A Bloggers Desk

Monetise – Two Years & A Career in Blogging I

Gavin Wren Food Blogging, Writing

I’m incredibly proud to announce that it’s my blog’s second anniverasry! Woo-hoo! How exciting! Where’s the confetti cannon emoji when you need it! Today I’m going to talk about how to monetise a blog. Or how not to.

It’s My Party…

To celebrate this truly momentous occasion, I’ve poured my heart into the internet and written a very special, personal, self-indulgent six-part blog post about my experience from that first intrepid post through to my blog’s second Birthday. I’m indulging myself and writing about what’s happened to me in these two years and how I’ve created a completely new career, simply through my blog.

Happy Birthday, Dear Oeufs.

This blog was two years old on Sunday, meaning those two little eggs at the top of the page have come of age. I started blogging on 31st July 2014 with a very nervous post saying “Errr, hello world?”. It was a post which was viewed about 11 times in total, most of those hits were probably spam bots.

I would love to say time flies, but that would be trite and not to mention untrue, because an enormous amount has happened in my life during those two years and looking back it almost feels like a longer period. I guess the reason for the wringing out of time is because there have been so many developments in my life and I’ve changed hugely as a person, and am continuing to do so. In fact the personal development that’s accompanied my work makes me feel like a different person compared to the Gavin of July 2014.

Fact 1. Number of houses I’ve lived in since starting my blog: 3 today, rising to 4 in 10 days time.
(All in London; NW1, N19, KT5 & E7, in case you’re interested).

The Frustration of Blogging.

The first birthday of my blog flew directly under the radar of my world. It seems curious, surely it should be a momentous occasion to sing, dance and make merry, however I ignored it. I could say that I just forgot, however that seems unlikely. Forgetfulness can be the mind’s way of actively avoiding things and seeing how my first blogiversary was ‘A Good Thing’, there’s probably another reason why I didn’t crack out the streamers and invite all my friends over for jelly and ice cream. Perhaps it was because I had realised that blogging is hard work and can be quite disappointing by some measures, especially in the early days.

I started my blog as a hobby, because I was seeking out some form of creative vent to release my creative frustrations through. I tried to post every week, but I managed to allow life get in the way of that. I also ran a small business and was out of the house for 12 hours a day, or more when we were busy, up to 7 days a week when very, very busy. Combined with the commitments of being in a relationship, life seemed to offer very little time to blog consistently. I also discovered that creating great recipes, photographing them and developing some sparkling text to accompany them takes a lot of time.

Fact 2. I’ve published 140 blog posts in two years, more than 75% are recipes.

The Joy of Blog.

But I did learn one important thing, that blogging can be really great fun. I found great enjoyment and fulfilment out of making, photographing and writing about the food that I’d made. I would go on little culinary explorations, seeking out food and then enjoying my time scurrying around the kitchen getting my camera covered in flour and oil, before happily sitting at the computer punching, coaxing and cajoling words and images around until they seemed to line up in the right order.

This hermit like enjoyment of the process makes my first year of disappointment even more confusing. In the end I put it down to two things, comparing myself to others and the big bogeyman of the blogging world, monetisation. I feel that monetisation can be a scourge on the world of blogging. I’m no anti-capitalist hippy, because I’m all for entrepeneurial initiative and commercial activity, and I think it’s great for people to make money out of blogging, I’d positively encourage people to pursue a career in blogging.

However, ‘traditional’ monetisation is a problem because when I started blogging, I felt bombarded with a barrage of content on blogs which promote how to monetise a blog or openly advertise how much money (OMG!) they earn from blogging. It felt like constant calls of “monetise!” and I could spend a lot of my money learning how to monetise my blog. This all changes the conversation around growing a blog from “how to be a great blogger”, to “how to earn money being a blogger”, which is a big difference, and a big mistake in my opinion.

Fact 3. Likes don’t equal happiness. They’re just the tequila slammers of the blogging world.

Monetise! Monetise! Monetise!

As a beginner, I had no concept of how all of that monetisation information fitted within my world of blogging. All I knew was that I was bombarded with ways to monetise my blog. Theories, ideas, affiliate schemes, ad networks, eBooks, routes, plans, business ideas. It was all too much and I think I felt pressure to make something of my blog, as if everyone else was making money out of their blog, so why wasn’t I? When my posts inevitably got very few views and hardly any likes on Twitter or Facebook, I was disappointed, considering how everyone else seemed so God damned successful.

But those those early days also helped me to formulate opinions. I instinctively knew I didn’t want adverts all over my blog, so I designed it specifically not to have adverts. Without even realising, I had decided that my blog is about me, so the only ‘advert’ I want on there is the content that I personally create.

I also started to feel that the traditional, much publicised routes of blog monetisation weren’t relevant to me, that blogging meant something completely different to me, that there was a different path to follow. The problem was that I had no idea what that route could be.

Next time in Part 2: How the first two years of my blog’s traffic looks.

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