A new points blogger is born every week. They all give more or less the same response about why they started a blog: “I wanted to share this hobby with my family and friends,” “I’d like to share my obsession with others so they can travel free,” etc. The question is: Is it necessary for you to start you own points blog? With so many bloggers giving the same response and writing about the same topics (I admit, I’ve fallen into that bucket from time to time), this is a legitimate question to ask.
If you’re thinking about starting your own points or travel blog, here are a few questions to consider:
1. Why do you want to start a blog? You can easily point your friends and family members to one of the veteran points and miles blogs to learn about this hobby. After all, that is how you learned about the points and miles game, so why not direct them to the same resources that were helpful to you?
If it’s affiliate revenue you’re after, keep in mind that the banks are tightening the noose on bloggers. Just this past year alone, Chase dropped some major bloggers from its affiliate network. Other banks may decide to follow suit. Aside from the imminent danger of being dropped for no reason at all, the banks may decide you’re not producing enough leads for them, or they may decide not to accept you as an affiliate at all because your traffic metrics aren’t up there with some of their other affiliates.
After I was dropped from Chase’s affiliate program (in the middle of a trial period), I kept blogging. Personally, I find it rewarding. I don’t have a whole lot of time to devote to it, but when I’m able to post something and people respond to it (both positively and negatively), I feel a sense of accomplishment. There is something inherently satisfying about producing content that people respond to.
2. What are you offering that is different? It’s important to determine your niche. Rick writes about traveling cheap, Lucky writes about First Class travel, Mommy Points writes about family travel, and Rene focuses on Delta Skymiles. What differentiates your blog from the rest of the pack?
3. Do you have time to write a blog? Sure, Gary makes it seem easy when he posts half a dozen times a day despite working a full time job and running a side business. But blogging requires alot of time – not just for writing posts, but generating ideas for new posts. Those of you who subscribe to or visit my blog daily can attest that there are sometimes long stretches of time between new posts. This is either because I have nothing to write about or because I simply can’t find the time. There is a 3-page document on my computer with ideas for posts. The reason they haven’t made it onto this blog yet is because finding the time to flesh these ideas out into content that is interesting to readers can be challenging.
4. Do you have thick skin? As you scroll down to the comment section of your favorite blogs, you’ll notice among the fanfare there are often disparaging comments. Some of them are legitimate criticisms, while others are vicious and completely out of line. Is your heart going to drop down to your stomach any time you read one of these comments? What if you get hateful email messages from internet trolls who simply don’t like you or are jealous of your platform? If you are remotely human, these things are going to bother you, but you need to bounce back quickly and recognize that these attacks are not personal. Moreover, if you met these people in person, they might be very pleasant and even compliment your work. These attacks are more a reflection of that person’s poor character than your own. The question is, can you handle it?
5. Do you have other options? You can start off asking some of your favorite bloggers if they are open to accepting guest posts. I can attest that it’s tough to consistently produce new content, and based on the occasional hiatus on some of my favorite blogs, I suspect others are having the same problem. If some of my readers had an interesting post they wanted to share, I’d be open to putting it on my blog. It never hurts to ask. This is a great way to get your feet wet, evaluate the response you get from readers, and decide whether you want to do this on a regular basis.
Have you thought about starting your own points and miles blog? What are some of your reasons or concerns?