You’ve always thought it’s totally normal that your blog is not generating income. Until one day, while aimlessly browsing Pinterest, you come across an army of bloggers (like a secret society of sorts) who are quitting their 9-5 jobs because their blogs are now earning more than their fixed salaries.
Suddenly, you feel insecured about your own blog.
Why, you wonder, are you not making money from blogging? Is it weird that you don’t want to make money from this thing?
I mean, do you sometimes feel like you’re stuck in the 90s where blogs were supposed to be a documentation of life and personal stories, while the whole blogging world seems to have moved on with their fat 5-6 digit blogging income?
Literally everywhere you go online (hint: search “blogging” on Pinterest), you see bloggers earning legit income and establishing full-time businesses from their blogs.
You’re impressed, but you also know that you’re happy with whatever (non-monetary) purpose your blog has served you through the years.
I get you. I know because I’ve been blogging for 18 years now, even when I’ve never really earned full-time income from my personal blog. And I have no regrets! If I earned money from this thing, great! If not, I sure would want to continue blogging just the same.
And I’m sure the blogosphere (ehem, blogosphere, really? see how long I’ve been around?) will always have room for bloggers like you and me.
Don’t get me wrong. There are thousands of blogs out there that would teach you how to generate full-time income from blogging, and yes, it can be done if you do the work. And yes, I do make an income from this blog, too—it’s just not my main source of income.
My point is, there are other intangible benefits of blogging, reasons why I kept blogging all these years even if I didn’t take the “full-time blogging” route.
How I got started on blogging
It was the year 1999, year before I went to college, when I discovered this thing called “online diaries”. Wikipedia says that “online diarists” have existed since 1994, but it wasn’t until 1998 when the term “blog” was coined.
I remember being 16 years old, logging in my old desktop computer soon as the lights were out. I would hide behind a pen name and share random stories of my day to an unknown audience. I self-studied Photoshop and HTML (Microsoft Frontpage, y’all!) so I could customize the look of my blogspot.
Eventually I registered my own domain name, bought myself some web hosting, installed WordPress, and well, here we are 18 years later. (18 years, what?!)
My old blogs were featured by Manila Bulletin in 2008; and I was interviewed by Jessica Soho for a blogging segment on her TV show, also in 2008. That’s trivia for you. :) I don’t talk about this a lot because they featured blogs I used to own that didn’t anymore exist today.
Then again, unlike other “superstar bloggers” out there, I didn’t take the route of blogging full-time.
Instead, I sidelined as a professional blogger for other publishing companies while keeping my personal blog, personal.
I was happy with making extra bucks every now and then, and have always treated my personal blog as a digital playground and memory keeper. And it was all good.
Which brings us to the question—Why should I blog even if I don’t make money from it?
1. Blogging allows you to gain skills to advance your career
When I first started blogging, I didn’t know that blogging will play a major role in establishing a career that I love.
For one, it made me realize that I want to write. I graduated with a degree in Communications Research and while my classmates pursued jobs in AC Nielsen and other media research companies, I pursued writing.
Blogging also made me interested to learn HTML and CSS, and soon enough I was designing and developing websites—skills I didn’t know would be so in demand a decade later.
Naturally, I learned SEO and Content Marketing too, as part of my day job/s.
Your personal blog may not directly generate income, but it can be a way for you to gain skills that you need to advance your career. If you look at blogging this way, then you know it’s an investment that will result to long-term gains.
2. Blogging gives you exposure to potential employers
If you’re looking at establishing a job in the creative industry (or in any industry, come to think of it), your blog can be a way to land those jobs.
For the past 7 years, my day job comes with the responsibility of scouting and hiring Writers and Digital Marketing professionals. Guess what’s the first thing I look for when I have a pile of CVs on my desk?
Yep. I check if the applicants have blogs.
For me, more often than not, a blog speaks louder than a CV.
One time I hired a travel blogger for a Content Strategist position.
I lost count of the times I hired mommy bloggers to do freelance writing for a wide range of blog topics and niches.
I, myself, landed my first job because my silly, amateur-looking blog (where I ranted about nonsensical things) got the attention of my first employer.
Regardless of the industry, a blog is a way for employers to assess not only your ability to write, but also your discipline, creativity, and personality.
Sometimes we also use it to get a glimpse into someone’s family life, thought process, even basic life principles. Believe it or not, these come handy when deciding which candidate is the best one for a position.
So this goes out to those of you who want to blog but don’t see yourselves doing it full-time:
Your blog—no matter how personal or niche-specific you choose it to be—is not only your portfolio, it’s ultimately a digital representation of yourself. Make it a good one.
3. Blogging connects you with like-minded creatives and bloggers
Remember the first day of college when you entered a room full of strangers and you had to put on your best extrovert self?
Remember scrambling to figure out how to best describe yourself in 3 sentences while all eyes were on you?
Remember scouring a crowd of unfamiliar faces, wondering if you’d meet someone who would understand you and connect with you in a deeper level?
And remember how hard it was to make even just one new friend? (Still is.)
As an introvert, I have to say, blogging has been quite the game changer for me to make meaningful connections.
And not just any connections. Blogging allows you to meet the right connections.
Many times I have totally taken advantage of the fact that I could skip the awkward introductions by just sending my blog’s URL to a new contact and let the blog do the intro for me.
In the same way, if anyone would get in touch with me after reading one or two of my posts, it’s easy for me to assume that we already have a common ground to stand on.
Through blogging, you’re able to connect with people from around the world—kindred spirits who could potentially become your ministry or business partners, collaborators, clients.. and as God sometimes permits, these people end up becoming your real life friends too.
4. Blogging is a way to document personal milestones
I totally blame my “online diary” background for the years and years and years of personal reflections and stories published in the world wide web. Even when I’ve done a lot of technical and creative content professionally (here and elsewhere), I continue to blog personal stories here at Chasingdreams.net.
This is our little family. Hello!
I want my grandchildren to read this blog, I remember myself saying years ago. I think this remains true until now.
It’s one thing to share stories in social media (which is a good tool for memory keeping, too) but when something “makes it to the blog”, I know it’s a pretty special milestone.
This is also the reason why I kept things personal around here, for the most part, even when I started using this blog to launch passion projects and some side-hustles through the years.
In my Blogging with a Purpose E-course, I talked about how, even when you have to blog with a target audience in mind, ultimately YOU are your number one reader.
Months or years later, you find that you’re the one person who will keep reviewing your old posts, and reflecting on the lessons you learned through the years.
Yes, you, more than anyone else.
Whatever you publish on your blog is first and foremost, for you.
Besides, whatever you write has to mean something to you before it starts to mean something for others.
5. Blogging helps your thought process
This has been true for me majority of the time, all these years.
I still do keep notebooks and journals where I write what’s going on in my head—ideas, reflections, dreams—but it’s hard to keep track of these “notes” years down the line.
A notebook doesn’t have a filing system or a search box. But a blog is a way to put together and organize all of those ideas, while also letting others in on the journey.
As an example, doing the “One Word” exercise for four years now is really mostly me processing what God’s been teaching me through seasons of my life. When a post like that comes out here, you would know it was a result of a long and messy creative process that made me grow as a creative and as a person.
These are the personal benefits I get from blogging, precisely why I intend to continue doing it. How about you? Why do you blog? (Or why do you want to blog, if you haven’t yet.)
Blog Challenge: Why Did You Start Blogging?
I like saying this: Sometimes the way to move forward is to look back.
Whether you’re blogging for a living or just for fun, whether full-time or part-time, whether you just started blogging or you’ve been blogging for over a decade like me– there are moments when we feel stuck or doubtful or uninspired doing this thing we do.
I find that taking a trip down memory lane, reading old blog posts and remembering old stories, make me inspired to continue blogging.
Remembering why you started is a good way to keep going.
Today I challenge you to do the same thing.
Dig into your archives. Read old posts. In fact, read your very first blog post. Celebrate how far you’ve come. Remember why it mattered to you then, and allow that to remind you why it should matter to you now.
Take the Blogging with a Purpose E-Course
A FREE 7-day e-course designed for bloggers and creatives who want to take their blog to a whole new level of meaning and purpose.
This e-course will take you back to the drawing board, unravel your passion and purpose for blogging, with an end-result of creating more intentional blog content that will attract the right target readers.