Bloggers want to make money on their blogs. That's great! Here are five great tips to keep your blog reader-focused even if you do sponsored posts!
Best Practices,  Struggles

Blog Like This Instead of Like That

I once wore the name ‘blogger’ like a badge of honor…until recently.

  • Do you feel like the lines between ‘blogger’ and ‘advertiser’ have been blurred?
  • Are the sponsored posts killing your creativity?
  • Are your emails filled with coupon codes when you ARE NOT a coupon blogger?
  • Are you writing about the latest trending event to get more hits instead of more hearts?

And it’s not just blogging. It’s even affecting my favorite YouTube channels. I will get halfway through a cute skit and realize it’s got product placement. I can’t tell if a vlogger really likes the product or is just getting paid!

Can we Escape the Commercialization of Blogging?

Even Facebook is noticing the “I hate advertising” thing and continually changes their algorithms so that users won’t see those “sponsored posts” as often. Despite the outcry from some bloggers, I shout “AMEN!”

Commercialization is a like a virus that creeps into the most sterile of places. Once blogs were just a bunch of people pouring their hearts out online, now it’s become a flesh-eating monster for the latest brands and product ads. Advertisers who once wouldn’t touch “online placement” with a 10-foot-pole, now are flocking to this 252 billion dollar a year industry. (Source: Statista)

Ugh. Double ugh.

I’m just trying to write here. I’m just trying to share here.

I believe that you can make money on your blog, but only as it intersects what you really believe in.

It’s always nice to make money at what you love doing. There is no harm in making money. The harm comes when our priorities shift and making money becomes the primary focus.

I definitely don’t want my end-user bearing the brunt of all those efforts.

Yes, there are ads on my website — things I truly believe in — like modesty and losing weight naturally. I am head covering female who once struggled with bulimia. There is nothing wrong with making money on your website, you pour hours into crafting your words to be consumed online for free. You have products that you truly believe in — that’s awesome. But it starts to be an issue when I can’t tell if a blog actually believes in a product or simply is out to pad their wallets!

I just sent out an email campaign promoting an amazing bundle of books. Though I think the bundle is spectacular and own many (okay, one) of the books, I’m not sure if I sent it out because I really believe in it or because I might make 40% commission. So, I hope you know that I’m not trying to judge people who have gone off the deep end with sponsored posts and blogs full of affiliate links, because I feel the pull, too.

By posting this ‘book bundle’ that I only half-way think is cool, I’m guilty of allowing myself to be caught in the snares of commercialism too!

I feel like I don’t know who to trust anymore. I don’t even think I trust myself.

Bloggers are real people with real pressures. Spouses that want to see income from all the hours they are being ignored while we are online. Children who want to go to that theme-park that you couldn’t otherwise afford except by producing a sponsored post. Friends who want you to buy and sell whatever latest multi-level marketing scheme that is trending. Not to mention a writer’s own hopes of success, both financially and otherwise.

So, I have some advice for my fellow blogger. Some I need to take myself.

Blog Like This Instead of Like That

  1. Instead of capitalizing on the waves of current trending topics, capitalize on the waves of what’s currently trending in your heart.
  2. Instead of promoting things to make money, promote things because you love them.
  3. Instead of thinking about numbers, think about people.
  4. Instead of worrying about the impact of your SEO efforts, worry about the impact of your words.
  5. Instead of seeking trust to get more shares and retweets, seek trust to affect more lives.

I want to call myself a blogger again without an eye of suspicion. I don’t want my user to ‘put up’ with my ads like I have to bear ads on HULU because I am waiting for my show to continue.

Let us all remember who we serve as we blog — our reader…not our advertisers.

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