This is a really hard post for me to write. It’s fashionable to pretend that none of us has any financial goals when we blog, and so pulling aside the curtain to share is hard. But I think it’s important, so I’m going to go ahead and share.
I don’t know how many of you know this, but this is the beginning of my seventh year blogging. Christmas was my sixth year anniversary. Something else you may not know (as I said, it’s not particularly fashionable to be up front about this), is that when I started blogging, I absolutely intended to make a living doing it. It wasn’t my “first” priority — my first priority was to share my experiences. But I certainly hoped to make money at it along the way.
Back when I started blogging, the keys to becoming a top blogger were to:
- post daily
- make sure your photos were great
- leave tons of relevant comments on relevant blogs
- be yourself
If you did those things back in 2007, you had a pretty good shot at becoming one of the top bloggers. I started doing those things and I was on my way.
Except for one little problem. Just like I said I was a mess with my home, I was a mess as a blogger. Every time I saw a new, amazing, blog, I’d say, “Like that, I want to be like that.” and then I’d change everything about my blog and my projects to try and be like that. I was a home blogger, then a craft blogger, then a quilt blogger, then a garden blogger, then back to a home blogger. And not in the sense that I was a home blogger with a wide variety of interests, I mean, I would change the whole blog to be all about whatever topic I thought was really it this time.
Meanwhile, we moved into the ugliest house ever, lost our jobs, had a baby, and tried to survive the crash along with everyone else. Trying to blog for money seemed like a fantasy. But then, the middle of last year (2012), I decided to really go for it. I figured, if I am going to become a bigger blog, I’m going to have to do what the bigger blogs do. I started taking sponsored giveaways, sponsored content, that sort of thing. Not a lot, but some. I signed up to do more of the in-content advertising with my ad network. I decided to have a big holiday posting series. I started studying SEO techniques. All of that.
Guess what? I hated it. Really hated it.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have anything against those things. I have great friends from back in the day who became very successful bloggers and many of them do that kind of thing. I love them and I love their blogs.
But I didn’t like how it felt to do them on mine. Even in the middle of my mess, I’ve always felt like this blog was a conversation between me and you, between friends. I had figured something out in my life or my home or my garden that really excited me and I wanted to tell you about it. Like I would a friend. So, using that space to say something that wasn’t truly from my heart… well, I just didn’t like it. I won’t be doing any of those in the future.
And the big posting series? I didn’t like that either. I loved sharing my holiday experiences and pictures with you. That part was great. I also love blog parties (I even had a monthly one back when before there were such things as “linkys”). But the other part of it? I hated. I hated putting the series name on everything, like a banner. I hated feeling like I had to pre-schedule my whole life to fit the blog, or that I was beholden to the blog and it’s schedule all the time. I won’t be doing that again, either.
I don’t mean to sound totally negative, or spoiled. I am just finally (finally), learning who I am and how that informs my relationship to blogging.
Do I still want to make money blogging? Yes, yes I do. Of course I do. (Doesn’t everyone?)
Is it likely that I will make money if I am not willing to do all the “modern” things that you are supposed to do if you want to grow your blog and be big? Anything you read out there will say no, not very likely.
So where does that leave me? Hard to say. I don’t know what the future holds. But I can tell what I am going to do.
First off, I’m going to forget all about the “shoulds” of modern blogging, and pretend it’s still 2007. No hype, no gimmicks. I’m going to paint and plaster and sew and cook and garden and share it with you. My life, with you, right here, good, bad and ugly, as many days a week as I can manage. I’m going to spend less time on trying to game the system, and more time just connecting with you. I’ll still have ads and sponsors, but they will be in the sidebar, and not in the posts. I’m afraid that means I won’t have any big “wow” giveaways, but I’m okay with that.
It also means that this blog may never make more than pocket change, and I’m okay with that, too. I love doing this. I can’t imagine life without the blog. It’s too special to me. I do, however, also need to increase my income. So, I’m going to try a different type of blog as a second blog. It’s on frugal, sustainable living, and I am envisioning it as more of a repository of information. It, also, will not have sponsored content, but I’m hoping that by writing on a topic more as a writer than a blogger, I can attract some traffic and help grow some income. I’ll share more on that as that gets launched this month.
So. That’s where I’m at. I sincerely hope that the new readers who’ve come along recently will still want to stay, and the longtime readers will stay, too. This blog may never get bigger, and I’m okay with that. We’ve got a pretty good thing going here, and I am happy.
Now, to push the “Publish” button and wait, wincing, for a reaction. I hope you take the time to comment, but also comment gently. It’s a sensitive subject for everyone, bloggers and blog readers alike. I appreciate your patience, and I appreciate you. Thank you for letting me share.
Blessings to you all,