Gone are the days when “weblog” or “blog” for short was basically a fancy term for “online diary”. Today, you’d be hard-pressed to find a large corporation or small business that doesn’t have a blog for promotional and engagement purposes.
This trend gave rise to a new wave of opportunities for writers who wanted to express themselves online, and make a living from doing so. You can now either build a blog from scratch, or get paid to write for other blogs (a.k.a. staff blogging). Which begs the question: Should you be a blogger for yourself, or for others?
You can be both, of course. But if you’re too busy to write for multiple blogs at once, you may be forced to just pick one or the other. Luckily, we have this list of pros and cons to help you weigh your options on whether to go solo or blog for a site.
Recommended Reading: Bloggers: Blogging for Need Vs. for Greed
Blogging For Yourself
The biggest pro of having your own blog can be summed up in three words: Complete Creative Control. You can decide what, when, and how often you want to post. If you want to post political commentary on Monday, a funny cat video with a witty caption on Tuesday, and flash fiction on Wednesday, no one can stop you, because it’s your blog.
The overall blog design is likewise within your control; you can make it minimalistic and elegant, or loud and attention-grabbing – whichever suites your style.
For further reading on how to design your blog, check out:
Also, your blog can be used to promote your products and services in any way you want. You can write an entire blog series around your products, or limit your promotions to sidebars and widgets. Although it’s possible for you to do some self-promotion even while blogging for others, you’ll usually be limited to your bio section in these cases, for various publication-based reasons.
Lastly, your blog can be monetized. That means that, as long as you have a regular and significant amount of traffic to your site, you can earn a decent income without doing much beyond posting daily, engaging your followers/customers, keeping tabs on the numbers, and marketing your blog like crazy.
Wait, did we just say “marketing”? Oh yes, we did.
If you’re blogging purely for fun, and wish for it to stay that way, marketing isn’t really something you need to worry about. But if you set up your blog for business purposes, or you expect to make good money from it, you’ll have to work hard to let the right people know about you.
And even if you manage to gain a significant following, you can’t take this as a cue to be complacent and disappear from the virtual world for months, unless you want your followers to drop or forget about you altogether.
You also have to be more careful about how you project yourself to others. As a relatively famous blogger, you’re no longer just a nameless person on the Internet; you’re now a brand, and people will expect you to act as such (Hint: Good brands take care not to post overly offensive content on the Internet).
As a staff blogger, you already have a fully functional website to write for. There’s no need for you to worry about blog design, marketing, ads, and the like; just come up with fresh, original, and engaging content for the blog’s existing readers, and you’re good to go.
If the blog you’re writing for already has a large following, you can use your staff blogging position to expose your work to others. Provided your work is good enough, there may be at least one among the blog’s tens of thousands of followers who’s interested in your blogging services.
Let’s not forget that staff blogging is usually a paid position. Need we say more?
On the other hand, the type of content you can churn out is restricted by the blog’s niche, voice, and writing guidelines. If you’re writing for a blog with a fun, playful voice, you can’t be too stiff and formal with your style. Likewise, a tech blog has no space for fashion articles, unless we’re talking about apps that help you find the right dress size, for instance.
There’s also the accountability factor to consider. Everything you produce is a reflection on the blog owner, so if your post is “bad” in any way, it’s a disservice not just to the blog’s readers, but also to the one who gave you the staff blogging position in the first place.
The Decision is Yours
Whether you want to build a blog from the ground up, write for someone else’s blog, or do both, rest assured that all of them are legitimate ways to carve your own space in the blogosphere. Just make sure that anything you do is aligned with a clear vision of the kind of blogger you wish to become, and that blogging is really something you want to do for a living.