After I wrote the article about why every business should have a blog, I thought the next thing should be why everyone should have one since each person is a business in some way. We invest in ourselves, we sell our skills (products and services) and we make returns and profits. Questions must newbie asks; what is blogging? types of blogs, how to make money blogging, blogging sites, popular blogs, how to write a blog, search engine optimization (SEO), wordpress, blogger help and tips and tricks.
So why should everyone have a blog?
Why shouldn’t every professional have a blog? I don’t mean professional in the sense of someone who studied a “professional” course and capably of having a consultancy firm. When I say professional, I mean anyone who does something, anything for a living or even as a hobby but with some level of skill in that area. Anyone who has a story to tell, a level of experience and expertise can and should start blogging about it. Let me stick my neck out and say that this is going to be the new social. Blogging might soon become the means by which we will interact online with society and each other in the coming years. In this article, I briefly illustrate some of the main benefits that directly derive from running a technical blog.
1. Provides you with a Second Source of Income
Before Linda Ikeji (Nigeria’s foremost blogger) came into the scene, many people thought it was impossible to make serious money from running a blog. It was not even considered as a viable side business and so was relegated. Thanks to her, people now understand that if you dedicate yourself full-time or part-time, there is money to be made. Serious money. Check out Linda Ikeji’s house and you’ll know what I mean by serious. And I have written an extensive article on how you can make serious money from blogging and without Google AdSense. Some still think that making money from blogging is over hyped and somewhat untrue. Either because they’ve tried it and gave up or they’ve heard horror stories from people making mere peanuts. Nothing could be further from the truth. From the list I compiled of the top 10 most influential financial blogs in the US, you can see that many of these people now consult for Fortune 500 companies and get recognized because of the ideas they share on their blogs. A hundred thousand naira a month from your blog is absolutely within the reach of any blog out there. Anyone. If you do the right things to bring traffic to your blog and keep them coming, and put in the work required, your blog can even make you millions of, both directly and indirectly even as a part-time thing. Now, especially in the tough economic situations in the world, blogging can provide you with some serious extra income that can act as a cushion and a backup for your finances. You can even use the extra money to finance your hobby, buy gadgets, help someone out, or even start other small business.
2. Blogging can Advance your Career
If you are a career person, and you cannot make blogging a full-time thing that you do you can still benefit from a lot of the things I have already previously mentioned above. But, I would still like to stress how much blogging can open certain doors for you. Every article you publish on your blog is a new opportunity to get people to notice you on a professional level and see how good you are. People have received countless job offers over the years, including some from a selection of the largest and most sought after companies in the world. Some have even been offered generous relocation packages to the US, and a few of them went so far as to offer the job, no questions asked, no interviews and no CVs. But come to think of it, what can be a better resume than your blog? Whether blogging allows you to find a new job, new customers, faithful partners, rich and influential investors or even publishers who are interested in having you authoring a book, blogging is most certainly a great career booster. In fact, for people who want to start a new career or those who are interested in building their careers, my first advise would be to start blogging. Like yesterday.
3. Improve Your Technical Skills and become an Authority
One of the most successful ways to learn anything is for you to teach it. Trying to teach what you know or currently learning is a one of the best ways to “force” your mind to take in new skills and knowledge. As you try to explain things to people you would quickly strengthen your knowledge and even expose your shortcomings in that area and force you to confront them with more learning. This is why writing down and paraphrasing a book, something I was trained to do as a student, is a powerful way to retain information and reaffirm your understanding of that information. Because you are now blogging and teach a bunch of people, some of them halfway around the world, you are likely to improve your technical skills because you are forced to research further topics in order to properly share them with the world. No one is the sole infallible authority in any field in the world. So you might go wrong a few times and you might be corrected by commenters who know more about the subject than you do. This will also sharpen your skills in ways that would never have happened if you remained in your comfort zone. You might even get asked questions on that you never considered at all and it would make you dig a lot deeper to answer. As you blog, you’d see that blogging is just as much as teaching experience as it is about starting a conversation and building a community. You get to exchange ideas and rub minds with experts in your field who would also learn from you too.
4. Gain New Perspective and Free Ideas
When we write new articles and allow and even encourage people to leave comments, suggestions and ideas we don’t just build our Google ranking but we gain new perspectives on things. Writing and sharing a blog post on an issue or idea we are working on allows us to see it from the reaction and perspective of those who read it. This is mostly because your audience most likely come from different works of life and come from different cultures and background and so have their different sometimes contrary view on things you share. But you have to be open to these comments from others so that you can gain from them. From those connections and comments we gain new ideas on even what to right about next. By observing the prevailing questions and most common questions, you can pick up what you should write about in your next article.
5. Improve your Communication Skills
Communication and especially writing, much like any other skill, don’t come naturally to most people. They are improved and refined through countless hours of training and constant practice. As you blog, you work hard at trying to communicate cleanly and effectively, you would find that through the process of articulating your thoughts into words you end up improving your ability to express yourself. As you blog regularly, you’ll become a better at writing (and faster at typing too). As you come up with topics and articles or tutorials, your writing skills will naturally sharpen automatically. We should also remember here that communication is a vital skill to learn regardless of your profession (there’s that word again) or what you do. Blogging makes you a clearer thinker. As you blog, you’ll be able to communicate confusing or undefined ideas into exact words and then communicate them in an understandable way. Vague thoughts that you considered in your head will either prove to be valid and gain strength throughout the process of formalizing them into words, or quickly fall apart as unsound.
6. Create a Library of your Knowledge Online
As you daily or weekly document your thoughts and ideas in your blog you are documenting in digital form all the knowledge you have in that area. With time you’ll gradually build an almost complete library of the things you know. Not just for yourself but for your audience. At one point, you’ll notice that you have covered almost every area of your field and are now just basically answering questions, updating old articles and reacting to new changes in your industry. This can be an excellent way to keep track of information you intend to retrieve at a later stage. For example many programmers use their own old posts to find particular snippets of code, the exact steps to configure a computer, or a given website address for a useful service they used in the past. I know I have done this a lot of times. Looking back at your old posts is also a great way to keep track of your progress and advancement in your profession (there we go again). Through your blog, you’ll have access to a timeline of what you were dealing with, thinking, and doing at some point in the past.
7. Make Powerful Connections
Blogging puts you right in the middle of your technical community of fellow professionals who are passionate about the topic they are writing about. If what you are contributing on your blog is valuable and you learn to work with others, especially other bloggers, then you’ll likely going to end up making a lot of friends and even become a bit popular in your area. This will give you access to powerful and influential people in your field that you wouldn’t have ever interacted with in the first place. Because of your popularity and influence you can get to rub shoulders with top influencer and at such point you are now one of them. This most time breaks out of meeting just influencers in your professional world ,but you also through social interactions, attending conferences and speaking in some, connecting, and networking meet powerful people in other fields and even other parts of the world. I mean politicians. How you use this opportunities blogging opens up to you is actually limited my your imagination but you can use it to boost your career, projects your charities and NGOs and market your business, and even improve your life general by being in touch influencers in your country. But while this happens, stay focused and keep blogging. Remember how you got there in the first place. You wouldn’t want to become irrelevant and let people refer to you in the past tense.
8. Blogging can help you Make Friends and Meet Interesting People
Making friends is a lot better than making powerful acquaintances. They will be there in your seemingly lower points in life. As you become more prominent you’ll get to meet and interact with a lot of people online. Some of them will be really interesting and a few would be really weird. You would even discover some that think and act like you do and have the same beliefs and values. These are the ones that stay and become life-long friends. These people start out as ordinary visitors and they start leaving regular comments on your blog then they become subscribers. Other times it is a fellow blogger who you have once written a guest post for to increase traffic to your blog or vice versa. Often, it’s someone who noticed you through your blog and gets in touch via email. But to make new friends you have to become socially available and ready to accept people for who they are and most importantly, you have to be friendly.
9. Blogging can score you freebies
Many publishers, advert agencies and PR firms have become aware of the influence bloggers have on targeted audiences. Even as a mildly successful blogger, you can expect to be contacted by a multitude of people offering you freebies. With time and depending on your area of expertise you can get offers for books, but it’s not uncommon to receive offers for other items, including tickets for conferences, gadgets, software. As long as you disclose your affiliation and your beliefs and values you can even get free stuff so that you can you can blog about that product and review it for your audience. Often, if you establish good relationships with publishers and PR firms, you can even organize giveaway contests which benefit your readers, not just yourself.
10. Reach and Teach a wide Audience
The number one reason to blog for me, is the desire to share my knowledge and teach as many people as possible how to build and maintain blogs and how to make money doing it. For some others, blogging is matter of business. For example, a makeup artist who frequently teaches ladies how to carve their eye brows and do contours on their nose and cheeks (you don’t even want to know how I knew that) with her blog, can get a lot more jobs giving tutorials for free. For some, it is a matter of politics. Trying to influence opinions by writing about and promoting certain opinions and people in a certain light or to gain support for a certain law.
11. Build a Community
Without question, one of the core motivations for creating a blog is to engage and interact with a people and get them to interact with each other on a certain topic. That’s what a community is all about. It’s about gathering like-minded people and those who think differently. The comments that develop after you publish an article are full of rich information, ideas and resources. Like I said before, blogging is a now social media platform and like any social platform it is about making connections with others. With plethora of great plugins you have in WordPress, you can even share articles on your blog using the now traditional social media platforms and get people form there involved in what you’re doing. While you’re building yours, don’t forget to participate in the community of other bloggers too. Read and comment on their blogs, connect with them on Twitter and Facebook. Learn all you can about them.
12. And there’s more
As you can imagine, these are just some of the many benefits of blogging. As you begin creating your own blog posts, you’ll likely find that some of them fall into place organically, whereas you need to work at others. All however, stand to enrich your career and life, and help inspire you to keep blogging for years to come.
To blog or not to blog?
I am not saying because everyone can, that everyone should. My mom would always say, “Anything worth doing at all is worth doing well”. Blogging is not an exception to this statement. It takes time and effort. So before committing your energy to blogging, you might want to access yourself and take stock and then ask yourself. Is blogging really worth it? Is blogging for me? If you answered yes, and I hope you did then go ahead and download WordPress and get a move on. Read our blogging and WordPress tutorials and get yourself ready for the adventure. Though challenging, I can tell you that blogging is a very rewarding thing to do. If you already have a blog, please I would like you to share your thoughts and experience and see if you can encourage more people to join our community.