Learn about what it takes to start and maintain a blog over time. The Truth About Blogging will give you the tools you need to succeed in the business of blogging BEFORE you buy a domain and spend a lot of money on blogging courses and tools. This article will help you determine if blogging is right for YOU!
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, sadly the majority of new bloggers quit within the first year. 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.”
Even more people in 2020 will start blogs but, will you be one of the 20% that succeeds or in the 80% that fail?
Disclaimer: This post contains Amazon affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I’ll receive a small commission but, the price you pay is the same.
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 more about the hardships of blogging for profit. Three years into blogging, I currently make $1500-$2000 per month consistently for the last 5 months. That’s a good salary for a part-time, work-at-home job that I LOVE.
However, I didn’t make any money until I blogged for 15 months and in the meantime had spent money on web hosting, a DSLR camera, lens, and blogging courses and e-books. I recouped that money the second year and some bloggers do it much faster.
If you are thinking about starting a blog for profit, you need to know the truth about blogging.
The Truth About Blogging
Blogging is HARD work!
If you are blogging for profit, you will work your butt off! Blogging encompasses the following roles:
- photographer (for food, fashion, beauty, travel and craft blogs)
- photography editor
- marketing manager
- social media manager
- relationship manager (sponsors and affiliates)
- website maintenance
- web designer
- data analyst
- chef, crafter, or stylist, 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
Undoubtedly, you will erroneously compare yourself to more developed blogs and others who started at the same time as you.
I still do this to this day, three years later. It’s a hard habit to break. You are on your own journey. Didn’t your mom tell you not to compare yourself to others? When you do it, stop yourself.
You will feel this way from time to time:
- 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.
- You be disappointed and it 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.
The Blogging Highs
So before I go on too much negativity, let’s talk about the blogging HIGHS! Ugh, that was just too much negativity albeit TRUE!
- YES, you can make a living blogging from home, in your pajamas!
- You set your own work load…like a REAL BOSS!
- You work for yourself and no one else. Take a break when you want to.
- You make PASSIVE INCOME! That means you make money in your sleep!
- Take vacation and get paid. Passive income never sleeps. We went to Florida for one week and I made the same money as if we stayed home. I only worked one hour that week.
- You’ll get a “high” when you see your content going mini viral, let alone big viral.
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.
In the beginning, you won’t know how to:
- write viral content
- take beautiful photos with your camera or even Smartphone
- find good free stock photos
- design beautiful pin worthy pins for Pinterest
- what software to use for just about anything
- how to use WordPress
- how to choose a great domain name
- what is SEO?
- how to connect with your readers
- how to manage several social media accounts
- Data: how interpret Google Analytics, Pinterest Analytics, etc.
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. This is why I like Siteground web hosting so much. Plus, they have fast servers which makes your site speed fast.
There will be days you’ll seriously want to throw your computer against the wall. Do you have a visual on that one? I do. 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! Also, you won’t have problems with slow page speed, which is very important.
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. But, you’ll make a lot of awesome blogging friends that will HELP you. They’ll answer your questions, promote you and share your content. You need the blogging community to succeed.
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? You will if you are passionate about it, like anything else. My blog doesn’t seem like work to me.
This is what my blog means to me:
- It’s a creative outlet.
- I’m able to share my message with people around the world.
- I can teach people how to cook for their families and eat healthier while saving money.
- My blog provides meal time solutions to busy parents.
- I can teach women how to value themselves and be good moms and wives.
- I can leave my blueprint on the world.
It’s much bigger than simply making money. You’re on the wrong path if you worship money.
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. You must build TRUST with your audience.
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.
Google and SEO
It takes about six months for Google to rank your domain higher. They are not trusting of new domains and will not see you as an authority.
Therefore, you will not generate much organic search results for at least six months. You will consistently need to improve your SEO- Search Engine Optimization for search engines.
What is SEO? Search Engine Optimization is the answer and Google is the top player in this. You want the Google gods on your side. There are mountains of speculation on how Google algorithms work but, it’s a secret so you’ll never now exactly how. Just consistently write great content and you’ll make it with Google.
However, Pinterest is the place to start with a brand new blog because you’ll get traffic from Pinterest immediately and it will grow exponentially from there. The power of Pinterest is amazing.
You must create pin worthy images. What does that mean? You have to learn how to design great pins. Fonts, photos and marketing trigger words are very important. You must study it closely but, the reward is amazing.
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 but, there will be awesome highs too! Let the highs carry you through.
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. Those that don’t take years, had experience in websites or e-commerce.
There is Lots of Rework
As you begin to figure out how to blog and your photography and writing skills evolve, you will need to:
- update older posts
- re-shoot your photos
- edit or re-write posts
- rewrite old posts and optimize them for SEO (Search Engine Optimization.)
- edit pin descriptions, alt text, meta data, picture titles, etc.
- make private 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. But, that’s o.k. because EVERYDAY YOU’LL GET BETTER AT BLOGGING! You’ll be amazed at how much you’ve learned and accomplished 6 months into it. I’ve been blogging just three years and I know boat loads more now than I did when I started.
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.
It takes a lot of discipline and faith to keep going never knowing if it will be worth your time. But, trust me, if you’re determined like me, it’ll be worth it because you’ll reap the benefits in the long run.
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 impulse buying blogging products to tell you what you need to do to get results quickly.
You may spend several hundred dollars or even thousands in blogging online courses, photography and writing courses, blogging books and products to guide you.
Unfortunately, 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. So, my advice is to give yourself 6 months to blog with a free WordPress.com blog and see how you like it first.
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- $1000 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.
You will also spend money on website maintenance, pinning automation tools like Tailwind, website themes and a custom web designer, logos, eventually trademarks, copyrights, etc.
By the way, your photography is copyrighted. Unfortunately, some nefarious bloggers steal photos and use them on their own websites. This is illegal. The blogging community is great about ratting these people out. I’ve done it. I’ve also seen my chili photos stolen and used on Pinterest. I reported it and Pinterest will take the pin off of Pinterest.
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. People are inundated with information on the web and social media.
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 to intermediate computer technical skills
Beware of Bloggers with Big Promises
Many bloggers selling blogging products want you to think you’ll be as successful as them quickly 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 at the end of their first year 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’s 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 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’ll become successful as your talents and skills improve and they WILL!
What You Need to Succeed in Blogging
I have a blogging resources page that is good to read if you’re thinking about blogging. Start there. If you’re thinking of starting a food blog, you need to learn photography first. Be sure to read my 7 Tips to dramatically improve your food photography!
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 and is at 20K as of November 2019- three years later.
Similarly 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.
My Blogging Mistakes
- expected success too early considering how little I knew about blogging in the beginning.
- didn’t invest money in my blog enough in the first and second year.
- didn’t learn and experiment with SEO and Pinterest enough in the first three years!
- should have upgraded my recipe plugin to show nutrition labels from the start.
- got caught up in whether to niche up and or down. This paralyzed me for two years.
- struggled to produce a clear, refined message for three years.
- didn’t know what blogging products to buy so, I bought none for a while but, needed to.
I’ve covered much of the 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.
Believe in yourself!
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 ready 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.