I think I've made quite some good decisions in my life, and so it's rather interesting that one year later, choosing to start a blog is up there as well. I was so scared to start, so scared to let people into bits and pieces of my life. But on 10th February 2016, which happened to be Ash Wednesday, I thought "what purpose is there to life if we don't try, step out of our comfort zones and inspire others".
So I paid for the domain name KacheeTee.com, and shared my first post on Facebook. The response was pretty encouraging. And well, since then I haven't stooped. I've published roughly 130 blog posts and just passed 150,000 views. I've met incredibly amazing people. I've grown. I've become better. I've worked with a couple of brands and I've actually made money from my blog via sponsorship (little, but hey, humble beginnings).
I'll love to write about how blogging has changed me, but I'll save that for another day. Today, let's discuss the myths associated with blogging. Because there are quite a few.
I was in a meeting recently with a couple of lawyers. And at the end of it, the conversation tilted to what we like to do outside of work. A lot of interesting answers came up - skiing, wine tasting, baking etc. To borrow Chimamanda Adiche's phrase of happily boring, I said "well, I like to chill at home, read a good book, see a good movie, and write". After a couple of back & forth and "what do you like to write about?", the dreaded question popped out. "So do you have a blog?".
I'm not sure why I shifted slightly uncomfortably in my seat. What was the big deal if I blogged? Were there going to take me less seriously - if the term blogger was associated with my name? I answered halfheartedly, "Yeah I blog occasionally" - (but with my aim to have a daily lifestyle blog, I'm not sure this qualifies as occasional).
And when they asked what I blogged about, I was sure to include the fact that I love to write about law and careers in general.
But I love blogging, and day by day I admire bloggers. It's therefore unfair that a lot of people believe these myths and under-appreciate bloggers. If you're also thinking of starting a blog anytime soon, this will help set you on a clearer path.
1. Blogging is Easy
Bloggers get a lot of flack because most people believe it's easy. I mean, what could be difficult in it? You write and/ or take photos and you upload right? But in actual fact, blogging could almost be tougher than a regular 9-5. It's often a one man business and you run on full steam, all the time - particularly if you're serious about it, creating original content, building a brand and a community.
You're the writer of posts and the editor. You're responsible for constantly promoting your posts on social media (and this is tough! - forever saying #LinkinBio and Don't forget to subscribe and follow me!). You design graphics and posters. You may have to learn to code, and become a tech geek - keeping tabs on latest apps and software. It's crazy the amount of new things I've learnt in this one year. From building my website from scratch to some of the other things mentioned above.
Blogging can be tough and some days bloggers may want to break down. But they love it so much so they keep pushing. And for some people, blogging has actually become their full time job. So if you ever thought blogging was easy, please erase that thought.
2. Blogging is Cheap
How I wish. Even if I forgot about my one year blog anniversary, the £100 that was taken out of my account for my host registration definitely reminded me. Plus the very many apps and software I've put off buying, because I'm not sure I can justify it at this point.. Blogging is not cheap. And it's probably because of this myth, many people brands refuse to pay bloggers due remuneration.
I laughed, when I considered buying an iMac to help with the blog, and my husband said "can't your blog pay for this?" . Unfortunately it couldn't. But asides gadgets that have to be bought, there's regular software subscription to be paid - for emails, graphics, promotion and maybe even ads. Blogs which rely on great photography or video might have to pay for these as well. So when you require a service from bloggers, please consider paying them in cash.
3. Everyone's in it for the Money
We can't really blame people who think this way, can we? Based on myth number 1 & 2 above - it might seem like an easy way to get rich!
I was slightly upset one day on Facebook when someone suggested that I was all about the clicks, when I was genuinely hoping that someone would share her story in a bid to inspire others. And so yes, once you start a blog, there'd be people who think you're in it for the money.
The truth is, the money may come - but except you start of as being incredible - it'll come much later. And it'll come in different ways. Lots of people have built their brands first by blogging. Others have created products, others have begun to render services & others have worked with brands. So for many, passion comes first. That and a genuine desire to share and add value is what sustains a majority of bloggers, while they hope the big bucks come soon. Plus honestly, not everyone is in it for the money.
4. Blogging is not real writing
Where do we even start to debunk this? Someone once said to another blogger on Twitter, "But all you guys do is copy and paste?". I was literally too weak to engage in a sensible conversation.
I guess it's as a result of this myth that some have chosen to identify as "Content Creators", rather than bloggers - to show the emphasis that they create original content. And truth is, for many bloggers, it's real writing. Whether it's their style or thoughts on fashion, on beauty, on faith, fitness, lifestyle, career, food - there's so much real effort and creative energy that goes into it.
Not to say that some bloggers do not simply copy and paste. But for a whole lot, blogging is often real writing. Please appreciate this. And if you intend to succeed in blogging you'd probably have to come up with real original writing / content.
5. Blogging is dead and saturated
The truth is, there are A LOT of blogs out there. Trust me, you wouldn't realise how many unless you were a blogger or an avid blog follower. When I launched my blog, I had no idea just how many people blogged. And as time went by, I often started to think "geez who would read my blog". So we can't blame the audience if they roll their eyes when another of their friend says "Guys I finally launched my blog, please subscribe!". But it's hard for a field to be truly saturated, as everyone brings a different perspective.
As a blogger, you'll probably find yourself wanting to quit sometimes when you think you'll struggle to shine. Don’t! The top is never saturated. If you're willing to be excellent, are passionate and put in the work, you'll most likely stand out. Plus there's always someone who wants to hear from your unique experiences.
6. Blogging has no use
This is surprisingly common and even though I'm in it, sometimes I have those "why am I bothering with this blog" kind of days. And interestingly many people have this opinion as well. I think fashion bloggers get hit the most with the question "so you just dress up and take photos, why!?"
But if we truly think about it, bloggers share so so much that help us in our daily lives. Whether it's fashion tips, or improving our natural hair slay or quick food hacks, inspirational & motivational posts, travel and tourism, career guidance or even just for laughs. That's the use of blogging. And that's why contrary to myth 5 it's unlikely to die anytime soon. It may evolve, but I doubt it'd die.
So as a blogger, for the days you think it has no use, the days no one leaves a comment on your blog, think of the very many people you continue to inspire in one way or the another. Even if it's just one person. It's probably worth it!
So that's it. Some popular blogging myths hopefully de-mystified!
Bloggers what other myths can you relate to? If you don't blog, what do you genuinely think of bloggers?
pS: A similar version of this post was first published on BellaNaija here and I loved the comment about someone stumbling on a blog about Dandelions - a class of flowers. How very niche? What are the most niche blogs you've stumbled upon?