The Most Common Questions About Blogging
Hey y’all! So this post is a little different than what you’re used to seeing from me. And honestly, I’m kind of surprised I’m even writing it! I’ve been getting a lot of questions recently about blogging and social media, so I’ve decided to do some posts on the subjects.
I say I’m surprised because people tell me I have a successful blog, and sometimes it honestly doesn’t feel all that successful. I’m not saying that to be dramatic or because I’m being “too hard on myself”. I genuinely don’t think it’s all that.
I could do more with my website… there are thousands of other better, prettier blogs than mine. My instagram is nothing to write home about… *almost* 10k is nothing these days… I put in hours of work for what feels like minimal return. I sacrifice time with my kids and family, that I can never get back, for what seems pretty pointless at times.
Yet, friends and new bloggers keep asking me for advice and tips. So, since it’s what everyone wants to know, I’ll tell you what’s been working for me! I don’t want to write it out a hundred different times for a bunch of different people. I’m a mom of a 2.5yr old and a 4 month old - ain’t nobody got time for that!
For this post, I’m collaborating with my friend Reese Woods as she interviews me about my blogging journey. Reese teaches yoga and Zumba at the gym I workout at. Her classes are always so relaxing and fun. And she and my son have the same birthday! She’s been blogging for a few years now, off and on, but decided to really make a go of it this past year. But, like so many bloggers, she’s kind of stuck on how to really grow her brand and following.
So, I’ll be answering some of the top questions I get from new and prospective bloggers. I’m doing these posts Q&A style because I think it is the clearest way to answer these particular questions. I am also splitting it into two different posts. There is a lot of information and they are both primarily on two topics. Blogging and social media. For this first round of questions, they will all be based on blogging. My second post How to Grow Your Social Media Following is all about social media and networking.
Q: How long have you been blogging and what inspired you to begin?
A: I’ve been blogging for a little over a year, I started in January 2017. What inspired me to start was my skill for finding top retail brands at thrift stores, and my ability to save money on what would normally be expensive goods/services through money saving tips & tricks I’ve learned along the way. I want to share my affordable living hacks with anyone who wants to know but especially mamas with growing families.
Q: How did you choose a focus or “niche” for your blogging platform?
A: I still haven’t really done that. Everyone says pick ONE thing and focus on it. But I’m a mom, fitness lover, diyer, simple/basic outfit stylist, affordable traveler… so usually that just gets lumped into “Lifestyle” and you call it a day.
Q: What website platform did your blog start out on? Do you still use that, or have you moved to a different one?
A: I started on Wordpress’ free platform till I decided what I wanted to do. Then I changed to Squarespace Business, because all you have to do to get your own unique site is have a domain name and they handle the rest.
Q: What does it cost to maintain your website and web domain?
A: Business website is $216 per year. BUT if it’s your first time signing up, they have a coupon code for 10% off: GIMME10 … Domain is $18 per year. Through GoDaddy $234 total for website hosting.
Q: How did you start getting into sponsored posts from other companies and brands for your blog and social media?
A: They reached out to me at first. Most of the requests were from Instagram and back then I had around 5K followers. It took me about 5 months before I started reaching out to brands for products I wanted to feature. I just didn’t have the courage before... But reach out if you’re not getting any collaborations!
Q: What would you say you do more, sponsored posts in exchange for free product, or sponsored posts for payment?
A: Free product for sure, although I’m trying to get better about valuing myself and my time (post coming soon on this subject)! I get a lot of product boxes that have multiple products in them and do IG posts here and there.
Not when it comes to blog posts though. Blog posts are a lot of time and work to compose, so I need to be compensated for those. One quick Instagram post is another story, which is sometimes when I will go the “free product for promotion” route. But I am picky about who/what I accept.
Q: What are some typical pay rates for sponsored posts on blogs or social media accounts?
A: It varies based on your account/niche/following/engagement. If you’re not charging yet, on Instagram I would say $10 per post, and for a feature blog post (only that one product/company) I would say $25 is a good starting point, including at least 1 social share to all your top platforms. Go up from there as you grow.
Q: How much did you make in your first year of blogging from paid/sponsored posts?
A: $441 (my first paid post was in July, so that was only technically for 6 months)
Q: How do you handle your taxes and reporting annual income from blogging/social media? Do you have any expenses you are able to write off?
A: We have an accountant that we use (April Tax for those of you that are local to Columbia, SC) for both our businesses. You just file as a Sole Proprietor if you don’t want to deal with getting an LLC. There are business write offs - anything you use for your blog: phone/internet bills, mileage for events/Photo Shoot destinations, blog props (trays, flowers, trinkets), food expenses (business meals/ingredients for blog posts). Basically, anything you use for your blog, that you WOULDN'T have bought, if you didn’t blog about it.
Q: What are some of your favorite items that you have gotten in exchange for doing a sponsored post or review?
A: Maternity clothes, travel bags, watches, baby wraps
Q: What are some of the biggest struggles or challenges you’ve experienced in your blogging journey?
A: For one thing, help on growing my blog! There are tons of free courses out there, but they’re all very vague and pretty much unhelpful advice that you could figure out on your own or are probably already doing! Other bloggers are just as vague when you try to ask them. I think the only time you’re going to get real answers is if you pay someone for their courses. Which I understand, but it’s still frustrating when you just want to know some helpful tips. Which is why I wanted to do this Q&A.
Another big struggle has been the Instagram algorithm changes. It doesn’t necessarily affect my blog, but it does affect visibility. Instagram is an amazing platform and tool to help grow your blog with new followers. But, it seems like once you get one thing figured out, Instagram changes it again and you’re back to square one. Some people do really well on Instagram and can grow 100K+ in a year, and some people are just stuck at 1K… I wish I knew THOSE secrets!
So, there you have it! These are some of my most frequently asked questions about blogging or starting a blog. Head on over to my second post, How to Grow Your Social Media Following to see my most frequently asked social media and networking questions.
Did I miss something? Ask your questions below in the comments, I would love to hear from you and clear anything up!