Saturday, October 3, 2015

How to Not Blog for Profit

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.

14 comments:

  1. Great post! I've been blogging for 5 years and have only been blogging full-time for two years. What I have learned is blogging just to make money is not worth it, but if you can turn your passion into a profit, it's absolutely worth it!

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    1. This is great to hear that you are staying true to your self and your blog, still blogging what you are passionate about AND being able to be financially rewarded. I'm certainly not against that idea! Definitely a lovely bonus!! (and totally worth it, I agree)

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  2. Hear, hear!!! What a refreshing, well written, spot on post. I am doffing my (vintage) at at you right now, dear gal.

    ♥ Jessica

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    1. Thank you Jessica! Accepting vintage hat doffing!!

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  3. Totally agree! I just want something fun and I want anyone reading it to know that whatever I'm talking about on my blog is my honest opinion, not a promotion for some company so I can make a little money.

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    1. I just couldn't write about something I don't believe in. I get the odd email asking if I want to review something, but honestly, if it's something I wouldn't normally use...or if it's something that wouldn't match the tone of my blog, I just don't want to do it.

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  4. Excellent post! I've been blogging for years, and while I did try to make money from it for a few months, I find I get much more out of it if I just do it for me. I love learning things from other peoples blogs, and pushing myself to learn or try new things for my blog. "Commercial" blogs are all over the place now, but a genuinely written blog is almost always more enjoyable to read. I'm a relatively recent follower of your blog and am quite enjoying it. I hope you keep sharing your wonderfully written posts with us all!

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    1. I'm with you! You do learn a lot from other people's blogs. It's such a fascinating look into other aspects of life. Commercial blogs are fine, and even a little bit of advertising, but sometimes it can just be over the top. Thank you for following me, I hope you continue to enjoy my space! x

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  5. "Computerized version of Scrapbooking" is very similar to what I'm thinking in regards to my blog/YT channel. I loved to read this post, it felt very natural and honest. I'm glad that you've found a place where you just want to blog for yourself and not for money. It's much better that way! I mean, I love the freebies that come up here and there, but honestly if I didn't get them I'd be happy just with your friendship and all the others that I've made here. That's why I try to keep my reviews honest. Friends > MONEY!!!!

    Much Love!!
    -Stephanie Eva

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    1. Thanks Stephanie. I agree that your blog is like a scrapbook too (in the nicest way!), because your reviews on beauty products are so raw and honest. Whether you are receiving some sort of benefit or not it is obviously your own opinion, and I like how you don't say you 'like' a product just for the sake of it. I've had a few freebies too in the past, and it is nice, and I certainly don't begrudge anyone who makes money from their blogs (we all work hard!) but I agree with you, the friendships I have made far outweigh any monetary benefit. Money will be spent and gone but the friendships will last forever!!

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  6. I agree. It's so much nicer to read blogs where the author is clearly passionate about the things they're writing about. x

    http://ditsysprinkles.blogspot.co.uk

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  7. I think I gave up blogging for profit awhile ago. I got an email from a dress company in the UK wanting me to promote their site and talk up their products and pay me $20. I laughed about it for like an hour. For real? You want me to lie about a prom/ wedding dress company that I've never purchased from and tell everyone it's the best place to get dresses from??? That's silly. I'll stay $20 poorer. haha. I don't have a brand, a point. I actually all over the place. I cook, I do makeup, I love clothes. But I also change diapers and neglect doing laundry. I want my blog to reflect that "me." That I am someone who loves the things I love. I'd do fashion posts in a minute if I could. I broke my tri-pod and have been too lazy to go buy a new one. I feel weird Joshua taking my photo. He knows about my blog, but I'm no model. I dress how I like it's not everyone's cup-o-tea. haha. I do miss your fashion posts. I think you were way better at it than you give yourself credit for. (;

    btw we should totally continue our lengthy emails. haha xo

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    1. Yes, your blog is very 'real' Kiki, and a wonderful account of things in your everyday life, as well as great information on things you 'buy and try'. I've been sent these random emails too and they are a bit silly. Just for you I have worked on my method of fashion posts, I will be showing you things I make...you just won't be seeing my face(!)..note the post where I showed you my orange floral skirt and I covered up my head with flowers.
      PS. lengthy email coming your way!

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