At about two months into blogging, I stepped back and took a breath. I paused from the frenzied creation and publication of the site to reflect on where I was. Over the course of two months, I published over 15,000 words, the equivalent the equivalent word count of nearly a third of a novel. I foolishly did this in the middle of final exams and purchasing a home. Not my smartest decision.
Now that I’ve caught my bearings, I think it is a good time to reflect on my blogging experience thus far. The timing is particularly good because I’m coming up on three months of blogging. Three months is a time frame that measures a season, or a semester, a quarter, or an internship. It’s a good length of time to measure because you can start to see long-term progress at that point.
Without further ado, here are 5 reasons to consider blogging and 5 reasons not to.
5 Reasons to Consider Blogging
- Improve you’re writing – I didn’t realize how much more comfortable I was with writing until this semester began and I saw the word count recommendation for our Macroeconomics paper due at the end of the semester. “3000 words!” I exclaimed. “That’s like two posts. I could have a draft done in a week. Easy.” At that point I realized how the repetition had led to a real improvement. In addition to writing, I also improved skills used in writing such as brainstorming, editing, and researching. The work I’ve put into these skills alone makes my efforts valuable.
- Speaking of novels. For anyone who thought they might like to write a novel one, blogging could be the perfect launch point. It will force someone who hasn’t written before to explore topics in increased depth. Once you’ve explored several topics who might be able to string together a collection of similar topics. Do this enough and you’ve got yourself the makings of a novel!
- Have Fun! – If you’re not having fun, then you’re not doing it right. Results in views or clicks won’t come in weeks or in months, but rather in years. The Financial Samurai, one of my favorite writers, wrote a post about how 10 Years of Unwavering Commitment was his secret to success. Ten years of grinding away at anything will make you better than you could have ever imagined. For example, in ten years I went from a private in the Army to an MBA student with four years of post-graduate experience working in tech. It can be hard to see where we’re going sometimes, but if you enjoy writing, then don’t be discouraged easily! Keep learning and enjoy the ride!
- Be Authentic and Creative – A blog is a blank canvas to create something tangible using just your mind and a machine. Nobody but you know what to place on that canvas and you have the final say over the finished product. The foundation of what you will do will be writing which is inherently creative. In addition to writing, you will also be able to explore marketing and branding as well as UI. Beyond the creative aspects, it also gives you your own digital voice!
- Learn, learn, and learn some more – For almost every post I write I research several articles. Doing so helps me to better understand the subject area so that I can add my own knowledge and insights and is one of my favorite parts of the writing cycle. For me it’s almost too easy to get stuck in the research phase and delay the outline and actual writing. Whether that is my personality or is a symptom of my ADD is up for debate, but the learning component is definitely a perk for me.
- Website building
- Organization – different moving posts like regular publishing schedule, content expansion and cornerstone content, logo design, comment curation (keeping regular visitors; they are your biggest fan), commenting on other blogs (Nod to article at FS)
- Patience – Articles don’t write themself in a day (sit on the idea, develop the idea, edit the draft, edit again), Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is a website
- Time Management – When to do each of the above tasks
- Reflection – realizing now is the best time to write this kind of article (Expands writing toolkit, is challenging, enough to write seriously but not so much as to forget what it was like, Link to post: reasons to start blogging earlier), reflection is a lifelong skill, building block along with writing skills for bigger publications
- Be more comfortable with feedback – This last item might be somewhat forward thinking but is no less true. I anticipate that there will be many more comments on my articles in the future and some of those will critique my work. It’s going to sting when I open those comments, but I’ll also be thankful. Criticism is what will enable me to improve in areas that I didn’t see before and may not have noticed. It’s not always easy to hear critics but it will be useful both in writing and in life.
5 Reasons you should not consider blogging
- You’re only Interested in tech or website building – The main attraction of any good blog is the content. It helps when there is a well thought out site, but without the core product then it’s just a demo site. There’s nothing wrong with having a passion for website building of course and if that’s your passion then go for it! My point is only that you should pursue something that you are passionate about and a website is flexible enough to be exactly what you want it to be.
- Making money is your primary goal – Blogging can be lucrative. No doubt. However, such motivation is unlikely to sustain you through the long growth path needed to build a large following nor is it likely to result in long-run valuable content. For example, my initial data shows that credit card reviews tend to generate a high amount of traffic. So many of the blogs I’ve come across are like ancient ruins or an untended garden. Without consistent updates the relevance of the information begins to fade and the connection to the author disappears. Therefore, it is up to those left standing to learn from the available information, build on it, and keep the community humming along. Just as withe the proverbially race between the tortoise and the hare, it is the steady and consistent efforts of the tortoise that matter in the long run.
- You prefer creating shorter content – There are platforms where short form content excels but blogging is not one of them. Most traffic in blogging will come from search engines. In these search engines, longer posts are generally prioritized in SEO resulting in better search results for posts between 1500-2500 words in length which equates to a reading time of between six and ten minutes for the typical high school graduate. There are numerous resources like this article on hubspot that offer more precise suggestions on article length based on the type of content. The lengths do vary based on the type of post, but they each are at least 1000 words. Shorter form content is likely to be more well received on Twitter, Instagram, or other social media which could serve as platforms to draw more viewers into your longer form content.
- Blogging seems easy – Any one post that you read online could appear easy. You might even remark “I could totally do that!” And you might be right! However, blogging is more than creating any single post. The initial website creation and formatting took me the better part of a month to get to a place I was comfortable with. Once you have a functional website and know how to use WordPress tools, you’ll quickly find that you’re starting with zero content. It can be disheartening to publish multiple times a week for a few months only to see how thin your content library is compared to the blogs you might be used to reading. However, if you give it time, you’ll likely become more proficient just as you would with anything else you spend time one. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
- Reading is a chore – Reading is a necessity when writing articles. I can’t imagine trying to publish quality content without reading for at least twice as long as I write. For me, reading serves multiple purposes.
- It is the way I learn the best. While I can learn by doing, or listening to podcasts, or watching videos, reading works best for me.
- A way to be introduced to new ideas. By reading the work of others I can combine my own thoughts with the ideas of others. For example, I read many articles about the benefits of VA loans for veterans but couldn’t find any resources that explored when other loan options could make sense for veterans. Because I had already purchased a house as a veteran, I used my experience in combination with other resources to write an article which considers whether a VA loan is always the best option for veterans
- Helps determine whether I’m publishing duplicative content. I try my best to add to a conversation or topic rather than repeat the same ideas without improvement. If I did not read thoroughly, then I might end publish content that offers little value. Instead, I can look for ways to improve on the existing ideas using my own experiences and insights.