Should You Start a Blog
Does blogging make you more productive?
Writings in any form make people more productive. Whether it morning journal for personal purposes to declutter your brain or technical articles where you share your expert knowledge. I've done both and found it beneficial for me and my productivity.
Here is my personal example related to the design work I do.
I, honestly, don't really like to write technical articles about UX and Design in general. Since I spend a lot of time in deep focus doing actual work and creating experiences for digital products. However, I see tremendous value in it and wrote some excellent articles that gathered thousands of reads. The main point of doing it is putting all the information you have in your head, all the experience you have, and the solutions you created.
Basically, it helps to wire all the knowledge related to a specific topic.
This helps me a lot when I talk to new clients and discuss possible design solutions. Since I wrote some articles on topics related to the problem a client is trying to solve, I can instantly tell him how we can do it and what should be taken into account because I systematized this knowledge a while ago when I wrote blog posts.
A similar experience I had with writing Travel related blog posts. I still write them on, and this is something I just love to do to reflect on life experiences in different places.
It helps me analyze local life and my feeling about places in a better and constructive way. Often, the first impression we have of countries we visit the first time is wrong.
Writing about your experience helps to review your views and thoughts on certain things. I can say that I inverted some of the bad experiences I had, and writing helped me take a look at my travel experience from a different point of view.
So how it makes me productive? After writing something, I understand it better. The information is more structured and accessible. So I can make decisions faster and in a better way.
When I publish my thoughts online, I can get many different opinions on my thoughts — blogging connecting me to people from different parts of the world in nearly a magical way.
How can it make you productive? I'll give you several ideas that you can think about. You can improve the way you express your thoughts. You can become more wise and positive. You can start any business with writing. You can reverse engineer some big ideas and go deep into details until you understand what simple actions you need to do to achieve the greatest success and so on.
Do you recommend sticking to one topic (travel, food, reading, science, etc.), or is it alright to do general daily updates?
I do believe that the more narrow niche you have, the better. People will quickly associate you with this niche, and it will be clear for them what you do and share. You can quickly build an audience, and they will know what to expect from you.
So if you travel a lot, then try to publish only travel stuff. Or perhaps, have a specific publication for this or maybe a separate blog, website. Then you can create another one related to reading if it's something you're passionate about as well.
However, if you post everything that comes to mind in one place, it will look too general. Of course, you can succeed with this, but a blog is unlikely to be part of your success. It's more applicable for people who already succeeded in other areas of their life. Like, for example, celebrities. You can find blogs and social profiles of movie actors, musicians, artists with millions of followings, but they post everything from food and workouts to what they do in a day. People follow their personalities, not the stuff they share.
I do think that writing only on one topic is boring, and it feels robotic for people. It's important to show that you're a human being at some point, but it shouldn't be too much. To be honest, I'm still struggling with it, but I found what works for others and me. It's a ratio of 80% to 20% or even 90% to 10% of the content in one topic and content about you as a person, your side hustles, etc.
How has blogging changed you and affected others?
In general, I became more organized, and if I have any ideas, I try to write about the first thing possible. Some of the stuff I share online and see the response of people. Something stays as notes and drafts, but it helped me at some point to understand how to resolve one or the other issue, whether it's personal or work-related.
Blogging helps to understand what I really want in my life. For example, if you travel a lot and being constantly on the road becomes your regular life, you stop seeing it as a vacation that lasts about 2 weeks. Sometimes, being on a tropical island doesn't feel like a paradise, but as a healthy life with day-to-day routines, you start seeing things differently. I started blogging about my past experiences, and it helped me see precisely where I am at this point and what could be better.
I haven't seen enormous value in making my own digital products until I started traveling continuously. Blogging helped me realize how I spend my time and efforts, manage my time, etc.
Moreover, sharing these thoughts with other people online helped me commit to some things and inspire others to travel more and start freelancing.
What sort of blog content is typically "successful"?
It's hard to convince people to read some general stuff. We have social networks where we can be lost in various content if we don't have any purpose. We still have newspapers and magazines that often like to generalize.
What I believe is successful nowadays is something that brings value to your audience. For example, blog posts that inform people about a specific topic. Step-by-step guides and tutorials are always useful and gain a proper engagement. Sharing stories and experiences will be helpful for people who have questions they search for answers on, like in this article, I'm trying to answer the question "Should You Start A Blog?".
Reviewing physical and digital products is also a great way to succeed.
Also, it's useful to make announcements and insights, but it's more applicable if you already have an audience.
Anyway, you need to love the topic and like sharing it with other people. And if you are consistent and people on the other end will be interested in your writings, then you'll succeed.
Should I exclusively publish articles on my blog, or it's okay to submit them for publication elsewhere?
There are 2 opinions. One of them is that you'd better publish your content in places where your readers are mostly hanging out. I mean platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Medium, and YouTube. It kind of makes sense. Because even if you have a remarkable piece of content, a story you want to share, but you've just started and posted it on your freshly made and launched website, then the probability that someone will see it is shallow.
However, the second opinion is if you only publish your content on 3rd party platforms, you have a chance to be invisible due to algorithms changes, rules of platforms, ads that are more important than what you publish there. Social networks are mostly made to consume content, but if you want to put out your own stuff, you need to promote it and work really hard, taking into account constantly changing rules.
So, I'd say it's a little bit of both. Especially in the beginning until you have a good SEO, traffic on your site, and an email list as a base with your audience.
First thing first, you need to ask yourself why do you need blogging? Is it a tool that you think will help your business? Is it your personal psychotherapist? Is it your place where you do experiments? Or maybe something else?
You and only you know the answer to whether you should start a blog or not. People say that it's too late to do so due to the popularity of other media formats as YouTube videos and Podcasts, but I don't think that blogging will disappear at least in a couple of next few decades. I have many thoughts on this, and I think I'll be sharing them in one of my future blog posts very soon.
P.S. Some people start a blog just because they love the process.
Make awesome things and have a great weekend ;)