Note: this episode can be listened to in the player above or on iTunes or Stitcher

22 Indicators to Help Determine If You’re Suited for Starting a Blog

Today I want to talk about the characteristics and qualities of professional bloggers.


Lately on ProBlogger we’ve noticed a bit of a surge of readers who are what I would call ‘PreBloggers’.

People asking questions about how to start a blog and even wondering if they should.

As a result we’ve recently published a 5 step guide for starting a blog which walks you through some of the technicalities of how to start out.

I want to step back a little from that process and tackle an important question that really should come before you start your blog. Should you start one?

Today I want to suggest to you 22 questions to ask yourself if you are considering starting a blog. These are not yes or no questions. These are 22 indicators to whether or not you might be suited to blogging.

In Today’s Episode 22 Questions to Ask To Identify if Blogging is a Good Fit for You

  • Do you have a message?
      • Do you have something you really need to say
      • A central message
  • Are you a good communicator?
      • Communication skills are an advantage
      • You can also learn communication skills through blogging
  • Are you willing to be in the public spotlight?
      • Blogging is a public act
      • People will analyze what you do, say, and how you look
      • You are putting yourself out there
      • Once you write something online it is hard to get it removed
  • Are you thick skinned?
      • Can you take criticism well
      • Someone will write about you sooner or later
  • Are you a self starter?
      • Starting a blog takes initiative
      • It takes motivation to get a blog off the ground
  • Are you disciplined?
      • Blogging requires regular attention and motivation over time
      • It’s good to aim for writing everyday
    • Do you have time?
      • You need to be able to update your blog regularly
      • You also need time for comments, promotion and social media, etc.
  • Do you have the ‘energy’ for blogging?
      • Blogging takes focus
      • After a long day at work can you still focus and be creative
  • Do you have any technical ability?
      • It’s not a requirement, but it’s an advantage to be able to learn and work on a technical level
      • You don’t have to know everything to start, you just need a willingness to learn or ask for help
  • Do you have a blend of humility and Ego?
      • Bigheadedness abounds in the blogosphere, but the humble blogger often ends up on top
      • Many ‘look at me bloggers’ haven’t lasted
      • You need a healthy ego and self worth
      • Build something of worth and have the confidence to promote it
      • Getting the balance right is not easy
  • Are you an organized person?
    • Bloggers need to be organized
    • Most successful bloggers have some type of system in place
  • Are you a Social person?
      • There are advantages to being a people person and liking your readers
      • Having a genuine heart for your readers and making their lives better tends to work the best
  • Do you enjoy ‘virtual relationships?
      • Some people who are great face to face aren’t that great online
      • Being comfortable with speaking to and working with people you have never met is an advantage if you’re a blogger
  • Are you willing to learn?
      • Blogging is a journey where everyone knows something, but no one knows everything
      • Industries like blogging also change
  • Are you a creative person?
      • Creativity on the web really stands out
  • Do you have Stick-ability? Are you a patient person?
      • Take a long term approach
      • Blogs are a bit of a slow burn
      • Some take years of work
  • Are you Consistent?
      • Blogger get into trouble with their readers by changing from week to week
      • Don’t be inconsistent and frustrate your readers
  • Do you take yourself too Seriously?
      • Bloggers should have a sense of humor
      • Have the ability to laugh at yourself
      • How you deal with foolish moments is important
  • Are you honest and transparent?
      • Some bloggers completely disappear by being found out and not being transparent
      • Most people are pretty honest
      • There are some people who have gone down in flames doing things that aren’t honest
  • Are you willing to step outside your comfort zone
      • You are going to have to put yourself out there
      • Be open for critique
      • Be willing to learn
  • Do you have passion?
      • Sometimes passion gets over emphasized
      • There is more to it than passion
      • It is important with passion for your topic
      • If you don’t have a passion for a certain topic, be passionate about what you are doing
  • Are you willing to work hard?
    • If your goals are to build a large audience and have an income stream, you will need to work hard
    • Blogging for income is not a passive thing

If you have gone through this list and answered no. You are not alone. I struggled with many of these things, but I still did it. This list is to give you some areas to work on and be aware of before you start blogging.

I asked on my Facebook page for bloggers to tell me the top 3 characteristics and qualities that they see in bloggers. I was thinking I might get a handful of responses that I could use in this episode but the response was quite overwhelming.

I’m going to list some of the first responses below but even by the time that I’d gotten these in there are many more already being added. So to see the full list of advice head here.

Top 3 Characteristics of Bloggers From My Facebook Page

Peta Lee

  • This sounds so cheesy but passion. If you aren’t passionate you aren’t going to succeed. Passion get you through those really tough moments (and there will be plenty of those along the way). When you are passionate magic happens.
  • You have to be true to you. You don’t worry about what others are doing and trying to keep up with them. You find what works for you, what your audience wants, what is on brand and you do it with enthusiasm and confidence. Don’t think you need to do what every other blogger is doing.
  • A thick skin. It’s not an easy career path and you need to know when to take a moment and be upset and when to dust yourself off and continue forward.

Trudie Bristow – Success is many things to many people, but as for qualities and characteristics that allow particular bloggers to connect with their audiences and do it well I’d have to say:

  • Genuine and authentic desire to engage with others and to affect change in others as well as being open to it doing the same for them.
  • Being brave to try things that scare them or are little left of field whilst having the stamina to get up and look for a new angle and reassess if things weren’t received how they envisaged.
  • Being real and truthful, in an online world where so much of it is highly curated I think the ones who have the staying power are those who aren’t living a different life behind the mask of their blog. Bottom line is once you start sharing online it’s there forever, if you’re not going to be real or truthful you’ll slip up at some point and it will all fall apart.

Carly Jacobs

  • They need have genuinely good intentions (not be greedy mean people), they need to be truly unique (the weirder and more honest, the better) and they have to have to have a Teflon arm shields for pew-pewing away all the negativity.

Kate Shelby

  • Being Genuine and Showing your Personality.
  • Being genuine and addressing people’s questions no matter how insignificant they may seem and showing your Personality. It doesn’t matter what your doing you can bring your personality into it. Otherwise I’m going to assume you don’t enjoy your job or you are holding out in some way.
  • As a reader that keeps me engaged.

Krystal Abbott

  • Optimism and the ability to see opportunity in every situation,an understanding of what makes them happy and a desire to see others happy too. smile emoticon Happiness all round.

Brent Vaartstra

  • Successful bloggers need to be business minded, resilient to failures, and truly excited about their niche.

Bling and Butterflies

  • They need to be honest as karma will come bite them on the bottom, organised to the hilt and know exactly who their target group is.

Annette Hill

  • Successful bloggers have a genuine desire to connect with readers, something to say, perseverance and imagination.

Vanessa Smith  

  • I think bloggers need to be organised, likeable & relatable.

Brooke Ciccozzi – A great blogger should be:

  • Relatable – Even though you may be an SME in your niche, no one likes a smug ‘know it all’. Readers respond to an empathetic vibe
  • Responsive – Able to be timely and contribute constructively to current posts/threads/views in their niche or industry
  • Generous – Share knowledge, experience and support kindly to build a genuine sense of family amongst your readers

Kathy Marris

  • I love to read blogs that are entertaining, pictorially brilliant and provide great information (in an interesting way). There is nothing more boring that a bland account of information!

Sharon Gourlay

  • Driven, business minded and passionate (about niche and blogging – it’s hard work!)

Kelly Exeter

  • Strong voice. Very strong voice!

Kym O’Gorman

  • Consistency, Persistence, Clear voice/brand.

Bukola Oriole

  • They are consistent, they have a clear message, and they value their fans.

Blake Powell

  • Persistence, authenticity, and audacity

Nanda Rahmanius

  • Continuous learning ~ effective time management ~ persistent.

Cherie Bobbins

  • Awareness – of themselves and others. Practice the ‘Learn, Do, Teach’ methodology. Endurance. A lot of endurance!

Yan Zhao Tan

  • real experience, attentive to the external world, personality

Patricia Martin

  • Good time management, patience, and the ability to think outside the box

Never miss an episodeSubscribe to the ProBlogger podcast on iTunes

Full Transcript Expand to view full transcript Compress to smaller transcript view
Good day there, ProBlogger readers. This is Darren Rowse from ProBlogger and I’d like to welcome you to episode 120 of the ProBlogger podcast. Today, I want to talk about the characteristics and qualities of successful, professional bloggers. This episode comes out of an observation I’ve been making that lately over ProBlogger, we’ve had a real surge in readers who wants to know about how to start a blog. I would call these bloggers “PreBloggers” instead of “ProBloggers.” They’re people who come to us asking questions about how to start a blog and even wondering if they should start a blog, wondering if a blog is the right thing for them. 

Today, I want to suggest to you 22 questions which might sound a little overwhelming but it’s not; I’ll race through them. Twenty-two questions that you might like to ask yourself if you are considering starting a blog, to work out whether you’re the right kind of person for blogging. Now, these are not yes or no questions that you will determine whether you have success or not. These are 22 indicators to whether you might be suited to blogging.

I actually think that today’s episode is great for ProBloggers, but it’s also good for you if you are in the first year or so of your blogging as well, because these are things that you can work on. These are things that you can improve on to help you increase the chances of success with your blog as well. 

I’m going to summarize all of the 22 things that I’ve come up with as well as some other suggestions for you from my readers over at today’s show notes at Let’s get in to today’s show.

As I said in my introduction, we’ve had a whole heap of people lately coming to ProBlogger who are in the early stages of their blog and even before starting their blog asking questions about how to start. As a result, we recently published a 5-step guide to starting a blog which walks you through some of the technical aspects of setting up a blog (which I’m not going to get into today).

Today, what I want to do is step back from that process of starting your blog and tackle an important question that really should come before you start your blog. Really, this question is more about should you start a blog? Is the blog a good fit for you, your personality, and who you are? Do you have what it takes to become a blogger? Or is there maybe another type of website that is better suited to you?

I was recently asked a question by a ProBlogger reader at an event that I spoke at. This particular person was about to start a blog. He asked me whether I could list some common characteristics of successful bloggers. There was a question I answered on the spot with five or six different things that I’ve observed about professional bloggers, people who’d had success with their blogs. Particularly building a business around their blogs. 

As I went home, I realized in the car on the way home, there were a whole heap of other things that I could have said. That’s where this particular podcast episode comes from. These are things that I’ve noticed over the last 13 years that come up again and again in the type of people that I see being successful with blogs. What I’ve done today is I’ve turned these qualities or characteristics of successful bloggers. I’ve turned around a little and I’ve got some in terms of questions to ask yourself about yourself and about your own qualities to see whether they are a fit with the things that I’ve come up with. 

Before I share the questions with you, I really want to emphasize though that if you don’t have some of these qualities, it is not the end of your blogging dreams. Even as I look at the list right now, there are aspects of what I’m about to share with you that are not in me. These are qualities that some of which I do not possess. I don’t know of any blogger who probably has all of these things. This is, therefore, a very idealistic list of questions. They’re really there to help you as a potential blogger or as a new blogger to enter into blogging with your eyes open and making a good decision about whether blogs are right for you. It’s probably more at getting expectations right as well.

It’s also worth noting that this is a list of qualities that I see in people who’ve built a successful business around their blog. It’s not really talking about personal bloggers who’ve had success. These are people who had built a business around their blog, who generated income from their blogs. Some of them will also relate to personal bloggers but really, today’s list is more focused on those of you wanting to start a blog as a business. If that’s your goal, then hopefully this is useful for you.

Let’s get into the 22 questions that I got. As I said, I’m going to whip through them fairly quickly. I haven’t really ordered them in any logical order as well. These are just 22 random things that you might want to think about, some of which relate to each other. Let’s get into them.

The first question you might want to ask yourself is, do you have a message? Do you have something that you wanted to say? While there are many applications for blogs, underline most of them is that there’s some sort of a communication of a message that the blogger wants to do. Do you have something just bursting out of you that you really need to say? 

When I started Digital Photography School, my message was all these people have great cameras. I noticed that a lot of people have great cameras, but they weren’t using them to their full potential. I guess my message was you can get out of automatic mode. That was really essential to a lot of what I had to say and very simply, that was my message.

Now, your message will be different and depending upon the topic of your blog, but really at the center of what you’re on about as a blogger, most successful blogs do have some of a central message. It might relate to a passion that you have, or an interest, or a belief that you want to explore. Ultimately, I guess the question is, “Do you have something that you really need or want to communicate?” That’s the first question.

The second question is, are you a good communicator? Now, I don’t believe that only good communicators should have blogs because if the answer to you is, “No, I’m not a good communicator,” a blog may actually be perfect to you to help you improve in those particular areas. Certainly, it can be an advantage to have some communication skills.

When I started a blog, I wasn’t a great writer, but I have done a lot of public speaking. Communication was something that I did have some experience with and it was a bit passion of mine as well. So, are you a good communicator, is question number two.

Number three, and this is important, are you willing to be in the public spotlight? Are you willing to put yourself out there? Blogging is a public act. Every day or regularly, you are going to be putting yourself into the gaze of other people. Other people are going to be analyzing your words and the things that you speak about. They’re going to be analyzing what you look like, what you do, what you say, how you say it. They’ll be analyzing your lifestyle if you reveal some of that.

Some people will want to know more about you. Many people will just make casual observations about you, but you’re putting yourself out there. You may even get recognized in public. It’s only happened to me a few times. Particularly, when I go to conferences, obviously, but sometimes walking down the street, I get people randomly walk up to me. This is something that takes a little while to get used to and some people simply do not want that to happen to them.

A few bloggers make it to celebrity stages. I’m far from that, but all bloggers are putting themselves at their every time they post. This is something you need to consider when you are entering into blogging. When you put something online, it’s going to be there forever. You can delete your blog post but really, there will be remnants of it on the internet. Many of them archived in sites like the Internet Archive. Are you willing to put yourself out there and have your thoughts out there forever? That’s question number three.

That sounds like a scary question but it’s one that you need to consider. I should say, you can blog anonymously, but there are many instances that anonymous blogger has later on been identified. So, you do need to consider that as well.

Number four, again, is a little bit of a negative one in some ways, but I think it’s worth considering. Are you thick-skinned? If you start a blog, the chances are it would be found by others (that’s our hope) and the chances are that other people are going to make observations about you and are going to critique what you say. Sometimes those critiques are really positive and constructive, but we all know that the internet is not always a constructive and positive place. Sometimes, you’ll be critique in a way that perhaps are not fair and sometimes are attacking even.

My experience is that most of the critiques that I’ve had over the years have been fair, they’ve been positive, and they’ve been constructive. I haven’t had to worry about them at all. They’ve actually helped me in many cases when people have given me feedback. But there’ve been a handful of times where things have gotten personal and things have gotten nasty. It’s worth knowing that that is a possibility and to ask yourself, how do you take criticism? How do you take that type of critique?

If you’re someone who takes critique well, then that’s a good thing. If it’s not, then that may be one of those areas that you need to, entering to blogging, being aware of and maybe even doing some work on. I do find that over time, most bloggers do get thicker skin simply by the act of blogging. Maybe that’s a benefit of blogging as well, but it’s definitely a question you might want to ponder before you get into it.

Question number five, are you a self-starter? Just starting a blog is taking initiative. You are taking initiative by starting that blog, but that’s not the only time you’re going to start that. It’s not the only time you’re going to need to create. That’s not the only time you are going to need to take some initiative. 

While blogging software these days makes it really simple to start a blog, they don’t run themselves. You obviously need to continue to feed that software. You need to create content. You need to respond to readers when they come. You need to be proactively promoting your blog. You need to be building community with your image. You need to be proactive about the way you monetize your blog if that’s a goal for you.

Successful bloggers don’t tend to be passive people. They build. They experiment. They don’t wait for success to come to them. They go chasing after success. Occasionally, opportunities land in our laps. I’ve seen that happened a number of times. Occasionally, it’s happened to me. Most of the times where I’ve built any kind of profit for my blog or where I’ve grown my blog audience in any way, I’ve done something proactive. I had to build it myself. 

If you’re a self-starter, that’s a great thing. That’s something that really will help you as you build your blog. If you’re not, it may be something that you need to work on.

Question number six is going to be tied into the last one that I talked about. The question is, are you disciplined? Now, I want to say right upfront, when I started my blog, my first blog in 2002, if I had asked myself this question, I would’ve said no. I haven’t probably the most undisciplined person I ever met. Particularly, when I was 30 or so when I started my blog. 

Blogs require regular attention over time. I didn’t know that when I started, but I very quickly realized that regularity was a big part of it and I do take a lot of work. For me, discipline came later and it came as a result of getting hooked on blogging and becoming passionate about blogging. It came as a result of me seeing the results of my blog on other people as well. 

Discipline can come later, but certainly if you’re a disciplined kind of person, then that’s going to pay off for you as well. You’ll be able to motivate yourself to create new content for your blog, podcast, or whatever it is that you are creating on a regular basis.

If the answer is no, then you’re going to need to build something into place that’s going to help you stay on track and create content on a regular basis. Discipline is important. Sorry to say that for those of you who are like me. You’re going to need to find some way of disciplining yourself and being accountable. You may need to find some external accountability with another person or another group of people or you may need to, I guess, find some internal accountability as well and find out how you motivate yourself in some way.

Question number seven is really important. Do you have time? Do you have time to blog? Linked to the last point that I said, you need to be regularly updating your blog. Obviously, you need time to be able to do that. Do you have enough time in your schedule to write regularly?

This is another one of those questions that I’m glad I didn’t asked in the early days because I was a very busy person. I was working three part-time jobs, I was studying in the evening, I was doing a whole heap of voluntary stuff as well, but I managed to find the time and I’m glad that I did. If you don’t have much time in your hands, you need to think about where you’re going to find that time to blog. 

There’s a whole heap of productivity tips that we could give you and we’ve done regular shows in the past on productivity tips, but I just want to put that question out there. Not only do you need to write content, you need to moderate your comments, you need to respond to emails that readers might send you, you might want to be reading other blogs in your niche and network with other bloggers. There’s your design, there’s SEO, there’s monetization. All of these things take time.

It doesn’t mean to say that you need to be a full-time blogger. Obviously, I didn’t have a lot of time when I started out, but I found it and I became disciplined. So, those two things are linked together. 

The number eight question I was asked is, again, linked to this idea of time and that is, do you have the energy for blogging? You may have the time but you may not actually have the energy. I’ve got an email just a few days ago now from a reader who said that he does have time to blog but he got from his work at the end of the day where he’s being creative, where he’s been focused, where he’s done technical things, and when he’s being bombarded with questions from other people. He works all day in a really intense environment, so when he gets home, even though he has the time, he finds it very difficult to focus. 

His questions are about, how do I get myself energized again to start blogging? This reveals a challenge that some bloggers have who perhaps have low energy levels because they are focusing their energy on other things, whether that be raising kids (which I know take a lot of energy), or whether it be really intense job or some other aspect of life. You might have the time but do you have the energy to be able to think creatively? This is one of the things I’ll talk about in a moment. You need to bring some creativity, you need to bring some focus, you need to bring some thoughts to blogging, so do you have the energy to blog?

Question number nine is not an essential but it certainly will help. Do you have any technical ability? If this was a requirement for being a successful full-time blogger, then I would never have gotten far at all. Many of you heard my story before. It took me three months to work ahead of my text bold on my first blog. I was the most technological Luddite that you’ll ever meet, but it is certainly an advantage to have some technical ability or the willingness to learn and to work on a technical level.

Now obviously, when you are blogging, you will be using a computer, or an iPad, or some other device that gets you online. You will need to be working in the back-end of a blogging platform like WordPress. You’ll be needing to use other tools, maybe some photo editing tools, or maybe some social media tools.

Obviously, all of these things, as user-friendly as many of these tools are today, the more you are able to grasp technical language and tools, the better off you will be. You don’t need to know it at all. You will need, though, to be able to learn some of these things or to find someone to help you and that could cost you some money as well.

Don’t feel you need to know everything, but certainly, one of the things that will be an advantage to you is to have some kind of technical ability, or at least some willingness to learn, or some technical intuition. A lot of people just seem to know how to find their way around the tools, even without really understanding them. There’s some intuitive type stuff going on there.

Question number 10—we’re almost halfway now—is, do you have a blend of humility and ego? This is a weird one. I wasn’t quite sure how to word it but I think a lot of the successful bloggers that I met have these. They’re able to walk the line between humility and ego. Certainly in the blogosphere, I’m sure there’s plenty of big-headedness around and yet, it’s often the more humble blogger who ends up on top.

Many of the, “Look at me! Look at me!” kind of bloggers that I’ve come across over the years have not lasted a distance and I suspected that maybe it’s for a couple of reasons. One, maybe because people didn’t look at them initially, they gave up, and because they needed that “look at me” thing that maybe they gave up, but maybe it’s also because that approach doesn’t tend to go down too well. 

I know here in Australia particularly doesn’t go down too well. Maybe that’s a part of the cultural thing. But having said that you need to have some humility about what you’re doing, I think you also need to have a healthy ego and a good view of own self-worth as a person as well because there are times where you need to be self-promotional when it comes to blogging. This is a bit of a tension that many, many people feel.

I know many of my friends say, “I couldn’t blog because I don’t want to put myself in there. I don’t want to promote myself. I don’t want to make people look at what I’m doing because that’s sends a bit big-headed.” But you do need to be able to put yourself out there. I guess it’s a balancing act. You need to spend some time, building something of substance, but you also need to be able to get out there once that thing is built, have the confidence to promote it, and to show people what you can do.

Getting that balance right is not always easy and there have been times where I’ve probably going one way or the other too much, but it’s something that you need to be able to juggle and work on. Perhaps it’s more than just being aware of where your weakness is. Some people have no problem in self-promoting. Maybe they need to just be aware of that and pull themselves back whereas other people perhaps have trouble self-promoting and they need to force themselves to do that a little bit more. So, are you willing to walk that line? I guess it’s a different way of asking that question.

Question number 11 is, “Are you an organized person?” This really touches on some of that discipline that I was talking about before but I think there’s a little bit more to it than just being disciplined. I’m sure there are plenty of bloggers listening to this right now who have built some success in a fairly chaotic and unorganized way but there does come a point in most serious blogger’s lives where they have to atleast get a little bit organized with what they’re doing.

Most successful bloggers that I’ve come across end up having systems in place for things like moderating comments, incoming emails, monetization systems, editorial calendars, these types of things. There’s a whole spectrum, obviously, of how organized bloggers are and I’m certainly not someone who’s on the more organized end of the spectrum and I’ve managed to still muddle my way through it, but for me, it’s been really helpful over the last two or three years to begin to build some systems and to be able to put team members in place to help with that.

That may not be something you can afford to do right upfront but be aware of your weakness if that’s one of your areas. Whatever you can do, try to build some little systems. One of the things that I found really helpful in the early days was to build some little checklist and to build some little work flows which were based just upon what I was already doing but actually by formalizing those things, it put me in a great position to get a little bit more efficient with the way that I spent my time. So, are you an organized person?

Number 12. We’re over half-way now. Are you a social person? Are you a people person? Again, this is not an essential but there are certainly some advantages if you like people and if you like your readers. Great blogs, obviously, need to attract people to them. If you’re someone who shines through in the content that you create, then you actually do like your readers, that you are willing to engage with them, and that you want to help them in some way, then that’s a great thing.

I do find that a lot of the most successful bloggers, while many are introverts, many of them are shy, most of them have a genuine love for their readers and are interested in changing the lives of those who read their blog in some way. Are you the type of person? Do you like people? Do you like helping people? Do you like taking them on a journey? This is going to shine through in a way that you create your content.

Now, I do know even as something about this of some bloggers who are not people persons at all, but they have different style of blogging and their blogs are perhaps a little bit more technical, a little less relational, but they still can work. I think they work from the style that they have and the personality that they have. They don’t pretend to be warm and gushy just to try and connect with their readers. They’re just who they are.

I guess it’s partly about understanding your personality type but if you are more of a warm, social, people-person type person, that can certainly help you to grow a community around your blog. 

Question number 13 is tied to that last one. The question is, do you enjoy virtual relationships? Some of those most social people, they’re really warm in person when they meet people. They can do really terrible when it comes to online interactions. It may actually be because that they are so good in person that they struggle online when they can’t see the face of the person they’re talking to.

Some of the people who really struggle with virtual relationships are much better face-to-face than via email, or in the comment thread, or in a forum, or on social media. Being comfortable with speaking to and working with people that you’ve never met before can be a real advantage if you’re a blogger.

This is something that I just really enjoyed early on. The first experience I had in mind was in Internet chat rooms. I just found myself very comfortable for some reason in that environment where I didn’t actually have to see the other person and where it wasn’t relied upon my body language, and perhaps where I could have a little more time to think about what I was going to say before I said it.

If that’s you, if you’re really good, if you’re better virtually than you are in person, then that could be an advantage that you have as well. I guess some of us are perhaps, what I might call virtually intuitive. Of course, those of us who are a little bit better in the virtual probably have some other areas that we need to work on when it comes to in-face person-to-person communication. That’s something I’m really aware of and we’ve got our own issues to deal with there, but if you are virtually comfortable with people, then that could be an advantage for you as a blogger.

Question number 14 is a quick one. Are you willing to learn? Are you willing to gather information? Are you willing to expand your knowledge? Particularly of blogging. I looked back on my own 13½ years now of blogging. Those first two years where really a steep learning curve as I got to understand the tools, learn how to make text Bold on my blog, learn how to promote myself and these types of things. So, are you willing to learn? Because it’s going to be a steep learning curve when you just start out.

Also, this also relates to the topic that you’re going to talk about as well. Most industries change over time. I looked back to when I started ProBlogger in 2004. Blogging looks completely different now. I had to learn a lot about blogging, I had to learn a lot about the topics that I’m talking about so that I can be better as a blogger and that I don’t just have to say the same things over and over again. So, are you willing to learn on that front, too?

Question number 15. Are you a creative person? Are you creative? Again, this isn’t a must. It’s just an advantage that you might have. The web is a place where creativity really stands out. If you’re able to do something in a more creative way than other people, then that’s going to be attractive to people. Are they going to share that type of thing? Creativity can really come out and this comes through in the content you design, all of these different aspects of blogging. So, are you creative, imaginative type person? 

Question number 16. Do you have stickability? Or perhaps another way of asking this is, are you a patient person? Now, I am not the most patient person, I have to say. Maybe in some ways that’s a bit of an advantage because it pushes me to keep working harder and harder and harder. The reality is that very rarely do blogs hit it big overnight. They’re usually a bit of a slow burn.

You need to take a long-term approach with your blogging. Most blogs are never really as successful as their owners would like to be and even the ones who get the most successful still take years to build that. So, you are going to need to take a long term approach with your blogging.

Are you willing to go through perhaps years where your blog doesn’t really take off and then hits its steeping point. Patience is a real virtue when it comes to blogging. 

Question number 17. Are you consistent? One of the most common reasons that I see bloggers getting into trouble with their readers is that they change the way that they blog mid-stream time and time again. Your blog should evolve. It needs to pivot over time as you see how your readers are responding to what you do. 

But if from week to week, your blog is completely different, you’re continually changing the design, you’re changing the topic content that you produce, you’re changing the topic of your blog, you’re changing the name of your blog, constantly changing it in big ways, then that’s going to start to annoy your readers. 

Your blog doesn’t need to change. It needs to evolve, it needs to pivot over time, but generally, those changes that we make are far between or there’s more little tweaks rather than big changes all of the time. Again, one of those balancing things. You need to be able to revolve, you need to grow your blog, change your blog, but don’t be someone who is inconsistent with what you’re producing for your readers because your readers will get frustrated with that over time. 

Question number 18. Do you take yourself too seriously? One of the characteristics, I think that bloggers should have is a sense of humor, particularly when it comes to looking at themselves. I’m sure a lot of successful bloggers do take themselves very seriously, but most successful bloggers that I’ve come across had the ability to laugh at themselves. 

The reality is you’re going to make mistakes. You are probably going to make a fool of yourself at some point with your blog. You’re going to do something in public which is embarrassing and how you deal with those failures, those mistakes, those foolish moments is really important. Being able to laugh at yourself, yes, be dissapointed but laugh at yourself. Don’t take yourself too seriously. 

A mistake in your blog isn’t the end of the world. You need to be able to pick up yourself, have a laugh, dust yourself off, maybe be a bit self-depreciating in the way that you can talk about it and then move on. You need to get on with life. Don’t take yourself too seriously. 

This is something I struggle with to be honest because I do take myself seriously. Sometimes, I do need to take a step back from those moments and just laugh at myself and laugh at the situation that I’m in. 

Number 19. Are you honest? Are you transparent? This is a tough one. I’ve seen many bloggers who have been quite successful completely fall over and end up disappearing from the internet because they got found out not being honest and not being transparent.

In real life, perhaps you can go through your life being a little bit two-faced or keeping secrets but the blogosphere has a culture of people keeping their eye on each other and digging where you don’t always want them to dig. I think most people aren’t pretty honest and transparent, but occasionally, I’ve seen people get into real trouble in this particular area. I can think in the Australian blogosphere over the last couple of years where bloggers have gone down in just piles of critique and hatred towards them because they did things that were not honest, they did things that were not transparent. 

You need to disclose conflicts of interest. You need to be honest about who you are, what you know, what’s in it for you and treat people with respect in that way. I don’t really even want to say this one but the reality is that they have been a handful of times over the last 13 or so years where I’ve seen people do the dodgy kind of stuff and really pay the consequences of that. 

So, are you honest? Are you transparent?

Question number 20. We got three more to go here, so don’t worry. It won’t take this long. Are you willing to step outside of your comfort zone? Are you going to step out of that comfort zone? You will have seen in the last 19 points that I’ve made, there are times where you have to put yourself out there, you need to be open for critique, you need to be willing to learn. A lot of those things take stepping outside of your comfort zone. 

Bloggers often need to be the type of person who is going to be willing to do that. Of course, this is not just something that it is true for bloggers in most areas of life. If you’re not willing to step out of your comfort zone, then you’re probably unwilling to step into a new opportunities and good things that might happen to you. So, are you willing to do that?

Question number 21. I almost didn’t put this one in there even though I do strongly believe in it. The question is, Do you have passion? As I say, I almost didn’t include this one because sometimes, passion gets over emphasized. You hear people say, “Just do what you’re passionate about,” and I think there’s some truth in that, but I also think that there’s more to it than just passion.

I think passion can be an important thing in blogging in a couple of ways, but both are not always present. Firstly, passion for your topic. Many blogs start because the blogger is just passionate about their topic. I’m sure many of you that are listening to this thinking about starting a blog, the reason you want to start that blog is because you’re obsessed with that topic. You love talking about it, you love helping people around that particular topic. You’re a topic person who can barely hold in what you’ve got inside of you because you’re so passionate about it.

The advice do what your passionate about is great if you have a passion for something. It will help your blog as well. If that’s you, then that’s fantastic. It’s an advantage that you’ve got. Because when you’re passionate about your topic, it’s going to shine through in the way that you blog and that’s going to be contagious for your readers. 

We all know people who just sounds so excited about their topic and you can’t help but get excited when they talk about it. So, that’s great. If that’s you, then that’s fantastic. But here’s the thing about passion. As I’ve talked to many entrepreneurs over the years, not everyone has a passion. Not everyone has one or many people have a passion that’s not realistic for them to follow. 

When I was growing up, I wanted to be superman. I was passionate about that. That’s not really that realistic. Many people have those sorts of passions. It’s not really realistic for them to be in rodeos or for them to play in the Super Bowl, all those types of things. And not everyone has one that’s realistic. Some people just don’t have a passion. Not everyone has a thing inside them that they’re just passionate about in the sense that I can think of nothing else about it or that it is their calling. 

Here’s what I would say about passion that I think is applicable for people that don’t have a passion or who don’t have a realistic passion. You may not have a single passion, but you can approach what you do in passion and this needs to be brought on when you’re blogging.

When you are blogging, you can serve your reader with a passion. You can be passionate about your readers. You can dedicate yourself to being useful with a passion. You can dedicate yourself to learning about your field with a passion. You may not always be able to do what you’re passionate about, but you can be passionate about what you do. So, I would encourage you to blog with passion. Do you have passion? I guess is the 21st question that I want to ask you.

The last one I want to just briefly touch on (and you probably pick this one up already) is, are you willing to work hard? The level that you will need to work on a blog will be really dependent upon the goals that you have for your blog, but if your goals are to build a business, to build an income stream, to have a large audience, you are going to need to work hard. You’re going to need to be disciplined, you are going to need to be organized, you are going to need to have some passion, you are going to need to find the time. All these things that I’ve just talked about, this is work. 

Blogging for an income is not a passive thing. There are other things that you could do that would be a little more passive. I’m not really sure how many are completely passive though, to be honest. If you want to build a business around your blog, you are going to need to work and not just for a short period of time, but in an ongoing way. This is true in the case of most things in life. It’s not just about blogging, but particularly with blogging, it’s something that you’re going to need to work on. 

I’ve just gone through 22 questions and that was a lot of questions. I’m going to summarize them all over on the show notes. What I want to say before I finish is that if you have gotten through this list and you have answered “no” to any of these questions, then you are not alone. Even as I’m going through this list, you will have heard me say this is not a strength of mine.

When I started blogging, particularly, I reckon almost half of the things I’ve talked about I would have said no to. I wasn’t disciplined, I didn’t have the time, I wasn’t fixed in, I had no technological ability. Ego, I struggle with that kind of humility and ego balance, I wasn’t organized. All of these things that I’ve talked about was struggles for me and some of them still are today. But I still did it.

I guess I shared a list today not to help you determine whether you should or you shouldn’t blog or maybe I have for you, but more so to give you some areas to work on and to be aware of as you go to blogging. As I look at that list, some of those things have changed for me. For example, being not very technical or having no ability when it comes to the technicalities. That’s something that I’ve grown in, I’ve learned about. I’ve surrounded myself with people who do know, who have taught me, and also some that I’ve outsourced. There are some ways that you can tackle some of these weaknesses that you might have and some of the things that you lack by either putting other people around you or by learning.

Some of these things come with time as well. For example, passion. You may not have passion for the topic that you start your blog on but because your blog changes people’s lives, because you write about it and learn about it, you may actually find that passion comes for a particular topic as well.

If you said no to some of these things, don’t despair. Some of those no’s may become yesses as it answers over time. And some of those may never change. Some of those things may never come. You may never be a technical person, but there are ways to overcome some of those things as well. 

The reality is there are many people out there who’ve started highly successful blogs, who would’ve said no to a lot of those things, that perhaps are not suited to blogging but still did it anyway. So, I don’t want you to get despondent about this list.

The last thing I’ll say is I asked my Facebook followers over at the same question. I asked my followers there to name three things that they saw in successful bloggers, characteristics and qualities. When I asked the question, I said, “Use some of your sponsors in this podcast and post some of them on the show notes.” I had no idea how many responses I was going to get when I asked that question. 

What I’m going to do today is take some of those answers, some of which are very similar to what I’ve just gone through and some of which are quite different. I’m going to post some of those into the show notes today to give you some other perspectives on it as well. There’s been some great responses and I’m also going to link to that the place that I ask that question over on Facebook as well so you can see all of the rest. Even as I have been recording this podcast, I’m seeing more responses coming as notifications.

There is some really good stuff there and if you’ve got anything you would add to it, you can either leave that on that Facebook discussion. Don’t forget to like the Facebook page as well, or you can leave a comment on today’s show notes at I’m very aware that there are a whole heap of other things that could be added to this list of 22 characteristics or qualities of successful bloggers and I would love to hear what you’ve got to say on that topic as well.

Thanks so much for listening, I appreciate that and thanks for the continued emails that so many of you sent me. I’m amazed by the way that this podcast is helping people. I love hearing the stories, the way you listened to it. There’s so many of you listened to it in cars, with your children.

I have someone emailed me this week, thanking me for not having any swearing or cursing in my podcast because you listen to it with your kids. That’s fantastic. I’ve never even really consider that. I’m just not someone who tends to do that, but I love the fact that the knowledge that we’re exploring in this podcast is going beyond the people I’ve got in my mind but there’s this whole other generation of people listening and consuming this information as well.

If you’re a kid listening to this right now, special hi to you from Melbourne, Australia. I’ve got three boys myself. They’re four, seven, and nine. They’re all about to turn, had their birthday in the next three weeks. In fact, by the time this podcast comes out, we’ll be in the middle of birthday season at our house so we got Lego going crazy in our house right now. They all say hi from Melbourne, Australia and I love the fact that your little ones are listening to this as well. 

Let me know, send me an email, [email protected]. Tell me where you listened to it, who’s listening alongside you and any stories that you’ve got of how this podcast is impacting you. That certainly energize me everyday. I love the fact that there’s so many people listening and I really appreciate that. 

Again, today’s show notes at Blog on. 

You’ve been listening to ProBlogger. If you like to comment on any of today’s topic, or subscribe to the series, find this at Tweet us @problogger. Find us at Also, it’s ProBlogger on iTunes. 

This episode of the ProBlogger podcast was edited by the team at PodcastMotor who offer a great range of services including helping you to set up and launch your podcast, as well as ongoing editing and production of the podcast that you produce. You can check them out at

Got a Question You’d Like Me to Answer?

I base many episodes of this podcast upon questions answered by ProBlogger Podcast listeners and Blog readers.

You can use the following widget to ask a question. Please include your name and blog name (if you have a blog).


Enjoy this podcast? Sign up to our ProBloggerPLUS newsletter to get notified of all new tutorials and podcasts below.