One of the easiest ways for people to express themselves online is through blogging. A blog can become a personal journal, a way to instruct others, or be a medium to share expertise. It can be about virtually any subject that someone wants it to be about. Many blogs can even be managed for free. There are several pros and cons of blogging that must be considered if someone is thinking about getting started with their own blog for the first time, so here are some key points to think about.
What Are the Pros of Blogging?
1. It’s an easy way to make some extra money.
Blogging can be used to make money in a wide variety of ways. From advertising impressions to affiliate links or even direct sales, bloggers are making thousands of dollars every day around the world. Of course most bloggers wind up making less than $10 per month, but there’s always a chance to strike it rich while writing about something that inspires passion.
2. It can be done from any internet connection.
Blogging updates can happen from virtually any device on almost any internet connection. Blogs can even be updated by smartphones today on a 3G/4G data connection. This means authors can take pictures and upload them to their blog immediately, compose something while riding the train home, or read blog comments when taking a break from work. If someone has the internet, then they have a chance to blog.
3. It helps people meet others with similar perspectives.
When a person has an opinion that is contrary to what their family, friends, or local community believes, then the world can become a very lonely place. Everyone around is telling this person they are wrong. By blogging, it becomes possible to reach others who have a similar perspective so that the loneliness can fade away. A blog is a chance to meet new people, share experiences, and find solidarity.
4. Blogging challenges people to be better.
Most blogs are about a personal opinion of some sort. This means those opinions will eventually be confronted by someone who disagrees with them. Instead of getting loud to reinforce the points being made as is so often the case in a face-to-face conversation, blogging requires people to improve their arguments instead. It is the modern evolution of winning hearts and minds over to a different idea.
5. It’s a way to learn new things.
Blogging also helps bring authors into a different world of alternative perspectives. With an open mind, it can be an incredible learning opportunity.
6. Blogging offers a chance to build a brand.
There are three things that the modern consumer requires of a business: value, expertise, and a relationship. Blogging can help to establish these three components immediately within a brand concept. Expertise is shared by providing information and resources to readers that are easy to verify. Value is offered by comparing a brand’s products and pricing to others to show that they are set apart. Relationships are built through B2C interactions that happen on the blogging platform.
7. It enhances the SEO value of a website.
Keywords, incoming and outgoing links, and social networking interactions happen on blogs and that’s a good thing for a website. All of these interactions or valuable content that gets published targeting niche keywords creates link equity because visitors see that it is valuable. Organic incoming links speak to niche expertise, further enhancing the value. Blogging can be a cornerstone for building a top-ranked website if it is done correctly.
8. It can become an integrated part of several marketing campaigns simultaneously.
Email marketing campaigns can link to blog posts so that people can get specific data about goods or services. Advertising can link to blog posts for sales purposes. Direct mail marketing can provide a written link to specific blog posts to introduce new demographics to what is being offered. Even QR codes in windows, brochures, or on products can be linked to a blog so that the user experience can be enhanced.
What Are the Cons of Blogging?
1. It takes a lot of time to do it right.
Let’s say the average person can type at 50 words per minute. Now your business or your personal journal is writing 1,500 words per day on the blog. That’s 30 minutes every day at minimum where your time must be dedicated only to composition. That doesn’t include extra time to add hyperlinks to the text, affiliate links, or sourcing materials. If a blog is being updated daily, it isn’t uncommon for a new post to take 90 minutes to create. It really can turn into a full-time job and for the individual blogger making zero cash, that’s time being taken away from other tasks or responsibilities.
2. It takes time to build up an effective presence.
Every blog has something in common: they all start with zero readers. For individual bloggers, family and friends will typically become the first visitors to the blog. Over time, people stumble upon the blog and become interested. For businesses, only the brand ambassadors will likely read the blog at first. Then prospects researching a brand will stop by. If they like what they see, they’ll stick around. This process takes time. It can take a year’s worth of work to get more than 1,000 avid readers – and even that doesn’t happen for some bloggers.
3. Rights issues can quickly become a cumbersome ordeal.
The problem with using pictures or content that others have created is that even if it isn’t a for-profit blog, it is a copyright violation if permission hasn’t been obtained first. The penalties for this conduct can be substantial, especially if a cease and desist order is ignored. Search engines make it very easy for picture owners to discover who is using their content without permission, so an extensive blog with scraped images or content could become a potential litigation issue very rapidly.
4. It’s easy for people to steal your original content.
Although you might be aware of rights issues and only create 100% unique content, there will always be bloggers that steal your content. This creates an SEO canonical conundrum, especially in the instances where who sites are copied onto a different blog. It takes a lot of time and checking to make sure your original content stays your own. Copyrights exist from the moment work is published, but it is up to each blogger to pursue their content.
5. You don’t generally get to control the up time of your blog.
Even if you’re hosting your own blog on your site, it is your hosting provider that controls your up time, not you. That means your blog might be down when the perfect prospect comes along to see what you’ve got. Up time is measured by percentages of 9, with many providers offering 99.999% up time. Every additional 9 added after the decimal point has a tremendously higher cost associated with it, which can be a cost not everyone is willing to take on.
6. It can lead to SEO penalties.
Just as search engine optimization can be enhanced by a blog, it can also lead to site penalties that can even have an entire domain removed from the index if the issue is severe enough. The main cause right now for penalties: explicitly paid links and content. The problem with buying links or copied content is that search engines can recognize this and determine that there is no value to what has been published. No value equates to no search ranking.
7. There are no guarantees.
Blogging is very much a world that involves an attitude of “what have you done for me lately.” If there is even a brief period of time when value or expertise isn’t seen by a blog’s readers, then they’re going to begin drifting away. If a single blog posts contrasts with a reader’s moral compass, then they will be gone for good. It can be a chore to keep putting together interesting material for people to see, but without it, there won’t be any people to see the content.
8. It can expose too much personal information.
The internet is an archive of data where everything ever uploaded exists somewhere. Even if information has been deleted, it could have been saved by someone else to be hosted on a different site. Blogging can expose personal residence information, business habits, or even trade secrets. Although the purpose is often to create more revenue streams, just one mistake of a post with too much information could cost a person or a business their livelihood.
Blogging can be highly beneficial if it is treated with the care that it deserves. Focus on publishing quality content that is 100% original. If you use reference materials, then link to them. Always keep a positive attitude, be fair with criticisms, and respect the opinions of others. If that can happen, then the benefits of blogging will typically outweigh its disadvantages.