Starting a Blog in Difficult Times

Starting a Blog in Difficult Times: Advice from 20 Experts

Whether it is during a global pandemic or a recession, you may wonder if it is a good idea to start a blog during difficult times.

And there are several opinions regarding if there is a good or bad time to start a blog.

My personal opinion is that the best time to start a blog was probably around ten years ago.

And the second-best was yesterday.

So, since you can't change what you didn't do in the past, the best time is now.

If you have been thinking about starting a blog, stop!

Stop thinking about it!

Stop reading everything you can about it (other than this article for inspiration), and start your blog already!

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What to Do in Tough Times

I'll share more of my personal thoughts about starting a blog during difficult times, or whenever for that matter, later.

But first, I want to share with you what several other bloggers and marketers told me about starting a blog during difficult times.

20 Blogger Perspectives on Starting a Blog During Difficult Times

From whether it is a good time to start a blog to recommendations on niches to blog about or avoid, below is some excellent guidance on starting a blog.

Jeff Rose, Good Financial Cents

Jeff started Good Financial Cents back in 2008, and his experience shows. Below are a few excerpts from their how to start a blog guide:

Now that I’m more than a decade into blogging, I can honestly say this business idea is one of the best ones out there. Not only can you start a blog from the comfort of your home and in your spare time, but you can launch your own money-making site for a few hundred bucks at most.

I started my website with very little startup capital — maybe around $100 for a basic theme and website design and a one-year hosting plan with Bluehost. Since then, I have made millions of dollars on this website. Millions. If that’s not a good return on investment, I don’t know what is.

And I love this tip of his:

Don’t care what other people think.
Know that you will encounter people who hate you and your website. They may be people you know, or they could be total strangers.

It really doesn’t matter because your response should be the same. Ignore people who don’t understand your new blogging business.

Feel free to delete their comments or just don’t respond.

Whatever you do, don’t let people make you feel bad about pursuing your blogging dream.

Your biggest critics are probably afraid to pursue theirs.


Chhavi Daaku, Mrs. Daaku Studio

Chhavi is a work from home expert with a very successful blog and talks about making money, working from home, remote jobs, freelancing, and more.

On starting a blog during difficult times, Chhavi recommends:

As a blog owner, I believe this is a great time to start a blog. However, not every niche is going to pick up in the coming months so you have to be strategic about it. 

Think about topics that people will look for in the post-COVID world. For example, cooking, homeschooling, budgeting, time management, health and wellness, workouts at home, etc. 

On the other hand, it will be a bad idea to start a travel blog. 

Start a blog on any niche that has a likelihood of a decent audience size in the near future. 


Tom Blake, This Online World

This Online World is a personal finance blog that helps people learn how to make and save more money.

Tom recommends against starting a blog during difficult economic times.

In terms of side hustle viability, there are truly two factors that matter the most during tough economic times. The first is upfront cost, and the second is the time it takes to start earning revenue from your side hustle. 

Starting your own self-hosted blog is not great in either of these categories. Realistically, you will have to buy your own domain name, blog hosting, and potentially a paid theme to start a blog, meaning your initial cost will be around $100-$150 for your first year of blogging.

In terms of revenue, blogging is not a fast route to earning. It will take time for your blog to get recognized by Google, let alone for you to create content that can rank organically. Similarly, you will probably need a few months of consistent social media promotion to grow a following and some form of steady traffic.

Ultimately, upfront cost and time to earn make starting your own blog a poor choice during difficult economic times, in my opinion.

Blogging is awesome. But, during tough times, stick with side hustles that don't have significant upfront cost or a long road to earning money.


Stacy Caprio, Her.CEO

Stacy runs her.ceo which has information on blogging, affiliate marketing, and website investing.

I first learned about Stacy from an episode of Nick Loper's Side Hustle Show in early 2019.

Stacy provided some excellent advice on choosing a blog niche during difficult economic times:

Choose a niche that is not hyper-specific.

This means avoiding creating a blog with the domain name such as covidfacemasks.com, because having such a narrow name limits you to only selling that item, such as only selling COVID-19 face masks, and nothing else.

Then, when the pandemic ends, you are stuck with a worthless domain and no way to expand into other products unless you start fresh.

Instead, try choosing a broad domain name, in the above example something such as thegeneralshop.com, and then you can sell face masks as needed during the pandemic, as well as branch into other areas as the need arises or as times change.

Choosing a broader domain name for your site will be useful as times continue to change and you start to expand into other products or niches.


Brian Kiselstein, screw the daily grind

Brian recently launched screw the daily grind, but also runs a successful fitness blog.

He had this to say about launching a blog:

There is no better time than the present to create an online business. While some of us are employed and keeping busy working from home, there are a number of individuals who have no work at all. Regardless of which seat your sitting in, I strongly encourage those who are looking to achieve financial independence do so. 

Additionally, as a tip for starting a blog, Brian said to treat it like a business.

If you wake up early and shower for work, you should treat this in the same fashion. Make it your priority to invest 40 hours a week or more (if you're currently unemployed) as you would a normal job.


Deacon Hayes, Well Kept Wallet

Well Kept Wallet is a thriving blog that started out by providing information on getting rid of debt based on Deacon's personal experience.

Deacon's tips on starting a blog are to:

Build a following. There are several different things you can do including:

● Write engaging content
● Network with other bloggers in your niche and comment on their posts
● Share your posts on social media, such as Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, etc.
● Offer a product and have giveaways
● Do freelance writing for other bloggers with links back to your site

Once you build up a following you can add affiliate marketing and other money-making tactics to make more money blogging.


Max Kimmel, One Shot Finance

One Shot Finance is a personal finance blog, and Max recommends the following to people looking to start a blog now:

● Be ready to not make money for 1-2 years. Blogs take a lot of time – even the best articles take months to reach the top of search results. And if you're using a new website and haven't practiced writing SEO content yet, it will likely be even longer.

However, if you're able to stick it out during the hard times, a blog is one of the best passive income sources out there. Just don't go in expecting to get rich quick.

● Use keywords tools like Ahrefs to help you find a niche. You can pay $7 for a 7-day trial, so spend a week trying to find keywords and niches that have a good balance of high demand/low competition.

Make sure the niche is something you're familiar with/enjoy – otherwise you'll likely burn out before you become profitable.

● Since you won't be profitable for a long time anyway, I wouldn't worry about how the current crisis will affect your business – by the time you're making money it will be long over.

Just stick to the basics – find a profitable niche, crank out content, study SEO tactics, and maybe build a social media following. Worrying about external factors is something that can be saved for later.


Peter Koch, DollarSanity

DollarSanity is a personal finance blog, and Peter recommends it's always the best time to start a blog.

Especially now with all the spare time we have on our hands.

Niche? Don't choose one based on the current economic situation.

We won't be in the same situation in the upcoming months or years and your blog won't take off immediately anyway.

It takes time to grow a blog. Choose a niche you are familiar with, the niche you have knowledge about.

Nobody wants to read from a guy/girl who doesn't have a clue about the thing he talks about.


Oliver Dale, MoneyCheck

MoneyCheck is a personal finance publication, and Oliver's advice to those starting a blog in challenging times is:

Starting a blog is one of the easiest ways to begin earning an income online, even during times like these it's a great time to get started as more people are spending time online and even more people are purchasing items because of the lockdown and most non-essential shops being shut.

If it is your first time starting a blog, you should focus on something you have knowledge about and won't tire of writing about. A hobby is a perfect place to start, maybe you like a certain sport or like cooking – these are good niches to be in.

You should have an idea about monetization before you begin, take a look at companies offering affiliate programs in your niche to get an idea of whether it's viable.


Jennifer Walden, Director of Operations, WikiLawn Lawn Care

WikiLawn Lawn Care is an online marketplace connecting people with the best local residential and commercial lawn care companies.

Jennifer's advice is:

The first thing would-be bloggers need to realize is that it's not an easy or quick path to money. You can absolutely monetize your blog with AdWords, affiliate sales, and sponsorships, but it takes a while for the latter to come in, and the former two need to build momentum to make anything beyond pocket change. If you need money now, I can't recommend blogging. You're better off writing content for clients on Upwork or other sites.

That said, if you want to build something over time to act as a safety net, do keyword research first to pick a niche and get content ideas. Think about the things you'd like to write about and consider evergreen topics – that is, topics that will be searched for year-round. It could be tempting to make your blog focused around tips and tricks for surviving coronavirus, but no one will be searching for that after lockdown ends.

You could instead start a blog about home gardening no matter your available space. It's very relevant now and will be relevant after. You can monetize it through AdWords and affiliate sales of tools, and potentially secure sponsorships down the road. 


Khris Steven, khrisdigital.com

Khris started krisdigital to write about marketing tools, trends, and tactics.

Here is what Khris had to share on starting a blog in difficult times:

To be honest, this is the best time and opportunity for those who haven't been involved in any type of online business to start one and take it seriously.

And blogging isn't exempted. No, It's never too late to start a blog in time like these.

Although it takes a while for a new blog to start getting traction. But when you start off on the right track – having success with a new blog becomes easy.

Here are two solid tips I have for anyone starting a blog:
#1. Your chosen blog niche should be focused on something specific.
For example – let's say you want to start a travel blog, I would advise you stay away writing or blogging about travel in general. Go deeper a bit and be more specific and blog about something like Backpacking.
The more narrow the better for fast traffic and earnings.

#2. Base every post on keyword research.
How would you know what type of content that'll attract traffic to your blog without wasting time writing on them first? 

It's simple.

By performing keyword research to see if there are phrases people are looking for in your related niche on search engines. A free-to-use tool like Ubbersuggest is enough to give you the average monthly search volume, competition, and CPC.

Most bloggers fail because they start aimlessly writing and don't start with an SEO and keyword research strategy.

I can't stress this enough. Every single blog post you write needs to target one specific keyword.


Sally Fox, sallymfox.com

Sally is a freelance copywriter and blog writer specializing in some of the industries hardest hit by this crisis: fashion, sustainability, and travel. 

Even with working in areas hit hard during that time, here is her advice:

With all the free time to get your creative muscles working, there's never been a better time to get into blogging.

One of the most important factors in a successful blog is consistent and regular posting. So use this time to hash out a good blogging routine or write extra posts and save them for future weeks. 

With everyone stuck at home, you have a captive audience waiting for new and exciting voices and opinions. After an initial lull, visits to my website have skyrocketed as people spend more time on the internet. 

And I don't agree with people advising against starting a blog in a struggling niche.

True, nobody can travel right now, so what better to read about than the wonders of global exploration. And yes, restaurants are off-menu, but we can certainly indulge our passion for food by reading about it for the time being.

And one day (hopefully soon), this crisis will end and you'll already have a loyal following. 


Katie Holmes, OutwitTrade

OutwitTrade is a popular online publication that tests and reviews products, publishes informational articles, and publishes user reviews.

Katie is the lead editor and shared this excellent guidance on starting a blog.

For people out of work due to COVID-19, starting a blog is extremely unlikely to provide job-replacement income within a short period of time, so I wouldn't necessarily recommend it if your goal is to make a living from it while you're out of work.

Your chances are far better trying to find another job or doing something people will pay you for.

However, if you're starting a blog with a long-term focus and not trying to make money right away, and it's just something you do part-time, there's no reason not to do it.

It's very easy these days to start a blog and zero technical expertise is needed.

As I prefer long-term business models and blogs that stay evergreen, I'd recommend creating a blog on a topic that will always be relevant, rather than specifically focusing on content relating to COVID-19 which may be irrelevant in a few months time.


Trishan Mehta, PassionWP

Trishan has been blogging for over 10 years, earning income from multiple blogs.

Here are Trishan's recommendations:

People may start blogs during good financial times or bad but it is important to remember that starting a blog and earning a sustainable income from it are different things. 

It takes only about an hour to start a blog but monetizing it takes months, if not years. You will need to work on SEO to get traffic, build an email list to turn traffic into subscribers, and then offer something that your blog readers will be willing to buy. The downturn is for everyone, the blogger as well as the reader. So, try to promote or sell products that are affordable or on a sale.

A new blogger should completely avoid traveling and eating out niches since these are the worst hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. On the other hand, niches like online learning, homeschooling, online entertainment, budgeting tips, indoor workouts, immune boost, family recipes, etc. will do well.


Shannon Murphy, Shine Content Strategy

Shannon is the Chief Strategist for Shine Content and has been doing content marketing for over 10 years.

She shared the following:

Starting a blog now isn't any harder now – in fact, it might be easier!

It can be notoriously hard to get traction on a blog unless you are consistent.

So if being stuck at home, or out of work will make you stick to a writing/publishing schedule, COVID19 could actually make you more successful.

Sure, there are more web searches on health and the economy, but those topics are notoriously competitive anyways.

So really it comes down to you.

Are you passionate enough about the subject matter to blog once a week? Do you have the ability to finish what you've started?

Blogging is an endurance sport.


Will Hatton, The Broke Backpacker

The Broke Backpacker provides a unique perspective on traveling around the world on a budget.

Will shared the following points on starting a blog in difficult times:

As many people look for things to keep occupied, we could be about to see a surge of blogs that, to be frank, don't go anywhere.

Blogging at its core should be about something that gives you passion. If you aren't passionate about it, you will not be self-motivated to do the work that keeps the blog relevant and interesting.

The question on top of this is, why are you different? You need to ask how your blog will stand out from the crowd in an oversaturated market.

Your USP (Unique Selling Point) needs to be clear and inviting.

For example – are you looking at home design, using only LGBT friendly companies? Or perhaps you are writing a food blog where each meal costs less than $4 to make.

Whatever it is, make it interesting, and something that the audience needs


Brad Ormsby, Colorstone Marketing

Colorstone Marketing is a marketing agency Brad owns in Modesto, CA.

Brad had this advice on starting a blog:

A blog can be a great source of income when done properly. But the first thing to note about blogging is that it takes time – like up to a year of consistent effort before you begin making money.

However, once you do, the work compounds and the income can grow rapidly.

So if you're considering starting your own blog, first learn the basics of keyword research.

You don't want to spend all this time writing posts about topics that nobody is searching for – that's a surefire way to waste your time.

Go over to Ubersuggest and type in a topic seed keyword (dogs for example) and see what comes up. Then, pick some keywords with relatively low difficulty and start writing.

There's a lot to learn but if you try learning everything from the beginning, you'll end up in analysis paralysis so just start now and learn on the go.


Roy Morrison, Meaningful Profits

Meaningful Profits assists entrepreneurs in emerging markets with building profitable content businesses.

Roy is a Growth Strategist there and shared the following:

If your goal is to be commercially successful with a blog, treat it like a business and not just a hobby. This means developing a business model including what target audience you will be delivering value to and how it will be different from your competition. 

Moreover, you should have a clear understanding of how you are going to generate revenue – be it through affiliate marketing, selling your own products, or advertising. 

Too many beginner bloggers that want to be successful treat their blog as a hobby rather than a business and that’s why too many fail in building a commercially successful blog.


Christine Wang, The Ski Girl

The Ski Girl is a great example of someone writing about their passion. Christine created the site to share her experiences learning how to ski and turned it into the ultimate skier's resource.

Here are some excellent tips Christine shared:

I recently started a blog within the last few months and have seen the scope of the business model change over that time with the difficult economic troubles that now sit at everyone's doorstep.

While current situations can make things challenging for many businesses, I still believe starting a blog is a viable option if you know how to get started and focus on topics that are trending.

A key factor to any successful blog is focusing topics you write about on things that readers actually want to read.

With so many of us being stuck at home, many people are reading and researching new topics. This makes it an exciting time to start a blog or develop an existing one. 

The initial focus of my current blog, The Ski Girl, was to generate proper keyword research to come up with a long list of topics that you can write about. This keyword research points you towards problems that people have and how you can offer knowledge and advice to solve these problems.

In my realm, skiing, I write about new products, places to go ski, and methods to improve your form and technique.

This may seem like obvious topics but the keyword research I've done allows me to focus these topics directly to questions that people ask in relation to my blog niche. i.e. Where is the best place to ski in the US? or Best Ski Jackets for Women. 

In these troubling economic times, a good tactic would be to focus on issues that exist around the house.

A minimalist cooking blog or gardening tactics come to mind as great niches to develop and begin to write about. DIY household fixes or repairs, as well as arts and crafts, are trending topics right now as well.

If you have encountered a problem or issue at home and figured out a solution, that might point you in the right direction of where to begin with a new blog idea. 

It's important to try and reach an audience that is in need of something in particular.

If I were starting a new blog today, I would focus on one of the topics mentioned above because people are going to be interested in these even when things inch there way back towards normal.

By finding a niche that works during unstable times today but also translates well into the future, more success is possible. 


Bunker Bob, Bunker Basics

Bunker Basics is a prepping and survival website and blog. Bob says that starting a blog during difficult times can be a great idea.

Bob says:

1. If you are laid off, starting a blog can be a great way to build a personal brand that you can ultimately use to land another job.

A blog can effectively function as your portfolio.

Additionally, a successfully monetized blog can help to fill the financial gap creating following the layoff.

2. I'd suggest creating a blog in a niche that is either recession-proof or performs more successfully during recessions.

As an example, I run Bunker Basics, a prepping and survival website. My traffic and revenue have increased significantly during the pandemic.

To find a good niche, it's important to evaluate the various changes occurring in the market. Streaming services are performing exceptionally well, as are remote learning opportunities.

Consider blogging about topics that people are becoming increasingly exposed to or familiar with.

Home gardening, cooking, and baking are all areas people are further exploring.

As the market continues to decline, you may want to contemplate how you can best help others. Blogs advising others how to manage money, find side gigs, or volunteer may be worth pursuing.

During economic downturns, people look for volunteer opportunities as an alternative to paid employment. You can capitalize on this market dynamic.


My Perspective on Starting a Blog During Difficult Times

While I agree with most of what the bloggers and marketers said above, here is what I personally think about starting a blog in difficult times.

When to Start a Blog

I think there are two things to consider when deciding whether or not to start a blog, especially during difficult times.

First, you need to understand that it takes time to build a blog, gain an audience, and monetize it.

Because of this, if you lost your job and need to replace your income, or if you need money quickly, starting a blog is not the answer.

However, if you are finding yourself with extra time on your hands, and you've always thought about starting a blog to create a source of passive income, I highly recommend starting one sooner rather than later.

Just be aware that it can take over six months to a year to gain traction and start making money with a blog.

Choosing a Niche

Because a blog is, as Shannon said above, an endurance sport, you shouldn't decide on a niche based on current events.

You should base it on something that will do well long term.

As Stacey pointed out, while you can cover topics related to the coronavirus or economic downturn in your blog, it isn't smart to create a blog devoted to a very specific topic that isn't evergreen.

And, because it is such a long-term prospect, it helps to be about something you're passionate about. It doesn't have to be, but you need the motivation to keep you going.

But be careful writing about your passion if you want to make money. You need to ensure that there is sufficient interest to make money in your chosen niche.

Related:
Productivity Hacks for Bloggers
Tips to Increase Blog Traffic

Summary

Starting a blog during difficult times can be an excellent opportunity if you have extra time on your hands and want to create a passive income source for the future.

Just keep in mind it takes time to grow a blog to be able to make money off of it.

I hope all of the great advice from everyone above was helpful to you. Have you thought about starting, or have you started a blog during a difficult time? Or have any other thoughts on the subject? Please share in the comments below.

Starting a Blog in Difficult Times: Advice from 20 experts.

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