I’ve touched upon this a little before (What Happened and How the Heck Did I Get Here) but I’ve not written a specific post about why I started blogging.
Believe it or not, my primary motivation was not financial. It became a significant motivation as time went on, but initially I started blogging because I loved the Internet!
I was a relatively early Internet user (Netscape Navigator was my browser of choice way back in 1996). I was studying computing and information systems and the wWeb was a “big thing” back then. As a part of my studies, programming in HTML (if you can call it programming) was extremely exciting.
Can you imagine that?
If you were half decent programmer, you could bolt a database into your HTML site and query it to make it really fancy: I got a huge kick out of this!
Now of course this wasn’t blogging in the slick way we think about it today, but it certainly contributed to why I started blogging. My interest in starting a blog came with my discovery of WordPress around 2005.
How I Started Blogging with WordPress
I built my first blog with an early version of WordPress. It wasn’t the first WordPress release (I think it was a couple of years old before I came across it), but it was pretty rudimentary compared to how sophisticated it is today. I am still amazed that WordPress is free, given how cool a blogging tool it is.
Because WordPress didn’t have the vast array of plugin bells and whistles it has now, if you needed a specific function to do this or that, you had to write the code to do it yourself. Since I have a fairly technical background, I enjoyed the challenge of writing code to make my blog perform in a bespoke way.
I’ve left personal WordPress plugin development a long way behind me now, but I do like to tinker with functions when I need to. However, I still enjoy the same sense of excitement that publishing my own “handwritten” pages used to bring me, whenever I publish a WordPress blog post.
That’s no lie!
I Started Blogging for Money a Little Later
Down the line, WordPress blogging brought me into contact with the concept of making money online. I wasn’t the earliest adopter of the tools to start making some side money, such as affiliate marketing, but I was there pretty early. As a result I enjoyed some financial success.
Although lots of people were using SEO to drive visits and make their gains, I focused squarely on another newish technology, PPC advertising.
With PPC advertising you could drive traffic to your blog within minutes of setting up campaigns. In the mid 2000s, with the right keywords and tweaking your site to increase conversions for the merchants you promoted, it was like shooting fish in a barrel!
2008 things got tougher when the banking crisis kicked in. I retreated away from blogging back then (I was actually blogging full-time at that point) and stepped back into employment in a technical back-end role support UNIX server applications and databases. It actually took me around four years to get back to blogging seriously again.
Blogging is not quite the same today, as many more people are playing the game… but it IS still a very lucrative game if you know what you’re doing. It’s just more difficult and takes a lot of effort. Don’t be fooled by anyone telling you it’s easy because blogging is hard work!
So What Would I Say to Someone Thinking of Starting a Blog Today?
I’ve covered this pretty well in this post: Don’t Wait to Start a Blog… Do It Now. The title rather gives the game away regarding my thoughts on this!
If you are in any way thinking about starting a blog, my advice is… don’t wait around. Don’t imagine there’ll be a better time… because there’s never a better time to start anything than today!
Yes blogging is competitive. Of course, you don’t have much time at the moment. Yes your blog might not work out (because sometimes blogs fail). But if you don’t start a blog, you’ll never know what could have been.
You might feel you don’t have the knowledge to start blogging? Perhaps you feel you need advice about how to start? Maybe you’re not very confident or worry what people might think of you? Perhaps you’re concerned about what it might cost?
There are so many good tutorials online about how to start a blog. My own guide can get you up to speed quickly: How to Start a Blog (#shamelessplug).
If you’re worried about what people might think, don’t tell them when you start. Get a few blog posts under your belt and begin to feel comfortable in what you’re doing. This is how I started blogging initially. You might feel a little more bold to tell people about it when you start getting nice feedback from visitors!
I also understand the concern about money, but you can actually start a blog for free!
It’s not the best way to become a build a business and become a stratospheric blogger. However, it can get you up and running and you can use it to build up your skills and confidence until your ready to step up and invest a little.
Is it Too Late for You To Start Blogging?
It’s a valid question as it feels like everyone on earth has a blog. How can you compete in a world saturated with blogs?
Is it too late to start a blog? In my opinion, it depends. I tend to prefer thinking, yes, it is late to start because a stack of people started their blogs many years ago… but it’s not TOO late!
You may think you’re too late to the game to start blogging. But as this excellent article by marketing expert Mark Schaefer advises, early adopters are not necessarily guaranteed any more success than late bloomers… over time. I recognize Mark’s article specifically relates to first movers in social media, but I believe it’s applicable to blogging too in any niche and at any time.
It takes patience, effort and time.
Of course some niches are more competitive than others, but the fact is every niche is competitive. So if you have an idea for a blog, be aware of what you’re getting into and set your expectations correctly, but don’t necessarily be put off by competition. Just try to do things better than everyone else does but always be yourself… because that’s your edge. No-one else can be you!
It may take you years to get there, but time levels the playing field in terms of all those people who started ahead of you. Over time, with sustained commitment and effort, you can carve out a place for yourself.
You may never reach the dizzy heights of an uber-blogger earning a gazillion dollars every month. But creating a healthy side-income or even a full-time income is totally achievable over time.
That’s all for now!
I’ve shared how I started blogging… now it’s over to you! Leave a comment below and let me know your experiences / thoughts.