Our bedroom has been one part of our home that, until recently, has had the least attention. I’m not the sort for a romantic boudoir or anything particularly girly, so it’s been hard to reflect my style in our bedroom. It’s taken a long time to come up with ideas, or find things I like. I finally feel like I’m getting there, three years after buying our home. The most recent addition to our bedroom is a blogging desk in the corner of the room. A brand new space for me to sit and blog to my heart’s content late into the evenings!
I’d not thought about putting a desk in our bedroom before. We had an office desk in the bedroom of our old home, but it really didn't look right. It was a big typical looking wooden desk with a black swivel office chair. It just felt way too office like for a bedroom and not visually pleasing at all, so when we moved we got rid of the lot and I said ‘no desks in the bedroom!’
Luckily desks don’t all have to look so formal and work like. They can actually look quite fitting in the corner of a bedroom if you pick the right frame and colour. To suit my white minimalistic theme throughout my home I chose a small A-frame desk with one single drawer; nothing too fussy or large, just a perfect little desk to fit neatly in the corner of our bedroom and to blend in with the rest of the decor.
I had no idea if it would make our room look any less like a bedroom and perhaps even strange, but it actually brings the whole room together. We had rather a blank space of wall and floor opposite our bed which looked quite plain and I had no idea what to fill it with, until the blogging desk idea.
We do have a home office space downstairs. It’s a converted garage which is two thirds a playroom and one third an office and storage area. It feels like quite a formal area with calendars, household bills, paperwork, printers, scanners and the general clutter of family life regularly piling up on top of it. I mostly choose to blog in the calmer living room sat at the dining room table, or with the laptop perched on a cushion on my lap. Now I have my very own separate blogging space away from the hustle and bustle of organising our family schedules and separate from the living area. A place I can sit away from the craziness of family life, if I need to, to work in peace and quiet. A little blogging corner of my own.
Working from home is definitely more of a pleasure than a chore, but cabin fever can set in and I often feel I am here 24/7. The walls can start to feel though they are closing in sometimes. A new blogging space will give me the freedom to change my surroundings and pick and choose where I work in the house.
Do you have a dedicated blogging area in your home?
By bloggers, for bloggers – the blogging advice you should ignore
The internet is full of advice for bloggers. Most of these guides are written by bloggers and amazingly I see more and more guides out there from bloggers who have only been blogging for a few weeks at most themselves. Needless to say, there is a lot of misinformation out there. There’s also a lot of conflicting views on best practices as a blogger.
Write great content and they will come
I recently read one of these so called guides and it prompted me to write this blog post. The advice was ‘write great content and they will come’. If by ‘they’ they actually mean tumbleweed might roll by, then they are on to a winner. Of course, you need to write great content. That’s a given. But they most certainly will not come just because you’ve written it. Unfortunately that’s not the way the internet works.
When I set up my website (originally just as a shop) I naively thought people would find me on Google and I’d have a ton of website traffic. After a few days of NO traffic, I quickly realised I needed to shout about my website from the rooftops to get people to visit it. It’s exactly the same with my blog today and I’m sure it’s exactly the same for 99% of new bloggers. The other 1% will be masters in SEO and never need to promote as they’ll get so much Google traffic instantly – do these bloggers exist? Perhaps they can give me some training if so.
In my experience you must promote your blog tirelessly to get traffic. You must be active on several social media channels and post often. You must engage with your readers and the blogging community. You should learn some basic SEO at the very least. You should take part in linkies, comment on other blogs and constantly think up inventive ways to entice people to your own blog. You must tell everyone about your blog so they know it’s there. That’s how ‘they will come’. At first anyway. And yes, once you have enticed them in, if your content is great they will return. Perhaps that’s how they should have worded their advice.
I decided to ask other bloggers what advice they have read in so called ‘blogging guides’ that they think is a load of rubbish too.
Here is the suggested blogging advice you should ignore:
Ask other bloggers to retweet you - Don't annoy other bloggers by randomly asking them to RT your latest blog post to their followers... especially if you don't even follow them in the first place and have never spoken to them before! www.scrapbookblog.co.uk
Leave your website in every comment box available - No this isn't a widely appreciated thing as it ends up making your comment look really spammy in my experience. www.rtoatsblog.com
Free exposure is the best thing going - It's a fine line between being good and being taken for a ride by companies. Know your worth and stick to your guns instead of feeling obliged to say yes to everything Twinderelmo.co.uk
Set your fees and stick to them - Different brands will have different budgets, some more some less - being strict with exactly what your prepared to take can lose you future work, or stop you from getting more money in the first place. The best thing I've done in terms of monetising is be open to a good old haggle. www.lifewithboys.co.uk
Fake it ‘til you make it - The "fake it til you make it" mentality with social media, i.e. buying a bunch of followers to boost your numbers and make real people follow you too. It's totally illogical and adds absolutely nothing for potential working relationships or your real readers. Daftest advice I've ever heard. http://www.mightyduxburys.com
Be organic as possible - Utter drivel. Honestly, organic is a vegetable. Get out there, promote yourself as much as possible, but also promote other bloggers. Build each other up but never listen to advice that suggests you should sit back and wait. http://tobyandroo.com
Find a blog you like and try and emulate it - Erm, nope, be yourself! Take inspiration sure but don't just copy someone else to try and be something you're not. https://pinkpearbear.com
Stats aren't everything - No, but you're not going to make good money without good stats! Monkeyandmouse.co.uk
Know your place, wait your turn - No - work like a dog and work some more. Success is self-made not handed out when you reach a milestone number or timeframe. Http://hibabyblog.co.uk
Just write it down and press publish - No mention whatsoever of editing, finding appropriate photos or looking for ways to better your post! www.fivelittledoves.com
Don't plan posts, just go with the flow - Maybe that works for some but not with big posts which include loads of photos, a day out or a video! That would be seriously stressful doing it all in 24 hours Www.tripswithatot.com
And finally, a little extra advice from bloggers about what not to do as a blogger:
If you’re wondering how much money people can make from blogging I share all with you in my monthly blog income reports. These are a great resource for me to look back on and also for anyone who is interested in what I earn from blogging. I see a lot of bloggers start off their income reports by explaining that they are not showing off, which I don’t feel they need to do at all. In most lines of work people won’t admit what they earn, but in blogging and the online world people are ever so curious. I love reading other people’s income reports for blogging, so I thought I’d start sharing mine this year. I’m also a bit dubious of those who don’t share how much they make, yet they offer advice to others without giving any indication of whether they are even earning a decent wage themselves.
I’m still in shock! I thought my previous £1400 was a fluke, yet in May I managed to go over £2000 which is incredible. I worked my butt off writing blog posts in May with it feeling non-stop some days, so I’m glad all the hard work has paid off.
Most of my blog income came from sponsored posts, reviews and giveaways.
£128.55 of this total is from referrals or affiliate marketing.
I see some bloggers are making well over £5000 from affiliate marketing which is an insane amount. If I could make that amount I could stop with all the sponsorship! I’ve no idea how they do it. I assume they have a very high traffic to their website and a highly engaged audience.
May 2017 Stats
(The dashes just mean I hadn’t started recording these results each month)
I’m pleased to see my May Google Analytics stats are back up which proves my theory things are much quieter online, especially for mummy bloggers, during the school holidays. In April half the month was Easter holidays so lots of people were away and busy with their children. I certainly wasn’t online half as much.
May is now my best month so far this year in terms of website visits, sessions and new users.
Twitter is down a little, but I’m not too bothered about this. I’ve been neglecting growing my audience there as I concentrate on growing my audience on Instagram by interacting as much as possible on likeminded accounts. I’d love to get to 10000 followers by the end of the year. It’s not all about the numbers game, but I do like to have a target to aim towards sometimes!
As I predicted in my April blog stats blog post, I thought my Tots score would decrease. It went from 26 to 35. I was expecting a decrease as my stats were so low for April and I was right. I’m still so amazed to be in the top 100 however.
My DA has stayed the same, phew! That’s a big relief after a few months at the start of the year where it kept declining! Here’s my blog post about how I think I got it back up: 4 ways to improve your domain authority (DA)
Did I Achieve My May Blogging Goals?
Remember to post on Instagram – yes I’ve posted a fair few times. Not daily, but I’m going to remove this pressure from myself as sometimes I’m at home all day and not out much so there’s little to post!
Increase Instagram followers by 300 – they’ve actually increased by 800ish which is surprising. I’ve used some new hashtags and varied my use of hashtags more so perhaps more people have stumbled across me. I wonder if it’s like Twitter where the more followers you have the more you randomly start getting without doing much – simply because the more who interact with you, the more who see this and take a look at your profile and then it keeps growing like this.
Continue adding blog headings, intro blog posts and internal links (aim for at least 50 blog posts) – I didn’t meet this target. At a guess I perhaps did ten or so, but I was so unbelievably busy with collaborative posts in May I simply had no time left to continue with this. It’s going to be a long ongoing project which I’ll pick up whenever I’ve finished everything else and have some spare time.
Run two blog giveaways – Yes I’ve ran one pretty much every week and am going to try and continue this in a regular #winitwednesday blog giveaway series
Revise Social Oomph blog queue updates to freshen Twitter feed – I’ve not been through every update, but I did delete some queue reservoirs and adjust some text on some of them. This will be another ongoing task that I’ll revise some updates whenever I have some spare time. I have well over 1000 updates so it’s not a quick task to do.
June Blogging Goals
Carry on as you are!
After such a successful, but manic, blogging month of May I have decided not to set myself specific goals for June and to just carry on as I am!
I’ve given myself an overall target of £1500 for June, but for all my home money making schemes: matched betting, blogging, mystery shopping and online selling. Last month I split it up, but I think one overall target is a better plan.
Blogging has become big news in recent times and I believe it’s not even reached its peak just yet
Here are some stats just from WordPress which is one of the most popular blogging platforms:
Over 409 million people view more than 23.6 billion pages each month.
Users produce about 82.7 million new posts and 44.5 million new comments each month.
These statistics are pretty staggering! And let’s not forget this is just one blogging platform and there are plenty more out there probably with their own tremendous figures too.
Blogging has surprisingly become my main income in the last six months, even though I’ve been blogging for over four years. What started out as an idea to drive traffic to my ecommerce store, turned into a passionate hobby and has now turned into my self employed income. I’m still amazed I can make a sustainable income from my online activities, but more and more people are discovering the same.
I see that blogging has changed quite a lot since its humble beginnings, with brands realising the advantages of unique content creation in aiding their own SEO efforts. Sponsored blog posts are becoming common place for those who wish to monetise their blogs and this practice seems to be booming just now.
Here are my thoughts on the future of blogging:
New blogging platform with everything integrated in one place
I see most bloggers seem to prefer WordPress or Blogger, but I wonder if a new all-singing-all-dancing blogging platform is on the horizon. Something which does everything you need it to with a billion templates, themes and features where you need no technical know-how. A platform that makes everything so easy you can just get on with the writing and not all the faffing or tech issues!
More professional bloggers
There will still be those who blog for a hobby, but more bloggers seem to set up blogs for business purposes nowadays. There are those who try to set theirs up just for freebies, but they rarely seem to last. There’s no such thing as a freebie in the blogging world! Blogging professionally takes a vast amount of time, knowledge and effort and it certainly doesn’t suit everyone. I believe there will be more people starting a blog with a business plan and goals in mind, rather than purely a pastime.
More brands using blogger services
It’s possible there will be a shift in online advertising, which I think we are beginning to see already. As people become irritated by online ads ruining their viewing experience they are installing ad blockers. This is not good news for brands wanting to get their products and message out there! Brands will need to find new ways to reach their audiences and blogs are perfect for this. Natural content is much more appealing than advertorials. Natural content is also the perfect place for brands to place links and improve their SEO.
Recognised as a profession
As blogging becomes more widely known it will begin to be recognised as a credible profession. At the moment many people do not understand how people make a living from a blog and I’ve even heard of bloggers (who blog full time) being told ‘get a proper job’. Well excuse me, but making a full time income (or any income) from a blog means it is a job!
As more people monetise their blogs, more people will create blogs to make money. This means there will be more and more competition for paid work. This means starting a blog just to make money will become harder as there are so many others trying to do the same as you.
Less bloggers, more vloggers
Lots of bloggers seem to take the leap from writing to creating videos and becoming a YouTuber or vlogger. As video continues to be on the rise and YouTube is forever growing in popularity I think more people will be interested in vlogging in the first place. I still much prefer reading and writing so I’ll stick with old school typing for now!
How do you think blogging will change in the next few years?
*I've written this as part of Innovation Company's study on what bloggers see as the future of blogging
I basically decided to leave the security of my part time job which I’d had for 14 months and concentrate all my efforts into blogging, mystery shopping, matched betting and a little online selling. I’d been making a full time wage from home for six months so decided it was time to take the plunge and go for it properly. It was a terrifying decision and I nearly bottled out of handing my notice in, but I braved up at the last minute and went for it.
I’m so glad I did as in May 2017 I more than TRIPLED my £1000 target! WOAH!
I’ve just entered all the amounts on my new ‘Vix Making Money From Home’ spreadsheet and even I’m in shock. I knew I’d gone over £2000, but didn’t think I was over £3k in one month!
In May 2017 I earned £3210.21 from home!
In a way I can believe it as I feel like I have been working pretty much ALL the time, there have been days when it’s been non-stop from 7am until midnight around all the mum duties. I’ve basically turned into a crappy wife as my head is glued to my laptop or phone constantly!
Let’s look in a little more detail at each earning:
Blog posts £2238.32
I’m amazed by this figure! Last month I made £800 which I was pleased with from blogging and in March I made over £1400 from blogging which I thought I’d never beat. The majority of this has come from sponsored blog posts which I genuinely enjoy doing.
Many blogger’s may argue it’s selling out, but to me it’s a way to monetise my blog and make blogging a full time reality. I’m not an online influencer who can sell products in the thousands to anyone, and unless you have a gazillion website views a day I’ve no idea how people make money from Google ads (I make £60 per year!), so for me sponsored posts are the only way I can currently monetise my blog.
I love writing too, hence why I love blogging, and sponsored blog posts give me the opportunity to get creative with my writing and come up with blog posts based on a link, topic or keyword which is always a fun challenge. I love researching my ideas and best of all writing the blog posts.
I’ve decided to do one big income report each month now for all my home earnings, but you can view my previous blogging only income reports here:
There are two referral schemes I do make money from and so this is hopefully turning into a nice regular monthly income. I’d love to master affiliate marketing as I’m now a member of Awin, but in two months or so I’ve not even reached the £25 threshold!
Ooh, I did, however, win £200 from Awin this month by entering a blog competition with Etsy and winning, so it’s been worth being a member for this so far.
Matched Betting £465.95
Having set myself a target of a couple of hundred now I’m only doing reload offers, I am impressed I more than doubled this. I don’t feel like I’ve done as much as I could, but blogging has been my main priority.
The football season has come to an end and it’s this I usually bet on. I’ll have to expand my sports betting and find some new summer sports to bet on instead!
I highly recommend using Profit Accumulator for matched betting as a beginner. They have so many guides and walk you through the whole process in the first few offers. If you are stuck you can ask a question in the forum and someone will get back to you. They also have a 30 day money back guarantee on their memberships, though you can try the first couple of offers without signing up to anything.
Having set only a £50 target for May, I did very well with mystery shopping and checks. Roamler was my most successful and I’m now up to level 4. I even ranked #4 for a day out of all the roamlers as I’d got so many XP! I’ve spent 1-2 mornings a week doing mystery shopping when Reuben is at nursery. It’s a great little side money maker and gets me out of the house and my head out of a computer. It’s my break away from the desk whilst still earning money!
Online Boutique £3.49
So I didn’t meet my £50 target here, but I think I’ll let myself off as I did so well elsewhere. That’s the beauty of having several income streams now rather than one. This is actually the lowest I’ve ever made from my online boutique since setting it up in 2012, but I’m really not concentrating on it anymore. I’ve not bought any new stock for ages and just want to clear the stock I have and then have a good think about a smaller collection. If you want to grab a bargain there’s 40% off everything in my online fashion accessories boutique!
Personal eBay £138.90
I used to sell loads on eBay, and then I got annoyed with it so started donating all our old stuff to the charity shop instead. Now I’ve decided to do a mixture as some of our items are such good quality I can make a little money from them. Sometimes the kids grow out of things so fast they are practically brand new so it’s good to try and get my money back by selling on eBay! I sold a couple of biggish items we had in our attic which helped to boost this amount. Surprisingly kids toys, in bundles, sell really well so I’m sorting through our playroom currently to see what can go!
June £1500 challenge
I feel like I should challenge myself to more than £1000 for June as I did so well in May. I don’t want to give myself such a huge target that I can’t reach it and then feel negative though. I really believe May was a fluke month!
For June I’ll set myself the challenge of earning £1500 from home. Wish me luck!