Everyone has encountered blogs, or web-logs, at some point. And everyone has written blogs whether they realized it or not. At the core, a blog is just writing. If you’ve written a little as an email you can write a blog.
If you are reading this I assume you are interested in blogging. Well. Unless you read everything I write regardless of the content. In which case you obviously have excellent taste.
Blogging has hidden benefits. And even if no one ever reads what you write you’ll get these benefits:
- Improved Communication Skills – Nearly everyone communicates through writing. Therefore by practicing writing you can improve your written communication. If your blog is public you’ll be especially critical of your own writing. I often update my old articles with better writing. Rereading your old work you’ll realize just how terrible your writing used to be. The only solution is more practice.
- Improved Understanding and Memory – Good writing is only possible if you know your topic in depth. Research is essential. Even if you’re a veteran of your topic you’ll need to keep up to date with the latest happenings. As a result your knowledge and memory of the topic will greatly increase.
- Self-confidence Boost – Knowledge is power. The more knowledge you have about your topic the more confident you’ll be discussing it in the real world. Especially if it’s a controversial topic like climate change or veganism.
- Credentials – A personal website is a great way to advertise yourself. A personal blog lets prospective clients/customers/employers know what you’re all about. Assuming that’s what you want…
- A Clear Mind – Journaling has been shown to improve well-being. Regurgitating your thoughts onto paper (or in this case, the internet) will let your mind relax as you’ve “exported” your ideas to the cloud. Your mind no longer need to juggle as many thoughts and ideas. I know blogging and journaling are different, but if you start a personal blog to summarize your ideas it’ll have a similar effect.
Now you’re thinking “but Mr. Moose, I could never write enought to fill an entire website!”. Of course, no one could fill a website in one sitting. But you can easily come up with ONE idea for a post. And the ideas will come. After publishing I always have a mild panic attack – “Welp I’m completely out of ideas forever now, might as well shut it down!”. And yet, another idea always comes along. Paraphrasing the oatmeal – Idea generation is not like a swimming pool with finite ideas, it’s a river with infinite ideas. New ideas manifest as long as you’re paying attention.
So how about that first idea?
First decide on a structure for your blog. There are two main categories of blogs:
- Hobby/Topic – Pick something you are INTERESTED in and write about that. Enjoy apples? How about a blog that reviews brands of apples?
- Personal – Just want to write about your random ideas? Put your name on it and write about whatever you want. Your life experiences, travels, advice etc.
Naturally there will be some overlap between these (re: Travel Moose). The most important thing is to select something you’re interested in. NOT what you think the world is interested in. The number one blog killer is the writer losing interest. Sure celebrity gossip is popular, but if you don’t care about it you’re not going to want to write about it. No matter how small and obscure your topic you’ll find people that are interested in reading what you have to say. This will be your niche.
But… what about profit?
Blogs can make money, although most blogs won’t make anything for at least 6 months. Especially if you’re a beginner. Get started with writing before you try monetization. You can attempt to earn money once you have an established audience. If everything is about the money you’ll become frustrated when you see how difficult it is. Make it about the writing and the money will follow (hopefully).
But… blogs aren’t free are they?
Some blogs are free, most good blogs are not. WordPress and Blogger will let you create a blog for free, but your URL will always include theirs. For example, instead of “profitmoose.com“, I’d have “profitmoose.wordpress.com” If you do plan on monetizing your blog, you’ll need to buy a domain and web hosting.
Fear not as web hosting is ridiculously cheap! All-in associated hosting costs for 3 years with my provider is about $6/month. Forego one latte per month and you’re covered.
My web host is Green Geeks. They run all their servers on renewable energy. I’ve never had an issue with them in the past 2 years. They are based in California but also have servers in Canada.
If you’ve read this far then you should try. Signing up for a free blog through WordPress or Blogger will take you about 15 minutes. Try a test article. Write about whatever you want and share it with friends and family. If you’re enjoying writing you can buy a domain of your own later. Happy writing!
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