Blogging has evolved in so many ways since its earliest days nearly 20 years ago in the late 90s and early days of the Internet. We’ve gone from simple hard-coded HTML pages created by the early blog pioneers to hundreds of millions of individual blogs online today.
Whereas 20 years ago, most people would’ve asked what a blog is, today it’s widely accepted and understood that many people have a blog. That’s especially true for generations X and Y who were coming of age and growing up with the advent of the web.
But one thing that’s still not widely understood is that blogs are not just an online journal – they are fueling one of the most powerful shifts in small business perhaps ever in the history of the world.
Blogs are the difference between advertising with infomercials to mail educational DVDs to customers and the ability to sell a digital download directly to customers all over the world, instantly. Blogs are the difference between teaching an art workshop in your small hometown to the three people who were interested and being able to teach art to thousands of people at the same time without having to leave your house.
Blogs have changed everything about what’s possible for a budding entrepreneur, young or old. And it’s the hope, the opportunity, and the aspiration that comes with that reality that attracts so many people to get started as bloggers, even now. There have never been so many blogs online as there are today and that number will only continue to grow. What better time is there to get started than right now?
Before you do, you should know: the game has changed. It’s no longer enough to build a quick website and haphazardly post your thoughts here and there. There’s too much noise coming from every direction to break through by simply hoping and aspiring to be great.
Breaking through the noise today requires careful thought and strategy. It requires you to intentionally choose a topic to cover persistently and an audience to serve like your business depends on it (because it does). It requires you to plan ahead for how you’ll turn that blog into a business (a blog isn’t a business in and of itself, after all), what platform you’ll use, and what you’ll write about.
More than anything, making it as a blogger today requires more than tactics. For beginners, blogging 101 appears to be as much about the understanding of how the Internet works – marketing funnels, email marketing, metrics tracking, conversion rates, opt-in forms, affiliate marketing, ads, and all of the other things you think you’re supposed to know – as anything. And that’s why so many bloggers lose their way.
Blogging is also about the craft. It’s about the thing you choose to write about day after day and week after week. It’s about the work you put in to become more of an expert than 80% of the people in the world when it comes to your topic. It’s about the long hours of research, writing, and editing. It’s about caring enough to serve your audience with the best content on the web for your topic.
Your job isn’t to start a blog. Your job is to start a blog that creates change in the people who read it. That’s going to take real work, and it’s going to take a relentless focus on honing your craft. But if you can approach it with the right attitude, you just might find that your blog turns into a business that turns into your full-time career doing work you believe in.
So, are you ready? This month’s issue walks you through blogging 101. There’s plenty of competition, but there will never be a better time to get started. So go, don’t delay another second. You have work to do.