Sunday, April 13, 2014

Sunday Shoutouts: Belle's Blog is Back to Talk Blogging!

I haven't done a Sunday Shoutouts post in four weeks...

But I have gotten married, honeymooned in Puerto Rico, and celebrated the first of three wedding receptions since then, so I think my absence is explainable! 

Links today will not be restricted to the last week. 

I don't usually blog about blogging, but I learn so much from other bloggers willing to share their secrets. I've appreciated all the tutorials about blog promotion, social media, and more. More than how-to posts, though, I enjoy when bloggers share their thoughts on blogging. I mean... what we do is a little weird, right? Can we just all admit that? First we spill our guts to the Internet, and then we change how we divulge all the gory details of our lives just so more people will read about us. I love blogging, and I love reading blogs, but it's weird, y'all.

Recently, Bonnie at The Life of Bon asked: Do you love blogging? I do, but I don't. I love writing, and I love inspiring people. I love reading blogs, and I love the blog friends I've made. But I don't love feeling stuck between serious bloggers and lifestyle bloggers. These are my own made-up terms to differentiate between the feminist and/or Christian bloggers who are often paid writers as well and the large group of travel/beauty/fashion/lifestyle bloggers. I don't love my blog envy of bloggers with more readers and more page views. I don't love how much time it takes to maintain my blog and my blog relationships, even while I value the reward.

A few days later, Bonnie wrote some of her thoughts from a recent blogging roundtable discussion she'd hosted. I totally agree with what she said about pictures.
We talked about pictures and what to do when your post just doesn't have a great picture that goes along with it.  I really don't enjoy always having to throw up pictures on my blog posts and I am not good at taking pictures, but I have learned it is kind of a "necessary evil" of blogging.  If I want to write on a blogging platform I need to understand that blogging is visual and peeps want their pics.

Betsy from Betsy Transatlantically has also written a lot lately on blogging. I really love what she had to say about relationship capital and blog monetization. Yes, this is a long quotation, but the whole paragraph was too good to edit!
However, as soon as a blogger makes the conscious decision to monetize, be it from sponsorship, with affiliate ads, or through media networks, she takes steps towards being a professional blogger and makes the concurrent decision to view me not just as a reader but as a consumer. That doesn't make me any less willing to support her, but it does mean that my pageviews and clicks directly contribute to the financial success of her blog and I think that does give me - and all other readers/consumers - the right to hold her to a higher standard.  If a blogger monetizes in a strategic way, her blog becomes a business; it's therefore disrespectful to her readers/consumers to throw out "it's just a blog and I do it for myself" to explain amateur behavior online when she makes money from our interactions with her. We're all learning and growing in our own ways, everyone makes mistakes, and I love that the blogging community is so encouraging and flexible, but this isn't high school. When a blog generates income from its readers/consumers, the relationships change and the responsibilities are greater.

Finally, my favorite beauty blogger Elle Sees recently wrote about why she does sponsored posts. She is easily one of the most devoted bloggers I follow. She always replies to my tweets and emails, and each time I comment on her blog, she comments on one of my blog posts within a week. Her beauty reviews have convinced me to buy several products in the past, which I now love (even if I rarely wear makeup--I like having it available to me!). I've never had a problem with her sponsored posts, but apparently some people do. But when your blog is like a part-time job, why NOT make money off it?
I have been blogging at Elle Sees for almost 4 years. I easily spend 10 hours a day blogging (that includes anything that concerns the blog), and that's whether it is a paid post or not. I put the same amount of time in, and I don't see anything wrong with getting paid for it. 

What do y'all think about blogging about blogging? Do you roll your eyes when bloggers share all their tips and tricks about blogging, or do you eagerly try to learn more? What do you think of advertising, aka what bloggers call sponsoring? And who else totally loves getting free stuff via Influenster?!


  1. YAY thanks for the shoutout! I think advertising (and free stuff!) is great as long as bloggers are upfront about what they're doing and why. Sponsorship is tricky because, as I said in my posts, they play off of relationships for financial gain which can really easily go wrong. Also, I often feel uncomfortable when I see the same bloggers sponsoring the same bloggers - it just starts to feel a bit cliquey, you know, like you're buying into a friendship group. That being said, I found YOU through sponsoring Casey, so!

    1. I've decided that you and I just have really great taste, since I found you via Casey too. :)

      I do see the same bloggers on the same blogs. There are SO many lifestyle blogs that I know even though I don't read them, but they show up everywhere. On the one hand, I see the appeal of sponsoring blogs who have a good track record. I've worked with Casey and Jess 2-3 times each, and I'm about to be on Bonnie's blog for the second time next month. I liked working with all of them (and you!), so I came back. BUT if it's overdone, it just becomes boring and probably ineffective.

      As far as the relationships for financial gain, that's what impresses me so much about Elle's blog. She is SUCH a pro, but I never feel like she's selling to me or lying to me.

  2. You hit the nail on the head tonight, Belle. I've been pondering about my blog for awhile. I love blogging and I want to keep doing it, but when do you make the transition to more professional? I absolutely love the first link you posted and I also share the same views as you! Bisous

    1. I actually plan on building a second blog eventually. I already have the domain name. It'll be with my own name and everything. This blog won't die, but it will be limited to sex/virginity at that point. BUT I'm way too busy to worry about that now. I just had a chance for a free domain when I bought hosting for my wedding website, so I snatched it up.

  3. Those were all really great links, and I'm going to leave your post "unread" so I can go back and read them all sometime. I like reading blogging how-tos, because even though I've been doing this for far, far too long, I can still learn something. I'm growing (as a blog, as a writer, as a person), so I can always learn something. However, I have a hard time taking advice from those who have been blogging for a short time (less than a year in some cases). I applaud them for growing so quickly, but it makes me question if they'll survive and stick with it. With that said, I like what Betsy said about it basically being a business. Since I started offering sponsorship I've become a lot more thoughtful about each post I write; that's something I'm personally working on. Great shout outs!

    1. Yay, I'm glad you like them! I feel like I read so many wise people, and it's important for me to pass on the brilliance.

      I obviously think you strike a good balance with your blog. For me, one of the biggest annoyances with some bloggers who take on sponsorships is that after that point, they ONLY share links to bloggers who paid for them. It almost defeats the purpose of having established a relationship with a blogger if they stop linking to what genuinely interests them.

    2. Totally agree. As well as taking on sponsors, I also sponsor other bloggers and I find things I like (and honestly, a lot of things I don't like) and that's one of them. I'm also saddened that more sponsors don't actually comment on blogs. Comments are so important (I think), because they keep the writer motivated to keep going and helps engage with their audience. If you're paying someone money, the least they could do is comment and say "great post." Clearly that was a bit of a rant...I'm done now :)

  4. I think monetising your blog is absolutely fine- as long as you are up front about it. I think a lot of people spend the same amount of time working on their blogs as they would a part time job. Seeing a sponsored post here or there- even one once a week would never make me unfollow. More ads than content or a completely different content shift however, would.

    I also like reading blogging "how-tos" because I think they can be really interesting some times! x

    1. Yeah, it's a shame that some bloggers don't follow the rules (and by rules, I mean LAWS) about being upfront and honest with their sponsored content. Disclaimers are not optional!

      If a blogger can be really creative and genuine when reviewing a product, I don't mind. It only becomes a problem when they start taking on EVERY paid opportunity, even when it totally doesn't relate to them. I've been contacted many times to try out some online glasses store, and for now, that just doesn't mesh well with me. Yes, I wear glasses, but I don't know how to tie a pair of glasses into my overreaching blog "themes."

      I LOVE all the how-tos. I just wasn't sure what other people thought!

  5. Thanks so much for the shoutout Belle! I could seriously talk blogging all day long. I read Betsy's post about sponsored content and monetization and thought she was spot on. And I am SO impressed with Elle Sees. I could never devote ten hours a day to blogging- I definitely don't have that kind of blogging stamina!

    1. I love your blog posts about blogging. You helped me get my customized url last year!


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