Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Thoughts on blogging after nine years of my travel blog: why you should or shouldn't start a blog

Last week my first blog love, my travel blog Not A Ballerina, turned nine. Yep, nine whole years have passed since I first sat down at my little desk in my flat in Germany and started a blogspot blog, not really having any clue about what it was all about, and even less clue that I'd still be doing it nine years later and that it would be starting to make an income. It was a big month for my little blog because apart from having a birthday, I also (finally!) had it moved from the Blogger platform to WordPress.

Back when I started, I hadn't even heard of WordPress, yet know it's the absolute platform of choice for serious bloggers, and I had been putting off this move for years. There are a bunch of things that I can do now that I couldn't do in Blogger (although, to be fair, Blogger has become much more robust over the years I've been using it) and I knew that it was really time. The blog got to have a bit of a spring clean redesign at the same time and I'm super-grateful to Kelly Exeter at Swish Design for making the change so much less scary than I'd expected!

The new look of my travel blog, Not A Ballerina

Blogging has changed SO much in these last nine years. It was really just a hobby for pretty much everyone when I started, or at most a place to showcase your work or create a bit of a portfolio. Now it's a whole profession. It's amazing! It's also one of the most exciting things I've ever had the chance to be involved in.

But of course, people still come along and ask me why they should start a blog. There are a lot of reasons to start one, but it sure isn't for everyone. Here's my take ...

Why you SHOULD start a blog

  • You are crazily passionate about a particular topic (and it doesn't matter if there are already heaps of blogs on your topic - in fact it's probably a good sign)
  • You quite like writing. It's easier if you LOVE to write, but not minding it at least is a good start.
  • You have some ideas for photos or other images you could use in a blog. These days a blog can rarely afford to be words alone. (PS: check out a site like Canva if you think you can't make cool images.)
  • You have or can create a few spare hours a week at least. Blogging is a relatively time-consuming hobby. (On the plus side, it's a relatively cheap hobby, so that's something.)
  • You can sit down and write a list of at least 20 topics for individual blog posts without thinking too hard. 
  • You have a plan: if you're hoping to turn a blog into a business, then you need to have a good think through before you start. Rather than, like me, blundering along for seven or eight years completely randomly before trying to be more strategic about it! (Better late than never, of course.)
  • And mainly: because you might really, really love blogging, get to meet lots of great people because of your blog, and have a true feeling of satisfaction and pleasure every single time you hit the Publish button.

Why you SHOULDN'T start a blog

  • You really hate writing. It is a real slog to write a blog (ha! that rhymes!) if the words part really doesn't come easily to you at all.
  • Just because someone advises you that you need a blog to help your business. Yes, a blog will very likely help your business, but not if you just get it set up and then rarely post there. You have to really want to do it.
  • You want to write down heaps of stuff about your family and friends. This will end in disaster. Blogs are meant to be personal, yes, but that doesn't give you a licence to divulge all the personal experiences of other people.
  • You think you can generate an income from a blog pretty much straight away and without too much hard work. You're better off just buying lottery tickets!
  • You have no spare time at all.
  • You don't even like using a computer very much.

Do you blog? Do you want to start one?

Bloggers: what do you think of my list? Knowing what you know now, would you still go back in time and start the same blog, or would you do things differently?

Non-bloggers: are you tempted? Do you have any questions about the blogging life?

Let me know in the comments!


  1. Great! Love the run down of to blog or not to blog :) I think you nailed it when you said that you really have to love doing it - if you don't it will be a constant source of guilt because it's time consuming and needy ... always needy! But wait ... one more reason to blog ... for the online friends you make who magically turn into real life friends :)

    1. Oh definitely Jo! Imagine, without blogging we would never have met!
      But love it that you describe blogs as needy. You're so right.

  2. Great list Amanda! I think one thing I've discovered is that blogs become more time consuming the longer you've been doing them - I thought it should be the other way around, but it's not for me. The more I blog, the more I want to make my blog better and so the more work I put into it. If only there were more hours in the day ...
    And congrats on turning 9!

    1. Thanks Tash! And yes, I have to agree, the more I blog, the longer my blog seems to take - there's always more to do. Very true.

  3. If you are having fun and as a hobby doing it for you why not. I enjoy blogging as it's improved my writing and I've met some fab people. One thing I have learnt is don't give into pressure as it spoils the experience x

    1. Oh yes, Rae, everyone like YOU should start a blog because the world needs more bloggers like you! I have so loved following your blogging journey so far!

  4. Hello fellow blogger :) i started blogging hoping to monetise my blog eventually but even if i dont't i love what i m blogging abt- DIY travel food shopping etc- so no harm done :)

    1. Great attitude Happinesswherever - enjoy the journey and if it works out in the $$ sense that's great but if not, if you're enjoying it then that's great as well.

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