Why Do You Blog?

Interesting article on Nathan Hangen’s blog this week: There’s More to Life Than Blogging.

In it he asks why you blog and suggests you should know the answer before you start.

It reminded me of the number of times I’ve seen this question (or something like it) on Twitter:

“I just started a new blog – what do you think I should blog about?”

I guarantee that people asking that question will not be blogging 3 months from now.

If you’re going to start a blog you need to know why you’re starting it. If you don’t, it won’t be a blog – it’ll be a passing fad.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s for fun, your personal enjoyment or for business. Make sure you know what it’s for.

Here’s my reason for blogging

I started this blog specifically to enable me to attract visitors from the widest range of sources possible, so that I could introduce products and services that I market.

To date it’s doing its job, which is good, but as I’ve become busier I’ve started to wrestle with another problem that Nathan touched on: scalability.

I have a limited amount of time each day that I can devote to earning money: 24 hours, less some time for sleeping, eating and all the other bits and bobs. Let’s call it 8.

And blogging is not a very efficient activity if I look at it purely in terms of the amount of time I’m hunched over the keyboard versus the money it brings in.

My consulting gigs, which are one of the streams of revenue that my blog brings me, are not efficient either, because all I’m doing is hiring myself out for an hourly rate.

It’s a 1:1 ratio, whereas what I really need is something that’s a 1:many ratio.

So my plan, for a while now, has been to develop and launch a membership site off the back of this blog.

The membership site has an enormous amount going for it as an online business model:

  • You get a regular monthly income from member’s subscriptions. Preferable (in my eyes) to the stop-start revenue streams you get from a product-launch model
  • The bigger it gets the more you’ll be able to get keen, enthusiastic members to help with things like moderation and content development. Plus experienced members will help new members – it happens in all membership sites, and when it does you’re starting to develop scalability
  • It’s a business you can constantly evolve to meet the changing needs of your members which, to me, is highly satisfying.

Blogging (as I’ve said before) is hard work. But having that end goal in mind is the reason why I push through the times when I just don’t feel like it.

It gives me the motivation and the kick up the butt I need to keep at it, when all I really want to do is go out and play.

So if you’re blogging for business what’s your end goal?

You need one, and you need to be sure it’s something that’s more scalable than simply blogging.

Let us know in a comment 🙂

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Nathan Hangen 14 January, 2010, 8:45 pm

    Hey Martin, great piece here and I like the way you built on top of the idea and ran with it. Good stuff!
    .-= Nathan Hangen´s last blog ..There’s More to Life than Blogs =-.

    • Martin 15 January, 2010, 6:52 am

      Thanks Nathan!

      That’s the second article of yours I’ve been able to riff from. It’s giving me a slightly different angle to take, which is great (and needed!).

      Cheers,

      Martin.

      • Nathan Hangen 15 January, 2010, 6:55 am

        Excellent 🙂

        Riff all you want, I enjoy it.
        .-= Nathan Hangen´s last blog ..Case Study – 5 Ways to Sell Your Passion =-.

  • corrie 15 January, 2010, 1:38 am

    Yes. I agree. But I don’t have an answer yet. I’m leaning toward my blog never being big and start working on writing freelance. It’s fun spending a little bit of time working and writing, which I love, and getting instantly paid (with one of the studios for which I write).
    .-= corrie´s last blog ..TMI – In Jonathan’s Naked Glory =-.

    • Martin 15 January, 2010, 6:54 am

      A blog’s a great way to demonstrate your writing skills – both quantity and quality – so it would be a great promotional vehicle for a freelance writing business 🙂

      Cheers,

      Martin.

  • Joey 16 January, 2010, 5:30 am

    Great post! A membership site aka a continuity site is definitely much more scalable compared to a blog. However, you can earn a substantial amount of money blogging, it’s all about the traffic you generate. If you think you can get this membership up and running then definitely do it. Best of luck and I wish you all the prosperity you deserve.
    .-= Joey´s last blog ..How To Spot The Best MLM Company =-.

    • Martin 16 January, 2010, 8:20 am

      Thanks Joey!

      Appreciate it,

      Cheers,

      Martin

  • Bumby Scott 16 January, 2010, 12:20 pm

    I found that once I started to blog it took on a life all it’s own. I find it to be great therapy and most importantly fun.

    Always Bumby

    • Martin 16 January, 2010, 11:47 pm

      … And if it’s fun and enjoyment you want from your blog that’s excellent! It’s great that you’re clear on what you want from it, because that’s what will drive you forward. 🙂

      Cheers,

      Martin.

  • Paul 24 January, 2010, 7:16 am

    I run three blogs at the moment. One’s a cycling blog. This is one of my hobbies so I really enjoy it but like you say all blogs are hard work. I earn a little money from it but not much yet.
    I have plans to expand it and moneterize this year. my other two blogs are internet business and marketing blogs. I run my own ecommerce site and I’m currently finding my way through the affiliate marketing field. I’ve fallen down some big holes, but that’s ok, experience is priceless, and I like problems or challenges.
    Like you I’m thinking long-term of starting a membership site. Before I do however, I need to create a successful affiliate marketing system. i always believe you have to be able to do it before you can teach it.
    From the research I’ve done on membership sites i think their quality is characterized by two things. The amount and quality of the content, and a well designed site.
    I think there’s a huge market for a membership site that teaches methods to make money online, and this market will continue to grow. the subject matter is enourmous so you will never run out of ideas for content.
    My idea would be to have a site that took people by the hand and show them how to do the simple things first. From the research I’ve done I’m amazed by how ignorant people are about how the internet works. most people have no idea about domain names, ftp or all the other things that those of us who have been involved in computers for some time consider simple.
    I believe there’s a massive market to be exploited here. Helping people to develop the skills required to earn money online.
    I’m already thinking about starting to build content. A membership site would have to launch with a huge content library of videos and article tutorials. this is the end game of why I blog and engage in other online business activities.
    I visualize a membership site charging about 20 quid a month with a thousand members. That’s what drives me through the days when I really can’t be bothered. This dream is my motivation.
    .-= Paul´s last blog ..Driving Traffic To Your Site With Article Marketing =-.

    • Martin 24 January, 2010, 10:01 am

      Paul, hi,

      You’re bang on with the membership site idea.

      Just one thought, though: as long as your membership site isn’t specifically about how to do affiliate marketing you don’t need to wait for that to be working before you start.

      You’ve already set up an eCommerce site – so your membership site could be focused around site creation, SEO type stuff, and all the things setting something up online entails. This would fit perfectly with the lack-of-knowledge problem you’ve already identified.

      You don’t have to touch the actual affiliate marketing aspects – e.g. writing landing pages, finding products, driving traffic etc, etc.

      As you’ve so rightly said: working online is such a huge area that there are loads of niches in there to focus on. What you’ve done has given you experience and skills that many people are crying out for. A membership site that meets those needs would be great.

      Cheers,

      Martin.

  • RichardAlois 8 October, 2010, 8:01 am

    I blog for SEO and fun. But there’s something More Than Life – see below