Should I be Publishing a Blog?

Peter B. GiblettStarred Page By Peter B. Giblett, 9th May 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/2ohxu_51/
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Writing>Blogging

There is a great temptation for everyone to create a blog and certainly at times it seems the 'hip' thing to do. Yet not everyone should create one and there are many reasons to consider before doing so.

Questions to Think About

It might seem an easy answer, but it isn't. Should I have a blog?

For most businesses the answer should be a resounding "Yes" (provided they have the staff to support it by adding periodic posts). The focus of such a blog should be about getting the best out of the company's products or how to resolve any issues that have been identified. The good thing about a corporate or brand blog is that many people in the organisation can contribute and provide interesting stories, even the guy on the production line. There are no end of stories that can be told about your products and services that to your customers will provide a great deal of interest and may aid trust in the marketplace and business growth. This article though is not about business blogging it focuses on personal blogging.

A personal blog on the other-hand needs to be approached differently. First any person having the urge to write should be aware that there are many ways to have your material published. One such route is to post your material on a general writing site like Wikinut or Hub-pages.

If you can answer "Yes" to each of the following questions then you should have a blog:

  • Is your writing focused on a specific topic (e.g. support for war widows)?
  • Will you be providing new material weekly?
  • Do you have the patience to research all aspects of the topic?
  • Will you still be passionate about this topic/subject in 1 years time?
  • Will you be passionate about it in 3 years?
  • Will you still be passionate about it in 5 years?
  • Do you have the patience to publicise the Blog every day?
  • Can you create detailed and specific material?

Tough Questions

These are tough questions and deliberately so as maintaining a blog can become a part time job (and there is no one to pay you for your efforts, although you may earn something by carrying advertising), plus it has many forward thinking responsibilities.

Some bloggers do become popular, but usually after a great deal of effort by the writer and with particular attention to their social media popularity, yet truth is most popular bloggers are no longer publishing after 3 years, either because of other commitments or because they ran out of steam on the subject, or because they have other publishing ideals which take them in a new direction. A blog should be focused and able to resolve people's problems or provide inspiration about the subject, otherwise readers will not gravitate towards it and furthermore keep coming back for more information when they need it.

When I talk about the topic of the blog this should not be too narrow, e.g. pork belly recipes, because the narrower the topic the harder it is to create original material. The topic should not be too wide, e.g. everything you need to know about running a business, because the wider the topic range the less focused articles tend to be. When you have selected a topic, e.g. vintage American auto-mobiles, it should be a subject you both have a passion for and an expertise in, passion alone is rarely enough for a successful blog.

Writing Off Topic

One of the worst mistakes to make with a blog is to set it up and start discussing one topic then migrate over time to a seemingly unrelated topic, this will confuse the early readers who followed you and liked your focus then would be confused as you change focus then never return to the original topic and worse still your title of "Curried Delights" has little relevance to your new topic of growing vegetables year-round in your greenhouse.

It is always permissible to make an occasional off-topic post (because this shows you to be a real person having varied interests), but it is best that they are tied back to your topic in some way - for example telling your readers about the challenges of adding videos to your gardening blog and relating it as a funny story because you are a gardener not a computer programmer. People love it when you provide a Christmas story (or indeed one relating to another holiday) and these do not need to relate to the topic at all (or even have a moral associated with them), they show the world that you are for a few days having a little bit of fun and once the holiday is over you return to normality, providing that guiding hand to those that need it.

Generally speaking though if you intend to write on other topics then you should seek another place to publish that content, perhaps a general writing site.

So are you Going to Create a Blog?

Having looked at and read all of this advice it is possible that you have made up your mind one way or the other.

If you have decided that writing a blog is not for you but you would still like to contribute by writing some general material then the best choice would be to write for a general writing site, like Wikinut or Hub-pages - post your articles on a regular basis and even potentially earn some money from doing so, you won't get rich, but the process should help you grow as an author.

If you think that a blog is the right way to go then you must firstly consider where you will create it - if you decide on creating your own domain it will cost in the region of $12 for the name (e.g. tipz4writing.com) and have to pay about $100 per year to host the site, once you own the domain you will need to install the software and link it to your site (not as complex as it sounds), then you will need to configure the software in order to customise the site to look the way you like it before you can start writing. You can publish using existing on-line blog software (and the name of your blog may be more like tipz4writing.wordpress.com) but you may save on many of the start-up costs.

Writing on-line, irrespective of your route to publishing, can be immensely rewarding, but to write well takes not only writing skills but the ability to criticise and ruthlessly edit your own material, think like a layout editor (by finding relevant pictures or images to accompany your material). Most significantly you have to think like the publisher, creating a schedule for what material should be published and when (a post about Christmas decorations should not be published in May because it has no relevance but equally it must be crafted early enough to be ready for publication during November or December, so it may be written in May and held back for later publication).

Articles need to be Detailed and Specific

As mentioned earlier any blog should be focused on a specific subject matter and can include product reviews, how to tips and specialist advice, but generally you should aim to get detailed within each article penned, hazy thoughts are rarely appreciated. So a financial investment blog may explain how to use a specific formula that may be used to track future projected earnings, thus it is providing the reader with specific knowledge about some of the tools they may be using on a regular basis allowing them to know why and not just how to use them. They may never break the formula down to use it, but they will now be armed with greater knowledge from this point on.

People want detail, they want to know why or how something happens in order to get a better picture about the things they use on a regular basis. Video, pictures and diagrams help explain that detail.

Pictures & Images

  • Blog - word art by Peter Giblett
  • Gossip by IMSI (royalty free images purchased by writer)
  • Blog word cloud by Peter Giblett
  • My thoughts by IMSI
  • Hazy Triangles by IMSI

Other articles

Here are recent work by Peter B. Giblett that may be of some interest:

Wikinut is great a place to share some of your own personal wisdom by adding a comment or becoming a writer, join Wikinut and write.

Tags

Blog, Create, Criticise And Ruthlessly Edit, Many Ways, Material, Publish, Published, Readers, Urge To Write

Meet the author

author avatar Peter B. Giblett
Author of "Is your Business Ready? For the Social Media Revolution"

Social media consultant, with C-Level background.

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Comments

author avatar Deepizzaguy
10th May 2015 (#)

Thank you for sharing your advice of blogging.

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author avatar M G Singh
10th May 2015 (#)

Nice post, but I willl recommend a blog as part of self expression and it will also generate pocket money. My blog is a hit with over 125,000 views and is going up by the day.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
13th May 2015 (#)

Madan, I am positive your blog to be a success, but I know you will have worked hard to make it that way.

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author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
10th May 2015 (#)

My wife started a few blogs, but over the years has lost interest, I have started a few as well but am doing other things mostly now also.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
13th May 2015 (#)

Mark, sadly that is the tale of Blogs the world over. As soon as the writer loses interest they lose their audience then the blog sits there lost in limbo.

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author avatar M G Singh
10th May 2015 (#)

A Blog requires some hard work and then only it can succeed. A casual blog will go nowhere

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author avatar pohtiongho
10th May 2015 (#)

Does any guy know which is the best paying site at the moment?

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author avatar Nancy Czerwinski
10th May 2015 (#)

Peter, thank you so much for going into such great detail on rather a person should have a blog or not. My main worry is the time that would have to be invested in a blog. Smiles to you today and always.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
13th May 2015 (#)

Nancy, that is one of the reasons the questions that I ask are so tough and forward thinking.

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author avatar Shamarie
10th May 2015 (#)

Great post, Peter! Thanks!!!

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
10th May 2015 (#)

I am with Wikinut only and enjoy a smooth ride and great camaraderie. A personal blog could well prove a challenge with the efforts needed to get exposure and publicity.

You should now be counting the hours for the cornea transplant, I wish you the best of luck Peter - siva

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
13th May 2015 (#)

I was counting down the time before the operation. We all put in a lot of effort to publicise our Wikinut pages, but on a blog it is much tougher because there are no other writers who may include links to your work.

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author avatar Ptrikha
10th May 2015 (#)

I have a blog since 9 years, but frankly it is a total casual one. For a money making or popular blog, one has to devote a lot of time, and contribute almost second or third day, plus make a lot of effort in advertising, and SEO etc.

As for me, currently writing sites are a better option considering the limits on my time.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
13th May 2015 (#)

People normally underestimate the time required in order to make it a success.

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author avatar Retired
12th May 2015 (#)

I have wondered about going down the blogging route, as opposed to writing on sites such as Wikinut, but I'm not convinced that it's the right way to go.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
13th May 2015 (#)

John I am probably asked this about six times a year and have been thinking hard about the reasons to have one (and question whether it offers an advantage for most people over sites like Wikinut) and have come to the conclusion it generally does not.

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author avatar pohtiongho
13th May 2015 (#)

John: It is the right way if you are willing to cough up a few dollars every month to maintain your site. I tried that for two years, and I lost some money. So I wrapped up.

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author avatar vandana7
15th May 2015 (#)

Nice analysis. I guess I am not cut out for it. :)

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author avatar Retired
23rd May 2015 (#)

Good advice for those thinking about blogging.

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