I live in the Indianapolis area and have a 10 year old autistic son. For a few years, I have been toying with the idea to start a blog or website that helps other families. I want to share my stories (good and bad) as well as let people know different resources, events, help find babysitter for special needs, give reviews and restaurants and shops and what not for special needs and have blogs from special needs teachers and professionals. I’m just wondering if this really is a good idea and do you think it’s possible? -Danielle
Yes, I think there is definitely a market for this!
As I thought through your question, I wanted to answer it in more of a broad manner — because I think there are many people like you who have a blog idea or topic they see there’s a need for a blog about and are wondering what they should do with the idea.
So here are two questions I encourage you to ask yourself:
1. Do you have a passion for this topic?
Now, it’s clear to me that this is a topic you know well–this is very real part of your every day life. It’s something that you’ve researched and learned a lot about.
However, knowledge is different than passion.
For instance, my 6-year-old has fairly severe asthma and has severe indoor and outdoor allergies. The asthma showed up when he was 18-months old and has been something that has resulted in many sleepless nights, many scary experiences, much fatigue, many prayers, tremendous amounts of research, and countless hours in doctor’s offices.
People often come to me with questions on asthma and pediatric allergies because they know it’s something that’s been a daily part of my life since the time Silas was little. I can share our experiences with different kinds of natural remedies, I can point you in the direction of good doctors, I can discuss medications and steroids and nebulizers and inhalers and the pros and cons and risks involved with each.
I’m happy to help people with the knowledge I’ve gleaned from walking through this journey with a child with severe asthma. I’m so grateful that we’ve found some different treatments that are allowing him to have relief from constant major episodes and relapses. I’m so thankful that the changes we’ve made in his life and our lives to remove as many triggers as possible and to be very proactive when he starts flaring up have resulted in him being healthier and sleeping through the night on a fairly consistent basis (instead of being up multiple times — or much of the night — because of coughing and inability to breathe well).
But I don’t have a passion for the topic of asthma. Talking about it and researching it is not something that gets me excited. I have no desire to write about it or blog about it or speak on it. And if I saw that there was a huge need for a blog or book on the topic, I wouldn’t be the one to write the book or start the blog.
Why? Because I’d burn out very quickly.
I share all of this to encourage you to step back and really consider: Is your blog idea something you are fiercely passionate about? Does talking about it light a fire under your belly? Do your friends see you as the go-to person for the topic?
Could you talk about this topic for hours and hours without getting tired? Could you write 5,000 posts on the topic? Could you get excited about getting up and writing about this topic every single day for years to come?
2. Do you have time to devote to blogging?
Blogging successfully requires a big commitment of time. It will take time and effort to set up the blog, to learn basic HTML, to get the hang of how to upload links and pictures, and how to format your posts. You’ll probably also want to learn how to use social media well, how to set up an email newsletter, how to design graphics, and maybe even how to update your header or sidebar.
It requires commitment to continue to blog and answer emails. To continue to find fresh content and perspective. To deal with site issues that come up. To learn new skills and adapt as the market changes.
Step back and really consider if your schedule would allow for this commitment. Would blogging be a blessing or a burden to your family? Would it drag you down, frustrate you, make you feel stressed and guilty, or take over your life in a negative way?
You don’t have to blog regularly. There is no rule book, after all, and you are the boss. However, if you want to be successful as a blogger, you have to put some priority on blogging.
Posts don’t just write themselves. Pictures don’t just take and crop themselves. And social media doesn’t just post automatically.
You have to make that happen — and it’s a LOT more work than most people realize. It can also be a LOT more frustrating than it might seem like at face value. If you’re like me and you’re not naturally a techie person, you are going to have a steep learning curve ahead of you.
Minor tweaks might end up turning into major headaches. Simple changes might make you want to pull your hair out. And almost everything to do with blogging typically takes longer than you think it will.
The most successful bloggers and those who stick with it for the long-haul are those who go into blogging treating it like a business or real job: something that you have to show up for daily or at least multiple times per week.
Do you have the space in your calendar to make regular blogging happen? Do you have the desire to learn the skills necessary to successfully set up and run a blog? Do you love new challenges and experimentation?
Did You Answer “Yes” To Both Questions?
If you answered “yes” to both of these questions, then I think you should definitely strongly consider moving ahead with the blog idea. There is a lot of potential for this idea and a lot of need for encouragement in this area.
I think you could consider expanding beyond your local area — maybe even making your blog a resource for those nationwide or even worldwide, with a special emphasis on your local area?
And if you do start your blog, I will be cheering you on all the way!
For more helpful ideas, read my post on How to Make Money Blogging.
What advice & thoughts do the rest of you have for Danielle? I’d love for you to chime in in the comments!