Many of us who blog and earn money from blogging do so because we want to work for ourselves and not be constrained by the rules and regulations that working for someone else entails. I do it because it allows me to set my own hours, working as much or as little as I want, earning as much or as little as I want and to organise my work in the way I want. Sure, I have contracts and those have particular things I have to do, but it’s my choice whether to sign that contract or not.
Basically, I get to write the rules for my working life. My blog. My rules.
Over the past year or so, I’ve seen a huge increase in bloggers telling other bloggers what to do and what not to do on their own blogs. You know, the blogs that they spend a huge amount of time on and pay fees for.
From what a blogger *should* be charging, whether they should be hosting do-follow links, whether they should be linking to this or that, how they schedule social media posts, whatever – there seems to be a whole load of bloggers telling others what they should be doing.
Blogging is a weird job. It’s incredibly lonely at times because it’s so new and not a lot of people understand what it involves. They see a nice blog post, but don’t see what has gone on ‘behind the scenes’. You end up joining blog groups for support and advice, which is great. Advice really is great.
Judgment is not great.
Recently, the new thing seems to be about what bloggers charge and people openly judging and shaming people for not charging what they think is an acceptable amount. In an ideal world, no one would be offered £20 for a blog post or link. In an ideal world, no one would NEED to accept £20 to write a sponsored post or include a link. We’d all be getting three or four-figure fees every time, and we could laugh at those offers. No one would be skint enough to have to take those jobs on.
But it doesn’t work like that. Not at all.
First of all, there are always going to be SEO people, brands, PR companies etc who will only offer a pittance. That’s the way it works. Maybe they are taking the piss – some definitely are. Maybe they genuinely only have a tiny budget and are trying to get what they can for that budget. Maybe they just don’t understand blogging and the value that bloggers can bring. Whatever the reason, it happens, and it’s always going to happen.
Mor importantly though, there are always going to be people who accept it and shaming them for doing so is just not on. There are so many reasons why someone might take on a blog post for £20.
- They’re the only earner in their household and every penny counts
- Their children have got through another pair of shoes and need a pair by the end of the week.
- They need to pay an unexpected bill
- Their car/washing machine/freezer has broken and needs replacing
- They need to move house
- They’re incredibly skint and need to put food on the table/petrol in the car/buy gas and electric
- They want to
All of those reasons, including the last one, are completely valid reasons for taking on crappy paid work. Would we look down our noses and judge someone for working for minimum wage to support their family? No. Yes, ideally they would be offered 5 or even 10 times that, but if I was desperate and needed money, £20 is better than nothing.
I’m really lucky that most months, I earn a fairly decent amount from my blog, and it’s very rare these days that I’m in a position that I would need to take on low paid work. I have been in the past, though, and to see fellow bloggers criticising, shaming and telling other bloggers that they’re ‘letting the side down’ for accepting this pay, well, you can imagine how it makes you feel when you’re already at a low point.
I keep seeing people saying that you should hold out for longer and the bigger jobs will come. That’s all well and good when you don’t need to buy a pair of school shoes, or you’re worrying that you can’t pay your rent this month. It’s a case of ‘needs must’, and if you’ve never been in that position, you’re extremely lucky.
Some of the things I’ve read about people who do take on lower paid work include:
- ‘If you’re that broke, go and get a normal job’ – if only it was that easy for everyone.
- ‘The rest of us will only get offered low paid work if you accept it’ – Yes, some SEO/brands might only offer low paid work but to be honest, they probably would anyway. And, whilst I’m all for helping fellow bloggers out (I always share opportunities, pass on people if it’s not suitable for me and do what I can to help other bloggers), if I’m in a position where I need that money, well, my kids and my home are always going to come first.
- ‘You have no self-respect/you’re devaluing yourself’ – telling someone they have no self -respect, when they might already be struggling, is low. The devaluing thing – I do agree with that to an extent. We are all worth more than that with the amount of time and effort we all put into our blogs, but sometimes, other needs override that.
If you’re a blogger, before you criticise the way someone else runs their blog, whether it’s what they charge for a blog post or something else, please have a think. Help and advice is one thing, telling someone what to do or openly judging them are another. Pass details of other work that pays more on if you can or nudge them in the direction of other, better-paying jobs. But if they want to or need to accept that £20, don’t publicly humiliate them.
What are your thoughts?
13 thoughts on “My Blog, My Rules”
This! Every single word of this. I am the only earner and I am a single parent. I have, more times than anyone should ever have, had to make choices between eating and heating and going without so my daughter doesn’t have to. I also work for minimum wage so I appreciate every single penny. I charge and accept what I want to and never judge anyone else if they accept what is deemed as ‘low’ by others. Money is money at the end of the day.
Exactly. Sometimes, you just have to do whatever it takes. I’ve been in that position in the past and, my god, it sucks. xx
Well said. People should only hold people to standards that they would hold themselves to!
Do want you WANT – not what others WANT
Im not a Blogger – i just love reading
Find it quite upsetting that this goes on !!
P.S £20 Will do me !!
Very well said. It’s up to the blogger if they choose to accept or not, whatever the reasons may be. #blogcrush
Soffy // themumaffairs.blogspot.com
I love this post SOOOO much! Blogging does seem to be quite an upper middle class thing (judging by the pristine houses, frequent sunny holidays, and designer clothes) but there are still plenty of people who do it who are not well off too (myself included). Even though I do have some well-paid opportunities, I will also work for free if the product is something that can benefit my family (e.g. a free pair of school shoes or a free day out for us). It’s not always about what makes the best “business sense”, it’s about what works for the individual in their individual circumstances.
And congratulations because someone loved this post so much, they added it to the BlogCrush linky! Feel free to collect your “I’ve been featured” blog badge 🙂 #blogcrush
Thank you for this, you have summed up so many peoples thoughts, but yet we don’t write them as we don’t want the backlash.
Also, as a new blogger you don’t know what to ask for in regards to costs for a sponsored post especially when your DA is so low.
Thank you again for making everyone feel valued.
The rule of blogging is that there are no rules. Apart from Adam Hills’ “Don’t be a dick”.
If you’re just starting out you will take that free work in the hope you’ll get better paid work once you’ve got experience and something to showcase. If you need the money or the service, then you’ll take that low paid or goods in kind opportunity. Things like disclosure and do follow / no follow links are slightly different. as you can get penalised. But for some bloggers that may still be a choice between the now v a future consequence that may never happen.
As long as I’m doing what I believe is the right thing for me, then what other people do is none of my business. I don’t like the way we lay into each other about this either. It’s not helpful or kind. (Been guilty of this in the past. Sorry everyone)
Very well said! After all much of this is market-lead: a popular blog with a large following should expect to receive more whereas a smaller one or one that’s just starting can expect less. No-one has any right to judge!
I agree with this. I don’t accept low offers (I do negotiate a little) but I don’t have to because I have a full time job and I can be picky and only take on the jobs that I really want to. But as you say, what people choose to do on their blog is their choice.
The only thing I don’t agree with bloggers accepting dofollow links. Yes it’s not illegal, but we’re way behind the US in not accepting these (companies shouldn’t be asking for them of course). The only way as an industry we will be able to follow the ‘rules’ and move everyone to nofollow is if more people will only do them. I think paying for and accepting dofollow is unethical and bloggers are helping falsify google results. But I understand why people take the money and obviously that’s their choice. Unfortunately I think it’ll take more big companies and bloggers being penalized and impacted a lot before the UK will follow the US in it being the norm in nofollow links.
But much as I might have a view, I’m not going to tell bloggers what they should be doing and shaming them for doing something I wouldn’t. I do my thing on my blog, and others do their own. That’s why we don’t all blog for other people and do our own things
I’ve not blogged for months now, but am thinking of re-starting after a difficult year. I really think a blog is your own personal space and you should do whatever pleases you, whether that be blogging for free, or for payment.
Brilliant post, so very true. I am very new to blogging, and I am only just venturing in to trying to monetise it. It’s such a minefield out there though. EVERYONE tells me to do it differently, and I feel like I go round in never ending circles. I have to be honest, if someone offered me £20 to do a post, I would jump for joy. Because it meant someone, somewhere saw my waffle. I am genuinely spending more hours building my blog and site than I did working office based, all currently for zero income. I have health issues (cancer) and couldn’t commit to working consistently plus raising 3 small folks. So I am endeavouring to turn my writing into an income stream, to work around my kids and my health. But alas, there is currently mountains of work and never ending hours spent trying to get somewhere, all in the hope my readership creaks up and all the PA DA shizzle makes sense to my small little brain cell. In the mean time, I do get to absorb some awesome posts like this one, so it’s not all bad!
Thankyou 🙂 The best thing to do is do it YOUR way. As long as you are following legal rules – disclosing if you have been paid for writing or publishing something or have been sent something and of course declaring anything to HMRC, do it how you want to. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t – I’ve been doing it almost six years and still f**k it up now and then! Good luck with your blog and if you ever need anything, drop me a message 🙂