I started my blogging journey back in 2007. I started on a platform called homeschoolblogger- which no longer exists. Then I moved to Blogger. At this point my blog was a personal blog where I shared about my family, our homeschooling adventures, our farming and gardening. (You can find my old personal blog, which hasn’t been updated in quite awhile over on Blogger still: It’s a Boy’s Life)
Somewhere along the way I started to realize that people could actually make money as a blogger and I started to dabble in things like product reviews and more evergreen articles. Then I decided to make a jump into professional blogging. I started my new site, The Free Range Life, and set out to create a real business that brought in a real income for our family. As of Feb 2018, my homesteading blog brings in over $8000 per month.
There are some pretty big differences between blogging for fun and blogging for profit. So let’s talk about personal blogging vs. professional blogging and what kind of shifts you need to make if you want to build a real business.
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The Differences Between Personal Blogging and Professional Blogging
Professional Blogging is all About Your Reader.
This is a big mindset shift. When you are blogging personally- you tend to write for you. You write about what YOU did, what YOU learned, what YOUR family is up to. And this is fine when you are blogging to share your life with friends and family. But if you want to blog professionally you need to be writing for your reader.
This means thinking about them first. Keeping the phrase: What’s in it for them? in the forefront of your mind. Even if you are writing about a personal experience you want your reader to come out of it having learned something that they can then take and apply to their life.
Now, I know there are a handful of very successful bloggers out there who are telling their life story. BUT that tends to be the exception and not the norm. Many of these bloggers have been around a long time- back when you could grow and monetize a personal blog much more effectively.
Unless you are a VERY compelling writer and have an extraordinary life, you need to fill your articles with less you and more them.
Evergreen Content is King.
With personal blogging, you can write whatever you want. You can write about what you did last Tuesday or plans for next weekend. But when starting a professional blog you want most of your content to be evergreen.
What exactly is evergreen content? It’s content that is always relevant. It stands the test of time. 3 years after you write the post people can still search out your post and learn something.
Evergreen content tends to be things like lists, how-tos, and educational articles.
Don’t quite understand? Here’s a great article on what evergreen content is and how to create it.
Not everything on your blog needs to be evergreen, but a very high percentage should be.
Related Reading: 4 Things to do BEFORE You Launch Your Blog
You Should Own Everything About Your Site.
You may be wondering why I started a new site, when I already had an established blog on Blogger. The main reason- I don’t own blogger. Google does.
I wanted to be able to own everything about my site. I wanted complete control over what I can post, how I can customize, and how I can monetize. And for that I needed to be self-hosted. I am currently hosted with Siteground, if you are wondering and I use WordPress (.org NOT .com) as my blogging platform.
There are some people who would say that you can monetize using a free platform such as blogger, and you can- but you will be more limited in what you can do, and like I said…you don’t own blogger- Google does. Again, full-time bloggers on free platforms are the exception not the norm.
It’s a Business
When you decide to blog professionally you have to change your mindset about what a blog is. It’s not just a blog, it’s a business and you need to treat it as such.
Blogging professionally means you need to give yourself set office hours. You update your site and put out new quality content on a regular basis.
It also means you need to keep track of things like costs and expenses and pay taxes as a self-employed individual.
Related Reading: 7 Action Steps That Will Take Your Blog to the Next Level
Blogging is Hard Work
When you are blogging for yourself, or friends and family, you probably never look at your stats. You don’t care about things like pageviews or subscribers or social media or income.
But when you are a professional blogger- these things matter! You will become obsessed with tracking these stats (some of which matter more than others).
You will put in a lot of work writing and sharing your articles. You will get discouraged at slow growth or low engagement. You may even want to give up and go back to talking about your weekend plans!
You will be constantly reading and learning about blogging and everything that goes into it so you can get better at your job.
So there you have it- 5 of the biggest ways that being a professional blogger differs from blogging for fun. Does your blog have what it takes to be considered a professional blog?