Blogs are often depicted as an easy, simple way to develop a passive source of income. The get-rich-quick scheme surrounding them has become so hyped that there are countless courses and e-books on the subject available for purchase. The sellers of these courses will tell you that you, too, can achieve their level of success, if only you follow these specific steps. I see this rhetoric again and again on Pinterest, to the point that it becomes aggravating. I want to put an honest account out there of the hidden hardships of blogging that, quite frankly, I rarely see anyone discussing. You know why? Because it doesn’t make money to do so!
I think it’s time for a true account of the struggles of running a blog. Because regardless of what these bloggers might tell you, simply doing things the right way won’t automatically skyrocket your website to prosperity.
Blogs Are Not an Overnight Success
Despite what many bloggers would lead you to believe, gaining a viewership of thousands in under six months isn’t realistic. Unless you have oodles of free time to pour into your website, the sheer amount of work that it takes to even establish a presence will prevent you from seeing those numbers. A more reasonable timeline would include several years of blog development. You have to grow an understanding of your target audience, SEO, website building, content creation, etc., and that won’t happen in just a few months. (To see my response to more terrible blogging advice, check out my post about the horror that is Bloglovin’.)
This is where the deceptive marketing of blogging products takes advantage of the reader/new bloggers. I’ve seen so many bloggers telling readers, “You can be making money within a few months!” or “Start making money on your blog from day one.” The latter always gives me a good chuckle.
You can’t start inserting affiliate links here, there, and everywhere and assume the money will be pouring in. Sure, the links will be there, but who will be clicking on them? And if you’re throwing together slapdash posts in an attempt to just make some cash, are readers even going to want to stay on your site? These are logical questions that bloggers marketing their own links and products tend to gloss over.
There’s a Learning Curve to Building a Website
Whether you have a clear vision for your finished website or not, actually building it is more complicated than you might be led to believe. Before you even begin, you’ll need photos to fill all that empty space. Either you’ll need to find appropriate stock photos, are you’ll have to take time to create your own. Then you have to make multiple pages and posts to fill out your site. And don’t even get me started on the time it takes to customize your page!
While many programs that help you build your site are intuitive, I can guarantee you that you will be doing an immense amount of Googling! There will be technical issues along the way that you have to overcome, which brings me to my next point…
You Have to Understand Coding
At least a basic understanding of HTML is essential to owning and building a blog. In my opinion, one of the biggest hardships of blogging is trying to figure out what happened when your site malfunctions. You need to be able to troubleshoot and understand how things can go wrong. Thankfully, with most technical issues I’ve experienced, I’ve been able to get them fixed eventually. Some problems have taken longer than others, and I’ve had a ton of frustration and stress along the way.
There was a point that I had to pull in my programmer brother to help fix my broken blog, and I feel lucky to have had access to his skills! Otherwise, I would have had a nearly impossible time getting it fixed. I had enabled auto ads through Google Adsense, and when I went to publish my next blog post, I noticed something strange. The text of my post was no longer inside its normal margins, but rather going off to the right and intersecting with my sidebar. It took me days to figure out the issue, and even then I wasn’t able to fix it without his assistance.
Consider my experience a warning that your site can and will have coding issues (like Google Adsense breaking your site) and you’ll have to find a way to fix it to move forward.
Writing Blog Posts Isn’t Easy
Sometimes the inspiration is there, but sometimes it’s just not. Writing blog posts can occasionally be boring, and at times it will even be a little forced. As much as we might wish it, we won’t be founts of creativity 100% of the time.
On top of that, you have to bear in mind that with a blog (one meant to get viewers and earn money, that is), you aren’t totally writing for yourself anymore. When people visit your blog, they’re there to get something out of it for them.
On top of that, you always have to have SEO on the brain while writing a post. How will you make your work rank in search engines well? What are the keywords you want to focus on? It’s essential to hone your writing skills to construct posts that will attract readers.
You Have to Market Your Blog Hard
It’s a generally accepted rule that you should have several social media accounts to bring views to your blog. Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook pages are all helpful in getting the word out about your blog.
The difficulty lies in actually getting people to make that jump from Pinterest, IG, or whatever to your blog page. You need to have a strong call to action and give people a reason to actually do what you want them to. You have to sell yourself and your blog HARD. Do you not like trying to sell things? Then having a money-making blog might not be for you, because a good portion of it is writing what is essentially marketing copy.
I had a job in marketing for a short time, and I’m always amazed by how writing for/about my blog is related to that job. Having a background in marketing or at least some basic marketing knowledge is essential to gaining viewership over time.
Bloggers selling their success are quick to make it sound like visitors to your site will be drawn in by the mere presence of your quality content. Unfortunately, this is not the case. You have to convince people that you have the answer to their question or the solution to their problem.
Will Your Site Survive?
There is no guaranteed success in blogging. Along the way, it’s easy to lose motivation and become discouraged. When bloggers selling easy success set up unrealistic expectations, there’s bound to be disappointment. The hardships of blogging are enough to turn many new bloggers away in the end. I want people to know that blogs are not always the immediate money-maker that other bloggers can make them out to be. They take dedication, patience, and a willingness to spend A LOT of time learning. And I don’t think there’s any shame in walking away from something that simply isn’t working!
Despite all that, is blogging still rewarding? Of course! Blogging is a wonderful outlet for those of us that enjoy creating. It’s incredibly satisfying and exciting to see your blog come together and grow. The experience is 100% worth the struggle!