Are you wondering, “Should I start a blog?”
Wonder no more. In this post, I will outline all the major advantages of starting a blog in 2024. But more importantly, I will address the most common objections, like your chances of succeeding or the threat of AI-generated content.
Get no-nonsense advice on what it takes to start a successful blog, how to monetize it, and why most people will still fail.
- The Benefits of Blogging
- Common Objections to Starting a Blog
- "Can I really make money from a blog?"
- "I don't want to bother with this SEO stuff"
- "I am unsure about my niche"
- "But won't take all of this very long?"
- "I have no idea how to monetize a blog"
- "I'm not sure what type of blog to go with"
- "Won't I lock myself in with blogging? (vs. other platforms)"
- "I am torn between writing and video"
- "Isn't it too late to start a blog?"
- "But what about AI? Won’t that kill off blogging?"
The Benefits of Blogging
I will keep this short. There are many benefits to blogging, some of which you are already aware of; otherwise, you wouldn’t be considering blogging in the first place.
1. Set Your Own Hours
Most of us are slaves to our 9-to-5 jobs. We live on the timetable of our employer.
When you become a blogger, this changes. It doesn’t matter when they work, as long as the work gets done. So, if you are most productive at midnight, do all your writing then. If you are an early bird, get up at 4:30 and be done with your workday by 11 am.
Your hours are completely up to you.
2. Fire Your Boss
Nobody likes being subjugated to their bosses. Even if your boss is not a jerk, they still get to command you around. You don’t make the final call — your boss does
As a blogger, you are your own boss. Nobody can tell you what to do or not to do. You make all the calls.
3. Travel and Work
Blogging is the original digital nomad activity. You can do it from virtually anywhere in the world, as long as you have an internet connection. And unlike other forms of content creation (YouTube, short-form video), you don’t even need an especially fast internet connection. Since you are just uploading text, even the mobile data on your phone will suffice.
Also, you don’t need to schlepp around unwieldy equipment like lights and camera stands. Get a 13-inch laptop, and you are good to go. You can travel the world with a just small carry-on backpack.
4. Write About Your Passion
As a blogger, you can write about what most interests you in life. For example, I have a lifelong obsession with all things personal development. Hence, this is what my blog is about.
For me, that is the biggest benefit of blogging by far — to choose what I want to work on, what I feel excited about.
I cannot stress this enough, as the reality of most people’s work life is the exact opposite — for eight hours each day, they are forced to think about stuff that doesn’t interest them in the least. Nobody is truly passionate about replacement parts for vacuum cleaners or last quarter’s sales numbers.
By letting your thoughts be dictated by others, you will slowly kill yourself from the inside. You will become a spiritless zombie.
Blogging can reverse this process. It will ignite your passion again.
5. Build an Asset
Most beginning bloggers are not aware of this, but you can sell blogs at a fairly high price point. Check out a website like Empire Flippers to develop an idea of how viable of a business model this is.
However, keep in mind — this works best for “anonymous” niche sites. Blogs that lean towards the personal brand side of things are much harder to sell (I will elaborate on the difference further down).
6. Find Your People
This benefit might sound a bit wishy-washy, but it’s actually one of my top 3 (number one being able to write about what you love, number two being able to travel).
When you blog, and you really present yourself as you are (not this curated online persona), then, eventually, the right people — your people — will find you.
I have experienced this many times, and still, when it happens, it feels like the best thing in the world. You get a message from somebody, you start reading, and after a few paragraphs, you realize you met another kindred spirit. At least for a while, the existential loneliness that we all suffer from recedes. You realize — you are not alone. There are other weirdos like you out there, and they like your stuff. It’s beautiful.
7. Write a Book
Many bloggers are really inhibited writers. They would like to publish a book but are intimidated by the task. So, they start blogging, which seems more manageable.
Accidentally, that is also the best way of making your book dreams come true. If you have ever talked to publishers/agents at a book fair to sell them your great idea, I guarantee you, you will have heard the following question — “Well, how big is your audience?”
That’s the thing — publishers, or at least the more successful ones, will not touch your book unless you bring fans with you. Which, on a side note, should make you question the whole model in general — why build an audience so some random publisher can then cash in on it? Cash in on it yourself.
But I digress. If you really want to see your book on a shelf at Barnes & Noble, building an audience first is the key to making that happen. And for most writers, blogging will be the natural first choice.
Common Objections to Starting a Blog
This is where it gets interesting. When people wonder, “Should I start a blog?” they are usually wrestling with certain objections. We will address those here.
“Can I really make money from a blog?”
Yes, you can, and reliably so. But it will take a while.
I understand that most people doubt the earning potential of blogs (and of digital content creation businesses in general). I was no different. I had multiple blogs before this one, and most of them didn’t make me money. After the third or the fourth failed attempt, I distinctly remember thinking, “This is all a bunch of hogwash.”
But, like most inexperienced bloggers, I had made four key mistakes:
- I hadn’t bothered with SEO.
- I hadn’t chosen a well-defined niche.
- I didn’t keep publishing for long enough.
- I had no strategy for monetizing.
If you avoid these cardinal sins (and I will give you some tips on how to do so), then blogs not only can work — they will work. Never doubt it.
“I don’t want to bother with this SEO stuff”
Well, you must. There is no way around it.
Most aspiring bloggers like to think of themselves as authors/creatives/artisans. And while that might be good for your ego, it won’t get you traffic. And without traffic to your blog, you won’t make any money.
In the beginning, nobody cares about your oh-so-unique ideas. And nobody will magically find them anyway. Yes, you can share your stuff on social media and of course, your friends will tell you how talented you are. But never believe you can make your blog take off like that. There will be no wildfire of people sharing your articles all over the web. The likelihood of that is the same as winning the lottery.
So, what’s the solution then? The solution is to learn SEO. Specifically, you need to learn how to find low-competition keywords. Low-competition keywords must fulfill two requirements: 1) They must have a decent search volume, i.e., a couple of hundred people searching for them every month. 2) At the same time, it must be relatively easy to rank for them, even for a new blog like yours.
This second part is key. Google understands that your website is brand new and doesn’t trust it yet. Therefore, in most instances, it will not list your articles in the search result pages. But if you zoom in on keywords that currently are not well served by other websites/blogs, then Google will make an exception. It will rank your article even though your blog is brand new. It will give you the benefit of the doubt because it doesn’t have any better content options to serve up.
Now, if you write hundreds of high-quality articles based on such low-competition keywords, you will get thousands, if not tens of thousands of visitors to your blog — without doing any sharing or outreach. They will simply come to you via the Google search results. And once they arrive at your blog, you can collect their email addresses with a free download offer. Now you can contact them at will and sell them. You have successfully built a blogging business.
To learn how to find these low-competition keywords, you will have to do some studying. There are plenty of courses that will teach you the basics (I hear that the Authority Hacker courses are good), but I don’t think it’s necessary to pay for them. All the knowledge is available for free. Listen to SEO podcasts every day, watch SEO experts on YouTube (Miles Beckler is a good guy for the basics), and read how-to blogs like the ahrefs blog. Spend 2-3 hours on these activities every day, and in 6–12 months, you will know everything you need to know to get this to work.
“I am unsure about my niche”
Oh, the age-old question — what niche should you go with? The short answer is — the one you are most interested in and can keep churning out content indefinitely, without starting to hate it.
I really believe you can make any niche work for you, even highly competitive niches or niches that are less lucrative. You might not get rich from them — but you will make a living from the thing you enjoy the most.
I am living proof of this. My niche is highly competitive — tons of people blog about personal development. At the same time, it’s not a very lucrative niche — personal development is a “nice to have,” not a “must have.” You don’t need it like you need food, money, or consumer goods. On top of that, my positioning is terrible. I write about everything, from escaping the rat race to non-monogamy. I am all over the place. Yet, even I can make a (modest) living from blogging.
Bottom line — don’t get too hung up on the niche question. Go with what interests you. If several things interest you, start writing about them all. Your preferences will become clearer through the process of content creation. After 50+ articles, you will know what you really enjoy writing about and what not.
“But won’t take all of this very long?”
The most sensible answer, of course, is — it depends.
It depends on …
- … your publishing frequency. It will make a big difference if you post once a week or three times a week.
- … your niche. The more narrow your niche, the quicker you will get traction. The broader your niche, the longer it will take.
- … your work ethics. Some people are lazy, some people are workaholics. Depending on where you fall in the spectrum, you’ll see success quicker or slower.
- … your time. If you are working full-time and you can only dedicate 10 hours / per week to your blog, it will take you longer than somebody who blogs full-time.
- … your budget. If you have money to invest, you can hire help. You can hire a web designer, an editor, a backlink builder, etc. That means you can do it quicker.
You are still not happy with my answer, I know. Okay, I’ll go out on a limb. If you spend at least 20–30 hours of focused work on your blog each week, it will probably take you 2–3 years to make around $1000–$3000 per month.
Another way to look at this — you will probably have to publish between 100–300 well-written, SEO-optimized, long-form articles (2000–4000 words) to make enough money from your blog to allow you to quit your day job (or at least start thinking about it).
It is also important to understand the dynamic of blogging. Your success with blogging is not a linear graph, but an exponential graph (or a hockey stick graph, as some people call it). You publish your first 30–60 articles, and nothing much happens. Nobody but maybe your family and friends are reading your stuff. You start to question the whole process. But then, suddenly, between articles 80–100, things get moving. People start commenting. You get fan mail. You get your first few clients.
Had you stopped before this uptick, all these positive developments would have bypassed you. You would have assumed that this blogging thing just doesn’t work and moved on to to something else. But it does work. Just not in a linear fashion.
“I have no idea how to monetize a blog”
There are multiple ways to make money from a blog:
Ads. Here, you allow advertising networks like Mediavine to place ads from companies in related industries on your website. You get paid every time one of these ads is displayed to a reader. If you have ever been to Forbes.com, that’s what it looks like. This is a fantastic hands-off business model, but unfortunately, you will have to generate a lot of traffic to your website first before you even qualify for most of these ad networks; something to keep in mind.
Affiliate marketing. With this model, you recommend products from other companies to your readers. Every time a reader clicks on one of your trackable affiliate links and buys something from company X, company X will send you an affiliate commission. There are tons of affiliate marketing programs out there, for practically every industry. Amazon is the most well-known, but there are many others, and often, they pay better.
Physical products. Depending on your niche, you can also sell your own physical products. Let’s say you have a blog in the gardening niche. You could create your own line of high-quality gardening tools and then sell these branded tools to your loyal readers. The big advantage — your margin will be significantly higher than if you are recommending somebody else’s affiliate product. The disadvantage — you will have a lot more work. You will have to source your products, store them, ship them, deal with returns, etc. You will also have to take on a greater financial risk as you must pay for your inventory in advance. Still, it might be worth it.
Coaching. Pretty self-explanatory — you offer coaching/consulting around your expertise. So, if you blog about software development, you might coach other developers on how to code more efficiently. If you blog about about dog training, you might coach dog owners on how to get their unruly dachshunds in line.
Coaching is typically the first and the quickest way to monetize your blog. Even if you are just getting a few hundred or a few thousand monthly visitors, at least a handful of them will be interested in what you have to offer. And since you can charge quite a bit for individualized coaching, it will already be worth it for you.
Courses. From coaching, many people transition to courses next. The reason is scalability. Once you get to a certain level of traffic, you will max out on coaching. The day only has 24 hours and you can only coach so many people during that time. So, to serve an indefinite amount of people, you pack your knowledge into an online course, which usually means recording a sequence of video lessons, maybe with accompanying PDF materials. You can offer these courses at a somewhat lower price point ($50 to $200) and then turn your 1-on-1 coaching into your premium product, starting at $300 per hour (but some people go much higher).
So, if you are asking yourself, “Should I start a blog?” don’t let the money aspect deter you. Blogs can be monetized, and reliably so. It just won’t happen quickly.
“I’m not sure what type of blog to go with”
There are two major kinds — niche sites and personal brands.
With niche sites, the focus is on a certain, very narrow topic. Here are some examples:
- Credit card products
- Weight loss
- Gaming consoles
What these niche sites are trying to do is to answer a very specific question or problem that the user is having. So, for example, if you are looking for the best credit card to collect airline miles, a good niche site will present you with the best options and discuss the pros and cons.
On the other end of the spectrum, we have personal brands. Here, the focus is less on the subject matter and more on the person writing about the subject matter. The blogger is bringing their unique perspective to the problem, oftentimes by sharing their own experiences and struggles. This builds a stronger emotional connection with the reader.
Niche site owners often don’t show their face, personal brands always do. Niche site owners often have other writers create their content for them, personal brands typically write their own articles. Niche sites — because of their impersonal nature — can easily be built into an asset and sold. Personal brands are by definition hard to sell.
Niche sites and personal brands also differ in the way they monetize. Niche sites typically make use of affiliate marketing and ads to make money, while personal brands typically monetize via coaching and courses. Physical products are kinda in the middle, I have seen both niche sites and personal brands use them successfully.
All of this, is, of course, an idealization. In reality, the boundaries between the two categories are often blurred. There are plenty of niche sites writing with a unique, recognizable voice, and selling coaching, for example. And on the other hand, you have personal bloggers who really like to do product reviews and push affiliate offers.
“Won’t I lock myself in with blogging? (vs. other platforms)”
No. Understand — all the writing you do can serve as a foundation for other, future platforms you might want to get into. You can easily repurpose your long-form blog content for X (Twitter) and LinkedIn; there are AI tools that will help with this process.
You can also use your blog article as the script for your YouTube video. This is something that many beginners are not aware of — the majority of YouTube (at least the better quality ones) are scripted out word for word and people then memorize that script or read it off a teleprompter. So, even if you wanted to get into video, you would still have to do a lot of writing.
Finally, you can cut your scripted, long-form YouTube videos into short, vertical videos, to use as Instagram Reels or on TikTok.
Now you have covered all the major platforms out there. And the basis of it all? Writing. So, it does make sense to start with the most foundational of all the platforms. But you are by no means limited to it; quite the opposite.
“I am torn between writing and video”
With the vast majority of people, it is pretty clear what they should do, at least looking at it from the outside:
- If you are an introvert / the thinking type, do a blog or another written medium e.g., X / Twitter.
- If you are an extrovert/presenter type, do video (YouTube, Instagram Reels, TikTok, etc.)
- If you are a facilitator/great listener, do a podcast
Like I said, about 90 percent of the people I meet or coach fall into one of these categories. It might not be clear to themselves, but to an outsider, it will be clear as day. The solution? Ask other people which of these three categories they see you in. Make sure to not just ask your friend (they are less likely to give it to you straight), but also include people who have nothing to gain from you.
Now, there will be the rare person who can do two or all three well. In this instance, start with what you feel most drawn to, what excites you the most. Then later, expand into these other areas.
“Isn’t it too late to start a blog?”
Some people will argue that the ship for blogging has sailed. “Blogging was a great option ten years ago, but now it’s way too competitive. There are a million blogs out there.” Don’t let that deter you.
I am not saying that they are completely wrong. At this point, it is relatively more difficult to start a blog and get traffic than it was 10 years ago. And it is also true that there are other, newer channels where it’s relatively more easy to get eyeballs. TikTok comes to mind and I think LinkedIn is also still an underpriced source of attention (as Gary Vaynerchuck likes to put it).
But there is also something to be said for going with the more “traditional” option. With blogging and the SEO game, there is a much higher level of predictability than with any other kind of digital marketing platform. That’s exactly because they are the oldest platform of all the platforms. The rules of that particular game have been well-established, so to speak. If you know the rules and pay attention to them, you are almost guaranteed to succeed with blogging.
On the other hand, newer platforms like TikTok are still in flux. They are still finding their way, and as a result, they are a lot more unpredictable. You might decide on a certain course of action, and stick with it for six months, only to then find out it was the wrong path. Or, even worse — your strategy might prove successful, and you get lots of traffic and clients. But then, from one day to the next, the algorithm changes, and your content gets buried.
This is not just a doomsday scenario. Social media platforms have a track record of doing this — just look at the early days of Facebook. Certain strategies stopped working overnight. Granted, the Google algorithm changes too. But if you generally do what Google wants you to — create high-quality, non-spammy content — you will be fine. I know SEOs love to complain about the volatility of Google updates, but they exaggerate. If their website suddenly tanks, there was almost always something fishy going on. They were trying to game the algorithm, and the algorithm caught up to them.
Bottom line — blogging might be harder to get traction with initially, but it’s more predictable than all the other platforms. If you keep doing the right things, you will get results. There is no “Maybe” here.
“But what about AI? Won’t that kill off blogging?”
Obviously, the whole AI discussion is a large one; I could write several articles about this and probably still not do it justice. The very short answer is — no, I don’t see AI as an existential threat to blogging. Here are my reasons:
1. The Expectations Did Not Live Up to the Hype
In early 2023, when the AI revolution was in full swing, everybody was crying, “Blogging is dead! Writing is dead! Copywriters will all be replaced!”
It did not happen. And most serious marketers, even those who initially got swept away by the hype, now admit they were wrong or at least too quick to make these predictions.
2. AI Content Is Not Good
To an untrained eye, AI writing looks like magic. It seems like the real thing. But it is not. It is boring, vanilla, repetitive, and gets most of the facts wrong.
It’s like me judging a tennis player who seems like they know what they are doing. “This guy seems really good!” But it doesn’t mean they are actually good and would win tournaments. It just means I don’t know anything about tennis.
It’s the same thing with writing. To an amateur, it all seems the same. But crappy, AI-written content won’t sell products, just like that mediocre tennis player won’t win Wimbledon.
3. Nothing Is AI-Prove
When the AI craze started, a lot of bloggers went over to YouTube or short-form videos. Their rationale — “There I will be safe from AI.”
That’s of course not the case. All of these different forms of media — writing, video, podcasting — will soon have (crappy) AI alternatives available. In fact, they are already available, just not on a mass scale like with writing.
So, you won’t be any “safer” on YouTube than you will be with a blog. If you want to blog, just blog.
4. Build Your List/Community
Am I saying you should not do anything differently than pre-AI? No. As much as you can, you want to bulletproof yourself — not just in regards to AI, but also in regards to algorithm updates (on whatever platform). And that means building your list/community.
See, the blog is not even what it’s really about. Blogging is just a top-of-the-funnel activity you need to do to get subscribers to your email list. It’s your list where the real magic happens. Here you don’t pay attention to arbitrary SEO best practices. Here, you don’t have to concern yourself too much with political correctness. Here, you can free-flow, and here, you will sell.
And the best thing — you own your list. Even if AI takes over the internet completely (it won’t) and even if Google decides to never send you traffic again (just as unlikely), you will still have your list. If that is big enough, you can potentially keep selling to it for the rest of your life — the whole “1000 true fans” concept.
Bottom line — don’t fall for the AI doomsday scenario. “Should I start a blog, even in the age of AI?” If that is what your heart desires, yes. AI will certainly change the way we work. But it won’t eliminate writing. Because ultimately, writing = thinking. And AI cannot think. There is no little man sitting inside your computer, answering your questions. All it can do is recombine and rehash existing content. And that is not very exciting to read.