I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while, mainly because I’ve experienced a few things that have put me off blogging recently. Don’t worry I don’t aim to bore you!! I’m also not aiming this post at anyone or claiming to know everything. I just want to share my experience, even if it helps one or two people at most.
I’ve been blogging online for years. Ever since I was in secondary school I’ve been pretty much living my life online. However I was using tumblr for the most part. That was an expierence in itself, but as a social media site, it is totally different. It’s so simple to sort out a layout, follow a bunch of people and reblog the hell out of your dash. In reality that means I’ve only been blogging “properly” since January 2014. I have to admit I blogged for a year at least before diving into blogger forumns and realising a few home truths. Probably my main mistake but I’m also glad I got to blog for fun before realising the horrid truth of jargon that goes along with blogging.
To start with blogging is difficult now days because so many people are doing it. Most people think earning money blogging or vlogging is pretty easy. We all see Zoella making thousands and think that can’t be that hard!! Right? Well it is, you devote a lot of time to blogging. From the start, you have to pick a site (wordpress/blogger usually), sort out a name, a layout and then learn to build content you like. Sounds easy but it’s not. Layouts are pretty simple once you get the hang of it, branding yourself can take a while but content can be really hard. Making yourself stand out is key!!! I don’t even think I stand out enough but I love what I blog and that matters most to me.
It’s also pretty difficult to get views. Sounds really silly but even though the blogging world is saturated by bloggers gaining a following is pretty hard. Not many people use bloglovin, or in general follow actual blogs unless they are famous (duh!!) or in the blogging world themselves. I still only have only just over 100 followers (pretty proud) which is tiny compared to my other social media. Also blogger stats are meant to be inflated and rubbish (blah!!). It’s all about learning the tricks behind blogging to get you going.
You can purchase your own domain and become self hosted (I haven’t done that- lazy bones over here) which you’ll then get a DA (domain authority) It basically grows over time as your content gets viewed more and you connect with more people. Brands look for that (well more serious ones) so it is a good idea. But I would say if you’re blogging as a hobby rather than to earn money, don’t spend the money. It’s going to waste really. I’ve worked with a bunch of brands as they like my take on things. However if you are using blogspot.co.uk or wordpress you don’t have a DA as you don’t own your URL. You can also use GA (google analytics) to see realistic statistics on your posts (I’ve been too lazy once again). It’s a good idea to use from the start to really see what your readers are enjoying if you wish to grow.
So after the boring part off setting up you also get the money side of it. This is pretty boring too (sorry!!) Monetising your blog can be really good of course, but there are some things you need to know. I’m no expert remember so don’t take me seriously. You need to declare yourself as self employed within 3 months after your first payment. You can do it online or via phone pretty easy. Make sure to keep a detailed record (with receipts) of your outgoings/incomings just for tax reasons. You also have to consider creating a media kit, with all you stats for your blog. I created mine pretty easy and it’s fab to have something that looks professional to send to potential clients. I created mine using this tutorial (link). You also have to know about follow and non follow links so you don’t get in trouble with google. I know very little but enough I can now use them correctly. On all my outfit posts I link each item so you can find and buy the item. These are follow links and are created using the link button. Non follow links can be found on my items I’ve been gifted to post about. They usually have a * next to them. If you are paid to make a post they should also be non follow!! You create these the same (click the link button etc) but there’s a non follow box you can tick to make them non follow. I have to admit now I don’t really understand them fully but I know that’s the rules.
Boring explanations over, now time for a little moan. I’ve found in reality blogging is hard work!!! You have a lot of planning to do, you have to find time to shoot, edit, write posts, contact brands, edit your blog and control your social media. It looks a lot easier than it is. It’s hard sometimes to find ideas too. Everyone get blogger mind blocks so don’t worry if you feel you need to take a break. Plus sometimes life takes over!!
I’ve also found it can be quite a clique like. I feel sometimes more experienced bloggers even those who aren’t the obvious well known ones can be a little scary to connect with. People know each other and keep within their groups. It’s hard to break through. But I have found a lot of people are super helpful. Sometimes you do feel look down upon or really stupid because of how other bloggers react to you. Don’t let that get you down. I’ve avoided twitter and certain forums/groups because I needed a break from the bitchness. You just need to erase the negativity!!
As you’re starting out you will have that itch to go to a blogging event, even though it seems impossible. The same bloggers seems to go to the bigger events, but they have worked hard to get to that stage. There are smaller events out there for you. You need to work on networking, joining a few groups (facebook) and connect with brands. If you join networks focused on your area you can get invited to events. It’s hard work to build up your brand to the point where companies come to you but you can get to that stage if you want to.
As I mentioned a few times I use facebook groups for information and connecting with people. This was the point where I started to slow down when it came to blogging. I felt bombarded with information I never knew and felt so under pressure to get things right. It’s hard to discover a huge amount of information and process it all separately. You can felt bogged down and your blog becomes hard work. It’s all silly in reality because you’ve been blogging happily for a while and actually enjoying it. Of course blogging is a business and is hard work but it’s also a hobby, a bit of fun and something you can do for yourself!!
Don’t let the technical side of blogging, or the bitchy atmosphere put you off!! You blog for yourself and enjoy it, move at your own pace and write the content you enjoy.
I hope this blog hasn’t bored you to tears!!! I’ve been needing a good old moan for a while!! I can’t quite tell if this post is a rant or a how-to myself. I promise this wasn’t meant to put you off blogging, I just think a lot of us can relate!!
Anyhow I’ll leave you to enjoy the rest of your day.