It’s going to be one of *those* posts. Buckle up. I’m not very good at blogging and you might think I’m saying that just to be funny and “relatable” but really, I’m not. I really do suck. And here’s why.
Before I get into this post, I want to just give you all a bit of hope because you CAN suck at blogging and still make a full-time income from it. I do. I have done for a number of years now and I’m incredibly proud of myself for that. I won’t spend this WHOLE post beating myself up with a stick, don’t worry.
Over the years, I have been able to improve my writing skills, learn how to pitch to brands, network with other bloggers and groups of bloggers to help gain more paid opportunities and learn how to put myself out there in order to maintain blogging as my full-time job.
Some months it’s INCREDIBLY hard and difficult for me to know whether this is a sustainable career choice for me. Other months it’s wonderful and I thoroughly enjoy it. Full-time blogging is hard and there are a lot of uncertainties that come with being self-employed as well.
But as time has gone on, I’ve come to realize more and more that actually, I HAVEN’T built a sustainable career for myself. In fact, I’ve probably made it harder for myself in the long run.
When I started blogging back in 2013, I had NO IDEA what I was doing. Literally none. And after all these years (it’ll be 10 years blogging next April *wipes brow*) there are still things I struggle with. No, more than struggle. Some of these are:
- Pinterest: I hate the platform, I hate how fickle it is, I hate how difficult they make it for creators. It’s time consuming and I don’t enjoy using it. I do use it, to the best of my ability but I know my strategy is way off and probably always will be.
- SEO: I can scratch the surface with SEO but that’s about it. I can optimize a post but my SEO efforts have never been particularly good. I never thought it mattered – for years I did NOTHING for SEO.
- Newsletter marketing: I have a newsletter but I’m by no means any good at the marketing aspect of it.
- Keyword research: Something I only really learned about in 2020, can you believe it?
- Getting enough views to get onto a “decent” ad network: Due to my lack of SEO efforts for almost a decade, I’ve never been able to build my traffic high enough to get onto an ad network. Yes, even after 10 ears
- Growing my Instagram: Can ANYONE do this right now?
- HTML: Nope nope nope nope nope
All of these things are pretty vital for growing a successful blog and being able to maintain that level of success. Ad networks can provide you with well-needed passive ad revenue – especially Mediavine. SEO and keyword research helps with the views required to get onto these ad networks. As can Pinterest.
Newsletter marketing can sky-rocket your affiliate income (something I didn’t add to the list because I simply just hate doing it) and growing your Instagram can obviously lead to a ton of Instagram-based brand collaborations which those with a lower follower count don’t typically have the luxury of taking part in.
So what CAN I do? Well, not much by the sounds of things but I think I’d quite confidently toot my own horn at the following:
- Writing: I’m alright at that. By no means do I sound like I went to college or University but I can string a sentence together and that’s something.
- Make people laugh: I like to think I can do this but whether I actually do online is another question. I’m aware some sarcasm or jokes when written down don’t tend to get the same ahm, response.
- Making the reader feel like they’re chatting to a friend: Okay I’ve had this compliment a LOT and I absolutely love it and it’s probably one of the things I’m proudest of when it comes to my writing
- I’m organized and productive and I don’t quit: All helpful things for this industry where you’ve got a ton of things to manage
As you can see, none of those things I would consider myself “good” at strictly only apply to having a blog. I’m sure I could write a couple of sentences on a napkin at Starbucks and the reader would get the same result.
But looking at the typical “blueprint” of what makes a “successful” blog which allows you to get regular income, views through the roof and brand collaborations, it looks like I’m not doing ANY of the things I need to do to make that fact true.
Of course I am mad at myself for not taking those things more seriously sooner in my career. People say “oh just update your old content for SEO and you’ll see an improvement in views!”. Update over 2,500 posts?! No thanks I’d rather rub a chilli in my eye.
The fact is, I don’t enjoy the techy, behind the scenes kinda stuff that comes with blogging. I find SEO painfully boring. I don’t understand HTML and I don’t have the patience for Pinterest.
Yet clearly, that’s not the only way to run a successful blog.
Having a basic knowledge of those things is a good idea but it is not the be-all and end-all of running a blog, getting brand collabs, growing a blog following and more. But it certainly won’t hurt to learn and make things easier for yourself down the road – the more you know, the better.
This post actually started with the intent to call myself out on all the stuff I’m sh*t at but it’s turned into something quite motivating. So if you see yourself in a lot of what I’ve mentioned above, ask yourself:
- Do you have a distinct voice that you use in your writing?
- Do you write beautiful poetry or take beautiful imagery?
- Can you make people laugh with your writing?
- Can you illicit feelings in people just with your words?
- Do you have something of value to share?
If yes to any of those then you can make a successful career (or hobby) out of blogging. And it absolutely doesn’t matter how long you’ve been blogging for; there are some who have been at it for 2 months and know everything they need to know about SEO. Others, like me, who have spent a decade of their lives yapping away online and still knows the bare minimum.
There isn’t a blueprint for what a successful blog looks like.
But if you’re new, don’t get lazy like I did.