So You Want To Blog…

 

    I can’t begin to tell you how many times friends, family, and acquaintances contact me to find out how to start a blog.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m all for supporting others in their endeavors, however, many times these requests carry with them an air of “If she can do it, I can do it.”

    Just to be clear, I am not the guru of blogging nor do I presume to know everything that there is to know about it.  Although I have learned a lot in the almost three years that I have been blogging, I am constantly learning new things and trying to implement them.  What I can tell you is that blogging is not easy and it requires a lot of work if you are serious about it.

    Let me begin by saying that I have been very fortunate to know many great bloggers who have shared best practices with me and have made themselves available to answer my questions throughout the years.  Bloggers, overall, are still a fairly secretive bunch in many respects.  There are many reasons for that including the fact that a lot of PR Companies and brands often undervalue what we do and create negative competition among bloggers for limited opportunities.

    Now, let’s talk about the work that is involved in maintaining a successful blog.  Sure, there are free blogging platforms where you can write to your heart’s content without a care as to how many people are actually taking the time out to read what you wrote.  If you really want to get noticed, you have to at least own your own domain and that costs money.  After that, if you want to take your blog to the next level, you will probably want to self-host and that costs money too.  See, there really is no such thing as a free lunch.

    Forget about making the time to write posts regularly while raising a family and juggling a full-time career like I do, that will require superhuman powers at times.  Right now, I am typing this with exhausted and bloodshot eyes that I can hardly keep open long enough to get my thoughts down.  Many nights I go to sleep well after midnight in order to meed a posting deadline for a campaign I’m working on or just because I feel obligated to post regularly for my loyal readers.  It’s all very rewarding but it definitely tests one’s fortitude sometimes…

    Then there is actually loving to write which, in my humble opinion, definitely is important when considering blogging.  Now I didn’t say you have to be a good writer because there are definitely not so good writers who have successful blogs that make quite a bit of money.  I personally think that it is the will and love to write and to express oneself in the written form that supercedes all of the other requirements.  After all, what good is learning all of the other aspects of blogging if you don’t have a passion for writing in the first place?  Again, just what I think.

    So, the next time that you contact me asking how you can start a blog, try not to undermine what I do in the process.  Comments telling me how easy and fun it looks or how you feel anybody can do it take away from what I do.  They detract from the sacrifices I make to keep this blog going including losing sleep, fitting blogging expenses into my budget, and spending tremendous amounts of time trying to get the word out about my little corner of the blogosphere.

    Now that you have a better idea of what goes into blogging, if you still want to blog, you know where to find me.  I am here for you 100%…

Image credit: Kristina B

© 2013, Tough Cookie Mommy. All rights reserved.

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  • http://twitter.com/MyMamihood Sili, CEM

    For realz! That’s all I gotta say about that! It is hard and takes a lot to build. Though I guess maybe some bloggers were able to make this happen in a few months, that has not been me. I’ve felt the same way you have at times. It’s difficult to explain to people what it is that I do. It’s annoying when they think I sit in front of the computer and play on FB and Twitter all day.

    I’ve had to explain to some of them that Twitter is almost my office and it’s part of my job. But still, they think what they think. Unless you are in blogging shoes, the grass will always seem like gold on the other side ;-).

  • Mary Beth

    Good for you! I am a new blogger so I can’t speak to how much work you put into your site to get it to the point you are now (I’m so far from being where you are it’s laughable…but one can hope!) That being said, I DO understand fully how it feels to be undervalued in the work that you do. I’ve spent most of my career working as an education specialist in our state’s fish and wildlife agency. I’ve had to fight such an uphill battle to prove the value in the work that I do. Taking mountains of work home with me, working weekends, and missing out on holidays…all the while having others assume that I have an easier job than they do…simply because they don’t understand what I do. You have to stand up for yourself and put value in your own work. I’m very glad to see that you are doing just that. It looks like you have a lot to be proud of! Happy New Year!

  • http://twitter.com/detroitmommy detroitmommy

    Preach it sister. Don’t know how many times I’ve been asked this question. Shoot, I’m still near the bottom & I’ve been doing it 4.5 years.. but I like to think I’m building the right audience, and as you know my “thing” has actually formed more into a FB page for moms.. and the blog is now 2nd. Now with 3 kids I barely find the time for anything, let alone blogging. My SIL, who has NEVER once asked me for any pointers or tips announced recently that she was going to start blogging for a living. Yep.. she’s going to be a freelancer. LOL. There’s the whole “If she can do it, so can I”… or actually I get more of the “IF she can do it, I can do it better” sort of vibes from people. Yeah ok. Have at it!! :)

  • Bicultural Mama

    I’ve been asked a lot too about starting a blog and I’m glad to help. I’m realistic and let them know what I wish I had known before I had started. I let them know what’s involved if they really want to get their blog out there – it takes time and commitment. Sometimes I hear complaints about how I said you have to write often (from new bloggers who don’t write often). Yes – you should write regularly if you want pageviews, but I’m not forcing anyone to write so if you don’t want to write often then that’s fine. It’s like they’re blaming me which is kind of odd!

  • anitabreeze

    Oh yes, I hear you! Blogging takes time, money and commitment. I read a statistic recently that over 95% of blogs are abandoned. I have to think that people like the idea of being a blogger but then realize how much work (unpaid!) goes into it.

  • Amanda McMahon

    i agree that we need to have a focus or just not want to make money

  • Terry My Journey With Candida

    I have probably done everything wrong when blogging… and I still do. I started my blog because I was ill and trying to figure out how to heal. Then people started coming asking for my opinion.. my blog grew even though I write like a hick. I don’t make money on my blog, although I do review which are a fun perk to blogging.

  • cyndie

    I wished I had sound advice ike this when I started blogging.

  • Marika Charalambous

    Yep, you’re right. Luckily with the low prices of domains and hosting these days (a great Godaddy coupon can bring down a domain to less than $10 a year and hosting at Hostgator starts at $5 or so, it’s really much more worth getting your own than writing on free sites, especially that these are not yours, but belonging to a third party. I am working hard on my blog, but boy I’m having such fun in the process, I truly enjoy blogging :)
    And girls and guys, never fear of experimenting and getting it wrong – we all do it all the time, heck, that’s how we learn and become better in the process :)

  • Dawn Spatulas On Parade

    It is hard work, but for me a labor of love. I do spend TONS of hours working on posts. It is my full time job and I love it. Other than being a mom it is the best job I’ve ever had. BUT a lot of folks think it is a get rich quick and easy money, not so. Only 8% of bloggers consistantly make $500 or more a month. Which proves we do this because we love it.

  • mail4rosey

    Blogging takes a lot of time and effort, no doubt about it!! You’re doing a great job here! I like the clean look you’ve got too.

  • Pam

    I totally agree with you, Maria! So many people I know contact me thinking they can start a blog and people will automatically send them stuff, not knowing it takes a lot of work. I actually saw this happen this week to a friend of mine. The person ignored every bit of advice given and then started her blog with a post about people sending her stuff. Sigh.

  • Healy Harpster

    To own a blog is not easy, you have to maintain it and spend time to develop your blog. I call and consider my blogs as my babies because my blogs consume my times, too!

  • JadeLouise Designs

    Blogging does test ones’ fortitude at times. I know all about typing with bloodshot eyes at 2am because that is the only “quiet time” we sometimes can find. It’s not all ribbons and roses, unicorns and chocolates. It takes dedication and work. But it can also be very rewarding at the same time. That is what keeps me going.

  • http://www.lifeinabreakdown.com Sarah Bailey

    It can be so hard but so rewarding running a blog you do really have to put time, effort and money into it – and if things slip you can tell. x

  • wisconsinmommy

    I can’t you how many times the woman at the UPS store says “I should start a blog” as she hands over whatever I’m reviewing. I just smile and nod and don’t go into how it takes a lot more than just wanting free stuff.

  • http://feistymom.me/ Nicole A.

    I love blogging, I started so that I could share all of my crafts and have a voice.

  • http://www.melisasource.com/ MELISASource

    Totally. Love. This. Post. In fact, I just dealt with this from a friend of mine this week!! Lol It’s comforting to kn ow that I’m not the only one! Thanks for sharing! :)

  • Melanie S.

    The time it takes to maintain a blog is unbelievable sometimes, and there is just so much involved in it that most people don’t realize.

  • kristenione

    Fantastic post! I’ve just reached 1 year with my blog and I’m really trying to grow it now…feeling a little lost as to what comes next. I am not really surprised at the time it takes but most of the time I wonder if I’ll be able to maintain my sanity!! You are doing a fabulous job with yours!

  • Melinda Kuffler Dunne

    Great post! When I started blogging I had no idea everything that it entailed. I have spent countless hours working and making progress on it. I have also had others tell me how easy it is or must be. They don’t know the half of it…they always leave out the blogging expenses. It isn’t free to do and it takes a lot of time.

  • http://www.growingupmadison.com/ GrowingUpMadison

    When I first started I was all in it for the fun of it and thought as most people did, if they can do it I can do it. I didn’t honestly recognize the time it really takes to do it. Now that I’m actually doing it I can say with all honesty that it does take a lot out of you. There are times especially when I’m behind on reviews that I can totally neglect the kids for a few hours. I hate doing it but that’s the life of a blogger I guess. Those late nights setting up writing. My job is stressful maybe even more so than most but guess what I love what I do. Both my job and blogging and will probably be at it for a few more years to come. :)

  • http://itsmysideoflife.com/ Motherbugs

    When I started blogging I had NO idea what it would turn into. I liked most the ride though, I’ve learned a ton as well. Great post

  • http://thedivinemissmommy.com/ Stacie Haight Connerty

    Blogging is very hard work. I had no idea when I started 5 years ago that I would be able to support my family within a few years. It has been fun and rewarding but also very tiring at times.

  • aryia

    Blogging is a lot of work and I hate when friends of mine who do not blog think its easy and just can get it up and everything flows. It does not and it takes dedication for sure.

  • mel cole

    PATIENCE. If one can spell that, they will succeed in Blogging. Winks.

  • Noor Unnahar

    It’s true about the passion at first place . Other things are definite too (ofc) but all it goes first with passion :)

  • Jenny

    My mom asked me the other how I’ve been making money online with with my blog so I told her… then she said “What if I don’t want a blog?” I was like uuuuuuhh…… /deadstare *shrug*

    But it’s scary… my mom knows I have a blog, knows where it is and prolly reads it. No not prolly. I KNOW she does. Which means I need to be careful what I write….

  • http://areewithumbrella.blogspot.com/ Areeba Siddique

    I have been blogging for 9 months now and people ask weird things about sponsor posts! -_-Plus my best advice to start a blog is just to have passion for writing and being real :)

  • Margaret

    Story of my life…till they hear about the actual work lol

  • Corinne Schmitt

    You are so right that it takes a passion for writing, or at least for communicating your thoughts and ideas. Running a blog that people actually want to visit requires a certain degree of consistency which is hard to manage if you don’t genuinely enjoy what you’re doing.