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Ever scratched your head and wondered: should I start blogging? Got a friend who’s raving about the perks of running a blog? A relative who earns on the side with her website? Are you mesmerized by the thrilling lifestyles of famous bloggers? Feel you may be missing out?
Think that starting a website is for experienced webmasters and writers only? I’m living proof it’s not. Blogging changed my life for the better. It helped me transform from a penny-pinching drifter to a location-independent digital nomad who enjoys the liberties of a comfortable passive income stream.
Why you should start a blog, even if you’re not a writer.
Chances are starting your first website will be the best thing you’ll do this year. Here’s some motivation to get you started right now:
43 benefits of starting a (personal) blog
Make your mark on culture
1. Tell your story
Since the dawn of mankind, story telling has been what makes us human. From cave paintings and campfire tales to contemporary blogs, telling and listening to stories is what connects us. It makes us feel what others feel.
By looking up to heroes, stories inspire us to be who we want to be. Cautionary tales warn us to avoid traps. Stories teach, scare, incite, provoke, entertain, liberate, and educate.
All bloggers are storytellers (well, at least the good ones are). Whether your website or blog is about nerdfitness, dorkyoga, or Victorian fashion, you are telling a story.
“Those who tell the stories rule society.” ― Plato
2. To help other people out
By offering your expertise, by sharing your deepest feelings, by exposing your naked truths, or even by simply uttering your doubts you can help others overcome obstacles. Your words can instill courage, motivation, comfort, and inspiration.
Blogging, like doing business, is about helping people
- A detailed blueprint on how to write ‘ the best article’ on any topic in a future post.
3. You can build your own audience – start a tribe
By truly connecting with people you can form a crowd of like-minded folks. Why the hell would you want a tribe? There are several reasons but the main reason is to be able to optimally help people achieve something.
Whether you want to build a brand called you, start a small business (Me Inc.) or create a following of raving fans, in essence it all comes down to creating stuff that matters to you and the people you serve.
“It’s tribes that will spread idea’s, create a movement, and change the world. ”
4. Promote your art
It doesn’t matter if you write, paint, illustrate, act, make music, make jewelry, are a magician, a comedian, a crafter, a DIY dressmaker, a collector, or a ballet ballroom dancer. Nowadays, blogging * is your best bet to score a contract, publishing or record deal.
“People who cost too much: manager, lawyer, publicist, label, music publisher.” — Roger McNamee (Musician & Venture Capitalist)
For inspiration take a look at these 49 creative geniuses who use blogging to promote their art.
*Blogging in the broad sense which includes; vlogging, photo blogging, comic/cartoon blogging, you name it.
5. Transform your hobby into a business
It’s the modern equivalent of the ‘paperboy turns millionaire’ story: bloggers who transformed their hobby into a thriving online business. Whether it’s drone flying, touring the country in a motorhome or crocheting, a hobby blog can be the spotlight that leads to spectacular entrepreneurial success.
6. It’ll make you immortal (sort of)
The exposure of your well-thought out Facebook post is volatile. Even if it attracts lots of people commenting on how they agree or disagree with your view, it will be buried quickly under the constant stream of new Facebook posts. That is if Facebook allows it to show up on your friends’ timelines after all.
A killer blog post on your own website on the other hand will keep attracting readers and gathering comments for years to come (provided that it’s good).
Once it’s been written it’s there for eternity. The Wayback Machine and other sites preserving the internet’s history will ensure perpetual exposure.
You need to be heard
7. Your voice deserves a podium
You must have read those blog comments too. You may have written them. Those comments that make readers think; wow this is such a lucid and convincing expression, it needs to be read by more people than just the readers of this particular post.
It’s a shame, too often those articulate commenters don’t have their own blog. If you’re reading this chances are yours is one of those voices that deserve their own soap box. Don’t sell yourself and others short by posting on external media only, start your own website.
8. Create media, don’t consume media
Culture is not your friend. Culture smothers and chokes. It deadens our natural vivacity. The mainstream media (MSM) do not represent your best interest.
They scheme, manipulate, instigate fear, make you feel depressed and angry, and trick you into buying stuff you don’t need while perpetuating a catastrophic burden on our planet.
Let your voice be heard and generate an opposing sound to the corporate owned MSM. Simply by creating media instead of consuming them you’re taking matters into (y)our own hands.
9. Blog as a subversive act
Inspired by Terence McKenna’s somewhat radical perspective; blogging can be a form of personal empowerment. It can be a means of “deconditioning yourself from the values and the programs of the society and putting your own values and programs in place.”
“The way you stretch the envelope of culture is by creating language.” – Terence McKenna
The topic doesn’t really matter; you can blog about your mineral collection, home-made jambalaya or Pokemon. By taking stance outside the status quo, by producing instead of consuming, you are participating in a subversive act.
10. Blogging beats watching TV
Watching TV makes you stupid, research shows. Every evening again it’s up to you to decide. Do you choose to passively sit in front of a hypnotizing screen telling you what is real? Do you willingly expose yourself to dumbed down garbage, propaganda, and depressing advertising?
Or will you actively create and connect behind a screen, thus create your own reality? (and become smarter instead of dumber. More in a bit.) After a while you will experience the difference and feel much better about yourself.
“We have to stop consuming our culture. We have to create culture, don’t watch TV, don’t read magazines, don’t even listen to NPR. Create your own roadshow.” –Terence McKenna
Claim your piece of the web
11. Create your own piece of online property
We spend more and more time online. The human realm is increasingly moving to the virtual space. In city centers across the world stores are closing while at the same time new websites are popping up like daisies in a summer meadow.
The web is continuously growing as hordes of people are flocking online. Entrepreneurs, bloggers, writers, poets, technicians, hobbyists, activists, they are all setting up shop online.
Having your own piece of virtual real estate is a great feeling. You can hardly miss the boat but stepping in (relatively) early definitely is an advantage.
12. You can still register pretty cool .com domains
All good dot com domains are long gone? Well sort of yes, and as whole continents are getting online, they are getting more scarce by the minute. So there’s a challenge in finding good ones. After all dot com is still king.
With a little creativity and luck you can still get fairly good dot com domain names with which you will claim your own piece of virtual real estate.
Two examples of dot com domains I registered just recently.
- I came up with FundBracket.com, to be used for a project I have in mind with Blockchain funding and smart contracts.
- I hand-registered LottaYoga.com, an appropriate name for an online magazine about, you guessed it already, everything yoga.
As you might get from this, blogging and related activities such as domaining are addictive, once ideas and concepts start to take shape you’ll likely to get more ideas and motivation (more at #31 on this list: the creative snowball effect). Which is why starting right now is such a good idea.
- Using your own name as your website name is an option too. This way you can also easily set up an email account like this: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com which looks pretty professional.
Note: you don’t need to have your own domain but I think it’s much more motivating to publish on your own domain.
13. Be less dependent on social media – Don’t build on rented land!
‘I’ve got Facebook. All my friends are on Facebook. Why would I need my own website?’
I’ll tell you why. Because when you’re creating content, whether it’s photos and taglines on Instagram or posts on FB, you are basically building on rented land.
You are surrendering your self-determination to the whims of their guidelines and restrictions. Facebook decides to ban your topic and all all your efforts have been for nothing.
I experienced first-hand how building on rented land can go horribly wrong…
Having created hundreds of mini blogs on a social network called Squidoo, all of a sudden, all my Squidoo lenses as they were called, were locked and scheduled to be deleted. Instantly my monthly passive income of over $3,000 vanished.
Social media make great additions and traffic tools but should not be your main vessel online
14. Take your online expression in own hands – F#ck censorship!
Social media play increasingly more important roles in our lives. Lately Facebook and Twitter censorship have been actively using censorship to kill free speech.
Increased arbitrary and seemingly biased content takedowns and account suspensions demonstrate we have become too reliant on these social media platforms.
When the Zuckerbergs and Dorseys decide not only what we get to see on our timelines but as of recently also what we can or can’t say it’s about time to re-think our participation in these social media.
I’m not advocating to abandon social media altogether. It’s just that surrendering to the reign of the Social Media Thought Police isn’t such a good idea. By keeping your account you can still link to your website from your social media posts.
Money on the side, passive income, be your own boss
15. Get freelance jobs
The list of successful freelance writers who started out with blogging is endless. Ending up with a thriving business that earns 6 figures annually isn’t an exception.
The beauty of following this path is that you can grow your blog into a teaching platform for aspiring writers. This way your blog will be making you even more money, part of which could be passive income.
16. Earn money from advertising
A few ads on the sidebar of your website probably won’t make you huge sums of money but there’s always a bit of money to be made on the side.
Currently it’s Facebook and the other social media platforms that earn big bucks from advertising along your content. Posts you write, photos of you and your family and friends are what’s making the Facebook and Twitter shareholders money.
To put it more bluntly: Facebook is selling you to advertisers. Wouldn’t it be better to put ad income generated by things you’ll share online anyway in your own pocket?
As media theorist Douglas Rushkoff puts it:
You need to understand that you are Facebook’s product, not their customer.
More about how to make money from your blog the right way in a bit..
17. Earn passive income
They say passive blog income doesn’t exist but to a certain extent it does. Take Critical Cactus for example. It’s a combination of a blog as well as a magazine and has a whiff of affiliate site too. (The reason why is column for another day).
Your website never sleeps
But this website does in fact generate passive income. Even when I didn’t post new articles on here for months in a row. Actually, my earnings increased.
- There’s a reason for this, I will explain how you can achieve this too in a future post. I will also show you the best passive income model for beginners.
Change the world!
18. Donate to charity
Once your website makes money you can do good with that income. Added benefit is that these expenses are often tax deductible.
19. Blog about wrongs that need resistance
To the wrongs that need resistance, To the right that needs assistance, To the future in the distance, Give yourselves. -Carrie Chapman Catt.
You can blog about anything you think needs change. Whether it’s about poverty, animal rights, imprisoned children, incarcerated freedom fighting hackers, the absence of green in your neighborhood, finding inner peace in a frantic world, or must-see documentaries on societal awareness, with a blog you can make a difference.
20. And change the world for the better
Blogging has become a social, business, and political force to be reckoned with. Perfect example of a changemaker is eco-blogger Hannah Alper.
Through her environmental blog she managed to reach out to TV host, environmental activist, speaker, and author Severn Cullis-Suzuki. Her blog also landed her appearances on CBC Television.
Oh, minor detail, Hannah is only 10 years old.
Break free from corporate slavery
21. Create the opportunity to be your own boss
You wouldn’t be the first one to jumpstart an online business by starting a blog. Being your own boss involves a low financial risk to set up, tax advantages, efficient use of your time (less distractions by co-workers and no commuting). Being able to schedule your own work hours allows for more quality time with your family.
22. Online entrepreneurship may soon become a part of your life anyway
The end of jobs is near. We’re gradually but steadily shifting from working for corporations and governments to being our own boss.
So why not start now? Whether you are teaching people balcony vegetable gardening or you’re making some money on the side by creating YouTube videos, you can start dabbling in entrepreneurship right now. The sooner you’ll adapt, the better.
23. You can travel and work from anywhere
Digital nomadism, working online while traveling the world has taken a huge leap the past years. A growing number of digital nomads is trading their 9 to 5 in a stuffy office for working remotely from anywhere.
Digital skills such as coding or web design are an advantage but even without this expertise this way of life is within reach. Blogging can be a good start. Click here to learn how to start living a location-independent lifestyle.
24. Or start living the full time RV lifestyle
Coworking spaces for digital nomads can vary from the coffice (any coffee shop with wifi) to co-working spaces specifically for location independent workers. If you prefer to work alone, full-time RVing might be an option. Your rig is your office, your home, your car, and your means to explore the world.
Prepare for & adapt to changing times
25. Don’t stay behind
Everybody and their mother are starting blogs and online businesses these days. Literally. My retired mom runs this space-saving furniture blog. Join the blogosphere and connect with millions already participating in the online realm. Building your tribe is essential for success, today, and even more so in the near future.
26. The robots are coming!
Computers and machines are rapidly destroying jobs. Cool steel and binary code will have taken over all current jobs within decades. Most will vanish much sooner.
Prepare and don’t apathetically wait until automation has gobbled up your occupation, with you ending up slouching lethargically and depressed on the couch.
Your blog might save you because you’ll explore new interests, find new strengths and weaknesses, develop fresh skills, and become more creative, just to name a few benefits.
VR and AR will create a world of new jobs. Your first steps into the online world can help you seize these opportunities.
Writing rocks! & it helps you grow
27. Reap the blissful benefits of writing
Research demonstrates that writing makes you happier, smarter, more persuasive, more successful, a better problem solver, and even a better lover (seriously).
Regular writing helps you refine your thoughts and thus helps avoid helps eliminate “it sounded good in my head syndrome”.
It’s an outlet to help you deal with trauma, makes you more persuasive, keeps your mind limber as you age, can boost feelings of gratitude, and much more. In today’s economy, writing skills are more important than ever.
28. It makes you a better thinker -> Massive brain gains
Smart bloggers read a lot. Both regular reading and writing will make you become a more critical, more analytic, more focused thinker. You’ll be much better able to cut through the clutter. To discern side issues from the main issue. This skill will help you out tremendously in many aspects of your life.
Writing is crystallized thought.
Build those mind muscles, train your brain’s synaptic connections. They are the neural pathways that, once created, allow you to think more freely, and thus experience more freedom.
“The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe.” -Gustave Flaubert
29. You will become a better writer
Find writing difficult? Convinced you’ll never be a good writer? Trust me, deliberate practice will make you a (better) writer. As a result, your thoughts will flow more effortlessly and clearly into your writing.
It’s something I’d never expected when I started blogging as had no writing experience. What’s more; I’m not a native English speaker so writing in English was hard and pretty friggin’ time-consuming.
Last year I entered a blogging contest at SmartBlogger.com (previously Boost Blog Traffic) and won in the category:
How about that for an introverted, semi-articulate Dutch guy huh!? 😉
30. And a better speaker
The more you concoct scripts the more you train your verbal skills. Writing and editing will make you more fluent and to the point.
31. Spark your inner creativity
What’s that? You’re just not creative? You’ve got that wrong buddy, every human being is creative. You’ve just been molded into thinking and feeling you’re not.
From your childhood you have been schooled to perform specific tasks or to carry out role-appropriate behaviors. Uniformity in the education system does not leave room for creativity. But, you can get this back. Blogging can be an excellent way to re-ignite your inner creative self.
32. Experience the creative snowball effect
Once you’re fruitfully working out an idea you’re likely to experience a flow of new ideas and inspiration. New post ideas may lead to new blogs or even business concepts.
Comments may inspire you to new write follow-up posts (I got that contest-winning post idea from a comment). You may come up with appropriate domain names you may want to secure for other blogs or projects. It’s a great feeling. To me, it’s like being a kid in a candy store. So much ideas, so much fun.
33. Boost your confidence
Yes, it takes guts. Every blogger is scared before hitting publish on their first post. Been postponing for ages. Sweating about what people will think. But once you conquer your crippling stage fright you will feel liberated. It gets easier and easier and you’ll feel more self-assured because of it.
Through blogging many introverts have found a way to express their thoughts, feelings, opinions, experiences and insights.
34. Because you can’t find a job
Finding a job is hard these days. Especially a job that you actually like stepping out of your bed for every morning. One that pays decent if possible.
A blog won’t eliminate the need for a corporate paycheck overnight but it can be a start to financial independence. It offers you the chance to do something you really like or is meaningful to you.
35. You’ll meet other people
Through blogging you’ll get in contact with people. Granted those contacts are mostly virtual; through blog comments, email, and social media, but it’s so rewarding to come in contact with people from all over the world.
In case of blogging as a substitute to a job you can always combat the lack of IRL human contact by volunteering a few hours. Or you can go walk dogs in between. (Dogs are excellent people connectors. They spark conversations on the street among people who would otherwise walk past each other).
36. It can be a stepping stone to getting published
From Theresa Ragan to James Altucher to Mark Manson, and swarms more writers. They all shook off countless rejections by traditional publishers and self-published their books. Thanks to their blog followers, various of these books became bestsellers.
Mark Manson for example, inspired by his roommates, started blogging in 2007, just for the fun of it. Years later he has self-published a book and this year a major book of his will be published by Harper.
37. Establish your online reputation
In today’s virtual world, your true value lies in your network and your reputation.
Reputation will be the currency of the future
Your blog is an effective tool in establishing, managing, and protecting your online reputation
38. Expand your online skillset
Job insecurity and debilitating student loan debts make traditional education less attractive to young people. The decision not to study at a college or university to avoid overwhelming student loan debt is on the rise.
Nowadays you’ve got plenty of options to gain professional knowledge without ending up in the ‘debt-slave-work-till-you’re-old’ system. Often you don’t need certificates to prove you have skills or knowledge, especially now you can showcase those on your website.
People are growingly adopting new skills that allow them to create on the web.
By learning Wordpress, HTML, SEO, photography, video editing, illustrating, web design, theme design, programming, content curation, you are taking matters into own hands. Freelancing and/or entrepreneurship will increase your options greatly in an increasingly digital world.
39. You may earn a raise
In PayScale’s 2016 Workforce-Skills Preparedness Report, 44% of hiring managers felt that writing proficiency is the hard skill most lacking among recent college graduates. Learning a digital skill is likely to improve your negotiating position as well.
Four more reasons to start a blog
40. Discover and express yourself: be your own rockstar
Celebrate your uniqueness, it’s your purpose in life.
Sounds kinda ‘new agey’ right?
But it’s true. Don’t confuse it with special snowflake syndrome. This has nothing to do with limiting other people’s freedom by inflicting an unfounded sense of entitlement. Nor does it involve ‘following your passion’. It’s simply about doing what suits you best. Acting like who you really are. And flourishing because of it.
The introspective nature of blogging will help you understand yourself and your place in the world. You may even discover what you really want to do with your life. It did for me.
Being yourself and cultivating your uniqueness is one of the things that matters most in life. Especially since we have become too outward-looking.
“[..]if you’re worrying about Michael Jackson or Bill Clinton or somebody else, then you are disempowered, you’re giving it all away to icons, icons which are maintained by an electronic media so that you want to dress like X or have lips like Y. This is shit-brained, this kind of thinking. That is all cultural diversion, and what is real is you and your friends and your associations, your highs, your orgasms, your hopes, your plans, your fears.
And we are told ‘no’, we’re unimportant, we’re peripheral. ‘Get a degree, get a job, get a this, get a that.’ And then you’re a player, you don’t want to even play in that game. You want to reclaim your mind and get it out of the hands of the cultural engineers who want to turn you into a half-baked moron consuming all this trash that’s being manufactured out of the bones of a dying world.”
-Terence McKenna (yes again, he’s one of the most intriguing voices I’ve ever heard.)
With their own website, anyone has a platform to express themselves. You can take back your inner creative and “push the envelope of creativity and language”.
41. You’ll inspire people, and they will thank you for it
Getting killer comments on your website is so much fun. This is one of my favorite blog comments.
42. It’s free (or dirt-cheap)
You can start a free website on WordPress.com. Go to Wordpress.org to start a blog with your own domain and hosting. WordPress is used by about half of the top 100 blogs, and is the most popular platform among bloggers and business websites alike.
I recommend getting your own domain which is only about $8 per year (often you can get a domain for just $1: search online for coupons). The other thing you need to pay for is hosting which, if you start out, is really affordable. It will only cost you a few bucks a month.
The reason I recommend getting your own domain name and hosting is because it really stimulates. Having your own spot on the world wide web, bearing a name you came up with, really sparks motivation.
Your first blog may be the first step into expanding your own little venture into a business and perhaps even a small online empire.
43. It’s so easy, you can start right now!
No prior knowledge required. Setting up a blog or website is easy. You don’t need to have coding or designing know-how.
Just hit up Google for a step-by-step guide and you can have your blog up and running a matter of minutes. No need to know HTML, CSS or other technical stuff. All you do is click options, save them, and see the results, it’s that simple.
Why should you start blogging right now?
In order to discover your sweet spot in today’s entrepreneurial economy you need to act. Even if you just want to blog for fun: you can’t think your way to your perfect blog topic or freelance gig.
Productivity, profits, and satisfaction are achieved by just starting and finding out along the way what works for you and what does not.
Progress often follows a meandering path. You’re likely to try out various website ideas, blog topics, tones of voice, approaches, and target audiences until you develop your unique style.
I waited way too long to start blogging. And that just might be one of the biggest regrets of my life. – Jeff Goins
How to proceed
- I register my domains with Godaddy. They have good customer service and I never had any problems.
- For hosting I recommend Bluehost. It’s the most popular hosting provider that’s used by practically all the famous bloggers. They have been the #1 host recommended by WordPress.org for the past 6 years.