Sunday, February 15, 2015

Blogging Advice and Tips from the Rock and Roll Chemist (PART 5)



In the first four parts of this series, we discussed the nuts and bolts of effective blogging based on my experiences. These included how to get your blog off of the ground, how to produce great content, and how to network and promote yourself. Those were very specific, process-based suggestions and are very important. However, the final part of this series, which you're reading now, has an equally vital piece of guidance for your blog and it's one that has very little, if anything, to do with your actual blog. Rather, it has to do with your motivations and reasons for doing what you do.  My final takeaway message and bit of advice for your blogging is...

PART 5: Make Sure You're Blogging for the Right Reasons...and HAVE FUN!

I feel that the WHY you blog is as important as the HOW, WHERE, and WHEN. Allow me to explain...

Those of us who blog on a regular basis do so for a variety of reasons. These include, but are not limited to, the following (all of which I personally cite as my own): an outlet for creativity, a love of writing, a desire to share knowledge and expertise, and a way to gain exposure for our content.  The advent of the Internet and of blogs for all has led to countless people being able to blog for whichever of these reasons, and any others, while giving them the freedom to do as they please.  This can be nothing but a good thing, but there are some who are into the whole blogging scene for the wrong reasons, at least my opinion. While it's just that, my opinion, I do believe from many discussions I've had with other bloggers as well as reading the views of numerous bloggers and writers, that these reasons for blogging are indeed at best disingenuous and at worst, flat out wrong.  What are these reasons I'm speaking of?

The vast majority of them involve people getting into blogging for the sole purpose of making money. Now, the debate in the blogging community with regards to monetizing blogs and trying to earn money from them is as old as blogging itself. I also want to stress that there's nothing wrong with trying to earn money from blogging; I'd be lying if I said I didn't do it myself (we'll get to this in a bit). But I and most other bloggers are under no illusions about earning big bucks from blogging...while it would of course be fantastic to earn a living as a blogger, the success stories out there (and there are many) are still by far the exception and not the rule. That being said, there are many things bloggers do to earn a bit, some of which I myself do: ads, affiliate links, and selling products are all acceptable and effective (to varying degrees) ways of trying to earn small amounts of revenue for your blog. These small bits of revenue generated are incidental to the reasons why we blog, though. If I was for whatever reason unable to monetize my blog, I'd still continue blogging because I do it for the passion I have for writing about the things I love and wanting to share that excitement and expertise with others.


It's not that money is bad...it's not! But it shouldn't be your motivation for blogging.

Where I and many others take issue, however, is when the sole motivation behind a blog is for trying to earn money. Even worse, it's usually done to try and earn fast money which makes it more crass and obvious.  It's perfectly fine to try and sell your product(s) on your blog(s)...I do the same thing with my books both here and on my blog dedicated to my books' subject matter. However, as I've mentioned elsewhere, it needs to be done in a way that doesn't seem hucksterish (I made that word up...like it?) and overt.  Folks that blog for the sole purpose of clickbaiting for ad revenue or trying to sell products online are usually easy to spot a mile away. No one likes going to these blogs and spending any time on them; my advice to you is to not ever be one of these blogs. If these are the reasons you are thinking of blogging, I'd advise you to find something else to do. Blogging not about making money. Can you earn some cash from blogging? Yes, but your likelihood of earning more than some gas money from month to month is slim to none unless you hit it big.  Just relax and blog for the right reasons instead!  The same goes for trying to get famous from blogging. While increased recognition will come when you've earned it (and this is something I've definitely reaped the benefits of through a lot of hard work and patience), if you make it painfully obvious that you're only blogging in order to get discovered and "make it big, fast" you will turn away visitors as mentioned above.

The main takeaway message I offer to you in this final part, and in actuality my overriding piece of advice for every part in this series, is that if you're not blogging for the right reasons, whatever they may be for you as an individual, that you should think twice about whether blogging is right for you. If you *are* blogging for the right reasons, that's great and I and every other blogger welcome you into the community. The biggest piece of advice I have, first and foremost over everything else then, is this:

HAVE FUN!

Above all else, blogging should be fun! While we all worry about number of pageviews, comments (or lack thereof), exposure, blogging's ability to open up new opportunities for us, and acceptance by our blogging peers and competition, I urge you to not sweat these details too much. I know this is easier said and done, and even the most seasoned and experienced bloggers (including yours truly!) will admit that this is hard to do. However, like anything else in life, all of the good things will follow if you keep a positive attitude and maintain a joy and excitement for what you do. It will become contagious to your readers and peers and lead to success, which can come in many forms.  Intertwined with generating great content, networking, and building up your reputation, a fun-loving and positive attitude can make all the difference in the blogging world, so keep at it and enjoy what you're doing! Because if you enjoy what you blog about, the chances are everyone else eventually will, too.

***I hope this series has been informative, interesting, and fun! As I've stated repeatedly throughout, everything you've read is my opinion and my opinion alone. While I base it all on experience and information gathered over the years, I maintain that I am no expert. My sole purpose for this series was to have fun, impart my knowledge and advice, and try to help as many other bloggers, old and new, as I could. I hope I've succeeded in some small manner in any one of these areas; if I have, I'll consider this series a success. With that said, one of the things that makes any blogger successful is the feedback of their peers, so I'd more than welcome any comments, criticisms, and pearls of your own wisdom in the comments section below. Thanks again for reading and keep blogging...I know I will!***

8 comments:

  1. Wise words: have fun! If it isn't fun or stops being fun, step away, recharge until it becomes what you loved in the first place!

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  2. Exactly! Very wise words of advice and not just for blogging but for anything in life.

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  3. Completely agree: I think you should always be clear in your own head about your personal reasons for blogging, this guides what you do and should lead to a better and more interesting blog for the reader too.

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    1. Indeed! No one wants to read a blog where it's clear they just want you there to earn them money or push a product on you. I know that *I* don't like going to blogs like that!

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  4. Nice post!
    and indeed, it's all about having fun from it !

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    1. Thanks! And I agree, if you're not having fun doing it, then you're doing it for the wrong reasons.

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  5. I appreciate seeing a balanced view of blogging for fun - and monetizing. There are many other ways to make money - some much more effective. But there are few other ways for a writer to reach so many folks, so easily.

    Fun is good, too. ;)

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    1. Thanks, Brian! I'm with you, making money is obviously nice but it shouldn't be the sole reason for blogging. As you said, it's a great creative outlet that allows you to ply your trade and reach a large audience of like-minded people. It's fun, to boot, which is an added bonus. Making a little money off of it is just the icing on the cake :)

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