Why Blogging In 2015 Is A Completely New Experience For Everyone

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I don’t remember the old world of blogging. The old world that everyone refers back to – the good ‘ol days when it was about just forming new friendships with likeminded people, writing reviews about pretty new pastel nail polishes and genuinely enjoying every moment that went into creating content.

I don’t remember it because I was never part of it. I was late to the party. I’m like that friend who decides to start reading the Harry Potter books now and then declares that she’s not only ‘definitely a Gryffindor’ but the world’s biggest HP fan. Like back off bitch, this is my territory.

I’m her. In the blogging world. Kind of.

Bloggers have become a kind of celebrity. A type of person that people look up to and admire and want to be because everything looks so glam and happy and nice and aesthetically pleasing. Everyone wants Zoella’s pay cheque and house, Tanya’s upcoming sure-to-be-fancy wedding, and all the holidays and photo shoots and clothes that come with running an online website and YouTube channel.

It’s aspirational, sure.

But blogging is more than that, blogging is business.

Blogging isn’t a hobby anymore. It’s not horse-riding or knitting hats for premature babies or a cheese and wine club, it’s a business.

At some point, just before I waded into the murky waters of the bloggersphere, things started to shift. Companies started to take note – they started to see where their incoming links were coming from, and it wasn’t from the glossy magazine’s website counterparts. Nuh uh.

And that’s when money came into it. As soon as people started noting that these random ‘girl next door’ types online were actually creating sales, they wanted in. Because paying a girl who’s creating content from her bedroom to advertise is a bazillion times cheaper than paying for a full-page advert in print, and, as recent research suggests, up to 4 times more likely to produce sales.

OK, so this post isn’t about the business side of blogging, or how to create a business, it’s about the effect that the shift in blogging as had on the community and the people in it. Because despite being one of the newer residents of team WE GET PAID TO WRITE THINGS ONLINE, I’m still a resident.

Blogging, aside from being a creative outlet and a place to share information, thoughts and ideas, is about making money. When you decide to go full-time you have to switch the way you think about your online baby, it’s no longer just about having fun and exploring content, it’s about making a living. Making enough to eat and pay rent and your phone bill and your credit card and the accidental 3am McDonalds orders.

And that, like most of life’s problems, is the one thing that sucks the joy out of it.

Ah, money.

And therefore everyone is competition. Everyone.

Brands don’t have endless racks of money to advertise with everyone. They can’t take everyone away on their blogger trip. Nor invite everyone to their lavish prosecco-fuelled event. Or ask everyone to be part of their new exciting campaign.

So you have to be the best. You have to be better than everyone else. Because otherwise you miss out. And it’s not just missing out on attention and a few more Instagram followers, it’s missing out on money. The money that keeps that roof over your head.

Any freelancer will know that along with the chance to lie in when your hangover is just too damn in your face and the ability to take 90 minute lunch breaks if you’re feeling particularly ambitious, comes the fear of not knowing where your next pay day will come from or when it will come.

Blogging is the same. It fills your belly with waves of anxiety about whether you’ll actually be able to afford to pay off the rest of that holiday you put a deposit down for when things were looking a bit sunnier, financially. It’s not consistent, there’s no routine, there’s no financial planning ahead. It’s just trying to be wise and sensible when anything does come through.

The difficulty with the blogging industry compared to any other freelancer-based industry is that social media plays a huge, ginormous, suffocating role in what we do.

And that’s great, because hey social media is so funsies and cool and IMAGINE getting paid to Instagram something, just imagine. But, and this is a huge but, having to dedicate so much time to a social media presence means that you’re overly aware of what every other blogger is up to.

It’s hard not to drown in the feelings of jealousy and comparisson. To not wonder why you weren’t chosen for something, why you weren’t good enough to be invited. It’s hard not to pick out all of your faults and spend an extortionate amount of time questionning whether you’re really good enough for this industry.

At times I thought it was just me who questioned myself, who compared myself to every other blogger with their 6 figure Instagram followings and glossy photos and trips to Paris with beauty companies, and then slowly, out of nowhere, I started seeing the tweets creep onto my timeline.

The tweets from other bloggers. Successful bloggers. Bloggers who are way bigger than me. The tweets that were full of sad face emojis. The tweets that said they were feeling like crap. The tweets where they admitted that they too were comparing themselves and their blogs against the rest of the online community.

It wasn’t just me. It’s all of us.

Whilst non-bloggers look to bloggers’ lives with envy for the lifestyle, bloggers look at each other’s blogs for envy of content, photographs, writing and opportunities.

And because we’re technically each other’s competition, we look to each other’s blogs for inspiration and for motivation to better ourselves.

Would my photographs have upped their game a bazillion times over if it hadn’t been for all the hours I spent comparing myself to other blogger’s snaps? Nuh uh. It was that envy and comparisson that drove me to improve myself. To make my content and posts look cleaner and glossier.

And that’s the things, whereas blogs 5 years ago were produced by people with no access to cameras other than their phones and with basic HTML and social media skills, bloggers have now trained themselves to be these machines who can style, write, edit, photograph, Photoshop, film, promote, market and manage their content.

Bloggers are glossier and more immaculate than they’ve ever been – and there’s no denying that it’d be difficult and time-consuming for the average person to start up a blog now and get it up to those levels.

Because even if glossy isn’t your ‘angle’ (I never thought it was mine. BUT I LIKE WORDS. WORDS MATTER. NOT PHOTOS OR DESIGN OR LAYOUT), it’s advertisers’ angle. If they can have their product looking glossy and immaculate, why wouldn’t they?

As blogging progresses, and flipping heck is it progressing quickly, there’s more and more pressure to put out the best content you can. I’m lucky that I already kind of had my thing that no-one else was really tapping into – those damn lists.

But now I see other people attempting to replicate them, because hey, they’re the content of the moment, and there’s this part of me that wants to shout BACK THE FLIP UP, BACK UP, BACK AWAY, this is MY territory.

But, well, I’m not a spoilt brat without manners and I don’t *actually* own the right to all lists (I know, weird, right?) so I don’t. I remain quite. I go and make tea and remember that imitation is the gretest form of flattery or whatever.

Then I also remember that other people have inspired my content and images and tone of voice and then I realise we’re all doing it – all finding traits we like in each other’s blog posts and social media presences and replicating them in our own way.

I have no idea what will happen to blogging. It terrifies me a bit. I’m not sure if it can get any glossier. I’m not sure if there’s anything new that can be done. Maybe we’ve hit peak blog. Maybe this is it. Maybe this is a level we will stay at indefinitely, or maybe it’s downhill from here. I hope it’s not the latter.

But blogging has changed forever, or so I’ve heard from everyone else on Bloglovin, and we just gotta change the way we approach it to make sure our minds are happy, healthy little pieces of sunshine and rainbows.

I for one am limiting my time on social media (espeically you Insta, you joy-stealing devil) and taking the time to remember how far I’ve come, because bloody hell, if you can’t appreciate all your achievements and feel proud of everything you’ve learnt, what’s the point in any of it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Tracey

    I’ve only recently got in to reading blogs, and only have about 10 that I read regularly. I am starting a big project in my life soon and was thinking of starting up a blog to document it, but I’m starting to feel intimidated by current bloggers and not sure that anyone would want to read my content over anyone they currently follow…. I was feeling really passionate and looked into coding, et, but now I’m just not sure….

    • I say go for it! I completely understand how you feel, but if this is something you want to do, do it! Trust me, for every blog post you write there’s always going to be someone who takes an interest!

      • Tracey

        Thanks, that’s really kind of you to take the time to say ?

    • I think you should really try and record whatever you were planning to. Just think how amazing it will be to look back after a couple of years and remember every single bit of it 🙂 Don’t beat yourself up because of other bloggers, it’s for you, it’s yours and if it didn’t go well, well, at least you tried right? :))

      • Tracey

        That’s all very true, thank you ?

    • I think the most important thing is that you record it for yourself. Blogging is the best way to record those memories. Yes the gloss and shine of todays blogs are intimidating, but that isn’t all that blogging is about. And as long as your passionate about what you’re doing other people will be too. So do it for yourself and enjoy the ride xx Dandy I http://www.dandelionblue.co.uk/

  • It’s always so important to reflect back on your achievements! I dont even think it’s just blogging that has had this shift – it’s so easy to compare on every part of life. I don’t know if we’ve hit peak blog yet, I feel as though it’s such a shifting community. I almost expect some new kind of tech to come along which will change it all! x

    Jasmin Charlotte

  • I totally get this post, and it seems more than ever at the moment bloggers of all ‘success’ are having worries about content, audience and money (maybe it’s the fact that the summer brings every one outside and all the new opportunities) but it’s great to see that whilst each blogger writes about their concerns, each comes out the end of it with a refreshed outlook and new drive for their online space.

    Lauren x
    Britton Loves | Lifestyle Food Beauty

  • Amy

    Hi Hannah,

    Love this post, and how honest you are. I started blogging in 2012, and things are so different now than how they used to be. It’s kinda sad when you see people starting to blog for entirely the wrong reasons (money, “free” stuff, internet notoriety). Whatever happened to just loving to write, and being grateful for somewhere to put it all?!

    There’s fantastic sides to blogging, but it’s refreshing to hear someone else note all the changes that have inevitably happened. Especially social media wise. For me it’s all become a bit fake, and well… hard work?! Staying away from this sides of things a bit is probably good for the soul.

    Amy xx

    Bambi Jane

  • I’m one of those people who have attempted to replicate a list style post (my bad) and I’ve got to say, they’re a lot harder and take a lot more time to write than I ever thought they would.

    You are the queen of lists for sure and noone could take that from you because, you’ve got it down to a fine art girl. But yeah, sorry for imitating D:

    Kirsty x

  • I have definitely been inspired by your lists. But then, the whole reason I decided to start a blog is because of your post about building a personal brand (I can’t see myself ever going into full time blogging though, I don’t have the grit to put up with the stress of freelance work).

    You should absolutely be proud to be an inspiration to other bloggers. I’ve come across more than a few blogs that reference you and your posts or credit you as the inspiration for a post and I think that’s kind of wonderful 🙂

  • This was great to read! I only started blogging just over a month ago and thought I needed to try my hardest to get to the top ASAP, but now I want to just take my time. Because I want to enjoy my time as a little unknown blogger before I have to meet the big guns!

    x
    https://siobhanrothwell.wordpress.com/

  • I couldn’t agree more with this Hannah – Although I am still trying to figure out bloody affiliate links over here, it’s sad that we know every other blogger is competition, even if you are friends.
    And I definitely don’t think you’ve hit peak blog. Every year (even month) that goes past you surprise yourself with your abilities to get better and better. Just think what you were saying about your YouTube editing skills – this competition constantly makes us HAVE to be better versions of ourselves, pretty much constantly! Which is as fantastic as it is cripplingly terrifying! YOU GO GIRL.
    Sophie xx
    http://www.fashionnomads.com

  • I really enjoyed reading this, as a newbie, I started a blog just to entertain myself and never really expected a reader. But then as my followers started to grow, and people started to interact with me, so I joined twitter and now just feel constant pressure to keep up. I’m not a full-time blogger, in fact I have a full time and a half job that keeps me very busy, and the added pressure of blogging during my ever shrinking free-time means my social life is windling, and as a result have less to post about! It’s so frustrating. I’m trying to take a break from Twitter, and Instagram, and only post when I want to. At the end of the day, we all started blogs for ourselves, and we shouldn’t have to conform, or compete with anyone unless we choose to!

    Milli x

  • I started blogging a few years ago and it has changed so much, even in just a year!

    Check out my GIVEAWAY | Little Lauren’s Blog

  • I started blogging in 2011 and stopped totally at the start of 2013. Late last year I was really missing blogging and the ‘blogosphere’ – so many kick-ass bloggers that I connected with! I’ve returned (but this time with less panic about finding a theme, making money, getting as many followers as possible) and I feel a little bit lost. I’m writing about what I love and whatever I fancy and I enjoy that so much more.

    There is far too much panic in blog-land about success and ‘making it big’ and it isn’t what it used to be. I used to see real talent and passion and now I find far too much lazy content filled with affiliate links.

    This was such a good read, and I hope that blogging can become a ‘chilled out hobby’ again, because it was awesome that way.

  • The key is to BE INSPIRED BY instead of ENVIOUS OF other people. Strive to be better than yourself not other people, figure out how to keep giving value and to turn that into your own products, then you don’t have to rely on someone else to pay you.

  • So much truth in this post!! I think blogging has become such a competition nowadays, it’s all about numbers, how many followers/pageviews you have, etc. It’s sad because the whole point of a blog is to share differing opinions or give others an insight into your life. It’s not always blue skies, sandy white beaches, and perfect cityscapes! I try and keep it real on my blog and give alternative views because that’s the only way to stand out and be different now!

    http://charmystique.com/

  • Reading this has just solidified the fact that I have no idea how I feel about blogging. I’m a relatively new blogger and I’ve already been reached out to by various companies to try this and that and I can’t help but feel the integrity of my blogging would get tainted the more and more I do paid stuff. On the other hand, I do love writing and swatching, and reviewing but that doesn’t really pay for itself and I would still need at least a hundred dollars a month just to break even on blog related expenses. I think the takeaway from this is that you have to be willing to work with companies, but at the end of the day if no one reads your blog then it’s pointless having one, so first and foremost you should always create content for your readers, and not for advertisers.

  • You know what, I think you’ve come pretty damn far! I get that you might be jealous of other blogs, but there are a reason we read yours! The Blonde Salad might have a photographer boyfriend, a wardrobe worth more than my life and a super model body (plus like zillions of followers), but it’s BORING. I love your blog and read every post (yes every) because you write. I relate to you, you feel the same way about things that I do. You share your life, you’re a real person.

    You are absolutely fabulous Hannah, never forget that!

    Julia

    ExploresMore.com

  • I bookmarked this post for later reading and I’m so glad I did! This is my first time reading your blog posts and admire the way your writing flows.

    I have been blogging for nearly 3 years on and off. I have seen the small bloggers move onto stardom, something never heard of back in the day, and watched my envy level go off the chart. I’ve changed my blog name 3 times since its start and post less and less. I am finding it hard to keep it going now that everyone’s elses blogs are so modern, so white! Plus being a thirty something with little income it’s hard going.

    I hope I can turn my blog around and find my niche because, honestly, I miss it. I use to be good at it! I let my jealousy take over and it corrupted my blog. I adore yours btw and yes I hate you too ;), kidding!

    Wendy
    http://bumpkinbrokeandreading.blogspot.co.uk

  • I completely agree with this post. I wish I had started blogging when I first wanted to and when it was simpler. I love blogging but mentally, its draining. I constantly feel like, whilst I’m proud of what I write and produce, other people are better. I have been stuck on the same ‘following’ for a year so I feel the same as you on the blog peaking issue. I actually wrote about smaller bloggers and the impact the community has these days! I hope we can all work it out of these slumps and reap the rewards for our hard work! The little guys gotta stick together so to speak…

    http://www.trudyjohanna.co.uk

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  • Very nicely written. I’m also sort of new to this whole thing, I have been blogging for six months now but I still feel myself improving every single day.

    I want to make a business out of my blog so I treat it as such.

    xx -n
    Naomi in Wonderland

  • I recently came across your blog and this post was such an eye opening and helpful read. My blog is only about 4 months old and right from the start I made a decision to block out all the noise and do it my way. Maybe it’s because I’m older (40 next year) or because I have a full time job that I love or because I started a blog for me and not for fame and recognition but I’ve enjoyed every step of the process. I post what I want, when I want and I’ve been fortunate enough to have opportunities present themselves. I say do what makes you happy because isn’t that what life is all about.

  • This is so well written and no need for endless glossy photo’s either ;o) That wave of nausea in the tummy is why I’m never going to rely on my blog to earn a living I reckon. It’s MY baby and I want it to be a place to escape from stress. I do get gifted items though, so I know how time taking the perfect photo and editing and linking and social media promotion can take up. I can relate to the “Why didn’t I get invited to that event” feeling or even getting invited to some and hearing others (with more followers) say they were disappointed (and frankly miffed) not to be invited. It has become a little crazy!
    “…appreciate all your achievements and feel proud of everything you’ve learnt…”
    This is the biggest reward that I get from blogging – not the free stuff, you are so right! :oD

  • so much truth!

  • Such a true post!
    Thank you!
    And yeah, insta has become SO stressful, its incredible 😀
    Kisses from germany
    Esra

    http://nachgesternistvormorgen.de/

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