So, you are considering blogging, eh? You’ve heard that they can be profitable, fun, a great hobby, perfect for a second income. You heard a story on the news or read an article in a magazine about a woman that earns $50,000 a month with her blog. While those things aren’t exactly true — they can be! Then again — they can’t be. If you are thinking about starting a blog, consider what you’re about to get into and make sure you’ve got your expectations in check.
What I thought I was getting into when I began MamaNYC in mid-2010:
I remember the day that I decided to start a blog quite vividly (strange, right?). I had recently transitioned from work-a-holic business woman with an important position at an e-commerce business into the role of stay-at-home mom. It was like I had gone from a roller coaster ride on top of Mount Everest into an empty, padded room with nothing but white walls. It’s a long story, so let’s pinpoint three simple expectations that I had on day one as a blogger:
 I didn’t expect to make a dime from my blog: I came into this with very little expectations about monetization. Although I had worked in e-commerce, web design, and Internet marketing for well over a decade at that point, blogging was something that I wasn’t all too familiar with. I didn’t expect to make hundreds of thousands of dollars a week, which the media would later broadcast to unknowing bystanders.
You’ve heard the saying, “expect nothing and you won’t be disappointed”. While I don’t think you should expect nothing, don’t expect to become super rich and the next big thing. Yes, it happens. Things go viral and suddenly you’ve got 1.5 million followers on Twitter. However, it may not be your story.
 I thought this would be a small hobby: Never in my wildest dreams did I anticipate MamaNYC to become a largely successful blog. I expected to possibly meet a few fellow moms in passing, exchange parenting ideas, complain about life, and do the girl thing where we secretly converse about our men and babies. Somewhere down the line, I guess blogging became my thing and it took a whole different direction. I went from spending a few minutes a day working on my blog into spending 50+ hours a week!
 I never thought I would have readers (never mind followers!): MamaNYC began on Blogspot back in 2010 and my very first blog post (I still cringe and laugh when I read it!) received it’s very first comment within 1-hour! Woah… someone, read that?! I wish I could tell that woman just how much she inspired me to keep blogging and give it a real go.
I had no ideas or topics in mind, but I started to think up random titles that could maybe, possibly interest someone in the world! Now, MamaNYC has over 18,000 Twitter followers and 14,000+ Facebook fans. That’s nearly 4-5,000 fans gained per year. Amazing! Hey, I may not be retaining millions yet, but I am proud of myself. Why? Because one again, I didn’t expect much, so how could I be disappointed?
I still look back at some of my very first blog posts and shake my head (“what was I thinking?!”), but that’s part of the process. You are going to make many of the same mistakes bloggers make over and over again. Think of each blog post and social media interaction as a new lesson. You may trip and fall, do double the amount of work needed to be done, and miss out on a few dozen paid blogger opps. It’s all normal and we have all been there. Trust me, you are only human!
Moral of my story: Don’t expect much. You won’t be disappointed, but rather excited and inspired once your blog really kicks off. I’m not trying to say that you should set yourself up for disappointment, but rather be realistic about your blogging goals and what you will do with your blog.
Why did I start MamaNYC? I was bored, wanted to connect with like-minded people (mothers, stay-at-home moms), and needed a place that I could go to every day to remind myself that I was an adult. I still look back and find the story of how I started blogging to be fate, really! As much as I loved being home with my son, I was starting to feel a true disconnect with the outside world. I needed an outlet and something to do. I didn’t have many hobbies, so this was a nice match for my at-home situation.
Next, let’s figure out why you should start a blog:
…because you want to help people.
Many blogs are written in an attempt to help people who many be dealing with similar situations. If you’ve had an experience in the past or currently face a difficult issue, blogging about it will help to connect with others that are struggling, dealing, coping, or living in the same situation as you or your family. Parenting, health-related, or career focused blogs are designed around the idea of helping others.
…because you want to meet & connect with like-minded people.
Blogging brings like-minded people together. Starting a blog can help you find those people and share your opinions and thoughts. Whatever sort of audience you attract through blogging doesn’t necessarily have to be just an “audience.” I have met some of my greatest friends through blogging (shout out to the wonderful Maggie over at Literary Winner — because she deserves one.).
You’ll start off with only blogging or a niche in common, but quickly develop a long-term friendship that will hopefully continue to grow for many years to come. Your audience can become friends, partners, business contacts, or colleagues. Skies the limit, really!
…because you want to make money.
Remember, I didn’t start blogging with an intent of gaining income or any revenue at all. I started blogging knowing that it was possible and the potential to generate revenue did exist. However, I did not want to expect much more than a few bucks per month or else my true purpose would be lost.
I am sure you have heard or read stories about “mom bloggers generating $100,000 blogging per month”. True? Sure – maybe 1% of bloggers earn that sort of income, but it’s going to take a lot of practice, patience, and time to start gaining a healthful income. There are plenty of resources available and you can find paid blogging jobs in no time. You will need to establish yourself as a writer and gain a social media following before seeing a decent income for your hard work. Don’t give up; have patience!
I saw my very first dollar from MamaNYC after 5-months of blogging. Fast-forward to present day — its been over 4-years and I am bringing in a steady income for my family and consider this to be my full-time job.
If you are looking to replace your current employment, I would advise you to keep your job until you are seeing a matched amount or greater income than present for a steady run of 6-8 months or more. Don’t jump the gun and quit a job when your first dollar rolls in from blogging. It’s a very up and down scale with some high months and other very low months — you may earn $3,500 this month, but only see $400 next month.
…because you have something to say.
Everyone has an opinion on something. Maybe you want to express your thoughts on a particular subject, such as your political viewpoint or the way your town government is being mismanaged. If you feel like you’ve got a strong enough voice and the writing skills necessary to put those opinions on paper (or, computer screen rather!), blogs are the perfect venue to say what you want and be heard.
…because you want to promote something.
Marketing your product, service, or business through blogging is a great way to promote. You will have to work hard to bring visitors to your business blog, but utilizing social media and hosting giveaways is a great driving force to bring readers to your blog.
Offer topics, tips, and tricks that focus around your businesses industry. If you are running a local dog walking blog, write up a blog post with dog training tips for owners. They will not only visit and gain knowledge from your expert advice, but your business name will also catch their attention (and hopefully their business in the near future!).
…because you want to make a difference.
…because you want to stay current & active.
If you love reading the news, keeping up with the latest Hollywood news, or stalk changes and events in a particular industry or field, blogging can be a great place to stay knowledgeable in a certain topic or subject area. Provide your readers with daily updates, fresh and current news, and frequently posted material that can serve as their first destination for that particular subject.
…because you want to learn something new.
Blogging will teach you how to effectively communicate online, write articles using those journalism skills learned in school, self-promotion and marketing, learn HTML coding for bloggers, graphic design work, and so much more.
If you are a good writer — don’t be scared by the idea of opening a website and buying a .COM for your blog.
If you are good at coding HTML and graphics — don’t be scared of brushing up on your writing skills and presenting an article for the world to read.
It’s completely up to you on how skilled you will become in each of these areas, but the chance and opportunity to grow is there.
…because you want to stay in touch with family & friends
It is a small world after all, so why not start a blog as a way to stay in touch with friends and family members in different parts of the world? Share stories, videos, photos, and experiences. Let everyone follow your journey through pregnancy, parenting, or planning a wedding. Blogging is a perfect method of connecting your loved ones with your day to day adventures.
…because you want to be creative, have fun, and teach things.
Becoming a successful blogger and owning a slam dunk blog depends on your passion for the blog’s topic or niche. You should choose and find topics to blog about that you could write about until the cows come home. Be prolific and have a previous interest or skill set devoted around the topic. If you love crafts and DIY projects, why not start a blog that outlines specific ideas you’ve put together along with photographic step-by-step instructions for readers to give it a whirl themselves?
Teach your readers about a certain talent or topic you have a deep interest in, or want to learn more about a niche area (Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn how to knit? Start a blog that chronologizes your adventures in knitting!).
Moral of the Story:
Whatever it is that you decide to do as a blogger or with your blog, make sure it’s something you can write about on a frequent basis. Don’t choose a narrow subject that you may only be able to carry on for a few weeks. If you prefer to write about a wide variety of topics – no problem! Create a blog with a general scope – lifestyle, daily rantings, journal style, everyday topics.
Have passion. Be patient. Use goals.
Good Luck & Happy Blogging!