23 Questions for Prospective Bloggers – Is a Blog Right for You?

Before launching further into the Blogging for Beginners series I would like to take a step back from some of the practicalities of setting up a new blog and ask potential bloggers a question…

Is a Blog the Right type of Web Site for you?

While I’m a big fan of blogging as a way to get content online – I’ve seen it built up by some bloggers over the years as being the ultimate way of having a web presence.

In my opinion this is just not true.

While Blogs are great (in my experience) they are not the ultimate type of website. They do not have all of the answers and they do not suit every application or situation.

It may be that after analysing your needs, personality, hopes, experiences and style that you find blogging does fit well for your purposes – but it may also be other web applications fit better with where you’re at. Don’t just rush into blogging and expect the world.

There are probably other people who are much better at selling you some of the other types of web applications out there (look into wikis, static websites, forums etc) so I’ll leave you to do your own research – but here is a list of 23 questions (written in no particular order except that it is the order they came out of my head in) that you might want to ponder before leaping into blogging. I’ve put a few brief comments next to each to get you going.

Please note that these questions are in essence a list of qualities of successful bloggers that I’ve come across over the last few years. If you don’t have some of these qualities it’s not the end of your blogging dreams. The list is idealistic and the questions are there to help potential bloggers enter into blogging with open eyes and making good decisions about whether a blog is right for them. It also might help potential bloggers to think about what type of blog they might start and what type of skills they might need to develop:

Without further ado – here’s my 23 questions:

  1. Do you enjoy writing? – Blogs are predominantly a written medium. If you do not enjoy writing then the chances are you might not enjoy blogging.
  2. What’s your Message? – While there are many applications for blogging, underlying most (if not all) of them is the aim of communicating some sort of message. Do you need/want to communicate something? Do you have a message? Starting a blog just because you want one might be fun, but it might also be a waste of time.
  3. Are you a good communicator? – I don’t believe that only good communicators should have blogs – (they can be a tool for people learning communication skills to improve) but it can be an advantage to have some basic communication skills.
  4. Are you better at writing or speaking? – Most communicators have a preference (or at least have better skills in one form or another). If speaking is more your thing you might want to consider Podcasting or even a Video based web site.
  5. Do you want to be the central voice on your website? – While blogs are good at building community – they generally feature one person (or a smaller group of people) as the central voices in a conversation. Other people have to respond to the voice of others. If you’re after something where anyone can start a conversation then a Forum might be a better medium.
  6. Are you a self starter? – Starting a blog takes a little initiative. While blog software these days makes it simple to start them, they don’t run themselves and take a motivated person to both getting them off the ground.
  7. Are you disciplined? - Similarly blogs require regular attention over time. While daily posting is not essential, it’s probably a good level to aim for. Will you be able to motivate yourself to write something new every day?
  8. Do you have time? – Linked to the need for regular updates is the fact that this takes time. Do you have enough time in your schedule to write daily? Not only that do you have time to moderate comments, respond to reader questions, read other bloggers posts, network with other bloggers etc?
  9. Are you thick skinned? - If you start a blog, the chances are that it will be found and that others will write about you or some aspect of what you’re doing. This is great when the comments of others are positive and in agreement with you – but it’s not much fun when you’re critiqued (sometimes fairly and sometimes not). Do you have the ability to take criticism well?
  10. Are you willing to be in the public spotlight? - Blogging is a public act. Every day you put yourself into the gaze of others. People will analyze your words and lifestyle. Some will want to know more about you and some might even recognize you in public (it’s happened to me a few times). While few bloggers (if any) are ‘celebrities’ – putting yourself ‘out there’ every day is a strange thing to live with and can have it’s consequences. Keep in mind that once you write something online it is very difficult to get it removed. You might be able to delete your blog but archives services (and other bloggers) pick up a lot of what you write and so you could be living in the public splotlight for a lot longer than you’re a blogger.
  11. Do you have any technical ability? - If this were a requirement of blogging I’d have never gotten far, but it is an advantage to have the ability to learn and work on a technical level. You’ll be working on a computer with web based software and at times you’ll need to ‘tweak’ your blog. Knowing how to do it yourself can be very handy. If you’re not this type of person, you might want to make friends with someone who is.
  12. Do you take yourself too Seriously? - One of the characteristic I think bloggers should have is a sense of humor – particularly when it comes to looking at themselves. While there are plenty of examples of bloggers who do take themselves too seriously, most successful bloggers seem to have the ability to laugh at themselves also.
  13. Do you have a blend of humility and Ego? - Coupled with a sense of humor should be humility. While bigheadedness abounds in the blogosphere it’s often the humble blogger who ends up on top. Having said this having a healthy ego and view of your own worth as a person is also a good characteristic to have as there is an element of ‘self promotion’ that comes into blogging at times. Getting this balance right is not always easy – but it’s worth working on.
  14. Are you willing to learn? – I like to look at blogging as a journey where everyone knows something but nobody knows everything. This is the case on any topic you want to blog about and the best bloggers are willing to share what they know but seek out and promote what others know also. In this way everyone learns – even the ‘experts’.
  15. Do you enjoy reading? – Being good at writing is very helpful – but so is the ability to read what others are writing. If I were to video tape myself over a day of blogging I suspect I’d find that I spend more time reading each day than writing. For every post I write I would read at least three.
  16. Are you an organized person? – While I’m sure many bloggers are completely chaotic and unorganized – there comes a point in most serious blogger’s lives when they have to get at least a little organized. With incoming emails, following lots of feeds, writing perhaps on multiple topics/blogs and moderating comments all going on at once (plus more) it’s pretty easy for time to slip away without getting much done.
  17. Are you a Social person? - There are many styles of blogging but when it comes down to it most bloggers have some sort of a desire to connect with readers. Some bloggers keep readers at an arms length (they might switch off comments and rarely respond to emails) but it’s probably an advantage to actually engage your readers in someway. If you don’t like people then this might be challenging. Another related question might be ‘are you an approachable person?’
  18. Do you enjoy ‘virtual relationships?’ - Some of the most social people I know are terrible when it comes to online interactions. They just don’t ‘get’ it and are much better face to face than via email, instant messaging or in a forum or comments thread. Being comfortable with speaking to and working with people you’ve never met before is an advantage if you’re a blogger. Connected to this – it’s also important to be what I call ‘virtually intuitive’. One of the dangers of relating to people online is that all can not be as it seems. Developing the ability to work out whether others are who they say they are and of good character is probably a skill to develop.
  19. Are you a creative person? – Once again this is not a ‘must’ – just an advantage. The web is a cluttered place and being able to develop content and community that stands out from the rest and that surprises readers is a big plus.
  20. Do you have Stick-ability? – While some blogs are overnight successes, most are not. In fact many (most) blogs are never as successful as their owners would like. A long term approach is one of the basic pieces of advice that I’d give most bloggers.
  21. Are you Consistent? – One of the common reasons that I see bloggers getting into trouble with their readers or other bloggers is that they change the way they approach their blogging midstream. Bloggers that are constantly changing the topic of their blogs, or who increase their expectations on readers suddenly, or who change the ‘voice’ that their blog is written in can end up losing the respect of their readers. While no one likes a boring blog – people do like to know what to expect to some extent.
  22. Are you honest and transparent? – If you answer no to this one then you can expect to eventually be found out. While in real life it can be reasonably easy to keep secrets or be two faced – the blogosphere has a culture of people keeping an eye upon each other and digging where you don’t want them to dig. While you’ll want to develop boundaries around what you do and don’t blog about, you will need to be willing to disclose conflicts of interest and be willing to be held accountable for the things that you say.
  23. Are you willing to work hard? – The level that you need to work on a blog will be dependant upon your goals and objectives for it – but if you have goals of being the next big thing then you’ll be guaranteed of a lot of hard work. Of course this is the case with any thing in life and not just blogs.

I’m sure there are plenty of other questions worth asking before deciding on whether a blog is right for you (feel free to suggest more below) but these are what comes to mind for me. In reading them back they almost read like a job interview for prospective bloggers!

Keep in mind that I’m coming from a background of blogging as a job and this will be reflected in my advice. As a result the above list might be more aimed at your serious blogger who is getting into blogging either as an entrepreneurial activity or with some sort of business application.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn. runs on the Genesis Framework

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  1. Actually, I jumped into blogging a couple of months ago. I had wanted to build a Web site for my PR firm a while back, but I found the standard site concept pretty boring. Then, I thought, how about a blog?
    So I did build a site with a button linking to my blog and my clients seem to be enjoying it.
    It does take effort, and I agree with your questions — particularly the ones dealing with comfort with the written word and the desire to be the voice of your site. If you don’t have these two characteristics, I’d stay from a blog like the plague.
    But if you do, it’s a far better way to convey information and expertise than simply putting up a business site with “accomplishments.” It’s also fun, and that’s probably the most important thing. If you don’t enjoy posting to the blog, you’ll probably not enjoy having one.
    And, Darren, thanks for your great site!

  2. Dave Starr says:

    Some very sensible questions, Darren, and I think particularly important for some who might come here with dollar signs in their eyes and the feeling, I’ll just do what Darren says, ’cause he’s the expert.

    Any web presence, with or without profit, is as individual as the creator of that presence … or it should be.

    There are a lot of “blogs” that are boring as the dickens, and drier than a sawdust sandwich and it’s often apparent the creative person has something to say, but not in the medium of a blog post. There are a lot of other forms of web presence that can be at _least_ as expressive and certainly as profitable.

    An excellent source I have found for those on the cusp of the decision is:

    Don’t let the “CMS” in the name through you, (CMS .. Content Management System) also sometimes referred to as a”portal”. There are many candidates in the traditional; blog category as well as almost all other web presence types, all free and all set up for live trails … so let know one think the WordPress, MT or is the only way to get on line.

  3. TLG says:

    I agree for the most part with Farrell but remember that, as Darren says, he’s coming at this from the point of view of a Blog as a business rather than a diary/journal or as a “feature” to add stickiness to an existing corporate site.

    This is great advice. I’m by no means a pro-blogger (basically, it’s just a way of keeping myself away from the TV for me!) but find this site a fascinating read.

  4. Steve says:

    Good post.
    And while I agree Dave, I think there needs to be an additional post in this series that deals with blogging from a more technical side and the question whether a blogging package such as WordPress is suitable for you.

    Darren, you have so far covered questions you should ask yourself to find out whether you have a ‘blogging personality’ (or a one man web entrepreneur personality in general).
    I’m running several online business, some of which use WordPress as plattform, yet I don’t consider myself as a blogger. Blogging software is essential a specific type of content management software and depending on what you want to achieve on your website a blogging package may or may not be suitable.


  5. pcunix says:

    I’ve been recognized a few times – not by face, but when I’ve said my name, and it really surprises me when it happens. Once I had someone recognize me from my license plate, which is quite a stretch because it’s a domain I don’t actually use any more.. which means that person was really paying attention.

    “Dude, you’re like.. famous” one person said. I laughed, because if that’s “famous”, well, it’s pretty small fame :-)

    There can be downsides. Mostly I have “fans” – people who like me or at least don’t dislike me. But I did have one person who sent me a lot of really nasty email and might have tried to sabotage my site. I’m no saint, so I’m sure I could have done or said something to make them angry, but I wish they had been mature enough to just tell me what it was so we could try to work it out.

    I am even more mild mannered and un-confrontational since then, which is something for new bloggers to think about: be polite because it is very unsettling to have an anonymous person “out to get you”. Darren had a recent post about watching how you say things; darn good advice.

  6. Darren Rowse says:

    Steve – In the next day or two I’ll be tackling blog platforms. it’s already written. Hopefully it’ll build on this post.

  7. Dee says:

    There is a lot of useful information here.
    Thank You,
    I will be back often

  8. Ryan says:

    Very nice list, and the one thing that surprised me the most when I started my blog a few months ago was how addicting it would be. I am a current student at Iowa State University and I am very busy with my classes, but somehow I always find time to work on my blog :D

  9. Liz Strauss says:

    That’s a fabulous list of questions. I particularly like the way they cause the reader to really reflect on whether he or she is cut out for being the person behind the screen that everyone is looking and expecting things from . . . then too there is other kind of question.

    Are you ready for your real-life significant others not to understand what it is you do at the computer everyday? . . . and to not be able to fully explain to them, because they won’t “get it.”
    I just tell my mother-in-law that I write spy novels.

  10. Dave says:

    I enjoyed reading that post Darren, it covered alot of ground and hit many of the points that will determine if a blog succeeds or not.

    I think being thick-skinned is an important attribute for any blogger, you can easily make a rod for you own back in the world of blogging and sometimes you might find something you have written about is not interpreted in the same way as you intended, or may get read by a group of people you wouldn’t have normally been seen by.

    These things can lead to negative comments and emails, and in this scenario you need to be able to shrug your shoulders and get your head down,and remember that a blog is about opinion, sometimes you will be right, sometimes wrong, and sometimes there is no right or wrong answer.

    I also believe that if you don’t have the time to deal with comments and emails in the early days of writing for your blog, its unlikely you will have time later on, when the blog takes off and requires more input and administration.

  11. kevin says:

    “Blogs are predominantly a written medium.” There are also photoblogs!

  12. cat says:

    “Is a Blog Right for You?”

    Good question. I just interviewed 13 blogging Illustrators for Creative Latitude. They shared their inspirational insight into what their entry into blogging has done for them, how it’s changed the way they work, etc.

    Some are using blogs to sell their illustrations. Some for the community as it’s lonely to work as an illustrator out of a home office (or as a designer for that matter). And some as they want to share the wealth of what they know.

    The majority of the Illistrators already have websites, so their leap into blogging was not a decision of one or the other, but either/or.

    It’s quite possible that if others read what these Illustrators have to say about the positive aspects of blogging, they would jump off the fence to test the waters

    (so, how’s that for a mixed metaphor?)

  13. Nice articles…learnt a lot from it…thanks!

  14. Nice list… I’ve got to admit that with everyone jumping onto the blogging bandwagon, I am also considering it. However, after reading lots of blogs where the content is far from compelling, I wonder if I’ve got anything worthwhile to share that people will want to keep on reading!

  15. Abel says:

    I believe what people like (or what i like) about blogs is that there’s a real person behind it as oppose to reading static pages of a company or a product. The tone is so personal that readers would want to jump right in and be involved with the conversation and ofcourse it’s possible thru comment boxes like these.

    Static pages on co profile, products/services, client porfolio, about us is also essential but also having a blog is a big plus. With the right quality articles posted, one could establish credibility and switch on the ‘expert spotlight’ on him/her.

  16. Navin says:

    Thanks for the posting. It really makes you feel what you are and what you want to do? I have an idea to create a blog site for my region middle east where most of the people are expats. I being a expat, like to concentrate on the day to day life in Arabian Region.
    hope to get more better ideas from ProBlogger.
    Gods grace I will be able to do good here.

  17. Richard says:

    It seems that when any celebrity or semi-celebrity starts a blog, the whole world knows about it almost immediately. I often wonder how this comes about.

  18. theupstair says:

    I answer 7 of 23 questions with “no”, but I still trying to blog anyway.
    Thanks Darren

  19. Kathy says:

    First of all I enjoy your writings very much It has been a huge eye opener for me. Now my question I am not sure about yet.
    Can you thur a blog talk about a bussiness you already have?
    In my case a consignment bussiness.. and more..
    I am unclear about this.. Any help would be appreciate
    Thank you for your time

  20. Jenny says:

    I actually read a blog today that so inspired me that I wanted to start my own blog immediately. Somehow, I stumbled onto your blog instead and read your advice. Thank you. Your 23 questions (esp the one about being thick skinned) really made me think carefully before I take this leap.

  21. Vanna says:

    Thank you for helping me.

  22. Carol says:

    I agree with Positive Money Ideas. The prospect of blogging is absolutely fascinating. I just wonder if I have anything substantial to share with the world. The thing that keeps going through my mind is that the world is a big place. I’m strongly considering jumping into the blogging pool. ProBlogger is very informative.

  23. Steve says:

    It never occured to me that one could be a professional blogger. How in the world could blogging be a vocation. Someone please explain.

  24. keith says:

    This is a really helpful post. im just starting my own blog from scratch and this got me thinking about the decision i made and about ahta lies ahead as a blogger. thanks,

  25. Kim says:

    Very helpful questions. I haven’t been able to answer some of them positively since I used to think my blog was my private space online when it really isn’t, and I have to think about what I really want to put out there in the public.

  26. Harrace says:

    Although we are considered Internet marketing people, we have waited for a few years before we finally started our blog a few months ago, the reason being we were too busy and didn’t have the time and commitment to write regular posts. However, knowing the many benefits of keeping a blog, we finally decided to start our blog. Then we found out it’s not so much a hassle after we got used to posting regularly. It takes time to build a habit and this habit is worth building.

  27. franklin says:

    i just started buiding blogs.Now want to know how to unload pictures into my blogs, i also saw a clock that showed the current time on another blog and i was hoping you help me with that also.

  28. Joy says:

    Wow, I just searched Google and found the article about 3 questions to ask myself before I started a blog… then I found yours – thanks for the effort of putting that together. There are really many considerations to take into account and I hadn’t asked myself all the questions yet. We only just started our blog here from Thailand… but, we’re hoping it will take off a bit of course. We’ve started other projects that kind of fizzled for a couple of the reasons listed in your questions! Thanks again – I added you via RSS. :) Joy

  29. HI, how can i have a own blog. thanks u helped a lot.

  30. Thanks so much for taking the time to explain the finer points of blogging. I am just 2 days old in the arena of blogdom and your post helped me begin to sort out the working of a blog.

    Thanks again, Sir.

  31. JennDZ says:

    Thanks so much for this great website and this wonderful article with the 23 questions. I have had a blog for a while, but wasn’t sure if I could really do it, as I do not have a technical background. But through a lot of encouragement, and after reading this article I am feeling very confident about kickstarting my blog again. Thanks for the inspiration! I would love any feedback on my blog as well! *J*

  32. Jer says:

    Right on! I’ve been curious about blogging for a long while now. I answered yes to every single question up there, but I’m still going to move slowly. There’s no need to jump in head first and quit the day job as of tomorrow… I’ll probably be trying it out non-pro for about a month or so before generating revenue.

    Thanks for doing what you do, mate.

    So much to read… so much to read…

  33. Nikole Gipps says:

    I think this article does a really good job of demonstrating how time-consuming blogging really is … and how it’s not for everyone! This is why I linked to this post from my most recent article which discusses the top questions small business owners should consider before jumping into their own business blog.

  34. Rohit Karajgi says:

    I stumbled upon this article while trying to decide whether to start my own blog or not. I realise that having answers to all or most of the above questions can help me make that decision.
    Although I havent decided yet, Im definately gonna give it a second thought.
    A great article for a newbie(or to-be) blogger.

  35. How do you measure the success of a blog? By its number of visitors, comments? In that case, how many visitors does it has to have in order to be succesfull? How long do you estimate it usually takes for a blog to become succesfull?
    I started a blog three or four months ago, I´m quite new at this, and I find it so absorbing and fascinating..

  36. Dan says:

    I fall under all of those catagories. Yet my blog is getting no where? Have a look and let me know where I’m going wrong please :(

  37. Papillon says:

    Hi Darren,

    Just a quick note to say muchas gracias for the excellent article – I pretty much “aced” all 23 questions!

    I’m a blog newbie who definitely plans to read more of your sage advice, and would be honored if you’d visit my *planet* and leave comments. The nature of my blog is primarily personal journaling; it’s just what I feel the need to do right now.

    Thanks again,


  38. Darren,

    Thank you for the excellent advice! I am a self-proclaimed blogging newbie and your advice is “golden”. I look forward to the rest of your series and learning from the ropes from the vets.

    Best wishes!

  39. Debashish a.k.a DC says:


    Excellent summary of things to think of before jumping into blogging – darn good advice all o’ them.

    Had a blog, and couldn’t keep up with it over the last few months since work was getting the better of me; but have realised that writing is something that I have always (and still do!) enjoy.

    Am on the point of starting afresh on a “semi”-technical blog, and to read these questions and answer them really helped me re-inforce my own decision.

    Will definitely be going through the rest of your posts (esp. the ones regarding blog platforms).

    DC (dat’s mah nickname@home).

  40. I very much appreciate your well articulated information. I set up a blog site yesterday, partly because I want to find a means to draw attention to the book I recently wrote and published. I was advised by a close friend in the advertising business to do this for promotional purposes. Believe me, for someone born in 1930, learning all this is a challenge. While I like challenges I also like useful information. I’m getting it here.

  41. sarika says:

    This post has helped me a lot in guiding my mind about what to do and what not to do. thanks

  42. Laura says:

    Thanks for this, much appreciated information, from a mum who is trying to keep up with the skills of her 12 and15 year old who basically live in cyberspace. As well a being a lecturer who wants to develop professional e-portfolios with mature “silver surfer” students.
    I leave you wanting to blog .

  43. Michelle says:

    Surfed to your site within 5 minutes of finding out that some people actually make a little cash from blogging (yeah, a little behind the times, I know). Thanks for the list.

    After reading your post, I realize I am NOT blogger material (other than for friends and family… “You’ll never guess what little Joey did the other day…!” Just Kidding!). I don’t have the discipline.

    I guess I just need that 9-5 schedule with due dates and deadlines. In the meantime, I’ll stick to reposting the stupid survey bulletins on myspace and occasionally posting something there for people who might really care.

    Thanks for keeping me out of the blogging world! (For my sake and everyone else’s!)

  44. sean says:

    thanks for making me see what went into blogging. It seems like a lot of work but for some one like me it may be worth it

  45. amomandmore says:

    Thank you for your thought-provoking questions and insights. I have just started to blog to share my experiences in life, special events, relationships. parenting, learning, teaching, and other topics of interest to moms.

    I can write. I have things to share, But, would prefer not to get exposed to all. I also need to learn more about tech skills to improve my blogs and late, monetize them.

    I’ll be back for more blogging tips from a problogger like you .

    Thanks, again.

  46. Karen says:

    For months the little voice inside my head has been telling me to look into blogging. Today I decided to listen to it and found myself on this Web site. After an almost perfect score on the test… I’m sold. No more unpublished or unwritten letters to the editor. Wether or not I make any money out of it is irrelevant at this point. I can’t wait to get started.

  47. Patrick Hays says:

    Darren, Everything you write about blogging I like. You (at least to me) are the King Blogger when it comes to helping others to learn about the subject. Every link I click on I find something new and interesting. You are a mentor.

  48. Hi! I wouldlike to start making a blog, oyur topic is nice, can i fed it to my website an do you have tutorial on how to feed other tpics to your own sites, thanks and will I earn any credits/earn if somebody clicks on your info from my sites, thanks

  49. Lily V says:

    Hi Darren… I’m a newbie to blogging, and well to a good deal recently… I’ve experienced a major life change (from married 25 years to being a single mom to 2 young kids, entering the dating scene, etc, etc…) With all my experiences recently, I keep thinking it would be fun to get “it” all down in writing and on a blog in particular. I liked your 23 comments/questions which got me to thinking… is it possible to remain “anonymous” or to use a pen name (to protect the “innocent” or “not so innocent” – ie; my children, my x, etc)?

  50. Nice long list. However what I have noticed from all my failures with blogging is the inability to find energy after a long day of work (technical consulting) in my case. I am dying for 2 hours daily to write :) Maybe you can add:
    24. Do you have TIME for blogging?


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  12. […] Kalau ingin dirunut lagi lebih detil, setidaknya ada sembilan pertanyaan — yang diiracik lagi dari 23 tips-nya Darren Rowse — yang perlu kita tanyakan pada diri sendiri sebelum kita memutuskan untuk ngeblog. […]

  13. […] Recommended links: 23 Questions for Prospective Bloggers – Is a Blog Right for You? If I had to Start My Blog Again – established bloggers share their thoughts; My favourite one, I am going to read it again in a month or two. How to Start a Blog – very basic tutorial 101 Blog Tips I learned in 2006 […]

  14. […] Actually for the first time the word “guide4blogging” was found on 20th January by Google on a site TagJag. Few days later Google found guide4blogging on Problogger as part of the comments for a post 23 Questions for Prospective Bloggers – Is a Blog Right for You?. That is how I learnt what trackback is. The first search engine which found directly my blog was Ask on 1st of February. […]

  15. […] 23 Questions for Prospective Bloggers – Is a Blog Right for You? […]