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Should you start a blog?

Many people keep a diary, but what are the risks, advantages or reasons for letting it all hang out online?

A blog is basically an online diary; a way for you to record travels and fun and add in pictures. But, unlike a diary, a blog is accessible for everyone to see on the internet, so it’s anything but private. A blogger puts up content – or “blog posts” – regularly that contain stories or photos.

Why start a blog?

The reason a lot of people start a blog is that they have heard they can make money. It’s true that some blogs will get enough followers to make a small amount of money from the advertising, but it’s also true that this is quite difficult and not all blogs are able to be monetised. You have to be very dedicated to putting up regular content. You’ll have to get an understanding of marketing your posts online, and you may even have to buy some ads on social networks like Facebook to start getting your numbers up.

For seniors, this is probably not the motivation behind starting a blog. For seniors, a blog can be a great way to keep in touch with friends and family who do not live close. You can share your stories with other retirees and build up a network. Or, for a Probus Club, you can keep track of you activities and allow them to be viewed by members who may not have been able to attend.

Maybe you have a hobby you would like to tell people about, or you want to set up a blog for your pet. It really is just a bit of fun online. Blogging can become a hobby in itself to help keep your mind active.

How do I get started?

The hardest part of a blog is setting it up. You can use simple online tools like WordPress or Wix to decide the look and feel of your blog. Then you just add in the content, which is pretty simple. If you can write an email, you can put content on your own blog. Play around with the features and create a site that is as individual as you are.

Then, once your blog is up and running, Google will start sending people your way based on what they search and how relevant your blog posts are.

Are there any security issues?

The main issue with blogging is to not put out any personal information. Most bloggers use an assumed name, or first names only, to protect their privacy. If you are a business, you will use your own name, but you would never put up any sensitive information.

Like anything on the internet, a blog could be hacked and personal information stolen, but there is little that can be gained for cyber criminals by hacking the small blog of an individual.

The biggest risk to blogging is what you post. Once something is on the internet it is up there forever, so make sure you think carefully about what you post. Blogs are subject to the same libel laws as other media, so if you say anything contentious, be very careful.

But if you are cautious, and sensible, you may find that starting a blog is a great way to pass the time. And if you end up making a bit of cash on the side, then all the better.