Thursday, October 02, 2014

blogging with heart

There's a misconception that those who earn an income from their blogs are technical geniuses with a thorough knowledge of website coding and the like. And I have no doubt that many successful bloggers are switched on when it comes to the technical side of blogging; they are social media gurus, they use SEO like pros and they know the ins and outs of html. But that's not me. And I'm not ashamed to admit that I have no interest in building my blog using technical know-how. 

I am not a technical person; I'm a creative one. I've grown this blog from words and photos - not from clever marketing via social media platforms. I've only ever attended one blog conference and the only thing I did learn was that I had no idea what SEO was (Search Engine Optimisation) - I still don't understand it. Phrases like "self-hosting" leave me baffled. 

Stacey recently chatted to me about my blogging and rebranding experience; you can read the interview over here at Problogger. The post went live today and I must admit, the comments have left me perplexed; they reinforce the fact that I know nothing in regards to business or blog strategy. Technical discussions aside, I think I've expressed the crux of my blogging intention - do it with heart or don't do it at all. 

If you're thinking of starting a blog, if you're currently growing your blog or considering a rebrand, this advice is for you: the essence of blogging is connection. Yes, connection with your readers is integral but you also need to feel connected to the space you're creating otherwise it won't survive the fickle world of online content. Blogging requires work and if you aren't passionate about it, it quickly becomes a chore (a time-consuming one at that). 

There is no denying that social media is absolutely essential to maintaining readership; but that doesn't mean you need to hop on every platform. I use facebook and instagram and have never considered pinterest or twitter; whilst they may increase my traffic I only have so much time (mothers/bloggers of young children, take note - you can't do it all).

Yes, you can make an income from your blog without getting too caught up in the technical side of creating a website. If in doubt, consult the professionals and spend your precious time creating engaging content, photos included. If your enthusiasm wanes, step away and gain new perspective away from the screen. 

If you do have any questions about rebranding or blogging in general, I'm more than happy to answer them within the comments...


  1. Love to read this advice Jodi. Thank you ! It comforts me as I just cannot keep up with all the others on every platform going. I can barley keep Facebook going. However my Blog I really love to go there it has become a little treat amongst the hum drum of daily life. I have to be careful to not allow it take over my life though. Thanks for keeping it real !

    1. When I started blogging social media didn't exist so, in a sense, it was a lot easier to blog. There were more comments, more engagement and a stronger sense of community. Now, it's so easy for facebook, ig etc to take over and to be honest, I think those platforms are, in a way. My priority has always been the blog so I tend to focus my energy there. And then there's days when it's all a bit too much and I don't go anywhere near the laptop for a good while! x

  2. So much of what you wrote rang true for me too, especially the feeling that you've evolved a bit beyond your current Internet home; it's the reason I rebranded a couple of years ago, and Space for the Butterflies feels far more me than the old site. And I totally agree about choosing your social media and not trying to do it all, for me that's Instagram and Twitter. I like to think of it as doing one thing well not lots of things badly!
    Oh and for what it's worth, I did all my rebrand and my blogger to wordpress move myself and it wasn't as scary as I thought!

    1. I admire you for doing the rebranding and move yourself! It was totally beyond me! x

  3. Hi Jodi, I read your interview with great interest earlier today and so pleased you have added more to the discussion here. I am curious to know how you have developed relationships with sponsors and brands. You mentioned that rebranding helped this but can you elaborate a little. Do you approach brands/advertisers or do they approach you? I am not on a self-hosted site so can't accept advertising but WHEN I rebrand, I also hope to SELF-HOST and then work with brands that are relevant to my readers. Any advice welcome. And I LOVE your site and philosophy :-)

    1. Firstly, thanks for your kind words and encouragement. I'm not on a self-hosted site and as you can see, I still feature sponsors. In regards to working with brands, I've developed quite a few connections over the years and have managed to approach brands and work with those who have found me via social media etc. I wrote about how to monetise your blog here -

      Hope it's useful! x

    2. Yes, thank you, Jodi. That's very helpful. It must be different for blogger than wordpress regarding sponsors I think. I enjoyed your other post too. Thanks so much x

    3. you are right! if you're on wordpress you have to be self-hosted in order to accept sponsors.

  4. So perfectly put, Jodi.
    I too believe that blogging with heart is at the heart of blogging.
    Ronnie xo

  5. Exactly! Blogging should be a way to connect our stories with the stories of others, to put in words our experiences in hopes others can relate and share their own in return. For a while now I feel like blogging has drifted from this premise and landed on an island of push and shove to become the most popular blogger. I'm so glad to see someone else appreciate their space in the way it was intended. Blogging for me is a creative release, a journal, and it's nice to find like minds out there. Thanks for sharing.

  6. I have to echo everyone else's sentiments, it's so refreshing to read this. A lot of the time I feel like I know less than nothing about blogging, but I still draw so much joy from my own space, and that's what's important.

  7. I've heard similar a few times now Jodi, but often it is drowned out in the noisy advice of 'improve SEO' 'Catchy Headlines'.
    But your point that we have to feel connected with our space, I'm really grateful for that as while I didn't realise it that's a big part of what spurred my re-brand. Another little confirmation that I've realigned with the right reasons to be blogging.

  8. This is so comforting! I've been caught in the social media conundrum and have to admit it's even harder than writing a blog post! I've recently thought of deleting Pinterest as there's no point in being there just for the sake of it. It's a barren land so best deleted. One less thing to manage. Fb and IG are my thing too! I've recently joined twitter and its beyond me. But nevertheless see a light at the end of that tunnel. Thank you for this post! Made me reflect :)

  9. Hi Jodi. I've been catching up with your blog on this Sunday afternoon, a small piece of relaxation in an otherwise busy time. Your words and stories always do the trick! I love your blogging advice and wholeheartedly agree. Though I do wonder, did you gain your readership solely by blogging with heart or did you do something to promote your blog? When people end up on your blog, I totally get that they turn into a loyal reader because of your wonderful content, but how do they end up on your blog in the first place? Do you have any insight in that?
    I'm at a point where I really want to put more effort into my blog. Right now, when things get too busy, I never manage to post regularly or write the posts that I want to. I have a long list of topics I want to write about! I'm ready to make blogging a priority, something that should be treated with as much care as my other activities, and right now just blogging with heart and connecting to the space sounds wonderful. Maybe if I make that change, I'll see that readership will come without otherwise promoting. Keeping it simple :)

  10. Hello! I've only just discovered your lovely blog but am glad I did.

    It's so heartening to read about someone who loves words and pictures but not the whole technical aspect of blogging. I'm exactly the same.

    In fact I started a (gulp) rather expensive and extremely technical online photography course and gave it up part way through because I'm not a physicist or chemist. I just love writing and taking pictures. So that's what I do.

    I have a (just turned) two-year-old and it's hard trying to do anything blog-wise beyond editing photos and writing posts. I need to invest time in growing Mitenska but am unsure how to do that, beyond the odd collaboration. I don't 'get' Instagram (must try harder). I do have a half decent Pinterest following but see that as quite separate to the blog...

    A re-brand sounds daunting but great. I've already secured a domain name but that's about as techie as it gets around here!

    Looking forward to discovering more of your blog, and thank you for the insight.

    Sarah x

  11. Really really loved this. When I think about SEO and all that craziness I feel like I'm about to get swallowed up, but when I think about challenging myself as a writer and photographer (both areas I have SO much to learn) I get excited. So I think that's where I'll stay. And if my blog remains small, I think that's ok, too.

    In fact, I JUST blogged about it today --

    Most interesting to me, my most-trafficked posts aren't the ones I loved and poured my heart into.

  12. True, I liked your post. Today we see "blogging classes" just way too much out there. Years ago all we needed was a blogger account and our own silly stories. It's good to learn new things, but back in 2006 I found women like me, blogging away from the heart and they built community and friendship, no "how to become a better blogger classes". Today I find hard to connect, not sure why. I find hard to express myself with words. I don't write as much as I used to, my English is not as good a native speaker, but I like to share photos. Recently I made peace with the blogging "thing". I will blog when I feel like and what I feel like..I don't use SEO, because I don't want to attract "the wrong crowd" . I tried with Facebook, and Twitter and I confess, not really fun. It's too automated. It's much better to keep all I have to show in the blog, but I like Instagram and Pinterest. Pinterest was a good tool for inspiration and finding the style I like and admire to create my handmade work. It's personal and I use it as a bookmark too. And like Brad above said, too much pushing and shoving to become popular, or keeping the stats high.

  13. Hi Jodi
    I have recently started my blog and I can honestly say I started it because I need a creative outlet, a place to write about our lives, a place to remember.
    I have no idea about SEO and didn't even realise there were ways of gaining readers this way. I would love to learn more about blogging and I want to improve my blog, learn how to arrange posts differently etc....however as a mother of a 1 year old, my time is scarce and for now, I will make do with the basics.
    I will also stick to IG only. I joined Twitter last week after a friend encouraged me and I haven't looked since. I don't think ill bother!
    I hope to gain readers, i hope people like what I write. But if not, I like what I do. And hopefully evan will like to look back at it one day.
    Keep up the amazing work. I love you're photography- that is next on my 'to learn' list, and also your writing.
    Amy xxxx


© 2014 Jodi Wilson. You may not take images or content from this site without written permission.