The Difference Between a Hobby Blogger and a Professional Blogger

Blogging: The Difference is the Motive

Thousands of people are blogging, but all of their blogs can be divided into two general camps -- the hobby blogs and the professional blogs. The difference, simply put, comes down to motive. Why does the blogger blog? The motive is obvious after looking at the blog design and reading just a few posts.

What is a Hobby Blogger?

A hobby blogger is one who blogs for personal satisfaction. His blog is full of personal reflections, rants, or daily experiences. The hobby blogger's posts are similar to diary entries -- recounting the day's events and his perceptions of them.

The mom blogger is a specific type of hobby blogger. Of course, her children are a focal point of her blog, and there are pictures of the little angels plastered all over the blog. Every milestone, every birthday, every trip is memorialized in a blog post. Mom bloggers often begin blogs as a way to keep the grandparents and other extended family members informed of family happenings.

As a reader, you may leave a hobby blogger's blog feeling that you just played peeping tom. You saw lots of personal details about someone you do not know at all. And more importantly, you don't have much to apply to your own life. There is no carry over from the blogger's life to your own. You are left thinking, "Well, so what? What's it to me? So you have cute kids or you like to rant about bad customer service. How does that speak to me?"

A hobby blogger's blog is usually hosted on a free platform (Blogspot, for example). The sidebar is cluttered with memes, silly award badges, lists of favorite blogs, social media widgets, and a dated archive list. There may even be music that plays automatically (because the blogger likes that kind of music).

The Professional Blogger Meets Readers' Needs
The Professional Blogger Meets Readers' Needs

What is a Professional Blogger?

The professional blogger impresses you right off the bat with a professional theme and a self-hosted blog on his own domain name. The design is crisp and looks like a graphic artist designed it (because one did). The sidebar is pared down to essential navigation and relevant ads. There is a photo of the blogger and an about page that introduces him or her.

A professional blogger's appeal goes beyond the surface impression, though. There is a clear niche both stated and adhered to throughout the blog. There is content that makes you want to bookmark it, Tweet it, share it, or subscribe to the feed. The author has a voice that is appealing and distinctive, but the blog is not overly personal like a yearly Christmas newsletter. There is a healthy distance between the blogger and the reader that lends a sense of authority to the author's content.

Most importantly, the blog posts are intensely practical and useful to the reader. Each one solves a problem or teaches something. You have a sense that the blogger is not merely blogging for his own personal expression but is blogging to meet the needs of his readership.

Are You a Hobby Blogger or a Professional Blogger?

Why Do You Blog?
Why Do You Blog? | Source

Did You Catch It?

The primary distinction between the hobby (or mom) blogger and a professional blogger is the intent.

The hobby blogger blogs for self-expression and is intensely personal, often without a care to his reader's own interests. The hobby blog is self-focused. The reader leaves thinking, "Great for you, but so what for me?"

The professional blogger blogs with his readers in mind. The reader's needs and desires are foremost. Personal tidbits may be shared, but only when application to the reader can be clearly demonstrated. The reader leaves thinking, "Wow, that really helped me to understand something!"

How to Transition from a Hobby Blogger to a Professional Blogger

Are you a hobby blogger? Would you like to become a professional blogger? Here are some steps to take to make the leap to a professional blogger.

1. Most importantly, begin evaluating every post in light of your audience's needs, problems, and questions.

If your post cannot directly apply to the reader, why are you posting it? How does an expose of your family vacation help the reader? If it doesn't, you probably should not post it. Ask yourself "So what?" at the end of each post. If you can't answer that with a good answer from your reader's perspective, then your post is more suited to the hobby blog.

2. Make application to your reader when you share personal anecdotes.

Professional bloggers do share personal information, but they do it selectively and with intent. How does the cute story about your children meet your readers' needs? Make sure that it plain.

3. Clean up your sidebar.

If you want to be taken seriously, you must get rid of the high school yearbook style sidebar filled with "look at me, I'm so awesome" types of self-stroking tiddly bits. Stick with function. Are your readers really going to look up a post via your monthly archives list? (No, they won't.) Delete it. Replace it with sensible navigation or a list of your best posts. Do your readers need your audio player or a calendar in the sidebar? No, they have their own iTunes and their own calendar.

4. Get your own domain.

I promise you, once you set up your own blog, you will wonder why you ever took so long. Your subscriber numbers will rocket up, you will start being taken seriously as a blogger, and you will be in full control of your blog. Just do it.

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Comments 22 comments

prashantpujan profile image

prashantpujan 5 years ago from Mumbai, India

Found it to be useful & worth reading. Thanks

AllieRambles profile image

AllieRambles 5 years ago from Bay Area, California

What is the statistic? You have 7 seconds to impress someone visiting your blog or they will leave. I think you nailed one of the first attributes to a pro blogger, their great design. They know that they need to look good first. Once you got the reader there longer than a few seconds then you need to impress with awesome content.

Great hub. I enjoyed reading it.


nicregi profile image

nicregi 5 years ago from Malaysia

Whoa! Nice writing and great capsule positioning! Good information you got there! Keep it up.

Vapid Maven profile image

Vapid Maven 5 years ago from California

So if you blog on hub pages are you a hobby blogger? :)

tina.wong profile image

tina.wong 5 years ago from Vancouver, BC

there is definitely a lot to learn to become a profession blogger...

samsons1 profile image

samsons1 5 years ago from Tennessee

Very well written and descriptive. Easily understood and compelling. Voted up and beautiful...

barryrutherford profile image

barryrutherford 5 years ago from Queensland Australia

Yes very accurate well done...

Kelli-AdventurezInChildRearing 5 years ago

Thank you- I've been making this transition over the past year & have gone from 4 readers (people I know/family) to, well - many more. I definitely have a Niche market to blog to within the homeschool community - but my articles are now targeted to them & not just journal posts about us. I'm so happy with it - much more satisfying for me as well! Great info- wish I'd had it a year ago!

JimmieWriter profile image

JimmieWriter 5 years ago from Memphis, TN USA Author

@prashantpujan, barryrutherford,samsons1, tina.wong, nicregi, Thanks for the positive feedback!

@Kelli, You're welcome. It took me a while to figure this out too. There is SO much I wish that I had known at the beginning of my blogging journey. But I guess it would've been overwhelming. Some things you have to learn through experience.

@AllieRambles True. Design is important. It may be what gives you those extra seconds where the reader actually reads your content. If there's no content, though, the design is for nought.

Millionaire Tips profile image

Millionaire Tips 5 years ago from USA

This is useful and interesting, and I have voted it up. I'm not sure I agree with this opinion. I started writing online by having a personal blog, and I loved having a personal relationship with other people with their personal blogs. I've even met several - from places as far away as Japan and Denver and Canada. From where I started, personal blogs were for friendships, and professional blogs were to make money. I think there is a place in the world for both. Both have their benefits. The big danger is when personal blogs start monetizing, then their friends feel like they have been used.

JimmieWriter profile image

JimmieWriter 5 years ago from Memphis, TN USA Author

Millionaire Tips, of course there is a place for the hobby blog. Yes! There is nothing wrong with a hobby blog at all. But when you do want to monetize and move up a notch in traffic and authority, you need to make a mental shift from a hobby blogger to a professional one. (I sometimes have bloggers ask me how I gained so many readers or some other question. They want advice for changing their own blogs. The primary reason they don't see growth is that their blogs are hobby blogs and are too personal instead of offering help to the reader.)

cclitgirl profile image

cclitgirl 5 years ago from Western NC

This is very useful. must have a professional blog. :)

mary615 profile image

mary615 5 years ago from Florida

You mention getting a domain?? How important is that, and why? I started with HubPages as a hobby, but now I'm seeing the potential for income, and want to write better Hubs.

JimmieWriter profile image

JimmieWriter 5 years ago from Memphis, TN USA Author

cclitgirl, I am aspiring to a professional blog. I'm not sure that I'm totally there yet.

Mary, Yes! Getting your own domain is ESSENTIAL for being taken seriously in the blogging world. You can blog and write hubs side by side. In fact, they complement each other very well as you interlink them.

justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 5 years ago from Texas

Interesting information. I have thought about blogging but haven't really identified what I would talk about! :D Voted up and useful!

molometer profile image

molometer 5 years ago

Very interesting hub on the differences in bloggers, I hadn't thought about it this way.

NonnyK profile image

NonnyK 5 years ago from My Home Usually!

Thank you for that. It very clearly states the difference between the two kinds of bloggers. I sometimes veer too close to the hobby blogger but the more I do it, the better I get at trying to keep my readers' needs at the forefront of my mind when writing.

JimmieWriter profile image

JimmieWriter 5 years ago from Memphis, TN USA Author

Nonny, if you can always keep your posts useful for the readers, they will come back for more.

wilderness profile image

wilderness 5 years ago from Boise, Idaho

Well, you may have pushed me over the edge. I've been thinking of getting a domain and starting to write there in conjunction with HP, but keep putting it off.

Perhaps I'll be thanking you in 6 months or a year - we'll see! Thanks for the hub (I think)

vimier profile image

vimier 4 years ago from Chicago, IL, United States

Very informative. I was actually wondering where I fit into this while I was reading the introduction. Do you think it's possible to be a professional blogger still writing on a free platform?

JimmieWriter profile image

JimmieWriter 4 years ago from Memphis, TN USA Author

@vimier, Absoultely! I am both!

healthwealthmusic profile image

healthwealthmusic 4 years ago from Everywhere Online ~ Fingerlakes ~ Upstate New York

You said it! A good read with points well laid out, useful, and accurate! I agree with it all :)

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