It’s new and relatively unknown. Blogging is a concept many people are trying, but not many know what they’re doing. It’s evolved significantly in the past few years, and the future looks promising in the millennial world. This week I’m answering one of the main non-travel related questions I get: how to start/maintain a blog.
Recently, I was putting together a presentation for a speaking event on blogging and while I was creating it I ended up writing this post as well. I know many of my readers have contacted me with questions regarding the new world of blogging, so what better time to answer them.
Here we go!
To be a blogger you need a niche
You can’t be a “travel-fashion-beauty-fitness blogger” and be successful. Maybe you could have been eight years ago, but not today. These topics are too broad and there are too many different subjects. It may be hard to narrow down what you want to dedicate yourself to, but having a central theme is the single most important aspect of blogging. Define yourself and who you are. Think specific, and know that you need to start with a designated audience. Me? I’m a “college student adventure budget traveler”. There are thousands of college bloggers, adventure bloggers, budget bloggers, and a million travel bloggers; but there’s only a few specifically similar to me.
Commitment is key
Blogging is not easy. The world may make it seem like we whip out an article over a hot cup of coffee as a candle flickers next to us on a cool evening. In the real world, it’s more like 2am and my coffee is cold and the candle is burning down my dresser but I’m not even noticing because I’ve been staring at the same paragraph for an hour. Ah, the joy.
Blogging is a job and it takes (a lot of) time. Almost all successful bloggers spend long nights and days with no pay, hovering over their computer and creating content before they even started getting followers. It is an investment before it reaps reward. If you want to make money off a blog, you need to prove yourself first.
Know your voice
Everyone has a voice and everyone is going to write differently. Don’t try to copy anyone else’s work, because it won’t be true to who you are. Find your writing style and stick to it. I’ll admit (If you haven’t already noticed) that I’m not great with proper grammar or correct sentence structure. There are a million people out there who would’ve told me not to start a blog because I don’t write like a god-gifted descendent of Shakespeare or Hemingway. Don’t try to change yourself for the business.
Don’t always listen to professionals
BUT LISTEN TO MEEEEEEEE. Aren’t I such a hypocrite? ;)
It’s easy to get sucked into “this is what you need to do to be a successful blogger”. But the truth is that you need to figure out what works for you, and disregard the people who try to tell you it can’t be done otherwise. If you put enough hard work and passion into your blog, anything is possible. I pay very little attention to trends and what the ‘blogging world’ is saying, because frankly I could care less. I blog the way that is going to make me happy – because if I’m not happy, eventually my readers won’t be either. It’s not mathematics, and there is no perfect formula.
Know there is never going to be the perfect time
You want to start a blog, but you’re waiting for work to calm down or for school to get less busy. I’m here to tell you there is never, ever, ever, EVER going to be a time in your life where you feel ready to start a blog and take a leap. The truth is, you just have to go for it. It’s okay to have a blog and not know what the hell you’re doing (welcome to my life). But that’s the beauty of it, because great opportunities can come from the smallest chance. If you don’t try, you’ll never know.
Now….GO BUY A DOMAIN BEFORE THE NAME YOU WANT IS GONE.