Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Don't Like the "Business" of Blogging? That's Okay.

I read a post last month by Suburban Turmoil's Lindsay Ferrier that I haven't been able to get out of my head. The post, its scores of sympathetic comments, and other posts like it tell of a growing backlash against the "business" of mommyblogging--the PR, the branding, the corporate affiliations, the social media jockeying, the SEO, all the stuff that we do that isn't what BLOGGING used to be. The stuff that's making some bloggers question where blogging is headed.

Ferrier writes:

...I’m a writer. And even before that, I’m a mom. I don’t have a whole lot of time to spend on the Internet and I want to spend the time I do have writing, and making what I’ve already written better. Not promoting my brand. Not optimizing my blog for search engines. Not seeking out partnerships with corporations.

This part of Lindsay's post resonates with me. I started Baby Cheapskate years before Twitter, before PR firms and marketers discovered the power of our voices, before, as Linday calls it, Mommyblogging 2.0. Not to get all "in the good old days" on you, but the fact is, blogging was simpler even a year ago than it is today. Circa 2005 it was downright primitive by comparison.

It took me over a year to learn that it was possible to monetize a blog. Today, I make my living blogging. Though I dearly love what I do, my day is longer and more complicated. I write posts, but I also spend hours a day on what feels an awful lot like work. "Blogging" is not just about posting anymore for me. It's about posting and press releases and emails from marketers and giveaways and ads and Twitter and so many other things.

Sure, 99% of bloggers still get into blogging because they love to write. They probably like to read blogs, too. They see the reviews, ads and affiliate links. They know that while most bloggers make a few bucks a month if anything, some make more. If new bloggers don't overtly grab for the brass ring, they at least know it's there.

The business of blogging starts for so many new bloggers on day one. Today's savvy new bloggers hit the 'net running. Blogs about blogging (hey, like this one!), conferences and books exist solely to help new bloggers build readership and build it fast. It took Baby Cheapskate a full year to reach 100 unique hits per day. New bloggers today surpass that goal in weeks or a month with the proper strategy and the proper alliances. Latte habit? Paid for.

Blogging has changed. Is there still a place for bloggers who just want to write? Absolutely. Yes. Absolutely.

There's no reason to feel left out or left behind if you're just not into the business of blogging. Decide what blogging will be for you. You want AdSense? Get AdSense. You want to do social media? Tweet away. You don't care about conferences? Stay home. Write. Do what you love. Ignore the rest. Blogging isn't what it was four years ago, and it only vaguely resembles what it will be a year from now. It's evolving, and each of us shapes its future with the choices we make.

photo by andyp uk via flickr