Recently in a Halifax blogger Facebook group that I am part of, someone asked why we blogged. Why did we spend so much time writing posts and sharing with everyone our thoughts. Was it for money, fame, to kill time, to be part of a group or even a way to avoid doing something else. Everyone has their reasons and I thought it was an interesting question to answer.
So I decided to air my thoughts on why I blog. Here goes.
Who Do I Blog?
Blogging has been a part of my daily life ever since I first started using MSN Spaces way back in the early 2000’s. Yeah, remember that archaic tool that let you fill in areas with content and drag them around? It all started because I had moved away from home and it was the easiest way to keep my mother updated on what I was up to.
This was before Twitter, Facebook and all the other social sites. MSN messenger was pretty big and 911 had to even happened yet.
It was great. I could update my mother on my life in Toronto, while not having to spend a lot of time on the phone. I have never been a fan of the phone.
That was where the “blogging” started. Of course that was only the beginning and I did not even know it was blogging to be honest. It was more of a daily newsletter that very few people read.
Over time I grew with the medium. I did blogger, the free WordPress site and finally in 2008, I made the jump to the self-hosted WordPress software.
I have blogged about dogs, sports, Halifax, grilling, online marketing and most recently, parenting.
When I moved to Halifax, again it was about updating friends and family what I was up to. But because I moved here without a job, I had a lot of time to write and create blogs. This was the hot start of blogging and I was all aboard, posting every day and learning as I went.
It was becoming very interesting to me and at the same time I was becoming a much stronger writer and online user.
It should be noted I am still to this date not very techie, but I have certainly come a long way since the days of having to get someone to do everything for me when it came to setting up a blog. I knew how to create content, that was it.
Now I can set up blogs, including domains, hosting and installing software.
So why did I start blogging? I just had to get my thoughts down or my head would explode.
I have always had a lot of ideas in my head and a lot of funny thoughts that until blogging came a long, I was afraid to share. Then it became clear that I was in fact a funny and quick-witted guy who could in fact make people laugh and want more.
In the past I have blogged about food I have cooked, vacations, endless rants including bad parkers and finally, my passion when it comes to writing, the sports world, or the lighter side of that world.
Due to all this blogging and working online, I landed a job in Halifax at a website where I was a content editor. It was a big jump from writing about the latest recipe, to managing a major website that was updated 24 hours a day.
But it all happened. Why? It was what I loved to do and for the most part it did not feel like work. On top of this, I kept the blogging going as a form of entertainment for myself. I loved to Photoshop photos that had to do with the latest sporting news.
The love of blogging and my new skills as a content editor really came in handy when my reasons for blogging changed in 2008. The company I worked for had a big lay off and I was one.
So with no job, I went back to what I knew, blogging. I got serious about it and got off the free blogger and WordPress sites. I went all in. I registered a domain, got real hosting and was ready to make a go of it. I was posting several times a day about sports, popped culture and anything else that was going to be hot.
I fell into a great group of fellow bloggers who were ready to take over and from there it was an exciting ride.
Now that I was blogging for the purpose of making money, it was a lot of work and dedicated time. I would spend all day blogging, networking, sharing links and thinking up news ways to get traffic.
From this, I also got hooked up with some serious freelance work, ghost writing for sports betting blogs in the USA. Yes, I was actually making real money doing blogging.
I was learning as I went and the only thing I knew how to do well was create posts that entertained. The design work, the coding, the rules of the game, they were all not important at the time.
Then things started to really happen. Major publications like Sports Illustrated, USA Today, ESPN, Yahoo and other sites were linking to me. The traffic was flowing. That meant ad networks. That meant monthly cheques that were more than grocery money.
I was doing it. I was combining something I loved with something I could make money at. It was perfect. My now-wife was an on the road consultant, so it was great to have something to do to keep me busy and not missing here. I would wake up and blog and work all day, sometimes well over 10 hours a day which was more than a typical job I would have elsewhere.
The summer of 2008 was the height of the blog party for me. My main blog, Cuzoogle, had two months in a row of over 200K page views. My Alexa rank was under 100K and everything was right with the world. I was hitting the front page of Digg and had people sending me links for sharing almost hourly. It was a wild ride.
Between blogging and freelance work, I had given up looking for work. I should mention that all the previous blogging was also a way to relieve stress from looking for work. Since I was not finding it, I was creating my own. I think more people should do this, but that is another story for another day.
The name “cuzzy” was becoming well-known in the sports blogging community and I in a way was almost branded.
Everything went this way for the rest of 2008 and into early 2009, when things changed.
All of my hard work blogging and doing work online, finally paid off and I landing an online marketing job for local company. I did not have marketing experience, nor did I ever take it in school, but because I was passionate about blogging and loved to do it, that helped me leave the home office and help a startup grow.
It was hard to give up the blogger celebrity life but to be honest, it was feast or famine and if I was going to get married and have a family, it seemed risky. I still to this day wonder what would have happened if I had kept going. A number of the guys I came up the ladder with, now have giant networks and many have sold their blogs for tens of thousands of dollars.
But I needed to get back into the workforce and work with real people.
The good news, I was still getting to blog and get paid for it. This time the topic was online marketing for a company called SimplyCast.
Looking back four years, the greatest benefit to taking the job was the experience and the many new things I learned over that time. I still blog and write, but everything is better. Now I know how to market those words and grow my network.
Now I can help anyone grow a blog using all the tips and tricks I learned.
That gets me to now. Still working for the same company, but taking a parental leave to take care of our second child.
Now I blog about parenting from a dad’s perspective. It is not about money. It is not about page views. It is about sharing the story of my parental leave with everyone who chooses to read.
My boys are amazing and I am so proud and excited to share their growth with everyone. I am also excited to share my experiences, thoughts, failures and triumphs as a dad.
Social media was not around the last time I was heavy into blogging, so once again, I am teaching myself new things, while taking what I learned at my day job and putting it to good use.
You have to keep sharp when you work in the online world. It changes by the month.
I am pretty sure I am a prime example that if you love doing something, you can achieve anything.
I can almost account everything meaningful I have today in my life to starting out with MSN Spaces well over a decade ago.
My wife has told me that my writing helped attract her. My writing got me the job that opened up the chance to have a house, get married and start a family.
So where will blogging and writing take me next? Well for the next six months, it is taking me into the world of parents and dads.
From there, back to office life and who knows. I would like to think one day I would love to be sitting on a beach somewhere editing a post, while my family enjoys life in the sun.
Anything is possible. For me, the key has always been to let the words out of my head and not let it explode.
So why do I blog? I blog for money, I blog for recognition, I blog for fun and I blog because I love sharing my experiences and thoughts with you.
I hope to entertain readers for many more years to come. Thanks for taking the time to read my story.
Interested in reading some online marketing whitepapers I have written for SimplyCast? Download for free here.