Most people blog for other people. That’s exactly the wrong reason to blog. The vast majority of blogs doesn’t get read by other people. That’s because there are so crazy many blogs out there and since traffic doesn’t spread between them equally but instead most people go to a tiny percentage, that means a huge number of blogs only get read by the blogger’s moms.
You shouldn’t start a blog to get other people to read it (though you should always push to get other people to read it). Instead, you should use a blog to explore yourself. If you do that honestly, interestingly and with flair, there’s a good chance that you’re far more likely to do well.
So how can blogging help you explore yourself?
It makes you think more methodically
The great thing that writing about your ideas does is that it makes you think more systematically. That’s because when you think, you can get away with moving from one idea to the next without there actually being a bridge between them. That’s because when you think, you can’t rewind and reconsider what you just thought. You can only reconsider what you remembered thinking. And those are not the same thing.
That a lot harder to get away with when you’re writing. That’s because what you wrote is still there for you to consider. And so, if you make jumps in your reasoning, you’ll find them out when you’re reading through your text again.
Even better, doing that, again and again, will make your thinking clearer and more disciplined as well. In this way, you create a feedback loop where your thinking and your writing become better.
You learn how to do research
If you’re serious about your blogging, then you’ll become a better researcher as a result of all the writing you do. That’s because you’ll want to back up the claims you make and the ideas you introduce. After all, that’s the only way that serious and skeptical people are going to take you seriously.
The better you become at research, the more quickly you’ll do research to find out if something is true or not and that will further avoid you holding on to beliefs that aren’t in fact supported by any evidence.
You become better at taking another person’s perspective
Most people don’t realize this, but being able to take another person’s perspective is more useful than being really smart. This is because it doesn’t matter how smart you are, if you can’t convince other people that you have a good idea, nothing will ever come of it. Similarly, if you’re smart but all of your colleagues hate you, then how are you going to get anywhere?
The great thing about blogging is that it forces you to shift your perspective to consider other people’s opinions. You think ‘what are people who disagree with what I’m saying here going to say?’ and then you take steps to counteract those arguments before they’ve even been formed.
This makes your arguments more convincing and will ultimately allow you to become the best writing advisor. It also boosts your emotional IQ, which is what you need to take another person’s perspectives.
You’ll get direct feedback from your readers
Even better is the feedback that you get from your readers. And here I don’t just mean commenting. Sure, that’s valuable too, but your readers give you more feedback than that. They do so by showing you what articles they’re interested in and what articles they’re not, how long they stick around and how quickly they bounce away.
All that information can be gathered for free through Google Analytics and gives you invaluable feedback about what works. Then, through self-analysis, you’ll start to understand what it is about these articles that works and what people aren’t actually that interested in after all. From there, you’ll be able to create a message that is more in fitting with what your audience wants.
This will improve your blogging, but it doesn’t end there. You’ll also use that kind of thinking to improve the way that you look at the world – largely because what you learn from your blog will also filter through into the rest of your life.
You’ll become more observant
The hardest part of blogging isn’t always writing the articles. Just as often, it’s coming up with interesting topics to write about in the first place. That means you’ll start looking around you for new stories and new ideas. And that, in turn, makes you think more deeply about the world and what you find there.
How can I write about this? What would my audience think about that? Is this interesting for my blog?
Yes, you can take this too far and become a passive observer, but if you can avoid that, then you’ll notice that you’ll think about things different and as a result become a more thoughtful, critical and aware individual.
Writing is one of the best things that you can do. It helps you in so many ways. For that reason, everybody should start a blog, even if they can’t write. It doesn’t matter if only your family reads it. Probably, that’s just fine for your first blog.
For if nobody reads it, the benefits can be tremendous, as you become a better writer and a more analytic thinker. So if you’ve been afraid that nobody would be interested in your life, don’t be. That’s not what matters. What matters is if you’re interested and if you’d like to become a better writer. Because if that’s the case, then blogging is for you.