Scrolling through Pinterest, you will eventually see pins telling you how to start a blog in 5 minutes and make thousands of dollars per month blogging. You may be a mother who wants to work from home with a flexible schedule so, you start thinking maybe you should start a blog. After all, if they can do it, why can’t you? But, the majority of new bloggers quit within the first year. I’ll discuss the hard truth about blogging.
Although these statistics are from an article published in 2009 in the New York Times, it is telling nonetheless:
“According to a 2008 survey by Technorati, which runs a search engine for blogs, only 7.4 million out of the 133 million blogs the company tracks had been updated in the past 120 days. That translates to 95 percent of blogs being essentially abandoned, left to lie fallow on the Web, where they become public remnants of a dream — or at least an ambition — unfulfilled.”
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I’ll receive a commission.
According to WPVirtuoso, two new blogs are created somewhere in the world every second! Sharing that fact alone, it is easy to conclude that blogging is very competitive. Although I became passionate about blogging and very much enjoy it, I wish I’d known a little more about the hardships of blogging for profit. If you are thinking about starting a blog for profit rather than a hobby, you need to know the truth about blogging.
The Hard Truth About Blogging
Blogging is HARD work!
If you are blogging for profit, you will work your butt off! Blogging encompasses the following roles: writer, editor, photographer (for food, fashion, beauty, travel and craft blogs,) photography editor, marketing manager, social media manager, relationship manager (sponsors and affiliates), web developer for website set up and maintenance, web designer, bookkeeper, etc.
You’ll also need to take time to network with other bloggers often, self promote your blog, share and comment on bloggers posts in your niche, reply to blog comments and list goes on and on.
You Will Have Lots of Self Doubt
You undoubtedly will erroneously compare yourself to more developed blogs and others who started at the same time as you. It may feel as though you are not good enough to succeed. Other blogs who are years beyond yours have gorgeous pictures, captive writing, and beautiful web design so you think to yourself, why would anyone want to spend time reading your blog.
You will see your blogging friends have success at times that you just can’t gain traction. It is disappointing and hurts your ego a because you know you are working just as hard as anyone else.
During the periods of low website traffic, you feel like whatever you do, you just can’t write a viral post or get people to share your content, including your own friends and family.Your non-blogging friends will not be as supportive as you’d like mostly because they don’t understand what you do. They may not want to read all of your posts, if any, so don’t expect that.
Blogging Takes Up a LOT of Time
Because you don’t know what you are doing, you will spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to blog. You won’t know how to write great content, photograph in proper lighting, find free stock photos, create beautiful pin worthy pins or what software to use.
You will spend a lot of time trying to figure out technical issues and website set up. Most blogging resources such as, web hosting, automated pinning tools, Google, Pinterest and most others, do not have a help line to call and most don’t even have live chat sessions.
There will be days you will seriously want to throw your computer against the wall. Often you must go to forums to ask questions. I started to know my web hosting company’s (Siteground) engineers on a first name basis. I’ve been in live chat sessions with Siteground customer service so many times and was so thankful I could actually virtually speak to someone. Siteground is really an awesome web hosting company and one of the industry leaders!
You will spend a lot of time on social media promoting your blog posts and networking with other bloggers. If you don’t continually comment and share their blog posts, they won’t do the same for you. As with most things in life, people won’t help you unless they are getting something in return.
Of the 10 good reasons you should not start a blog, this is one of the most important. Do you have the time to devote to blogging? Are you willing to sacrifice time with your friends and family, hobbies, down time to blog?
Building a Brand Takes a Long Time
When you start a business from the ground up, you are building a brand. It takes a lot of time. It takes time for Pinterest users to become familiar with your pins and content. They may see your pins for months before they decide to pin your pins simply because you are unfamiliar to them.
When you are a new blogger, no one knows you, including Google and Pinterest. It takes about six months for Google and Pinterest to rank your domain higher. They are not trusting of new domains and will not see you as an authority. Pinterest uses similar algorithms as Google.
Therefore, you will not generate much organic search results for at least six months. You will constantly need to improve your SEO- Search Engine Optimization for search engines.
Because building a brand and a following take a long time (years, not months,) you must be patient, work hard and persevere through the lulls. Mark my words, there will be lulls.
I’ve read and been told by other food bloggers that it takes 3-5 years for people to get to know you and become an authority in food blogging. Photos need to be great and mediocrity doesn’t cut it. Even if you are not in food blogging, it takes years to build a following and make a full-time income.
There are Lots of Rework
As you begin to figure out how to blog and your photography and writing skills evolve, you will need update older posts. You will need to re-shoot your photos, edit or re-write posts or delete them altogether. You will need to rewrite old posts, edit them for SEO (Search Engine Optimization.)
You’ll need to edit descriptions, alt text, meta data, picture titles, etc. You may need to delete old posts if you change your blog’s niche or if they are just not making the cut.
Everything you did incorrectly from the beginning will need to be redone with what you’ve learned along the way. You may edit older posts several times if they were a good idea but, need to reworked.
You need Patience and Perseverance
Creating and maintaining a successful blog takes a lot of patience because you don’t get a lot of followers and page views overnight unless you write a viral post. Viral posts are very hard to write especially in the beginning of your blogging career. You may spend countless hours each week to make the best possible content with little, if any, payment, page views or new followers.
If you are new to blogging, it takes years to build a brand and a following, like any other new business. It does not happen overnight. If you make money from the very beginning, which is unlikely, you will not make much unless you already know how to blog. It takes a lot of perseverance to see things through and wait with little reward until your blog takes off. It will likely not happen as fast as you’d like.
Honestly, I often think to myself “What did I get myself into when I started a blog for profit?” I sense this frustration from many other bloggers too and have seen them say it in forums. It takes a lot of discipline and faith to keep going never knowing if it will be worth your time.
Running a Blog Will Cost You Money
I see lots and lots of hooks on Pinterest such as this: “You can start a blog in 5 min!” and “Get web hosting for as little as $2.95/mo with this link.”
However, if you want to be successful quickly, like most of us, you will get frustrated because you don’t know HOW to blog. Thus, you will quickly start contemplating buying blogging products to tell you what you need to do to get results quickly.
You may spend several hundred dollars in blogging online courses, photography and writing courses, blogging books and products to guide you. Some of them are not helpful. If you find out blogging isn’t your cup of tea, you may have already spent hundreds of dollars on blogging products and online courses.
See my Blogging Resources page for products I use and recommend.
One-on-one coaching sessions with a professional blogger costs on upwards of $100 per hour. If you need to take your own photos, you will need a DSLR camera and they cost $500-$1400 or more! Plus, you’ll need a tripod, lenses, camera cards, artificial lights, which cost $100 each, styling props, etc. This is not what you are told upfront when being persuaded to start a blog.
You will also spend money on website maintenance, pinning automation tools, website themes and a custom web designer, logos, trademarks, copyrights, etc. Ask yourself if you can really afford to maintain a blog for profit?
You Must Acquire the Necessary Skills to Blog
It is hard persuading others to think you are the best thing since The Pioneer Woman. Blogging has changed a lot over the years and what used to pass as good photos is now less than average. You are competing with millions of other blogs. People decide in the first 3 seconds of viewing your post title and featured picture if they want to read it or move on. Competition is fierce!
Some Necessary Skills Needed for Blogging
- great writing and grammar
- logical/technical writing for tutorials
- photography and editing photos
- marketing promotion
- social media promotion on several platforms
- networking with other bloggers
- selling your brand and products
- the art of persuasion
- basic-intermediate computer technical skills
Beware of Big Bloggers
Big bloggers selling blogging products want you to think you’ll be as successful as them but, in reality it is not likely. You may be able to make money but, it is not likely that every new blogger will make a six figure salary especially in the first few years of blogging.
If you sign up for their newsletters, they will try to sell you their products in nearly every email. They make a LOT of money persuading you to buy their products. You may never make $100k per month blogging. I’m not saying it is impossible. I’m just saying it isn’t likely and it certainly isn’t easy. Blogging is not a get rich quick business. Don’t be easily influenced. Do your research and find out which niche is right for you.
You Must Have a Passion for Blogging
You should love writing, photo styling and taking photographs (if necessary for your niche), networking with other bloggers while getting to know your audience and niche. Your focus should be trying connect with and hook your readers. Being able to deliver posts that help them solve problems should be your focus.
It is hard to stay motivated until you find success , especially during the low web traffic of the summer months. There are other lulls throughout the year too. You must be able to work hard while making little money, if any, for many months and possibly years.
Success does not happen overnight. You will work very hard for it and you really do reap what you sow. Blogging is very competitive. Successful bloggers are very intentional with their work. Success doesn’t happen by mere luck or even being well-connected. You must be very good at what you do but, it can be learned.
What You Need to Succeed in Blogging
In this interview I conducted with Sarah Titus, pro-blogger, she discusses her lessons learned, how blogging has changed in recent years and what women do to obstruct their own success. She became very successful quickly working 80-120 hours per week in the beginning of her blogging career. She is an inspiration to women. Her Blogging Binder covers how to stay organized and reduce blogging overwhelm. She is a great resource because she explains How to Create a Successful blog for under $350.
If you are thinking of starting a food blog, be sure to read my 7 Tips to Get your Photos Accepted on Foodgawker!
If you consistently improve your picture selection/photography, writing, blog topics, and the way you promote your blog and yourself and create your own products while successfully promoting them, you may have a chance at becoming a successful big blogger. Or maybe your One Pot Ham, Potato and Bean Soup will get pinned 5k+ times in four months like mine did as a new food blogger.
Similar to all very successful people, you must be determined and be willing to sacrifice your time. You must work very hard daily and never give up! Consistently improve, learn and get to the next level. You can’t let self-doubt creep into your mind and hold you back. Many new bloggers with potential give up before they see the fruits of their labor.
I’ve covered much about the hard truth about blogging and hope it will help you decide whether or not to start a blog. Successful blogging takes faith in yourself that you have what it takes to succeed. Again, it takes determination. To become a successful pro blogger is like training for in the Olympics. You don’t win a gold medal if you don’t have confidence, work hard for it and persevere through doubt and adversity. Are you really up for the blogging challenge?
This post contains an affiliate link which means, if you make a purchase, I’ll receive a commission.
The photos in this post are from Pixabay.