You clicked on that link because the headline pulled at something in you. Like advertisements for products you hate, you can pass by a thousand other headlines and ignore every one, but when you click on this one, chances are there's something in you interested in writing a blog.
Why should you start a blog?
You are passionate about something. You're already thinking about it right now, that thing you love to talk about so much. You love sharing it with your friends (sometimes too much), family (definitely too much), and even strangers in line at KFC. You want to keep sharing, but you've exhausted your family and friends and hitting strangers in ones and twos just doesn't feel like enough, does it?
Well executed, a blog is not a diary or journal, though you will be sharing personal experiences. A blog is a narrative on your passion, often using your own journey as the vehicle by which others can share in something you love.
"I don't want to just end up talking about myself."
This is a valid concern, and while deep down there's a Kardashian in all of us (self absorption), most of us just don't have the stomach to make a blog all about us and what we do in every post and paragraph.
Focus, instead, on how to make your life as an example and vehicle for readers. When you travel to that museum, try out that newest recipe or test the newest piece of wearable tech, you're creating a platform by which others experience and learn without having to pay the experimental costs, themselves. At least, not necessarily monetarily.
The Currency of Blogging
You see, every time someone visits your blog, they pay you with their time. In web analytics, that's known as a Unique Visit. However, as the quality and quantity of your content goes up, Return Visits increase, as does the visit time -- how long people stay on your blog.
When they pay you in time, it's a relation of the value of how well you're sharing that passion in the articles and shares. You can translate that to increased personal satisfaction or monetize it through ads or selling informational products about your passion.
For example, if you blog about recipies, you could create your own Cook Book and sell it on your blog. People who love your blogs might love to have your cooking philosophy and choice recipes in an ebook they can carry with them to their kitchen. Or if you blog about business, you can create an Entrepreneur's Starter Guide.
However, don't focus your efforts on making money, even if you become successful enough to consider it a real income, because people first and foremost come to your blog for what they get out of it free of cost. They want to know your content is worth their time and attention before anything you say might prove worth their money. More than that, as a blogger, what will shine most bright to any site visitor is how much you love the content and how you'd probably blog to an audience of 0, just because you love it so much.
What You Get Out of It
Blogging first satisfies your desire to share something you love with others. We love sharing and seeing others find the same passion for something as we do. It's why crossfitters can't stop talking about crossfit -- whether we agree with them or not.
Sitting down to share each new tidbit you learn about your passion is an opportunity to teach, share and connect with others who might also fall in love with the same subject or activity. Writing a blog is expressing your journey into something you love, brick by tiny brick.
Secondly, blogging can help you better understand your passion more than merely chatting about it with the sleepy old woman sitting next to you at the DMV. One of the best ways to learn about a topic is to teach it, and blogging is a softer form of teaching. As you frame your thoughts about that new stretch you learned helps prevent injuries while running, you're forced to think about how your readers will best absorb the new information.
Do you add photos? Create an animated gif? How about a full video that you create and share? Do you make it bullet-driven and instructional, or more narrative? Gathering that data and preparing it for consumption makes you more an expert on that topic, every single time you sit down to research and write.
Third, blogging can become a great discipline that pays personal dividends. I once blogged five nights a week for four years straight. During that time, I worked full time, attended online college, wrote novels and still found time to go enjoy myself on the weekends (I had NO wife or kids, so I won't kid you about the time commitment I had).
Writing that post, however, forced me always to plan ahead, prepare and generate. Four years later, I had more than 1,000 posts. Granted, that first blog was all over the place in terms of content and had no focus like Royal Vagabond, but when it was over, there was an immeasurable sense of pride at having written so much and remained so dedicated to doing it.
Lastly, you might be able to generate some income, and I say lastly because it is the LAST thing you should consider in terms of what you might get from blogging. Many people try to blog their way out of a dayjob and end up going right back to it.
To date, I've written 12 novels and 15 books. I've made no more than ... maybe $200-300 in the past 10 years from them. While I would love to generate more income, my passion for writing books can't come from the income, but from how it first feeds me on the inside. It's why I restarted my blog -- because I realized that I simply wasn't going to stop writing. It's in my blood, and I ought to revive and shape it to continue that legacy in my life.
All that being said, income can still be a great thing if you can generate it as a result of great blog posts, research and community engagement. I will sell products on Royal Vagabond, including some minor merch, ebooks and connect to other products I've generated over the years. If my blog boosts some of that income, great! I could place ads, sell products, post URLs of others' products or services and gain a small portion of that sale, get sponsors, start a paid online service or even sell myself as a consultant in a particular field others might be willing to pay to learn full-time.
If you become an expert in your subject matter, then you might one day leave that day job and do that consulting gig. That would be amazing! Even if you build toward it, be wise. Don't quit your day job until you are making steady, solid income that you can put away in the event that the consulting goes south and you have to return to your original career field. Also be bold. If your heart's desire is to become that consultant, then go for it, and give it all you got!
To learn more about getting started in your blog, visit my other post:
What's most important, however, is the motivation. If you're really motivated, you'll read books, posts, articles and how-tos, watch videos, listen to podcasts about getting started. If you wanted to get into a new type of job that really interested you, you'd need very little prodding to get started.
What you might need, however, are two very important things that I can pretend to offer you, but which you can only really offer yourself:
PERMISSION & PRIORITY
I once read an online post that said:
"Stop saying "I don't have time" to start what you love. Instead, say 'I haven't made it a priority.'"
Dear reader, I give you permission to leave your normal life and pursue something you really want to do. I give you permission because my permission might be the first permission you've ever seen that you don't have to continue life as you always have. More importantly, my permission is as worthless as everyone else's, because the only permission that really counts here is your own.
You must give yourself permission to pursue what you love. You cannot wait on anyone else's, because in all honesty, they're waiting on the same thing for themselves.
Secondly, you must now make the most of that permission by prioritizing your passion (blog or otherwise) into your busy schedule. You must say no to Netflix (not always, but enough to make room for your new blog). You must turn down some of the requests by a child who already spends too much time at soccer or swim practice. You have to tell your spouse no to every Netflix binging session or dinner out with friends.
Don't say no to everything, but it's time to give your passion a place in your life.
So get started. Dive in. Do some minor research, but don't wait. Give yourself a time limit to do your research; say ... 2 hours. In two hours, you will research what kind of blogging software is most popular in THIS year (your current year) and why people choose which one. Sign up, pick a name, write a post, and then start the real research. But START the blog in the next two hours, even if you share it with no one.
Get your toe in that water!
Remember, no one will give you permission to experience the most in life. YOU must stop waiting for it and strike out.
So? Strike out! It's time!