There are as many reasons to blog as there are blogs. People have their own reasons to start one, but they can usually be boiled down to a few major categories. See if one of these categories fits why you want to start a blog.

1. You want to establish your expertise—You could start a blog to help your chances in a job search, to launch a public speaking career, or to show all those jerks from high school that your knowledge of mollusk mating habits was not esoteric and useless. This is also a good way to improve your own knowledge in your field. You need to keep up with what’s going on to tell your readers about it. So, if nothing else, blogging forces you to stay current in your industry.

2. You want to market or sell something—One reason businesses have a blog is to make money. Another is to engage with their customers. They use their blogs to engage directly with their customers, and to help them make buying decisions about their products or services. You may not sell anything on your blog, but you can sell things because of it. You can showcase your products and drive people to your website and shopping cart, which will increase sales. Many businesses are embracing blogging as a new marketing tool, which is why we know it isn’t going away any time soon. Once the business world picks something up, it’ll be around forever. Many businesses still use fax machines, if that tells you anything…

3. You have something to say—Whether it’s personal observations about life, political beliefs, or knowledge you want to impart, you want a place to publish your thoughts. Even if you write your blog for just three people, it’s important that you have a platform to stand on. Blogging lets you do that. We know bloggers who only started out writing for a few friends and now measure their readers by the thousands each month.

It is worth noting that sharing personal beliefs on a blog for professional branding can backfire. Keep in mind that potential employers may read your blog, and getting too personal or too controversial can keep you from getting the job.

4. You want to share your passion—Many blogs are about a passion or hobby someone has. Photographers, collectors, and writers have all been able to showcase their talents or acquisitions through blogging. Whether it’s the photographer who uploads her best wedding photos or the antique tractor collector who’s showing off his latest steering wheel, bloggers have been able to share their passions with other people like them.

5. You want to be a part of a community—The great thing about sharing your passion is that people who share that passion will soon find you. If you write about marble collecting, other marble collectors will find you on the search engines and any networks where marble collectors hang out. You can share information via your blogs, talk about upcoming events, and eventually meet face to face at the Marble Collecting Convention. (Yes, there really is one.)

Blogging is an excellent way to sell your story and your ideas to a consuming population. Now… get out there and start writing.

Find out more about blogging and personal branding.