Whilst catching up with friends recently I got asked two really important questions about my blogging. Why did I start my blog? And why I keep doing it?
The second question is what really triggered this blog. I’ll go into my reasons for blogging later but it made me think about what I’ve learned over the last couple of years of blogging including discovering that it’s much more work and hustle than I ever expected!So if one of your new year’s resolutions or post belt promotion plans is to start a blog then you might find it useful reading some of the key things I’ve learned or worked out so far….
Reasons for blogging
I’ll be honest my reasons are very much the same as when I started. There was a lack of female bloggers out there (particularly no UK ones) and I thought it was important to add a female voice in the mix so to speak. But I also started it for selfish reasons as somewhere to record my journey, thoughts, and adventures. I fully expect to look back at some posts in a few years time and cringe or laugh a little a bit at the waffles I’ve put out in the public domain!
If it’s about profile, fame, and glory then pause! – Seriously if it’s about profile and fame then consider working more on vblogging and Instagram than a traditional blog. It’s great to get a nice email or comment from someone about your blog and its rather surreal for someone to shout “BJJ Minion” to you at a competition (it’s happened once!) but seriously a traditional blog is highly unlikely to change your life!
If your looking at sponsorship or a passive income similarly a blog does not guarantee either! I’ll be honest I have affiliate links on my blog, have sold a few patches and I have had some freebies and discounts for items to review on my blog but you work hard for them! I once calculated my blog income for the year and it was approx £1.50 per post! Now that might sound great but when you consider each post takes 2-4 hours to write, edit and promote an income of 37-75p per hour isn’t going to change your life. Yes, some blogs have significant income and advertising but that takes time and investment so to be successful you need more motivation than just income.
This brings me to my final point – blog for yourself – A blog is unlikely to change your life so if you don’t want to read it nobody will. A blog should be something you do as a hobby or for fun – it shouldn’t become something that consumes your life or becomes a second job (unless you want it to!)
Blogging isn’t my job but I quickly discovered content doesn’t just happen randomly it takes planning. Trying to randomly write something each week quickly gets difficult. I found myself having to plan my blog posts pretty quickly for my own sanity and to save time. Generally, I try to map my blog ideas (and how nearly completed they are) for at least a few months in advance. This also includes mapping and regular tweets or posts linked the blog.
Posting frequency is a tough one. Content is king and as a relatively new blogger I know that I should ideally post frequently to grow my readership but life does get in the way! I started blogging weekly which was easy when I was full of ideas. But over time I found it more difficult and my content quality started suffering which is why I now try and post new content every two weeks and use archived posts in between. Plus I’ll be honest it also became challenging to fit in weekly writing with work and BJJ training. To help me out when life is busy (or I’m going on holiday) I try to have 2 or 3 partially drafted blogs or a few weeks content ready at a time so I am reasonably ahead of myself.
The final consideration regarding content is the legal side of things. Even if only one other person reads your blog it’s considered “published” under British Law so you are open to libel if you write defamatory comments about someone. The same applies to other forms of blogging and podcasting too. Just because you may see other BJJ blogs and podcasts being potentially defamatory against people and appearing to get away with it doesn’t mean it’s a good idea! A quick google will show a list of examples of bloggers being sued (including British ones) and it usually for libel or copywrite which bring me to my last point.
Think about what images and videos you use – you need to consider copyright and giving appropriate credit. I found very quickly it was easier to get busy with my camera phone to create some stock images for the blog etc and when using videos to embed them from the host site (such as youtube) rather than ripping them to post myself
I’m not going to go in depth into the technical side of things as ultimately I use a free WordPress blog but other free platforms are also available. I know if I go self-hosted that I would have more functionality and the potential for advertising revenue etc but it boils down it doing what I want as a hobbyist. But it is something to consider when you’re starting out as many of the paid for options also have increased design options etc. However, I would consider looking at the range of free apps out there that may help with your content. HootSuite is really helpful for your social media, Canva and Spark Post have both been great in terms of developing images for content whilst Flickr has been good for storing and embedding images. They’ve all helped improve my blog and importantly saved me time!
I hope you’ve found this blog a great whistle-stop tour of my current blogging mind. Blogging can be a lot of work but overall I have actually really enjoyed it over the last few years. I’m always happy to chat with fellow bloggers so if you’ve got any thoughts or just want to chat always feel free to get in touch!