Disadvantages of blogging

12 Disadvantages of Blogging: A Reality Check

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I love blogging, and it’s been at least part of my working life for over 10 years. I even sell coaching services for aspiring bloggers! As such, it might seem strange that I’ve decided to put together an honest list of the disadvantages of blogging.

But I’m a big fan of honesty.

One thing that I’ve seen come out of several coaching sessions is a creeping realisation that there’s a LOT more to blogging than being creative and sharing your thoughts with the world. In many ways, running a blog is a job like any other, complete with repetitive, mundane tasks, frustrations and unforeseen events.

So, with that in mind, here’s a down-to-earth and honest look at the disadvantages of blogging. It might even put you off the whole idea of starting one! However, for each of the points, I’ve done my best to highlight a silver lining in the cloud. Like I said, I love blogging, and most days I wake up feeling very grateful it’s my job. MOST days!

The Disadvantages of Blogging

1. A Lot of the Work NEVER Pays Off

If you’re going to commit to working on a blog, you need to get used to the idea that you will put a LOT of time and energy into things that will never seem worth the effort.

You’ll spend days creating articles that never rank anywhere useful on Google or gain any traction: You’ll reach out to hundreds of people for guest posts and partnerships and be completely ignored, and you’ll have fabulous ideas that just won’t land with your audience as you’d hoped.

No matter how much you learn and how much you research, the trajectory of success for a blog is never linear. Some of my most successful articles are those I’ve thrown together, while pieces I’ve poured love and effort into fester with just a few views per month. It’s just the way of things.

The Silver Lining:

Sometimes it DOES all come together. You find a great keyword, put together an article, and it gets you page views, kind comments and sometimes even some money! When something completely unexpected goes “viral,” that feels rather good too.

2. You Need Money to Run a Blog (and it Takes Time to Earn Any)

I recently put together an article on how much it really costs to start a blog. You’ll have to read it to get the full answer.

Money for blogging

It’s not very much money, but you do need to think about things like web hosting, professional theme designs and SEO tools. You can, to a point, trim the costs down to nearly nothing, but below a certain level of investment you are going to make life unnecessarily difficult for yourself.

Obviously it doesn’t help that it takes time before a blog makes any money. Usually I say that people should expect to put in at least a year of effort before hoping to reap any rewards.

The Silver Lining:

Compared to the cost of running most businesses, the cost of running a blog is really small. Once you do have some money to reinvest, tiny sums on new tools and enhancements can make a real difference too.

3. Your Level of Success is Never Completely Under your Control

On three occasions so far this year, I’ve had to drop everything and watch and wait to see what impact updates to Google’s algorithm have had on my sites.

It’s really nerve-wracking, especially once you’re at the point where you’ve come to rely on your blog income to earn a living. So many industry changes can impact the success of your blog, from how search engines display their search results to the algorithms used by social networks.

There’s nothing you can do about this; The world of tech is ever-evolving, and while my strategy is to always “keep my nose clean” and conform to Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, there’s still no guarantee that an algorithm update won’t see my rankings tumble – along with my income.

The Silver Lining:

To be frank, I’m struggling to think of a silver lining to this one(!) but you can’t expect the world to stand still. Periods of change are really stressful, but at least they’re never dull…

4. Some Tasks are Incredibly Boring

There’s plenty of repetitive grind in most jobs, and blogging is no different. For example, if you want to rank anywhere on Google, you’re going to need incoming links from other sites, and one of the main ways to get those is to reach out to them. This means sending out a ton of almost-identical emails, knowing the vast majority will be ignored.

Outreach like this is definitely one of the tasks that I place firmly in the “boring” column, but there are plenty of others. Sometimes a company might cancel an affiliate scheme with a moment’s notice, leaving you urgently needing to change a bunch of links so you don’t send readers to dead pages.

I’m always quick to point out to aspiring bloggers that there WILL be days when they have to do dull stuff they won’t enjoy – and all by themselves without a team to work on it with. There’s no getting away from it.

The Silver Lining:

Once you start to see some money coming in, you can get rid of some of these tasks – either by outsourcing them, or by buying tools to streamline them.

5. You Can’t Really be Anonymous

When I started my first blog, a site about moving to Portugal, I didn’t reveal my full name at first. Instead I went only as “B.” As such, I was pretty spooked when someone approached me in the supermarket saying, “oh, you’re the blog guy!”

Although some people do blog anonymously, they’re generally those in “exciting” professions like law and medicine. Their content, often revealing interesting secrets, is compelling enough for people to read it without knowing the author.

Most of the time, however, a blog lacks authenticity if people don’t know who’s behind it – and I know that being “out there” makes some aspiring bloggers feel uncomfortable.

The Silver Lining:

Once you’re comfortable with the self-disclosure you do get used to it. Furthermore, with a lot of what goes on online being about having a “personal brand,” it’s all much easier to deal with if you’re not trying to hide in the shadows.

6. There’s Very Little Job Security

I’ve already talked about how an algorithm change can unexpectedly batter your income, but that’s only the start. One of the BIG disadvantages of blogging that it is usually a solo, freelance pursuit – and that means no benefits, insurance cover, or any of the other things that go with a “proper” job.

There’s no sugar-coating this: Blogging for a living is not for the faint of heart.

The Silver Lining:

If you do become successful, your earning potential is limitless, and you have a “job” you can do anywhere, with no boss, no rules and no politics. Perhaps more importantly, you have an asset. (Very) broadly speaking, a successful blog can sell for around 30 times its monthly income – potentially life-changing money, and all in one go. You don’t get THAT with most jobs.

7. Cranks and Trolls are Everywhere

I often say to people that you know your new site is starting to gain momentum once you have to start dealing with your first couple of trolls.

Trolls

It soon gets old, however. There are some very strange people about, and they can have a really detrimental effect on your spirit and your time. I recently turned down a mentoring client as they didn’t seem like a great fit. I did so with candour and politeness, and even sent through some free resources. That didn’t stop them sending abusive messages, leaving negative reviews and telling lies. Bear in mind that this was a person who hadn’t paid me any money. (In fact, in this particular case, dealing with the situation was my “reward” for having the integrity NOT to take their money!)

These situations are really draining, and often time-consuming too. Just because their Facebook review is false and inaccurate, I don’t just get to take it down. I have to go through an appeal process, and disable my reviews (which means hiding the good ones) until it’s resolved.

It’s hurtful and it zaps your motivation, but as soon as you’ve got more than a few thousand people visiting your blog, it’s inevitable that you’ll end up with situations like this to deal with.

The Silver Lining:

For every one nutcase, there are dozens of lovely people you’d never come into contact with if it weren’t for your blog. I sometimes wish I could buy groceries with kind comments and emails, because getting those often feels better than getting money.

8. Not Many People Understand what Bloggers do

It’s easy to find plenty of bloggers online, and there’s plenty of advice out there too. However, back in the real world, not many people really understand what’s involved in blogging. Sometimes this means raised eyebrows because people don’t see how blogging can be a “proper” job.

The upshot of this is that you come to dread the “what do you do?” question. I seem to give a different answer every time, ranging from “web guy” to “affiliate marketer” to “writer” – usually with the objective of moving onto another topic as soon as possible!

The Silver Lining:

The online blogging community is a wonderful thing – you just have to get used to relating to people on forums and podcasts rather than in the real world sometimes!

9. People are Less Supportive than you’d Expect

This is one of the disadvantages of blogging that’s come up a couple of times in my coaching sessions. While you might think that the people around you will be hugely supportive of your efforts to build an online business, it often doesn’t work out that way.

Support

There are people out there who – on paper – should be among my “best” friends. Yet they’ve never read a post, liked a status or done anything to support my endeavours. I know this is not unique to me because I hear it from other people too. In some cases, close family members are very dismissive too.

It’s best just to try to make your peace with this. The way I see it, people have myriad reasons for being the way they are. Perhaps they’re jealous that they have to get up in the morning and work for a boss when you don’t? Maybe they’re just busy? Or maybe they muted you on social media long ago so don’t even see what you post!?

Don’t expect anything, and you won’t be disappointed.

The Silver Lining:

While some people disappoint you, others can surprise you too. There are certain people who are consistently supportive – liking, sharing, and clearly paying plenty of attention to what you’re doing.

In my case, these people are a fascinating mix of friends, work colleagues from years ago, distant family members, and blog readers who I know were among the first to ever discover one of my posts. Every one of them is worth their weight in gold, and I hope very much that one or two of them read this and know who they are 🙂

10. The Learning Curve is Quite Steep

You don’t have to be super technical to run a blog, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that it really helps.

Sure, you can write the posts, quickly learn to format pages, navigate WordPress and make your site look reasonably good. But it’s when you get to the next stage that everything ramps up – when your site slows to a crawl and you realise your images aren’t properly optimised, or when you research keywords and realise you don’t have a clue what any of the metrics mean.

Even as a fairly enthusiastic techie, there are some situations where I feel I’m having to learn about things I don’t much care about. You HAVE to be prepared to Google for solutions, read long articles and invest in your learning – or it WILL hold you back.

The Silver Lining:

The answers to everything are out there! From blog articles to Facebook groups (often populated with helpful, selfless people), you can always find out what to do next – but it does help if you have the drive and inclination to do so.

11. You Have to “Fight a Lot of Fires”

I’ve already talked about algorithm changes and trolls, but they are just the tip of the iceberg. You also have the site hacks, the service outages, the legal threats, the time-wasters and – let’s be honest – the little disasters you bring on yourself because you make one risky site change too many!

These are all part and parcel of running a blog, but they’re VERY frustrating when they come one after another. You realise you’ve spent a whole week not producing any content or doing anything to actually move your site forward, and that sucks. I’ve personally had several weeks like that already this year, and we’re only half way through.

Fighting fires

Worst of all? You don’t get paid for any of that stuff – even when it ends up taking over an evening or a weekend.

The Silver Lining:

You do tend to learn from every disaster. Also, if you keep things in perspective, you realise no business is immune from unexpected interruptions – blogging is just no different.

12. Everything Takes Time

The last of my disadvantages of blogging is perhaps the most important of all: Blogging is not for you if you’re impatient. However hard you work and however much you know, establishing a new blog takes time – and during that time you’ll be doing a LOT of work that you’re not being paid for.

The Silver Lining:

Once you do reach the point where you have regular traffic, everything gets a LOT more exciting. The first day you wake up and someone’s clicked an ad or bought a product, earning you money while you were asleep, feels incredibly good. Once that income becomes consistent, it feels better still! As an established blogger, checking your income – after a night, a weekend, or a holiday – never gets dull.

What to Read Next?

So have you been put off now you know all the real disadvantages of blogging!? If not, here are some places to head next:

  • This article will help you choose a niche for your new blog.
  • This one talks about what you need to spend to start off a new site.
  • Here you’ll find some information on services I can provide to help you get your blog off the ground.

If you need a domain and hosting for a new online project, I personally use and recommend Dreamhost