Here and over at the 5 Buck Forum, I often get questions and comments from freelance writers about blogging.
It seems like most of the time the writer is expressing frustration about either finding the time to do a blog or figuring out what to blog about. I get the sense that a lot of writers somehow think because they write they should also have a blog.
The good news is freelance writers do not have to run their own blog.
They should have a website if they want to be found, and that site can be run on blog software like WordPress for ease of changing stuff. Running a fairly static website on WordPress or any other content management system does not, however, mean you have to blog.
What, exactly, is a blog?
Since January 1994, I’ve been using the web to publish my notes. There’s a mess of pages, some inaccuracies, a bunch of broken links, and too much information.
So diary probably isn’t very accurate, although there are a lot of blogs that are just that – a public record of what someone does, daily, weekly or whenever. Many of these are about personal lives, some, like Lori Widmer’s Words on the Page, are about professional lives.
Then there are blogs like this one which are designed to share information and maybe make some money. Problogger.net is another example, so is Jennifer Mattern’s AllIndieWriters. These are pretty major undertakings, can be a whole lot of fun, and some of them become lucrative, some really make a ton of money – many don’t make much.
So a blog is really pretty much anything you want to make it – diary, info or authority site, book promo, place to share, to celebrate, to whine… whatever.
Then there are the business blogs – blogs started by businesses in order to promote the business and/or products and services. Freelance writers are often hired to write for these blogs. Stonyfield is one example, so is Intuit’s Small Business blog – I don’t know if either of these use freelancers, but they could.
Should you start your own blog?
Should you start your own blog? As a freelance writer, presumably you’d have an easier time getting the writing done than others, but that’s not a good reason to blog.
You really should have your own blog if there’s something you feel passionate about and you want to write about that passion. If you’re not really dedicated to the topic and if you don’t enjoy writing about it, the chances of you ever becoming a successful blogger are darn close to nil. “Success” in this instance defined more by the number of readers than the amount of money you’re making.
Sure, if you want a blog just for the family, go ahead – in that case success comes because the family reads it.
But make no mistake about it, blogging regularly and doing the marketing to bring in readers takes time – time you could be spending on more lucrative projects.
Which isn’t to say you shouldn’t, but don’t feel you have to!
Do you blog? Why or why not? Let’s talk about it in comments.
Write well and often,
Hey, it really helps drive traffic to this site when you share posts with your network. Thanks!