We have been internet entrepreneurs for almost five years. In those five years we have had some amazing successes and some even more amazing failures. One of our biggest failures has been our reluctance to start a blog.
This is not to say that we haven’t created a blog for some of our SaaS products. We have created 7 product specific blogs. We use the blogs to write about our products and write about topics that might interest our potential users. Writing about Colorado Real Estate Contracts sounds fun, doesn’t it?
Some of our blogs are much more effective than others. The most effective blog is the one that we update most frequently. Jon tracks trends and opportunities using Moz and will craft a blog post around those topics. If you are operating a niche blog or SaaS product this is a great way to capture some additional long tail traffic.
So, how am I saying one of our biggest failures is not starting a blog when we have obviously started multiple blogs? While we have started many blogs to support our products. We have yet to start a blog where we can post about our experiences and grow an audience.
Writing about some of our struggles while trying to grow our internet businesses does not fit well into the Texas Real Estate Form space. Furthermore, it would not resonate with our product specific audiences at all.
Why start a blog? Here are four reasons we started a blog.
Reason 1. Central Repository for everything that we do online
One of the main reasons we started Long Live the Internet was to act as the central repository for all of the different products and services that we build on the internet. We wanted to make the name and scope as broad as possible so that we can write about pretty much everything that we do.
Between software for creating Broker Price Opinions online and a book outlining how to start an online store, we cover a lot of ground. The one common theme linking all of the products is that they are delivered online via the internet. We can talk about pretty much everything we do.
The knowledge that we have acquired over the last five years is valuable and we have always enjoyed sharing and helping other entrepreneurs that are in the same situation we are currently in, or those entrepreneurs that are just starting out. This blog gives us an avenue to share our experiences and bring you along as we try new things.
Reason 2. Build an Audience
Another reason we have started blogging is to build an audience. For several reasons we have always defaulted to trying to hide or conceal our identities. Operating under the guise of the admin user in our WordPress blogs, we never used our real names when creating our content.
Operating as a ghost on the internet has probably hurt our business more than we thought concealing our identities has helped. On this blog you are hearing our authentic voice and you are seeing our actual faces. I am the guy on the left in the header, hello!
What is the value of having an audience?
To oversimplify, the value of an audience is huge. Enormous even. When operating online an audience might be the most important asset to your business. We can tie most of our failures online to building a product that no one wanted. We can also tie our largest successes to having an audience and knowing how to reach that audience.
Reason 3. Benefits of introspection
That brings me to another reason to start a blog. The writing process is extremely introspective. In that last paragraph I wrote about some of our biggest failures and how I can find something in common between most of them. So not only am I providing value (hopefully) to someone reading the post, but I am definitely getting value out of writing.
I had a similar feeling when I wrote this post on medium about losing my focus. This blog gives me an opportunity to think about why I did something and how it turned out. With this introspection comes accountability. That is a pretty good reason in itself to start a blog.
Reason 4. Improving communication and focus
Personally, I have always wanted to write more. Practicing writing helps improve your communication. When writing blog posts you have to take all of these abstract ideas in your head and write them down in a manner that someone can understand.
On days that I write a blog post I feel that my concentration is better and that I organize my thoughts more effectively. Maybe this is a coincidence, but in the off chance they are related I am going to do my best to make writing a more consistent practice.
Almost everything we do in our work lives today includes writing. Whether writing an email in response to a co-worker, writing a blog post or writing a facebook update, we are writing more and more every day. If you can communicate your thoughts more effectively it will help you with almost everything else that you are doing on a day to day basis.
I have gone over some of the reasons that we started a blog. While I was writing this post I thought about a few other reasons to start a blog that might apply to you.
Reason 5. Make Money Online
This is no easy task. Making money with a blog is extremely difficult and to be honest I have no idea how to properly monetize a blog. If we ever try to monetize it, I am sure we will write about the process.
Even though we are not directly monetizing this blog the potential is there to do so in the future. Even if you start a blog as a hobby, it is nice to know that you will be able to turn your hobby into a money making venture in the future if you choose to do so.
With all of the advertising and affiliate systems in place these days it easy to join a program and start quickly trying to monetize your blog. This is a great thread on quora outlining all of the ways you can try to make money online.
Reason 6. Market or Promote a Product
I touched upon using a blog to promote a product previously. While I do not think that we did a great job with our product specific blogs, there is no doubt that starting a blog is a great way to promote a product.
My advice would be to try and connect with an audience. When writing to promote a product you have to write about topics that would interest potential buyers of your product. You want your blog to become a two way street. You want to learn as much from your audience as they learn from you. If you are promoting a product, this should help you make your product better.
In learning from my mistakes, I would also recommend that you write as a real person. For example, use your name and attach your likeness to the product you are promoting. It is always comforting to know that there is a person behind that software or service offering.
Reason 7. Become an Authority in your space
Are you a cricket farmer? A real estate agent specializing in the sale of tiny homes? If you are interested in driving more business you might be able to do it by simply writing about what you know. Share your knowledge with the world and people will find you when they are looking for help in selling their tiny home.
If you can clearly communicate some of the more difficult aspects related to your field you are going to be seen as a leader in your industry. If you operate in a more mainstream field it is probably best to choose a niche within the larger field.
For example, there are too many realtors. When starting out it might be difficult to have your content found if you are writing on real estate in general. While focusing on a niche real estate field like, tiny homes (not sure why I love tiny homes so much), you have a smaller subset of the market that you can tailor your writing to.
These are some of the reason we have chosen to start a blog. As a bonus I even included a few other reasons to start a blog. If you have started a blog let us know in the comments. If you haven’t, let us know what is holding you back.
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