So You Want to Start a Blog…

posted by Momo Fali on May 24, 2012

I get emails on a daily basis from people who want to start blogging and who are looking for tips and advice. I want to tell them that I stumbled into this profession and that it’s all been dumb luck, but I suspect they’re looking for something more concrete.

If you want to blog for a hobby, or just have a place to journal, then you can move along. Nothing to see here. Go on! Git!

For the rest of you, who want to join the ranks of the 181 million blogs worldwide (NielsenWire, March 2012) and make money doing it, then read these pros and cons. There is no advice here, just the cold, hard facts of what you’ll face when you get started. Okay, they’re really just opinions. But, they’re my opinions and that makes them facts in my mind.

Con: If you want to be a successful blogger, you have to be involved in all aspects of social media to promote your content: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, LinkedIn, Google+, etc.

Pro: Social media is where you will find an amazing community of like-minded people. They read your posts, comment, give you affirmation, and commiserate with you. Sometimes, they even make you laugh.

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Con: It takes a lot of time to be a professional blogger. See this graph from Technorati? It doesn’t lie.

Pro: If you can put full-time hours into blogging, you would be hard-pressed to NOT make money from it (unless your content is awful, and in that case I got nothin’). And, if you can make money from blogging, there is no better job in the world. Last week, I got paid to take my family to an amusement park. Today, I’m working on a review for Michelob. Also, I’m wearing yoga pants.

*

Con: You work from home. Sure everyone thinks working from home is fantastic, but just for a moment, picture yourself working on spreadsheets, or trying to do your taxes, with two kids fighting, playing loudly, the dog barking, people coming to the door selling candy bars (okay, that’s not so bad) and being surrounded by the mess that you can never get completely cleaned up. Not to mention, that most nights I find myself working until very late into the evening. It’s not uncommon for me to still be plugging away at 11:00pm. My husband loves that.

Pro: Yoga pants.

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Con: People don’t take your profession seriously.

Pro: If you’re a blogger, then you’re a writer. Call yourself that and people are immediately impressed. It also helps if you wear blazers with suede elbow patches, just not with your yoga pants.

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Con: You have to know how to use blogging software or pay someone who does.

Pro: You can teach yourself. I am 100% self-taught. I can’t embed videos, but I’ve only been blogging for five years. Give me time. For the stuff that was over my head, I waited until I had earned money and hired a designer. See that tree in my header? If left to my own devices, it would look like this:

Don’t be intimidated by my skills.

*

Con: People think it’s easy. It’s not easy. You get writer’s block, you get a ton of emails, you have all of the ups and downs that go with self-employment, your spouse won’t understand WHAT THE HECK YOU’RE DOING ONLINE ALL THE TIME, you have to write proposals, create presentations and self-promote, self-promote, self-promote.

Pro: All the hard work is TOTALLYΒ  worth it.

Blogging has changed my life, introduced me to brilliant, successful, hilarious people and been the catalyst for a whole new career.

Really, need I say more?

    Comments

  • Canadian Dad


    Brilliant! If I wasn’t inspired before, I sure am now! So you’re saying I can wear yoga pants all the time, right? I’ve never work yoga pants but if that is a part of being a successful blogger, I’m willing to try! Thanks!!

  • tracey


    I agree with all of the above. I LOVE the advantages of blogging. The cons are definitely there, but the flexibility of blogging (and the celebrity status my kids think I have in Chicagoland) make it all worth it.

  • Wenderly


    So true! Well said, my dear. I agree with all of the above.

  • Vicki


    Yoga pants…helz yeah! Diane (and Wenderly), you both have been so encouraging and extremely helpful. Very informational post.

  • Anne (@notasupermom)


    You had me at yoga pants.

  • Neil


    It took me eight years to figure out how to change my header.

  • moosh in indy.


    con: 47% self employment tax.

    pro: yoga pants, and occasionally a new bed or two.

  • Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing]


    Major Pros: Yoga pants and TV

  • Aimee Giese | Greeblemonkey


    Right on, sister.

    major pro: meeting you.

  • piperoflove


    The time it takes is exactly reason why I am no longer a successful blogger.

    Getting married to a man who likes to take me outside to play all the time will do that to a girl, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything πŸ˜‰

    I admire you and your talent more and more, all the time. Well done! xo

  • Ilene


    Found this post in a re-tweet from @sellabitmum

    I am a newbie blogger Who is taking my new “work” very seriously. It’s not easy, and I am just starting to “find” my way. Thanks for your advice and insight. You got me at “Yoga pants!” xo Ilene

  • Elaine A.


    If only we had known what it would take, when we started 5 years ago… (I would still be doing it though, had NO idea what it was all about when I started).

    P.S. Hi! Hope to see you at BlogHer! πŸ™‚

  • Rita Arens


    I am wearing yoga pants RIGHT NOW.

  • RookieMom Whitney


    Also wearing yoga pants RIGHT NOW! At a cafe. (Shame on me!)

  • Kelly Wiggains


    I’ve just started professional blogging, and I’m loving it so far. My husband urged me to start years ago, and I just recently found the guts to do it. Thanks for the advice. Clearly, I need to invest in some yoga pants when I make my first blogging bucks!

  • Colleen


    I need to hurry up and buy more yoga pants. I knew I was going about this blogging thing in totally the wrong way.

    One of my problems is getting and maintaining focus. Focus to sit my butt in the chair and write… and focus in my actual blog. I’m trying to figure out how (and if) I can merge 3 blogs (um… why do I have 3 blogs???) How do I get someone to do that for me… because I’m clueless.

    But, I feel really special since I know how to embed video.
    πŸ™‚

    • Liz Elle


      I totally can relate to having 3 blogs….crazy.

  • Tara R.


    I want to be you when I grow up.

  • Missy


    Thanks for confirming what a lot of us knew deep in our hearts. Yoga pants are all that.

    Just started blogging a few months ago as well and I’ve realized there is SO much I don’t have a stinkin’ clue about. I’m going to BlogHer in the hopes of learning more. But not in my yoga pants.

  • Liz Elle


    I totally admire pro bloggers….I ADHD and a 3 y.o. daughter…Need I say more. Thanks for the info. I blog from Hawaii, but no bikinis for me!

  • Lisa


    So true! So true!

  • Toni Snearly


    Even though I’ve been blogging for years, I’ve never been able to dedicate my time to being a “pro-blogger.” I look at blogging as more of an opportunity driven hobby. πŸ˜€ Kudos!

  • Alexandra


    The women I’ve met, the friendships I’ve made, the difference in my mental health.

    i was slowly dying. I knew it, Not physically but figuratively.

    And now, you’d never recognize me as the woman I was 4 years ago, before I logged on.

    It’s worth everything I”ve put into it. I had two lives: one before blogging, and the one now.

    I am a different person.

    And I can never say how grateful I am in enough ways for anyone to understand.

    Loved this post.

  • Polish Mama on the Prairie


    Agreed! It’s hard work, people don’t take you seriously, husbands do not get it, and did I mention that it’s hard work? But it’s worth it. If you are a good writer. I agree, content is king.

  • meleah rebeccah


    Best. Blogging. Post. Ever.

  • Rachel Blaufeld, the Back'nGrooveMom


    so on point – but I would expect nothing less from you.

    Only thing I would add – TIME and Patience!
    Con: It takes a lot of patience to build up a blog biz
    Pro: You get to wear yoga pants and eat candy bars while doing it….

    R

  • notsosuperscottishmummy


    I’m 10 posts in and I’m hooked. Not only on blogging but hooked on twitter too. Its a whole new world, stupidly I didn’t count on needing to be fulent in computer jargon and how to use one but today I learnt about HTML stuff, creating a link and how to shorten my url.
    It’s ace having great bloggers like yourself as inspiration!!
    May have to steal your line though ‘forget your troubles come read about mine’ love it xx

  • Happiechick/Magee


    Thanks again!!!!!! You are awesome and so is this post!!!!! Happiechick is grateful for all of your advice and pros and cons! My favorite is working in yoga pants! πŸ™‚

  • mrsmouthy


    I totally appreciate this blog, Momo. I’d love to make money blogging and sometimes get mad at myself for not trying harder, but once I read your cons I realized that those are the real reasons I’m not making money at it. It’s not that I can’t; it’s that I don’t want to. Thank you for helping me see that!

  • Winnie


    Enjoyed reading your article. Yoga pants cracked me up. I am a new blogger (March) and am using it to share my crafts. Not so much for money (yet) but it has opened doors like being on a design team! Thank you for this info.. (I am glad I have a brother in IT as I am one of those who don’t know as much as I need to…and he helps…) I am even going to BlogHer to learn more!

  • Erin


    This post is fabulous! This is exactly what I deal with on a day to day basis except I’m 6 months and working pro bono. I love it.

  • Lori Lavender Luz


    I suppose if you wanted to, you could also wear NO pants.

    Not that I want to.

    • Momo Fali


      True!

  • Indigo


    I love this! You get out of blogging what you put into it. Sure I still have a real job, but the second I come home at the end of the day I am in yoga pants! πŸ™‚

  • Indigo


    I also finally read your About page and want to say THANK YOU for the Momo Fali explanation. LOL! Yes, it’s something I’ve wondered about. πŸ™‚

    • Momo Fali


      Ha! I bet now you’ll see Mom of Ali every time.

  • dadknowsbetter


    Great pro & con list. As someone who’s just getting started, I appreciate the perspective. But I probably won’t go with the yoga pants…

  • Corporate Wife


    I need to get off the hobby/professional fence, so I can rock more yoga pants.

  • Suzanne Pick


    Thanks for the post. I still don’t understand how anyone can make money off blogging unless they have a ton of followers – wouldn’t that be the hardest part?

    • Momo Fali


      That’s definitely part of it, and that’s part of what takes up so much time; developing an audience.

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