I have recently given a lot of thought to the world of blogging and how divided this cyber world of writing has become, but also how competitive and cut throat it is.
Every day many new blogs start up and many blogs come to a halt because many people simply don’t have the time and quite often are shocked at how much effort goes into making a moderately successful blog. Believe me it’s a massively tough job.
This is my four tiers to a successful blog and if you can imagine it’s a four tier wedding cake and to reach the top tier you will need ladders, climbing ropes and so much hard work, which I would liken to the point of obession. It will also show how your blog evolves and changes on the climb to the top of the tree.
Ok you have been reading and looking at the blogging world and have decided that you can do that too. Setting up a blog is relatively easy and there are many platforms you can use to create your own corner of the internet. Platforms as WordPress or Blogger are two of the most popular and like anything they have their plus points and minus points. I started on blogger and a few months ago moved to WordPress because I wanted full ownership of my blog.
Then the hard work really starts. You first of all have to decide what your blog is going to be about, what is going to be your niche? Then you need to decide on a name for your blog which hopefully will relate to the theme of your blog. Then you have to start writing posts that are interesting and engaging, sounds easy, haha! This is when the reality hits home about how tough writing a blog is. Most of us when we start have no following on social media, you write something which you think is very good and it could be very good, but without a following who is going to read it?
This is every new bloggers mistake. When I started DIY Daddy I had one follower on Twitter so I realised very quickly I needed to write for myself to begin with and remember very clearly that it was about a month before I had 100 views in total on my blog, but I was proud of that fact. That 100 people had taken the time to read my ramblings, even though this had taken a month!
In the early days of blogging more people give up than carry on. I would imagine this is for a variety of reasons. The tough part is to carry on and good things will happen, but it takes time.
After about nine months of blogging, if you are still going, you will move up to tier two. Writing a blog will begin to make sense. Well, maybe! I personally decided to centre my blog around parenting and some DIY as this is what I do for a living.
I also decided at about six months into blogging to start a feature called the Brilliant Dad Feature which is still going and approaching it’s 100th week. The feature enables me to connect with lots of dads and got me noticed a little bit more in the blogging world.
My wife who blogs at Twin Mummy and Daddy, has been blogging for five years and has always said to me, not to expect any paid work for at least a year, so I put that thought to the back of mind. If you are just starting a blog, don’t expect offers of paid work to come piling in.They really won’t for at least a year.
You have to write your blog for you initially and if you are ever lucky enough to reach tier four, try and write for yourself still. Remember one of reasons you have built a readership is because your blog is real not full of collaborative or sponsored posts.
So, you have got through the first year barrier and just when you thought it was easier, it’s not! It gets harder because now you have a readership and people want to read something which means new posts are needed most days. In my case I post just about everyday of the year and my blog is still about 80% natural posts.
This is also the time when most bloggers start obsessing about stats, views, DA, rankings, awards and charts. I did and it became a daily ritual. Please don’t do this! They mean nothing! At least that’s what I have learnt. I have been asked only a couple of times for my media pack and I have worked with some very big brands. If you get contacted by somebody who wants to work with you it means they like what they see and this puts you in the driving seat. Never undersell your hard work and effort, and also the reach of your blog.
It’s hard to say when you will move up to tier 3. For me it happened after I had been blogging for 18 months, but I don’t think there is any set time. I think some do it earlier and some have to wait a bit longer.
I was named in the Top Ten Dad Bloggers in the UK by Vuelio in June 2016, and there is no doubt it heightened my profile to other bloggers, new readers and of course brands and PR’s. Looking back was this a good thing? Yes and No.
Yes because all of sudden I was being asked to work with lots of well known brands and I was extremely flattered, and initially I accepted everything. However, I quickly realised that the reason I started blogging was getting lost. Nowadays I am more fussy about what I do because I don’t want my blog to be full of spammy sponsored posts because in my experience nobody reads these posts. I know I don’t.
I believe I am firmly in the tier 3 of blogging and actually very happy with that. I don’t rely on my blog to earn a living. I have always considered it a hobby with perks. Most of the time I pick and choose who and what I want to work with and most importantly dictate the price and firmly believe if you don’t want to pay my price then I don’t want to work with you.
Staying true to yourself, keeping integrity and honesty with your writing is far more important to me than paid work. Will I reach tier 4 where the elite bloggers hang out? Probably not, but that’s not what I want to either.
This is where the elite bloggers are. Their blogs are a business and quite often a limited company. They also rely on their blogs to earn a living.
This is incredibly hard work and is certaintly no 9-5 job. It’s very time consuming.
I have asked this question in a previous post, when is blog no longer a blog?, and have possibly changed my mind a little bit on this subject. If a person is running a blog as a buisness, which in my opinion most are in tier 4, then it’s a website, not a online diary from an individual or maybe two people.
Most of the blogs in this tier are just full of collaborative or sponsored posts with very little natural content. I personally have no issue with that, but rarely read these blogs. Most of us I’m sure want to read about real life. I most definitely do. I want to read a post that makes me think, that gets me emotional and makes me react. You can always tell when somebody has put their heart and soul into a post. Something that really irritates me about these blogs and websites is that they are still included in charts and rankings, and are able to eligible for awards. They are so far removed from what blogging is about.
A lot of these sites nowadays sell merchandise or offer services about blogging at very expensive prices, and of course people just starting their blogging journey will wrongly I think believe they need to sign up. Blogging is not rocket science, it’s really very simple.
1. Design a blog
2. Write content
3. Build a following
4. Share your content
5. Hopefully all of this will make your blog successful and get views by a few people
If you are tier 4, I have to admit I am not even slightly jealous! The pressure to keep brands happy and the constant effort to keep it going must be immense with deadlines and trying to get the next deal. It must keep you up late into the early hours many times in a week.
Of course many of bloggers in tier 4 only collaborate with each other and set up deals that will include just them. That of course is their choice.
I have no problem with any of this because they work hard and the rewards are there, but it is what I call elitism in blogging. It must be very cut throat to get the deal.
Finally one thing I do a lot of is helping new bloggers get noticed and hopefully increase their following which is something I notice the vast majority of tier 4 don’t do. I remember starting and it was hard. It takes nothing to share or retweet something, but can be a big help to somebody starting their blogging journey.
I just think that the top bloggers could help out the new bloggers a bit more.
I have nothing, but admiration for those bloggers that are in tier 4 because the work they do to stay at the top is hard and massively time consuming, but don’t forget where you started please!
As you climb the tiers of blogging ,the space on each tier gets smaller and as you possibly go up a tier. Another blogger may fall down a tier. Blogging is a very fickle buisness and you simply can’t be flavour of the day, everyday.
Would love to know your thoughts.