Blogging is a very powerful medium.
I have been teaching people how to blog on WordPress since 2007. I teach live classes, and I teach remote classes.
Over the last few years, people have started asking me, “Do I really have to blog?”
The answer depends on what you want to accomplish.
Why Do You Want to Blog?
What is your motivation?
Are you looking to build an audience? Do you want to polish your expertise on a subject? Do you love to write purely for the joy of it? Are you offering people solutions to a problem? Do you have a story to tell or knowledge to share?
These are all solid reasons to start blogging.
Blogging gives you a great platform to explore. You can:
- try out material.
- get feedback from friends and in your comment section.
- become more disciplined as a writer.
- publish your own articles.
- immerse yourself in the creative process.
- share your passion.
Brainstorming, researching, writing, and creating posts takes time and effort. If your motivation isn’t strong enough, you may struggle.
You need to stick with it, though. Consistency is vital to your blog’s success. If you are consistent with your blog, you will build an audience.
Search engines love blog posts, and they index each new post every time you publish. People will come back to your site because you give them fresh content, information they want, and resources that help them.
Your website traffic will increase. You will establish yourself as authority in your field. You will connect with like-minded people.
And if you respond to comments and invest the time in your own community, you will make some valuable connections.
A Place to Start
The key to successful blogging is thinking about what people actually want to read.
If you are writing about topics that people want to know more about, you will find an audience.
Websites that are based on “how to” and teaching and problem solving, tend to find an audience faster than, say, a fiction writer.
Take the time to do some research. Read blogs that are similar to the topics you want to blog about. Read the comments. See what questions people ask and what information they are interested in.
Google your topics and see what articles come up on the first two pages. The articles that show up in the results are ones that pull an audience.
What do you like to read when you go online? Analyze your reading and searching habits. Figuring out what draws you to a blog gives you insight into your potential audience’s needs.
But if blogging feels like a chore or like something that gets in the way of your “real” writing time, then it may not be for you.
If you write random posts or publish infrequently without a plan or purpose, your effort will not net you many readers.
Commitment to Posting
Blogging brings readers and traffic to your website. But you have to be committed and post regularly to build on that.
I tell my clients if they can start out publishing just twice a month, they are ahead of most people out there right now. I personally think once a week is the most effective.
A fellow WNBA-SF member and friend of mine, Mary Knippel, has a clever and helpful way of keeping to this once-a-week schedule.
She posts her “Friday Five-Minute Writing Prompt” on her website. This writing exercise helps writers start writing.
Mary’s audience knows that each Friday they can go to her site for writing help. Her posts are not too long, she loves her topic, and she inspires others.
If you figure out a plan that works for you, it will not feel like an overwhelming amount of work.
Using a WordPress platform allows you to write and to schedule your posts to publish on the dates you select. This means you can plan 2–4 posts a month, schedule them, and go on with your life.
Scheduling posts allows you to not feel tied to your website or to feel like blogging is such a chore.
If you are an aspiring writer, you can build your audience with blogging. Some people even turn their blog posts into a book.
My friend Nina Amir (another WNBA member) is an avid blogger and has been faithfully blogging since 2003. She runs four very busy full-time blog sites and wrote the bestselling book How to Blog a Book, which gives you step-by-step directions on how to turn your blog posts into a book.
Blogging brought Nina a book deal. Because of blogging, her business has grown and expanded even more.
Making the Choice
Blogging is an inexpensive and effective way to get your message out there. But it might not be for you, and that is okay.
Blogging successfully is a commitment. The results are not instantaneous. It takes time to build your readership.
Decide what your goals are, and then spend some time creating a blogging plan for yourself.
There are many excellent resources on blogging, staying motivated, and earning income from your blogging. To help inspire your blogging muscles, go online and read some other bloggers in your field.
Blogging can be a helpful tool to increase your public profile. It is an accessible and creative way to get your content out there. It can even be fun!
Running a blog can be a rewarding endeavor or a frustrating one. Taking the time to figure out what your goals are, what your motivation is, and whether you have the resources — especially time and energy — to commit to a blog, is your first step to figuring out if blogging is the right choice for you.
Linda Lee (WNBA-SF) has been teaching people how to blog and building WordPress custom websites since 2007. She is a past President and former VP of the San Francisco chapter of the WNBA. She has built websites for various chapters of the WNBA.
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