillionaire.wordpress.com back then.
Reading through accounts of successful bloggers who took the leap into the unknown and turned their passion into something that actually gives off a remarkable financial benefit really inspired me a lot. Why not? With all the benefits of blogging as a lucrative career, it could actually make sense that I check and see if I could make it in the blogging world.
The benefits of blogging are so inviting, it will be so hard to resist
- You can earn from blogging (provided that you have a decent traffic source and an engaged readership). It can be your second income stream apart from your day job, or you can maximize your blog’s potential and make it your primary source of income.
- Work from anywhere you like. The world becomes your office.
- No definite time in/time out, work as little as you want. However, it’s not un-common for bloggers to work until the wee hours – the good thing here is it doesn’t feel like doing overtime work (if you start your blog as a passion, and if this is really what you want).
- Little need for coding skills – since free Content Management Systems (CMS, like WordPress or Blogger, where you just drag and drop items and write your article as you would in a standard form) are already available, there is little to no need for you to learn HTML/CSS and start your own blog.
- Worldwide reach – unlike having a physical shop, your online blog can reach readers from all over the world.
- 24/7 access and availability – your readers consume your content even as you sleep.
- Little to no barrier to entry – unlike traditional businesses, you don’t need to rent your own office space, hire people, and go through some bureaucratic government requirements (depending on your country) when starting your own blog. And you don’t need substantial capital to start one as well. All you need is a computer, a speedy and reliable internet access, and an awesome thought process.
- Do what you really love – ever wanted to break free from your day job?
- Your work stocks up – it’s not work that you have to do all over again. That blog post you’ve written 3 years ago is still available today and is still being consumed upon. The more you write, the more exciting your site gets and the more your traffic count becomes.
- You have your own website that you can actually do whatever you want on – you are the “founder" and “CEO" of your blog, after all. It’s exciting to own a website you can experiment with and design according to your own goals. You are your own boss.
However, it’s actually not all that easy as you would read from blogging success stories
Wow, that sounded very easy. Now before you start scrambling for blogging resources so you can start your own and make money online, I would like to make it clear that unfortunately, based on what I learned during the past years trying to establish a successful blog (this one), it will not be all that easy to create a decent blog in a snap:
- Before you can make enough money to cover your lifestyle, you’re gonna need serious traffic. This means you have to write enough quality content that will make readers want to visit your website in the first place. So how much traffic is serious traffic? The answer is, it depends on your niche (topic, e.g. travel, money, tech, etc.), and how engaged your following is. Though of course, the more your traffic is, the better.
- Blogging is not easy money as most would think – oh, damn those success stories! It just makes us illogically think that it’ll all be that easy. Yes, it is possible that you can make thousands of bucks each month just by blogging, but that success did not come all too quick, just like a real business. It’ll be years of persistence and trial and error before you earn a substantial amount that you can proudly call your ‘income’. With all the competition right now, you are lucky if you can earn the same in just a few months.
If you’re thinking of blogging so you can quit your corporate gig the soonest, you may need to re-set your expectations and start to accept that you may still have to suck it up for a much longer time before you can comfortably quit. And if you just quit your job to start a blog and you need the money now, the answer is you may want to re-apply to your old job, or get a new one.
- You need to accept the fact that your blog will be a ghost town at first – it’ll feel like you’re speaking on a grand stage with an empty audience. Yes, your analytics may show that you have 20 views that day, but come one, 18 of those will be views counted towards you when you were updating and then checking your blog, and the other two views will be from your mom and her dog.
- You need to commit to a writing schedule – readers (and search engines) love a constantly updated site. Who would want to read though a blog that hasn’t been updated in ages and gives off the impression that it’s been abandoned already? Also, following a schedule will force you to write more content that could potentially be your next traffic generator.
Be it every day, twice a week, every week, or twice a month, you have commit to a writing schedule and try to churn out a few more every once in a while. I’ve seen blogs that have been abandoned just after a few months of starting out, and I don’t want to see you do the same, so you have to understand that you need to commit to blogging if you want this as a business.
- It’s not all about writing awesome content – Apart from being a writer, you also have to wear many different hats: you have to be the graphic designer, marketing executive, public relations specialist, social media analyst, SEO specialist, site administrator (a lot of work here), backup & security specialist, etc., etc.
The con is that this is taxing work, but as I’ve mentioned in the benefits section above, it is exciting doing all these things and learning a lot from your journey.
- It is an investment in itself – starting your own blog is not all about commitment, it is also an investment of all your money, effort, and time (sometimes your emotions as well).
There will definitely come a time that you’ll feel exhausted in maintaining your blog and start to question if all your efforts will ever pay off, but this is business baby, and every business has that big question mark of not actually not knowing how it will do in the near future.
So what is my point in sharing these blogging pros & cons?
I’m saying this to you because I experienced and realized the pros and cons myself, and want to share them to you. Now, I don’t want to discourage you out of blogging and give up your high hopes – actually blogging is a great idea if you wish to earn by doing the things you love the most.
My point is, I want you to understand that blogging is not all about living the luxurious life by just clocking-in 2 hours of work in a day. If that’s what you though it is, then you may need to re-align your expectations.
But if you work REAL hard and pour in some valuable time in to creating something awesome, and being patient and persistent at it, coupled with your passion and love for writing and communicating your story with your readers, I think you’re going to do real good doing what you really love.
At first my goal was to earn (greedy me-I must admit)…
Hey, don’t judge me here, I’m just being honest and I’m also just a normal person just like you reading this article. At first, my expectation of earning piles of cash wasn’t met, and I had to learn to accept it. After writing a couple of articles that I was really proud of, I thought that was it, and the huge traffic would automatically follow. Yes I did have a stable readership after a year or so, but the measly earnings (up to a few cents per day) weren’t at par, and weren’t even enough to cover the costs of keeping this blog up and running.
Given this, if your only goal in blogging is to serve yourself and sit on a pile of cash, trust me when I say:
- The quality of your blog will start to diminish. You write just for the sake of earning and not focus on what your reader really want, which is quality write-ups from someone relatable. All your readers will see in your poor blog is a novice writer trying to sell everything to his readers.
- Your blog will start to reek of greediness. Ever visited a website full of pop-up ads with every click and also full of irrelevant and poorly written articles?
- Search engines will think of your blog as a nasty, unhelpful website which leads your blog ranking so low in the search results page.
…but during the course of my writing, my greed turned into passion.
Change is constant, you know. As I write and publish new articles, I realized that I was doing more than just wanting to earn money. I realized that I was helping and inspiring a lot of people through my words. It couldn’t get any better than that, and I felt rewarded by it even without earning a single cent. And as long as I’m helping and inspiring more people, that’s when more traffic followed.
wow. you really posted your failure at the same time how you cope up. thank you very much.
Hope you can post more of your experience. Send me an email if you have. I would definitely read it.
Can i share these articles again hehehe :D :D :D
GOD bless you FRUSTRATEDBILLIONAIRE and more POWER
From Mandy, an engaged reader who commented on one of my blog posts. It’s a great feeling knowing that your words actually inspire your readers.
If you love what you’re doing and you do it with passion and the goal is to inspire and help readers out, you can use the following as leverage to keep going at it even if the future looks bleak:
- Page views – this is the first metric you’re gonna be focusing on in your first few days and months. Seeing the number of organic views (organic, meaning your audience naturally went in to your website through search engines/social media share by others, instead of having to pay for ads just for people to come in) increase as you go along will feel very rewarding and this should be your inspiration for now.
You could monitor your page views by installing Google Analytics on your website, however your blog’s chosen CMS should already have its own monitoring tool.
- Comments – expect that you’ll receive your first few organic (not from you, or from someone you paid to comment) comments on your most comment-worthy blog posts after some few weeks or even months.
During this time, make sure that you respond to each comment to encourage interaction, and also to let you know that you’re reading their comments and that you appreciate their comments. Responding to comments in the shortest time possible also makes other readers comment more, since they know that you value their thoughts and also since they know that they can receive a reply ASAP.
Also, encourage readers to interact with each other through commenting – that way, it makes your website fully interactive. Search engines love articles with lots of shares and comments since it signals that the blog post is very helpful and credible, allowing your blog post to spiral to the top of search results all the more.
- Fan Mail (this is exciting)– From time to time, if your content is really that engaging and your blogger profile sparks reader curiosity and interest, you’ll be receiving a handful of encouraging fan mails that’s enough to make you smile and get you inspired to work on your next great article.
- Earnings – You can already start monetizing your site as early as possible (however expect that you will earn nothing to just a few cents per day at first). This is so you can track the progress of your earnings as you go along which will make you more charged to churn out that next inspiring masterpiece of yours.
Another benefit is that you would be already testing out earning possibilities for your website early on – although earning comes after establishing an audience, the actual process involves trial and error testing of different possible streams of income, which could take a lot of time.
- Alexa ranking – though just an estimate, your Alexa ranking will mean a lot to you when you see your ranking go higher up the ladder. Out of the estimated one billion live websites as of 2014, having your website close to the top 1 million should already mean something. To serve as an example, take a look at my Alexa ranking and see what I mean.
- You learn more about writing style and get better at it – As you write more about your niche, the more you become comfortable writing and communicating about your audience. You also become used to SEO techniques and designing your website. You just get better at it.
Looking back, I realized I sucked at writing when I first started out – just look at my first post in this blog and you’ll see what I mean. Turns out I was just too confident in starting my own blog back then and just grew from there (thanks younger me!). So if you know you’ll grow a passion out of blogging, do not be afraid to start a blog right away. Just do it with a love for your work, and the rest will follow.
If you experience these during the course of your blogging stint, it only means you are already starting to build an engaged audience, who value what you have to say. And when you have an engaged readership, that’s where the real deal is (earnings). If your goal is to start a blog and earn a sustainable income from it, focus on building an audience first and mind the ‘real’ money later on.
Ask yourself this: having read through this whole article, do you think earning through blogging is really the right path for you? If yes, read through my blog post on how to pick a profitable niche & make a living out of blogging.
Are you all charged-up on starting your own blog which could be the next big thing? Feel free to comment, share your tips, or ask a question. Please feel free to share this with your friends, and also like me on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks!