Every industry has its ups and downs, and blogging is no exception. While you are able to do what you love and maintain a creative spirit, you also have to put in tons of hard work in an industry that is difficult to break into. So before you start your blog, make sure you’re aware of all of the harsh realities.
- You’re not going to make it in this industry without Pinterest. For many successful bloggers, Pinterest is their main source of traffic. In the past few years, Pinterest has completely revolutionized the way bloggers blog. Now there is a huge emphasis on images that are appealing, or “pinnable.” Not only do you need great, original pictures and videos, but you need lots of them to break up the text in your post. It helps that the rest of the content marketing industry has also gone the way of images, adding to the Pinterest momentum. But unfortunately, there’s no getting around it: bloggers must be active on Pinterest.
- You don’t actually have to be a good writer to blog. You’d think this one would be counter-intuitive, right? Your job is to write blog posts – don’t you need writing skills? Go check out some of the most popular bloggers out there. See a viral post passed around by your Facebook friends recently? Chances are that blog post isn’t Shakespeare. It’s probably more like Stephenie Meyers. But in a way, this is good news: it isn’t a blogger’s writing prowess that makes them popular, but their ability to connect with their audience.
- You don’t actually have to say something new to be a blogger. Similar to #2, the content of the blog doesn’t have to be a wild, original creation. When a current event happens, how many personal bloggers jump on the chance to share their opinion? How many niches are flooded with thousands of bloggers? Answer: all of them. But again, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing; what makes us want to read blogs is how we can relate to them. Parents love hearing stories from other parents, crafters love learning from other crafters, and so on.
- 80% of blogging is grunt work, the other 20% is doing what you love. Unless you love buying a domain name, figuring out a host, building a website, designing your blog, formatting your posts, optimizing your posts for SEO, and then promoting the heck out of each post on social media. Most of your time as a blogger will not be dedicated to creating and writing. If you’re totally adverse to the technical side of blogging, maybe you need to find a great partner to work with. Or focus on your finished product, rather than the frustrating, boring part of blogging.
- Haters gonna hate. No matter what you say on your blog, someone is going to disagree with you. Before you dive into blogging, you need to be able to handle criticism. As you continue to grow your blog, work on developing a thick skin. The more popular your blog becomes, the more it will attract haters. Here’s the secret about haters, though: they could very well be right. As human beings, we make mistakes all of the time. You may have good intentions when you write a post, but end up accidentally offending someone anyway. And that’s okay. It’s okay to make mistakes on your blog, as long as you own up to your mistakes and, occasionally, apologize for them. Then, move on, learning to grow from the experience.
- The industry is super over-saturated. WordPress reports that there are over 74 million WordPress sites with 33.7 million posts being published each month. Entering the blogging world is the same as an aspiring actor or singer trying to break into their respective industries: it is extremely hard to get noticed. Fortunately, there’s a lot of audience to go around. More than 2 billion people use the Internet worldwide, and bloggers can share visitors. And this is one of the best parts of the blogging industry: bloggers do not have to be each other’s competition, and they can, in fact, help each other. Bloggers use guest posting, link parties, blog hops, and other features to give each other a boost in numbers. So don’t let the sheer number of blogs in existence get you down, because there is still plenty of potential for growth.
- Blogging isn’t easy. Something about blogging gives many the false idea that blogging is easy. Sure, many people do it from home, and you do spend most of your time behind a computer screen. However, the successful bloggers are working 12-14 hour days to make their due. Personal bloggers, in a way, never turn off: their entire online presence is part of their branding strategy. Not only does blogging require all the hard technical work, but you also must build relationships with other bloggers and advertisers. And this demands a lot of time.
As with any career choice, you have to weigh the pros and cons. If blogging can help grow your passion, then stick with it. And good luck!
What are some of the harsh realities you’ve learned about the blogging industry?
http://en.wordpress.com/stats/. (29 Jan. 2014).
“More Than 2 Billion People Use the Internet, Here’s What They’re Up To (INFOGRAPHIC).”http://www.thecultureist.com/2013/05/09/how-many-people-use-the-internet-more-than-2-billion-infographic/. (29 Jan. 2014).