10 Great Reasons to Start Blogging, and 3 Horrible Ones

Personal finance has many facets. Earning money being one of those. As well as our personal growth, impact and contribution. This year I have grown this blog, and helped others leverage a blog to grow their business.

best reasons to start a blog

I see 10 main ways that a blog might be a great idea in 3 areas. Your current business. Your personal life. Or an entrepreneurial pursuit. I’ll denote which one each of these reasons applies to with a B for your Current Business. P for Personal Life. And E for an Entrepreneurial Pursuit. And I’ll also point out 3 really horrible reasons to start a blog!

1. Develop Writing Skills (P/E)

For people who have any interest in writing, a blog is the perfect practice ground. First, if you commit to a schedule it will help create the habit of sitting down to create each week. After 6 months to 2 years of consistently putting your thoughts and ideas into posts, writers start to find their voice. You can transition from sounding like your favorite author to sounding more like yourself. You will learn the habit of writing. Not blown about by inspiration, but the work of a professional writer. And you get instant feed back when what you are trying to say is actually being understood and resonates with your target audience.

If you ever want to get paid from the words you write, start privately in a little lab that is your blog. Learn and grow while the stakes are low and the critics are few. I heard Jen Hatmaker talk about how she wrote for years before anyone was reading, before anyone knew her name. And how important that time was to write to a small audience and develop her skill and style. Most people who are “an overnight success” and “come out of no where” were quietly putting words to paper long before anyone noticed. So for those of you who blog and it feels like “no one” is reading or noticing, you are still doing important work! Houses need to be built on strong foundations.

For those who one day aspire to have a book traditionally published, blogging is a great place to start! I heard one publisher reveal that 80% of their new authors have an established audience. Traditionally or self published books rely almost exclusively on the authors marketing efforts. So it’s good if you have already build an audience to market to!

2. Become a Thought Leader (P/E)

Some people just have a unique way of seeing the world. A way of living that inspires. From parenting, to personal finance, business and marketing, community development, fitness or a thousand other things. The world needs that perspective. Blogging is a great way to develop those ideas. It’s the perfect test ground to see what sticks. To understand how to craft this message in a way that you can leverage it to create more impact. I think Seth Godin is a legit genius. He credits his blog as the place where ideas are born and take seed. Before it’s a best selling book. Before a sold out speech. It’s starts as a little post on his blog. I love this quote from him:

“Everyone should write a blog, every day, even if no one reads it. There’s countless reasons why it’s a good idea and I can’t think of one reason it’s a bad idea.” “If you know you have to write a blog post tomorrow, something in writing, something that will be around 6 months from now, about something in the world, you will start looking for something in the world to to write about. You will seek to notice something interesting and to say something creative about it. Well, isn’t that all we’re looking for? The best practice of generously sharing what you notice about the world is exactly the antidote for your fear. Committing to having a point of view and scheduling a time and place to say something is almost certainly going to improve your thinking, your attitude and your trajectory.”

 

3. Establish Authority (E/B)

Have you ever been caught off guard by the expertise of someone you thought you knew? They are crazy smart about something you don’t have a clue about! I think there a lot of experts in hiding. They know how to spot edible mushrooms in the forest. Or how to grow tomatoes in a short summer season. They can break a horse. Custom cabinet building. (Can you tell I’m from Montana yet? 😉 ) They make things that seem complicated or challenging to the rest of us appear easy.

A blog is an affordable, easy way to put that experience out into the world. It’s an easy way for people to quickly gain an idea of your breadth of knowledge. If you want to be able to leverage that expertise to get hired, get speaking gigs, do consulting work, or contract work, a blog is a amazing platform to display your knowledge and share it with the world.

4. Track Progress (P)

If you have a goal you want to track progress on, a blog is a great platform to do that. If you never want to do anything else with the space, you don’t need a self hosted blog. Just sign up for a free word press platform. Track your health, track your finances, track any goal really. You can do it anonymously if you don’t want the whole world knowing your starting weight. But just the act of tracking your progress every week or each month will provide the long term focus you need to hit your goals. You will see a lot of bloggers check their progress each month on yearly goals, net worth, saving rate or expenses. The reason is because it works! We gain ground on the things we focus on.

5. Grow an Existing Service Business (B)

I don’t want to buy services from people who don’t blog. I just don’t. I don’t care if you are a hair dresser, lawyer, sell insurance, photographer, offer catering, therapist or CPA. We all like to do business with people we like, know and trust. I can’t get to like, know and trust you with a 5 line bio. I just can’t. I want to know we will get along. I want to trust that you have some expertise in your field. Show me that you know how to time an evening photography session. Or that you would never try to sell me whole life insurance because it’s a crap investment. Show me the tricks you use to make sure the food you cater will look great after the first round of guests go through the line.

Help me get to know you. Why you do this? Why you care about it? Why you are devoting your life to pastry catering? Because you are passionate about how food brings us together to celebrate life’s special moments? Was it time spent baking with your great grandmother? Let me know you. Then I will buy your service. This will be a 1000x easier if you blog. Just once a week. I might only need to read 5 or 6 posts. I might just scan the titles. But an impersonal website with a 5 line bio just doesn’t cut it anymore. I’ll bounce off your site and go to someone who took the time to help me like-know-trust them.

6. Build Community/Support (P/E)

It’s just better to run the race with others. And community can be magic. The easiest way to find your tribe is to jump into blogging. Pick your niche, pick your passion, and start writing those ideas, stories, struggles and victories down. Because there are other people out there trying to do the exact same thing. Blogging is a great way to find them. To become friends with them. There is so much support and community to be had. But we have to jump into the conversation.

7. Create Bigger Impact (P/E)

This is probably the biggest reason I blog. I can only have so many conversations. I can only mentor so many people. But if I write these ideas down and share them in this space, there is no limit. Instead of chatting with 1 friend, 10, 100, or 1000 people might read it. They might share it with others who need it the most. And I can reach into places that I had no chance of getting before. Cities and countries I’ve never even been (yet!). We get to share these ideas, and chat about them in the comments.

If people have a message they want to share with the world, blogging is the most affordable and simplest way to do that. And you don’t need anyone’s permission. You don’t need to get hired as a speaker. Or invited on a podcast. Or offered a book deal. You just get to pick yourself. Which, honestly, is a bit harder. To believe that you have something to say and the world needs YOU to say it. Sure others have said similar things. But they aren’t you. They don’t have your story, your voice, your heart. No matter how many people are talking about something, there is someone who needs to hear it from you.

8. Attract New Business (B)

There is a reason that it seems almost all businesses have blogs. SEO. It stands for Search Engine Optimization. Basically it’s how Google decides which search results to show when a potential customer searches certain words. If someone searches “Best family photographer Flathead Valley rustic,” what websites will show up, and in which order? Smart businesses make sure that they have the answers to the questions their potential customers are searching for. Fresh content shows Google that this is a relevant, active website. Most websites can add a blog into their design and start to grab some of those warm leads. If not, you can add a separate blog which links back to your professional site.

9. Learn About a Topic (P)

I really like to read “learn as you go” blogs. If you are in a journey, just figuring it out as you go, creating a blog to document that will drastically help your learning curve! If you want to learn about how to eat and live by Whole 30, blogging about your success and failure each week will provide tremendous growth! I think every personal finance blogger can attest to things they have learned by blogging about money. There are so many things I am leaning as I go! Setting tile being one of them. =) If you want to learn about investing in rentals, start blogging about it. If you want to become an adoptive parent, blog about it. You don’t have to be an expert to share your story. Just share your journey. What you are learning, trying, failing and winning at. Others will want to come along for that journey.

Taking a year off, then choosing not to hurry back to the 9-5 is a journey for us. We are figuring it out as we go. We are thinking out loud. Trying stuff. Quitting stuff. Changing our minds and perspectives. And then trying new stuff some more. It’s fun to watch people a few steps ahead of you try to figure things out and be in process. The act of writing down those things each week will help you pull 3x as much from the experience.

10. Your Longest Business Card (B/E)

Give great content away for free every week. Content that really helps people. Content that helps solve their problems. And if or when they need more, who will they turn too? The person who has already helped them so much.

This can happen organically. Or with a plan.

My money mentoring and consults just happened organically. It wasn’t even a seed of an idea when I started this blog. People were able to “like, know, and trust” me. I had helped them a bit with the blog posts. And they knew I could help more. So I set up that option to make it easier. (If you have ever emailed someone asking if they could provide a service that you aren’t sure they actually offer, you know its a terrifying and awkward process!)

If you want to really grow a business I suggest having a plan.

Let’s say you want to handle social media marketing for small businesses. (As in, you manage their Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest accounts, create posts, images, put up pictures, promos and write ads.) A small business owner has about 1000 plates spinning at once. Posting on Facebook 5 times a week, oddly enough, isn’t at the front of their mind. 😉

 So you start a blog about this.

  • How to create effective FB ads.
  • How to create Pinterest images.
  • Different frequency strategies.
  • How to naturally enter the conversation your customers are already having with your posts instead of constant “Buy, Buy, Buy” posts.

Everything you post is super on point, a quick win, and really helpful. (I would love to read this blog!)

There will be some people who read your blog and implement all your awesome tips. Your first kind of customers will be those who read it and say to themselves “I wonder how much they would charge to handle this for me?” The second customers will be those you go out and hustle for. But instead of just handing them a business card, you can direct them to your blog. They can easily see your view points, ideas, and breath of knowledge. They can see this community that is being helped with your free content. You aren’t a random college kid trying to earn a quick buck, but a person committed and consistent in their field.

3 Horrible Reasons to Start a Blog

 

1. You Need Quick Cash

Nothing about blogging is fast. If you really need extra income in the next 3 months, blogging is a horrible choice. Even as a business growth strategy, you need to invest at least 6 months before your posts start gaining real traction with Google and help to convert warm leads.

2. You Need Fast Traffic Growth

It takes time to find your readers. It takes time for search engines to start showing your results. And if you want 100,000 visitors a month to support a full time income from blogging it might take a few years, even if you do everything right. When I work with people on their life plan, we plot big changes 3 years out. I know it sounds sexier to talk about building an amazing “lifestyle” business in the next 60 days, but that is the extremely rare exception, not the rule. But given 3 years, I see people gain a lot of traction in most areas of life. Your health and fitness. Your platform. Your business. 3 months to set a trajectory, 3 years to see the results.

3. You Think it will be Automated or Easy

Blogging takes time and energy. Although this may seem crazy, you will need at least 4 hours per post that first year. And that is just to get the post written, edited, formatted, images up, and social shares. No other blog work included. Most blogger I know that are serious about building their blog spend at least 20 hours a week on it!

If you are a business (or have the money), you can hire a writer. You can even hire a writer who will write in your voice, style and with your ideas. I encourage all business to use a writer at least part time to fill in the gaps in order to ensure you post consistently. But this STILL takes time. You have to find someone, share your vision, help craft a content schedule, review their work, provide direction and feedback.

It can do amazing things to help grow your business, but it will be 1 more plate for you to keep spinning. Maybe just 2 hours a month, but it’s still 2 hours a month that you need to focus on the blog, plus the cost of the freelance writer. (If you are looking for a freelance writer, shoot an email to bloggers you think would be a good match, many will take a few side jobs!)

The hosting service I use for my blog is offering an extra generous affiliate bonus this month. I decided to use that bonus to cover the cost of an hour long consultation for you! If you have considered starting a blog for any of these reasons, and sign up via my affiliate link I am offering you a FREE hour long consultation to help you get started with blogging!

It can seem a bit overwhelming to get started. Choosing your niche, thinking through your SEO strategy, how to find topics that will help create that “like-know-trust” factor with customers, or just changing font size in Word Press (that only took me 4 months to figure out!). I would love to answer any questions I can help out with to make getting started as easy as possible and save you time and frustration. I’m so thankful for the people who helped me out when I first started, and would love to pass that on to you!

For Conversation:

Would you prefer to do business with a service provider (Dentist, lawyer, therapist, caterer, car mechanic, interior designer) if they had a business blog?

If you blog, any pros or cons you would add to the list?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

Add to the conversation! Community is built in the comments section.

28 thoughts on “10 Great Reasons to Start Blogging, and 3 Horrible Ones

  1. The biggest reason for in my mind is your community one. I’d expand that one in so many ways. Meeting new people, bouncing ideas off someone, learning new ideas, or even having someone to talk to about something that is generally considered taboo in general society (money).

    The biggest reason against is the money thing. Everyone thinks they will create this lifestyle business and drop their job. Your right in that you might get there in a few years, but the reality is the majority of blogs won’t last through the first 6 months, let alone years. Even in my 8 months I’ve already seen several blogs disappear, some of them with a history longer then a year. My revenue from the blog at the moment, 8 months and 100 posts in, covers my server bill. I’m not heavily monetized, so I could do better, but the point is it’s a long road.

    • The community is amazing! And you are totally right about the more taboo topics! And I think if people really want to monetize a site, it’s something that really needs to be thought through. Pick the right niche. Figure out if you are going to sell a product or service. Most people kind of shoot in the dark with writing for personal reasons then just hoping they build a huge audience and sell ad spots. That is nearly an impossible plan!

  2. I’ll second that thought – blogging is hard work. When I first started out I thought it would be all about the writing. The writing is certainly a big part of it, and it does take longer than I had initially expected to put together a post that I am proud to publish and have live on the internet forever. But there is so much more to it than that – figuring out the plugins, what to do when your plugins won’t play together nicely in the sandbox, how to keep your sidebar from formatting weirdly, and how to keep your blog from rendering oddly on an ipad. The list goes on and on and on.

    It is worth it though. I love my blog. I love writing. I love connecting with my readers. Much like parenting, it takes a lot out of you and gives back even more.

    • Blogging is a LOT like parenting! Ha, great example! There is a lot of work behind the scenes. I think people need to be realistic about the time commitment and set a schedule that is workable long term. For personal blogs, I think once a week is important. But in some businesses 2x a month is fine if you already have 5-10 really good posts up. If I hit a business blog and their last post was 3 months ago, I find it really unprofessional and I lose trust.

  3. That last point is so true! Blogging is definitely not easy. Anyone who thinks they are going to just post some stories and let the money roll in is going to be unfortunately very disappointed. To really see the results, you’re going to need a plan and some ambition to keep it going.

    • A plan is huge! And some ways of monatizing are much faster than others. Ads being the slowest, like 5-8 years, if your lucky. And services being the fastest. If you blog offers a service to a niche, like freelance editing, then you can start earning income in 6-12 months. 3 months if you really hustle for new clients. But for those that think they can just randomly muse their thoughts into the world and create a full time income, um…no.

  4. My big draws were creating a bigger impact, improving my writing, and forcing myself to think through new ideas. I had been asked a bunch of the same questions about finances from a few different people in my life and thought, “hm…maybe this would be helpful to others as well.” Add to that that I love writing and learning and I decided I needed to try it!

    The community has been an unexpected highlight. Everyone in the PF blogosphere has been amazing!

    • The “forcing myself to thinking through new ideas” part has been really great for me. My mind tends to churn ideas constantly. So to sit down and organize those on paper in a useful way has been great for me! And YES to the pf blogging community. It’s amazing!

    • Your so welcome, glad it was helpful. I think the biggest thing is to spend time considering which direction you want to take it and being intentional about steering the ship that way. Any of them are good goals, but knowing your “why” will make the whole journey more enjoyable (and productive!)

  5. The community aspect of blogging came as a pleasant surprise to me. I love the connections and amazing friends I’ve made along the way. Often, that’s the one thing that keeps me pushing forward.

    It’s interesting how that “expertise” gets recognized and people are willing to pay for it. I’m freelancing a little now and recently started bartered with my physical therapist for some writing/marketing…and this would never have happened without the blog.

    • I think the community really is what helps bloggers push through. Because even if you have consistent readers, they might not be commenting, sharing or emailing. And it starts to feel lonely.

      There is SO much work out there for freelancing. It’s such a overwhelming task for most small businesses. And if you can offer an easy, affordable, stress free option, they will jump on it. Everything from writing the words on a website, their blog posts, fb posts, help with their bio, or flyers. A blank pages scares MANY people. Just the fact that bloggers can crank out 2 or 3 500-3000 word posts week, do the social shares, and social posts, create a content schedule, format, edit and create titles is a BIG skill. And if they can do it in a way that connects with people, is helpful, interesting or compelling or just easy to understand. After a year of two, most can figure out how to apply those same skills to others websites. I think offering services is the fastest way to earn money from a blog! Especially if people are willing to go out there and hustle for the jobs.

  6. Great insights! I’m still new at this, doing it for many of the reasons on your list and I’m loving it thus far. I’m even enjoying figuring out the technical stuff – okay maybe not always but most of the time. 🙂 I cannot say enough great things about the community, it’s so Awesome!

    • Community is an amazing bonus! Just having other people that “get it” in our lives and can support and encourage is so powerful! The technical stuff is a constant learning curve for me. But I never get bored. =)

  7. All great points, but I particularly appreciate the last 3. I easily spend 20 hours or more online, and most of that time is at least peripherally blog related. The good news is I used to putz around nearly as much online with no defined purpose — just reading ESPN and CNN and Facebook and… so now my screen time is more productive.

    Cheers!
    -PoF

    • From all the bloggers I’ve chatted with, if they are putting a bit of energy and focus into growing their blog, 20 hours seems to be about average. If people just want to maintain at 1-2 posts a week, 10 hours is about fine. Those really hustling to grow, create products, take on profitable gigs, or get a new thing set up, I would say the average is 30-60 hours. =) Eyes wide open, right! =) But yes, a much better use of time that 3 hours of tv, random online surfing each day.

  8. Ms. Montana, you have inspired me in a way that I was not expecting to be with this post. Your comments in #5, about not using a service if someone didn’t blog about it, sparked a small fire in my mind. It took longer and longer to finish the post because that small fire turned into a small brush fire. After finishing the post, I had to write down all of my new ideas to put out the brush fire before it lost control.

    I have been blogging for about 6 months, respectively, about personal finance and Pokemon. (I sounded like fun!) Not once during the pre-blogging research or while actively blogging have I ever considered that I should blog on my design portfolio’s website about my design process. I have always found company’s blogs to be an odd attempt at being cool and hip, a bit like a mom or dad might when hanging out with their child’s friends. However, after reading this post I can see how helpful and beneficial it can really be.

    I’m a freelance costume designer who works a day job in a large costume shop in New York City. I do some freelance designing in my spare time, but I daydream about the day when my freelancing can pay the bills. I have spent the last year looking for ways to continue to work and grow with my art, on my terms, with my ideas, but without spending much money. Last year I tried to organize a group of designers, hoping that with each other’s encouragement we could do it together, like gym buddies. That failed. One of the reasons I started my blog personal finance blog was to give myself some focus and drive to practice my art. Now I see that I could use a blog on my portfolio to combine the two. I haven’t figured out everything, naturally, but I’ll keep working on it.

    This post has planted a seed in my head that I am super excited about figuring out how to care for in this small New York City apartment.

    • I’m SO excited!!!! I think adding a blog to your freelance website is an AMAZING idea. =) Here are a few quick ideas to get you started. I see two main ways to focus a business blog. 1 Something that a bunch of people would find useful and a few will buy from you. (Like example 10) 2. A blog about THAT business. The second is much easier to do for small businesses and I think you can add more SEO value that way. Blogs that go with option 2 demonstrate expertise in the topic, point of view on the topic, personal style, and they give helpful tips to those who would want to work with them. When I go to a site I want to get to know the person, get an idea of what working with them is like, and know how to be prepared, plus some helpful tips even if I work with someone else. I know NOTHING about costume design so I’ll give you some blog post titles from two other somewhat similar industries involving services with visual results. (Sometimes industries that have a visual outcome, don’t think they need a blog because they can show pictures, but I really disagree!)
      Here would be my blog title suggestions:
      Photography (family, newborn, pregnancy)
      -How to pick clothing for our family photo shoot
      -The best day to schedule your newborn photos
      -How I add color with evening photo shoots
      -What’s your photo style: formal, lifestyle or mixed? How I set the stage for your personal style.
      In each I would assume they WILL work with me and I want to be personable, relationship building and helpful to make their photos the lest stressful, most fun and amazing outcome.
      Residential architect blog post titles
      -9 ways I make sure you come in at or under budget
      -How to start your inspiration binder and what you MUST include
      -How we make homes easy to maintain and beautiful
      -The art of creating flexible spaces so your home can flex in each season of life
      -7 ways my architecture services actually saves you money

      If I went looking for either of those services and saw those blog posts instead of just a bio or some images of their work, it would make the buying decision SO much easier. I could read those pieces, get a sense of who they are, how they work and actually picture myself working with them. I think for most people that is an easy way to start. Find 5-10 keystone posts then you only need to add 2-4 a month. Especially if it a local service really think about your keyword use, so that google knows where you are and exactly what services you provide. Try to naturally fit those into the posts. And go with long tail keywords over short.

      Hope that helps! And I’m so excited for you to grow your freelance work! Thanks for the comment too, it made my day. =)

  9. Fantastic post! I really started blogging to document my financial journey and develop my writing skills, and the community has been a surprise added bonus. One of your 10 that stood out to me was how you won’t buy services from businesses without blogs – I had never thought of it but it’s such a great point. One of my side hustles is writing blog posts for, of all things, a medical marijuana company haha so all kinds of businesses are really jumping on the blog bandwagon. It is so so important.

    Also, the last three are so right on. Blogging is NOT a way to make quick and easy cash. I am spending less than 10 hours per week on my blog, and it shows. I’m okay with that, and am largely writing for myself, but if you really want to turn it into something lucrative, it’s a lot. Thanks for a refreshing and fun post 🙂

    • Thanks so much Michelle, glad you liked it! I think if people want to earn money, they need a really clear path to that, and know it will STILL take a long time. It’s kind of like getting a college degree. If you pick a profitable major, it will pay off in a few years, but not in the 2 semester! And even then, a lot of college grads are VERY disappointed with their earning potential.

  10. I’m going on 11 years this summer and always it’s about the community. I write for me, though I’m open to making enough money to at least cover my out of pocket costs! and that’s why it works – my readers stick around because they care about what I have to say. It’s always been personal, and going to a professional blog would lose most of what makes my blog so uniquely mine, so I’m fine with putting in the work of keeping it running because the friendships that have formed since I started forever ago are priceless.

    Sometimes it bothers me that I work hard on it and still don’t make the kind of money I “should” make for the effort I put in but that’s fleeting. The inspiration I get comes from bloggers who aren’t into blogging specifically to make money, the ones who are pro-bloggers tend to have drifted so far from the community feeling that it’s not worth my reading any longer. I don’t want to lose that either, I’m always looking for the bloggers who have a real story to tell and not just a money making plan.

  11. I’m primarily interested in becoming a thought leader in the investing space. I’m not quite sure what I’ll do when that happens (running a business full time), but I’ll figure it out when I get there.