I’ve been pondering this question for a while now and I thought it might be best to start off my week-long series on professional blogging by starting with this basic question.
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Let’s start with what a blog is. Blog is short for weblog. They began as online journals, but have become so much more. Now, almost any website that is regularly updated is considered a blog.
I consider myself a professional blogger. I’ve even started to answer “professional blogger” without cringing when people ask me what I do for a living. The reason I used to cringe when I said that is because I wasn’t confident yet in calling myself a professional blogger. I am now.
I can now say with confidence that I am a professional blogger. So what does that mean exactly? Does it mean that I write better than I did when I was blogging for fun? Not at all, although it does mean that I write a bit differently and that I spend a whole heck of a lot more time on the behind the scenes stuff that has little or nothing to do with writing itself.
When I stepped out of the world of hobby blogging (which I had been doing on a private blog since the age of the dinosaurs in the blogging world) and ventured into the world of professional blogging, I had to be willing to step way out of my comfort zone.
Collaborating with brands, writing proposals, creating a media kit, figuring out some coding, having monthly blogging expenses, applying for campaigns and reviews, and sometimes even being rejected were all new to me. The world of professional blogging is a different one than hobby blogging!
What separates a professional blogger from a hobby blogger?
The answer for this varies depending on who you ask. In one of the blogging groups I’m in, the question was asked a few months ago and for some people, it came down to income while for others, it was about intent.
Here are some opinions about when you are a professional blogger:
- when it is your job
- when you are making a profit
- when you treat it like a business
- when you present yourself in a professional manner
- when your blog is well-known within your blogging niche
- when you have much more traffic than the average blog
- when you dedicate a large amount of time and effort to the craft of blogging
- when it replaces your prior income
For me, I started to take things more seriously when my income was consistently over $1,000 a month. I decided that I would consider myself a professional blogger when my income was $3,000 a month because that replaced my previous income.
To be clear, this is something I decided on myself for myself. There are bloggers out there making a few hundred dollars a month who are what I would still consider to be professional bloggers because of their commitment and level of professionalism.
There are also bloggers out there who make enough to support their entire families on every month and they may consider that to be the definition of a professional.
Being a professional blogger means a level of commitment and well, professionalism. It generally also means that blogging or blogging related activities such as speaking are bringing in qualitative income.
You may decide that for you, making enough income to earn your family’s grocery money would be your goal or that you are a professional when your blog traffic reaches a certain level. In my mind, the answer lies at least partially in how you define it for yourself.
There doesn’t seem to be a globally accepted definition of the term “professional blogger”. While there may not be a strict definition, there is a remarkable difference in what you have to learn once you cross over from hobby blogger to professional blogger.
I am doing a series on professional blogging this week if you would like to follow along. I will be sharing resources on many aspects of blogging and monetizing as well as answering your questions. Please join me.