10 Reasons Expats Should Start a Blog, Even in 2018

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10 Reasons Expats Should Start a Blog, Even in 2018

Blogging is so, like, 2010, isn’t it? Everyone is podcasting now, or vlogging, or has a YouTube channel. Right? Has blogging turned into MySpace? Who even remembers MySpace?

Blogging has changed, I’ll admit that. There are far fewer comments on blogs these days. Blogs are far less likely to get anyone a book deal or catch a literary agent’s eye.

But, there are a lot of good reasons to have a blog that have nothing to do with a writing career, and the comments that used to be on blogs have simply moved to places like the blogger’s Facebook page, or Facebook Group or Twitter live chat the blogger opened. Community engagement and finding that ‘me too!’ person from across the globe can still happen through blogs.

But what are some other, valuable, reasons to start a blog today, in 2018? (Here’s 11 things I learned, from way back in 2013, about blogging that might help you get started)

Keep a Record. We all want to journal, right? We wish we had the discipline and the time and the creativity and that our hand-writing muscles hadn’t atrophied after all these years away from pen and paper. But who among us really, truly, honestly keeps a regular journal? I don’t. Except, I do. Its more polished and far less vulnerable than a Dear Diary would be, but I have a pretty good record of the last eleven years, including photos.

Keep family and friends back ‘home’ informed. You can’t email everyone, you can’t Facebook everyone. But you can post a story or a photo and pass it along.

Have a landing place. You don’t know what the future holds. Maybe a book or music or painting…why not carve out a little place for yourself right now on the internet and see where it goes?

It will be good for you. You’ll learn some HTML, you’ll grow in courage every time you hit publish, you’ll work on ‘finding your voice’ or your art or your dreams. It can be a creative outlet that isn’t language learning or changing diapers or whatever your daily mundane is right now. You can grow in discipline and play with a new creative outlet.

Motivation to learn. You want to learn about local marriage customs but have lacked motivation? Want to try a new skill but can’t find the up-and-go energy? Maybe the idea of putting something on a blog can get you out the door or help you ask a friend new questions.

Earn money. It is still possible to earn money blogging. This is also super hard. I’ve been blogging for eleven years and still don’t make enough from my website to even pay for the website. I use Amazon’s affiliate program (which, by the way, it would be awesome if you clicked through when you’re doing your shopping, at no added cost to you, a few pennies kick back to Djibouti Jones, help keep the site alive!). I sell ebooks (slowly: Djiboutilicious Cookbook and Welcome to Djibouti). I host Google adsense. I’ve recently signed up for more affiliate programs. In total, I earn enough to buy myself a cup of coffee some months. So yeah, not a great income generator. BUT…that can really depend on your niche. Blog about tech, about cooking, about something people actually spend money on, and it is still possible. Blog like it’s a hobby, not so much. Blog like it’s a full time job, you could earn something.

Build a community. Albeit, online, but some of my online friends have become in real life friends, or at least on real phone calls friends. They are people I love, people I pour my heart out to, people I never would have met if I hadn’t started blogging and for whom I am eternally thankful.

Provide a service. You have a unique skill set or knowledge base that you could give to the world. Travel tips, cooking where there is no refrigeration tips, raising children in a multilingual environment tips…your information can be incredibly useful to someone out there.

People do still read. Yup. A-mazing. But true. They still read. I still read.

It is easier to skim a blog post than a vlog or a podcast. Yes, people still read, but we also skim. A lot. Sometimes I just want a recipe I can follow and listening to one isn’t helpful. Or I want some tips on transitioning Third Culture Kids to university or I need to figure out how to fix my TomTom watch. Vlogs and podcasts can be a waste of time when I want something specific. Blogs are better for this.

No, it is not too late to start a blog in 2018. Yes, you should start one if you’ve been considering it.

But how?

I’ll tell ya next week. For now, consider checking out Master Class where Annie Leibovitz Teaches Photography and Wolfgang Puck Teaches Cooking.

James Patterson Teaches You To Writer A Bestseller. Learn More.


*contains affiliate links

By |January 25th, 2018|Categories: Expat Thoughts, Writing|Tags: , |5 Comments


  1. Nicole Baldonado January 25, 2018 at 1:35 pm - Reply

    Hi, Rachel. Based on your post, I’m curious. Are there other recommendations you’d give to someone trying to develop into a professional writer? I’ve been blogging for about a year now and am doing some content writing outside of that. Always looking for new ways to learn and develop this skill set! Thanks.

    • Rachel Pieh Jones January 27, 2018 at 7:16 am - Reply

      I took a couple of online classes when I was getting started and those were incredibly helpful. They were through a Minneapolis-based literary center called The Loft. Or joining a writing group, I’ve also participated in a few of those. And then just writewritewrite! Oh, and listen to podcast with writers and about writing, I’ve loved that.

  2. Ingrid January 25, 2018 at 10:02 pm - Reply

    Fantastic post. Been blogging since 2010 and feel a bit less outdated thanks to you. Interesting to hear that people post less comments. Blogging has definately been a landing place and a great way to meet like-minded Expats from across the globe.
    Keep up the good work and don’t stop running. 😉

    • Rachel Pieh Jones January 27, 2018 at 7:15 am - Reply

      Thanks Ingrid! Have you noticed that, about the comments? It seems really strong to me.

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