A friend called me today and said she wants to start blogging. She has tried a couple of times and never stuck with it. She asked for my advice.
Now I found this ironically funny for a multitude or reasons. One of which was that I myself had the same issue many months ago before I decided to buckle down and do it for my own sanity. The other reason her inquiry made me laugh was... me? Really, you are asking me for advice? Geez, you must be desperate. But sure I will try to help.
The main thing I stressed to her was to figure out why she wanted to blog that way she would have motivation to keep it up. My reason and motivation was just to have an outlet. I am a SAHM and have to deal with a lot of personal issues along with problems my kids have plus I like to share crafts and recipes and I just needed someplace to get it all out. It works great because sometimes I get advice, sometimes it's words of encouragement and yes the occasional criticism which I can just ignore!
Once you figure out your why you have the hardest part done. I also recommended making a blog about a specific thing. This is completely unlike my own blog but it seems to work better for many. It looks to me like specialized blogs pick up a following more easily. So if you want a blog about being a mom make one, or a crafter or chef make one. Hell if you want one about 10 different things and you can keep a steady stream of posts flowing make 10 different blogs. But if you are like me and can't and need one main place to go for a hodge podge of thoughts and miscellaneous fodder then do like me and make one blog.
This is especially true if you are blogging for yourself. But if you are blogging for followers and want to become popular read other popular blogs and see what they do. I am no authority on that because that's just not what I'm doing. I never started out wanting followers but with each one I get a little thrill that someone out there finds my blog (and life) interesting enough to read. That's part of the reason I host giveaways. As a thank you (and perhaps an apology) to those who go on the blog, read and comment.
I also told her to reach out to other bloggers, preferably those who are more successful then I am. I have been given great advice from 2 awesome bloggers who I am lucky enough to know, Jenn from Peace.Love.Mommy and Connie from Brain Foggles. I'm not encouraging everyone to hit them up for tips and tricks but it would be a good idea to just read their blogs. They both have such different styles and both blogs are awesome.
That was my advice to her (and to anyone with a similar question).
What made me almost die laughing though was her next question... "Cool! But how do you make money blogging?"
HA HA HA! You mean people make money from this? I thought that was an urban legend. Sure some bloggers get paid. I'm not one of them. You know back when I said figure out why you want to blog? Yeah... well I'm not sure money will be a good enough reason.
I do get samples of items to review on occasion but I don't get any cheddar from anyone. But that's not why I blog either. You can monetize your blog, put ads up all over, go to lots of "pay per post" style sites but I honestly think if you are blogging to make money (forget getting rich) you are going to be pretty disappointed for a long time. I could be wrong so in case I am search for resources on blogging for money. Just beware of scams.
You may notice my blog has no ads. My blog consists of the things I like to see on other blogs and that means content not sales pitches. And while some bloggers (even some I love) have no problem filling their page with banners for everything from Amazon.com to Viagra it's just not for me.
You have to decide what's right for you. But if you pour your heart and soul into your blog you will get a benefit. It may not be money (okay, it most definitely won't be money) but it may be finding a kindred spirit who's life has been touched by something you shared.
Everyone wants to be the next "Julie and Julia" style success story but if that is why you are blogging you may need to reassess. But on the same note if a movie studio comes up to you and says they want to turn your blog into a movie you'd be an idiot to outright refuse. I'm just saying...