In the last week, I have spent a good amount of time on the phone with friends or family that are interested in blogging. There seems to be a blogging “buzz” going around. One of my friends wanted to get EVERY detail from me because she wanted to know if it was really for her. She also said, “please tell me all the horrible parts of blogging so that I go into this well-informed. I hate it when people leave that part out and only tell me the good parts.”
So here it is. The good and the bad. And if you are still left wanting more, one of my blogging friends also wrote an excellent post (and accurate in my opinion) on the good, the bad, and the ugly side of blogging. Check it out!
At home with the kids? Instantly access any of these printable activity bundles to keep them learning!
If you are already a blogger, you might enjoy my post on how to grow your blog.
What are the CONS to blogging?
If I had known how much time and effort (and sometimes even tears), were about to go into my first year of blogging, I probably would have never started. I just had no clue. After a certain point I knew I had to keep going, otherwise the thousands of hours I had put into it already would go to waste. Since I'm only one person with one personality type, I decided to get a bunch of blogger's opinion on the cons of blogging, and here is what they said:
Dealing with trolls. Just when you thought all was good in the world some mean person will drop by your blog and leave the nastiest comment that will not only intend to insult you and your family, but also your dead dog. Seriously though, you have to have thick skin. Bloggers get some of the craziest comments sometimes. You have to be able to just laugh and move on, even if someone attacks you personally (because the more your blog grows, the more it happens).
Getting discouraged or comparing to others. There are like a million ba zillion blogs out there. Chances are there are people who are way more talented than you are on a particular subject. You have to be willing to be okay with the stage you are at and not compare your blog to others. If this is hard for you in real life, it will only be a magnified issue in the blogging world. You also need to be patient as you learn everything. There is an endless amount of things to learn when it comes to running a website. Really, like endless. I still get frustrated when things stop working, but those first few weeks of setting my site up had me wanting to throw my laptop at the wall almost every day. Followed by lots of crying. (no but really, I really cried one time after spending over 5 hours trying to fix something so stupid). If you are really rich and can pay someone to take care of all your technical issues, then this won't be your problem.
Social Media. Ahh. My least favorite. Blogging is like 10% blogging, and 90% social media (or even more). I did not know this when I first started. I kind of just thought I would start writing and people would just “discover” me. Nope. You have to be very, VERY active on social media and you need to promote everything that you write. If you've never been on Pinterest before this will be very challenging. If you are closed down your Facebook years ago, you might have a rough time. You also need to make time for promoting other blogger's stuff, as well as networking with other bloggers. This is not only good for your blog, but blogging friends are good for your sanity.
It's not a “do it in your spare time” kind of job. You actually have to treat it like a job if you want to make money. And you have to be okay with working long, hard hours for free….for a long time. Like I said, that first year of blogging was a LOT more work than I thought it would be. And it was all for free. I can't even remember the last time I read a good book….or watched a series on T.V. Blogging not only takes up free time, it takes up lots of other time! You need to be able to say no to fun things in order to keep up. As one blogger said, “ It takes every ounce of your time, thoughts, and effort. It has to be a passion or you will get burned out quickly. Heck, it's my passion and I still need a day off every now and then!”
Which takes me to the next thought,
You need to enjoy it. There are aspects of blogging (like social media), that aren't my favorite. But for the most part, I have enjoyed my journey. You have to have passion for what you are doing or you will get drained. Even those that love it have moments of hating it (or just needing a little break).
Here's a few things some other bloggers said,
“It takes a TON of time. I work full-time and tried to do blogging on the big time, but part-time hours. It did not work and I never saw my family. However, from the whole experience I learned that I love food photography and now have a small business/ blog dedicated to that and it is much more enjoyable and manageable”
“I typically tell people to plan on working 15-20 hours a week and not making money for a year. If they are still interested after that then that is a good indicator.”
“it not only takes hard work, time but also LUCK! ALSO I think it's become much harder to hit that “tipping point” that takes your blog from pennies to making a living off of it. The big ones keep getting bigger, and the middle ones keep chasing that elusive number (as it goes up and up) It's hard to break through without some luck.
Even if you do EVERYTHING right it's much harder than it used to be to make money. Along with LUCK It takes natural talent in a few areas as well, it's become so visual you have to have an “eye” for it. AND you have to be interested in LEARNING. If you enjoy creating, teaching, sharing, learning and wearing more than 1 hat (and don't care about the $) you might enjoy it.
I always tell people if they are looking for money there are a lot easier, less time-consuming and better paying ways to do it. Joann's, Michael's, Home Depot, Hobby Lobby and more would require much less time, pay better and get you a discount on supplies.”
So… How do Bloggers Make Money?
There are lots of ways, but the 3 basic ways are: Ad space, affiliate marketing (when you buy products they refer), and sponsored posts. I remember when I learned this many years ago I started looking at bloggers like greedy little scammers, “They are totally making bank off this link!”
Yea, not true. If only it were that easy. Which leads me to something that shouldn't be left out:
Why Should You Support Bloggers?
Think of it this way: You walk into a restaurant and eat a really good meal. The restaurant provides the good meal. After the meal is finished, you realize you need to pay. A 3rd party (neither the restaurant nor yourself), walks up to your table and says, “I'll pay for it!”
This is kind of like blogging, and it's so freaking genius and wonderful if everyone understood! Don't be too bugged when you see ads on a blog, or when bloggers link to a product in their tutorial! The blog is the restaurant, and the ads, the brands, and the stores are the ones paying the tab!
Bloggers provide the recipes, the birthday party printables, and even the cleaning tips that make our life easier and sometimes even save your bacon! But it's hard work. And now that I blog I know that it is sometimes really, really hard work. But bloggers don't expect you to pay. They just ask for your support, and the brands pay. This means that you put up with seeing ads as you print off that last-minute baby shower gift tag, and maybe even leave a comment. This means that when you are going to shop online anyway, you click-through to your favorite store from a link on one of your favorite blogs. This actually happens a lot less than you think it would. I have a blogging friend that spends a lot of good time on her blog and has some awesome stuff. However, her Amazon Affiliate account is about to close because no one has ever purchased anything from her links. And yet I'm sure she has tons of readers that love her and would totally support her blog if they only knew she was being shut down. Mostly I just want to convey that bloggers are just like you…trying to make ends meet. Please don't see them as sneaky little marketers getting rich off of unsuspecting readers. The really big bloggers with millions of followers can make a decent amount of money, but the rest of us are just trying to cover our expenses and maybe even a package of diapers.
And just FYI, it doesn't cost anything extra if you purchase something from an affiliate link vs. just going to the site naturally. Something else you should understand about shopping through blogger's affiliate links (specifically Amazon): At some point, after you supported a blog a certain number of times (by shopping from their links), Amazon starts to consider you a “friend,” meaning they no longer count your purchases. This is why it's a good idea to support multiple bloggers rather than just one.
So, What are the PROS to Blogging?
For me, this one is easy. I've always had an entrepreneur's heart. I love communicating with companies and spreading the news about fun products, or activities, or ways to save money. I love that I can work from home. I also really love my kids, but sometimes I just really need adult interaction. This comes through all of your amazing comments, or via other bloggers that I communicate with. Being a mom is really rewarding, but many days it super hard at the same time. Like one of the hardest things I have ever done. My blog keeps me focused on all the positive part about motherhood. It keeps me motivated to find new ways to learn and play with my kids. After a lot of hard work, my blog has started to help my family financially. My husband is a teacher and things can get really tight on our income. We don't live off of my blog income (1st because it's not enough, and 2nd because it's never consistent), but we definitely use my blog earnings to help with debt. Things like student loans and getting ahead on our car payment. Just the little things that I hope one day will make a big difference for our budget.
I don't know if I will blog forever, but right now it is blessing my life. Especially since I have had the chance to meet so many amazing people from all across the world.
Moms like me that are doing their best to live an ordinary and fantastic life.