If you’re thinking of starting a blog anytime from 2023 onwards, please read this post as it has some ESSENTIAL information in it! The headline is that there are some very good reasons to start a blog BUT there are now some very good reasons NOT to start a blog. I’m going to help you understand whether starting a blog would be a good idea for YOU… or not.
I have written several extensive posts on step by step instructions for starting a blog (or website) and how to choose your blog niche – they’re still extremely relevant and helpful, but things changed in 2023, so you need to be aware of some additional information.
To be clear before we get into it, I absolutely do think that starting a blog can be a REALLY good idea for some people and I don’t want to discourage you, but I do want you to have all the up to date facts and possibly a bit of a reality check – because there are now also some very good reasons NOT to start a blog.
It used to be the case that you could start a blog and, so long as you followed the right steps, it was likely that you’d make at least some money (sometimes lots) and get a decent audience. That was certainly the case when I wrote my step by step guide and my post on choosing your niche, amongst others.
My (informed) opinion is that it’s not really the case anymore.
I’ll tell you why, but first of all let me outline some definite exceptions. If you fall into any of the following categories, I absolutely DO RECOMMEND starting a blog and you can go straight to the step by step guide if you prefer:
You SHOULD start a blog if….
- You want to blog or create a website purely for the joy of it or to document a personal journey (whether that be a literal journey round the world, or a figurative one with a hobby or personal venture) and you don’t really mind about making money or getting lots of readers.
- You run a local business/organization and want to appear higher in search results to potential local customers or local people.
- You want to showcase something, perhaps to potential employers or customers, and you will direct them to your site, maybe via your CV or on Linked In (eg an art or photography portfolio, examples of your writing, an author website).
- You want to blog in a very narrow niche (a niche is just another way of saying subject/area) and appeal to a very limited audience – we’ll discuss more on this in a moment.
If any of those apply to you, then essentially my advice is to just GO FOR IT, and I hope that you love creating blogs and websites as much as I do! You will need some help and advice to get the most success possible from your new venture, so go ahead and explore the blogging section of my site, or go straight to the step by step setup guide.
HOWEVER!… I suggest thinking very carefully about starting a blog if you want to do it for the following reasons….
You POSSIBLY should not start a blog if…
- Your main objective is to make money through your blog AND you are going to be working part-time on your blog.
- You want to make lots of money and/or get tons of hits on your blog AND you want to write the content yourself (i.e. not hire writers or use AI tools to do the writing).
- You want to become an influencer and you want to do it mainly through your blog/website AND you don’t have a good way to direct people to the blog (i.e. you’re depending on google search rather than an established social media following, for example).
As with most things in life, there are exceptions to these categories. It is possible that you could start a blog about something general that you’re interested in, get lots of hits and make lots of money. But, from 2023 onwards it’s not very likely. Let’s talk about why.
Reasons it is much more difficult to start a blog from 2023 onwards
So, what exactly are the reasons not to start a blog now… or at least, the potential reasons?
Well, one of the reasons is that nowadays there is much more competition from ‘big blogs’ from corporations and large organisation. Essentially that means that it can be very difficult for new blogs to show up in search results because they’re like a drop in the ocean.
Another huge development is ChatGPT and similar AI (Artificial Intelligence) tools like Google’s Bard.
These tools can be either a good thing or a bad thing for would-be bloggers.
Is ChatGPT good for bloggers?
ChatGPT (and similar AI tools), which have exploded to prominence throughout 2023, can write your blog posts for you.
You can literally tell ChatGPT to write a blog article on any given subject and it will do it. You can even refine it in terms of tone, number of words, and optimize it for search engines like google.
This can, of course, be a really good thing if you want to create a large amount of content in a short amount of time. Doing that means that you grow a sizeable site/blog quickly and – in theory at least – have a better chance in appearing in search results.
With that said though, as more and more people and organizations start creating large volumes of blog posts using ChatGPT, it evens out the playing field meaning that there’s less of an advantage from having more posts, at least in terms of search engine results.
However, if you’re someone who wants to create an authentic blog with your own original content, it could mean that your posts stand very little chance of appearing in search results. That’s because Google (and other search engines) tend to favour larger sites with lots of posts on the same subject, since it suggests the author has more authority on that subject than a site with just a handful of posts on the subject – leading to a better user experience for the reader.
So basically, a lone blogger writing their own authentic content risks becoming crowded out by large corporate blogs and/or smaller blogs that use ChatGPT or hire tons of writers (which isn’t happening so much now because… ChatGPT).
This leads to a situation where your posts appear so far down in search results that no-one ever sees them – and that’s potentially a reason not to start a blog.
There are of course other ways potential readers can find your posts other than google, for example if you yourself direct them there through a large social media following. A lot of my readers come straight from Pinterest. But you are limited if you’re not appearing in general searches.
Does the ChatGPT effect always matter?
ChatGPT isn’t always a reason not to start a blog!
I’ll alluded to some of the categories of people for whom starting a blog is a really good idea earlier on.
If any of the categories below apply to you, starting a blog could be a great idea, regardless of competition from corporations or people using ChatGPT.
Start a blog if you want a passion project…
First off, say you’re just really passionate about a subject and you have your own reasons for wanting to blog on that subject. You don’t particularly care whether lots of people read your posts and you’re not expecting to make an income through your site.
In that case, why WOULDN’T you start creating a blog?! It’s fun (or at least I think so!) and you can create something you’re really proud of.
Head on over to my step by step guide and start your blog on how you’re training for a marathon, or on your knitting patterns for cat outfits, or your short stories, or your mental health journey… whatever it is just go for it and enjoy the process!
Start a blog if you want to utilize content marketing – especially to get local customers
If you run a business or organization and you want to attract customers, a blog can be a great way to do this.
Particularly if you’re specifically trying to attract local customers.
The reason is simple.
If you want to appear in search results for a specific type of business within a specific town, your competition is low. Or at least, it’s much lower than trying to appear in search results amongst a potential world-wide audience.
Let’s say I’m a jeweller and I have a business based in a town called Hamsterville.
I want people who search the term ‘jeweller in hamsterville’ to find my blog, right?
Well, if I write a ton of posts around various jewellery related topics and keep mentioning the fact that my shop is in Hamsterville, I’m going to be one of a very small number of people doing that. Hence, there’s a good chance that all those potential customers who googled ‘jeweller in hamsterville’ are going to find my site.
I might want to write my posts myself or I might want to use ChatGPT to help me out – either way, utilizing a blog in this way is a good idea for my business.
I should perhaps mention that there’s a bit more to SEO (Search Engine Optimization) than just writing about a subject and chucking in the name of your town now and then, but that’s a good concept to start off with!
Start a blog if you want to showcase your skills
This one is a bit of a no-brainer, but let’s briefly explore it anyway.
Say you’re a photographer.
Well, you might want to create a blog to use content marketing to attract local customers like we just talked about.
But what you also need is an on-line presence for potential customers who already know about you and want to check out your work.
Same if you’re an author – you might want to direct readers over to your website so they can see other books you’ve written, or you want potential agents to see your credibility.
Similarly if you’re a budding freelance writer and you’re looking for work but don’t have much experience yet. Then a blog/website is the perfect place to show off your writing style.
You get the idea.
If this is you, I’ve written posts on websites for interior designers, personal trainers and makeup artists that you’ll find helpful – even if you don’t fall into one of those professions, the basic information you need is similar.
Start a blog if you want to blog in a very narrow niche (maybe!)
Another exception to the reasons not to start a blog, is if you want to blog in a very narrow niche.
This one is kind of a double edged sword though. Let me explain why.
Your ‘niche’ is simply the subject your blog is about. So, your blog might be in the fitness niche, the cooking niche, the makeup niche etc.
Those three examples represent very broad niches. There are gazillions of blogs on fitness, cooking and makeup.
This means that your own ‘fitness’ blog stands little chance of being found amongst those gazillions.
So, to stand more chance of being found, you have to ‘niche down’.
Here is where it gets a bit tricky and we need a whole other post (which I’ll do), but basically…
From ‘fitness’ you could niche down to ‘yoga’, for example.
But yoga is still very broad, you’re probably still not going to get found.
So you could niche down further to a particular type of yoga, say ‘hatha yoga’.
Now there’s more chance of being discovered, but you may still struggle, particularly when we factor in the ChatGPT / big corporations effect.
To stand a better chance of being found, you have to keep niching down.
The dilema here is that by the time you’ve niched down to ‘hatha yoga for you and your cat’, there’s no one in the whole world actually searching for you – although if there were, you would definitely come up at the number one spot on google.
So, if you can somehow find the sweet spot where you’ve niched down enough to where there’s not much competition, but there are still a fair few people searching for your topic, you stand a good chance of success.
Here are some examples of how you might niche down to a viable subject – I’ve not researched these, it’s just to help demonstrate what I mean:
- From ‘makeup’ niche down to ‘makeup for very pale skin’
- From ‘hair’ niche down to ‘hair dye’ then even further to ‘best brown hair dyes’ or ‘best home hair dyes’
- From ‘DIY’ niche down to ‘half hour DIY projects’
- From ‘petcare’ niche down to ‘dog care’ then even further to caring for a specific breed
What about monetization?
If you fall into the category of someone who has niched down the perfect amount, you might also want to monetize your blog (get an income from it).
Can you still make money with a blog, or is this yet another reason not to start one?
Well, you can, but it can be tricky.
See, not only do you have to niche down the perfect amount, you have to end up with a niche that actually has the potential to make money.
Again, this needs a whole post of it’s own, but it’s something to think about at the outset as you might find that, for you, this is another reason not to make a blog.
One way you can make money through a blog or website is through ads. But, if you’ve niched down so that you come up on google searches, it may be that you have a limited amount of potential readers.
That means less money through ads.
It also means less money through affiliate sales (that means sales you’re directed to through the site, for example if I link to a notebook on Amazon and you buy it, then I get a tiny percentage of that).
However if you’ve somehow managed to find a good balance on your niche and you can also link to higher income affiliate products, then you’re onto a winner.
So something like scuba diving equipment (which is quite expensive, so you get more ‘commission’) or a digital product with a recurring subscription could work.
So… are there just too many reasons NOT to start a blog?!
It seems like we’ve gone over an awful lot of reasons not to start a blog.
And this is all coming from someone who loves creating blogs and websites! Really, I love it.
But, I think it’s important to be honest about this.
There are many, many people out there telling you that you can very easily make money from starting a blog – and many of them say that the secret of success is to pay them lots of money so that they can tell you how to do it.
But the truth is that it’s NOT that simple any more, and from 2023 onwards there are actually lots of reasons NOT to start a blog.
Like most things, it’s not clear cut and it really does depend on your own goals and circumstances.
It can still be a REALLY good idea to create a blog, and it is even still possible to make money through a blog. In fact, despite the landscape changing, I will be keeping the previous posts I’ve written on how to make money blogging on this site – however I will put a link at the top of them directing readers to this post too, so that everyone has a balanced view on whether or not it would be a good idea to start a blog.
So finally… should you start a blog in 2023 and beyond?
We’ve discussed lots of potential reasons not to start a blog, but also lots of reasons it might be a good idea.
What’s our overall conclusion then?
Sorry to be ‘that person’ but – there isn’t one really, it’s all down to you and how much time you have, how invested you are in the process, what you want to achieve… and a ton of other reasons.
But, if I had to nail it down I would say….
DO start a blog if you want to create a blog as a passion project, you want to promote your local business, or you want to showcase your work or skills.
POSSIBLY though, DON’T start a blog if you just want to do it to make money (no judgement on that btw), get lots of hits or become an influencer, especially if you have limited time and resources and are going to blog in a broad niche.
I hope that has helped some of you out, and if you do want to go ahead and get started blogging, the best place to go is my simple step by step guide to creating a blog or website 🙂