Is Amateur Blogging worth your time?

Amateur blogging is on the rise around the world and is a great way for people to share their ideas in the online world. It’s an activity you can do anywhere: At home, abroad or while travelling. Literally anywhere you have access to the internet. Plus, since most of the world has internet access, it’s easily accessible to pretty much everyone.

I chose to make a blog about gap year experiences, travelling long term and living life as an expat.

Anyone can start a blog, but not everyone is successful in taking it past amateur level. To do that you need to have great content, build a brand, gain a reputation within your chosen industry and get a loyal following. All of which can take a long time.

However, that’s not to say it isn’t worth the effort all the way from newbie-level up to pro (if you choose to take it that far).

But first, let’s start at the basics.


What is an amateur? 

In simple terms, a newcomer or newbie. 

An amateur is somebody who starts a project, takes on a task or does something as a hobby or unpaid basis, rather than professionally. Anytime someone pursues an activity – especially a new one – they will be deemed an amateur of that activity. 

This could be relevant to sports, baking, web design. Anything!


What is blogging? 

Well, blogging is the act of writing about something, a particular topic, event or anything else, regularly on a website. 

Blogging is a somewhat new phenomenon. Although it has really become popular in the last 10 years or so, the first known “blog” was said to be Links.net where student Justin Hall would upload his writing back in 1994.

It’s come a long way since then and there are now blogs about almost anything you can think of!  

amateur blogging on a foot stool
I always find fun places to do my work including on this yak foot rest

So, What is amateur blogging? 

Based on what we’ve learned above, amateur blogging is the act of writing about a topic or event on a website, as a general newcomer and without being paid to do so. 

When does amateur blogging become professional?

  • You start making money from it 
  • When you earn enough to make it your only job/income 

Anything prior to this is deemed an amateur blog but you can still make a meaningful impact even if unpaid. 


Why do people start amateur blogging?

People start blogging for all types of reasons but let’s outline some of the most common:

  • Documenting a new phase of their life in a journal or diary
  • Writing about a topic they enjoy 
  • Connecting to other people who are into the same topic 
  • Use it as a creative outlet
  • To get practice before making it an income stream

Why I started amateur blogging

If you’ve been following my blog you might already know this. But let me summarise for those who are new here: 

I left my home in the UK in 2015 and have been travelling the world since. During that time I’ve been inundated by questions from family, friends and even friends-of-friends about how to successfully travel long term and in certain places.

Over time my uncle threw some idea seeds my way and suggested I start a blog to answer a lot of these questions. That was about 3 years ago!

Fast forward to the pandemic, I lost my job (I worked in the travel sector) and needed a hobby during lockdown and while I was looking for other jobs to do.

I started learning how to create a blog and learning SEO and now, here we are. It was agreat way for me to keep busy during some very uncertain times, stay connected to my travel background, and share my experiences with others online.


Why I will continue blogging (even if I remain only an amateur)

Always being asked travel questions

As explained above, people always ask questions and often come to the internet to answer those questions. By using my new found hobby and answering these queries, hopefully people find the answers they are looking for. Plus, it’s much easier to direct people asking me travel questions to my website rather than repeat myself a thousand times!

Wanting to help people

I was raised to help those in need, even if that need is just giving a tip that I might have. I enjoy offering my tips and advice when I have it available.

Want to give people advice where I didn’t have it

When I started travelling there wasn’t much of a blogging scene – compared to what we have available today – so many of my questions were left unanswered until I could answer them myself and gain my own experience.

It’s a topic I like

I will never not be interested in travel talk. Whether that be talking about travel hacks or inspiring places to head to on the next adventure. When you enjoy something it is never a chore, it’s simply indulging in a fun activity.

Now, enough about me, I want to answer the question you came here to find an answer to:

“Is it worth your time amateur blogging?”

Without taking up more unnecessary time, let’s dive right into the good and the bad of the blogging world below.


amateur blogging: The negatives

Like any scenario where there is bad or good news, I will ALWAYS opt to hear the bad news first. That way, no matter how bad it may be, you always know there’s something better to hear shortly after.  

It can take years to gain a following

As I briefly touched on above, trying to make a professional blog can take a long time. So it’s definitely not the “get rich quick scheme” lots of people think it is. Yes you can earn money on a blog but it’s a long slow process. Even then, it can be hard to break into an oversaturated market. This means if making money is your only goal, then you’ll probably hate the long road of amateur blogging along the way. 

It can take a long time to learn to do it “properly”

Even if you are only trying to reach a small group of people, I’m sure you’d like it if they continued reading your work. If you’re new to writing, it can take a little bit of practice to find a writing style that you enjoy writing in, and that your readers enjoy reading. Like anything, this can take time, and if you work a lot or lead a busy life, you may have even less time to dedicate to your blog regularly – therefore slowing the process.

There is at least some level of investment financially even if just a hobby

Unless you choose a completely free blogging platform like wordpress.com you will usually need to pay for a platform to host your blog. If you’re only blogging as an amateur then this platform is great, just be aware that you won’t be the owner of your blog. This means there are many features you won’t be able to use including monetizing (unless you upgrade to a premium version). 

It can be tedious if you don’t see followers increasing

For the same reason instagram removed the number of “likes” on their platform, it’s tedious to continue a hobby blog you don’t enjoy (enough), without an increase in followers. People subconsciously track their follower count in the age of social media and website traffic is no different. When you start out blogging as an amateur, it’s hard to not be disappointed if your traffic is growing slower than expected.  

Unless you’re in IT it can be hard to fix issues if you’re an amateur

If you’re not familiar with code, or general IT related issues, you could struggle if you are blogging on your own time. The amount of issues I have had to spend hours searching for an answer for because I am not located in an office with colleagues who can offer advice – is A LOT. When you have no experience and then throw yourself in the deep-end it can be overwhelming and  stressful to find solutions when you’re not a pro.

blogging as an amateur from a coffee table
I can even blog at other people’s houses if I want a change of scenery

Is it worth blogging as an amateur? The positives!

You can watch and help it grow

Everything has to start from somewhere. Blogs are no different. When you first start out you will have nothing but a few ideas in your head. As you create new posts and articles your site will naturally get bigger. You’ll start with one post, then ten, soon you could be at over 100.

Depending on how you share and market your ideas, depends on how quick your following grows too. It’ll become something you can be proud of when you see how far you’ve come. Plus your writing will naturally improve when you’re doing it regularly. 

It’s a form of creative outlet 

Everyone needs a creative outlet of some kind. Some people like to paint, others enjoy dancing. Bloggers find that writing can often relax them and some find it therapeutic. Whether you just bullet point your ideas or prefer to spend hours upon hours writing your thoughts, you can easily use blogging as your own creative outlet. 

Suitable for different lifestyles

Whether you work a typical weekday 9-5 job, or are a stay at home parent, blogging has no set schedule. You can blog morning, noon or night, any day of the week. Whenever your creative juices are flowing you can simply get online and start writing.

Sometimes I even get an idea late at night and start writing away when I probably should be sleeping. This is quite possibly one of the most appealing reasons to start out blogging when they are trying to make an income.

You can blog about ANYTHING

Are you a sports fan? Serial TV binger? Or maybe you are a huge foodie always looking for a new recipe. Whatever your interests are, you can write about it.

There is a market for literally anything these days. My main focus is long term travel and the destinations I have lived and worked in. This could be deemed a broad niche but when travel has consumed my entire life for so many years, it’s by far the one topic I know the most about.

Can be useful for readers if you solve their problems

I can almost guarantee you have gone straight to google to solve your own questions. This is a fantastic way to upload your own knowledge with the chance of reaching a specific audience. If you only want to share your blog posts with a small group of friends and family, then that’s fine too!

Google will only start to pick up your posts if you specifically focus on SEO which can take a while. So you have much more control over who reads your work.

You might become successful if you stick with it ..

..But that’s a post for another day. I’ll be honest, I would love to make money on my blog. Who doesn’t want to make money from something they enjoy doing? However, money is not my main reason for starting it so it’s not the end of the world if it never happens.

That means I am less likely to be disappointed if I maintain only a small following as time goes on. If you go into something only focusing on monetizing, then it can be very disappointing if it takes longer than you hope. Or if it doesn’t happen at all. This is why amateur blogging is perfectly acceptable – as long as you enjoy it.


Is blogging as an amateur a waste of time? 

I’d have to say no! Even if your goal is to make it big and earn a load of money from a blog but it doesn’t become successful, there is still one major positive that I wanted to speak about that we didn’t talk about above. 

SKILLS

Since starting this blog, I have spent hours learning things I never thought I’d need to know. Because of this I have gained valuable skills to benefit my future career and self development. If I continue to improve and have my website to show for my hard work I can use this as a type of portfolio to show for all my efforts.

The same could be said for anyone who starts a blog. There is so much learning to do and so many new skills to learn that could look great to an employer. Especially if – like me – you have a large gap in your employment history.

decorative image of marketing tactics
Marketing, Web design, SEO, Troubleshooting.

So let’s see what skills you could gain while blogging at an amateur level: 

WordPress – No you might not need to learn code when using a website builder like wordpress, but you have the option to! Most websites on the web are made through wordpress so it’s a very useful platform to have familiarity with.

Marketing skills – You’ll need to market your brand and website in order to get even just a few readers. If you’re able to successfully get readers through your hard work and advertising your writing, then congratulations. You are now able to call yourself a marketing expert.

SEO – If you are trying to reach a large audience, SEO is your best bet (alongside general marketing). It’s the way google and other search engines find any website and there are so many rules to learn. If you want a job in marketing, this is generally something you will need to know.

Web design (minus coding) – This is closely connected to knowing wordpress. Yes you can have a great looking and functionally working website without knowing code – mostly because of how easy websites like WordPress make it for you to build your own site from scratch. 

Troubleshooting without an office or colleagues to turn to – This goes for any type of work you do that’s unsupervised. If you can show that you are capable and able to solve issues within your workplace (including remotely) then it shows that you are a go-getter and responsible potential employee who doesn’t need to be micromanaged. This is something employers love!


Summary

So, if you’re still interested and inspired to start your own blog and you’re not too put off by the few negatives of blogging as an amateur, congratulations! You’re on the right track with the right mindset. 

And who knows, if you put enough work into it, it’s not impossible to make money this way. I just like to be realistic with my readers and explain that you can’t always believe what you read online.

Yes people make money from blogs; but it’s very rare to make thousands per week from a brand new blog within 2 weeks of starting, with no brand/social platforms to back it up. The only people that usually manage that already have a strong brand and followers that easily transfer to their site.  

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