Say what?!? Did you say how NOT to blog for profit?? Aren't there are million and one articles and blog posts out there that tell you HOW to blog for profit? Why on earth would I want to not blog for profit when everyone else is doing it (seemingly) and there are actually people out there who (supposedly) make six figure incomes. Why wouldn't I? Why wouldn't you??
I guess only you can answer that for yourself, and maybe you do really want to make some money off your blog, I mean you pour enough hours into it. Although maybe you don't, who knows. It's totally up to you. But here's my thoughts on the matter, and why I decided to stop trying and actually start enjoying my blog.
About a year ago (and I really can't believe it actually was about a year ago) I decided to give this blogging thing a real go and try and make some income from it. I'm a writer by trade, I write for a magazine, but it's a quarterly mag, so I don't earn a huge amount per year. I thought that maybe, since I enjoy blogging anyway, why not try and take it up a notch and make some extra money to help out the family income. So I did a great stack of research, read all the blog posts on how to gain followers, bought the books on 'How to Blog for Profit' and worked on it really hard. And I mean REALLY hard. At one point, for quite a while, I was pumping out a blog post per day and literally putting a whole days worth of work into it EVERY day. It was exhausting. And it was annoying...because obviously you have to work like crazy like this for ages...and ages...and ages...before you see any financial reward....and so it felt like I was working like a slave for nothing. Ok, well not completely nothing...I mean I was starting to get some rewards, such as free tickets to a couple of major professional musical shows in the city, and I was invited to a few blogger 'dos', but I hadn't seen a single cent. Not one. I still haven't seen a single cent.
I also wasn't blogging about something I was completely passionate about either. I changed my blog so it covered a subject that might become more appealing to attract brands. My initial thought was beauty...but since I'm not really interested in makeup...I gave that idea the flick...so I figured why not do a bit of a fashion/lifestyle blog. Hmmmm...interesting...to say the least because fashion probably wasn't my strong point either since all I wore was jeans, a checked shirt and my cowgirl boots.
Now I'm not in my 20s, I'm not tall and skinny, and I'm not super good looking....so doing outfit posts seemed a bit....well....random....but I figured if I made the written part humorous, (and poked a generous amount of fun at myself)...I might be able to get by. It was with much trepidation that I started to do these, but eventually I got used to the ridiculousness of posing in front of a camera (set on a timer) in the middle of a paddock (by myself) and changing clothes in the middle of the road (thankfully I live in the country...so also in the middle of nowhere). Anyway, it sort of worked and I was getting some nice photos, (only due to the nice scenery really) but it was NOT gaining me any more followers really....and despite spending oodles of time commenting on other blogs (as "they" say you should do to divert traffic to your own blog)....all I was doing was spending an incredible amount of time in front of a computer, and doing something that my husband thought was a waste of time.
Now I was initially pretty hurt by his feelings because I'd spent hours and hours (and I mean probably about 500 hours...no exaggeration) going through the process of finding locations, taking photos, editing photos, writing outfit posts.....etc....and in the end it obviously was just embarrassing someone very near and dear to me. In all honesty I had never actually explained to him what I was trying to do, which was try and make some extra income for us, so no doubt he would have seen my reasoning behind the craziness....but in the end I just gave up....and deleted the lot. No shit. And I don't swear here, normally, but you can no doubt appreciate the swear-ability of this moment. I deleted probably 60 posts. Now if you are a blogger, which I am assuming you probably are, then you can appreciate the amount of work I just sent into the cyber trash can. It left me feeling a bit stunned, deflated certainly, and weirdly I actually sunk into a kind of semi-depression.
Anyway, I stepped back from the blog for a while, which a few of you noticed (those dearest blogger friends whom I adore but have never had the pleasure of meeting face to face)...but eventually I actually felt like I wanted to blog. And not for anyone else, or to try and fit into a 'market', but just for myself. This was also the time I wrote this post here about 'Stepping back in time' and trying to slow down the pace of my life, as well as attempting to live a more simple life. Suddenly blogging became really pleasurable. Somewhere to spend a little 'me' time. I had decided to change the way I was living, basically based on how I hate the way my life is flashing before my eyes so quickly, but I was also starting to hate how technology is making us so 'disconnected' even though we feel we are more connected than ever, but also how it invades our lives so much.....and makes my children go nuts (scream about the iPad anyone???!) Suddenly I now wanted to document this unwinding of time in my life and simply share these changes and discoveries.
Recently taking up sewing, and finding I absolutely adore it, I have now found that this space has almost turned into a sewing blog, although perhaps 'lifestyle' is a better tag for it because I hardly feel I have the skills nor talent to go about giving out sewing advice just yet (!) But the main thing is it has now become MY space where I do what I want and in all honesty....I don't care about trying to make money, trying to gain followers or any of that stuff. This switch in thinking has been so liberating and weirdly.......I've actually gained a few extra followers without trying....which hasn't been my intention at all. I guess that has pointed out that if you stay true to yourself then readers will recognise the sincerity in your blog and will keep on reading, rather than just seeing that your blog is just there to try and make money, which is kind of cold and calculated and I'm not sure that was the whole point behind blogging when the concept initially started. It certainly is nice to know that people appreciate what you write and want to keep reading what you write, so I'm grateful for each and every person that stops by, and if someone extra comes on board it is lovely...but I'm certainly not out to build up my numbers for some sort of reward. That is a bonus and a blessing.
So to answer the question, how do you NOT blog for profit? Simply this. Just enjoy yourself. Write for yourself. Write about what you want to write about. Do it in your own time. Slow down, grab a cup of tea and read the blogs you love for pleasure and enjoy what they have to say. Comment only when you feel the urge too and want to show another blogger you appreciate and enjoyed their post, not because you want to gain more traffic to your own. Never compare yourself to other blogs and forget about the statistics. Importantly, find a reason YOU enjoy blogging and stick to it. I love writing and I enjoy making my blog page look pretty, I know it sounds daft but it's as simple as that. Maybe it's a computerised version of scrapbooking!?! I used to love doing projects at school, writing up the report and then doing the fancy headings and illustrations. To me this is what my blog is, another school project, or in other words, an outlet for my creativity, wherever that may lead.