Blogging benefits beyond the basic purpose
Before I take you to the advantages of blogging, may I ask you three questions?
Let me begin by asking: Why do you blog?
You purpose or provocation for blogging could by any - informing people, sharing thoughts, keeping in touch with friends, selling products and services, making money, or just keeping an online diary of whatever comes to the mind.
My second question: What do you gain from blogging?
Your answer could be any - getting dollars, supplementing business, helping build brand, informing people about my latest activities, promoting a social cause, or just satisfying my urge to create something.
Lastly, may I ask you: What do you lose in blogging?
With so many free blogging platforms available, I don’t think one will lose in terms of payments for site designing and web hosting charges. If I am a professional blogger, chances are that I spend a lot of time and energy in maintaining the blog - but that gives me handsome returns. So, I blogging is not a loss-making activity.
However, if I have been blogging without enjoying it - as a hobby or as a business - I have definitely lost a lot. When one does something unwillingly and does not find joy in it, that leads to loss of time, energy, emotional well being, even health. That happens in the case of blogging also.
Blogging should be a win-win, rather than win-some-lose-more exercise. The blog should flourish and it should give you joy. For that to happen, you need not spend huge sums or a great amount of time learning technology. You just need to look at your attitude toward blogging.
Blogging benefits beyond traffic, fame, branding and money
You need to love three things about blogging: the subject matter, the process of blogging and the blog itself.
First and foremost, you must love the subject of your blog. Don’t blog on a subject that does not interest you. A friend of mine opened a blog on technology only because he felt it would give him a great number of visitors and big money. Well, yes, within a year, the hard labor paid: he started getting over 700 visitors a day and many visitors clicked on his advertisements. He was so enthused that he started writing one post a day and tried some tricks to make it more popular.
When I discussed blogging with him after about one more year, he had abandoned the blog and started one on product reviews. I had known that he would leave the first blog sooner or later and I also know that he will leave the second blog too. [If it gets him good dollars, he might continue blogging, though.] I am no astrologer but I knew of his first blog’s fate because I also knew that he had no real interest in technology. He started the blog only to earn quick bucks. He was influenced by some advice on the web about making a blog popular and earning big dollars from it. He now tells me that writing posts day after day on technology was a frustrating experience and towards the end he had started just copying and pasting matter from other websites to keep the blog going.
His second blog? Well, he has no particular interest and no expertise on the products he reviews. But he is making some money and is not too happy with it. I know that with this attitude, he cannot become a big blogger in the long run.
I have many such examples. I also have examples of blogs that produce quality stuff because the blogger is in love with the subject. No wonder, such blogs are running quite well. For these bloggers, money is often not the aim; the blog gives them the satisfaction nothing else would give. Many blogs in the Directory of Best Indian Blogs are like that.
When you love the subject, you tend to create original stuff and give expert advice. Even if you are not an expert, you can generate spirited discussion. You get fresh ideas and viewpoints when you compose a post. Chances are that over time, you get a good number of visitors. On top of good posts, if you use the tricks of the trade to get more traffic and place advertisements to monetize the blog, you might get really good sums of money too. Whether you get great traffic and money or not, you have already earned a great deal if you have been enjoying writing the stuff.
It may not be practical to think of a ‘paying’ subject and then start loving it. And it seldom works that way. (Though at least one successful blogger who teaches how to make money blogging has an opposite view, but be careful on treading this path. I have quoted him in the linked post.)
I propose that you blog on topic(s) that you love. If, however, you are blogging for business and have been suffering because you don’t like the subject, do carry on with the blog – but when you prepare the profit-and-loss account, consider the hours you spent in cursing the blog... that is your loss.
Second, you must love the process of blogging. You must love composing posts, responding to comments, experimenting with the blog's design, adding elements to improve readability and visual appeal, and so on. If you love the subject but do not get joy in writing good quality posts, adding a much-needed graphic and interacting with your visitors, it will show badly on your blog.
If you blog just for making money, you would be outsourcing many jobs related to blogging - even writing the content. But even then, you must enjoy the overall process as the owner of a business - getting work done from others. You must enjoy maintaining the blog in the most professional way, though the actual work is being done by the people you hire.
Third, you must love the blog – the end product. You must be in love with your blog. If it is a hobby blog or a blog that brands you, it must reflect your thoughts and your personality. If it is a personal blog, it should be your online alter ego. If it is a blog on your profession, it must present your ideas and knowledge in the best possible way.
You must feel good when you visit the blog. You must love it the way a child loves her toys. Only such an involvement with your blog will give you the incentive to maintain it in good shape, update it regularly, and keep working for its improvement. You must be satisfied with the blog to the extent that you would like to show it off as a piece of art, a creation. [Though in reality, it’s good to be modest about it, isn’t it?]
If the blog is your business enterprise, you must make it so professional that it is deeply satisfying. You must keep thinking and innovating to keep ahead of the competition.
In a blogosphere survey long back in 2012, Technorati found that about two-thirds of regular bloggers did blogging for the love of it, not for money. Things have changed since then and more people are blogging as a business, some making good money. Yet, let me tell with over ten years of blogging experience and after browsing thousands of blogs while compiling blogging directories: blogs that die an early death or that somehow linger on belong to those who do not love the three essential loves of blogging.
So, fall in love with your blog and derive joy in addition to whatever is your blogging goal.