The following is a guest post from Mike of NinjaBudgeter
Nine Reasons That You Should Not Start A Blog
I’ve noticed an annoying trend lately on social media (primarily Pinterest). There are a lot of people trying to steer readers towards starting a blog by trumpeting their success.
“Find Out How I Made 50k This Month From My Couch!”
“The EXACT Strategies I Used To Make $1500 Blogging This Month”
“How To Start A Blog That Makes $500 Per Month!”
I’m noticing that there’s a metric crap-ton of info out there trying to convince you to start a blog. There is precious little however, that talks honestly about the herculean effort that it takes to take a blog from a fresh WordPress installation, to something that earns even $100 per month.
To be clear, I think everybody should have a blog. I love blogging. I wouldn’t spend hours and hours writing content and building my site while my kids try to start World War 3 ten feet away in my living room.
The thing is, I’ve been doing this for a long time. My personal finance blog is only two years old, but I’ve had experience blogging in the past both personally professionally.
Though I’m not a six-figure mega-blogger, it’s fair to say that I understand what it takes to be a blogger, and how to set realistic expectations. If you’re like me, this article isn’t for you.
This article is for anybody who is thinking of starting a blog for the first time. If you have recently landed on a page that told you all about how amazing blogging is and offered to show you the way to major success if you just. Click. This. Link….this article is for you.
I believe in blogging, but I think a lot of people start blogs for the wrong reasons, or with unrealistic expectations of how much work it will actually take to become successful.
Hopefully, I can help you avoid that and you can start your site knowing exactly what you’re getting into.
9 Good Reasons NOT to Start a Blog
You Want to Get Rich
You are not going to get rich blogging. There, I said it. I mean, it’s possible, in the same way that building a restaurant chain that will rival McDonalds is possible. Like any business, your success is going to be contingent on how much you put into it, but most blogging niches are really, really crowded and you have to put in a huge amount of unpaid time up front to see results at some point in the future (maybe).
Fun fact – my site has been live for two years. I’m just now seeing a steady 250-500 sessions/day to NinjaBudgeter. Granted, I don’t work nearly as hard as I could, but it can take a long time to build meaningful traffic.
Straight up, the odds that you are going to be the next Pat Flynn or Nick Loper are slim. If you’re thinking of starting a blog because you read an income report stuffed with Bluehost affiliate links or some ‘How To Start A Blog On Bluehost’ post from your favorite blogger you might want to just send them $60 for their Bluehost affiliate commission and save yourself the hassle.
There are hundreds of legitimate and simple ways to make money. If you’re low on cash, why not start a service business on the evenings and weekends. Or even better, go out and find something to flip.
You Want to Start a Business
A blog can be a business, but a blog is not necessarily a business. A new blog is nothing more than a page to write things on. It’s no more a business than a lined notebook. You can build a business using that notebook, but it’s really hard work.
As an example, you could fill the notebook with an amazing story, go through the editing and publishing process, develop a marketing plan and a sales system to sell the book, and then, boom – you’ve got a business.
The same is true with blogs. Some bloggers write as though all you need to do to make money with a blog is hit publish, sprinkle in some affiliate links and maybe throw some ads up.
Uh yah…no. It’s a lot harder than that. A blog can be a business or a part of a business if you treat it like one and build it like one…but it’s not necessarily a business.
Before you start a blog as a ‘business’, ask yourself the following questions:
- Are you willing to create a long-term business plan for your blog?
- Are you willing to invest a ton of time into the site before you see a return?
- Are you willing to invest real money into your site?
If you want to start a profitable business, a blog is a viable option that you should consider, but there are way simpler businesses that you can start and be profitable by next week. Here are a few ideas for businesses that you could start right now:
- Window Washing
- House cleaning
- Automotive Detailing
- Lawn Care
- Power washing
- Roof demossing/gutter cleaning
- Dog walking or boarding
If you’re ambition is to make money quickly, your chances will be much better by starting a local service business. You can tap into your existing network of friends and family and realistically find a paying client within a week or two.
It Could Hold Your Career Back
If you want to start blogging, you should know that it can cause you problems down the road. Are you planning to blog in the same niche in which you’re currently employed? Could your blog be seen as a conflict of interest by your employer?
Are you on the board of an organization that could potentially see it as a conflict of interest?
This can come around and bite you in the ass down the road.
Have you thought about how it could potentially affect future opportunieies? What many bloggers want from their site is the freedom to say whatever they want. Well, that is awesome, but you need to consider whether you hold any strong political, religious or social views that might turn off a potential employer from hiring you.
Remember this before you start pouring your heart and soul out onto the virtual page: The. Internet. Is. Forever.
Of course you could blog anonymously. Many do and it’s possible to succeed this way. That said, it’s also possible that somebody will figure out who you are and out you.
You Don’t Like to Write
Do you know for sure that you’re going to be as excited about writing three months and 20,000 words from now? Writing is hard. It’s mentally exhausting and incredibly time consuming.
I know how easy it is to get excited about writing when you see the success that other bloggers have had. Think about it though, can you stay motivated when you’ve seen little growth in six months? How about a year?
The point is, if you’re going to get into blogging, you really need to like to write. Before you commit to a domain and hosting etc…why not just write for a few months? You’ll get a ton of content preloaded for your launch or you’ll decide that writing sucks and go pursue something else.
It won’t cost you a dime and you’ll make the same amount of money.
Some Bloggers are Dishonest About How Hard it is
Yah, I said it. Many income reports and “How I Built My Blog To $***k/month articles are little more than thinly-veiled attempts to get you to click on affiliate links. Some focus way too much on how much success that person has had, how much blogging has changed his/her life and how easy it is to get started.
It’s 2019…of course it’s easy to get started. The barrier to start a blog or business has never been lower…but can you stick with it for years on end and commit the amount of effort required to find your own success?
Before you start a blog, hit up a couple of blogging Facebook group (Kelan’s, and Jeff/Ben’s are my faves) and ask a few part and full-time bloggers how much time, effort and money they put into their sites. I think you will be surprised how much energy it takes.
I sacrifice sleep to run this site. With three kids, I have to wake up at 5:15 am in order to find time to write. Day after day, week after week…it’s definitely not easy
You Want to Travel
Starting a blog probably won’t get you much closer to your travel dreams. Clicking through that affiliate link and getting started today will however, put you about $2.99/mo further away from your dream.
Sure, some established blogs make tons of money and the owners have the time and money to travel when they want. You can expect to put in 2-4 of the hardest years of your life to get to that point however.
Here are some better (see: faster) ways to make money for travel:
- Negotiate a remote work arrangement with your current employer.
- Write, design, market or do any other type of freelancing.
- Rent out your home while you’re gone.
- Transcribe stuff for a few hours/day. The US dollars you’ll earn transcribing with Rev or another service will go really far in some countries.
You Want a Better Work/Life Balance
I can get on board with this. I have a family, and I’d love to spend more time with them. As I mentioned above however, you’re likely to be working more hours than you currently do for a really long time before your blog grows to the point of profitability.
Blogging provides a great work/life balance for full-time bloggers. I just want to help you understand that it can take a really long time to get to that point.
Here are some other ideas to help you get a better work life balance right away:
- Find a job that’s closer to where you live to shorten your commute.
- Negotiate a 4-day workweek with your current employer.
- Negotiate more vacation or personal time.
- Get on a budget. Managing your money well will leave more for the things you love and prevent you feeling like all you do is work to pay bills.
Beware of Bloggers With Big Promises
To be clear, I use affiliate marketing to monetize my site. I have zero issues with affiliate marketing. What I take issue with is bloggers who have had some success (and a few who haven’t) going out and proclaiming that you can do it too, without properly informing you about how difficult it is.
Did you know that Bluehost pays an affiliate commission of $65? Bloggers have a huge incentive to sell you the blogging dream. If they convince two people to sign up every day, they stand to bring in almost 50k/year just from that alone.
Selling the Blogging Dream to You is Incredibly Lucrative
I want you to do something real quick. Before you start your blog, go to a post on your favorite blogger’s site that is 2-4 years old, and has a lot of comments. Head to an older, but popular post and start clicking through on the comments. I bet you’ll find (as I have) that most of the commenter’s sites no longer exist.
They gave up. They were sold the quick money dream only to discover that for whatever reason, building a blogging business wasn’t for them.
I don’t want you to be one of those people. I want you to know before you start that it’s a long, difficult road that’s most people just aren’t cut out for.
Blogging can be Really Rewarding
To be clear, I hope that you do choose to start a blog. Blogging can be immensely rewarding in a lot of ways. It gives you a way to express yourself in your own little corner of the internet. It can de-stress, it will improve your writing skills and it can open up opportunities that you might not otherwise have access to.
If you’ve read this and are still thinking that blogging might be something you want to get into, Here are a few great resources to help get you started:
I love seeing people branch out and try new things, but I think there’s a real lack of good information out there right now about how difficult it is to actually make an income blogging. If you decide to start your own site, congrats! Fire me a message through my contact form and let me know where I can find you!
I think everybody should have a blog. It’s a great outlet for your emotions and feelings, a way to share your expertise and meet new people. It’s also an effective way to improve your writing skills. There’s a lot of upside.
What I hope I’ve made clear is that you should start a blog that works for you, in the time that works for you, with a plan for what you want to achieve and realistic expectations regarding how long that might take.
I don’t like seeing folks being pressured into purchasing a car for the wrong reasons, and I don’t like seeing people pressured into starting a blog for the wrong reasons.
Thank you Mike, for this great guest post. Your feelings and experience towards blogging pitchmen mirrors my own.
Recommended Reading (Free Ways to Grow Your Blog)
To give back to the community I share blogging tips and ideas on how to promote your brand in my Sunday Spotlight Series. Today we discuss how to promote your blog. How To Get Your Blog Noticed So, you googled how to start a blog, you signed up for Bluehost and Tailwind like all the websites pitching blog side hustles suggest.
To give back to the community I share tips on how to grow and promote your blog and brand in my Sunday Spotlight series. Bloggers And Brands Guide To Free Backlinks And More Traffic So you launched a killer blog or brand and now you may be asking how do you get traffic.
How to get traffic to your blog for free! Learn how to get more traffic to your blog using the strategy I’ve used to get my blog noticed, increase traffic, and improved my Domain Authority. Today, I’m going to share two free tools that I have used to help promote my blog.