Start blogging in times of coronavirus pandemic? Does it make sense?

Even when the times were normal, I have been prodding my friends and followers to start blogging - because blogging helps in many ways in making our lives purposeful and happy.

Studies have found the special value of blogging for old people, those recovering from or managing chronic diseases, students and very young kids. Housewives and mothers have discovered a new meaning in routine chores and also child-bearing. People have been able to spur their creativity, even write books after regular blogging. On top of it, thousands of bloggers are making money out of standard blogging and an even larger number from 'blogging' on photo- / video-sharing platforms such as Instagram and YouTube.

Now we are in the middle of a global health-cum-economic crisis created by COVID-19 pandemic. I need not go into what all problems it is creating for us all; we all are sufferers to different degrees and coping with it in our own ways. However, let me share that blogging can be even more useful during stressed periods than in normal times.

From the point of blogging, you could be in one of these situations:
  • You are not yet into blogging: you might want to know whether to start a blog at this juncture. If yes, how?
  • You have been doing blogging as a hobby or maintaining a web diary: If you have not proactively put more energy to it, chances are that it has declined. Why does it make sense to give it more time rather than let the dull feeling of lockdown and stress affect it? 
  • You are an established, 'sucessful' blogger: Chances are the traffic, engagement and money  have suffered. You must not only cope with the realities, you must prepare for the good days when they return.
Let us deal with all the above, one by one.

But before that, let me show the graph of Google Trends in the last one year. Note that overall web activity (other than social networking, instant messaging, sharing/ straming of visual content) has declined since the onslaught of COVID-19. Please also note that interest on blogging has been seeing a declining trend all since its peak days of 2008-10. Yet, the graph below shows reversal of trend as far people's interest on blogging is concerned, during January-April period this year!

Google Trends: rising interest in blogging, though dip in searches
Let's now talk discuss why and how you should blog during the current coronavirus epidemic.

Should I start a blog in times of coronavirus epidemic?


Yes, you should. As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, it has been found that blogging helps people in different situations, and in many ways. If you are not sure how blogging may benefit your life, I would advise you to look at some of the successful bloggers I have showcased on this very blog, SocialLogging. I have also created this small slide-show on the common advantages of blogging: Why should I blog?

Even if you are [now] convinced that blogging is good for you and you should try your hand on it, you might have doubt whether you will be able to create a blog like others do. Let me show you how simple blogging is and why it need not feel like a burden. Look at these facts:
  • Blogging need not cost big. In fact, you can do blogging for years and post thousands of posts without spending a dime. There are many free blogging platforms, and they are really good.
  • Blogging does not need technical expertise. Not at all, if you are on a free blogging platform. You can open a blog in 2 minutes even if you do not know anything about tech. Most bloggers, including the highly successful ones, spend time in creating good stuff and not technology. Those who do blogging as a business or profession do need some technical skills, but they often outsource this job as they are already earn from blogging.
  • The jargons associated with website maintenance (web hosting, domain name registration, SEO, content marketing, etc) need not bother you at all. Of course, if you intend to open a blog for making money or something like that, you will encounter these, but they are not too difficult to master. I have a number of resources on these aspects here, keeping people like you in mind. 
  • Blogs of all forms exist simultaneously. At one end of spectrum, blogging merges with websites and portals and on the other end, with social networking. You have blogs as big as Huffpost.com and also those with just a few articles on medium.com platform. People also 'blog' on YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and even Twitter. So, you need not compare your blog with others, you need not copy their design, layout, writing style etc. In general, a simple blog that captures your thoughts can be more valuable (especially for you) than a complex website. 
  • Of all types of web media, the standard blog has the best of both the worlds: it is your own property, unlike a stream of small posts (as on Facebook or Twitter); it has a distinct personality; it is more permanent than social networking posts; it is more fresh and modern than static websites. So, out of the time that you might be spending on social networks and chat groups during the lockdown, take out some for a more valuable activity that will not be lost the next moment like your 'likes', 'retweet', 'share' etc on social sites.
Let me share the link to a detailed guide on creating a blog when you know notthing about blogging. Once you are confident of the process, you can graduate into 'professional' blogging.

My blog is going down due to the coronavirus epidemic. What do I do?


Yes, coronavirus has brought a lot of pain to professional bloggers, especially who make their living out of blogging. I have seen reports of bloggers suffering because their own mobility is impaired, their loyal readers/ buyers are not currently interested in the blog, the stream of potential raders and buyers has dried so their efforts towards promotion are not yielding any results. Some have reported that since there is lockdown, they don't find time and space for blogging (at home, where every family member is sharing the same space). Life has become particularly tough for those who have branched out a real-world service from blogging (e.g. restaurant, travel advisory service), which is their bread and butter. Coronavirus epidemic has dried up traffic and money from the blog as well as the real-life business.

If you are in such a situation, what you can do is to have patience and do whatever you can do so that you are well prepared when normal times return. I suggest some such actions:

  • Don't be disheartened. Don't stop blogging. Don't get into depression. You have to face the situation, and the more poised you remain the better you will come out of it. 
  • Write posts that would cheer up others. That will improve your own mood and fill you with positive energy.
  • Write posts for the present. Tell your readers how they can cope with lockdown and low economic activity. If you are a food blogger, share quick recipes for stranded singles; if motivatinal writer, write something that would help people to cope with stress; if health blogger, write informative articles on COVID and give tips that will help people in these times; if edu-blogger or mommy blogger, give tips to parents on how to keep kids engaged in creative pursuits. Coronavirus itself generates hundreds of topics ranging from drug research to politics to economics to health advisories, scenarios and updates.
  • Write posts for the future. Give tips on how to be prepared when the epidemic subsides. Write about post-epidemic scenarios from economic, social, family, career or other angles. You can focus on a small area or the globe; a small economic problem or national economy; a specific industry; and so on. Perhaps when you give tips to others, you get tips for yourself too!
  • Use this time for reserch. Read a lot and update yourself. Research the web. Learn something that you missed learning earlier. Identify subjects for discussion later. 
  • Write and schedule posts. Since you have spare time but publishing too many posts right now might not give good results, schedule posts for the future. 
  • Engage. If you could not respond to comments earlier, do so now. Be purposefully active on social media. If you are not already active on forums and social groups (on Facebook etc), join some and see if they work for you. If already there, engage with those seeking help.
  • Clean up and organize. If your pictures are scattered all over, organise them into folders. Make a library of relevant reading material. If you need to add categories and labels to posts, do that. If older posts need repurposing, do that; if they need SEO tweaking, do that. Back up your blog if you have been postponing it for a long time.
  • Spruce up the blog. Look at the design, colors, layout... You may not get the time later for these works, so utilize this time on sprucing up the blog.
  • Learn technology if you are otherwise averse to it. A bit of tech knowledge will help you in understanding the logic behind routine maintenance tasks. You will learn how different elements of the website work - and you will be able to handle these better. For example, learning a bit of CSS will help you in beautifully formatting text or adding some cool styling; a little understanding of JavaScript will help you put a third-party code on the blog for a new functionality; on Wordpress, if you have not used Gutenberg block editing, try that.
  • Prepare yourself for post-COVID days. Think of the actions you will need to take when things improve, so that you are ahead of competition. A giveaway, an invitation to a web event/ webinar, a discount offer, some service when people come out of homes... there can be many things you can plan that will interest/ help people. 

If you have specific queries on blogging, shoot an email to sociallogging@gmail.com. If you reached here searchin for an article on how coronavirus epidemic has impacted blogging and how social mediais playing out during this period, click on the link.

Happy blogging!

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