Like their human creators, blogs come in all shapes and sizes. There are tiny sites with a handful of followers, and then there are massively monetized blogging behemoths that reach millions of fans and generate an impressive income for their owners.
Spread out along this size spectrum, you will find sites dedicated to all manner of niches, from hugely popular mommy blogs, health and fitness blogs, and cooking blogs to strange and delightful platforms dedicated to fake science and breaded cats.
No matter how crazy your niche is, blogging offers a range of monetization opportunities, meaning you can convert your passion into a work-from-home business that allows you to set your own schedule and enjoy uncapped earning potential.
Of course, making a decent income from your blog isn’t the easiest thing in the world. Some bloggers hit the right niche at the right time in the right way to start earning money almost immediately. Others struggle for years, maintaining a day job while they perfect their blog promotion strategies and get some momentum going.
If you’re toying with the idea of diving into this industry and turning your passion into a home-based business, then it’s worth taking a moment to review all the benefits you can look forward to and the challenges you’ll face along the way.
Use this list of pros and cons to inform your strategy for building, promoting, and monetizing your blog.
The benefits of being a professional blogger
Starting your own blog is a rewarding pursuit that will allow you to flex your creative muscles while sharing something you love with the world. Here are the main benefits bloggers get to enjoy.
1. Your startup costs will be flexible
You have a number of tiered options for setting up your blog, and if you’re on a super-tight budget, you can get started for free. Of course, paying for your own dedicated domain, a beautifully designed website or WordPress theme, and other add-ons will get you off to a more powerful start.
However, these things aren’t strictly necessary, and you can upgrade your site as you grow your income. For more details on the tools and services you’ll need, check out our complete beginner’s guide to blogging.
2. A life of freedom
Pajamas or sweatpants are perfectly acceptable corporate attire for a professional blogger. You can work from bed, from your couch, from your favorite coffee shop, or from a palapa in a secluded beach town in South America. So long as you have electricity and wi-fi, the options are endless.
You also get to free yourself from the daily commute, saving you time and money that can be invested back into your growing business.
As a blogger, you get to deduct certain living expenses, technology costs, subscriptions, and even the depreciation of your laptop come tax time (pro tip: find yourself a brilliant, reputable accountant to ensure you report everything you need to and claim everything you’re entitled to).
3. No formal training required
If your blog is centered around offering professional advice, then you will need to have the relevant qualifications. Though there are many influencers currently offering meal plans, fitness programs, and other recommendations without any qualifications to do so, that doesn’t mean you should follow suit.
The law is still catching up to the rapid growth of the influencer market, so it’s inevitable that these people will be pulled into line eventually. Some of the more outrageous ones have already been taken down by cancel culture, and there’s often no coming back from it. So, don’t ever offer information you’re not qualified to give.
With that being said, there are plenty of blogging niches that require no formal education. So, whatever your passion happens to be, there’s a way to start blogging about it today, with no blog-related qualifications required.
4. You get to learn while you work
The more you discover about your niche, the more you realize how little you know and how much there is to learn. As a blogger, you get to dedicate every day of your working life to filling your mind with information on topics you’re fascinated by, and then sharing your discoveries with others.
Teaching is one of the best ways to learn, and since that’s what you’ll be doing as a blogger, you’ll find details begin to stick in your mind much better. Timelines of events, the names of key figures in your industry, and the thoughts and ideas they expressed will hang around in your memory. This will improve your overall understanding of your niche and will also give you the foundation you need for finding new and interesting connections and ideas to present to your growing audience.
5. Blogging can open up some amazing opportunities
By successfully building a professional website and developing an audience for your work, you create an abundance of opportunities for your future self. Your blog may be the key factor that raises you above other candidates and lands you your dream job.
If you’re a creative writer, the platform you create could be what impresses a literary agent and publisher enough to win you a book deal. If you’re a specialist in a certain field, creating a well-researched and informative blog could lead to you being seen as an industry thought leader and perhaps even becoming a media spokesperson.
The opportunities are endless, and they will differ depending on your niche, your skills, your qualifications, and the amount of effort you put into developing your platform.
The challenges of being a professional blogger
Though the rewards of blogging are great, you will face plenty of difficulties too. Read on to see whether you’re up for the challenge.
1. Building the blog of your dreams is difficult
There are plenty of web-building platforms and pre-made blog templates that allow you to set yourself up in less than a day. Though they may look stylish, there’s also a sense of repetitiveness to them since hundreds of other people are using the same themes.
If you want your blog to stand out from the crowd, then it’s worth bringing in a professional or putting the extra work in yourself. From selecting the perfect domain name to designing your logo and color palette, creating the ideal layout, and adding in helpful widgets, a high-quality blog takes a lot of thought and hard work.
This means you need to be prepared to part with some cash or launch into a steep learning curve if you’re determined to do everything yourself.
2. It takes a lot of time and energy to build a quality blog
If you’re after a quick money-maker, blogging probably isn’t for you. Many newbies enter the scene assuming that if they can just get one blog post to go viral they’ll be set for life. The thing is, virality is fickle.
Let’s test out an insanely optimistic hypothetical and say your first post goes viral. If you have no other content to keep people hanging around, they will rapidly move on to the next viral sensation and you and your blog will be almost instantly forgotten.
This is why you should never enter the blogging scene with the idea of overnight success in your mind. Having a post go viral will only be of benefit to you if you’ve put a whole lot of time and effort into building a content-rich blog full of useful and engaging information.
3. You have to be a marketer too
If you want to make a living out of blogging, then you’re going to need an audience, and to develop said audience, you need to do some marketing. Unless you’ve got the funds spare to outsource this task to someone else, you’re going to need to step away from your content creation from time to time and engage in a bit of healthy self-promotion.
Though you can tailor your approach to suit your personality and blog niche, you will likely need to learn:
- how to run email marketing campaigns;
- how to create a social media presence;
- the best SEO practices;
- and how to network and cross-promote effectively.
These are the bare minimum for bloggers, meaning you’ll have a lot to learn in the marketing sphere. If you don’t enjoy self-promotion, this aspect of blogging can be frustrating.
4. Getting traffic to your blog can be a challenge
If there’s one thing the internet isn’t short on, it’s blogs. Go for one of the more popular niches, and you’ll have a good chance of appealing to a wider audience, meaning you have high traffic potential. However, you’ll also face a hefty amount of competition from already established industry influencers, meaning you’ll have a lot of work ahead of you if you want to convert that potential into a reality.
Go for a more obscure niche, and you’ll face less competition from other bloggers but more of a challenge in terms of developing a significant audience.
5. You have more responsibility than you realize
By sharing your thoughts with the internet, you open yourself up to criticism. In many ways, this is a good thing – starting a dialogue around your ideas is the best way to see their strong points and their flaws, thus allowing you to strengthen, adjust, and develop them as needed.
However, the internet can be vicious, and if you hit a sensitive topic in a careless manner, a flood of fury can descend on you in a matter of hours. Many people have had their livelihoods stripped from them as a direct result of cancel culture.
Even if you don’t get canceled altogether, your reputation can take a massive hit if something you do is seen as offensive. Australian health and fitness vlogger Sarah Stevenson has recently come under fire for a problematic bushfire appeal and then an act of alleged cultural appropriation made even more questionable by the fact that it came in the wake of the tragic death of George Floyd.
The death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer sparked mass protests in the US, with attention focused on police brutality, racial profiling, and the difficulties faced by people of color. Though it’s not the best idea to use something of deep significance to another culture as a way to market your products and make a profit, doing so when that culture has been hit with a terrible loss and is fighting back against prejudice is particularly problematic (click here to see a snippet of the backlash Stevenson faced).
This is just one example of many, and it points to the massive responsibility you have as a public figure. It can be easy to overlook this when you’re just starting out and you don’t have a following. However, just one tone-deaf post can blow up shockingly fast; and pleading ignorance won’t necessarily help you out.
With this in mind, it’s essential that you take your responsibility seriously, no matter how large or small your audience is, and be mindful about what you share. Keeping up with the news and current events is a good idea, as is following the work of other bloggers in your niche.
Professional blogging: final thoughts
The digital world is in a rapid state of evolution, not just in terms of the tech we’re using, but also in terms of how humans are interacting in the virtual landscape. As a blogger, you have a responsibility to keep up with these changes to ensure you’re offering the best possible content to your audience.
If you’re prepared for the challenges outlined above, then the personal growth, financial freedom, and other benefits offered by this lifestyle will be well-earned.
Do you have any questions about launching a career as a professional blogger? Or did we miss any of the pros and cons you’ve experienced in the industry? If so, please hit us up in the comments section below. We’d love to hear your thoughts.