When it comes to running an online business, blogging is probably one of the most misunderstood models around. When I tell people I'm a blogger it's blank stares or a tight-lipped nodding.
No one know what a blogger actually does! In fact, I think most people think it's a fake job.
The way I explain it to “regular people” is that a blog is basically an online magazine. It publishes articles, has advertising, tries to expand its readership, etc. That's something most people can visualize.
It's an oversimplification, but it's a better mental image than what most people think. That I just sit around taking selfies all day.
The truth is that blogging is technical, challenging, and dynamic. But, if you love writing and want to share your thoughts with the world, the life of a blogger could be for you.
What Does a Blogger Do?
If you’re wondering if starting a blog is worth it, it’s important to understand what you’re getting into.
Running a blog is incredibly rewarding. However, it also takes work, and bloggers typically wear multiple hats as they take on the role of running their own website.
1. Bloggers Write Content
Writing is undeniably the most obvious thing bloggers do.
After all, without content, any blog is just a husk of a website that lacks identity and purpose.
Granted, there are several types of writing bloggers typically do, including:
- Writing blog posts about topics in their niche
- Potentially writing posts for other websites through freelancing or for promotional purposes
- Writing copy for social media posts and email newsletters
The bottom line is that writing is the foundation of what bloggers do.
It can be an everyday activity for serious bloggers or something you do for thirty minutes a day after work. Whatever the case, the written word is the lifeblood of every blog.
Related: 10 Reasons to Start a Blog
2. Most Bloggers Monetize Their Audience
While some hobby bloggers never try to make money, the vast majority of bloggers try to boost their income with their blog.
According to a 2019 blogging income survey of other 600 bloggers, only 11% of bloggers don’t monetize their websites in any way:
The fact is that once you establish an online audience, you can monetize it. In fact, optimizing revenue generation is where many bloggers spend a lot of their time; especially if they’re trying to go full-time or already run a blog as their business.
There are many ways to make money from blogging, with popular methods including:
- Display advertising
- Affiliate marketing
- Selling coaching
- Selling physical or digital products
- Partnering with brands for sponsored posts
All of these revenue streams require monitoring, and, in cases like selling products or coaching, customer service, and communication.
However, don’t let these options scare you. As a new blogger, you don’t have to monetize immediately or do it all. In reality, starting with ads and a few affiliate programs for products you actually use is enough to get the ball rolling.
3. Bloggers Promote Their Blog
Another common thing bloggers do is self-promotion.
However, this doesn’t mean shamelessly plugging your blog on your personal Facebook feed and tagging your family and friends to go read.
In reality, promoting a blog is probably where bloggers spend most of their efforts outside of writing content. Plus, you have an incredible number of options when it comes to promotion:
- Posting on social media platforms like Pinterest and Facebook groups
- Building an email list and sending out newsletters. ConvertKit is one of the most popular email marketing providers for bloggers and is what I use for my email marketing
- Sharing blog posts on forums like Reddit
- Contributing to other blogs with guest posts to reach new audiences
- Taking part in interviews
- Branching into new platforms, like YouTube or podcasting
Honestly, this is just scratching the surface of what bloggers do in terms of promotion.
At a less-obvious level, many bloggers focus on search engine optimization, or SEO, to help their blog rank more highly on search engines like Google.
This might sound complex, but every blogger goes through the learning curve of figuring out how to get more traffic.
Plus, you’ll never forget the feeling of excitement you get on your first viral post or major feature as a blogger.
Related: How to Use Your Keyword: An On-Page SEO Checklist
4. Bloggers Manage a Website
Unless you blog on a free website like Medium or stick to really, really long Instagram captions (I’m looking at you, influencers), blogging means managing a website.
For most bloggers, WordPress is the platform of choice. In fact, WordPress currently powers 39% of all websites.
Now, you can blog on WordPress.org for free. However, if you want to make money blogging and take things a bit more seriously, WordPress.com is superior.
This is because WordPress.com lets you create a self-hosted blog you actually own. This also means you get your own domain name rather than writing at www.myblogname.wordpress.org.
Creating a self-hosted website with WordPress is also affordable. Hosts like SiteGround let you start your own blog for $6.99 per month, and a domain name might run you $10 to $20. You can also use a free blogging theme or find affordable themes on ThemeForest.
Running a self-hosted website is inevitably part of what bloggers do.
This includes everything from trying new WordPress plugins to improve site functionality to managing comments from readers.
Occasionally, a plugin or design element will break and you’ll need to put on your tech support hat. However, this is all part of the learning process in becoming a blogger.
Besides, learning how to manage a WordPress website is an incredibly valuable skill when you consider how much of the internet uses this platform.
Related: The 10 Best Free WordPress Plugins
5. Successful Bloggers Always Look For New Opportunities
The final thing bloggers do is to look for new business opportunities.
The internet is competitive, and consumer preferences change all the time. If you can’t keep up with trends and give people a reason to keep reading your blog, it’s hard to grow in the long run.
Commonly, bloggers spend their time looking for new:
- Future article ideas
- New affiliate programs and companies to partner with
- New trends in the industry
- New mediums like video content they can use to reach a wider audience
- Interview and guest post opportunities with other content creators
When you think about it, the life of a blogger is exciting.
You have free reign to experiment with new content ideas and promotional methods. You can work with new companies, make blogging friends you collaborate with, and get featured on different media outlets.
You can even grow your blog into a business and begin hiring help as you scale. The possibilities are remarkable, and you never know where a blog might take you.
Related: 5 Unexpected Results of Starting a Blog
Day in the Life of a Professional Blogger
I think one reason people ask what bloggers do is because it’s hard to conceptualize what a full day of blogging looks like if you’ve never done it before.
As someone who blogs, writes, and edits full-time, here’s a snapshot of a typical day for me in case you’re curious:
Morning: I wake up at 6 am and take a quick walk around the block to enjoy some quiet time and get the blood moving. Then I take my son to school, getting home around 7:20.
At 7:30 I sit down at my computer with my cup of tea and start editing for my clients. I have a routine and order that I work in usually finishing up at about 11 or noon. I do take a break at some point between 9 and 9:30 for a super quick breakfast.
Lunch: Eating is also very fast – about 10 mins. Usually a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (if I'm being honest) and some chatting with my husband, who also works from home. Then I check my email and get caught up on my social media accounts. Sometimes I read for a bit.
Afternoon: After lunch is all Hit Publish stuff. I use this productivity planner to plan out what I want to get done for Hit Publish. That might be to write a blog post, send an email to my subscribers, record videos, answer questions or review homework from my students, whatever needs to be done for Hit Publish.
I plan this ahead every Sunday in the productivity planner so I know exactly what needs to be done and when. Typically, I work on Hit Publish stuff until 4 or 5pm.
After work: While my workday is complete at that point I figured if you've gotten this far, perhaps you'd like to know what the rest of my day looks like. 🙂
We eat dinner at 5:30 and then my husband and I go for a walk getting home at about 7. Then it's Netflix on the couch until 9 pm when I can no longer keep my eyes open. Yes, I go to bed at 9. Don't judge.
That essentially sums up an average work day. Sometimes I work a bit on Saturday if I didn't get everything done that I needed to.
On a weekly basis, I try to schedule any calls on Wednesday and any out-of-the-house appointments on Friday. This leaves me three totally uninterrupted workdays every week.
Things have changed over the course of 16 years, different clients, and over 4,000 articles.
However, the beautiful thing about this industry is that you can gain complete control over what your day looks like, the projects you work on, and the type of content you create.
If my routine wouldn't work for it, that's totally fine! There are no rules here. It's the wild wild internet. If you want to work from midnight to 5am go for it. If you'd like to sleep til noon, that's cool. The important part is that you produce good work.
If you want total control over your schedule and unlimited income, then starting a blog is definitely for you.
I hope this explanation and outline of my daily life helps answer the question of what bloggers do.
The answer will be slightly different depending on your goals, niche, and level of involvement. However, once your friends and family know you have a blog, be prepared to answer this question.
It’s only a matter of time before you'll have to come up with your own answer.