Young Aunt by Jane Paludanus. Mixed media photograph.
You shouldn’t have a blog.
Yes, I’m probably talking to you.
Blogging is a way to connect with your audience, the people who are going to love your art. You should not set out to make money with your blog. I know that’s controversial, but I’m trying to be honest with you here. You will not be happy and most likely won’t find success if your reason for blogging is to make a sizable (or even un-sizable) side income.
Not everyone should be a blogger.
It requires desire and dedication, decent writing skills (at least), the ability to recognize aspects of your life others will find interesting, photographic skill, sound aesthetic judgment, and enough time to interact with your following. Blogging looks easy. And, to an extent, I guess that’s true. When you’re meant to blog, it’s easy. You love delivering this wonderful content to your readers when they expect to see it, very consistently. You can’t wait to talk to your followers in the comments section. You enjoy creating photo sessions specifically for that next post that’s on your mind. Then, it’s magic.
But if you can’t wait to add “just one more” widget to your sidebar because you’re hoping that’s the one that will bring you thousands of readers overnight and hundreds of dollars out of nowhere…. well you’re going to be disappointed. And then you’re going to resent your blog, neglect it, and subsequently it will sit there alone forever and ever – completely forgotten.
See, making money with your blog requires a ton of work. You have to build up a following and deliver what they want on a schedule every time. And then you have to gently prod them into making you money, when they almost always know that’s what you’re doing. And then you have to get them used to the prodding and track the statistics of different types of ads on your blog so you actually make more than $1 a month. Many bloggers spend years getting their blog to that point… tiring, stressful years. And they only do it because it’s a labor of love.
They blog because they love getting to know the people who follow them and they love sharing their own little world with these wonderful people. Or perhaps they blog because it’s their favorite way to store their inspiration or record their memories. They don’t do it because they can’t wait to see that check from Amazon’s affiliate program. Not that affiliates are bad, please don’t get me wrong here. A great blog deserves to have proper advertising and affiliate revenue; but not at the expense of the quality of their content.
So when you’re wondering whether you should start a blog in hopes of driving traffic to your portfolio or Etsy shop, try going through this little checklist first:
Ο Am I willing to post at least once a week, no matter what?
Ο Do I enjoy connecting with people online?
Ο Will I be able to take photographs for every post?
Ο Will I know how to identify aspects of my life or my craft that I not only want to share, but that will also be interesting to my readers?
Ο Am I prepared to spend hours working on my blog and not make a dime from it?
Ο Do I have enough visual taste to match my blog design to its content?
Ο Can I write with proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation?
Ο Do I want to spend time on a blog to connect with fans of my art, or would I rather spend that time making more art? Do I need one of these more than the other?
If you check every one of them off the list – you’re golden! If you have most of them, but a couple are alluding you, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t blog. That just means that if you really want to blog, you should be aware of the boxes you didn’t check and take steps to eliminate the problem. For example, if you have trouble with spelling and grammar, perhaps hire (or trade with) an editor and have them look over your posts before they go live. Or maybe you just decide that isn’t where you’re going to shine and you will put up with the meanies in the comments who complain. Thick skin necessary, dollface.
Do you blog? I’d love to hear your additions to my checklist. Not a blogger? What stops you from jumping into the fray?