People start blogging for many reasons.
Some start for themselves; because they have something to say, or they need a cathartic outlet. They might be frustrated with aspects of their life, or have a unique story to share, or they may wish to document their lives so they can reflect back in years to come.
Others start blogging because they see bloggers getting invited to exciting events and sent ‘freebies’ and they want a piece of the action.
I’d say that those people don’t tend to last very long and those that go the distance are definitely in the minority. When they realise that they need to spend time getting established, and that even when you are, the freebies aren’t really free and there is an enormous amount of work going on behind the scenes, they throw the towel in; the majority of blogs don’t make it to the six month mark.
In the middle somewhere are there talented writers, plugging away every day, making contacts, sending well-thought out pitches and building up their following, committed to making a living – not millions, but a liveable wage – blogging their heart out.
I started blogging for myself.
I didn’t have any designs on making money from blogging; I just wanted to write down some of the ridiculous stories that I had inside my head. A few years on, I still had the blogging passion and realised that it was something I wanted to take to the next level.
I now make a full time income from blogging, which I have written about here.
If you are thinking that blogging may be for you, you enjoy writing and engaging on social media, and you have a tonne of ideas for content (you wouldn’t believe the number of posts I see that say ‘I’m a new blogger, what should I blog about?’), then there are lots of things you need to consider first.
Here are some of them!
Firstly, can you afford to take time unpaid to build up your website, your content and your social followers?
Nothing happens overnight.
Unless you immediately go viral with your first post and it is linked to from every news outlet, then it can be very hard to get noticed, however the reality is that you are going to need at least several thousand readers and social followers before brands will consider working with you, and more before you will be able to apply for adverts on your site.
It helps enormously if you are happy to build up slowly and have another means of income to support your venture in the early months and years, or if you have some cash behind you and can throw yourself in to it. Don’t forget you’ll have to pay out for hosting, for a URL, and email address and this is before you’ve hope of earning a single penny!
Additionally a website itself takes time to research and build, and content needs to be good quality and informative, or entertaining, and responsive to demand so that people will read it.
Do you have the equipment you need?
You can start blogging with just your mobile, but if you want to go professional then you’ll need a decent laptop in order to create graphics, write posts, and keep on top of social media accounts.
You may also want to invest in a good camera, as the quality of pictures can make or break a blog.
Remember if you use stock imagery you need to ensure that you are free to use it; do not go taking pictures off of Google or you could quickly find yourself in hot water. There are plenty of good sites out there with free stock images such as Unsplash or Pixabay, personally I use Deposit Photos which does deals several times a year; I buy a bundle of images and then log this in my expenses.
Lastly, you’re going to need a desk, and space to work in. It doesn’t need to be beautiful, just functional. Even if you have to stick a small desk in the corner of a room, it’s better and more conducive to working than sitting on the sofa with your laptop on your lap, and there are plenty of tips for brightening your work space out there.
Are you comfortable with self promotion?
Seriously, the easy part of this job is the writing; the much harder part is trying to get people to read what you’ve written. Even if you optimise your posts to the hilt, you may not rank well on Google for months or even years, so you need to get ready to promote your posts in other places – usually social media.
You need to be confident in the content you’re putting out, happy to discuss it and stand up for it on social media, and spend a lot more of your time on promoting content than you do actually creating it.
Are you signed up with HMRC?
There is absolutely no reason not to sign up the moment you make your first penny, and you must fill our your tax return the following year even if you’re below the tax threshold.
If you don’t do this, you could land yourself with a large fine, so make sure that you make your own life easier by logging all your income and expenditure in a spreadsheet, and filing away receipts as you get them.
Remember, there is nothing you can’t learn from Google
There are a million and one blogging courses out there, all extremely good (*cough* at separating people from their money) but ultimately if you want to learn how to blog, and how to get people reading your blog, then there are no shortage of blogs which blog about blogging who will tell you how to do exactly that!
OK so hopefully that’s given you a bit of insight into the world of a full-time blogger.
I hope it hasn’t put you off because it really is a great job – but I won’t deny it’s very, very hard work!
***This post contains sponsored links. For more information, please see my disclosures page.***