I love being a blogger. Blogging is an amazing activity and a great hobby. It is a very productive and rewarding way of spending your free time and can even be a good move for your career. It is a continuous learning experience in many different areas such as design, writing, content creation, networking to marketing.
You may be in school eager to start your professional life. You may be just about to graduate and you’re looking for that first company to start off your career. You may be unemployed and on a hunt for a new job. You may not be too happy with your current role and are looking for something better and different. Blogging is your opportunity to stand out and set yourself apart. Having a well-executed site gets you noticed, helps you get discovered, gives you a competitive advantage and improves your CV by showing your activities and knowledge on a more deeper level.
Blogging has changed my life, given me many opportunities and that is why I encourage others to start blogging and give their ideas and dreams a chance to come alive and thrive. Here are reasons why being a blogger rocks:
Why and how I blog
I hope the above gives you an idea on why blogging might be a good hobby for you too. Following is even more detailed information and hopefully inspiration. First of all a video. I was invited to speak to an audience of non-bloggers. The idea was to introduce blogging to them, explain them what blogging is good for and why they should consider starting a blog, and give them some practical tips on how to get started and how to build a momentum – hence the title of the presentation: What I love about blogging, why I blog and how I blog. Have a look at my full presentation:
Let’s continue with the reasons why I love blogging and why I believe you could find value in having a blog too.
Low start up costs
It costs about $50 to get your domain name and hosting for an entire year. Such low start up costs to give yourself a full year to work on that idea you have. Cannot beat that in any other line of business.
No experience needed and you can find your own way
It is one of those “no experience required” jobs. It is pretty simple to start and then it is all down to your creativity, dedication and hard work. You have to find your own way. You are unique and your situation is unique, you need unique way of achieving success. Come up with your own principles, make up your own rules and best practices. To truly achieve something great you cannot be doing what everyone else is doing following the same steps that everyone else is following. Creating something different might be one of the best ways of producing blog content but it is also one of the hardest.
You get a continuous education in a variety of areas
Blogging helps you learn and improve. It teaches you skills you will most likely need if you want to work online. You get better at writing, marketing, reading, communicating, networking and more. It helps you continuously develop yourself.
Just look at how the jobs of journalists have changed a lot in the recent years since the Internet growth shook up that industry. A newspaper reporter now does many other nontraditional tasks in a typical day: writes for the web edition of the newspaper with its own rules or writing and engaging, she tweets, builds and engages an audience in social media, monitors and tracks the buzz in the online world, does web videos and much more, all on top of their traditional role and responsibility. Blogging helps you get better in all of these areas.
There are so many resources that will help you with most of the aspects of running a site. There are videos resources, there are text resources. Most of them are free. You never stop learning. There are always some new technology advancements and you can always find ways to improve everything from design to the way you present your content. There are no secrets, keys and shortcuts to success so you need to learn from other people’s mistakes and learn from your own mistakes. You must know what not to do. Best practices are common practices and common practices will never make you any different. They are meant to be broken. If you want to be great and achieve something extraordinary you have to challenge those existing rules, those long held best practices and conventional wisdom.
You are your own boss
Bloggers are directed and guided by themselves and themselves only. They follow their own instincts and ideas. They rely on their own capabilities. You decide everything so there are no excuses. You pick the design of your site, you pick what you write about, you pick how long time you spend on it… you are the boss.
You can work from anywhere at anytime as long as you have a device with internet connection. This gives you freedom to design your own lifestyle any way you wish and also allows you to be flexible and change things along the way. Some people are night owls, some are early birds, some are night owls and early birds simultaneously. You are free to create your own schedule any way you wish.
Even if you’ve only been blogging for a short period of time, you’re probably already addicted to this phenomenon that it’s hard not to have thoughts like “I need to post about this,” or “I wish I could update the site right now”, when you’re out and about in the real world experiencing and absorbing inspiration. Well, its possible. For many writers, the need to post on the go is a reality. Fashion bloggers live post during fashion shows, travel bloggers during traveling from the exotic beach while sipping on a fruity drink, marketing writers from different conferences… Just like we update our Twitter feed, we can update our sites and take them to the next level, in terms of providing creative and unique content for our readers.
Posting from your smartphone or tablet lets you have access to your beloved site from the train on the way to your next destination, at the lunch break or even waiting in line a the postal office – if those still exist.
You get to improve your communication skills
Blogging is all about communication and this will be a very useful area to master for you personally and professionally. You need to be able to communicate effectively, you need people skills as you will be expected to collaborate with others. You need to have a commercial awareness and need to know how business works. You need to be aware of how you can make more money for your employer. Whomever hires you will want some results out of your work and the salary they are paying you – for more positions this means profit on the bottom line.
Networking and building friendships
Having a site allows you to network on many different levels. It spreads the word about you and allows you to meet different people be it just for hanging out or for working together. This doesn’t only increase your network but it also allows you to meet new people that may bring you new opportunities. You can also build real life relationships. It’s a great way to interact with people who share your passion for blogging, no matter what the topic is.
Go to offline events and break the first rule your mummy told you: talk to strangers. You never know the opportunities which will arise. Connect with other bloggers, talk to as many as possible. A little secret: they are keen to meet people too. If you are scared to talk to people they are probably more scared, and you seem confident, as you are the person who opens the conversation. The more people you talk to the more you will realize this, and the easier it becomes.
You learn how to be better at marketing
Selling yourself is a big part of having a successful career. If you have the reluctance to promote yourself and you lack social skills you will be unnoticed. There are only a limited number of opportunities for all of us to take. This is why everyone keeps saying and stressing the fact that promoting yourself and marketing your skills is a big part of getting successful. Most of us are not very comfortable with self-promotion, not many people enjoy blowing their own trumpets all the time. If you speak a bit to different types of creative people you will realize that most of them are very passionate about the things they create and not so much about actually selling themselves and selling their art. It feels like “selling out”, it feels obnoxious, it feels cheap, distasteful and it feels like selling your soul. It is not what they are interested in.
Some see marketing as a waste of their time, the time that they would rather be spending on something more interesting and more creative. You want to get on with the next story, with the next post, with the next design project. You need to understand the importance of marketing. Marketing and selling is everywhere around us. You sell yourself by the way you dress or speak. You sell your point of view and what you believe in when you speak to your friends. You sell your site by the way you present your content. Selling is a part of life and we are all selling.
Create a name for yourself and build an audience
Blogging helps you market and brand yourself. It is your professional online presence. It gives you visibility and a public voice. By having a site you will be in a better career position with a more control over yourself and your future prospects. You will have a professional identity that is your own. This identity can be used to get other jobs and you can carry it with you as you change jobs. You will own your brand and you will not need to start from zero every time you are changing a job or a position. This way you will not be in a position where you rely on a company or are dependent on a company. It will bring you more freedom. It will make you less vulnerable.
Back in the day it was impossible to build your own platform, it was all about mass media. Now with a good idea, hard work and some luck anyone can build an audience and have thousands of people listening to whatever is that you have on your mind. Whatever idea you may have it no longer takes a lot of time and money to test it in the real life. Having a site and an audience allows you to test ideas and get feedback instantly.
It is all about community, be it in the comments area, be it in forums or on social media platforms. You are a part of community with other people from all over the world that are interested in the same things and have same passions as you do. People who have large networks of friends and acquaintances on social networking websites such as Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook are likely to have many readers following and commenting on their site. They are consistently engaging new readers and building relationships with the current readers. Reading and making comments on sites that are about similar topics helps bloggers create a community feel and build alliances with bloggers who may share many of the same readers.
Rank for your own name
It is now common to Google someone’s name after having met them or before doing a job interview. By having a successful site you will impress as you stand a chance of ranking high in Google. After Googling your name people will see your well executed site, they will be able to browse through it, learn more about you, and get a better image of your opinion, your skills, your knowledge and how you might be able to help them achieve their goals.
New career opportunities
Blogging showcases your skills and your abilities in the area of your passion. It can be a career itself, but it can also give you new career opportunities. Many writers have been discovered and offered jobs in because of the knowledge and skills they have shown on their own sites. Make sure to add your site to your CV. Just like any other job, except this is better. This one is your own little company that you’ve built from scratch.
If you are not currently employed you need to start an industry site. Show your knowledge there, present your experience. When applying for positions list this as your current position. There is a big difference between having “unemployed” and having “running a site that has achieved this and that” on your CV. Always make sure to do everything you can to make your personal brand more attractive to the potential employers.
Remember that under skills and experience it doesn’t all have to be just like in a traditional resume with your prior work experiences only. You can list any relevant skill you have in there from copy writing, to networking, to design and marketing. The time you are spending working on building a site can be just as important as your past “real job” employment as it lets you go on an adventure working on a variety of tasks from tech/design projects, to content production, to marketing and selling. Ambitious side projects like these are good for your brand and present you as a dedicated person, full of initiative and ready to take responsibility.
If you work hard and your site becomes successful it can turn into a source of passive income where you no longer have to work as hard on creating new content but you are still able to reap the benefits. This is difficult to achieve in other lines of work.
Which of these 4 types of bloggers will you be?
What does the average blogger look like? Blogging has become such a popular activity in recent years and a wide range of people have started blogs so it might be a difficult question to answer. State of the Blogosphere study has tried to collect all the recent trends in blogging and gives us a good answer to what the average blogger looks like. The study has looked into what an average blogger looks like and their analysis on people who produce content online have shown that there are four different types of bloggers.
Starting your own blog
I started creating websites and posting content online back in late 1990’s. I wanted to share my love for the heavy metal / hard rock band Metallica with the world. I setup a fan website, started posting band news, lyrics, song meanings, concert reviews, setlists, pictures and anything else I could get my hands on. My site connected me to people from all around the world, including fellow fans, other webmasters, people connected to the music industry and even people that work with Metallica.
This whole experience changed me and I realized how much potential there is in building something useful online. I have become a better writer, a better communicator, a better networker, a better marketer and a more productive person thanks to my blogging activities. All these are very important and valuable life and career experiences. And I also have something interesting and valuable to put on my CV and to discuss in job interviews. For more on my story see the about page.
If all this sounds good to you, I recommend you start your own blog. It is actually quiet simple and can be done in 5 minutes. I have created a step-by-step guide to install WordPress, the best blogging platform.