If you’re a writer who started blogging because you had dreams of making millions of dollars, travelling the world and staying at luxury resorts in Tahiti only to come to the sad realisation that your blog isn’t making any money and you’re struggling to find a voice online, then you’re not alone.
Thousands of bloggers feel exactly like you. It’s probably because people look at bloggers, many of whom are celebrities in their own right, and think they have it made. But, that’s just not the case.
The majority of bloggers struggle to make money and are not jetting off to exotic locales.
When I first launched This Bahamian Gyal in March 2018, I struggled to find an audience.
I wrote amazing content, but hadn’t found a niche. I wrote whatever I felt like writing. And really there’s nothing wrong with that, but if you want people to visit your blog, you have to write with they want to read. You’re here right now because this is content you have an interest in and went looking for. Ha ha, see how it works?
Anyway, because I didn’t do that, a lot of what I wrote literally fell into the void.
Bloggers will tell you that it’s sometimes a struggle coming up with interesting articles to write – articles that an audience actually wants to read.
What people don’t know is that blogging can be quite lonely for a lot of people. It’s not like working in an office where you have coworkers and you can bounce ideas off of them. It’s literally just you, your computer and your ideas.
Now, for someone like me – a natural introvert who relishes being alone – it works, but for a lot of people, it doesn’t.
Many bloggers have a tough time finding the inspiration to write. In fact, many creatives are like that. Their hearts are willing, but their fingers don’t move.
In the past month or so, I have been approached by many people who told me that they are interested in blogging. I always feel like a proud mama when someone says that. I always feel there’s room for more creatives. But, I would be doing them a disservice if I didn’t tell them about the pitfalls because it’s not always glamorous.
What No One Tells You About Blogging
As someone who has been blogging consistently for the past two years, I can tell you that there’s a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes that the audience will never know about.
I find that the writing is the easy part. At least for me. But, I’m a trained journalist with years of experience. The more complicated part comes when I have to create original images to accompany my posts. I absolutely HATE that part. I sometimes wish I had a personal photographer at my beck and call to create beautiful images.
Staging photos takes time. A lot of time. Beyond getting ready, you have to make sure the lighting is right and photos – no matter how candid – still have to be edited and uploaded. It sounds very simple, but trust me, it’s not. That’s precisely why many bloggers take the less complicated route and just use stock photography.
But, stock photography keeps your blog looking generic and like every other lazy person’s blog.
When I first got started, I would take photos occasionally, but relied heavily on stock photography to fill in the gaps. That was a huge mistake.
I’m a black blogger, but frequently used images of non-black people on my site. While the images were beautiful, they weren’t an accurate representation of my brand or aesthetic.
Then, the blogger has to ensure that he or she is actively engaged in managing the blog’s SEO, promoting posts on social media and establishing a strong mailing list. There’s also costs involved with running a professional blog, not to mention the time it takes to maintain the website.
I can guarantee you that you have not experienced sheer panic like you will if your blog goes down.
I’m always reminded of that memorable scene from The Social Network when Jessie Eisenberg, who plays Facebook co-founder, Mark Zuckerberg, makes a panic-stricken call to his partner, Eduardo Saverin, warning him not to allow the social media platform to ever crash because online users are fickle. He said if the site ever goes down, its reputation would be “irreversibly destroyed.”
I clung to every word Eisenberg said because I couldn’t agree more.
I don’t care that my blog is not on Facebook’s level. I treat it as if it were. Users are fickle. If they visit your blog and see that it’s down even one time, they’ll think you’re not serious and may never return.
My web developer has grown accustomed to my panic-filled emails and the terror in my voice whenever my blog has a bug or a glitch. My blog is my baby. My firstborn. And I am its overprotective mother. I can’t let it go down.
It’s Hard Work!
Blogging is a lot of hard work. There’s a great deal of research and planning that goes into blog posts before they are actually placed on the website for public consumption.
If you’re not a natural writer, this is going to be especially hard. Some people are passionate about what they’re talking about, but when it comes to typing it on a computer screen, they don’t know where to start. They have no clue how to engage their audience and they don’t know how to write compelling content that will keep eyeballs moving on to the next sentence.
It’s not enough to write a blog post and call it a day. Nope. You’ve got to strategise and figure out what’s next. And for a lot of people, that can be tough.
There will be days that you will be completely overwhelmed with everything life is throwing your way, so the last thing you will want to do is sit down in front of a computer and post content.
And dammit, there will be days when you’ll feel like doing nothing but kicking up your heels and watching reruns of Law & Order: SVU.
When I first started blogging, I would get up at 1:00 a.m. and write loads of content. Being up while everyone else was sleeping allowed me to concentrate, and it was during those early morning hours that I came up with some amazing ideas.
Don’t Start A Blog Before Asking Yourself These Three Questions
Before you even consider starting a blog, I would encourage you to ask yourself these three questions: why do I want to do this? Am I prepared to stick with this even if no money is involved in the beginning? And thirdly, do I have the energy, money, time, patience and faith to see this through? Most blogs fail.
In fact, according to Astute Copy Blogging, 80 percent of blogs will fail in 2020, which works out to more than 50 million blogs. That is major.
These may seem like pretty simple questions, but really think about it. Why do you want to blog? Is it because it seems glamorous? Trust me, while the world sits back and admires your pretty pictures, you will stare at those very same images and only see the work that went into it behind the scenes.
If you’re doing this to earn extra money, please know that it will take some time. The truth is very few people make money off of their blog and it takes a while to start getting paid.
More than 80 percent of bloggers have not even made $100 from their blog.
I’m going to explore that topic more in depth in another blog post, so stay tuned.
This Bahamian Gyal
Thank you so much cousin for the insight. All of this I am glad you reiterated. A blog for me is personal, to express myself and to make myself write. I have notebooks full of ideas and nowhere to send them into the world.
Rogan Smith says
Hey Cee! If you have notebooks full of ideas and nowhere to put them, then a blog is perfect for you. I was full of ideas and content. So, I formed my blog to share my writing with the world. I have not regretted it. I just think it’s important to establish why you are starting a blog so that you don’t get disappointed down the line. It’s a lot of work to stay current, relevant and entertaining. I wish you the absolute best and would happily welcome you into the blogosphere! Thanks for reading!
Holy shit this is so on point. It’s a labour of love. Anything less and you may as well just be content keeping your blog as a dream. I can’t tell you how the words ONLY flow at crazy hours for me. And piecing the visuals together is a second pain in the ass but so worth it in the end. Those three questions – so, so, SO friggin important. I can’t wait for part 2 of this.
Rogan Smith says
Thanks so much for reading, Vanessa. Yes, it is truly a labour of love. If people embark on this journey thinking it is going to be easy peasy, then they are wrong. It is work. And yes….the world flow at the crazy hours. LOL.