There are precisely 33 reasons to start your own blog. 34 if you count “Your annoying ex-boss was not a blogger.”
But we haven’t the space for all of those right now, so I’ve pared it down to the Killer Ten. These are true for anyone thinking of starting a blog on any topic.
1. Blogging Channels Your Energies
Have you ever felt like you were sick of working or doing things like pulling weeds, organizing your closet or fixing up your car? But then when it’s time to relax and watch TV, you feel unproductive and kind of “blah”? A great way to solve this paradox is to start a blog.
This allows you to do something fun that is also productive. A lot of blogging entails editing pictures, researching what you’re passionate about, and of course, writing. These are all fun things to do, and they build something. Below I’ll talk about all the great things that come from the kingdom you build through blogging.
2. Blogging Makes You a Better Writer
This is true of rather horrible writers and of people who got A’s in freshman comp alike. Obviously, practice is always good. Further, knowing that real people will be reading your syllables may very well cause you to grab a grammar handbook, look up some rules online, etc.
Andrew Sullivan, former editor of New Republic, says that he saw his interns improving their writing (and they didn’t get a magazine internship by being semi-literate babblers) via blogging much faster than through old-school writing. Part of that comes from the fact that blogging usually requires brevity.
3. Blogging Helps You Connect
People love connecting. Have you noticed how many conversations between strangers you find on the Internet? Yet, have you also noticed how many of them are awful, mean-spirited fights? If you’re interested in branching out and making some online friends or contacts, yet intimidated by the nasty attitude you often find, consider the blog. You’ll find that people within blogging communities are just nicer, with more intelligent and rational comments than other places. And that brings me to my next point.
4. Blogging Helps People
The blog you start will almost certainly help people. Even if your blog is on Harrison Ford and you catalog every line he has spoken in every movie he’s been in, that’s a help to researchers or other Harrison Ford-obsessed people.
5. Blogging is Search-Engine Friendly
Search engines like blogs because they are—usually—informative as opposed to commercial. So if you have another web site and a blog is part of it, that will help you get some traffic. If not, you’re still in good with search engines.
6. Blogging Can Bring in Some Extra Cash
This is of course a topic for a whole other post, but a lot of people make a bit of money by blogging. And some people make pretty decent money. And a few elite bloggers make an awful lot of money.
Basically, once your blog gets up and running, and people are waiting in line to get your exercise tips, analysis of Better Call Saul episodes or whatever you offer, you can begin selling ads. There are also referral programs and pay-per-click programs. This allows for a bit of money coming in for something you initial did merely for enjoyment. And if you want to get more aggressive, you can make more cash.
7. Blogging Can Be a Springboard
One of the awesome things I’ve found from my blogging experience is that carving out a little niche and basically establishing expertise is a good thing. I can’t tell you how many unexpected opportunities have come my way since I’ve been blogging. I’ve been asked to guest post on many blogs, which increases my exposure and site visits; I’ve been asked to review products (they’ve been sent to me for free); I’ve met a lot of people with mutual interests—and I mean, I’ve met them in person. We’ve met up at conventions and gathering or just cafes. These things in turn cause their own snowballing effects. You never know what opportunities might arise once you start putting yourself out there.
8. Blogging Can Be a Business Boost
If you have a business—and there’s a good chance you’re looking to blog because of that business—blogging can really help. We’ve talked about search engines, and getting hits due to words and phrases you’ve used in your blogs can help your website. Hubspot, in one of its illustrious marketing studies, found that 79% of companies with blogs report a positive Return on Investment.
Blogging can be a great way to develop a community with your customers and to show expertise. It very well may be the case that you have some knowledge and information that your competitors simply do not. Some really savvy bloggers use their blog as a way of showing their stuff—it’s a cross between advertising and free samples, some of the best promotion possible.
Hubspot also tells us that 84% of inbound marketers say blogs are rising in importance. Data from March 2014 says that companies with blogs achieve a 97% increase in inbound links. They also generate 67% more leads. So, if that doesn’t get you going, I don’t know what will!
9. Blogging Will Educate You
Whether you’re blogging on a topic of personal interest or blogging on your business, you’ll learn a lot. Obviously, you’ll gain factual information. But if you’re blogging about hobbies and interests, putting your thoughts on paper will surely help you gain new perspectives and understand your interest more acutely.
In terms of business, blogging will open you to new ideas and possibilities. You’ll learn a lot of information about products and practices and ideas. You’ll see elements of your business up there on the web in a way that will make you re-think them. You’ll connect with customers and get feedback in ways you hadn’t before. You’ll wonder what took you so long.
10. Blogging Doesn’t Have Strings Attached
Here’s what I mean. I hope that I’ve demonstrated that blogging is fun and easy, something you’ll be happy to do. But if you don’t like it, you can stop. Any overhead fees you have to pay to get started are minimal, so you won’t be shortchanging yourself. In fact, you can usually close your blog if you’d like, so it won’t remain open and look neglected. If you want to go the route of keeping it open but not updated, you can go that route.
Now, blogs require work—no one’s claiming otherwise. But even that is a no-strings deal, because the more you put in the more you get out. That means, you can decide to put less in if you don’t mind getting less out. If you just like to write your thoughts out and see if anyone happens along to read them, you can do that if you’d like.
But the point is, there’s no reason not to give it a shot—here you can find easy step-by-step instructions to getting started. I’m not sure if I’ve ever heard of anyone who really didn’t like blogging once they got started. If it was time to move on, they moved on to a bigger and better blog.