Bad Reasons to Start a Blog
This is a post in a series inspired by this post about why you should start a blog. We’ll get back to talking through the reasons you should start a blog in the next post in this series, but first... let's talk about a few bad reasons to start a blog.
Can you end up with a successful blog even if you start it for one of the bad reasons outlined in this post?
If the reason you want to start a blog is included in this post, it simply means that you may be less stressed, more fulfilled and happier if you focus on doing something else besides blogging.
And who doesn't want to be less stressed, more fulfilled, and happier?
So grab your coffee and let’s discuss whether or not starting a blog makes sense for you.
Bad Reason to Start a Blog #1:
Because You Want to Make Easy Money
The prevalence of the belief that blogging is easy money is arguably our own fault as bloggers. I read way too many posts implying that all I need to do is set up a blog, and before I know it, I’ll be retiring to a yacht. But here I am, 7 years into blogging, decidedly not living on a yacht.
Since I run across a lot of posts that don’t make this very clear, I will: bloggers don’t always make money from their blogs. And when they do, it’s generally not easy or fast.
If you need to make money, it probably makes more sense for you to focus on income-generating activities with a better return on your time investment and more predictable results than blogging. And let’s be clear: there is nothing wrong with that. Doing what you need to do to get your finances in order is always a smart choice.
And that choice doesn’t have to be all or nothing. You can start a blog while pursuing your financial goals through other income-generating activities if you want to. Then, you won’t be reliant on the blog to pay your bills, but you’ll still have a creative outlet when you need one. Win-win.
Bad Reason to Start a Blog #2:
Because You Are Choosing the Default Option
Due to the constantly growing number of blogs, and the constantly growing number of posts telling you that you can also start a blog (and probably that you can make money and live on a yacht too), I don’t fault anyone for assuming that blogging is easy or that everyone is doing it.
To be honest, I’m almost certain that you can start a blog. But most of us can do quite a variety of things. The more important question is do you want to start a blog?
Do you like writing? Do you want to write? Do you see yourself writing long term and consistently?
The conventional wisdom in most of the posts I read about starting a blog is that you should just start one whether you are sure you want to or not. If it fails, it’s no big deal because blog hosting is cheap.
While I'm generally a fan of testing out ideas to see if they work and learning as we go, I’m also a fan of Squarespace as a blogging platform. Since Squarespace is more expensive than the Wordpress and Bluehost combo that most of the bloggers I see are recommending, it warrants a bit more thought on the front end.
But thinking ahead about whether or not you actually want to start a blog (before you start one) isn’t just about the cost.
The situation I really want to avoid is the one where you are looking for a creative outlet that you can do for fun on the side of your full-time job or other obligations, so you choose to blog because that’s what everyone else seems to be doing. But blogging isn’t a good fit for your personality or preferences because you have no interest in writing whatsoever, and it becomes just another obligation on your list of things that need to get done. This is permission, just in case you needed it, to choose a creative outlet that makes YOU happy.
Even if that isn’t blogging.
Bad Reason to Start a Blog #3:
Because You Want to Be Famous
I get asked a lot of questions about blogging, but this is one of my favorites. Although it generally isn’t phrased exactly like this, the underlying question is: if I’ve been blogging at Sarah Going for 3 years, why aren’t I famous yet?
Um, I guess because I’m a failure?
Totally kidding! I’m not a failure, and neither are any of the other long-term bloggers out there who aren’t household names in every household in the world. This question is a bit ridiculous, so it warrants a ridiculous answer (which I occasionally give when I get asked this in person). But I’ll give a serious answer here:
I’m not famous yet because getting famous isn’t one of my goals.
I don’t say that to imply that wanted to get famous, I could. What I’m saying is if your goal is to get famous, blogging may not be for you. Most of the best bloggers I know do it because they love to blog and can’t imagine doing anything else... and that comes across in their writing. Ironically, it is these bloggers – the ones who are just here to tell an authentic story, help people, and share truth – that tend to end up getting “internet famous”.
Bottom line: if you aren’t here to be authentic, you may end up being disappointed by your prospects for fame (or lack thereof).
A related question I get asked about blogging is how to get famous (build a large following, get sponsored, make money, live on a yacht, etc.) without doing any work. I’ll answer that question here as well. Generally, if you aren’t interested in putting in any work toward a goal, you need to find a different goal.
Do something with your time that you love so much, it doesn’t even feel like work to you. This isn’t always possible with your full-time source(s) of income, so the creative endeavors you pursue on the side should be something you like doing if at all possible.
You need to enjoy the journey.
Because life is mostly journey, and only a tiny bit destination.
To Blog or Not to Blog?
If the reason you are thinking about starting a blog is on this list, it is worth putting some additional thought into whether or not a blog is the best fit for you... primarily because there may be something else that is a better fit.
Whatever you decide to start doing (whether that is a blog, a podcast, an online store, a full-time job, a part-time job, a side hustle, a freelance gig, or something else entirely), I hope you end up fulfilled and happy.
I also hope you end up on a yacht, so you can invite me to visit.
I would love to hear about your decision to blog or not to blog. Are there other bad reasons to start a blog that I missed? Let me know in the comments.