Despite the fact that I say every week on the podcast that my audience is writers, bloggers, and creatives, today I’m going to talk about why you DON’T need a blog. No, REALLY. This may go against a lot of common advice, but I think it also relates to the current state of the internet as well as common sense. So, should YOU be blogging? Let’s find out!
Listen to Episode 75 – Why You DON’T Need a Blog
Why You DON’T Need a Blog
The common advice if you want to make money online is to start a blog. If you want to publish a book, often you will hear that you need to start a blog. WHATEVER IT IS YOU ARE TRYING TO DO ONLINE, people will tell you that you need a blog. But DO you actually need a blog?
Maybe. But maybe not.
Before you decide if you need a blog or not, you need to consider your WHY. There are really two things you need to think about this: your end goal in terms of what you want to DO as well as what you want to get OUT of it. In other words, consider what you want to be doing and what the benefits of that thing will be.
An example would be that you may want to be a writer as your end goal. Your benefit could be that you make a full-time living. OR maybe you want to be a writer, but you mostly care about seeing your books in the hands of readers, not so much about the finances.
Before you can answer the question of IF you should blog, you need to know the WHY. You should also know what a blog is and what it can or cannot do. So let’s take 20 steps back to the history of the blog.
The History of Blogging
“Blog” actually comes from the term “web log,” which referred to the earliest days of the world wide web as we know it in the 1990s. Livejournal and Blogger became two very popular platforms, launching in 1999.
2003 saw the launch of WordPress and Google Adsense, two huge moves. WordPress would eventually grow to overtake Blogger (which Google purchased in 2002) as a blogging platform. Adsense brought in the idea of monetization, which would gradually and continually shift the nature of blogs.
In 2005, the first blogger was granted White House Press credentials, marking a shift and a blurred line between blogging and news reporting. The launch of The Huffington Post that same year only solidified this opening of the blog space to include more editorial and news angles than simply the personal.
With the arrival of Facebook in 2004 and Twitter in 2006, people began engaging on these social platforms in addition to blogs. Soon people used these platforms as vehicles to promote blog posts as well. This plus the Panda update in Google brought the gradual end to the age of “if you write it, readers will come.”
The 2009 film Julie & Julia became one of the first mainstream pop culture references to blogging as something that provide and income and personal success. By 2010, 11% of bloggers were earning their primary income through blogging.
The past five or so years have seen the rise of more and more blogs as viable income streams and other social media platforms as microblogs, also able to provide an income. Blogs are now much more indistinguishable from web SITES, a far cry from their roots as online diaries.
For a much more comprehensive timeline of blogging, check out this post from Hubspot!
Why You MIGHT Need a Blog
- You love the blogging platform
- Your end goal is to be a BLOGGER and bring in income through a blog
- You have the time and ability (and enjoy) doing all the social media-building and promoting that goes along with a blog
Why a Blog Might NOT Be the Right Choice for You
- If your end goal is NOT blogging
- If you don’t have the time to write a blog PLUS do all the things that will drive readers to your blog
- If you don’t love writing a blog
- If a blog takes the time away from your WHY (as in, if you are so busy blogging that you can’t write your book)
- If you don’t have the money or effort or know-how to create a professional blog
Blogging vs Alternative Ideas
A blog can be a vehicle for platform-building. But it may not be the BEST vehicle for you, depending on your goals and how you feel about blogging and all that goes along with it.
Social media of some kind is a MUST. But rather than simply use it as a vehicle to promote your blog, you could use a particular social media platform INSTEAD of a blog. It could be your main platform and way of connecting with readers. (Check out my Seriously Simple Social Media Guide to help you figure out which platform you need.)
You can also use other people’s platforms. (Read my tips on leveraging the power of someone else’s platform!) Write guest posts or write posts on Medium. Become a contributor on a large site. Apply to have your posts go up on the Huffington Post.
Consider your best medium. Maybe that’s NOT writing. Perhaps it’s video. Or more specifically, LIVE video vs edited videos. Maybe you love audio and want to launch a podcast as your main platform and way of connecting readers.
A Website vs a Blog
If you choose NOT to blog or to use another platform, you DO need a website. Many blogs look like websites these days, so I’ll be clear about what you need in terms of a website.
- A static home page with info about your & an opt-in to your email list
- A contact page
- A page about your books, your speaking, or the main thing you do
- Links to your social platforms
- A blog page – IF YOU WANT ONE
Is a blog right for you? Maybe. Maybe not. Circle back to your goals and your why. The blogosphere is really crowded and a lot of work these days to get traffic and find readers. Which may mean that a blog would take way more time than what results it would bring back. It simply may not be the best vehicle for what you want.
If you haven’t started a blog yet, I might recommend getting your static site up and then considering guest posting or focusing on another social platform that might have an easier entry point than a blog.
So…do YOU need a blog? Leave a comment to let me know what you think about the idea of blogging or NOT blogging.