Is It Still Worth Starting an Online Publication Today?
With the millions of blogs, web sites, and online publications to be found today, is it still worth your time to join the fray? Or is too late to join the game?
The answer is actually simple: yes.
The point where it gets complicated is what you mean by “worth it” and the reasons you want to enter the world of online publishing. There are a multitude of reasons one might want to start an online publication at this point.
One, you want to make it big and be rich like famous probloggers.
Two, you need an online platform to reach a wider audience for your business, no matter what size, brick-and-mortar or eCommerce.
Three, you just want to have a place online where you can write and share your thoughts, with the hopes of building an audience with profit not being the main goal.
Whichever reason you may have (it may not even be one of those three), I do think that there are enough justifications to support anyone who wants to start an online publication.
Let’s say you want to make it big.
What’s wrong with that? The thing is, the scene is so crowded that it isn’t that easy to make a name for yourself online anymore. That’s not to say it is not possible. A few things that will definitely help you:
- Choosing a niche where there is a gap. For example, if you are in Africa, and you’re involved in the startup scene, it is a good time to cover it. Don’t be a TechCrunch copycat trying to get the attention of the whole world. Instead, create something that might turn out to be the TechCrunch of your region.
- Speak up – with your own voice. Reporting the news is well and good. That’s how the Internet echo chamber works, and it does work for bigger sites. But if you want to establish yourself, you have to stand out. And one way to make yourself be heard above the din is to criticize when you need to, praise when you have to – even if it means going against the flow.
- Find the scoops. Going back to the echo chamber – you won’t make a dent if you’re just repeating what has been published by the usual suspects in your niche. Find sources that will give you fresh news, fresh perspectives, and new players. This may even be offline sources.
What about the money?
Yes, there is always the money issue. If you’re starting out on your own, and you don’t have a lot of money to start with, is it possible to start an online publication? Of course!
There are free platforms, free domains, and even free hosting available. If you just want to test the waters first, don’t pay for anything if you can find it for free. When you have validated your idea – that is, your publication gains traction – then you can start thinking about spending money on the site.
And, here’s the thing about money looking at another perspective: if you focus too much on making money from your online publication from the get go, the chances are that you will be disappointed; and then you’ll get the avalanche effect of being demotivated…
The fact is that there is nothing stopping you from starting an online publication. It is always worth a try, whether you’re looking for money or a wide readership. At the end of the day, the tools are available. If you don’t know how to do certain things, tutorials abound online. Articles are available with a few clicks. It is up to you to make your dream a reality if you really want to.
How about those of you who have been in this business for a while? Do you agree, or do you have some other thoughts?
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