In the age of social media influencers, blogging can seem quite glamourous. After all, bloggers are jet setting around the world, attending parties, and posting photos of smiling families and sunkissed skin. However, there is a dark side of blogging that many people don’t realize, in part because people have learned to only share the best parts of their lives online. Here are 11 things your favorite blogger might not tell you about blogging.
You Have to Commit
While people could once run hobby blogs, earn a bit of cash, and build a sizable network, you’ll have to treat your blog as a full-time job if you want to be successful in today’s saturated market.
The list of tasks includes writing and formatting posts, taking photos, engaging on social media, corresponding via readers and brands via email, looking for and reporting sponsored campaigns, and updating their websites. Many of these activities must be performed daily. If a blogger goes too long between publishing, their blog can lose a lot of momentum. This doesn’t allow for many down days.
Good Content Isn’t Enough
Make no mistake, good content is a must. But it’s not enough if people on the Internet can’t find it. Bloggers must promote their content through search engine optimization and social media, both of which deserve their own sections. Bloggers should also consider working with other content creators to cross-promote, which can introduce them to new potential followers. Bloggers must always brainstorm new ways to promote their bloggers and find ways to use their current tools as smartly and creatively as possible.
Google Runs the Show
Unfortunately, even if you create good content and engage followers on social media, you’re still at the whim of search engines. Google can make or break a site if the algorithm deems that the does is low quality or does something wrong. Bloggers have learned this the hard way in the past when Google has updated its algorithms, suddenly outlawing practices that were widely practiced in the past.
Even without algorithm changes, bloggers spend a lot of time, effort, and sometimes money on search engine optimization to ensure that searchers can find their website. This brings us to our next point.
Bloggers Must Find An Acceptable Voice
You never know just how hard it is to find your voice in writing until you try. Bloggers need to develop a voice that will help them stand apart from the pack while not straying too far from what visitors want. The average Internet user has a short attention span, so content cannot be too long and should be broken up with lists and images. Paragraphs should be short as well.
Of course, Google expects that every page will have a minimum number of words, which is why so many recipes are preceded by lengthy stories. On top of content length and format, posts must have a conversational tone to keep visitors from leaving.
Traffic Is Easy to Gain But Hard to Keep
Bloggers might get excited when they see a spike in their traffic. However, while it’s easy enough to gain new traffic, it’s much harder to make those people into followers who keep coming back.
For this reason, those jumps in traffic can be temporary. Bloggers must work hard to build a community, and this goes beyond engaging visitors on social media. A blogger must wisely choose tools such as surveys, email collection, and even contests or giveaways to encourage first-time visitors to their blogs to become repeat visitors or even active followers.
Bloggers Have To Be Social
The conversational voice that bloggers work to craft must carry over to social media, which bloggers will use to promote new and existing content from their blogs. Bloggers must choose social networks that are active and a good fit for their content and niche. Each social network has its own personality, and content must reflect that. Bloggers must also be aware of how things such as timing and whether multimedia is included will impact who sees content created for social media.
Everyone Has An Opinion
When a person invites the world into their lives via their blogs, they invite all sorts of criticism without realizing it. Suddenly, people will have thoughts about how a perfect stranger raises their pets or children, takes care of their home, or even runs their blogs.
It’s a bit like being a celebrity, and it can be quite overwhelming to bloggers, so many of which seem to be introverted. Bloggers must develop a thick skin and learn how to let negative comments roll off their backs. At the same time, it’s important to accept criticism gracefully and take it to heart when it’s helpful.
Running A Blog Will Cost You
If a blogger wants to compete with the thousands of other bloggers who exist, especially if the blogger hopes to become an influencer, they will have to pay for various services. This can include Web design and development, and search engine optimization, just to name a few services. Large bloggers may pay other writers or even assistances. Plus, bloggers have to pay for domain names, Web hosting, and the software or plugins that they use. Before getting started you may want to see if you can qualify for a loan to be able to pay for all the startup expenses you will incur prior to turning a profit.
Of course, bloggers must report income made through their blog and pay taxes on it. Any items they receive can also be taxed. It’s smart to hire an accountant and sometimes even a lawyer.
There Are Legal Ramifications
As more brands enlisted bloggers to help with their marketing efforts, the Federal Trade Commission stepped in to regulate the content that bloggers create. Now, they must use disclaimers in their blog and social media posts to indicate that they have a relationship with the brand.
Now, Facebook will even remove content that it believes to be sponsored without a disclaimer. Similarly, there may be specific regulations surrounding contests and giveaways, and these regulations may differ depending on the blogger’s (or their winner’s) location.
Sometimes You’ll Want to Quit
On those days when strangers criticize a blogger’s every move, when traffic is low, or when content is stolen, bloggers can deal with some heavy feelings. These negative emotions can be exacerbated by unusual schedules and sleep patterns and spending too much time at home. Frustration can spill over into family life because there is no time clock to punch at the end of the day. Many bloggers have wondered if it was worth it at all. And some decide not to stick it out. However, those bloggers who make it work know a thing or two about perseverance.
There Is No One-Size-Fits-All Roadmap
While there is a lot of tried-and-true advice available to aspiring bloggers, there is no exact roadmap that will propel a blogger into stardom. Factors such as timing, niche, and personality all play a big role. If a blogger is able to start talking about a hot topic first, they may be able to snag a bunch of new traffic before others do. Yet if a blog is well-known or not optimized for search engines, the blogger may not be able to make a big enough splash with those hot topics.
Despite how frustrating and even unnerving these things can sound, blogging can be quite rewarding. Bloggers who run their blog like a business, create a routine, and use the tools as their disposal can become successful, even leaving their day job behind. Visitors can become loyal followers or even good friends, and running a blog can introduce a person to other like minded people.
Ted Lowe is the content marketing head at Empirepromos.com. He loves to dance and write poems.