2019 marks the 9th year since I posted my first blog post which happens to be a blog assignment for a particular University module I was studying. To me, this blog has always been a personal diary for me to document my travel stories, restaurants I’ve been to and products that helped enrich my life in one way or another.
But for the past few years, I felt myself struggling to blog in this dog-eat-dog world. With so many opinions and views on how to run a successful blog, I came face to face with the worst blogging dilemmas – to be yourself or not to be?
It’s difficult being myself
Over the years, blogging has grown to be more commercialised these days where bloggers turn their blogs into digital media websites and running online ads just to make a living out of it. I, myself, got stuck in the rut. Should I follow the other mainstream bloggers or simply follow what my heart tells me to do? Trust me, it is not the easiest decision to make as I believed in originality but at the same time, I did not want to lose out and remain status quo. I’ve got bigger dreams but I didn’t want to follow in the footsteps of others.
Should I monetise my blog?
This was a tough question. My blog and other social media channels are ad-free at the moment. That’s because I did not want online advertisements to disrupt the flow of my blog post. I personally did not like to read blogs with too many ads as well. It just seems like there are trying to hard to cash on advertisements. So much so that it did not come across to me as a reliable or sincere blog or website which only think about making profits.
But on hindsight, there is a saying that if you were to do this full-time, you have to monetise your social media platforms in order to earn a living. Is this true? Is there a way to earn a living without having to commercialise your platform and accept sponsorships?
My blog needs to be SEO-friendly
The SEO experts will give you a hundred and one reasons why your blog needs to be more SEO-friendly. ‘To garner more views and rank the top on Google site’, they say. But then again, why must I please Google? Why do I have to allow Google to dictate how my blog post should look like?
At some time, I actually bought into this idea that I need to make my blog more SEO-friendly. Thus, I actually researched for ways to boost my site’s SEO. But no matter how hard I try, I can’t keep up with the changes in Google’s algorithm. After bypassing all the difficult turns, why should I even care? Nowadays, I just rely on the Yoast plugin to give me prompts. Other than that, I didn’t want to spend the majority of my brain juice figuring out how I can boost my site’s SEO.
Overshadowed by others
To be honest, I think I gave in and tried hard to ‘compete’ with others. Jealousy provided that extra drive for me to do what everyone else is doing. At the end of the day, I realised that I’m just one like one of them. Why didn’t I stick true to myself? Sometimes I feel like I’m just a small fry in comparison with the other well-known bloggers or influencers. Wait a minute. Why did I allow myself to get overshadowed by others? Aren’t I good at what I’m doing too? My confidence level was no different from the stock market – sometimes it goes up and then crashes the very next moment.
Will The Real Blogger Speak Up?
At the end of the day, blogging is fun. It sparks joy because this is the only platform where I can learn and experience various things in life. I love how it exposes me to various people, opportunities and experiences. While others are spending quality time with their loved ones or keeping up with a hobby, I would be working at my laptop, figuring out on what to type next. Contrary to what others think, being a blogger is not just about getting free stuff and paid sponsorships. Because in exchange for all of these ‘free stuff’. we spent our time to write, craft and create content. We are not celebrities or people who have the power to ‘influence’ others.
We are just digital writers who love to write for our readers. So I guess we should really put away all the other stigmas about what a successful blog should have and stop comparing ourselves with others. The relationship between you, the blogger with your reader should matter the most.
And a big thank you to all who have been keeping up with my blog for the past 9 years! I’ve been nominated as a Sample Store Ambassador under the Food Blogger category. I would be ever grateful if you would be able to cast a vote for me if you feel that I deserve to win that award. You could also take part in the lucky draw to win some prizes for yourself when you vote!
Here’s the link to the website: Sample Store Ambassador Awards 2019