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- Want to be a writer/artist/vlogger? Start a blog!
- Have a business? Build a website!
- Bored in quarantine? Start a blog!
Sometimes while surfing the internet, it seems as though the standard answer to any problem is to start a blog or build a website. The advice usually comes from someone who has something to gain, like a developer/designer or blogging guru trying to get you to buy their new course.
I should know—I was both of those people at different times in my life.
I still like to think that the answers to many of life’s quandaries are found while typing a blog post at full speed, but the realistic and honest dominant in my brain usually spills the truth about blogging and websites:
Most of you don’t need one, so don’t start one.
Who Doesn’t Need a Blog or Website?
I’m not only just a blogger (just? Really?), but I am an article and essay writer as well. I’ve been writing on Medium for almost two years, and I will be there for a few more, as long as it remains a place that anyone can publish their masterpieces.
It’s also nice that you can make a little beer money while you are at it.
I feel like too many creatives are being told they need a blog or website when the truth is that it’s only sometimes someone ever needs one or the other. If these people are pressing you to build something you don’t want, and they have something to gain, ask them to go away!
So who are these creatives who shouldn’t start a website/blog?
1. The Writer
I do agree that you, as a writer, should have a hub, or someplace readers can go to find out more information, but there are far better platforms you can use than an overly complicated blog or WordPress website.
- Want a newsletter/simple blog? Use SubStack.
- Want a landing page you can use to connect with people? Jim Woods has a better option for a website on the cheap.
- Want to publish your work and have it seen by thousands? Post on Medium.
- Want a portfolio of your work that potential clients or employers can see? Try LinkedIn, or, better yet, get a JournoPortfolio.
Building a blog is not as easy as publishing on Medium, or sending out a newsletter with Substack, where almost everything complicated is already done for you.
A WordPress blog or website requires a host, theme, plugins, time, money, effort, and a lot of trial and error to get ahead of that learning curve. I’m not saying don’t build one, but at least have a damn good reason for wanting it.
My advice: Just don’t do it.
2. The Vlogger
Casey Neistat has a website. He has probably been told a thousand times that he needs one. In response, he built this on his domain:
Casey is a filmmaker who has created a video every day for the past few years and published it on YouTube. That is his thing, so why would he want to start blogging or tinkering with a website when he is already a fantastic storyteller with video. What would it do for him?
Not a damn thing.
Whether you are a YouTuber or you use Facebook video, don’t feel like you have to be everywhere at once. You are already stretched thin making videos and keeping up with social media.
Now, I will say that the vlogging/blogging/website combination has worked well for some. Take Medium’s own Tom Kuegler. Tom does everything from vlogging to staying active on LinkedIn. And yes, he even has a blog where he is able to promote his Medium course.
Does he need all that? Probably not, but he somehow manages to keep everything straight and make a living from all his streams of income.
Yes, having a blog/website could be a new income stream, but don’t let anyone convince you it’s necessary for your career, because it’s not.
3. The Author
If you write books of any kind, you probably already have your hands full, and now, everyone is saying you have to be a blogger too. Yes, there are some great authors who also blog, like Seth Godin, but don’t let anyone ever convince you that you must blog or manage a website.
What if you just want a place where people can find out a little about you and see the list of titles you have written? Why not use Goodreads?
“The Goodreads Author Program allows published authors to claim their profile page to promote their book and engage with readers.”Goodreads.com
Also, if your books sell on Amazon, you have an Author page onsite with information about you and links to all your work.
Would a blog or website help you? It could! There are two situations where you might want to blog. If you’re going to use content marketing to drive people to buy your books or if you want to sell your books directly on your website/blog, you may want to take the plunge.
Otherwise, make life easier on yourself and focus on writing your books.
4. The Artist
Having a place to show off your art, like a portfolio, is a great reason to start a blog or website.
But is it necessary? No.
You probably already know this, but there are better places on the web to display your art that doesn’t involve you fussing with plugins or tweaking your SEO constantly.
Here are a few:
You can easily set up a portfolio with these websites, so why would you go to all the trouble of learning WordPress? That is, again, unless you want to use content marketing and sell your work without an intermediary.
Do you need to build a complicated website/blog? Not at all.
Who Should Build a Blog?
Now, I’ll repeat it: if you happen to be a creative who has the entrepreneurial spirit and you want to go beyond your “thing” to use content marketing to create more income, a blog may be what you need. If you own a business and you want a place to connect to your customers, you may want a website. If you are a creative who wants to sell their own work, without intermediaries, you may want a blog.
Why do I have so many?
These are projects that will pay off in the long run—my investments.
That is what you need to understand about starting a blog: it’s not something you can do well in your spare time. A blog requires a lot of work in the beginning, with little to show for it but hosting fees. Plus, you have to create excellent content continually, promote and market, create images and graphics, build traffic, tweak the SEO, and much more.
It’s a process I am willing to spend my hours and money on because I know it will pay off in the future. If I am eager to put in hard and smart work, I will eventually make money, and that is my goal.
It’s the same if your goal is to use content marketing to connect to readers and sell your work.
There is nothing easy or passive about it. Trust me!
I love to tinker and tweak and figure out what works and what doesn’t. I like to create epic pieces of content and promote the heck out of them on social media. I love marketing.
What I am saying is if you are willing to put in the work to be successful, and as long as you know what you are getting into, blogging can be very rewarding.
Anyone Can Start a Blog or Build a Website, But Not Everyone Should
Don’t listen to the people who tell you that you need a blog or website when you don’t. Think about it: there are more than 500 million blogs and 1.7 billion total websites in the world, and the last thing we need is more people adding noise to an already crowded platform.
If you have something important to say, if you need another source of income, or if you want a place to connect to your readers and customers, get a blog or website.
If you just want a place to post about your cats and whine about having to stay another day cooped up in your house, that is what I use Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter for.
Trust me–A blog or website is not necessary.