Hello friends! Thanks to everyone who read our post on Monday asking about whether anyone is blogging for fun anymore. We’re SO grateful that TBM is a space of positivity and meaningful discussion. When I first drafted the post, I planned to include a few points about what specifically changes in a blogger’s content when they start writing for money versus just the fun of it. As usual I kind of rambled on (haha) so I wanted to share those ideas today. These are 4 things that you’ll see change in a blog when they start monetizing (or know they want to, and therefore implement right away). And if you start monetizing your blog, too, you’ll want to be aware of them:
Bloggers who monetize take SEO into consideration so they can be sure they’re found in search. SEO makes a difference to a reader for two reasons. If a reader Googles “best spring dresses” for example, they’ll see a tailored list of websites with spring dress content come up. This may or may not be what they’re looking for, but it’s what they’ll see. Because how much money a blogger makes depends partly on viewers, it’s important they they rank well in search, so their content is designed to do that. The next reason is what the reader sees when they arrive at the blog. At that point, they’ll see that the blogger wrote their post using specific keywords (among other things) in order to be successful in search.
All this to say, when a blogger isn’t concerned about traffic numbers, they aren’t usually spending extensive time on SEO. So the language they use and the way they set up their posts will differ slightly from how they might’ve otherwise presented. If you’re good at SEO, you’ve done this well enough so that your post doesn’t sound robotic or forced.
Ok, first of all, because bloggers who are monetizing pay attention to SEO, they’ve probably written two headlines. The SEO (AKA keyword friendly one), and that catchy one you clicked on. If you’re not tracking views, you probably don’t care to go through all this trouble. I’m not saying that a blogger that isn’t making money doesn’t want readers, but they’ve usually spent more time on the post itself than coming up with a strategic title. This means that their titles are probably more organic / authentic than they would be if they weren’t designed intentionally for views. For example, we’ve all seen the “the big mistake you’re making with your blog… and how to fix it” title (just off the top of my head, I’m not trying to call anyone out!). This is a tactic to draw in viewers. When you start monetizing, you might craft headlines differently. But if you’re going to make big promises, you have to deliver on them. If you’re drawing people in with a catchy title and readers aren’t finding what they want, they’ll leave, and you’ll be back where you started.
For profit blogs are required to disclose how they make money from viewers, whether a sidebar blurb, a legal or TOU page, or introducing sponsors properly before paid posts. This requires bloggers to be transparent and helps readers learn about the content they’re consuming. If you start earning, you have to be okay with transparency! I recently saw a harsh comment on a well-known influencer’s Instagram because she said it was an ad in the first word of the caption. That’s actually the legal way to post a sponsored IG (unfortunately). Would they have been upset had she never disclosed it at all? No, they wouldn’t have even known! Letting everyone in on what you do is something you have to be more aware of as a for-profit blog, and it sadly can come with the occasional disgruntled viewer. Luckily, more and more people are understanding that bloggers offer their experiences and expertise for free, so they’re becoming okay with it :).
I think this point sums up everything above. Readers come to blogs with an expectation to get something out of it. A tip, a recommendation, or even just a good story or pretty photo. Once you add money into the mix, you start to feel the pressure of doing what your readers want. If you don’t, readers might not come back, and you won’t make money off of them with ads, affiliate links, sponsored posts or any other effort. Maybe you’ve tried something new that you were excited about, but your views dropped, or maybe your time on site dwindles because you aren’t delivering quite right on those newly fine-tuned headlines. Don’t worry! This expectation and blogger-follower exchange can actually help you. It will steer your content and eventually you find a balance between what you truly love to share and what people love to read.
Alright, I think I’ve done enough talking today :). Do you have any favorite bloggers that support themselves through blogging but still offer you amazing content? We’d love to see some of your fave examples!