14 things bloggers don’t tell you about blogging [Part 3]

Sara | AbstractedCollective
7 min readSep 11, 2018


“woman sitting on bed while holding mug” by Asdrubal luna on Unsplash

In Part 1 and Part 2, I reflect on 10 different things that’ve come up for me in the blogging world. From traffic, to email subscribers to making money.

Here is the final instalment in this three part series.

You won’t earn a significant amount of money until you sell your own products

Any other method which involves you selling things for others or earning money/commission because of the sale of others’ products won’t rake in as much for you.

When you are an affiliate or a just pasting ads on your site, you are at the mercy of these merchants/sites. The ad company can choose to change the payouts for their ads, lowering it or changing their terms altogether.

Affiliates can always change too. The seller might choose to remove the product.

Oh, and the people telling you you don’t need an email list to sell, and you can do it straight on pinterest/social media– well. I’ve tried that for a long time and it doesn’t really work. It’s never gonna be as effective as selling it to your own email list to be honest. People don’t really purchase from strangers unless they have been looking for a targeted product for a long time prior.

Basically, when you are selling things on someone’s behalf, things aren’t in your control.

But when you are selling your own products, you get control over the entire process and how much to price it.

Social media is exhausting. And adds more workload to your blogging plate

Social media is a great way to engage with current followers, gain new followers and get your content out there.

But, it’s a whole additional other thing that you’d need to manage. On top of your blog.

It’s exactly like blogging — you need a strategy, you need to decide when you wanna post, what you wanna post etc. On top of that, there is the constant need to engage, post, follow, comment, like and reply to comments.

I’ve not even started on the various platforms’ constant changing of their algorithms, resulting in bloggers having to constantly adjust and figure out those changes.

I personally prefer slightly more passive social media platforms. I.E. Pinterest. It’s technically not social media, and more of a search engine platform. But it’s popular with bloggers and you do need to constantly be pinning your stuff there too, if you want your stuff to be seen by others.

Instagram and Facebook groups were just way too time-consuming for me. The constant need to engage, participate and what-not on top of having to think of my blog wears me out.

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I like IG but my niche is more knowledge-based and not image-based so, doesn’t perform fantastically there.

FB groups are a hit or miss. They can be full of people panicking about something or other (and spreading that anxiety to others). But I’ve also gotten great tips from posters there and the community spirit can be nice.

Maybe I need a more structured social media strategy in place. Shrugs.

But honestly, I don’t really care at this point. It’s an additional burden to my life.

Yes my numbers may not grow so quickly but at least I focus more on what feels good and manageable for me.

Another thing that I find abit questionable are bloggers who advice people to write what the social media audience wants.

I’m a bit iffy about this as it then makes your entire blogging experience into a gigantic people-pleasing project. And that doesn’t sit quite comfortably with me.

It’s important to know what your audience wants and create content for them, but there are also times where you need to create content because YOU are interested in the topic.

Blogging is tough enough, so don’t add a huge dose of people-pleasing habits to your plate. Do that long enough and you’ll end up feeling exhausted and resentful.

All those arbitrary rules are just that — arbitrary

Pin 27 times a day. Post 9 times on Instagram and at least 2 instagram stories per day. Write 20 posts before you start your blog. Write one post every day. Don’t write, just focus on marketing!

Who came up with all these rules?

And if you’ve noticed, a lot of them are contradicting.

I’d have to say that some FB groups are amongst the worst offenders of this sort of I-must-do-this-or-else. It’s fear based thinking. You’d have someone freaking out about something in a thread and send everyone else into a tizzy.

You have to remember that people are saying these things cause it worked FOR THEM.

It doesn’t mean that if you do the same, it will work for you or that you have to do that at all.

Also, it is irritating to read things like you have to pin 20 times a day or whatever, as if it were a fact, when it usually is just someone’s opinion or rumour.

Experiment with what feels comfortable for you and stick to that.

You do need to be an expert. Sometimes.

“No, you don’t have to be an expert to ____”

I don’t know how many times I’ve seen this and it grinds my gears.

No, technically, you don’t have to be an expert in the area you are blogging in. We all started off inexperienced. You don’t have to be an expert to have an opinion and write posts.

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But when I really want to do things that guarantee a right amount of success, I still prefer to take it from an expert.

Also things that affect my life — healthcare products, diets and so on. I rather take it from an expert or someone who has done a lot of research than any random blogger.

I define an expert as someone who has the qualifications/credentials and know what they are talking about, have done plenty of personal experiments or research on the topic and have extensive years of working in that field.

Of course, these days you can’t really tell whether someone is an expert or not. Everyone claims they are one. So how do you verify that?

Actually, you can quite easily tell by their free stuff — their blog posts. For eg, compare someone like Neil Patel or someone with similar credentials as him, to any beginner blogger who is talking about blogging tips and social media marketing.

With Neil Patel’s posts, you can absolutely tell that he has got the background and knows exactly what he’s talking about. His posts are long, well-researched and full of candid, genuine insights about his experiences.

He isn’t afraid of sharing what he knows.

Of course he’s got the advantage of having been in his field for a long time.

But this is what makes you successful. This is how you show off expertise. You put out great information in your free stuff, and this makes people want to sign up on your course and buy from you.

It’s actually pretty easy to spot an expert (there aren’t a lot of them) just from the way they write their posts.

This “I don’t need to be an expert” mindset has also led quite a number of bloggers to sell stuff that they don’t actually know much about.

You will see people selling stuff on a certain product (ie: how to be an Instagram/pinterest/insert platform pro) but aren’t actually doing that well on those said platforms.

This was made all the more obvious when P-interest started introducing their x no of views for each profile.

So don’t shy away from going out and gathering as much useful knowledge and experiences as you can, to add to your expertise. And don’t scrimp on the advice you give people.

It all pays off in the long run.

People can tell a generic blog-post from one written by an expert or near-expert.

Bandwagon-ing and Trend-hopping

I know I said 14 things, but I just had to add this one in.

Ever wondered why most bloggers are constantly hustling, jumping from one trend to another and never really sticking to one strategy? This is especially apparent in the How To Make Money Blogging niche., by the way.

At first it was FB groups, then Twitter, then SEO, now it’s all about email lists and Instagram and creating courses on Teachable. Also do you realise how many people have started presenting their content in video format?

I absolutely hate that and would never buy courses that are all videos and would unsubscribe from email lists that constantly present things in video format. Why can’t you just type it out? At least people can access written material anywhere, but videos?

How inconvenient, as I’d need laptop/wifi access/earphones or whatever to listen to it. I’m not gonna use up mobile data and watch that video on the train, sorry.

I really think it’s a trend that needs to disappear, sorry not sorry.

Anyway back to the trend-hopping. This is why most bloggers aren’t successful and constantly have to hustle to get anywhere. If you look at the experts and the ones raking in lots of cash, they have a very clear strategy. Yes, they might try new things once in awhile. But they always stick to their strategies.

This could be posting many times a week, frequently sending mails to their lists, building up their following on Pinterest or whatever.

They stick to something they like doing and which works for them.

They aren’t setting up multiple profiles on FB, IG Twitter, building a list, creating courses and everything all at once.

They pick one thing and focus.

Bloggers who are constantly jumping on new trends, and then trying to make money off of all that, you’re not gonna be successful in the long-run.

Your blog have no focus, you will come across gimmicky and you will burn out after awhile.

Trust me, I’ve been there and it’s not fun.

Focus on one thing (3 things max) and build it up from there slowly.

And stop listening to bloggers who tell you you need to be on IG one minute, creating courses the next and then setting up FB groups.

Do what works for you and ignore everything else.

Your thoughts?

Originally published at abstractedcollective.com on September 11, 2018.



Sara | AbstractedCollective

I write about relationships, personal growth and mental health. Dreamer. Tea addict. Researcher. https://abstractedcollective.com/home