Tough Love & Advice for Struggling Bloggers

Someone once said “Your dream job does not exist, you must create it” and never is this more prevalant than in the blogging game. There are few rules, there are limited guides and the most sucessful players are those that forge their own paths and do something unique. So how then, can you know where to turn when you start to feel sluggish? When the dreaded plateau hits? Or when you feel fresh out of ideas?

I read an interesting article by Penelope Trunk, entitled, “Reality check: You’re not going to make money from your blog” last week. In it she said, “Almost everyone should forget about making money directly from blogging. It’s so unlikely that it’s a total waste of your time trying. I am actually shocked at how ubiquitous the idea is that blogging is a get-rich-quick scheme. Or even a get-rich-slowly scheme. It’s not. Blogging is a great career tool for creating opportunities for yourself.”

Whist on many points I wholeheartedly agree (a very small percentage of bloggers will be able to reach that holy grail of earning enough to quit the day job and the fact that people still think it’s ‘easy’ or a ‘get rich quick’ scheme baffles me). But I also want to give you some hope… Or maybe the kick up the backside you need if you’re sat there wondering “why isn’t it ever me?”

Blogging is hard work. The internet is littered with disregarded and abandoned blogs. Blogs that have been dropped as soon as the expected rewards didn’t come flooding in after 6 months. Let me give it to you straight. Blogging is not easy and making money from blogging is even more difficult. I work harder and longer than I ever have but it’s wonderful. I have the best job in the world and I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else. You have to have passion in this game. Without it you’ll give up in no time at all.

But I know for many of you, you see no end in sight. You wonder how you can possibly elevate your blogging from a hobby blog to one that actually makes you money or gives you the notoriety that you crave. So today I thought I’d give you some tough love, and share with you some of the most important lessons I’ve learnt along the way.

Work harder than everyone else

If you’re looking to other bloggers and always wondering why they’ve ‘made it’ and you haven’t, it’s probably down to a few simple factors…

Having a better idea – they’ve found a niche that no-one else has tackled but a lot of people are interested in.
Working harder than you – they work their butts off on their blogs and their brand every single day.
Having more luck – they’ve taken their idea and their hard work and been in the right place at the right time.

If you sit there thinking “I’ll do it tomorrow” then you’re doing yourself a disservice. Tomorrow you might have another idea you want to tackle. This is no time for excuses. If it’s not happening for you then you only have yourself to blame. It’s no one else’s fault. If your blog isn’t where you want it to be, look internally. Are you really working as hard as you possibly can?

When the going get’s tough…

Facing discouragement or bumps in the road is inevitable, but it’s how you deal with these obstructions that will make or break you. Do you wallow in your failures and always wonder why others seem to be getting the opportunities while you don’t? Or do you look at your setbacks as opportunities to improve or take a different path? No one wants to go to your pity party and nothing ever just falls in someone’s lap. You alone need to make things happen for you. If something doesn’t work out how you expected, think about what can you do to make things different next time.

Comparison is the thief of joy

I think one of the biggest problems newer bloggers face these days is that they spend too much time looking at where they want to be, or looking sideways at what other bloggers are doing. By doing this not only will you constantly be comparing yourself and putting your own achievements down (I’m a big believer in celebrating the small things!) but you won’t be able to see the opportunities or ideas that are right in front of you.

Stop using other blogs as a benchmark. By that I mean, just because they’re doing things a certain way and have achieved certain things, doesn’t mean you have to emulate them. The amazing thing about running your own blog is that you make your own rules! I know my blog is never going be as big or as popular as some of the mammoth US wedding blogs, but you know what, that’s fine! I’ll never be at the same level as Style Me Pretty but I don’t want to be. Abby and her team do an amazing job at running the biggest wedding blog in the world, and I’m perfecly happy hanging out here. I love the kinds of people who read my blog and I love the kinds of weddings that I get to feature. I’d much rather have a small but massively loyal group of readers than using my energy trying to be everything to everyone.

Stop spending too much time looking at where you want to be, and focus your energy on the here and now – take each day as it comes and improve your blog in your inimitable fashion. Blogging is not a race. There’s no finish line. Allow yourself to be proud of any little accomplishments.

Experiment and diversify

It’s vital to decide what works for you and your blog. To do this you need to experiment and diversify. Forget about the goal of making money. If it’s on the cards then, in time, it will come. First you need to get your blog niche and brand on the right track.

Blogs that only share one kind of inspration quickly get dull – for the blogger and the readers. For example, I love fashion and lifestyle blogs, but the ones I enjoy reading are not those run by bloggers who only post outfit photos of themselves. After a while, and no matter how inspiring I find their style, it becomes boring and repetitive. You need to change things up, add new features and keep coming up with engaging content. Make sure you strive to always keep things fresh – for yourself and your readers. The reason I love Gala’s blog so much is that I never know what she’s going to write about next. She started as a fashion and style blogger but now, alongside sharing gorgeous photos of herself, she gives life lessons, offers an opinion, shares inspirational links, and writes about things I’m genuinely interested in.

In a nutshell, if you’re bored, then your readers probably are too. Get off your computer, get outside and find some new inspiration!

Be unique

The lesson all sucessful bloggers want to teach is ‘be yourself’. It’s vital for you to have your own ideas, your own opinion and your own way of sharing them. If there is another blogger doing the same thing as you, only better, then why would anyone want to follow your blog as well? You need to share a new perspective.

Write for yourself and attract the kind of readers who are just like you. If you try to emulate other bloggers, you’ll never get very far. Copycats are easy to spot. Susie Bubble is unlike any other fashion blogger because she has a distinctive and authentic style and one difficult to copy (without it being really obvious). Her opinions on the fashion industry are also different to many other fashion bloggers and people either love (or probably loath) her for it. In my opinion this is the key to her success.

Don’t write for money

Always always write for people. If you’re getting into blogging solely to make money then stop right now. People who write content only because they think they’ll earn money from it end up with sucky content. Same goes for SEO obsessives. No one wants to read articles that sound like adverts or like a spambot wrote it. Potential advertisers or brands interested in collaborations are attracted to bloggers with interesting content, unique ideas, engaged readers and passion for what they do.

Use your time wisely

It’s all too easy to want to do anything and everything that comes your way. Especially when you’re just starting to get recognition for your blog, it feels like if you don’t say yes to everything you’re hindering your progression. Make sure you take every new opportunity with a pinch of salt and realise that not everything will be right for your brand or worth you time.

For example, (wedding) magazines don’t pay bloggers for freelance writing. All the bloggers you see raving about their new regular magazine column are not getting paid for the time or promotional efforts. So why do they continue to do them? Because it makes them look good! I do contribute to a select few wedding magazines for free as I feel it’s important to keep getting my name out there (and I like them!), however I recently pulled out of my monthly column with Wedding Magazine because since changing editors, I felt my contributions were no longer appreciated. I wasn’t getting paid and it was taking up a lot of my time for little reward other than seeing my name in print each month. Best thing I ever did. I now have more time to focus my energy on the articles I do get paid for, (plus people who are willing to pay you generally appreciate your contributions more, just sayin’) as well as having more time to improve my business… including launching my own magazine!

Evaluate

If something is not working for you, or you’re putting a lot of effort and energy in and getting nothing out of it, then by all means stop doing it! I think sometimes we think we need to be everywhere, all the time. But with no payback we’re just wasting our time! For example, Flickr used to be big for me. I’d upload and share my images, I was part of many groups and forums (I found a lot of the early weddings I featured this way) and I got a reasonable amount of traffic from it. However these days, Facebook, Twitter and particularly Pinterest have taken the place that Flickr once had. Once the traffic I was getting from Flickr started to wane, I’d relocated my efforts into the places that were picking up.

Give it time

There is no such thing as an overnight success in this game. Unless you have some kind of cult following beforehand (or you’re already famous), you’re never going to simply arrive on the blog-scene and start raking in millions. For goodness sake give it time. Again, and I think this is a lot to do with wannabe bloggers looking too closely at what the big boys are doing, it can seem to some like there’s some kind of magic formula to success. Dude, if that was the truth, everyone would be doing it!

Firstly, what works for one blogger may not necessarily work for another and secondly, anyone you perceive to have been an ‘overnight sensation’ has probably worked their butt off, for a long time, before you even heard of them. I was blogging for over 3 years before I made a penny.

So newbie (and experienced) bloggers, I ask you – what areas are you struggling with? Do you feel you could use your time wiser or work harder? What changes are you going to make? Do you have any further advice for any bloggers feeling stuck in a rut?

All Photography Credit: Laura Ferreira

54 comments

  1. Brilliant piece!

    We at bride & chic blog for fun and as a hobby only, it’s not our job or career path. We enjoy finding new products and services as if still planning our own weddings and until it gets tiresome we’ll continue to do so!

    A couple of points, in my opinion, blogs that chase sponsorship must remember that they then have a responsibility to their sponsors for their site to be current, interesting and exciting to their readers. I’ve seen so many wedding blogs in particular that actively tout sponsors but then their own posts are either personal posts or ones announcing their new sponsors!

    Similarly, it also seems that sponsors are often sponsoring blogs where their biggest readership are other industry peeps {if comments are all other industry people then the likelihood is that the visitors to the site are probably not prospective clients}. The bigger blogs such as this one, rmw, smp etc seem to have a true bride to be readership and are also the ones that ‘civvies’ seem to have heard of.

    I think our main barrier as a relatively small hobby blog is that we are not comfortable with endless self promotion and recognise that we need to put ourselves out there much more. It’s hard though when our industry is a little ‘cliquey’ and you can feel like you’re ignored on twitter if you’re not ‘in’. Having said that we’ve met some lovely people and been to some really great events meeting like minded individuals, which for me is the best thing about blogging.

    And the occasional freebies :)

  2. Post author

    I totally agree Vicky! bloggers trying to get sponsors too early is one of the worst things a new blogger can do. you have such an added responsibility when someone is paying to be on your site – from everything to having the best content, to making sure the site never crashes, to… well everything! also when your traffic is still low, you cant charge too much… so once you’ve done all the tax amd admin and put into account the amount of time it’s taken you, its REALLY not worth it!
    thanks for you input :-)

  3. What a great piece, I blog because I love it, if there are any perks along the way that is just a bonus. I feel like it gives me yet another creative outlet but one which allows me into a community where I can and have made friends or gained advice.

    I see soooo many new bloggers asking the established ones how to make money or get freebies or gain followers as if there is some secret trick that makes it all appear. There are also a lot of big bloggers who just blog the same boring posts as each other reviewing the same products they have been sent and it’s a complete snoozefest.

    The blogs I like to read the most are those which show passion and have opinions which aren’t always going to please everyone. Those you can tell are blogging for themselves and that is what I try to do too. Seeing other people’s love for something definately makes you appreciate your own.

  4. This is an excellent and inspiring post Kat, thank you.

    I think the one that’s ringing in my ears the most is ‘work harder’. I know I could make my blog better if I could dedicate more time to it and, as you say, work harder than everyone else.

    Time is a real issue for me, with 2 children and freelance work to fit in around them. I already spend 2hrs working before the chldren wake up, and then another 2-3hrs when they’re in bed, but I guess I need to push myself EVEN harder!

    Franky xxx

  5. Post author

    Yeah totally Franky. After all if you dont do it for you then no one else is gonna! obviously having kids and finding time to blog has gotta be tough but my biggest advice to someone with a lot of things going on and a lot of different freelance work to juggle is to make tough decisions about if all of it is worthwhile to you, your family, your business and your bottom line. you cant be everywhere. id personally much rather focus on one or two ventures really well then try to do it all!

  6. Kat, a super post. Motivational and inspiring as ever – I have shared this to our uni careers facebook as well as taking note! Love the sparkly images on a grey day too! x

  7. Amazing, true, valuable advice. It does take time, passion, and commitment to make a blog successful, and everyone’s definitions of success are different. It is sad to see people give up on their blogs after only a few months because they don’t have the true passion to do it whether they get paid or not. My favorite blogs to read are definitely the ones where the author’s unique voice shines through and the passion is evident in their content. :) Thanks for sharing this post!

  8. Great article!! I have recently started a blog and I am now realising that it definately requires alot more work than simply posting a little article everyday and expecting zillions people to suddenly start reading it! Mine is more of a hobby blog which i have started whilst im a stay at home mum as it gives me something to focus on (so i dont become completely baby brained) but it is hard work finding the time to put the hours in so i can totally empathise with Franky! They say that first you need to learn to walk before you can run! I guess its the same with blogging!

    Liv xx

  9. Great post Kat- and it rings so true with me. I started my blog in March 2012 after a month at an internship at a Hawaii bridal site (which I now work at, and get paid to post on daily-major score) – but my blog was a response to other inspiration board websites.

    I was asked during my internship to create an inspiration board for the Hawaii site and I had NO idea what they were so I went searching for them. The ones I found were squeezed in beside adverts and I couldn’t see any details on the board- my face was practically in my computer screen (and I’m not THAT old so I can’t blame my eyes).

    So I started my blog and it’s been the most fun hobby I’ve had in a very long time.

    Thanks for this post, it’s a fabulous reminder to work even harder.

    Mahalo!

  10. Great post, ‘reality’ check always, thats for posting, sharing and being frank. Loved it and the images are beautiful. xx

    (Link love)

  11. I am very thankful for this piece. Just this morning, I realized that being a bloganista is and always will be my soul’s passion…but it helps to stumble upon great reads that keeps me motivated and inspired. Thanks so much for this…the pics and artwork are AMAZING btw!!

  12. This post definitely warrants a comment. I wholeheartedly agree Kat, not only from a (new) blogger’s point of view but also from the view of my ‘paying job’ from which I have massively fallen out of love with lately. I am having to go through some rethinking and replanning and the combination of the current shitty climate and my passion for writing has made me see that there should be a space in my working week for writing my blog.

    I think anyone who is writing a blog has thought to themselves at some point ‘could there be money in this?’ but if you start by writing about that thing you love and keep writing like you love it, you will attract readers who keep coming back and ultimately give your blog the platform it needs to grow.

    Thanks for this Kat, it came at just the right (or write!) time for me! x

  13. Annabel

    The ‘work harder’ thing is absolutely true. You HAVE to be prepared to go all out – this will often include working very long hours that consist of not only crafting engaging content but being on top of your stats, engaging with your readers to learn what they want most {staying engaged across social media every day takes time!}, keeping abreast of changes across the social media landscape, taking time to reply to comments, then also getting out there, engaging with brands face to face, making an effort to attend events that are relevant etc etc. As someone like you who makes my living entirely from blogging, I wholeheartedly agree that it is no easy thing and slow development of a brand and the kudos that comes over time is aboslutely key before you should even consider monetising your blog. I’m not saying I’m the best at any of this but I give it my all to do my own personal best.

    The other thing I find myself asking a lot lately is ‘does this offer value to me/my brand/my business?’. It is precisely for this reason that I too dropped my magazine columns – nothing to do with not getting paid for them {I wrote them out of pleasure} but in the big scheme of ‘everything’ where my time is so limited, I have to pay careful consideration to where I’m expending that time. Magazine columns were not offering any value to my brand, so they were dropped.

    Excellent point made too about dusting yourself off and getting back on with it after failures, who said once, “Character consists of what you do on the third and fourth tries”. Not everything will always go perfectly; the post you thought you’d scheduled but didn’t, the images that won’t upload properly, the new banner that is too graphic heavy, all that life stuff that goes on around your computer screen that sometimes leaves you exhausted to think of even blogging.

    And finally you give the best advice in telling your readers to not dwell too much on other blogs. I feel more confident in my blog content and own personal style since I stopped doing this some time ago.

    Great post Kat, just off to RT.

    Annabel

  14. This is a really inspiring piece and came at a great time as it’s my one year blogging anniversary and I’m nowhere near where I’d like to be. I go to my day job and then I spend all night & weekends working on my blog(s). I’m at least on the right path, I think … and if I ultimately fail (which I won’t!) it won’t be for lack of trying, that’s for sure. In the meantime I’m having fun writing and connecting with like-minded people, so even if I never make a cent I still feel rich.

  15. Emma Meek

    Interesting that both Kat and Annabel have given up free writing for magazines. I have just had stern words with one title (that I was paying heavily for advertising in) that was full of ‘free editorial’ from bloggers, collaborative shoots and previously blog featured ‘real life’ weddings.
    I appreciate and can only imagine the huge force of will that allows one person to write and schedule so much content three times a day. I applaud the big three – adding Charlotte and Adam from Rock My Wedding into the mix for breaking the medium of blogging into the mainstream of the wedding industry media in the UK.

  16. thanks for this post kat. was exactly what i needed as i JUST wrote an email to a friend wondering “where i was going” with my blog. people are always pushing me to turn it into a money machine, and i just don’t know that i want to do that. i appreciate the emails i get from people that live down the street or a few towns over that just want to let me know that they were happy to find someone “doing something different” with regards to weddings in DC. this is a great reality check that bloggers should read.

  17. Kat – This is such an important and well-written post. As a very new blogger (two months), I try my best to remember the importance of patience and hard work. I read that the owner of one of my favorite indie brands (Sugarpill makeup) spent four years preparing for her business launch. And many, many years before that selling handmade clothing and building up a fan base. It baffles me when bloggers try to monetize too early, accept sponsorships and then don’t post/maintain their blog regularly, and/or get upset when they only have a few followers at the beginning. I absolutely love all of the awesome weddings you post, but a big part of the reason your blog has quickly become one of my favorites is for posts like these. I plan to link to this post on my blog tomorrow, and I hope a few other newbies can learn from you and take your advice into consideration as well!

  18. Thank you Kat for such a wonderful article from the Green Room. The ‘Comparison is the Thief of Joy’ section really resonated with me…

    It’s sometimes too easy to compare yourself to the high-hitting bloggers you admire and put your own achievements down. We all begin from the same starting point and they’ve all put a tremendous amount of time, work and determination, like you, into getting to where they are.

    Some people who are just becoming aware of cyclist Bradley Wiggins after his Olympic gold medal and Tour de France win wouldn’t know about all the hard work and sacrifices he has made to get to be the champion that he is today…

    There isn’t a magic pill or secret…being successful at blogging takes time.

  19. I really did need your tough love & advice this week. I have the passion and I work hard at my blog but I don’t give myself credit for the small achievements. I spend my time comparing myself to the bloggers I aspire to be. I need to focus on what makes my blog mine and concentrate on that. One thing I am struggling with is getting photographers to work with me, but I just need to suck it in and keep trying. I look forward to when you release the date of your next School of Rock Blogging Workshop. Thanks.

  20. Great post Kitty.

    We had no clue how successful RMW would be (or if it would be successful at all) and it’s not been an easy ride by any means. Yes we do what we love, yes we are very VERY lucky but when it’s your own you live and breathe it, don’t go into blogging unless you are 100% ok with it taking over your life :)

    I never envisaged RMW making enough $$$ for it to become a bone fide “business” and to support a team purely from advertising, there was always a much bigger plan and building the right brand (and being true to that brand ALWAYS) was/is the key focus.

    We had a rough time last year – and it was the best thing that ever happened to us. Negativity can be upsetting (not to mention pointless and unprofessional) but rather than dwell on it (or take much ruddy notice!) we took a long hard look at what we had and realistically, although we were doing “well” we needed financial support to make our business grow…so we approached investors.

    Our investors were never going to invest in a wedding blog, not in a million years. But they have invested in our brand, our vision and our many projects we have it the pipeline.

    For us it’s about constantly evolving, thinking outside the box, doing things that are as original and unique as they possibly can be whilst giving our readers what they want.

    Like you quite rightly said – it’s about constantly diversifying.

    It’s also about working with our sponsors, and working with the RIGHT sponsors, those that share the same ethos we do.

    As for inspiration and ideas, they come from anywhere and everywhere, usually interiors, art and fashion. I think we very rarely look at wedding blogs, and that’s not because we are arrogant or think we’re a cut above, it’s because when you are incredibly busy every second counts, and those seconds are better spent building our own brand rather than being concerned with what others are doing.

    A blog is bloody hard work. But when it works it’s IMMENSE…there is no feeling like it.

    Big Love

    Charlotte xxx

  21. Absolutely brilliant.
    Tough love.
    Keep it real.

    Absolutely loved it.

    Just about to quite my job.
    Aged 40.
    Nothing to go to.

    Freelance and start my own business.
    This was was an absolute dream read.

    Keep up the hard work.
    Thank you so much.
    Sarah

    (PS – I also got here via Nubby. Love her)

  22. Post author

    Thanks for your comment Charlotte. i think we’re in the same boat – ie both having no bloody idea what we were doing in the beginning and where it could go! it’s exciting though huh?
    With you on the feeling of immenseness too! sooo worth it for all the hard draft and drama that surrounds it!

  23. Another Nubby-ette here *waves* !

    This article is geared towards those who are new-ish, but have been around for long enough to feel that something is or is not working for them money-wise, yet I also found value in it, even though I’m not looking to earn from blogging and I’m extremely new.

    I just want to share my finds with others so what you said about arriving into a crowded market resonates with me – there are so many great blogs out there it’s not only hard to stand out, it’s also very, very hard to get noticed in the first place.

    (By the way, Laura Ferreira’s photos? Pure love!)

  24. Post author

    Hi Ana! Yes Laura is amazing isnt she! it’s true, this post is mainly aimed at newer bloggers as these are the guys i get so many questions from. And the money vs value thing – yes i totally agree. there are things i do as part of my job that dont earn me any money but they add value to my brand and the blog. i am actually planning to write a blog post on this very subject really soon!

  25. What a great article, and inspiring to someone who’s been blogging for a year now and is still looking for that big break! Also, loved the fierce pictures in between tips!

  26. Layla

    Weirdly enough, this made me want to start blogging again.

    About a week ago I decided I was going to quit blogging. I finally said I’d be decisive and choose to stop telling people “well, I have a blog, but I don’t really put any effort into it and am not proud of it.” Now I’m thinking of starting it up again, but decisively.

  27. I love this, Kat! Your “tough love” is really applicable to any small business. Regardless of what you’re doing, you’ve got to commit to see it through. Whether it’s blogging, starting your own wedding planning business, designing your own jewelry line, etc. Consistent persistence is key! Thanks Kat!

  28. I really enjoyed this and I can see how the advice transcends bloggers and can apply to us photographers in business too.

  29. The comparison trap is a tough one to avoid, I agree. Every so often i find myself falling into a blogging rut, and what picks me up is remembering WHY I blog – to write, to express myself, and not for any other reason.

    On that note, those wedding magazine columns you mention – are those for online or print? If they’re for print, I’m really surprised that they’re not paying you at all.

  30. Hi there, thanks for sharing your thoughts, your so passionate. And i love all of the photos it’s so unique and classy.

  31. Emma

    Amazing Post! Very well said indeed. My whole job is basically going through blogs and communicating with their owners .Admittedly I have come across a lot of blog owners who really do believe that they can make a lot of money from blogging without putting much effort in. For example guest posting charges, whilst this is understandable and a great tool for getting some extra pocket money and fresh unique content for your blog ( which Google LOVES!) , the amounts that people are asking me to pay are very extreme indeed for the quality of the blog and also from what I myself would gain from it ( writing articles takes several hours esp if you want good, unique interesting content for the blog readers not just some horrid spammy seo post advert) In the fact it appears the better quality the blog the more willing they are to form long term relationships ( they understand my usefulness too…I share their blogs through my social media, spread the word with my peers, ask my customers to visit and like their blogs etc and should said blogger ever go on holiday, muggings here is more than haopy to help them in their free time and evening to help add some extra content so there are no quiet periods) whilst the smaller blogs appear to want to charge me a lot of money and tend to dismiss me after that..without even considering that I am a trained writer, with a degree and knowledge of several industries offering them fresh and unique content who wants to WORK WITH THEM long term and help get their blog to power house status…instead some bloggers just post the articles that are willing to pay the money without considering if the article is any good, fits the tone of their blog or if it will be interesting to THEIR readers, as let’s be frank, it’s their readers who make the blog happen. Without your readers, well my friend the blog (and pretty much the internet) ceases to exist. One thing I truly respect about blogging is that when I am working with a blogger, I am being given an opportunity to help develop their dream in communicating with people and also been given an opportunity to connect with people myself. So my advice is, you CAN make money from your blog but think long term and there are lot’s of people like myself wanting to help you who do respect you so next time you consider guest posting, consider the long benefits as well…you never know it may be me emailing you ;) xxx

  32. This entry and all the responses are truly just what I needed to read. My favourite takes from the post are that I need to learn that comparisons with other bloggers can be unhealthy and I need to keep posting about what I love and what my readers love about my blog instead of concentrating on why other bloggers out there are so successful and receive so many offers and requests for collaborations. I need to believe that just because it doesn’t happen now, it doesn’t mean it will never happen :) I think ever blogger goes through the ‘Why am I doing this’ phase and this post is the perfect pick me up. Thanks for posting this great topic!

    Tien xo

  33. Really needed to read this today. I’m not trying to monetize my blog, just learn to enjoy it without worrying too much about the number of readers or shares. Your point on comparison is probably my greatest mind trip and though I always try to remember my favourite quote – “Aim for progress, not perfection”. Thanks for a inspiring article.

  34. Desertspiderrio

    Great post Kat! Everything you post always strikes a chord with me and leaves me nodding like a nutter in agreement, and I’m hoping that one day I’ll make a trip over to London to attend one of your Academy courses! My business is not a blog, as it started out being launched with a large publishing house. It’s a ‘wedding inspiration website/directory’ – I left the publishing house I launched the site with (not that long ago), because I felt I was being pressured into monetising the site straight up and monetising it with irrelevant and pointless adverts. I felt pressured to hit huge targets, when all I really wanted to do was focus on building a great site with informative and interesting content. I was not a trained journalist (I still worry all the time about my grammar and spelling, which is why I hired a proof reader), had no REAL online experience (my background was always BD for print magazines), and yet, I took a risk and went head on it to a new and scary digital realm.

    I have now gone independent with my site and invested into my trade license, and have worked my ass off every day building my brand/website (in fact I’ve never worked so hard in my life!). People are now starting to refer to my business as a ‘blog’, and I guess that is because I am starting to inject a little of my personality into it, which I was unable to before, and you know what? My readers are reacting really well to that, as are wedding industry professionals. I still have to be careful about what I post due to censorship laws here, and can’t be as open and honest as I would like to at times. Which is why I have a ‘personal’ blog under an pseudonym where I can rant and rave all I wish.

    I know my advertisers, I’ve met with most of them and their work excites me….some have become close friends too. Yes, I have advertising on my site, but it’s all relevant to the industry and is noninvasive. I work with my clients to produce tips and advice features, I feature their promotions and launches and I rave about them on social media……IF I love what they do, and IF it’s relevant! I’m not going to lie, I did sometimes feel pressure from ‘paying’ clients to post features that really did not excite me and I learnt to deal with that! It’s stopped now, as I have put my foot down – Buying a slot or listing with me, does not automatically give you a ticket into dictating what I write about and when I write it. The blogger/editor should always have final say….. interesting and exciting content can be written about advertisers. They don’t all have to be generic, boring press releases, and I try to educate some clients on the same. The best features are those that are natural…..I find interviews with vendors are really popular on my site, as it allows my reader to get to know the personality behind the service, company or brand.

    I would say I turn down around 60% of incoming advertising enquiries as they are either inexperienced (if that is the case, I offer them advice and suggest they collaborate with other vendors, etc.), irrelevant or simply not my (or my readers) cup of tea. I know of ‘wedding’ sites here, who have thousands of advertisers in their ‘directory’s’, everything from bloody furniture to plastic surgery clinics on a WEDDING WEBSITE! To me, all they care about is $$$$ not their readers best interests. If I accepted every potential advertiser who connects with me, I’d BE RICH, but my readers would eventually lose respect for my site, in turn, I would lose my business. I recently wrote an article about having a moral conscience in advertising, I will not accept media agencies who want me to promote their clients skin whitening creams or fad diet pills (popular in this part of the world) no matter how much they are willing to pay me.

    I started the site because I noticed sod all in the market at the time (in the country I now reside) and was a bride-to-be myself, cliché I know, but it’s the truth. Since I launched my site, many others have too and that’s fine by me, I’m friends with a few of them….I know what our USP is and we are pretty much leading the way as we were one of the first in the industry to launch. There are sites here that I admire too…however I don’t worry myself with competition, keeping my head down and focusing on my brand and my development seems to be working.

    My website (blog) IS my business, and I rely on my advertisers to pay my bills, but I will never sell out and accept any old Joe on to my site for the sake of $$$ and the more I develop, the more I am inspired, I really love what I do…but it’s not easy, it’s HARD work and it takes time. We offer really quirky and unique events too (unheard of in this region, most wedding events are huge trade shows), we do styled shoots, live expert Q&A’s, videos, vendor workshops etc….and there you have a ‘brand’ which takes, time and effort to create, as you so very well know.

    You CAN make money from a blog indeed, but you need readers first and in order to get those readers you need interesting, useful and inspiring content, lots of it and PASSION! – Bringing something different to the table is important too…..Many lessons will be learnt along the way, but the hard work will pay off.

    Jeeeeeeze! Sorry for the long ass message, I got carried away…he-he! Kat – I truly admire you in a non-stalker way! You are indeed an inspiration to ALL business owners, not just bloggers …..I’d happily accept tough love from you any day, as you know your sh*t! x

  35. I just wanted to thank you for such a brilliant post. I realise I’m a little late to the party since we’re 18 months on, but it couldn’t have been a better time for me to read it! I published my webzine/blog 2 months ago after 3 months of planning and a few initial posts on a smaller scale over a year ago. The whole process was somewhat accidental in that I originally had to fulfil uni criteria (ugh!) but the more work I put into my site, the more I realise that writing is my passion (even more so than my subject choice of music) and I am so surprised. Indeed, it led me to also start writing about my discoveries as a bride-to-be! I will re-read this post everytime I feel dissuaded or deflated. Thanks again.

  36. Thanks for this Kat – I think Tough Love is sometimes the very best medicine. I have really been struggling with my blog recently and really feel I need to take time out to evaluate what I’m doing and why I’m doing it. They do say it’s always darkest before the dawn and I can be very guilty of not giving things time to grow – but equally the world of blogging has become so competitive and it’s very easy to fall into the world of comparisons! I’m looking at other avenues of making revenue and sometimes I even think of stopping blogging altogether as I really want to be a fiction author and it seems I spend lots of valuable time writing posts that aren’t really being read right now. But is it a good idea to quit when your stats seem to suggest you have quite a captive audience? x

Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *