Are You Hesitating On Starting A Blog?

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Are You Hesitating On Starting A Blog

I get sent plenty of questions from people asking about the different aspects of blogging and running a website.  One of the most common types of people who get in touch are from individuals who are thinking about, but are hesitating on starting a blog.  If you are one of these people then you are not alone.  It is completely natural to feel like that (I went through a similar thing when I started), so I thought I’d but together this post to address the common issues that people face before taking the plunge and launching their first blog.

Money Is Tight

“I want to start a website, but money is tight.”

This is an issue that comes up a lot and is a very valid question that people need answering.   What do you do when you want to start a blog, but you have a very limited budget.

Well firstly, many people often overestimate just how much a website costs to setup/run.  We talk about this in our ‘How Much Does It Cost To Build A Website’ where we estimate that you can get a self-hosted site up and running for about $60.51 for a WHOLE year (which is only $5.04 a month or $1.16 a week if you work it out like that).  That really isn’t a lot when you think about it.  Essentially you are investing in a business, as your website could easily make that back through advertising, affiliate marketing, product sales, etc.

Still, if money is a problem then there are some free alternatives that you could use.  These certainly aren’t anywhere near as good as self-hosted sites, but they do allow you to get online quickly.  There are plenty of different blogging platforms to choose between, but if I had to recommend one I’d go with WordPress.com.  The fact that it is WordPress means that you have plenty of flexibility over the look and feel of your site, plus if you want to transfer to a self-hosted site in the future (which is much better) then it is fairly straight forward to do with WordPress.

No Experience/ Think It Is Too Complicated

“I want to start a blog but I have no idea where to start.”

This is something that I think everyone feels when first starting out.  You have to remember though that even the most successful website owners started at this point.

Website building and blogging have come a long way in a fairly short period of time.  At one time you needed to be a computer whiz that was really knowledgeable about coding.  Nowadays, thankfully that isn’t the case anymore.   Systems like WordPress make it really easy to setup a website without the need to learn any code at all.  That leaves you able to concentrate on what is really important and focus on the content of your website.

Probably the most complex thing that you need to learn about (sooner rather than later) is about SEO (Search Engine Optimization), but even then, that isn’t too complicated when you learn the fundamentals.  Essentially it is just a way to make your site and individual posts more visible to the search engines, which is what will send you the most traffic.  On-page SEO techniques is where you need to start as they can really help attract more traffic to your site.

Anything can seem scary and complicated when you know little about it.  “Knowledge is power” as they say, so it is just a case of getting stuck in and learning about it.  If I can do it, then anyone can!

Don’t Know What To Blog About

“I want to start a blog but I have no idea on what to write about.”

If you are at the point where you know that you want to setup a blog, but just haven’t got a clue on what that blog should be about, then you need to sit down with a pan & pen and do some planning.

The first thing that I say to anybody in this situation is – “What are you passionate about?”

You need to be passionate about the subject you want to blog about.  It takes a lot of work in the initial stages to get a site up and running, so you need to be interested in that subject.  Pick a subject for the wrong reasons (simply to make money) and you may find that you lose interest quickly.  I absolutely love blogging and helping people, which is what keeps me interested and motivated to keep putting in the hours on this site.

Whilst passion is obviously vital, you still need to think about the direct you want to take the site in and, of course, whether there is an audience out there that would be interested.

Frog

You may have a huge, slightly mad passion about frogs (for example), but would there be enough people who share that passion to start a website on it.  You may be better, in that case, broadening out a bit to cover other amphibians, therefore widening your target audience.

Frogs may be a daft example (to most anyway), but hopefully you see the point.  You need to find a nice balance between something that “you” are interested in and something that “lots of people” find interesting as well.  Let’s face it; you could have the world’s best site on [insert subject], but if you are the only one interested in it, then what is the point!

Check out our post on choosing a blog niche for more information.

Too Many Ideas To Blog About

“I want to start a blog but I have too many ideas on what to write about.”

Opposite to the previous point, you may have lots of different ideas on what to blog about.  This is actually one of the most common types of question that I get asked.  It’s easy to do, after all, plenty of ideas can race through you head on what you could focus on.  The key is to focus on one or two, instead of all of them.

You may be interested in;

  • Technology
  • Health & Fitness
  • Food
  • Films
  • Frogs (why not)

Clearly, starting a blog that tries to cover all of these subjects would be ridiculous.  Not only would you struggle to find a target audience (as they wouldn’t know what your main focus was), but you would also be spreading yourself too thinly by writing on all these unrelated subjects.

Instead, you would be much better focusing on one or two of these.  That way, when people discover your site, it is clear to see what your main focus is.  For example, a blog on healthy food or technology used in the movie business would be good topics to focus on.

Still Hesitating On Starting A Blog?

Winners-Never-Quit

Starting a blog can be a big decision, especially if it is your first.  There is a lot to consider beforehand, but at the end of the day there comes a point where you need to pluck up the courage and take the plunge by actually starting your site.  You can’t possibly learn everything beforehand, but if you take it in small steps you can learn and improve your site as you go along.  Don’t be afraid to make mistakes as you are bound to make plenty.  There is nothing wrong with making mistakes as they are often the best way of learning.

Just remember that every successful website started at the very same point.  All you need is that one spark of an idea and some persistence, with that anything is possible!

Are you thinking about starting your own blog but don’t know where to start?  Do you have any questions that you need answering before taking the plunge?  If so, please feel free to leave them below in a comment and I will try to answer them for you.

About Matt Smith

Matt Smith is the founder and editor of OnlineIncomeTeacher. He is a Professional Blogger, SEO Consultant & Web Developer, running a number of sites from the UK. Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

  • http://www.bizzebee.com/ Clair Trebes

    Great stuff Matt :) Do you know I was only having a chat with a friend last night about the benefits of starting a blog in this manner, rather than paying “other sites” $25 a month for a sub standard set up.

    It’s an awesome learning curve, I’ve loved, hated it and probably gained a few grey hairs in the process but I’m glad i did it when I did ……. Plus you get to build a business in the process :D

    • http://onlineincometeacher.com/ Matt Smith

      Hi Clair,

      I know exactly how you feel :) Blogging is both amazing and very frustrating at the same time. I wouldn’t change that though as, like you say, you get to build your own business and learn loads whilst doing so.

      There really is no need to pay these generic types of sites that will manage your site for you. They are way too expensive, your site just ends up looking like all the rest and (more importantly) they don’t attract the same levels of traffic as self-hosted sites. Blogging really is one of the cheapest ways to get a business up and running, you are FAR better doing it your self and going for the self-hosted option, rather than getting someone else to do it.

  • http://www.soniamharris.com Sonia

    Thanks for this post Matt. Very useful information for people thinking about – sitting on the fence or worried about getting outside their comfort zone. When I speak to people I definitely get the impression that they think it is far too complicated to start a blog. I think for some people they still don’t really understand what a blog is and how it could benefit their business.

    • http://onlineincometeacher.com/ Matt Smith

      Hi Sonia,

      I’d completely agree! I get asked a lot of questions about blogging and many are from people who are under the impression that it is very complicated or believe that it is out of their reach. In reality, it is very easy to setup a site nowadays and start writing about your passion.

      I also agree that many small businesses aren’t making proper use of a blog simply because they don’t see its benefit. A blog, no matter what subject your site is about, is one of the best (if not THE best) ways to attract traffic to a site. Site’s need regular content, not only to attract new visitors via the search engines, but also to attract past visitors back to the site again.

      Blogging has definitely come a long way in the past few years, but clearly there is still a way to go before it is seem to be the “norm” for the majority of people.

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