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The Truth About Blogging for Money

I’m a little bit scared to publish this. I mean, partly because it’s probably the longest thing I’ve ever published, and I basically just dumped my brain onto the blank page, but for other reasons, too. Mostly that I’m writing this in response to what feels like an endless stream of articles on the subject of how “blogging has changed”, and is so much worse now, and I’m going to take a totally different viewpoint from most of the authors of those posts.

I don’t think blogging has changed.

Or not as much as some people seem to believe, anyway.

“But it’s all about the numbers now! People used to just write about their lives, without worrying about how many followers they had! Now it’s all sponsored posts and affiliate links, and it’s so competitive – blogging has really changed!”

– every blogger ever, apparently

So, it’s certainly true that you see a lot more of this kind of thing now – the affiliate links, and the chasing followers, and the worrying about “the numbers”. A LOT more. In the last year or so in particular, it feels like blogging has become a bit of an “It” job, and everyone wants a piece of the pie, so whereas most people used to start blogs ‘just for fun’, now more and more people are starting blogs with the intention of making a career out of them .

I’m not trying to argue that this ISN’T the case, because it is, but I still don’t think it’s “blogging” that’s changed – I think what’s happened is that bloggers’ expectations of what blogging should and should not be have changed, and that they expect blogging itself to change to suit those revised expectations.

When it doesn’t, they blame “blogging”, and they write posts about the “good old days” – posts which all of a sudden reveal that the “good old days” they’re referring to are, like, 2012 or something, and then I’m sitting there feeling ancient, because I’ve just realised that these people are young enough to think that three years is a lifetime, and that the commercialisation of blogging started with the launch of RewardStyle.

Blogging is older than that, though. It’s almost as old as the internet, in fact, if you want to count LiveJournal, and Open Diary, and all those hand-coded “journals” with their scrolling marquees and their animated gifs, and GOD, I’M OLD. It has changed in that time, of course: I’m not trying to argue that everything has remained exactly the same, and that we’re still logging into our Angelfire accounts and trying to decide which colour of text we’ll use for today’s “journal” entry – that would be stupid. Blogs are glossier now, and more like magazines – or some of them are, anyway. Some are actually still pretty similar to those old-style journals. Last week I even saw a scrolling marquee, not even joking. I can still see it now, actually, if I close my eyes. Oh, dem good ol’ days!

But blogging has been around for a while now, and actually, pro-blogs have been around for a long time too. When people talk of the “old days”, they conveniently forget that some of those older style “blogs” had adverts on them, too. Not all of them, and not even most of them, maybe, but as soon as people figured out that you could make money by writing words on the internet, you better believe they got on that. Brands got on it. Then journalists and writers got on it too, because that’s what writers do: they get paid to write, and they saw no reason why they shouldn’t do it on the internet as well as in print.

I was one of them, in fact: I started in 2006 – almost an entire decade ago – and I started it for what we’re encouraged to believe are the “wrong” reasons, i,e. I wanted to make money from blogging. I didn’t start that blog because I wanted to make friends (I DID start THIS blog for those reasons, but that’s a whole other story...), or even because I cared particularly about the subject matter, but because I wanted to be able to work from home, without having a boss to answer to, and I saw starting a (commercial) blog as no different to starting a magazine, or, indeed, any other kind of business.

A lot of people disagree with that. A lot of people think blogging, or any kind of creative endeavour, should be done first and foremost “for love”, but I don’t agree. I just don’t. Do the people who say these things go into restaurants and tell the wait staff that they shouldn’t be expecting a tip, because they should be waiting tables purely for the “love” of carrying food around on trays? Do they take their car to the garage and feel affronted because the mechanic gave them a bill for the work he did, rather than just soaking up the “experience”, the way he “should” have? Do they tell the checkout person in Tesco that being able to feed their families is the “wrong” reason to work in a supermarket, and whatever happened to just checking groceries for fun? Do they go into the corner shop and tell the woman who owns it that they don’t know why she has adverts running in the local paper, to try to attract more customers: why can’t she be happy just to HAVE a shop? Why does she need people to actually VISIT it, and buy things from it? The shop is for HER! It’s HER shop! As long as SHE likes it, surely that should be enough? Have I hammered this point home enough yet? Hey, is anyone still reading this? Hello? Hello? Is this thing on?

Anyway! I was reading a blog post about the “change” in blogging last week, and someone had commented with something along the lines of, “I see bloggers trying to boost their pageviews, and I just think, ‘is that what it’s about now’?” Cue everyone sadly shaking their heads and tut-tutting over the cut-throat industry that blogging has “become”, and I, meanwhile, am just sitting there scratching my head, and thinking, “Is it just me, or has professional blogging always been like this?”

Honestly? Yes, it has. Blogging for money has ALWAYS been like this. The clue is in the phrase “for money“. Some people have always blogged for money: this is not some new phenomenon. Back in 2006 (and before that, too, I assume – 2006 is just when I personally became aware of it) there were professional blogs: blogs that were written purely for commercial reasons. I owned one of them, and I wrote for a bunch of others – The Shiny Media blog network, which was a commercial enterprise, with swanky Covent Garden offices and an entire team of people employed to wring every last penny possible out of those blogs.

We worried about follower numbers.

We chased advertisers.

We did our level best to increase the pageviews on the sites we wrote for: we were even given targets to meet for this.

We obsessively checked stats, to see what was working and what wasn’t, and then we made changes to reflect what we’d learned.

So much for the good ol’ days, when everyone blogged for ‘pure’ reasons, huh?

It was 2006, and, for some people, blogging was ALREADY a business. I could name a dozen blogs from back then which had been created for the sole purpose of earning money (I couldn’t: my memory isn’t that great. I could Google it, though.), and which were doing it well. No, sponsored posts weren’t really a “thing” back then (although they did exist), and affiliate links weren’t so big either. Social media had yet to take off, so yes, some of the mechanics of pro-blogging were different, but the theory was exactly the same: we wrote and published things on the internet, and we did it in order to make money, so we could pay our bills and eat food and buy 50 pairs of shoes.

So people have always blogged for money: the main difference now is that these days there are a lot MORE people trying to blog for money, and that is partly a consequence of there being a lot more people blogging, period. And yeah, you’re right – a lot of them DON’T do it because they love writing, communicating, photography (The so-called “right” reasons), but because they let themselves be seduced by the apparent glamour of girls being paid to wear clothes and try on make-up (the “wrong reasons”).

So they start a blog, or they start trying to monetise their existing blog, and are just absolutely AGHAST to find that, actually, it’s not quite that simple. Because here’s the thing: those girls AREN’T actually being paid to wear clothes and try on make-up: they’re being paid to try to persuade you to to BUY the clothes and the make-up, and they can only do that if they can somehow get REALLY good at presenting that stuff to you, AND if there are enough of you out there, reading their blogs, to make it worth their while.

If they want to get good at taking photos, styling outfits, applying make-up and writing blog posts, they have to work at it. Yes they do. If you don’t think doing any of that stuff is “work”, then as I’ve said before, I challenge you to go and start up an outfit blog (Head over to and you’ll have one up and running within a few minutes, totally for free), and come back to me once you have a minimum of 10,000 followers, and are pulling in the equivalent to whatever wage you’re making now. If your theory is correct, and blogging is “easy”, you’ll be back in a few weeks, with money stuffed into all your pockets and a trail of brand reps loitering behind you, just waiting to pour OMGFREESTUFF down upon you.

Except you won’t, because it’s NOT that easy. No one is born knowing how to blog successfully. And yes, blogging for a living IS a business, and it IS competitive, and you DO have to think about follower numbers and stats, and whether or not you really want to write a sponsored post about blue-tailed raccoons just to be able to pay the rent this month. You DO have to listen to countless PR pitches, learn how to gracefully decline offers to write about a new brand of toilet tissue, and rebuff people who want you to work for them for free. You have to patiently tell people, over and over again, sometimes dozens of times on the same Instagram photo, that the Topshop shoes you described as “my new Topshop shoes” and tagged as “Topshop” are, in fact, from Topshop. (If you’re a bad person, like I am, you have to resist the urge to say they’re from Zara, just to mess with people…)

“And yes, blogging for a living IS a business, and it IS competitive, and you DO have to think about follower numbers and stats, and whether or not you really want to write a sponsored post about blue-tailed raccoons just to be able to pay the rent this month.”

You have to smile and thank people who give you patronising, unsolicited advice. You have to answer emails from people demanding that you be friends with them, and meet them for coffee, because they read your blog and think they “know” you. You have to learn to live with the knowledge that if you uploaded a photo of a used handkerchief to Instagram, five people will want to know where you got it, and another five will ask for “tips” on how to best use a handkerchief. (And if you don’t reply fast enough, they’ll be furious, and maybe trash-talk you on a hate site. “I’ve been reading her blog for YEARS, but she can’t even be bothered to answer one simple question!”)

You have to get used to being addressed as “Dear Blogger”, and to people talking about you as if you’re not actually a human being, and can’t see what they say (even although they’ve written on your own damn Facebook page or Instagram photo). You have to work out what to say to people who literally want the clothes off your back, or who tell you you should be giving your shoes to them because you have too many of them, anyway. You have to deal with accountants and taxes. You have to behave as though you’re running a business, because the fact is, you ARE running a business.

THAT is the reality of blogging for a living. If you expect it to be different from that, then I’m sorry if this sounds harsh, but you’re dreaming. You’re looking at the pretty pictures and the glossy blog designs, and you’re not seeing the hours of work that went into creating them; you’re not feeling the crushing sense of failure that resulted from some of those posts getting zero comments, even although the blogger poured their heart and soul into creating them.

the truth about blogging for money, and how blogging has changed over the yearsThinking you can get paid just to go about your life; to wear clothes and take pictures of your cat, without ever stopping to think about whether anyone actually wants to READ that stuff, or even whether they’re GOOD pictures of your cat… well, it’s a bit like going for an interview in a cake shop and, when they ask what you’d do to help bring more customers into the store, saying, “Umm, I don’t really want to be bothered with all that, to be honest: I just really like cake!” It’s like getting a job in a office and then being surprised when you’re presented with a huge pile of typing (or, you know, whatever people do in offices), because you really just wanted to sit around looking pretty, and gossiping by the water cooler, like they do on TV. Can’t you just do that?

Actually, yes, you can. If you like cake, then eat cake, take photos of cake, blog about all the damn cake you like. Just don’t expect to be getting paid for it anytime soon, because if you want to – and I’m sorry, but yes, I’m going to go there – have your cake AND get paid to eat it, you’re going to have to make everyone else want the cake too. That means your photos of the cake better be good ones, and the things you say about the cake will have to be witty, insightful, and ideally like nothing anyone has ever heard anyone say about cake before. Is anyone else hungry right now? Can I stop talking about cake?

This is what professional blogging is like, and it’s what professional blogging has ALWAYS been like. When I see people complaining that blogging has changed, that it’s too competitive now, and that if you want to be successful at it, you have to think about traffic and followers and all that boring stuff, I always want to ask what they expected. That it would be easy? That they’d be able to start a business but not bother thinking about how it would make money? That they could simply build it and people would come? That blogging for money would be just like writing a diary, like it was in the much-vaunted good ol’ days of, ooooh, 2012, maybe?

Well, here’s a newsflash for you: it can be. It can be exactly like that, in fact. Because blogging hasn’t changed (or not as much as people want you to believe): people’s approach to blogging has changed. YOU are what’s changed, in other words – assuming, of course, that “you” are a blogger who wants to make money from it.

blogging hasn’t changed: people’s approach to blogging has changed. YOU are what’s changed, in other words…”

I think what we’re seeing happening here is people starting blogs as a hobby, realising there’s potential to make money from it, and thinking, “hey, I’ll have some of that!” THEY are the ones who “change”, in that they go from being hobby bloggers to all of a sudden being professional bloggers, and yet they somehow expect everything to remain the same: they genuinely think they can just keep on doing what they’ve been doing, but that now they’ll just miraculously make money from it.

When that doesn’t happen, they say that blogging has changed: that it’s different now, and they don’t like this “different” blogging, so they’re going to take their ball and go home. Actually, though, they’re comparing professional blogging (which they do now) to hobby blogging (which they did before), and the fact is, those two things have always been different from each other.

To give you yet another analogy, it’s like… <wracks brain for analogy>… OK, let’s say I like swimming. (I don’t, by the way.) I go swimming a couple of times a week at my local pool, and it’s just tons o’ fun. I start to make friends with some of the other pool-goers, and we’re all having a whale of a time (groan!). One day, one of my new-found swim buddies tells me there are SOME people who actually get paid to swim, can you imagine that? They are actually PAID MONEY to do this thing that I’ve been doing just for fun! Some of them even get lucrative sponsorships from swimming-related brands, and – GET THIS – the brands actually PAY THE SWIMMERS TO WEAR THEIR CLOTHES. While doing something they’d have done anyway, just for fun.

Seriously, who WOULDN’T think that sounded like a pretty sweet deal? If I told you that you could do something you do anyway – something that you LOVE doing – and that now you’ll get paid for it, you’d jump at it, wouldn’t you? So, in this fictional scenario, I decide that I’D like to be one of those money-making swimmers, too. I’D like to get paid to wear a swimsuit (THAT I WOULD HAVE TOTALLY WORN ANYWAY!) and go to the pool a couple of times per week, so I start to follow these “pro” swimmers, and to see how they do it. First, I realise I’m not going to be able to just go to the pool a couple of times a week any more: I’m going to have to go every day, and I’m going to have to go for HOURS every day. Also, there will be no more sitting around chatting to my swim buddies in the jacuzzi – if I want to make money from swimming, I’ll have to train hard, and learn how to do a bunch of stuff I’ve never really wanted to do, because I was happy just pootling around in the shallow end, and I’m kind of scared of the diving board, if I’m perfectly honest.

My new buddies will now be in competition with me – the friendships might not feel the same. That’s OK, though, because I love swimming, and… wait: now you’re telling me I need to train on weekends, too? You’re telling me I should consider building my own pool? Hiring a trainer? Changing my diet? That sports brand that’s sponsoring me wants me to turn up at their stupid event on Sunday night? But that’s my night off, and the event is two hours away! You know what? I’m not sure I like this any more. “SWIMMING HAS CHANGED!” I tell everyone who’ll listen. “It’s just so different now. It used to be about sitting in the jacuzzi on a Tuesday afternoon, but now it’s all about the money, and being in the pool at 7am every morning. Swimming has changed SO MUCH!”

Of course, the fact is that there are still people sitting in the jacuzzi on Tuesday afternoons, and having just as much fun as they always did. They’re just not expecting to make any money from it, and I am. It’s not swimming that changed – it’s my expectations of swimming that changed. The fact is, I don’t really want to be a pro-swimmer: I just want people to treat me like one – oh yeah, and to pay me like one, too. I want to get paid to hang out at the pool, ignoring the fact that no one EVER got paid just to hang out at the pool.

And, just in case this horse I’m flogging isn’t quite dead enough yet, blogging hasn’t changed that much either: it’s just that, all of a sudden, people expect to make money from something that never actually made money in the first place. The thing I hear most often in regards to blogging having “changed” is that now it’s “all about the numbers”, but professional blogging has ALWAYS been “all about the numbers. Seriously: there was never a time when full-time bloggers just sat around twiddling their thumbs and watching money roll in, without doing anything to make that happen.

Professional bloggers always worried about followers, and stats and sponsorships; hobby bloggers didn’t, because they didn’t have to. (And they STILL don’t have to: if you’re a hobby blogger and you’re spending your days fretting over pageviews and follower numbers, then that’s a pressure YOU’RE putting on yourself: it’s not something “blogging” is doing TO you.)

Now hobby bloggers want to be professional bloggers, but they want to keep on blogging as a hobby. It doesn’t work that way. It would be nice if it did, but it doesn’t. And ultimately, if you want to be a part of this blogging world, you’re going to have to pick a side. You’re going to have to decide what you REALLY want from it, and what you’re willing to do to get it. You’re also going to have to decide what you’re NOT willing to do, and that’s possibly even more important.

(I’m worried that this whole swimming analogy makes it sound like I’m saying pro-bloggers are “better” than hobby bloggers in some way. I don’t mean to imply that AT ALL: I’m just trying to point out that pro-blogging and hobby blogging are two totally different beasts, and that you can’t really compare them. Like, you could be a fantastic swimmer, but if you’re not prepared to enter competitions, you’re not going to make a living from it, you know?)

It’s not all bad news, though. The greatest thing about blogging is that it can be whatever you want it to be. There aren’t really any “rules”. Lately I keep seeing people complaining about all the “blog tips” posts that are out there. “I don’t want to be given lists of rules,” they say. “I just want to blog the way I used to.” And my response to that is always: great – why don’t you just do it, then? If you don’t want to worry about increasing your traffic and followers, don’t worry about increasing your traffic and followers. If you don’t want to go to blog events, don’t go to them. If you don’t want to run adverts or write sponsored posts, don’t accept advertising on your site. Remove the stat counter from your blog. Say “no” when people ask to advertise on it. Don’t join the Twitter chats aimed at helping you grow your blog. Unsubscribe from the blogs that make you feel like you’re not good enough, or that you have to compete with them.

You can do all of this because there are no rules. Those blog tips people write are JUST TIPS: they are not “rules”. You don’t have to read them, and you certainly don’t have to follow them. You can be any kind of blogger you like: the only thing you can’t do is turn your hobby into a career, and think nothing will change. You can’t become one of the “big” bloggers without being good at it. You can’t get paid just to wear clothes and write about your life – you’ll have to do it well enough that people will want to follow you, and you’ll have to reach the point where a LOT of people want to follow you before you’ll make money.

This will change your experience of blogging, but it doesn’t have to. You CAN still blog like it’s 2013 – or whatever mythical year you think of as the “good ol’ days.” There are still people just writing about their lives, without worrying about sponsorships or followers, or whether that photo will get Pinned. You can be one of them, if you want to be. I, for instance, have just written a 4,000 word rant (Which is exactly what the blog tips posts tell you NOT to do…), just because I wanted to. I could’ve sat and edited it down, turned it into a list, made it more appealing to people, and less like the massive stream-of-consciousness it ended up being. But sometimes I just like to write down the things that are on my mind without worrying about whether it’ll get shared, so I do.

So what’s stopping you?

books by Amber Eve
  • I actually love this post. I’ve read it through quickly now and will come back to it later to read through properly again. This all makes complete sense, and I love your analogies too! I’m currently figuring out a few posts on bloggers earning money for my Blogging & PR series at the moment, so this is definitely getting a link in that – so amazingly relevant!

    June 18, 2015
  • Oh my word. This was long, and it was rambling, and I read and loved every single word 😀 you’re spot on!

    June 18, 2015
  • I totally agree – blogging is what you make of it. Nobody is telling you to make money and if you want it to be a money making machine you’re going to have to work at it – probably in a different way that you would have if it was “just” a hobby.
    I don’t see other professional people justifying that they make money through their job, so why should professional bloggers have to do so?!

    PS. I totally think that you should give me some of your shoes because you have so many! 😉

    June 18, 2015
  • Fran


    I absolutely, 100% agree with everything you’ve said. I paid for my university fees with novels I published and I see red when people try to claim that ‘stories should be free’. Guess what: if you want a nice, polished finished product, that takes work and effort and yes, money. Because writers (be it of blogs or books) need to eat too.

    June 18, 2015
  • oh this is soooo good! First time visiting here but I’ll defo be back x

    June 18, 2015
  • Lyn


    Two words : Amen sister!
    PS : had to laugh about your Topshop-Zara piece hahaha!
    x Lyn

    June 18, 2015
      • Topshop isn’t well known at all outside the UK, maybe they just thought it was the name of the shoes, not the brand? Or they want to know from which website did you order them? It doesn’t have to be from Topshop directly?

        Why am I bothering coming up with explanations for this?

        June 18, 2015
        • Karlie


          I just saw a “Topshop” Shop in Nordstroms yesterday so your US readers may not know it is a store. I didn’t till I started reading your blog.

          June 18, 2015
  • Dead on the money. Yes a bit long but some folk so need you to tell them the same thing a few time before it hits home. I am also amused about the good ‘ole days of 2012 … Huh? Loved watching Design Sponge’s Grace Bonney speak & show her first blog – had to laugh at the spots theme that she had from blogspot – at least I had something in common with her many moons ago…!

    June 18, 2015
  • Really good post – I’m glad you’re not scared to write things like this as gosh some people need to hear it. I don’t think anything’s really changed either – apart from, like you say, the awareness of the fact blogs *can* make money being greater, which is having a knock-on effect to the way people think about them from the moment they set one up. I also had a LiveJournal blog, by the way, not that I ever updated it much, but the mere thought is making me feel pretty old right now!

    June 18, 2015
  • This is such a great post. I read all 4,000 words and the swimming analogy made my day! Haha! xxx

    June 18, 2015
  • This could quite possibly be the best thing I’ve ever read on blogging! And trust me, I’ve read a lot. These are all the feelings I have about blogging but put in a much more cohesive and witty way than I could manage!

    I never felt like it was bad to start a blog to make money but it was bad to say that! Like all you were going to do is link to bad products for a quick buck. I always wanted to make a living from blogging but I took my time to get to the point that I could. It doesn’t happen overnight but it’s a great job when you finally get there! I would recommend it to anyone.

    June 18, 2015
  • This is SO PERFECT. And I don’t think I’ve ever read a post THAT long so quickly and eaten every word up. Proof if ever any was needed that you’re a boss at this.

    And I’d never even heard of you before today, when someone shared this on a Facebook freelancing group I’m part of!

    You speak a huge amount of sense here. It always baffles me when people get upset that yes, brands do want to know your Facebook page likes, and yes, you are going to have to spend hours of YOUR free time seeking advertisers and doing all the boring paperwork and paying your taxes etc. You don’t just ‘deserve’ money because you’re good at what you do.

    Equally, though, I’m baffled by people who think pro bloggers should somehow be ASHAMED of trying to make money?! Advertising, sponsored posts, affiliate links etc unfortunately DO have to be something we’re focussed on if we want to earn money from blogging – you don’t just rely on rich, mysterious benefactors sending you cheques because they liked your recent post about your cat…

    Anyway, huge congratulations to you for a brilliant post full of reality checks.
    Now I’m off to like your Facebook page. 🙂

    June 18, 2015
  • This is a really great post. It didn’t feel long at all. I was engaged and entertained, you had great analogies, and you had something unique and thought provoking to say. I’m really glad you said it, and that you said it in the way you wanted to, rather than the length and format that the ‘rules’ recommend. I love your blog, and I’m glad you get paid to write it, it’s a polished professional product that creates regular content.
    I also love that you share your thoughts about what professional blogging entails so candidly. This series has been so wonderful for helping me readjust my expectations of what I can (and want to) achieve with my own blog with the time and effort I’m willing to put into it. I’ve enjoyed blogging so much more since I stopped worrying about what I was supposed to do to build my profile and develop relationships. Thank you

    June 18, 2015
      • Well I’m a big fan of stream of consciousness, so I loved it.

        June 19, 2015
  • I so enjoy your writing, great with a pun & metaphor! Although none of this applies to me because when I started way back in late April (that’s 2015) I’d just discovered blogging. Thought it’d be a lot of hard work but work I’d enjoy as well as learn from. Allow me to continue being a stay home mum & would probably take a couple of years before earning any actual money just like starting up any small business. Told my family & friends who said “great! love it! go for it!” quickly followed by “huh? what? how do you make money, I don’t get it?” I devour every blogging tips post I see & have learned everything thus far from other pro bloggers. Thanks for all your help btw x

    June 18, 2015
  • I started my first blog in 2002 (I was, like, 11 years old – much lols) and back then it was pretty much Angelfire/Geocities (cringe) until you taught yourself how to code with HTML and notepad. I remember when things like Greymatter and b2 came about and people were going nuts about how much easier it made blogging now that we didn’t have to re-upload our index.html page (or worse, the iframe for the blog section) every time we wanted to update our blogs. And even back then, some bloggers were blogging for money.

    Most of the bloggers that I knew doing that actually made it from side businesses related to blogging (mostly graphic and web design), although I am sure the odd few did venture into advertising. One blogger in particular stands out to me as being one who monetised her blog very well considering it was a lot harder to do back in the day. She’s actually still a professional blogger now, but back then she had to run 5/6 different domains with different content in order to make a full time living out of it.

    So yeah, I really don’t see how blogging for money/professional blogging has changed in that sense. It’s still all about doing what you can to make money in a profession that doesn’t have as strict a set of rules as some others do, and it’s still all about self employment and building something from the ground up.

    If anything, it’s actually easier to get into making money from blogging nowadays (in my opinion, anyway) than it used to be. For starters, more companies are open to working with bloggers, and a lot of them will work with smaller bloggers in order to spend less money on the overall project. Whereas in the ‘early blogging days’ it wasn’t so easy for bloggers to find that kind of work unless they were a pretty highly ranked website, which took a lot more effort.

    You’ve hit the nail on the head by saying it’s the bloggers themselves who have changed. Sometimes it’s so apparent when a blogger’s priorities change and I think that’s the time that you should choose to follow/unfollow them, but not allow yourself to be disheartened with blogging. Blogging is still a load of people who write about their lives on the internet. It’s still all about bits of code and text put together into something that is nice to look at and (sometimes) interesting to read.

    Anyway, I’m going to end this here because at this point I’m just rambling. GREAT post!

    June 18, 2015
    • Woah, I actually hit double space to paragraph that message but it seems to have condensed. So sorry for the wall of text!!

      June 18, 2015
  • True dat.

    I’ve been told once or twice over the years that I have “ruined” blogging. And I kinda want to say, “How? Did I break into everyone’s house and pee on their keyboards?”

    If people want to make a living from a website or social media platform, they’re going to need to learn about running a business. And if they want a successful business – the sort that pays more than a fiver a month – then they need to think about marketing, and business development and brand identity. If they don’t want to do that, they can keep doing exactly what they’ve been doing.

    I think some of the issue comes from the people who want to just do what they’re doing, not liking that people who don’t want to stay still and remain hobbyists – maybe it’s a bit of jealousy: “I don’t want to do what you do, but I want what you HAVE.”

    June 18, 2015
  • Whenever I finish reading your posts, I actually feel the need to sit and think about what I just read. I loved reading your point of view! There’s definitely a lot to consider here.

    June 18, 2015
  • I love how you always have a new take on things, an opinion I haven’t read a post about before. Great post x

    June 18, 2015
  • gina


    Interesting article. I agree with a lot of what you say about expectations, but I also think fashion blogging has changed. Mainly because more people are doing it for money than ever before, and fewer are doing it as a hobby than they did 5-7 years ago. When the expectations of a majority of people in the field shift, and their behavior shifts along with their expectations, then the field itself shifts along with the participants’ expectations and behavior.

    From the point of view of someone who is not a blogger, paid or otherwise, the field is getting more and more crowded with paid bloggers (or those who aspire to be paid) and fewer who are doing it as a hobby. While I still enjoy reading professional bloggers, I generally preferred to read the hobby blogs. I had a hobby fashion blog myself from 2009-2011. From my perspective, there were a lot of other hobby bloggers before I started my blog and while I was publishing it. I enjoyed reading those other hobby blogs. Once I quit blogging (because it is a lot of work blogging in addition to a separate full-time job, and after 2 years, I’d had enough), instead of newer hobby bloggers popping up to replace hobby bloggers like me who quit after a brief stint, the new bloggers seemed largely to be aspiring professionals, with a slightly different tone and content.

    Now, it’s very hard to find hobby bloggers and the field is more crowded with money-seeking bloggers. I can no longer listen in on the Tuesday Jacuzzi conversations because everyone who used to sit in the Jacuzzi has left to make money, and the new swimmers all skip the Jacuzzi chats and go straight to attempting to build their own pool. From my point of view, that is a change in blogging.

    June 18, 2015
  • You nailed it with “The greatest thing about blogging is that it can be whatever you want it to be”. Exactly love, you’re the driver of you own blog xxx Great honest post, if a bit long (would you perhaps trim it down a bit….!) x

    June 18, 2015
      • Sorry love was a silly joke about cutting it down (thinking of the blogging tips). Reads really well x

        June 18, 2015
  • I feel I should say something more profound than {pause} ‘word’ but you’ve said it all and more. I’m a blogging newbie (year or two maybe) but the griping and moaning has become noticeably louder in that time. The thing that I always want to say to people is – if you don’t like it, don’t follow/read/comment/whinge about it. Just crack on with your life and everything will be just fine. Unless someone really IS holding a gun to your head making you read the ‘wrong’ bloggers words and forcing you to publicly denounce ‘wrong’ blogging motivation and all who sail in her to the world. Then you should shout ‘fire’ (people don’t respond so well to ‘help’).

    In short, well said and thank you for being brave enough to say it.
    M x

    June 18, 2015
  • This post is spot-on and everything is exactly true. There’s been so much talk of this lately and you totally say what others haven’t wanted to hear. Blogging is not easy for us pros – so much goes into each post behind the scenes. You have to be dedicated and have determination to get ahead and be noticed.

    June 18, 2015
  • Yup although we are running a business blogging it feels like any other business. You have to find customers, smooze people, check numbers. And ist gonna be like in any other business. You need to perserve. Having been a professional writer and online editor and being self-employed Blogging has become part of my professionell business and I charge professional rates. Still am being treated like a 20-something hobby blogger. Weird. Love your post Amber!

    June 18, 2015
  • I think some people out there have always seen it as a business, and that’s no mean feat! It’s clear it takes a lot of work and it isn’t just all a walk in the park so props to people who make a living from it!

    Louise x

    June 18, 2015
  • Gem


    I can’t believe that even though I’ve been reading your blog for YEARS and even occasionally comment, and obviously know ALL about you, you don’t want to be my best friend forever after our first meet up for coffee.

    Serious note, fantastic piece. I love the longer posts and can’t wait for the book. Tell me the book is still happening.

    June 18, 2015
  • I ADORED this piece Amber, all your posts about blogging totally hit the nail on the head! However like Gina mentioned above, I do believe blogging HAS changed. And sure you can still do it like you did it in 2012 but you’re not going to get 2012 results. Readers have higher expectations, and if you stick with your glitter rotating banners and expecting your revenue to come from AdSense and BlogHer you’re going to be sorely disappointed in dropping numbers for followers and dropping numbers in your bank account. With so much competition readers and revenue-makers have options. You could write the best content, have the best style and the most gorgeous photos but if you don’t stay current and competitive you’ll be blogging to dead air. Gosh in 2010 I wasn’t on social media and if I did that now I would likely never reach a new reader. In 2010 I was being quoted in major publications just because they came across my content, now those publications have their own bloggers on staff and get pitches every day from eager bloggers wanting their name in print. If you love what you do and take pride in it, you have to do more in 2015 than even two years ago to reach the same size audience. That being said, I don’t mind, it forces me to be fresh and on my toes and constantly reassess my business plan and the direction for my blog!

    June 18, 2015
  • Great post and well said – all the analogies are genius! I think part of the problem is that blogging is generally populated by women and we still find it difficult to discuss money or ask for more, even in other industries. Blogging is considered by some still to be a creative/artistic pursuit and done for the love of it all, so money is a dirty word in this world. It’s an outdated, naive concept. As a journalist I’ve always wanted to make money from my writing/blogging and I work really hard at it. Why anyone would have a problem with that is beyond me.

    June 18, 2015
  • I didn’t think i’d manage to get to the end, I didn’t realise as it was that long but you’re on point! I totally agree with you, It’s not the same and there are way too many people trying to get money and fame out of this business and it’s damn hard work to get up the ladder in any form of writing job, media is just changing daily.. more people having kindles rather than books these days and more people using phones instead of computers, I’m surprised people even print newspapers, magazines and books nowadays and the same goes with blogging, too many people are on youtube and instagram that its hard to get someone to see the hard work you’ve put into the blog. I enjoyed reading this post and its started me rambling myself now, but thanks for sharing. its opened my eyes a little wider.

    amy x

    June 18, 2015
  • You just have such a gift with words! You seem to approach subjects with such grace and wit, I always look forward to your posts. My husband always tells me i should monetize my blog and i just dead fish stare at him because holy hell that’s a ton of work! No thanks, I’ll leave it to the professionals.

    June 18, 2015
  • Heee, Angelfire and Livejournal, yessssss! I really enjoy reading your longer posts — you are funny and witty and engaging.

    I couldn’t help comparing some of what you were writing to my own profession as a librarian. “Wait, don’t you just read books all day? Oh, I thought being a librarian must be a relaxing, stress-free job.” “Ummm, NO. I don’t have time to read books on the job, because I’m helping people all day long find the info they need. Would you call that stress-free, to be ready to help someone find something they need, on potentially any and all subject areas that you may or may not know anything about? Oh, and not everything is on Google.” But I’m a librarian because I do love it. Lifelong learning! 😉

    And I think you’re spot-on that the conflict is between hobby bloggers and professional bloggers. I started my style blog as a hobby, and it’s still primarily a hobby, although I’ve begun monetizing it this past year. I sometimes feel pressure to “keep up,” but then I remind myself that I am a “librarian for life,” and style blogging is a fun side venture for me. And it’s still fun, and that’s what I want it to be. Whatever I spend time on, I want to do it well, but I am happy with keeping it a hobby.

    And this hobby style blogger can enjoy a professional style blogger’s advice and style and wit and charm and ramblings. 🙂

    June 18, 2015
  • Great post Amber. I read every word and I totally agree. I think the “hobby” bloggers get frustrated with the fact their blogs do not bring in any form of income and they lash at the “pro” bloggers for making money off their blogs. I think its all hyprocrisy.

    June 18, 2015
  • This hits the nail on the head. Fantastic post.

    June 18, 2015
  • Thanks for giving me a whole new perspective Amber. This has really helped. I’m one of those who went from hobby blogging to pro blogging (I still don’t think of myself as a pro but it’s what I do pretty much full time so I guess I am). I’ve made a lot of changes for this to happen and I need to make a hella lot more.

    Anyway, thanks x

    June 18, 2015
  • Annabel


    Such a good post, and I only have time to have a quick skim read. This is defiantly being bookmarked for when I have more time, especially as for me blogging will never be more than a hobby!

    Annabel ♥
    Mascara & Maltesers

    June 18, 2015
  • Betty Sky


    Am I the only one who thinks that well, nobody gives a DAMN about blogging anymore? (this includes people and, maybe, brands)
    I mean, I’m 21, my friends should all follow a blog right? But then, when I talk to someone about bloggers, nobody looks surprised (not they don’t have an idea abt what bloggers are, its just that, they’ve seem it and they don’t care).
    I remember back in the day when I was naive to think that well, that girl REALLY bought a product, tried it, and became SO impressed that she had to talk about it on the internet. Then I had to try that product too. Bingo!
    I felt that bloggers had a very personal approach, they are girls like me, and their hair got amazing because of X product. Isn’t it awesome? It’s not like a Victoria’s Secret Angel who got a whole team of professionals+photoshop to make her look good, it’s a simple girl, like ME, looking awesome! whoah! I have to try it! (the approach factor is important, for instance, I dont follow your other blogs, just this very personal one :p )
    Then the truth came and, well, even though I was a bit disappointed, it didn’t bothered me much, I kept following blogs, but it’s just that, I follow lesser people (you’re one of the 3!).
    But oh dear, I know your goal is to make money, and it’s no sin, but just dont let money buy your taste, your ethics, keep REAL keep ORIGINAL, don’t try to be just another blogger (I don’t any ANY other blogger who keeps her style 100% vintage, ANY, so good for you!). I remember when bareMinerals did a terrible sexist campaign and during the week that followed, people would put mean comments on any post that talked abt a bareMinerals product. Bloggers didnt give a damn abt it, they kept on receiving their products, and NONE of them commented abt that terrible campaign (the ones who ACTUALLY noticed it and spread the shame were feminist groups on twitter). Well, that was a quick unfollow on a bunch of people and no bareMinerals product for me :p

    June 18, 2015
  • This post is amaaaazing, Amber! I was nodding along the whole time. All these complaints about how blogging has changed have irritated me for a long time now, but I could never quite managed to figure out what it was. But you’ve said it all. People are wanting to be paid at a professional level while still treating blogging like it’s a fun little hobby, and aren’t realising that absolutely nothing is stopping them going along as normal and allowing those professionals to exist in their own little realm.

    The one thing with personal blogs is that they’re fun when you’re young, but I’ve found the older and busier I get, I just don’t have time to sit around reading blogs and social media updates from anyone and everyone. It’s the equivalent of a social life really, when I was a teenager I could hang out on the Internet, talking with loads of different people, because I had what now feels like infinite time to do that! Nowadays? I study, I work, I have my close friends/social life… and so if I’m spending my spare time reading blogs, it’s going to be ones that truly provide me with *something* useful. I still read personal blogs, but usually they’re by people in my circles of friends and acquaintances, or otherwise very fascinating. Which is, admittedly, rare. As we get older I think personal bloggers maybe need to understand that not everyone has infinite time to read their posts and subscribe to their social media. If they want people to care about their everyday lives, well, that’s what friends and family are for!

    This is getting long but I also think that personal bloggers who came from livejournal and went to their own domains maaaaybe took the wrong step. I feel like people either went to tumblr (a great site, much like LJ, for making friends, personal posts, sharing random stuff you like, and non-professional blogging) or their own websites. I see a lot of people who opted for their own sites becoming upset that it’s just ‘not the same’ anymore, but it is! On tumblr it is! It takes a lot of dedication to get someone to subscribe to a self-hosted personal blog, but on tumblr it’s all integrated like it was on LJ. I have made so many friends and connections on tumblr, just like I used to on LJ. I have way more followers and readers there than I have on my self-hosted blog! Even Instagram has that lovely community feel once you start interacting.

    Anyway, that’s my input. Again, really loved the post!

    June 19, 2015
  • Totally agree with everything you’ve said!

    I started my blog in 2008 and haven’t made a career out of it (personally I couldn’t handle the pressure) but I seem to get the oh you blog and have a full time job? Why? AREN’T YOU MAKING MILLIONS?!??! No!

    A Forte For Fashion


    June 19, 2015
  • I love this! It would be so nice if we could all just create for the fun of it and get paid to do that with no rules, but I don’t think that’s ever happened in any industry ever. Sadly we all have bills to pay and we all have to eat, but if you’re getting paid from something you enjoy even half of, you’re probably doing better than most people. I don’t see the problem with starting a blog wanting it to be a job, like you said it’s no different to other writing jobs really.

    June 19, 2015
  • I loved every second of this, thank you!

    I love reading a good rant, where it makes you read faster and faster and faster until the words go blurry, and then you instinctively take a deep breath at the end of the paragraph!

    I have never blogged before, and this is a great insight into the world of blogging. I find it very similar in many ways to ‘hobby businesses’ vs ‘professional businesses’. People seem to think running a business is easy. That you’ll be a millionaire within a year, lounging on a beach somewhere and it’s not, and you won’t!

    It’s hard. It’s lonely. It’s financially and socially crippling for a couple of years, and there is so much more to consider than the {insert product} that got you started in the first place. You’ll have to do things you don’t like doing – accounts, employee training, tax, PAYE, VAT, etc but it’s all part of creating a (hopefully) long and successful business.

    I’ll be reading all your future blogs with great interest, thanks.

    June 19, 2015
  • I think the problem is people now expect everyone who blogs to be blogging for money; blogging has become synonymous with pound signs.

    I have absolutely no problem with people making money from blogging but a) I don’t want to be do it myself and b) everyone who says it doesn’t change the way they blog is lying. If you’re making a bit of money on the side, it probably doesn’t change it all that much but if you’re relying on your blog to bring in the money every month; to pay the bills and cover living costs, then that changes EVERYTHING. It means blogs and the bloggers behind them start changing, their reasons for accepting sponsorship deals and the content they produce changes.

    June 19, 2015
  • I think most commentors have already said it all! But it’s really probably the same in almost every profession to a degree. There will always be the “good old days” when people only remember certain positive aspects of things! And there will always be complainers! One of my favorite sayings/thoughts is “walk a mile in their shoes”. jodie
    ps…This is the first time visiting your blog (thank Not Dressed as Lamb for sharing on FB)…and I think you speak truth!

    June 19, 2015
  • wowser girl, you hit the ball out of the park. excellent article, I think hobby vs business is exactly what it is all about, but strangely in this ” whiney” society we live in today no-one wants to work hard for anything ( or so it so often seems) I find you get back what you put into it, and as far as bloggers making it a business, if the blogger is good ( which if they are making money they are) then who cares if its sponsored, its the words and the pics I care about.

    June 19, 2015
  • This is brilliant! Thank you for going there! I’ve been entertaining all kinds of similar thoughts, and you hit the nail on the head!
    XOX Dawn

    June 19, 2015
  • I agree, to an extent, but as the mythical hobby blogger I would make two points :
    1. I spend a lot more time now telling people I am non-monetised now than i did 5 years ago – ie. you don’t have to pay me for me to write about a great product or servic. I’ll write about it because I choose to. It’s unbelievable the amount of people who are now wary that bloggers are just out for what they can get. A few bad apples I guess, as with anything.
    2. Hobby bloggers can keep a weather eye on their stats for reasons other than putting unecessary pressure on themselves. After all we write to share the things we love. I want to know people are reading and enjoying. I want my blog to have followers and comments and a good reputation. Money isn’t necessarily an end for some or indeed the ultimate measure of success.

    June 19, 2015
  • Here Here …for honesty and saying it like it is.
    You are new to me but I think i love ya!
    I found you through ‘char’ with her T.Rex’s and Tiarras ( i love her too.)
    “and thats that and all about it” as my Nan used to say.

    bestest Daisy J

    June 19, 2015
  • Oh man, read every last word of this epic post! Love the insight. I only started blogging 2013 (past the golden age?) and have seen things change a little, of course, but it’s all generally moving in the right direction in my experience. I hate to admit it, but I do feel quite downhearted when I constantly hear people saying that blogging has changed for the worse. Yeah it’s hard slog, but like you say – it always has been!

    June 20, 2015
  • Great post. It taught me several important things, namely that I am not blogging as a hobby since 2013, but blogging since the late 90s. It also told me that back then I was paid for doing that as in my field it became “fashionable” that every scientist had to have a webpage (that is what it was called back then). We posted our newest grants and research findings on there. I still have that page. I still use it for some outreach, but these webpages are not hit among scientists anymore. Now everything has to be uploaded to some depository.

    I can give you another analogy. Since everyone gets wet once in a while when it rains, or hot when it is hot everyone thinks they know something about climate change. Since everyone cooks, they think they could be a cook.

    There is quite a line between being a professional and pursuing a hobby. However, there are also people who even take their hobbies professional. There is nothing wrong with this. It is taking yourself and what you do and enjoy seriously.

    The ones who complain want it all, but are not willing to work for it. Some may jump on any train that passes by. I feel pity for all of them.

    June 20, 2015
  • Very interesting blog post l. I find the same problem with how people see bloggers and the expectations they have from them. It’s exactly the same for photography or music. People expect artists to do it just for fun, because they love to and whenever they were to pay for these services the issue comes up.

    The truth is that we just need to continue doing what we love and find clients that appreciate value in it. There will always be people that will be trying to justify their failures by bringing others down, because it’s easier than revising what didn’t work for them and learning new skills to succeed. It’s a lot easier to find reasons outside than admit that maybe not enough was done or the wrong approach was taken.

    The beauty of being self employed though is that we can decide what we take on and the ones that stand by the water cooler in the office gossiping will always be told what to do.

    Best wishes for further courage and development of your blog

    Axela “Lady Rhinoa”

    June 20, 2015
  • Loved this post just what i needed to hear. Written beautifully. Loved the analogies.

    June 21, 2015
  • This is brilliant. I provide resources and services for bloggers about the money and tax side of blogging and the biggest uphill battle is being taken seriously.

    Yes. You’re a business. Even if you only have ads to pay the hosting bills, you need to keep records to prove that’s all you’re doing.

    June 22, 2015
  • This is SO fantastic!!! I am sick to the back teeth of hearing bloggers complain about how it used to be. I have been blogging for just over two years, and reading these posts always made me think maybe I was way to late for the game, what with these new days being all doom and gloom. This makes me realise my suspicions were true – that it’s always been this way! There just seems to be a sudden surge of naivety as to how all these new bloggers are making things more unpleasant and more difficult. You hit every nail on the head here, and this is why your blog is one of my favourite to read!

    Thanks SO much for sharing this!xx

    Shot From The Street | Fashion Blog

    June 22, 2015
  • I’m super late to this party as I’ve been away on hols, but just HAD to comment on this post as it’s so, so brilliant.

    And yay Livejournal and being old! (I do actually still read one thing that’s on livejournal regularly. I also now wonder if my Geocities Buffy/Spike fansite is still hanging around on the internet somewhere!)

    June 23, 2015
    • Yay Buffy and Spike! We need more sites like that.

      June 23, 2015
  • Thank you so much for this. It seems like it’s not just blogging where people get irritated as soon as you want to make money doing what you love. I agree that no one would say that about waitressing as you mentioned, but there does seem to be a lot of judgement about anyone in a creative field wanting to make money doing it. There is a lot of this in L.A.- can’t you just be in my film for nothing/be my cinematographer/do my headshots? The more creative people can be paid what they deserve for the hard work it takes to make what we make, the more art and beauty we will have in the world. I say keep going with the long posts- we can handle them. 🙂

    June 23, 2015

    (plus, everything else everyone above said = you’re rad)


    June 27, 2015
  • I loved this post. There is nothing wrong with starting a blog to earn an income.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    July 18, 2015
  • This post is so refreshing – long, but refreshing! My latest blog is new but I have in fact just deleted a draft post titled “Blogging is NOT new people”! I just got so sick of reading posts from peole bleating on about how how blogging had changed when, as you say, they’d only been blogging for 2-3 years. I started blogging back in 2005 & have blogged on & off ever since (though more off than on in the last 5 yrs!). Thank you for such an eloquent post! Mine was much less so!!

    August 2, 2015
  • I enjoy your writing, your honesty and I loved this post. There is nothing wrong with starting a blog to earn an income. On of my favourite Blogger said on her profile page “About Me” she started a blog only to earn money (her blog is excellent and I really enjoy following it)…Each person has its goals and personal reasons. Although none of this applies to me because when I started way back in July 2015 I’d just discovered blogging. And wanted to share with friends, family, colleagues and anyone who was interested to follow me. They encoraged me (I am a zero in technology and English is not my Mother tongue). They love it! Each time I write a post about a hotel (I travel quite a lot) or a boutique I love,  they place the link in Facebook page. Who doens’t want to be popular  (even without earning money?). For me blogging is personal, a hobby I really enjoy.  But I don’t judge Bloggers who do it for living. And I think your blog is great and read it frequently.

    The only article I dont like is the “polemic ones” when you criticize/gossip about the other Bloggers (what they say, they do and so on) Dear,  you are too intelligent, you don’t need to do this! is too short to spend energy on negative. Have a lovely weekend.

    November 7, 2015
  • I agree with the post you have published. I’ve not long started a blog because I’m at university it gives me something else to do, and i agree i’m scared.

    Kirstylou ox

    December 1, 2015
  • I think people forget that not blogging for money and only passion etc. is quite a privileged, elitist attitude. There would be no bloggers who from normal backgrounds in that case – only people whose families can support their passion would be bloggers. The rest of us would have to work in shops, banks, call centres.

    July 7, 2016
  • Wow, what a fun read! I love your witty sense of humor!!! 🙂


    June 26, 2017
  • Where’s the like button? I really enjoyed this post. Sometimes I think about what side I want to be. I know I want to make money but am I willing to make those sacrifices. I guess only time will tell

    February 6, 2018