It doesn't matter if you're not making money on your blog.
You tell someone you’re a blogger and they’ll immediately respond “cool, so you get loads of free stuff?”. The conversation then usually goes “sometimes, yeah”… “so you get paid to just write, it sounds so easy”, and by this point I’ve already given up on whoever I’m speaking to. Not only is it completely untrue that bloggers “just write” and then get free products and money, it also belittles blogging as a hobby/career.
When I began blogging, I had done no research. I just knew that I wanted to write, I didn’t care if people read it or not. Then, I wrote a post I was really proud of and I thought “wow, maybe people should read this”; at this point I had no clue what DA, niche or SEO meant, let alone faffing about with your codes (which I still struggle to do). Honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
You should blog because you love blogging, not because you think you’ll get money for simply writing – it’s not that easy, by the way – or because you’ll get free things. That should all be a bonus to the fact that you’re doing what you love and people are enjoying it.
I didn’t get my first completely free product until my Anatomicals post which I wrote in October – I sometimes get free bits from Influenster that I write about, but they send you samples based on what you like. By the time I received my first free product, I’d been blogging for around a year. Granted, I wasn’t as focused on blogging as I am now and over my recent posts I’ve begun to find my ‘voice’, but what matters is that I was loving writing and getting it out there. If getting free stuff is your priority, I suggest you apply to a free samples site, such as Influenster.
And money? I had my first paid post in December; after over a year of blogging. I’m not putting myself on a high horse, either. I have affiliate links, ads on my page, I often say yes to collaborations and I email companies when I think I may be able to work with them. It’s rewarding when you realise you’re making money off your passion, but it should be rewarding because people are enjoying your content so much that you can financially benefit from it. I'm pretty sick of people thinking that you must be making money to be a good blogger.
It shouldn’t matter if you’re not making any money on your blog, despite what all of those Pinterest “how I make $45k a month blogging”, “how to turn your blog into a business” and all those posts say. You should be blogging because you love blogging and interacting with your audience.
My favourite thing to do (as sad as it sounds for a 19 year old student) is to sit down and write a post and then take all of the pictures for it. It’s so rewarding to see how much my writing and photography has improved and that is really reflected in my traffic. It’s not reflected in how much money I’m making, however, as I’m making very little.
But, do you know what? I’m really not bothered. I put affiliate links in when I can, because why wouldn’t you want to make some extra pennies for recommending products that you genuinely love? I won’t go out of my way to write about something if I’m not passionate about it.
If your heart is in the writing and producing, then the sky really is your limit. Thank you for reading my little ramble on why it shouldn't matter. Of course, if blogging is your full-time job then obviously the money matters but if it's not then please don't worry too much about your blogging income. People love you for your writing, not for how many sponsored posts you do!