Ask Ellen: Should I Bother With a Blog?


Dear Ellen,

I’m one of those people who has always thought, “I should really start a blog.”

I even purchased a website domain one time and got pretty close to launching a blog, but then I stopped myself. I feel like there are already millions of blogs out there… and who’s going to care about mine? And what’s the point of working on a blog if barely anybody sees it?

I don’t even really know what my question is, specifically, but… do you have any words of wisdom for me?

To Blog Or Not To Blog

Ellen Fondiler: Ask Ellen


The feelings of hesitancy that you’re having are very natural… and very sensible!

Before you pour a ton of time and energy into a very crowded field, it’s always wise to ask yourself:

What can I offer that’s “different” from everything that’s already out there?
What’s going to make this project worth reading/watching/sharing/purchasing?
Why do I feel called to do this, really? What’s my underlying motivation?

Think about those questions, or discuss those questions with a friend, colleague, or even a professional writing coach. You might find a lot of clarity… and you might feel renewed excitement about launching your blog and getting things rolling!

I didn’t start a blog until I was 60 years old! I considered it for many years, and I wrestled with many of the same “… but what’s the point?” feelings that you’re currently feeling, TBONTB. Honestly, sometimes, I still do! And yet, when I look back over the last few years, it’s undeniable: blogging has enriched my life in so many ways.

Here are a couple of reasons why blogging is pretty amazing—regardless of whether you wind up having millions of fans or not:

1. You will learn new things.

Every time I sit down to write a blog post or an advice column like this one, I have to research, collect facts and statistics, find inspiring quotes, and explore corners of the Internet that I’ve never seen before. Because of my blog, I learned that being a “professional, certified cuddler” is an actual profession. (Who knew?) Because of my blog, I’ve discovered job postings and grant opportunities that I’ve been able to pass along to my clients. Because of my blog, I’ve stumbled across books, podcasts, and TED Talks that have touched my life in a profound way. Becoming a blogger has expanded my world in ways I could not have imagined.

2. You will become a better communicator.

Whether you’re a dog trainer, a hairstylist, an administrative assistant, or a self-employed graphic designer, EVERY profession requires strong communication skills. Blogging consistently will make you a better communicator, which will enhance your career in so many ways. The more you write, the better you get!

3. You can support causes that matter to you.

Whether you have five devoted blog fans, or five million, you can use your blog as a “platform” to discuss issues and causes that matter to you. You can even use your blog as a place to raise money for philanthropic projects, if you want to.

Last year, Elizabeth Gilbert, Cheryl Strayed and Brené Brown (along with many others) started the Compassion Collective and raised over two million dollars for humanitarian causes. Their writing brought them fame and followers, and now, they’re using their fame to create a better world.

4. You can earn a lot of money.

Sarah Von Bargen started her blog, Yes & Yes, purely as a fun, personal writing project. Today, she has amassed such a tremendous following that she’s able to sell advertising spots and feature paid sponsors, sell e-books and e-courses, and offer blogging/online community consulting to entrepreneurs. She has built an entire career around her blog!

It can take a lot of patience to get to that point—Sarah has been blogging daily for over 9 years—but it’s possible.

5. You can really help people.

Blogging means that you’re sharing your personal stories, feelings, advice, and resources online. You have no idea who might stumble upon your blog—or how much your words might impact their life.

My friend Susan Hyatt is a great example of this. Her blog posts typically come from a very personal, emotional place. When she wrote a blog post about her teenage son’s academic struggles—and how he was almost failing out of high school, she received so many grateful emails from fellow parents. So many of them said, “Thank you for sharing your story and your perspective. I’m so glad I’m not the only one dealing with a situation like this.”

When you open your heart and express yourself online, in a public space, you never know who you’re going to help. Your words could change someone’s entire day.

There you go: five great reasons to stop worrying and just start blogging already! So, then the question becomes: How do you begin?

My advice: Just start.

Write a few posts on any topics that feel interesting to you. Don’t fret about whether your writing is “great” or not. Don’t worry about how many “fans” are reading or not.

Just dive in! Hit “publish” on your very first blog post and celebrate that big step!

As my friend Alex says, regardless of how many people are reading and commenting on your blog posts, keep going, keep sharing, and remember that you are a big deal.

TBONTB: I wish you so much fulfillment and joy on your blogging journey!

I can promise you: blogging will expand your life, often in very unpredictable ways. New job opportunities, new virtual and real-life friendships, a newfound sense of confidence in your communication skills… there’s so much that blogging can bring into life.

If you feel called to do it, then… just do it.


Image: Willie Franklin