When many people think of blogging, they might imagine a teenager or—at the oldest end—a thirty-something writing indulgently about personal interests or drama in their daily lives. While these groups of people do make up many bloggers, blogging after age 50 can provide a ton of benefits for older people, too.
Starting a blog after age 50 is easier than ever, thanks to free, intuitive tools that can make launching a blog easy, no matter what your interests are. Blogging for older people not only promotes good mental health by acting as a stress-coping mechanism and sharpening cognitive ability, but it also helps keep older people in touch with technological advances and having fun!
It might seem intimidating to an older person to start a blog if they have never done it before, but there has never been a better time to get a blog launched, either as a hobby or as a passive stream of income. Read on to learn more about starting a blog after 50 and how it can benefit you.
Tools for Starting a Blog
The tools for starting a blog are easy to get together. All you really need is a smart device (such as a laptop, desktop, or smartphone) with word processing software and access to the Internet, and you’re all set.
Here are a few tools that you might find useful for starting and running a blog:
- Snipping tools: Snipping tools and applications allow you to clip, save, store, and categorize all kinds of things from the Internet easily, from photographs to news clippings. You can then turn around and archive this media on your blog. It’s a good idea to keep several folders full of this type of media related to your blog’s theme so that you always have plenty of visual interest you can add to break up long paragraphs or pages of text on your blog.
- Writing books: Some basic books on writing can help you get a refresher course on your grammar skills and give you inspiration for writing when you’re not motivated. Writing books can also teach you techniques for drawing in new readers and keeping them interested in what you have to say.
- A digital camera: If you want to take stellar photographs to help add visual appeal to your blog, a real digital camera can often take photographs with higher resolution than the photographs you can take with a smartphone.
- Blog writing software: Websites like Wix and WordPress offer free places for people to build blogs along with a huge number of free tools to help them customize their blog spaces. There are also more advanced design options available for small subscription services. For a small hobby blog that you’re writing for fun, the basic free versions of these platforms are usually more than enough to get started.
How to Start A Blog
The first thing to do when you decide to start a blog is decide your reasons for writing a blog in the first place. Do you want a digital scrapbook to keep journal passages and personal photographs as mementos? Or do you want to write about something in particular that you’re passionate about, such as tropical aquariums, vintage cars, or baking recipes?
If you’re wanting to maximize the exposure for your blog rather than keeping a blog as a personal record, you’ll likely want to narrow your blog down to a specific “vibe” or aesthetic and narrow down the focus of your blog to a certain niche topic. For example, instead of writing just a general baking blog, you might write a blog where you bake a different type of bread every week for a year, or you might feature recipes for vegan cupcakes.
The narrower your focus, the more likely you are to find an audience with your blog. However, if you are only building up a blog for personal use, it doesn’t matter if you use it as a catchall for your interests or not. So, determining your blog’s goal is the first thing you need to do before you start typing out your first post.
Here are some other tips for starting a blog:
- Collect media related to your blog: If you’re writing a personal blog, why not start by making lists of all the media you like (TV, movies, video games, music), your interests, and anything else that you like? Once you have a good list going, you’ll probably start to see some trends. For example, if you like watching movies, movie reviews would probably be a good addition to your blog.
- Try working out a posting schedule: It is very easy to fall out of the habit of posting to your blog if you’ve never started one before and aren’t receiving very much interaction with it at first. This can be combatted by committing yourself to posting at least once a week. Choose a day of the week that is the least hectic for you (like an easy Sunday evening) and plan to post at that time each week to build your blog up.
- Try brainstorming blog topics and keeping a list. Keeping a list of topics to write about for your blog can help you break your writer’s block if you get stumped and find that you don’t have anything else to write about. Brainstorming blog topics is a good activity to roll into checking out other blogs in your niche, too, since you can see what has been written about already (and what hasn’t). This increases your chances of earning visibility in search engine results.
- Try writing a few blog articles ahead. Some days it is easy to write, and the words flow; other days, it’s harder to find the time and inspiration to write. A good way to set up some insurance for yourself so that you can maintain a steady flow of updates for your blog is to write a few extra blog articles ahead of schedule. Keep them set aside for weeks where you’re very busy or don’t feel like writing for whatever reason.
- Cross-post to social media for more visibility. Especially when you are first getting started, it can be hard to find people to read your blog. Posting links to your blog on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms can help get your post out there and let people know where to find your blog so they can read it.
- Be sure to respond to any comments. If anybody takes the time to interact with your blog, be sure to comment back and interact with them! Speaking directly with your readers is one of the greatest pleasures of starting a blog to begin with. Just be sure to delete any trolling comments or spam bots that come your way. Here are some ways you can deter spam bots from your WordPress blog.
Starting a blog is one of the easiest hobbies to get going, but keeping a blog active and building an audience is a lot harder. Following the above tips can help keep you from losing motivation and encourage you to keep your blog up.
What Is the Point of Starting a Blog?
One of the best things about starting a blog is that YOU get to decide what the point of YOUR blog is!
Here are a few reasons why a person over 50 might start a blog:
- As a journal: Using a blog as a diary is a great way to express your deepest personal thoughts. Even better, you don’t even have to let anyone else see it! Setting your blog to “private” lets you ramble about anything to your heart’s content without having to worry about criticism. If you want the world to see your diary but don’t want to deal with comments, you can disable those, too.
- As an income stream: Older people who have spent decades building up a knowledge pool in a niche such as camping, small engines, politics, or some other interest can easily develop a blog that they can eventually monetize and make a passive income stream from. While it can be difficult to make good money off a blog, making money is an excellent incentive to improve your blog if you want to build it around a niche interest anyway.
- As a hobby record: For example, gardeners can use an online blog to keep track of their sowing dates, to collect snippets of gardening tips or information, and to record any weather conditions or observations from the garden. Hobbyists can use a blog as an archive to help them keep track of important information for their hobby. They can either make these blogs public to share that knowledge or keep it for their use.
- As a business marketing tool: For older people who either already have their own business or would like to start one, a blog can be a great marketing tool for an online store or as a way for artisans to showcase their crafts for sale.
- To archive recipes, photographs, or other digital marginalia: Many older people love to collect photographs of loved ones as well as recipes if they’re into cooking, and blogs can serve as a useful repository for all of these texts or photographs. No matter what your special interest is, a blog can be a creative outlet for anything and everything you love, giving you a place that you can return to for enjoyment at the push of a button.
- To engage with a fandom: Fandoms are usually associated with young people. However, there are huge digital forums for fanfiction, fan art, and other community activities revolving around favorite movies, video games, television shows, and other media can be a great source of entertainment and joy for older people as well.
No matter why you want to start a blog, there are almost limitless ways to use one to increase your daily happiness. It also provides a great platform for self-expression, no matter what your interests are or how you choose to engage with them.
Is It Worth Starting a Blog in 2020?
Some potential bloggers may be discouraged because there seems to be an endless number of bloggers writing about every topic you can imagine. This leaves many to wonder if it is worth starting a blog in 2020. The answer to that question depends on what you want to get out of the blog. If you just want to start a blog for fun, then there is no time like the present to get started.
Here are some of the reasons it’s worth starting a blog in 2020:
- Most of the tools used in creating and launching blog spaces (such as Wix or WordPress) are completely free and come with intuitive preset templates and other tools that make getting started a breeze even with minimal website design experience.
- There’s no barrier to entry. No matter how inexperienced you are, you can start and launch a blog for no money and no prior writing knowledge. In fact, blogs can be a great way for beginning writers to start working on their writing skills more seriously.
- There’s no pressure with writing a blog. Do you feel like posting once a week? That’s fine. Do you feel like posting only once a month? That’s fine, too. Unless you’re actively trying to monetize your blog, it doesn’t matter if you miss a blog update or don’t feel like posting for a while. You can build up your blog at your own pace. It’s a great low-pressure hobby.
- If you work at it, a blog is a good way to make money. More and more companies act as affiliates to blogs and other niche reading materials online, allowing bloggers to recoup some of the money from their hobbies if they write about them – from RV traveling to flyfishing!
Since it costs nothing and there’s no commitment to keep at it (you can delete a blog at any time, after all, even if it’s only to start a new one), there’s no reason why it isn’t worth starting a blog unless you see it as a get-rich-quick scheme. If that is the case, you’re bound for disappointment.
Challenges of Running a Blog
While there are many advantages associated with running a blog, there are some challenges associated with it as well.
Here are a few issues you might run into when you start a blog for the first time:
- Exposure to ‘haters:’ Some people on the Internet are mean – very mean. Younger people who are digital natives have had much more experience with online trolls and other digital bullies. And those with less digital experience might be shocked at the cruelty displayed by anonymous online users. Minimize your annoyance with these types of people by moderating your blog comments carefully, blocking abusive users, and deleting their comments. You’re the boss!
- Blogging can be lonely: If you are a social person, shutting yourself away for hours at a time to write may feel unnatural, at least at first. However, breaking your writing sessions into small bursts and making sure to get plenty of social interaction each day when you’re not writing can help keep those lonely blues away.
- Don’t expect to get rich: Very few people make steady money with blogging alone, so don’t expect it to pay for your retirement. Instead, the money made from blogging is built up gradually by gaining influence and followers, after which you can start courting advertisers. Before that, you may as well be shouting into a void until you get into the swing of things.
- It’s hard work to run a blog: Between just coming up with the copy to downloading all of the graphics or photographs and designing the layout of your posts, putting together a blog can feel like building a scrapbook all on your own, with no help, supervision, or motivation from anybody else. It’s especially hard to run a blog if you haven’t ever done it before, as there is a bit of a learning curve when it comes to learning how to set everything up.
Even though there are some drawbacks to starting a blog, it’s still an easy enough thing to experiment with if you’re unsure whether you’ll like building one. Other than an Internet connection and a way to use it, there isn’t much else you need to get your blog started.
Blog Writing Is a Great Hobby at Any Age
People over the age of 50 may see blogging and other digital activities as leisure hobbies for young people, but the truth is that there are many benefits for older people who actively engage in this online activity. Whether you want a place to store your most precious memories or you’d like to become connected with other fans of a topic or hobby you love, blogs can be a wonderful pastime for all ages.
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