With twenty-plus years at the helm of a motorcycle blog, you’d think at this point that I would have full confidence in what actually makes up a good personal motorcycle blog. But the truth is, I don’t.
Or, maybe I do.
I don’t know.
Because even as I write this, I think that writing a motorcycle blog all comes down to the author’s personal motorcycle experience. And then I quickly find counterpoints to that thought.
A rider’s motorcycle experience – boy, talk about something that is variable, huh? Not only is my experience different than anyone else’s, it can differ greatly from my own prior experiences year to year.
A motorcycle blog, at least in the way that I write one, seems to be something akin to time-marking. It is the story of a life written in small fragments and captured in snapshots. A life that is explored by way of the motorcycle.
In so many ways, throughout my ongoing story the motorcycle itself is it just a supporting actor for the protagonist. At times, the motorcycle is a visual metaphor or a stand-in. What else could it be when the story is the journey of the self?
When you stop for a moment to consider how much your life can change from one year to the next, you can see why it may be hard to define what a motorcycle blog is, or how to write a good one.
Maybe other bloggers don’t go through these types of internal conversations about their own blogs? Some authors write impersonally about motorcycle events or product reviews and that’s it. The vibe or concept never changes and they are satisfied and confident in their direction. The expectation from their readers is that they will get “x” and that’s what the author delivers every time.
The thought has occurred to me that when there is a commercial element or the exchange of goods or money, that might help to limit the focus of what a motorcycle blog delivers.
But when you are just writing about yourself, in all of your different iterations over the years – who knows what might pop up next? You may gain and lose readers as their interest in your interests waxes and wanes.
And in the end, what do the answers to any of these questions I have for myself about writing a motorcycle blog matter? Would the answers prompt me to change direction, shift my focus, write a whole separate blog? After all this time the answer is likely, “no.”
With twenty-plus years in, I am an old dog. Though there have been dalliances with social media, video, meet-ups, and hangouts over the years – I don’t have any new tricks. Year over year I come back to the same old formula: riding around, snapping photos of the world as I see it, and posting it on my blog. I guess it’s what I do.
A motorcycle blog is a great way to share your passion for two wheels with the world. Maybe you’ve been kicking the idea around but don’t know how to start. Well? It’s as easy as riding a bike.
Plus! Motorcycle bloggers are the sexiest bloggers of all of the writing niches. It’s science. (Don’t look it up, just take my word for it.)
How to Start a Motorcycle Blog
Step One: Ride a Motorcycle
Are you ready for some earth-shattering wisdom on the road to becoming a motorcycle blogger?
Riding a motorcycle or at least being interested in motorcycles is step one.
I know! Crazy, right?!
Step Two: Write and share photos of your motorcycle experience
So, you’ve made it passed the first hurdle. Congratulations! Now it’s time for you to put your motorcycle experiences on the page.
Now, maybe you’re not a rider yet. That’s okay. How about documenting your journey towards learning to ride?
Or, maybe you never want to actually ride and you just like snapping photos of motorcycles parked or seen around your city. Great! People love looking at photos.
Maybe you’re a commuter, or you spend all of your free time riding, or you’re an industry insider who has a unique insight. I dunno! Your motorcycle experience is unique to you! Tell the world about it.
Step Three: Enjoy fame and fortune
Chances are the only thing you’re going to get from blogging about the motorcycle experience is connecting with other riders who read your posts, comments from your mom (who will always think you’re a superstar), and a passion project for yourself.
Sound discouraging? Surprisingly, it isn’t. As a long-time unpaid blogger, I can say that there is joy simply in the doing.
Of course the three steps I’ve outlined are tongue-in-cheek, but they’re not that far off. The rules are: there really aren’t many rules. Makes posts that relate to motorcycles. Have a good time doing it. That’s it.
You know, I have been at this blogging-thing for a pretty long time. I started writing about my rides back in 1998 on a Hometown AOL page. At the time, the word “blog” didn’t even exist but the core idea did.
We’re social animals, albeit in varying degrees. People seek like-minded individuals to whom we can relate. At our core, we want to be inspired and share common experiences.
And so, here you are, reading this motorcycle blog over 20 years after its first incarnation. I don’t make any claims about being a blogging “expert.” I’ve just learned a few things along the way that I’m passing along.
What is your blogging goal?
Okay, let’s get started! ::cracks knuckles::
When you begin your blogging journey, understanding what you want out of the process is important. Be honest with yourself.
Do you want to make money?
Do you want to write reviews and get free stuff?
Do you want to help people?
Do you want to be a part of a community?
Do you simply like to write and want to share your story?
Maybe you want all of these things, or… none of these things.
Knowing the why may help you to zero in on the how.
For example, if your main goal is to find a way to monetize blogging about motorcycles, your approach to writing, setting up your blog and marketing it will be in contrast to simply writing for your own pleasure.
Both avenues will be work, but one will be more like a job.
What does blogging success mean to you?
Measuring success when you are writing a blog isn’t one-size fits all. This goes back to the why of writing your blog.
If you are writing with the hope of making money or getting free gear and products to review – success might be something like a dollar amount, or being paid to contribute to other online motorcycle publications.
If earning some level of income isn’t your focus, success might mean x number of shares on a post, a million pageviews, or thousands of comments.
Sometimes, just getting positive feedback from one person will make your day.
Maybe for you, the ability to craft a post, or take some lovely photographs is it’s own reward. The success and pride is simply in the doing.
There is no right answer beyond what’s right for you.
How do you go viral or become popular?
Honestly? I haven’t the slightest idea how virality works. I’ve long since given up trying to understand what makes people like and share posts.
Often the posts I am most proud of don’t get any feedback. You have to learn to be okay with this reality.
There have been many times that I’ve read Top X Motorcycle Blogger posts, only to read the same blog names over and over again. And more often than not, I don’t find at least half of the blogs on the list very engaging.
What that tells me is that I am likely out of step with what most people find interesting or popular. Or, perhaps such posts and articles are nothing more than clickbait designed to make the people who are included share the post.
I’m guessing here – relatability or being helpful is likely the key to sharing.
Does it cost anything to run a motorcycle blog?
Yes. No. Maybe.
You have a lot of options with regard to spending on the nuts and bolts of creating a blog. The best part? You don’t have to spend any money to get started if you don’t want to.
Getting started: Pick a blog platform
If you don’t plan on purchasing your own domain name, and you don’t need your own hosting company, you can run your blog on a free service like WordPress.com.
Using WordPress is easy-peasy and highly flexible. There are eleventy-million different free plug-ins and themes to help you customize your blog. And they also offer a free phone app so that you can post on-the-go.
If you aren’t a technical person and you just want a place to log in and post, you can’t go wrong with WordPress. It’s simple and will grow with you.
Blog-related things that can cost money (but aren’t necessary):
How do you know when you’ve made it as a motorcycle blogger?
Do you have a motorcycle-related blog post published on the internet that people can read? Well, guess what? You made it! You are now a motorcycle blogger.
This kind of goes back to what you think success is. What does “making it” mean to you? Is it earning money from your blog, being on best motorcycle blog lists, getting lots of pageviews? Or is it when your friends say they loved your latest post when you meet for coffee?
Someone once stopped me at a traffic light in Virginia and told me they read my blog. I live in New York. That felt amazing and was my own personal “I made it” feeling.
It’s motorcycle blog but what should I write about?
Everything and anything!
Motorcycles are such a rich and engaging experience and touch so many parts of people’s lives the topics to write about are endless!
Commuting, travel, industry news, top 10 lists, other riders, racing, opinion pieces, picks, pans, rumors, lifestyle, gear, curated Instagram posts, daily rider experience – fuhgeddaboudit!
Remember, this is your blog. Do whatever the hell you want. For every rule you read, you’ll find someone who broke it and went on to succeed.
There is only one you and your view of the world is unique. Share it!
Do you actually have to write anything to be blogger?
Nope, you don’t.
Maybe your blog would be made up of motorcycle images, or reblogged industry news, or motorcycle memes. As long as you’re weaving the thread of motorcycles somewhere in there, you have tons of options.
If you aren’t confident in your writing voice yet, that’s okay! You’re not being graded. Be yourself and share your unique point of view.
Do you have to share photos on a motorcycle blog?
Do blogs with engaging images enjoy more pageviews and interactions? Probably. Internet readers are generally skimmers. So, the old adage about a picture being worth 1,000 words likely rings true.
So while it isn’t a requirement, you will likely find that posts with photos perform better.
Stuck? Pay homage to the motorcycle blogs you like to read
Think about the motorcycle blogs that you like to read. What makes them special to you?
They say great writers read a lot, and great artists steal. Pay homage to the people that inspire you with their blogging if you’re having trouble finding your footing at first.
You will evolve if you keep at it.
Will I be extra sexy If I write a motorcycle blog?
How to Write a Motorcycle Blog – In Conclusion
So, while there are a lot of words on this page, the process is pretty simple.
Create a blog account somewhere
Write a post about motorcycles
Add a motorcycle photo or two
Tell your friends
Welcome to the motorcycle blogging neighborhood!
My Favorite Motorcycle Blogs
Finishing this post up without providing examples of great motorcycle blogs would be a shame.
My two favorite motorcycle blogs continually inspire me with their heart, introspection, experiences and photography. These two gents continually knock my socks off.
Apparently, these were my “best nine” photos on Instagram in 2017. And by best, the gang at 2017bestnine.com simply mean the ones with the most likes. I don’t think these are the best photos I’ve taken all year – not that I’ve ever prided myself on being a great picture-taker. But I get lucky once in a while.
The more I use it the less I understand social media. I mean, I get the technological premise and even the naive goal. I suppose what I’m really saying is that I don’t understand people and their motivations.
Strategically placed products, brand ambassadors, curation-machines… I need to get off this ride. I don’t care about any of it.
And since Instagram decided that it knows best what I want to see algorithmically – I see the same people, and even the same photos reshared all the time. I’m not necessarily seeing pictures from people I actually care about. I don’t see photos from everyone I follow. This is not what I want.
Get off my lawn.
Perhaps I’ll always favor blogs. Passive as they are, whether I get to see them or not is directly controlled by me. I dunno, maybe I’m holding on to the past too tightly.
Why don’t you tell me (and whoever else is reading this) about your “I’m not going to try to sell you anything, I just share my life” blog in a comment below? Or maybe share your “I’m not a brand ambassador” Instagram account?