One of the most common mistakes that new bloggers make, including myself, is to not have a clearly defined purpose for blogging.
Your purpose for blogging will have a strong impact on what kind of blogger you should be and how you should go about publishing content to your blog.
There are many different areas to consider when creating, updating, and maintaining a blog.
These areas should all work in unison to push you toward one specific goal as a blogger.
But what if you have no specific purpose for blogging?
Chaos. That’s what.
You have to decide why you are blogging early in the game, so as to work towards relevant goals as you build your blog.
What is your purpose?
First, you have to figure out what your purpose for blogging really is.
It’s important to be real with yourself here.
A lot of new bloggers understand that blogging simply for money is a bad deal.
You typically end up throwing AdSense ads all over the place and filling your blog posts up with keywords until they overflow.
That’s no good.
So, even if you say you’re not blogging for money, your actions will either verify or deny that claim anyway.
Keep it real when you answer this question and don’t be ashamed of your answer.
What is your purpose for blogging?
Blogging for business
Blogging for business has a completely different approach than blogging as a hobby.
When you blog for business, you have clearly defined objectives… or at least you should.
Money plays a role and a lot of decisions will be made based on money.
And probably the most important thing to consider when you blog for business is that it’s not really about the blog.
It’s more about the attention you gain from the blog and what you do with that attention.
As you would imagine, blogging for business differs greatly from blogging as a hobby.
Blogging as a hobby
Blogging as a hobby tends to bring forth a different set of rules and standards.
Because money is not an issue, hobby bloggers run ad-free blogs where they talk about whatever they want without SEO pressures.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this.
It’s just important to know if you’re a hobby blogger or not because your approach to blogging shouldn’t be stressful at all, like it can be for a business blogger.
Blogging for someone else
Blogging for someone else is much like blogging for business.
The only difference is that you are not blogging for you own business… you are blogging for theirs.
This can apply to those who guest post for other blogs as well as those who blog regularly for a company that they do not own.
Either way, it’s important to understand what that parent company or blog is all about.
Their goals, mission, objectives, and business style are all important factors that you must consider because you hit “publish.”
In this case, it’s not about you at all. It’s about that company or blog and what they are trying to achieve.
This is why you very rarely see hobby blogs with full-time contributors other than the owner.
When a blog is not set up for business purposes, there tends to be fewer guidelines.
When there are no guidelines, it’s kind of hard to let other people come in and write guest posts or blog full-time.
You never know what they will say!
So, if you know your purpose for blogging, what comes next?
Well, it depends.
The first thing you have to do is set up your goals.
If you are blogging for business, you need to treat your blog like a business.
Businesses have products, services, or both.
When is the last time you walked into a brick and mortar store and they had nothing to offer you except for free conversation?
Who does that?
Even worse, imagine that store having absolutely no intentions of ever producing a product or service, and simply spending each and every day improving the look of the store itself.
Would that make sense to you? Would you really call that a business?
Well, many so-called business bloggers do that all of the time. Absolutely nothing about the blog promotes a product or service. They simply have a great design and try to be the next Seth Godin with words.
This is pointless.
Businesses have something to offer. Some businesses have many things to offer.
Businesses aren’t afraid to show you what they have to offer… it’s the sole purpose for being a business in the first place.
So, if you are a business blogger, or you intend to make money with your blog, your goals and actions need to match that purpose.
Don’t do like I have done many times in the past and run a “business” with no real product or service.
Again, it’s pointless.
If you’re blogging as a hobby, you’re free to do whatever you’d like. Plain and simple.
Just understand that those two categories don’t go together well.
You can’t be a business blogger and still do whatever you’d like. That’s business suicide.
Likewise, you can’t be a hobby blogger and stress yourself out with business issues… but still try to call yourself a hobby blogger.
Again, you have to keep it real with yourself when you decide whether to be a business blogger or a hobby blogger.
I would urge everyone reading this post to get serious about their blogging.
Even if you’re just a hobbyist, there’s no reason to let this cyber-world of opportunities pass you by.
I would suggest that everyone make the declaration today to be a business blogger from here forward.
Ultimately, every blog has the potential to gain attention.
No matter what the purpose of the blog is, that’s the first goal… to gain the attention of people surfing the web.
Once your blog has done that, you have the freedom to do whatever you want with that attention.
You can turn those visitors into customers, friends, or even products like Mark Zuckerberg has done.
The art of blogging is something that you will learn along the way.
Some of you will learn to create customers and friends.
Some of you will have nothing but customers.
A few of you will build friendships into communities that become a product themselves as membership sites.
No matter what, though, you can’t do any of this just by chance.
At some point in the process, you have to know what your goals are and you have to work toward them.
You can start early in the game or you can wait until you’ve piled up a list of regrets about what you could have done.
The choice is yours.
I would suggest figuring things out now.
What’s your purpose for blogging?