Should I Start a Blog in 2020?

Is it too late to start a blog in 2020? Did I miss my chance? Or is it still possible to create a career through blogging?

We hear these questions all the time. But what’s CRAZY to me is that we’ve been hearing these exact same questions for more than five years! In this post, I’ll share the pros and cons of starting a blog (or new social media account—they are quite similar) in 2020.

Let’s start with the downsides. First, I want to tackle some commonly said “Cons”:

CONS:
-It’s too late to start a blog.
Sure, it would have been BETTER to start sooner. Unfortunately, this is true with any business venture and really any large goal in life. There are no time machines. If you want something, your only option is to start today. But even more than that, I think people assume that blogging was a trend that’s now over, or there are no ways to monetize a blog anymore and these are both so untrue.

-It’s more competitive.
Eh … I disagree. I would argue that there are actually less people trying to make a career (or side gig) from blogging than there were five years ago. Lots of people have dropped out. And many more have opted to solely work on their social media channels (which I’m not saying there is anything wrong with, but my point is that they aren’t blogging).

-If you’re not a top blogger, you can’t make money.
I disagree with this 100%. In fact, I have seen firsthand that there are many jobs we can’t get because our blog is “too big.” Plus many opportunities are not just about size, they are about what you bring the project, or what your audience values from hearing from you specifically.

-It’s too much work.
Ding-ding-ding! This one is mostly true. Let me say it louder for our friends in the back … blogging is probably WAY more work than you think it will be. It’s also more involved and generally more expensive to produce than social media. So if you want to take the easiest possible path, blogging probably is not it. I’ll go more into this below!

-Blogging has been replaced by social media.
Not true. Although, sure, there are some brands who allocate more budget for social campaigns, there are also lot of brands who know that the lifespan of a blog post is much longer than social media, thanks to Google searches and Pinterest. A high quality blog post can continue earning views for years to come. Also blogging often offers more real estate, meaning there is more room for multiple photos, videos, text, and links all in one place that isn’t going to disappear quickly. A blog post is simply less disposable than social media. (Again, not a dis to social media. It’s just different!)

Next, here are some “Pros” that a lot of people don’t think about.

PROS:
-It’s easier to get sponsors than ever before. This is true! When we first started blogging and our stats were skyrocketing, it was still so difficult for us to make a basic income on our work. Ten years later, things have REALLY changed. Major brands have good sized budgets set aside specifically for bloggers.

-Blogging income is more steady than social media.
I touched on this above, but it’s true that the time and effort you put into blogging can pay off more and for much longer. This is in part because, again, a blog post is less disposable than social media, so you can often monetize your content in different ways. For bloggers who do rank high in Google searches, they have essentially created passive income for themselves in that those posts they may have written years ago will still earn them money today.

-Your blog is truly yours. Unlike social media platforms, which could be sold, deleted or changed without your consent, your website it truly your online real estate where you have much more control and choice. This a huge pro and why I recommend every online presence have a website (and email list!!!!!!) even if you don’t choose to update it as frequently as a blogger would.

When friends ask me for advice on whether they should start a blog, here’s what I tell them.

If you are someone who loves to take photos, write, and share like you may already be doing on a social media platform, a blog can be a great way for you to expand on that and make more money, or more steady money.

The downside is that it can take several years to establish a blog. I’m sure there are case studies of a few people who have done it faster, but my professional opinion is that it’s not worth it to start a blog unless you are committed to posting on it 2-3 times per week for at least two years before you start making consistent money (from CPM ads or sponsor offers). I realize how deflating that time commitment can sound, but it’s realistic.

In two to three years, you can gain a lot of skill both in photography and writing, you can carve yourself a unique place in your industry and you can learn through using affiliate links what your audience will buy from you. I’m not saying you can’t get sponsors sooner—great for you if you can! But if that time commitment doesn’t sound worth it to you, you probably will end up quitting anyway. So ask yourself: Am I willing to write 200+ blog posts before seeing a return on my investment? I would hate to overpromise, as I’ve sometimes seen others do. Blogging as a career path is not an overnight make-money-quick option, but it is an AMAZING opportunity if you’re willing to put some foundational work in.

If you’re willing to make the commitment, there are so many ways to earn money as a blogger. And most of these revenue streams will grow with you. You can have CPM-based ads (like we have in our sidebars and throughout our posts), you can use affiliate links, and you can work with sponsors. You can also create a signature product (physical or digital in nature) or collaborate on a licensed product line. Through the years we’ve done all these things!

Starting a blog and doing it for fun for several years was one of the best choices of my life. I didn’t set out to become “a blogger” because I didn’t even know that was possible. But I found my dream job through writing daily on the internet about the things I loved, and I am forever grateful for that.

In this post, I’m definitely simplifying what it means to be a blogger, but if I write a 4000+ word post, no one will read it. If you’ve been considering starting a blog, this will help you decide whether or not it’s worth it for YOU—only you can decide that. But if your question is, “Is blogging dead in 2020?” the answer is most definitely a NO.  If you want to dive more into blogging, here’s our courses to learn more. Use the code GOFORIT for 25% off.

I’m happy to answer your questions in the comments! xx- Elsie

Credits // Author: Elsie Larson. Photography: Amber Ulmer. Photo edited with A Color Story Desktop.
  • Love this blogpost!
    I think blogging is more about quality and social media is more about quantity.
    Sometimes people say that you can build an online brand on social media, that’s partly true but I think it’s more professional when people or businesses have their own website or blog. I love that I can do with my blog whatever I want, it’s my own space on the internet.

  • I love what you said about the time commitment! As someone who has been working behind the scenes to launch her blog since January (and almost there!) I think it’s such a good reality check that this is likely not something I can transition into right away, and it’s going to take WORK. Especially when you have a full-time job. Continuing to get that reminder I think is so helpful, but also motivating (which I guess is a good sign!).

    Another piece of advice I think is just to try it. I’m so bad at trying to make things perfect before I share it with the world, but just trying it out for a bit and seeing if I even enjoy it I think will be a huge indicator.

    Thanks for the VERY timely post, and for the tips!! 💛

    Emma

  • Great post. I love your honesty. Thank you. I read your photography book years ago and it was a stepping stone that eventually led me to really taking my blog seriously. I love that you are sharing your experience so we can learn from it. So helpful to have those who we can look up to in this field.

  • Do you have any posts or videos explaining your journey with creating a successful blog? I would LOVE to hear more about how you started and how you got to where you are today!

  • Thanks for all the insider tips! I’ve actually had a blog for the past 7 years or so, posting very inconsistently, but have never taken it to the next level. I really appreciated your advice that it takes 2-3 posts/week consistently for 2 years to really monetize a blog. You made me realize I just don’t have that kind of time to expect a side hustle income for my blog. And I’m ok with that! It’s nice enough looking back at all my memories from the past few years. Thanks for the tips and all you do!

  • I liked how interesting it can be to blog at least this year it would be good if you put your experiences, even if you have skills it is never too late to start a blog

  • Hi Emma!
    I’m following your blog a long time and it’s always a inspiration for me.
    Nowadays I’m not work with content anymore but thank you for all the things that you still create.

    Bests!
    Bru

  • Actually, if you write a 4000+ word post I will read it, every word. I’d read a whole book. Now there’s an idea. I value your professional insights and I appreciate that you don’t downplay the work involved (the “I just quit my day job and you can too!” approach). Thanks again.

  • Thank you so much for sharing your honesty and great advice! I’ve followed your blog for years, it’s my favourite 😊 I’ve been thinking of starting a blog and was wondering if your Blog Life course is a good place to start, or is it for people with existing blogs? Thank you!

  • I’m so glad I read this and it has really encouraged me to continue blogging because I really enjoy it and it is nice to have my own personal space apart from my social media. I started blogging about 5 years ago but fell off the bandwagon a few years ago so I know how hard it is to be committed. I am proud of your blog’s success. x

    splasheswithfabulosity.blogspot.com

  • Thank you for posting this, Elsie! I’ve been working on my blog for years (wow! that’s kind of hard to believe!), & it’s good to hear from an established blogger that it’s not a dying platform.
    I agree that it’s a lot more work than it seems like!
    A post on diving into analytics or monetizing a blog/website would be super helpful too!
    Thank you for your fun blog. I think I was first introduced to it before you and Jeremy were married. 🙂

  • Thank you for this post. I’m staying up late reading this and appreciating every word! In two days, my blogging partner (and 16 yr. old daughter!) and I will be celebrating our First Year Blog-iversary! It’s been one year since we pressed publish on our website after months and months of prep, writing, hammering out details, goals etc.!
    We love blogging and are in it for the long haul! We’ve talked about how much work it is (most people think it’s so easy!!) but we really enjoy it! It’s such a great way to be creative, keep learning, communicate and stay connected.
    I’ll be excited to show her this post in the morning (we both follow your blog) because it addresses many of the questions/thoughts we’ve discussed and wondered about. Thanks for another great post!

  • I feel like it echos my personal experience. I started blogging over 5 years ago. I dropped out. Due to various life-changing events, I decided to pick it up again. But not only pick it up but take it SERIOUSLY. Before it was a hobby for me, now I view it as a business. And let me tell you, it’s been SO much harder than I thought and takes SO much more work than it does when you view it as a hobby and blog inconsistently. Thank you for sharing this post! It’s great to hear the thoughts on the blogging climate from someone who’s “made it”!

    -Jen
    https://pocketwonders.ca

  • The most overwhelming thing for me is to pick a topic to blog about? SHould I do a lot of research (see if there is google demand for this topic) before diving in??

  • Hi, thank you so much for this post! Really puts everything out there. I am most worried about the quality of my photos. Is it possible to have a successful blog if the photos don’t look that professional? What are some good ways to get cheap, professional looking photos?

  • Ha, I’ve been blogging consistently for over six years and I still spend more time on blogging (and everything associated with it) than the money I make in return. I never had planned for it to become a full-time gig, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t wish that I made a little more money from it to offset the amount of time and effort it takes. Whatever I’ve been doing hasn’t really been working (no growth) but I don’t have the time to do anything else with my full-time job. I’d tell a newbie blogger that it’s a lot more work than it looks, and it’s hard to know if your blog will be “successful” (whatever that means to you) just because it seems like some blogs take off while others just kind of stay in one place.

  • Hi, my name is Athena and I recently started my own blog, where I share useful tips, recommend books, review products and write my own blog. This article really helped me, so thank you! Please go check out my blog at http://www.athenaswillow.webador.ie
    because it would help me and my blog out a lot!
    Your Favourite Goddess,
    Athena.

  • This gives me hope! Haha. I love blogging, even though I don’t get much comments or anything. It’s such a nice place to look back on what you wrote years ago, or the pictures of that one trip you made. And I love being part of the community <3
    Love, Eva

  • Hi, thank you for this post! I’ve been blogging for more than ten years but only 10 months ago started to try and make it more than a personal scrapbook and went for a niche. My biggest question is how people are actually converting Pinterest monthly followers into traffic to their blog. I have watched SO many classes/webinars on the topic and it’s all about making beautiful pins (mine are getting better) and then you’ll have all the clickthroughs. This hasn’t been my experience, despite reaching nearly 500K monthly viewers. I’ve been through two of your courses in the past, which I loved, but I don’t recall anything on this topic. Thanks in advance for any advice! ~Jenn

  • Thanks for writing this interesting and inspirational stuff. Actually, I started one blog in 2019, and it was a successful experience. However, it didn’t achieve a few things like getting a place among Google’s News section, getting high DA and other things. That’s why I started another news blog last month. No doubt, all points that you mentioned among cons came into my mind, but I developed the site with courage.

    I don’t know how much hard work would be required to successfully build and run a news blog but I have decided that I wouldn’t lose heart and will try my best. Thanks for giving me some reasons to inspire.

  • Thanks for this. It somehow gave me hope.
    I think the bottome line is how much we are willing to dedicate ourselves and our willingness to blogging.
    Oh.. and patience is included.
    I’ve started blogging when it was still new– just did it to record my first born. How I wish I continued it. If I did—
    ugh! I maybe have been earning now!

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