Should I start a blog?
January 30, 2015 1:46 PM   Subscribe

Should I blog even though I don't know anybody who blogs, and would start with zero followers, and not even sure if people would like to see what I have to offer?

I feel like this is a silly question but here goes.
I have a few things I would like to share. Mainly four different themes.
The first is I paint a lot and would like to start showing people. Only a few friends know I paint. I don't do it professionally, just for fun, but I would say my style is a bit different, also each painting comes with a poem beside it.
I also have a lot of stories to tell which comes from having moved around so often all my life. My friends and other people say I have lots of interesting, funny, random stories.
I'm overcoming an addiction and would say I have come very far this past year. I'm not completely recovered but I no longer suffer as much as before, and I feel if I write about it, I could help some people out there.
Finally, I have a garden started from scratch and do lots of cooking, so that could also be interesting.
The reason why I would like to blog is because it could help me put myself more out there and be less introverted and private. I feel when I'm more open about myself I feel freer and happier. I write for myself, and it helps me with my problems, but the blogs I read recommend blogging for a public because it helps. Another reason is I would like to help people or maybe give them some inspiration.
However:
-Though I do read some blogs, I would have no followers to start with! I have no idea how to gain readers.
-Would I need to put photos of myself, or could I remain anonymous?
-Is this a bad idea? It seems like it could be too much going on in one blog, too many themes, whereas most blogs are about something more specific.
I would rather remain anonymous to friends, but if you think the only way to start is by putting it up on facebook then I Think about doing that... I wouldn't do this for money, but it would be nice to have some followers that aren't family or friends.
Any advice?
Thank you!
posted by akita to Human Relations (21 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
 
Tumblr is great for this. It comes with a built-in community! You can totally remain anonymous. However I bet your Facebook friends would like to know about your painting, gardening, cooking, etc. You don't have to share every post, just post occasionally to your FB page.
posted by radioamy at 1:49 PM on January 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


Write your blog for you. The right people will get it if you update it regularly and have compelling content. The toughest part is the beginning when you're building it up. But keep at it and engage your increasing reader base.

But if you do want to be discovered, you will have to reach out to people. They have to know it exists somehow. Tumblr is great because of hashtags people can find what you write easier and you can do less work drumming up followers and just write using popular hashtags that fit what you're doing.
posted by inturnaround at 1:51 PM on January 30, 2015 [3 favorites]


Yup, I came to suggest Tumblr.
posted by quince at 1:52 PM on January 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


Even without an audience there is value in writing, so go for it.

Personally, I am a roll your own type of guy, since I don't want to rely on a service that may just go away, and I don't want my content padding some company's bottomline, so I would suggest a domain, a hosting company, and a CMS, but that's just me.
posted by cjorgensen at 1:57 PM on January 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


The thing about Tumblr is the people who like gardening will find your gardening posts, the people in recovery will find the recovery posts, the people who like your paintings will reblog them, etc. It's ok to have a mixed bag of interests.
posted by Juliet Banana at 1:58 PM on January 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


YES definitely start a blog. But do it because you want to. When you do it just to get readers, somehow this often comes across, and leads to a less effective less interesting blog. I started blogging with no idea if anyone would care. While my readership is small, it exists and they seem to like reading my stuff. I've gotten requests to write more as a result of it also. Good luck!
posted by cacao at 2:00 PM on January 30, 2015


Make a blog. Message me when you've set it up and I'll read it at least once. Pretend like you're talking to someone specific when you write.
posted by oceanjesse at 2:01 PM on January 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


Been at it for some 12 years now. of course you begin with no readers...then, sometimes, it builds up. I average 9-10 thou visits per day. Fun. Keeps me busy. Sharpens my mind. Beats brooding.
posted by Postroad at 2:05 PM on January 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


I blog. Mostly for me. But if you Google Charmin Bears Blog, who knows what you'll find.

My point is, it's for your ownself, if anyone stumbles across it, bonus!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 2:11 PM on January 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


Just start -- it will feel good even if no one's reading at first. I've had a website since 1997 and blogging since blogging was a thing. Like cjorgensen, I have my own domain, a hosting company and a CMS -- WordPress in my case for the blog part of my site. But I'd also suggest Tumblr to start...you can move from there if you enjoy it. I do it for me. It's fun, it helps me to gather my thoughts and some people think I am funny. Give it a go!
posted by Lescha at 2:16 PM on January 30, 2015


Best answer: I have one. It's primarily for me. A few friends know it's there.

I'd advise you to start 4 blogs (or tumblrs), one for each topic you want to address. Start with all of them anonymous. If, over time, you decide to expose more of yourself, you'll be able to do so on a blog-by-blog basis. For instance, you might want to open up your gardening and painting blogs, but keep the addiction blog private / anonymous.
posted by doctor tough love at 2:34 PM on January 30, 2015 [7 favorites]


> Just start -- it will feel good even if no one's reading at first.

Yup.

> I'd advise you to start 4 blogs (or tumblrs), one for each topic you want to address.

I agree with this. A blog on painting will attract people interested in painting; similarly for gardening and overcoming an addiction, but few people interested in one of those topics will be interested in the others, and you risk losing them by being so unfocused. Your funny, random stories may be interesting primarily to people who know you, but go ahead and write 'em down, they may find an audience—but again, it's probably not going to be an audience interested in painting, gardening, or overcoming an addiction. Just my two cents; I've been blogging since 2002, and I made the decision to blog almost entirely about language-related subjects (a broad topic in itself, of course), which has worked out well.
posted by languagehat at 2:58 PM on January 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


it can't hurt anything to start, right?

and i've found that one of the very best ways to gain followers is to comment on other people's blogs - with a link back to your own, if that's allowed.
posted by megan_magnolia at 3:18 PM on January 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


I have had a blog for over 12 years. I do it for me. It's an amazing record of my life. I can't even tell you how many times I've searched my own blog to verify when or where something happened.

My favorite blogs are those just like what you are talking about starting - a little of everything. It's the purest form of blog - it's what we all started with before advertisers and blog conference gurus told us we had to focus on one topic.

Start with tumblr and see if you like it. Follow others' blogs and some will follow you back.
posted by kimberussell at 3:32 PM on January 30, 2015


What megan_magnolia said. And on the painting front, there are lots of weekly (or other types of) art challenges where a variety of artists posts links back to their blogs. Some of these folks may become regular visitors, particularly if you regularly visit back. Examples: Paint Party Friday, Illustration Friday. In February is the 29 Faces challenge. Some of the folks who do these have specifically art blogs, and many include other topics and interests. Many of these will not be to your taste, but it's one way to get started.
posted by Glinn at 4:17 PM on January 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


My recommendation is either wordpress.com or self-hosted wordpress, and pinterest for social media, to give you a way to draw people in. The painting, gardening, and cooking would be high-interest and lend themselves to good visuals for pinterest, and it seems to be the most-effective way at the moment for bloggers to draw visitors to their blogs.

Tumblr might work, if you can find "your" community and there's enough of it to satisfy you, but keep in mind that it's heavily inhabited by the teen age group, tends to be more about the "surface" representation image of a post than the actual in-depth post, and there's a very large percentage of the over-20 internet that has zero interest in Tumblr, no matter how good your content might be.
posted by stormyteal at 7:08 PM on January 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


I complain about tumblr all the time, but it is a good place for visual posts. Many artists and art galleries have tumblrs. You might want to start by creating a tumblr for your art and following other artists. If you like it, you could add other tumblr blogs to your account for your gardening and writing.
posted by betweenthebars at 7:54 PM on January 30, 2015


I would consider privacy issues very carefully. It sounds like you are not very familiar with blogging or the range of options for publishing your thoughts, writings, creative work, and personal items in public and semi-public circulation. You might not want to mix writing about your addiction and recovery with other kinds of creative work, for example. Anonymity is difficult to maintain as you scale up.

Just do a lot of research before you hit "publish."
posted by spitbull at 8:44 PM on January 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


Blogging can't be about gaining a ton of followers, or it will feel like a waste of time. Share stuff because you want to and because it's intrinsically satisfying for you.

Social platforms like Tumblr may allow you to interact with people more and be part of a community, but the point of Tumblr is "reblogging" so your content won't only live on your page.

You should decide what you want to accomplish with this blog, but know that if you register a web domain, the registration can reveal who you are. With a site like Tumblr or even Blogger, you can remain fairly anonymous. I would attach it to a special email address you don't use for stuff though.
posted by AppleTurnover at 12:41 AM on January 31, 2015


Response by poster: Thank you for the answers, they are really helpful! I think I will start tumblr, once I get internet at home (it's broken) and then move on to Wordpress. I have a question now, would I be able to link my blog to tumblr or is that not possible?
posted by akita at 3:58 AM on January 31, 2015


WordPress.com would be great for you. (Disclosure: I work for Automattic, and help out WordPress.com users as my job.) I recently moved my self-hosted WordPress blog (it's 13 years old) to WordPress.com and love the built in community we have. I've gained dozens of followers since I moved.
posted by pyjammy at 8:40 PM on January 31, 2015


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