Five years. That’s how long I’ve been blogging for, and my goodness what a learning curve it’s been.
I know more about html code than I ever thought possible, and without even realising it I’ve become a content manager, copy editor, contract negotiator, picture editor, social media manager and accountant – to name but a few – all rolled into one.
My ‘blogiversary’ was in fact a couple of weeks ago, but I was so busy with sponsored posts I didn’t have time to blog about it at the time. Which is a good place to be in, and a long way from anything I could have imagined when I first started blogging.
At first I just wrote about all the things that were in my head as a new mum who had left a full time job behind and suddenly found herself at home with a baby all day long, and nobody to say them to. Like whether breast milk can cure an eye infection and why class teddy bears have a lot to answer for.
A couple of years in, setting myself up as a freelance journalist and with baby number two on the way, I realised that either my blog needed to start making money or I had to stop doing it. I (half-jokingly) referred to it as the monster I created, because it was taking up increasing amounts of time and was like a machine that needed constant feeding (a bit like having an extra child, in fact).
But I love blogging and there was (and still is) so much I wanted to say, so there was only one thing for it: I had to monetise my blog.
So I went to a blogging conference, commissioned an illustrator I love to come up with a new design, had a shiny new website built and went self-hosted (ok so it wasn’t quite that simple, but how went about it is another post entirely).
Another couple of years on and here we are, with baby number three on the scene and the blog generating a nice little income. So to mark my 5 year blog birthday I thought I’d share the 5 biggest lessons I’ve learnt in 5 years blogging.
The 5 biggest lessons I’ve learnt in 5 years blogging
1. Blogging is a labour of love. Anyone who says you can get rich quickly by blogging is lying. It takes more time, planning and effort than you could possibly imagine when you first start out.
2. No matter how many times you explain to a non-blogger how you make money blogging, they still don’t get it. Rather than explain the ins and outs of ambassadorships and sponsored posts I’ve now boiled it down to ‘people pay me to link to their website from my website’, which pretty much covers it.
3. Everyone is just winging it. I don’t meant this in a derogatory sense, I mean you can go to as many blogging conferences as you want, you can sign up to as many e-courses as you can and listen to experts until you’re blue in the face, but the fact is the concept of ‘digital influencers’ is so new everyone is still feeling their way. There’s not really a right way or wrong way, there’s your way – and it’s important to remember that.
4. Know your worth. And don’t be afraid to say no if a brand or company is offering you too little for your time. If you feel like you’re being taken advantage of, then you probably are.
5. It’s not all about the numbers. It’s easy to get carried away with what your domain authority is and where you are in the Tots 100 chart, but these rankings aren’t the be all and end all. Some of the best paid collaborations I’ve had are with brands who were more interested in the quality of my content and how engaged my audience is than where I rank in the various charts.
Are you a blogger and have you monetised your blog? What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt so far? I’d love to know what it is!