Thursday, 6 February 2014

Blogging..... what's the point?



I would love to  hear your thoughts on this.
For me, I think it served as a way to kill time, when I wasn't working, a photographic diary that marked the passing of time that seemed to fly by so quickly. And somewhere in the back of my mind, a vague notion that it might help to promote any of my Bootcamp weekends.  That notion has disappeared and it has become more about a really nice group of supportive people that I have met in a virtual world.

I much prefer reading other people's blogs than updating my own, and the first thing that I do when I log on is have a look through to see if my favourites have been updated.  Then I check to see if there are any comments on my own blog that it would be rude to not reply to and finally have a read through blogs from people who I follow but don't always read.

There has been a bit of a polarising of the blog world from when I first started reading  few years back.  There used to be a clear distinction between the overtly commercial blogs like Money Saving Expert or Shopstyle or Sheerluxe and the more personal, chatty, 'real people' blogs.  But the lines are a bit fuzzy now.


The genuine opportunity to 'share' fashion tips, recipes, home ideas, whatever it might be, in a lot of cases seems to just be a hook to link readers to things to buy that are going through one of the affiliate partner sites, meaning that the author involved gets about 10% of every sale made.


Call me old-fashioned, but it suddenly seems a bit insincere, like trying to make money from friends but not telling them.

I really like sites that are very clear about their intentions, so for example if someone has a shop as part of their blog, or is selling their old clothes, you know where you stand whilst reading. The commercial activity is open and honest and enriches the whole experience of reading the blog, (the same is true of advertising or 'freebies' that are clearly labelled as such). It is the secretive nature of the invisible links and commission payments that I find a bit sneaky and underhand.



If ever I link to a product, it's because I have found an amazing deal and want to share it with any one who is interested to help to save them a few pounds, not because I am getting a 'kick back' from the company that I have linked to.

In 'real' life, I would never encourage my friends to buy things that they can't really afford, when I meet up with a group of girlfriends, we are more often than not, working a stand at a fair or enjoying a frugal shopping trip, looking not buying, but finishing off with a frothy coffee and gossip.
The last thing that I would ever do is take them to a clothes shop and then go back the next day and pick up 10% of whatever they had spent in there.

How do you read blogs? What is your opinion of 'real life' blogs that are actually just money-spinners? Can you spot them? Do you still read them? I would love to hear your thoughts....


24 comments:

  1. It's an interesting post and points that you put across. Perhaps I can clarify this from my point (and probably many other bloggers) point of view. For me personally I was blogging for well over two years before I decided to monetize my blog. My reasons for doing so were a) I was linking through to these sites anyway,so they were getting sales from me but I was getting nothing in return for doing so, or promoting their stock that I happened to like, b) other people were beginning to do the same and finally c) blogging can take up a lot of time so why not earn something in return? This can be the only reason that some bloggers, the more famous ones, are actually able to leave paid jobs and blog full time. It is difficult to disclose an affiliate link on a blog but I always mention if a post or link is sponsored or if a product has been gifted for a review. I don't take up every offer and don't accept clothes etc from brands I don't particularly like, I turned down £300 worth of clothes a few months back, nothing was my style or would have suited me, so I try and retain my integrity and not sell myself down the river for the sake of it. I think you have to take it as a "given" these days that most bloggers will, after a while monetise, unless it is just a hobby for them. I don't know where the 10% figure comes from but most brands I am affiliated to pay between 3 and 8%, so you can imagine the volumes you would have to sell to make any decent money, unless of course you have a high end readership who shop only at NAP or Matches. I'd be lucky to earn enough a month to feed one of my pugs, let alone the pair of them, but as they say at Tesco "every little helps" xx

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    1. hi Sharron
      I always think that your blog walks the tight rope very well, it is pretty clear that your links are commercial. And I like that you spend time hunting out the 'best deals of the week' so it is more of a two way thing. I think I filled my makeup bag with freebies thanks to all of your recommendations about free covermounts last year. It still feels that you have your reader's interests at heart rather than endless links to items that you are just trying to get people to buy.

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    2. Thank you Alexandra, I appreciate your honesty. I do love a deal and a freebie! x

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  2. Interesting post and Sharron's reply above was very reasonable. I started blogging from a purely altruistic standpoint. Having read so many online sites recounting the misery of psoriasis and related skin disorders, I was shocked to discover that so many sufferers stay at home and hide because of their skin. My mission was to show that in many, many cases you can conceal your skin (yes, even in summer!) and still be on trend and enjoy life! Re the blog payments, I occasionally receive samples of skin creams etc. to try and on one or two occasions I have been asked to review items. I've always been upfront about it though, as in my case I genuinely believe that the trust of my readers is very important ... and the last thing I would want to do is to guide them in the wrong direction for their skin. As for other bloggers, I really only read those that interest me; that are down to earth and funny - and if in the process they make a few bob, well, fair play to them! It really doesn't bother me ... probably because I'm one of those that rarely clicks through or makes a purchase online!

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    1. Your sense of purpose still over rides any commercial stuff on your blog, to be honest I had totally missed it if you are monetising it!

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    2. I'd love to say I was monetising it ... but I'm not sure that one jacket and a pair of sunglasses really counts!!!! I can only wish :)

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  3. I think it's either a time filler or a money maker and I think both are equally valid, I'm too thick too work out how to make money from it otherwise I would have done so, everything has to be noted as sponsored now, so it doesn't bother me unless it's one of those blogs that's on a non stop flog every single day, then it's too obvious that it's just about money and no content, I don't read them anyway.

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    1. That's the paradox, you have the kind of numbers that the 'affiliate marketing' companies would love to get their hands on and you DON'T make it commercial. For me the charm of your blog is your lovely writing and the sincerity. I wonder what it would become if you did 'cash in'.

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  4. I don't know why I blog. Frankly, when I started, I was shocked that anyone found me. I still don't know how that happened. I have developed a real love of taking photos, combined with the desire to stop and savor the moment, and realize how blessed I really am. I read others blogs because something seduces me, whether its a glimpse into a world I did not know existed, or a way of decorating a home etc. I wouldn't know where to begin getting paid, but would not exactly hate it either.

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    1. reading and writing is also a late night time killer. I have noticed I read fewer books when I blog a lot! hmmm

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    2. If you want to get paid, you can join one of the affiliates, I think Affiliate Window or Linkshare are pretty big. But you have to manipulate what you write so that you can 'plug' brands with whom they have deals, if you some one clicks from your blog and buys something up to 30 days after someone has first read your blog, you get 10% and they keep 2%. The only thing I would guess, is that once you get a little success, it must be a bit addictive. Your blog is so authentic, it would be a shame if you changed it.

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  5. Great post Aleaxandra. I started blogging purely from a business point of view (I have a jewelry boutique). As much as love sparkles I found I just couldn't write post after post about sparkly things; it felt boring for me so I wasn't going to inflict that on my readers. So now my blog is more about me, my ramblings, my life in Spain and the UK with a few sparkles thrown in here and there. I do understand why people monetize their blogs, but I rarely read say a fashion blog who is suddenly spouting on about the joys of something very "random" (for me the key is the randomness of some posts/blogs). You know immediately the blogger has been gifted a product to write a review, and when you have accepted the product I believe it is very hard to write a bad review. So on that basis I don't bother to read the review and usually lose interest very quickly in the blog in question ;-)

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    1. interesting that like me, you 'justified' the venture with a commercial angle, I don't think hat I have ever even mentioned a bootcamp event, the therapy is worth so much more to me that any thoughts of 'purpose' have long since vanished!

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  6. I started blogging in 2003 and it was a pure platform. It became so muddied with commercism (esp the mom blogs!) that I shut things down several years ago (but not before writing Blog for Rent: How Marketing is Changing Our Mothering Conversations.)
    I came back to blogging recently after several years away as a way to heal from a hard time that left me feel isolated. Writing about the lovely side of life was a relief from what I'd endured. I sought out other like minded souls who I've been lucky enough to find. Personally, I don't mind sidebar ads but life is too short to read inauthentic voices.

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    1. i totally agree on every count! i actually quite like the side bar ads, it's the dodgy content that is always disappointing. It's funny what you say about 'Mommy blogs' is there ANYONE with small kids that doesn't do one?
      I had a friend with spending issues, and wasn't sure whether to recommend blogging to her, when it was more about 'sharing' , it's a great way to realise your blessings and fall in love with your life all over again. But if you believe the endless 'buying' posts, it would help to justify a spending disorder!

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  7. Thank you for putting so succinctly what I have been feeling. There were several blogs I loved to read daily for the personal connection, who are now one hidden link after another. Frankly, it insults my intelligence. Sidebar ads do not offend me because I can choose to ignore them. I'm not sure why I began blogging and I've been all over the map with mine, but I now will add a live link, if I'm referring to something, one might want to find. Totally agree with Cynthia about the correlation between blog reading and book reading. I also agree with Jenn, life is too short to read inauthentic voices.

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  8. Thanks for your comment, I love your blog, I have just been enjoying it over tea and biscuits.

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  9. i started blogging just as an itch. I hear there are people who quit jobs to make money but that is a concept I don't really understand as I am still to new to all this. The fact is even Vogue can't make me buy things so personally a blogger isn't going to make me buy anything either. I personally love to read. I love magazines and newpapers but the content has been rather poor and it is too political and I like to hear a civilian's point of view on matters. Also as one gets older it is harder to break from one's routine. I live in London and as much as I do travel one loses touch with so many different types of cultures out there. For the time being I love peeking into people's lives in Canada, Australia, Asia etc. I do link on my blog but only as a reference to a subject or newslink or website for the aid of the reader. But quite frankly is newspapers like NYTimes and the Guardian are finding it hard to make money I still don't understand how some bloggers manage to pay their bills!!

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    1. I agree, I have a sneaking suspicion that many 'bloggers' are the people who used to work for free at Conde Nast and Sothebys and mummy/ daddy/ trust fund/ husband pays the bills!

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I would love to hear from you and quite happy for some lively debate so feel free to say what you think! ....