I’ve been professionally blogging for 3 years now, making money through my two blogs, Back in Skinny Jeans, and Noshtopia, as well as through blogging consulting work, and on occasion writing for other blogs. By far, professional level blogging has given me the greatest happiness and fulfillment in my entire working life because I get to spend my day fully engaging my talents and strengths on topics I genuinely love.
As well, I have the freedom to work anywhere, any place, at any time of the day, as long as I have a laptop and internet connection. Pro level blogging has also helped me grow as a person, and I have developed relationships with others online and with my readers which at times have gotten me through some of the toughest times of my life like when I broke up with my boyfriend of 3 years, broke up with my business partner, and got canned from a 9-5 job which I got to make ends meat during a blog revenue slump. Although I really miss having co-workers to bond with, I really don’t miss having a boss demanding TPS reports from me and corporate politics.
I also enjoy that I am almost completely void of censorship. I say almost because although I write what’s on my mind, I still do take in consideration a writing style that is attractive to high quality advertisers and mass media appeal. Through Blogburst some of my content does appear on the likes of Fox News, USAToday.com, Reuters, and Lance Armstrong’s Livestrong. I also have had the fortune of having some of my blog posts featured as Editor’s Choice on Yahoo Shine. For advertising, I’ve been fortunate to have high quality ads from well known brands.
Blogging professionally has been very fulfilling for me; however, it is by far, far from easy. The idea of it sounds fantastic and simple, however, is pro blogging, the level at which you make your living from, for everyone? I would definitely say no because it is not just a job it is a lifestyle. Yes, that sounds cliché, but it really is true. Here are some reasons professional blogging is a lifestyle and not just a job:
- The name of the game in making money through blogging is traffic. You can have the most amazing content in the world, but if you have no traffic, you will not make revenue. So, pro bloggers are constantly thinking and working on ways to garnish bigger traffic numbers, and sometimes that means being connected 24/7 to news, constantly being on the lookout for new story ideas, and constant networking online.
- You have to be constantly interesting. You grow traffic and readership by continuing to be interesting and to add value to people’s lives. This also means that you have to have a passion for the topic you blog about because readers can smell your enthusiasm or lack of it and that will affect whether people come back or not. Being interesting and thinking of ways to be interesting 5 days a week, 52 weeks a year, is challenging work and can be mentally and emotionally draining.
- Pro bloggers publish anywhere between 1-15 posts a day 3-5 days a week and many times on multiple blogs because the more you post, the more pages you rack up which search engines love thus improving your ability to garnish traffic from folks doing web search. As an example, 60% of traffic to Back in Skinny Jeans comes from Google alone. Also, the more you post, there is more content for readers to peruse. But to get this level of search results and traffic activity, you have to post significantly which means constant writing for you, or you have to hire others to do it for you.
- Most pro bloggers will spend anywhere from 5-10 hours a day on the computer which means a great deal of sitting in front of a screen which can wreck havoc on your weight and health. Many suffer from insomnia, stress, and anxiety because of the constant pressure to post. Weight gain is common place because of the sedentary nature of the job. You have to stay disciplined in exercise and general movement. Ergonomic health issues like carpal tunnel, neck pain, and eye strain are common pains too because of all the screen time.
- You don’t have a steady paycheck but you have the ability to make way more money than a pay check from a regular 9-5 job. Some have been able to experience great financial gains by selling their blog to bigger companies like Treehugger.com who sold to Discovery Channel for $10 million, and Celebrity Baby Blog who sold to People Magazine. Money can be feast or feminine and you have to be comfortable living with those types of fluctuations. You also have to be proactive about researching, experimenting, and finding sources to make that revenue. There is no cookie cutter solution, but for those who like that kind of open possibility, it's worth reaping the financial rewards for all your hard work.
- Dealing with commenters can be heavenly or absolute hell. I have met some of the most amazing people through Pro blogging, and I have also encountered some of the nastiest of folk. In my opinion, Pro blogging is not for those who cannot take any kind of criticism because on the worst side, commenters will be the first to challenge you on what they don’t like about your post or your opinion, will bully you and other commenters on your blog, and will attack you personally. You can also be on the receiving end of other blogs who like to make fun of others for sport or call you rude things like “stupid idiot” or “fat ugly bitch”. Sounds rough, but that is what can happen on a bad day and it can literally suck the life out of you if you let it. On the upside, commenters can also bring you some of the greatest joy, insight, and inspiration. At times, my readers have literally been lifesavers. As well, many of my blog posts are inspired from my insightful commenters.
The issues dealing with un-kind commenters gets more challenging as your blog audience and notoriety grows, and you have to learn how to grow a thicker skin or decide whether the risk/reward is worth it to you. Internet fame may sound glamorous and many ways it is but there is also a very dark side to it where it is not fun at all. Some may say that any attention is good, and I say try being on the receiving end of negative attention and see how you like it or if you can handle it.
So, although the life of a professional blogger seems like an easy and glamorous job from the outside, it is by far not easy at all. However, if you have a passion for wanting to make a difference in the world, build a voice online, and have the freedom of being your own boss, then pro blogging can be very rewarding.
Have you been making a living through blogging? Has it been worth it to you?