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Recently I celebrated my first anniversary of blogging. As I contemplate where I am today, I’m reflecting back to those first days. The days before I had a blog, and why I started blogging.

Today’s Lesson

Before you even start a blog, it’s important to ask yourself, “Why do I want to start a blog?”

If you have a blog and never asked yourself why you blog, it’s time you do.

Possible answers are:

1) To make money online

2) To network with others

3) To promote a business

4) To help others by sharing what you know

5) To vent your frustrations to the world.

6) To gain fame

7) To build a portfolio of your writings and to move into a career of freelancing

Some start a blog for more than one reason.

I started mine for two: to share, and to hopefully find an online income stream.

Ironically, the more I blogged, the more I realized making money is (almost) irrelevant. The joy I get from helping others is priceless. Although I continue to show ads on both of my blogs and see a few coins roll in, when I sit down at my computer, I’m asking myself, “what can I write that will benefit others”?

Today’s assignment

Why do you really, really, really (yes, say it three times) blog? You don’t have to tell me the truth, but be honest with yourself.

Has your initial reason for blogging changed?

Are you getting closer to your original goal?

If you’re blogging for money, is it paying off?

Has blogging helped you to get discovered?


Photo Credit: fukagawa_tky’s photostream

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  1. Ian DennyNo Gravatar says:

    My reasons constantly change! Originally I thought a blog was an online diary. And I used it that way at first.

    Lately, my focus is on the company web-site and blog. And my motivation is for it to be a communication channel with both clients and prospects. In other words to grow the business.

    It’s getting more attention because it’s working. It was doing really well. And then all of a sudden, it produced our biggest single project, and highest paying retainer client. A Β£42K ($84K) project and a Β£3K ($6k) per month retainer agreement.

    When we went to see the client, he had already bought into us after relaying, almost word for word, some of the content on the site and blog.

    The personal blog seems to go in fits and starts and meanders in direction. I couldn’t really describe my motivations for keeping that going.

    Every now and again I get a streak of content pop out of my head. And then my mind goes quiet again!

    Ian Denny’s last blog post..New, Aspiring, Failed Or Successful Businesses – Share Your Business Story –

  2. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Ian,

    That’s fantastic that your company blog/website netted you such a good contract. Do you think it’s the transparency you show in your website and blog? And maybe too, the humor?

    I know your personal blog originally became a diary of your struggle to build a business after going bust, but when you decided to write the post about left handed bloggers, you’re true writing style and humor were very apparent. You drove some readers absolutely mad.

  3. Congrats on your first anniversary!! I think it is quite an achievement, taking into account you managed to create such nice readership according to comments for your posts. I also liked you first lesion you learned and shared here. I have few blogs and I quickly realized if I do not have clear vision for my blog I’d be lost very fast. So here is my home work:

    http://practicethis.com/2008/03/03/practice-this-values-mission-vision/

    Did I pass the test? πŸ˜‰

    Alik Levin | Practice This’s last blog post..Stephen Covey Is Building An Online Community Of Highly Effective People

  4. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Thank you Alik and welcome to the BWAB community.

    I checked out your homework. I love the “sign” on your “About Me” page and your mission statement is right on.

    You aced the test! πŸ™‚

  5. J.D. MeierNo Gravatar says:

    Happy Anniversary!

    Why do I blog? … To get to the other side (of the firewall)
    For my work blog, I felt like I was wasting information in emails that could be shared more broadly, so I turned to blogging. I did a blogging sprint about a year ago. I blogged about improving effectiveness. This more than doubled my readership and I ended up with a bunch of thank you mails, so I continued to
    share lessons learned.

    I then decided that I would build some blogs for my mentees. I coach at work, so I thought it would be good to have a resource of nuggets that would help my mentees and whoever else might care. That’s proven to be very effective. Interestingly, while building this resource for my mentees, I gained a new vantage point and it feels like I have the secret playbook for success at work.

    Ultimately, I’m a fan of sharing knowledge. I’m experimenting with creating KBs (knowledge bases) using blogs. I like the idea of research or project blogs. I write books for my day job so I thought it would be nice to incrementally share my research. I’ve created lots of Wikis, but they somehow don’t create the same information exchange that blogs create.

    From a one-liner standpoint, I blog to improve myself and others.

    J.D. Meier’s last blog post..Orchestration

  6. Ian DennyNo Gravatar says:

    You’re right. Another motivation is to have fun.

    I’m not sure whether the left-handed post back-fired. Most people spotted the joke. But some really thought I was serious.

    Fun is sometimes dangerous though!

    Ian Denny’s last blog post..New, Aspiring, Failed Or Successful Businesses – Share Your Business Story –

  7. Congrats on your 1 year anniversary Barbara! That’s inspiring!

    I started blogging for a few reasons:

    1. To have a creative outlet that combines my passions.

    2. To teach and share what I know and what excites me about creativity with others.

    3. To establish a like-minded community.

    4. To build “1,000 True Fans” for a lifetime who like what I offer as a creator, and will eventually purchase from me directly when I release relevant products instead of me having to go through a middle-man.

    I always wanted to own an inspiring coffeehouse that I could go to anytime, day or night, meet inspiring people, read, learn, and relax. That’s mainly why I created my blog. πŸ˜‰

    Mark – Creative Journey Cafe’s last blog post..3 Female Musicians You Should Know About

  8. Debbie YostNo Gravatar says:

    I constantly re-evaluate why I blog. There are a couple of reasons I started and they’ve basically stayed the same if not changed shape a little. The main goal, you can probably guess, is Down syndrome awareness. I also hope it will help me make money, if not by ads, then by helping promote my sewing business that I hope to open in a couple months or give me articles to support a resume for the freelance writing career I also intend to pursue actively very soon.

    I often have an underlying purpose for a post even if I don’t spell it out in black and white. For example, I love showing off my sewing, but it also helps promote the fact that I do have a talent in this area and hope people will want to buy my product when I open my Etsy store. I sometimes go off the beaten path of mommy blogging to do writing/guest posts to help support the freelance writing dream. These posts don’t always help my comments from my regualar readers, but I know it will help me prove my abilities later when I pursue paying writing jobs.

    I agree with you, though, the money is not as important to me. I do need to help supplement our income and it is great if I can do it with something I love, but helping and meeting others has been far more rewarding.

    I never intend or wish to make money from Down syndrome awareness (unless in the form of charity donations). This is something I do from my heart to help Peanut and others with Down syndrome.

    Debbie Yost’s last blog post..Outsmarted by a Five Year Old

  9. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi J.D.

    Yours is a fascinating story. I like how you took valuable information out of emails and put it into blogs. What an ingenious idea.

    Thank you for sharing what you’ve learned with the BWAB community, but even more so, thank you for a great blog. It’s filled with tons of valuable information.

  10. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Ian

    Yes, sometimes it helps if we lighten up and share a funny story or two.

  11. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Mark,

    Thanks! My hope is to share what I’ve learned to help others.

    Your blog is very inspiring. Your post on how doing mundane tasks like laundry helps to release our creativity inspires me to look at having to do those necessary chores differently. Who knew?

    I like visiting your cafe. The scones are delicious. πŸ™‚

  12. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Debbie,

    What you’re doing to raise the awareness of Down syndrome is phenomenal. Kudos to you for that.

    And after seeing the pictures of that beautiful dress you recently made for the gala, as well as your wedding dress. your portfolio of sewing projects is becoming quite impressive.

  13. NaturalNo Gravatar says:

    Why do you really, really, really (yes, say it three times) blog? You don’t have to tell me the truth, but be honest with yourself. I blog therefore I am? Truthfully, because my dream job is to be a writer. I love the influence words have, their ability to teach, uplift and motivate. I blog as an outlet and because I like to share what has been taught to me….and it’s cheaper than therapy.

    Has your initial reason for blogging changed? No, it hasn’t. I don’t want to monetize my blog, but if Oprah calls and she wants to advertise on my site, then I’ll let her. πŸ™‚ I could be influenced to do so in the future if it gains any attention though. I have to recognize my 15 minutes of fame and take it. πŸ™‚ Right now, why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free. I’m free.

    Are you getting closer to your original goal? I don’t have any goals I’m looking at other than to keep blogging and writing things that help people, make them smile and do a little thinking.

    If you’re blogging for money, is it paying off? n/a

    Has blogging helped you to get discovered? Yes it has..but not in the famous way. I like to write and share what I have learned and thought I could be a source of encouragement and laughter, but I’m the one that’s actually being encouraged and laughing more because of the people that read and comment on my blog. I never knew what response I would get from my blog, so because people are reading and sharing, I would say, yes I’ve been discovered.

    Natural’s last blog post..No Money, No Problem

  14. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Natural,

    I love your honesty and humor.

    When we start a blog, we never know where the path may take us. Being open to opportunities can create an amazing journey.

    As always you answered each question thoroughly, and for that you get another “A”. πŸ™‚

  15. Why do I blog? I have a strong inner urge to blog. I’m not yet able to put it in words. Hopefully my blogging itself will articulate the reason!

    OneMinutePost’s last blog post..Most Readable Blog?

  16. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    OneMinutePost,

    Welcome to the community at BWAB.

    I just left your blog and like what I’ve read so far. I’ll be back later and read more.

    Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.

  17. hmmm

    I was pretty much in a daze when I started blogging .. I had this urge to help somehow.. with my words
    So I began to write

    Somewhere in the back of my mind I hoped my site would become big enough to create an income or open doors.. but it wasn’t and still isn’t a primary reason
    which is great bc I am not easily motivated by money. It’s not a noble thing or anything – of course I care about money but I need passion in what I’m doing or bust.

    My blog has given me so much –
    so far my reasons are the same although clearly defined
    and I do have that deep happiness everytime I write something that creates a positive impact in someone’s life
    Not in a “go ME” sort of way either

    hmm

    and awww Happy Bloggiversary.. or something lol! (( hugs ))

    JEMi @ InMyHeels’s last blog post..Half-Assed: Becoming Half Your Size

  18. Barbara,

    I’ve to admit that when I started blogging, my pure intention was to make some money. After only few months of blogging, I’ve found passion to share and to make many friends online. Money is purely an after thought now. It’s amazing how one thought manifested entirely different purpose in life.

    Shilpan

    Shilpan | successsoul.com’s last blog post..3 Steps to Develop a Personal Vision for the Life

  19. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi JEMi,

    And I, for one, am happy you decided to write. You words are extremely moving, and undoubtedly are helping many more than you are even aware.

    I hope whatever it is that gives you that passion to share, never leaves you. Your blog is a joy to read.

    Thank you for the well wishes, and ((hugs)) to you too. πŸ™‚

  20. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Shilpan,

    I can completely identify with your words.

    I think we realize that which is giving us joy and satisfaction, can’t be bought or sold, and the money part of it loses it impact.

  21. JoanneNo Gravatar says:

    Congratulations on your recent anniversary. I’ve been blogging for a few years and I do it for several reasons. I enjoy sharing my life with other people and I do it online and offline. I got started on the internet nine years ago posting on forums and I’ve made some really good friends from that experience. I’m still involved in running and posting at forums but now I divide my online time with blogging as well. In the last year, I’ve been working on taking my sites to a new level, which includes finding ways to earn an income from them.

    Joanne’s last blog post..Adoption Lifebook Supplies

  22. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Thank you Joanne,

    Nine years in cyberspace is a long time. Running, posting at forums and maintaining more than one blog must be incredibly time consuming for you. Monetizing your sites will be a great way to “pay yourself” for all you contribute to the internet.

  23. Dr. NicoleNo Gravatar says:

    This is a great post because it first of all tells me why your posts always resonate with me…because they are live and fresh and straight from your heart. This reminds me of why I had the vision to put my blog together in the first place. I love to write and I love what I do. It frustrates me that not everyone has access to the kind of “celebrity medicine” that I practice, and also many people don’t even know what a Naturopathic Physician is…some states in the US don’t even license them. Having stumbled a bunch of different sites similar to mine it worries me about the kind of content that is being put out there…people trying to sell hype or maybe even some things that just aren’t safe. My hope is that I can at least steer people in the right direction to find the answers that they need for their health care questions.

    Dr. Nicole’s last blog post..Fish Oil vs Flax Oil? The Great Debate

  24. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Dr. Nicole,

    I like how you are teaching others to be smart about their choices. In alternative medicine there must be hundreds of sites that are like you said “hype”, or unsafe things.

    The internet is a great place for accurate information, but individuals must find reputable sites they can depend on…yours in one.

    Keep doing what you’re doing.

  25. Dr. NicoleNo Gravatar says:

    Well at this point…I have no choice. LOL

    Dr. Nicole’s last blog post..Fish Oil vs Flax Oil? The Great Debate