Is Your Blog a Business?
Many blogs post tutorials on how to blog. What most of these tutorials have in common is that there is an underlying thought of what a successful blog is. A successful blog in their eyes is a blog that reaches as many readers or followers. Other people measure their success in comments or ad revenue. The common denominator is that success is dependant on the external source – either exposure or money. It’s not about the intrinsic value of the blog, it’s about how others value your blog.
The musts of blogging
You should be professional. Your layout should be clean. Your reviews should be concise, and not too long. You should have a good comment system. You shouldn’t use Captcha. You should post something personal once in a while. You should have a clear direction. You should find one niche. You should use social media.
All of this is great advice – but it all makes blogging so incredibly clinical. Sure, it’s nice to have a blog that doesn’t pain your eyes when you try to read the text, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a super colourful and fun layout. There is no reason why you can’t just blog about anything under the sun, and it does not make your blog worth any less. Maybe it makes it harder to find thousands of followers. But even if you do follow all of those (well meant) advices, you might not ever get more than a few dozen people either. If there is anything I learnt in the last five years of blogging, it’s that audiences are extremely fickle. There is no one way, there is no right way. There is only your way.
I’m always highly surprised when I see how many people see their blogs as a business, instead of a personal expression of their thoughts. Very, very few people ever make a single dollar from their blogs. I’m one of the lucky few who can make some money occasionally from advertising, but it barely pays for my hosting. If my blog were a business, it would be a damn bad one.
Some people use their blogs as a platform for a secondary profession – mostly writers, though editors and designers do this too occasionally. In that case, your blog truly is the “front window” of your job, and even though it might not make you money directly, it does influence your livelihood.
Blogging as personal achievement
However, as someone who is a book blogger first and foremost, I don’t see my blog as a business at all. I do put my blog on my resume, but I also wouldn’t hesitate to put it on there if my blog didn’t get any readers or comments or whatever. The worth in Nyx Book Reviews, for me, is in the fact that it shows my achievements. It shows how I’ve developed as a reader, how I’ve learnt how to pour my thoughts into writing. I was more excited over the fact that I reached 1000 posts than that I had 4800 unique visitors last month. Both were a milestone, but I celebrated the former and not the latter. Why? Because I can directly influence how many posts I write, while how many people see my blog is up to the internet gods of search engines.
I’ve had times where I would do everything right – I was commenting on twenty blogs every day, yet no one commented back. When you rely on external sources of achievement, times like that can be incredibly tough. It’ll feel like you’re doing something wrong. You’ll see all those other blogs receiving dozens of comments on a simple posts, yet no one comments on that one fantastic discussion you posted. It will feel like your blog is worth less, is somehow bad, like your blog is failing.
Because of these experiences, I rethought the way I saw my blog. My blog is written for me, first and foremost. That doesn’t mean I can’t ask for other people’s thoughts, because when you’re on the fence about something, extra input can be extremely helpful. However, I myself determine how much my blog is worth.
Do you see your blog as a business?
I’m very interested to hear from others on this topic. Do you yourself see your blog as a business? Why, or why not? How do you measure your success? Do you see yourself as a professional?