If you’re looking for a way to get rich quick, blogging is not for you. You have more chance of getting rich by buying a bit of land and panning for gold or buying a lottery scratch card every day, and certainly learning how to play the stock market would be more productive.
Sure there are all those stories about people who have become famous, sold tonnes of books, got a screen deal, but really how many of those are there? Name me some. It’s like anything, a few talented people make it big by being in the right place at the right time, and an infinite number more don’t.
So I’m not saying don’t do it, I’m saying don’t do it if your only motivation is fame and fortune. There are other perfectly valid and highly motivating reasons to blog other than money. Here are my top five.
If you want to be good at anything you need to practice at it. Writing something everyday, or approaching that, come rain or shine, come inspiration or not, is good practice for honing your skill. You may not want to have your less-than-polished words out there for all to behold, but you have a number of choices. When you haven’t got a big readership, it doesn’t really matter, you are just filing online. You can go back and edit and/or delete at a later date. Feedback is valuable, if you can be open to it, and what we think of something ourselves is not always the same as what our audience thinks. You may be surprised at something you don’t think is so good may prove to be more popular than something you think is your greatest work.
Not only does the activity make you practice your art, but it also gives you a body of work that you can use for other purposes. Some people choose to write books like this. You may be a poet and before you know it you have a collection of poems that you can turn into a book. Or you may be pitching for a paid writing job and you have a ready made collection of work that you can send as examples.
I’ve picked an alliterative word for my list here, but what this point is really about is “Audience”. Blogging gives you the opportunity for your work to be read and for you to build a regular audience and fan base. This is particularly so if you have a niche specialism. But no matter what your area, writing is communication. Your writing is message sent, but there needs to be an accompanying message received for it to have any purpose. It can actually be very rewarding even if you only have a small number of people reading your work, but who are really reading it and giving you feedback (via comments) and engaging with it. It’s also rewarding to see that engagement and audience grow, even if it is gradually.
I’ve sort of covered this point 2 about having a collection of work that you can use to pitch for paid jobs, but your blog can be your showcase or portfolio as well. Depending on how you set things up, you can choose to highlight your most popular posts or those that you are most proud of or that represent you in the best light. You can use categories and tags to pull together such posts in themed collections or put them on a separate page or as a menu item. Your portfolio is always there and, if someone who is thinking of giving you money for some work – eg speaking at an event, teaching a class, writing for a magazine, publishing your as yet unwritten novel – your portfolio may make the difference between them approaching you in the first place or not, or securing the work if they have you on a shortlist.
Everything that is on the Internet is trawled by the search engines and indexed to produce the list of results when you search by a key word or phrase in, for example, Google or Yahoo. There are people who specialise in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and have tricks and tips so that your website or links come higher up the list when someone searches. One of the ways of improving your ranking is to have lots of regular new writing on your website with the words that relate to your area of interest repeated and with lots of views, comments and links to your posts from elsewhere. Blogging isn’t the only way to make it easier for people who are looking for someone who does what you do to find you, but it is one of the effective ways.
Finally, if you want to turn this into a 6 or 7 point list, another reason to do it is for Posterity – on the offchance that your body of work is there long after you have gone and you achieve posthumous notoriety. Or you can just do it for the Personal satisfaction (but that’s two words).