I’ve been a “secret” blogger for a long time. Years. Years and years and years. By secret, I mean a blogger who writes stuff, mostly blog posts, for other websites.
I’ve had a lot of names/titles over the years, but I always just described it like this:
I write the words on websites.
Starting out, I took projects writing About Me, Contact, and FAQ pages for websites, one of which was for a relatively well-known UK parcel company. I found jobs on freelancing websites and forums, and I took jobs that were absolute crap because I didn’t know any better.
Plus, I didn’t really know what my area of expertise was. I didn’t know what I enjoyed writing, although I did quickly learn what I didn’t enjoy. I did learn a lot, though. An awful lot.
My personal stuff — words for my own website rather than someone else’s — really kicked off when I started vape blogging. It turned out that I was pretty good at it. I never really paid attention to numbers, because I wasn’t doing it for the money or fame, and there wasn’t any chasing of social media followers, but my traffic to the site is very steady even when I don’t post regularly. Not only that, I’m on the first page of Google for pretty much every product or term that I’ve specifically targeted.
Not bad for the girl who was so sick of being duped by fake reviews that she started her own website to just tell the truth, eh?
FYI: I was being PAID to write fake vape reviews via those freelancing sites I mentioned earlier. It didn’t take me very long to realise how bad that was, and how crappy a writer it made me. I haven’t done it since. I would unfollow a fellow blogger who had been paid to write good things about a product they didn’t like or hadn’t even tried themselves. I’m all about the honesty.
And speaking of honesty, that decade of blogging/ghostwriting has dealt me more than my fair share of crappy blows. I would like to share a few of my thoughts about them — and what I learned from them — in today’s blog-offering:
8 Brutally Honest Truths About Blogger All New Bloggers Should Read
1 – Other bloggers are [sometimes] nowhere near as nice as they say they are.
Oh yeah, sure, those bigger bloggers are all about the community when they have a smaller following, but give them a couple of thousand extra followers from a Topshop shoutout and you’ll never hear from them again.
Yep, I said it.
Be prepared to be just as let down by other bloggers and community members as you are pleasantly surprised. There will always be someone who doesn’t like what you say or the way that you say it. People on the internet love to have a good ol’ moan and they will have that good ol’ moan at you.
If you live your life on the internet, it’ll happen — you’ll get trolled.
Not everyone outwardly trolls, of course; some will bitchily subtweet/post and leave you hanging. You won’t know if it’s about you or someone else, but you do know how the old saying goes: “If the shoe fits …”
Even if the bitchy subtweet isn’t about you, you’ll somehow convince yourself that it is and start a war out of your own paranoia.
Don’t believe me?
Spend twenty minutes on any blogging community on social media and you’ll understand exactly what I mean. Twitter is the WORST.
2 – Businesses will not form an orderly queue to send you free sh*t.
Well, they might if you have a few thousand followers and a blog DA of 50 or higher, but if you’re anywhere below that, you’ll need to pay for your own shit. There are some brands who are more willing to work with smaller, lesser-known influencers and bloggers, but in those cases, it all comes down to engagement. If you’re not engaging enough [commenting + liking, etc.] on social media you won’t get picked for the freebies.
All of this has seen a bit of a change lately, with larger brands choosing smaller bloggers to work with, but it’s not enough. You’ll still need to work damn hard for every sponsored post or gifted product you get, and nine times out of ten that gifted product won’t even cover the cost of the work you put in.
FREEBIES DON’T PAY THE BILLS.
(That’s another blogger truth for free!)
3 – People won’t read your blog.
No one will read your blog at first.
Your best mates won’t even realise you have a blog unless you literally wave it under their noses at every possible opportunity.
My entire family has no clue what I do for a living and I’ve been doing it for close to a decade. I’ve been a content creator for close to ten years, a blogger for more than six years, and a social media manager for local businesses for about three or four years.
No one knows what I do. They literally don’t have a clue.
That crazy influx of Pinterest traffic that everyone keeps telling you will happen, won’t happen at all. (Not until you put some serious work into it, anyway.)
No one will click on the link in your bio via Instagram.
People won’t like and engage like crazy on your latest absolute FAVOURITE Instagram image EVER.
About three people in total will see your Facebook post if you’re lucky. (Damn those sponsored posts taking up everyone’s share of viewing.)
Getting people to read your blog is damn hard, especially when you’re just starting out. If you can’t find an obscure keyword or phrase to target (this does work for Google traffic if you get it right), you’re competing with a whole bunch of other bloggers online. This means you probably won’t feature on the first page of Google for a while … if at all. You don’t need to pay some company that emailed you to get you on the first page of Google, though; you just need to “up” your game.
There are SO MANY ways that you can get more people to read your blog, but it won’t happen at first. In fact, this is a mini bloggy series all of its own — coming soon. If you subscribe to my blog, you’ll never miss out on a post. Wink wink, nudge nudge.
4 – You will want to quit blogging on a monthly/weekly/daily basis.
The longer you’ve been blogging, the more you’ll want to quit. Bloggers who’ve been around for five or six years (like me) will look slightly sideways at Instagram influencers. Yes, there is a certain kinda talent in taking a great selfie and popping a brilliant filter over the top of it, but it also overshadows the humble blogger who’s spent the last five years studying and applying everything there is to know about SEO, internet marketing, and disclosing affiliate links or sponsored posts, but still can’t get more than 100 people to ‘like’ Instagram updates.
(Don’t even get me started on the non-spon-disclosers!)
You WILL want to quit blogging regularly. It’s NOT a fair biz. You can’t just be a BLOGGER anymore; you’ve gotta be a social media marketer, email marketing champ, Insta-influencer, and all-round-internet-whizz-kid.
There’s a pretty good chance that you’ll start bringing together your very own group of people — other bloggers or influencers, perhaps — who you have slightly bitchier-than-usual thoughts for.
We’re allowed to have those thoughts. Just keep them inside, yeah? Don’t become a troll. Trolls aren’t pretty and they don’t get anywhere fast.
(Short term troll popularity is not worth it. Take it from someone who was once an accidental “troll”.)
Don’t give up.
Even when you really want to give up, don’t. It’s definitely a job you’ll need a thick skin for, but it is worth it … most of the time. Or just sometimes.
5 – Just when you think you know what you’re doing, everything will change & you’ll need to learn something brand new.
You’ll get the hang of SEO and then everyone will try to tell you that it’s not important anymore.
Or you’ll get the hang of the Insta-algorithm and then it’ll all change.
Then you’ll do really well on Facebook and then it all becomes pay-to-play. (Ish.)
You’ll finally get somewhere on YouTube and then the “rules” will change and you’ll get hit by a truck-load of strikes. This didn’t happen to me/my vape channel, but half of the vaping community saw their channels receive strikes, bans, and all sorts of shocking punishments that appear to have been dished out for no reason, or very vague ones.
That’s the way it goes — constantly learning, growing, evolving. You’ll need to keep up if you want to do well, but you don’t need to keep up with EVERYTHING. I’ve spent the last few weeks making my Pinterest feed something special, letting Facebook, Twitter and Instagram go relatively quiet. I’ve had great success with Pinterest in the past for other clients/blogs, so I figured it was about time that I tried the same approach with my own personal blog.
It’s working … slowly.
Growth is happening … slowly.
But I needed to change with the times.
Learn new stuff.
Get Pinterest rolling, because once it does it’ll give you daily traffic. That’s my advice. You can then spend time working on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, whatever.
If you want to play along with the Pinterest overhaul that I’m currently trying (and that has boosted my monthly unique views from 6,000 to 117,000+ in a few months), you’ll want to check out the following blog posts:
- The 2-Minute Pinterest Tip That’ll Boost Blog SEO
- Should You Repin Other People’s Content on Pinterest?
- Pinterest Marketing Strategy – Step 5: Sassy, Smug & Scheduled
- The Big Pinterest Makeover: One Month Review
6 – You will set the most unrealistic of goals.
And then, of course, you won’t be able to reach them … ever.
Yeah, sure, you’ll totally get 1,000 Instagram followers in the first week of starting the account. You probably won’t, though.
You won’t get the 500 Facebook followers you were hoping for, either.
And you won’t get half as many page views as you thought you might.
Your mum won’t read your blog posts, despite promising she would let you know what she thought of every single one.
Set yourself realistic goals — ones that are actually attainable — and you’ll experience less in the way of rejection and more in the way of success. Yes, there’s a chance that you’ll be one of those lucky ones who bags themselves an immediate following, but there’s a much higher chance that you won’t. In my experience, getting that first 1,000 followers on any social platform is pretty tough.
Aim for 50 followers, perhaps? Start small. You can always work your way up. If you smash your target this week, set a higher target — a tougher challenge — next week.
Just don’t give up hope. And definitely don’t set yourself up for a fall, with expectations that are far too high to meet.
7 – You’ll think you’re the worst blogger/writer/photographer in the world.
Breathe in, two, three; breathe out, two, three.
Hit publish. Do it now. Quick. Think of it like tugging off a plaster (or band-aid if you’re on the other side of the pond) — quick and painless. Except it’s not so painless.
You WILL spot a spelling mistake after you press publish even though you just spent FOUR hours proofreading your work.
You WILL forget a point that is actually vitally important. I like to hold on to those vital, forgotten points and then update the blog a week or two down the line, shouting about how I’ve updated it, on social media. You do have another chance to promote a blog post or make changes to it if it doesn’t perform as well as you hoped initially.
Your photos won’t ever turn out like you want them to.
The scheduling option on WordPress will always fail when a post is time-specific.
The social-share option will probably fail too.
Someone else will publish a blog post that you have written up and scheduled, just a few days before yours is set to go live on your blog. (This happens to me a lot and it’s SO DAMN FRUSTRATING. QUIT IMAGINARY STEALING MY IDEAS!)
It’ll all go wrong. You’ll get commas in the wrong place or write the wrong date. You’ll spell things incorrectly. You might even use the wrong word if you’re anything like me.
It’s YOUR blog. YOUR space. And on your blog, you’re the best blogger/writer/photographer in the world.
We are all human. We all make mistakes. Give yourself a damn break; you are not the worst in the world. That award might just go to me …
8 – You will always think someone else is doing it better.
Do you want the truth? They are. There is ALWAYS going to be someone out there who *you think* is doing so much better than you are, but you shouldn’t waste your time comparing yourself — or your blog — to them or theirs.
You are YOU. They are who they are. That’s two different people. Two lots of opinions. Two different styles. Two separate blogs. People will love yours just as much as they will love someone else’s.
At the same time, there will always be someone out there who isn’t doing as well as you are. You should remember that.
We’re all on a road to somewhere, most of us getting nowhere fast.
You pay attention to your road, I’ll pay attention to mine, and we’ll “big” each other up when we cross paths because that’s what COMMUNITY is meant to be about. How does that sound?
I have plenty more home truths when it comes to blogging and the blogging world, but I’ve been negative enough for today. What do you think? Am I telling the truth, or simply being unnecessarily bitchy? Do you agree with my thoughts? I’d love to know. Leave your comments in the space below or give me a shout on social media. Better yet … write a blog post. Share your brutally honest truths about blogging. I can’t wait to read it!
Thanks for reading today.
I hope you have a super awesome day!