A question I get asked often is “Why do you blog”, or it’s variation: “Do you make money from it? How much?”
When I reply that I don’t make money from “blogging” and that I don’t want to put adverts on my personal blogs I’m met with a perplexed look. Why then do I do it?
I wish there was a simple answer but there isn’t.
Dave Weiner who has blogged almost every day for well over a decade recently posted an article where he wrote:
Even if no one read my blog, I’d still write it. Not exactly sure why. Maybe it’s something like this — I would still cook even if I was the only person eating.
I write because I am a writer. It would be the same if I was being paid for writing vs doing it for free, which is pretty much how I’ve always blogged. There was a brief time when pieces I wrote here were edited and published by Wired. But I still wrote the same stuff.
Steve Yegge wrote a much longer and more convincing piece titled “You Should Write Blogs” way back in 2005. He debunked some common excuses, such as “I’m too busy”, “It’s narcissistic” and “I’m afraid to put my true thoughts on public record”.
He makes the same point made by Dave:
Even if nobody reads them, you should write them. It’s become pretty clear to me that blogging is a source of both innovation and clarity. I have many of my best ideas and insights while blogging. Struggling to express things that you’re thinking or feeling helps you understand them better.
As someone who has blogged for about four years I completely agree with Dave and Steve. I blog because I just want to blog, there’s no “exact” reason why I do it. I don’t think many people read what I write, but I would still write, even though I was certain no one read at all.
There are, of course, more sensible reasons. Blogging is a good way to convey my opinions to the world, or to teach. Many people do this- by creating useful articles. This hardly applies to me however, as I’m not exactly an expert on anything.
Blogging is also a good way of improving one’s communication skills. I write better than ever, and I can organise my thoughts better than before.
Blogging, as Steve says, is “a source of both innovation and clarity”. When I’m blogging I get some brilliant ideas and great insights. Additionally I find I understand more clearly technical things when I explain them to others through writing.
On the cool side blogging gets you freebies, makes you some great friends, gets you invited to conferences and to give talks. I’ve written articles for some great publications and met some great people because of my blogs. Sometimes strangers buy you beer too.
And yes, you can make money from blogging.