The Not-So-Fabulous Life of Blogging
Blogging is a great way to creatively market your art. However, there are a few misconceptions about the blog life that run rampant on the internet. Common blogging myths derail most bloggers early in the creation of their blogs and cause some good content to fizzle out. In hopes of better preparing you for success when you launch your art blog, this blog post outlines the challenges that come with blogging that many beginners don’t consider,
Planning Ahead: Blogging takes lots of planning. This means deciding on content or a theme and posting consistent posts. If you plan to blog monthly, you stick to that schedule and post content every month. If you decide to post weekly, then you post every single week. Planning ahead means knowing when you are going to be busy and you have vacations and planning around these. That way, you can plan ahead and auto-post content on your blog and social networks. Planning posts a few weeks ahead also helps when you feel stuck on new content. By knowing and preparing ahead you have some time to get over writer’s block and keep the momentum going.
Organization: Being an organized blogger means having ideas for posts, scheduling time to blog, and knowing what sort of imagery you need. There are free online blog planners that you can download to help organize your blog content, schedule and social networking. The key to being organized, however, is implementing systems and sticking to them regardless if you use a free blog organizer or not. Sometimes managing a large multi-tabbed blog planner takes more time and effort than if you didn’t use it in the first place. So, figure out what works and stick with it.
Costs: Another myth and dissolution of blogging is that its free. While there are some blog platforms that will let you blog for free, if you are trying to build a real brand and blog site that gets traffic you will have to fork out some money. These are approximate costs of building a very basic blog.
- Domain Name: $15 annually
- Hosting: $100 annually or $12-$15 monthly
- Business Cards: $100 for about 250-500 cards
- Securing your blog-site: $10 per month
- Contracted Technical Help: fees based on hourly rates of the independent, this can easily be few hundred dollars based on the services you need
- Resources: $0-$100+ this can include free online resources, to workshops, books and subscriptions to help you increase your blog’s brand, marketing, or traffic
- Other costs: You may need to invest in a camera, laptop, or other device to assist you with writing and documenting images for your blog
Reader Based Content: Your audience is the key factor to the success of your blog. You can write and blog content for years, but if you don’t have an audience reading and sharing your content, then your not going anywhere fast.
Using simple things like feedback from your comments section, tracked URLs, or analytics can show you where your audience is coming from and what posts and contents they are most interested in based on their behavior. The key is to use this data and then direct your future blog content towards what your audience responds to the most.
Marketing: Brand building and social networking are important marketing elements of your blog. This means if you are serious about blogging, that you have supplemental social media like Facebook and Instagram to help share the content. You also need to be consistent with your topics, language, visual appearance, and other digital brand development. A previous blog post on digital curation may help you develop this, read it here!
Getting Paid: Pinterest will be the first to tell you about how you can make $30k, $50k, or $100k in just a month of blogging. Don’t fall for it. (Also, have you realized how those are click bait to go to people’s blogs?That content is driving you to their site where they are receiving money because of your click.) While there are bloggers who probably make that kind of income, this will not be you your first month. Don’t let yourself fall for this myth, blogging takes time and effort to build your audience and your content.
If you are interested in generating income from your blog, you need to generate multiple streams of income to get paid.
- Sponsorship: you can get sponsorships and money from brands, but you have to be willing to speak to that brand and become an ambassador. This means you really need to like and endorse the brands and companies that sponsor you. Sponsorships happen once you have really developed a large following and are known as an influencer. This means when you mention a brand or product, your audience trusts your suggestion and influences the actions and opinions of your readers and followers.
- Affiliations: These programs seem like easy money, but often times you need the audience and analytics to back up some affiliation programs. This means that many early or new bloggers won’t qualify as an affiliate for some companies. Other affiliate programs are easy, but also very well known or over used in the blogging world (like the Amazon affiliate program). The more well known or utilized the program, the lesser the payout.
- Freebies: Freebies are like sponsorships, you need to actually like the brand or product to be able to speak to the product. Providing a dishonest review decreases your credibility of your own brand. You also can’t trash talk a product, service or item that you received for free because you can loose brand partnerships and collaborations. If something doesn’t align with what you do, its okay to send it back with a polite thank you and say the item doesn’t fit your brand.
- Advertising: Advertising on your blog is an easy way to make some money with doing little to no work. The tough part is finding an appropriate balance between ads and your content messages. You will drive people away with ads tucked between each paragraph and pop-up ads on every page. Find a visually clean way to have a few tasteful ads while making some cash to pay for your annual blog costs. Note: You may need some technical support if coding in ads into your website is something you are unsure how to do. So it can cost you more to pay for the technical support to get ads, then the ads generate.
Technical Skills: Securing sites, renewing domains, and analytics are all important back-end technical stuff you need to know. If you don’t know how to do these (like me) then you pay for that help. The fun and creative part of blogging is balanced with the technical back end of creating the blog. Both parts of being a blog are equally important.
Time Management: There is a three way balance between blogging, the technical aspect of the blog, and the business management part. The content writing is the most fun part. The other two aspects of blogging and the side that most people are captivated by when they want to start their own blog. The other two aspects of blog management, however, need just as much time and attention.
The technical part is the back-end of your blog. This includes blog website maintenance and structure, categorizing posts, linking domains and other aspects that are often hidden from the public view. This can be the most difficult area of blogging for those who are not very tech-savvy.
The third aspect is the business management part, this is the marketing and promotion part of your brand. Its building relationships, sharing content, locating affiliates and more. Be sure to be spending an ample amount of time focusing on each area of blog management.