THE AGE OF BLOGGING

Blogging is the trend sweeping over the internet. There is no scarcity of people sharing their thoughts, insights and experiences, both professional and personal, through blogging. For some, blogging is a hobby but for others, it is a full-time profession. Creating a blog and running it requires effort, more so because of the horde of similar material available on the internet. To stand out of the crowd, one needs to be creative and diligent in what they do. The first step towards starting a blog is intensive research about one’s content. Being a blogger myself, the hardest part is ensuring that my creativity is visible and my content worth reading. It doesn’t come on day one, but slowly and steadily, you learn the tricks of the trade.

There are various ways to start a blog. You can either use pre-designed sites such as WordPress and Blogspot, or start your own website. If you are new to the world of blogging, I suggest trying pre-designed sites to learn how publishing a blog works, to determine how website traffic is generated and to learn to keep track of your posts and followers. It is also the best way to learn about SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). Getting an online presence depends on how you curate your content to effectively utilize SEO. SEO connects you to Google’s database, ensuring your blog pops up whenever someone searches content similar or related to yours.

Blogging is the most efficient tool for businesses to find out what their customers like. It is also great for authors to connect with their audience and get the word going. Take, for example, Neil Gaiman, the author of American Gods. He initiated an early dialogue with his readers which manifested into huge sales. Marie Phillip, the author of Gods Behaving Badly, constantly updates her blog with her day to day life, her not so glamorous moments, her home life, etc., occasionally reminding her readers that she is a writer. Same goes for Meg Gardiner, an American crime writer who takes personal pains to ensure that her readers are aware of her whereabouts. She engages with them and provides a warm feeling of familiarity about herself. All of these aspects ultimately up the ante when it comes to sales, ensuring that your audience remains loyal to you even when you are not releasing any books. Connecting with readers on a personal level has enormous benefits and blogs are an excellent way to ensure that your readers are updated about your previous, current and future works, your life, your tours and pretty much anything and everything that will keep them hooked.

Blogging is both easy and difficult, depending on the degree of dedication one is willing to offer and the returns they expect. Blogs are excellent money making tools but require patience. Below are a few advantages of blogging:

  1. You are your own boss. Since blogs can be curated from the comfort of one’s home, timing is fairly lenient. You can plan, you can rest, you can do anything at your own ease without constantly being accountable to someone for your absence or presence.
  2. It amounts to a good hobby. This is true for part-time bloggers. One can share their personal experiences, day to day life, their interests, and talk to people about their problems. Basically, blogging can help let off steam in a constructive manner.
  3. You receive instant feedback which will let you know what readers think about your content. Some might agree and some might not, nevertheless you know how your blog is doing online.
  4. You can earn money at home. Though money won’t start pouring in the moment you publish your first blog, but with effort, you can gather the attention of potential clients who are interested in your work and who are ready to pay you to write for them in your own style. You can also earn money by helping others start a blog by providing services such as blog designing, blog consultancy etc.
  5. You can help create awareness on various social issues, climate changes, economic fluctuations etc., there is no limit to topics that need to be addressed and through your blog, you can enlighten the masses about the truth of things. You can educate and play your part in making the society a better place one blog at a time.

We know there are two sides of each coin. So where there are advantages, there are also disadvantages. It is better to know the pros and cons before setting off on the path of blogging.

  1. You find yourself alone. Sure, you can talk to people online but it is not the same as having the person in front of you. No amount of friends on Facebook or Instagram can replace the importance of a physical presence. This is especially true for full-time bloggers who need to put extra effort into their blogging which takes up most of their time, leaving little time or energy for socializing, which leads to frustration and detachment. So ensuring that you have a life away from the keyboard is important. It is also important to ensure that the internet doesn’t affect the decisions you take in real life. There have been cases of bloggers being verbally attacked and threatened for making decisions which didn’t go down well with their audience. The Blonde Vegan and Natasha at Voracious are two formerly vegan bloggers who received major backlash from their followers after quitting the vegan lifestyle, which is quite ironic considering that the whole point of a vegan lifestyle is to curb violence and cruelty towards animals. While these are extreme cases, the average blogger too can get sucked into this virtual vortex, and it is very important to take precautions, and like with every other occupation, keep the professional and the personal separate.
  1. You can make money from blogging but it is not always immediate and it is not a fixed income. It’s more like – the more work you do, the more you earn. Similarly, if you fall sick or take a vacation there is no income for you. So proper financial management is essential when it comes to full-time blogging, to ensure you don’t run out of money when you need it.
  1. Being inconsistent. The best way to keep your readers coming back to you is to ensure you are consistent in posting your blogs. If your readers believe that you have stopped blogging, they won’t visit your site, and your website traffic will reduce over time. The internet era is such that readers often develop strong bonds with the people they follow online, and truly expect and look forward to their posts, you don’t want your audience to repeatedly open your blog and refresh, to find nothing new. You can plan content for times which are busy, even schedule it in advance, so that it is posted automatically at a given time, or share casual snippets of whatever it is that is keeping you busy, to keep them engaged and abreast.
  1. Online trolling. No matter how just your cause is, there will always be people who won’t agree with your views and will be vocal about their disdain. You have to be strong enough to ignore the haters and continue your work. Discouragement comes very easily from the internet.

So now that you know what blogging entails, if you feel it is your calling, don’t let the negative aspects discourage you. Concentrate on the positives and endeavour to make a difference both in your life as well as the lives of others, and you might even make some money on your way.

Focusing on Literature and Lifestyle of the Urban Youth of the Country, LitGleam is a monthly magazine, an intrinsic part of BlueRose Publishers.

Within its pages, our readers find provocative essays on literature and lifestyle, guidance for getting published and pursuing writing careers, in-depth profiles of poets, fiction writers, and writers of creative nonfiction, and conversations among fellow professionals.

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