This is a sponsored guest post by Alex Berger from The Berger Bungalow. Thank you so much for letting me take over your blog today!
WHY BLOGGING ISN’T WHAT MOST THINK IT IS
The journey of blogging is so interesting and there are so many things that I did not know about it before I started doing it myself. There is a huge misconception about it and people seem to be extremely shocked when I tell them what blogging is actually like. It’s not always butterflies and rainbows, like most things. Actually, it’s rarely butterflies and rainbows. Most of the time it is very hard work, with little to show at the end of the day, but for someone that loves to write and loves to express themselves, it is so worth it. Today, I want to share with you what blogging is really like. I hope you enjoy this post!
I consider my blog, The Berger Bungalow, a lifestyle blog, but I focus on mostly travel and culinary adventures (with a little home, health, and married life in there). Each ‘niche’ that I write about comes with different challenges and different rewards, so I will be talking about each niche in this post.
The first thing that shocks most people is that it takes a lot of time to blog! Most of us do not just write what we are thinking and post it automatically. We take the time to take quality pictures, come up with quality content (which a lot of the time takes research), and then have to edit, post, and promote our content. Finding time to post and promote is pretty hard, especially those that work on the side. Thankfully, I only nanny part time a few days a week and my ‘main’ business is freelance writing, so I have a good amount of time to write and promote (even though I still struggle a lot of the time with it), but think about the bloggers that are just doing it on the side – it’s really hard to find the time!
I know that most think that sponsored posts are easy – that we get paid to take pictures and write a short post about the product and we are done, but this is far from true. On the sponsored posts I have worked on, there is a long list of things we need to include and things we need to stay away from. Some of these are requirements like no kids in the pictures, no mention of alcohol, etc. I have even heard things like: “Please don’t reference your dog as babies, or your children,” and “Make sure you do not use words that have to do with healthy living, but you can say things like ‘Better option for you.’” I actually have a sponsored post coming up where I have to do an Instagram Story, but the catch is that I have to take a screenshot of the results on hour 23 of the post being up. I need to plan so that I am available during that one hour…and I am so nervous that I will somehow miss the hour, ha! There are a lot of requirements that you have to meet, so no, it’s not easy.
When I tell people that I get to travel for free some of the time, I always hear how lucky I am and I agree – I am extremely, extremely blessed, BUT it’s not a walk in the park either. 90% of my trips are filled with being behind a camera taking pictures, or behind a phone taking notes so that I can write about the tour, hotel, or location. Trust me, I’m not complaining – I love doing it, but at the same time, when I travel with Ian, it’s pretty hard not being able to spend quality time together, especially when I am not getting paid for the post. I have one collaboration coming up where I have to post three Instagram pictures, Insta Stories while I am there, posts on all of my other social channels, and a blog post within 30 days of my stay. This will take HOURS to do between all of the different aspects, but in my opinion, it is 100% worth it, I just don’t think people realize how much work goes into it and how travel blogging is in fact work.
I am an AWFUL food blogger. If I go out to a restaurant and have my camera or phone out the entire time, I feel like I am being rude to the people dining with me and the guests around the restaurant, but when I post about a restaurant with awful pictures (because I was rushed), I feel extremely bad about how bad my pictures are. It seems that I can’t win! I have a question for other food bloggers — how do you manage your time between taking pictures and mingling with the other guests? It is hard work! On top of that, it is pretty much impossible to get “Instagram worthy” pictures because most of the time you are there for dinner and it is dark. Those people that have perfect pictures go out of their way to get the snap. More on this below!
This is what bothers me the most about blogging and social media. The competition is fierce…and not in a good way. It is extremely hard to compete with someone that has 56.7k followers on Instagram, even if they have about the same engagement as you. Unfortunately, a lot of brands look at followers, not engagement, so bloggers have started to buy their followers. I am all for community over competition – I 100% believe that there is enough room for all of us bloggers to have a space on the internet and have a chance to make money, but come on – play fair, guys.
Now that you know how much work it takes to research and write blog posts, let me tell you about website maintenance! Website maintenance includes your blog theme/web design, keeping up with comments on your website, fixing any issues you may have, improving your SEO, and more. One of the most important parts of website maintenance is SEO, or search engine optimization. The reason it is so important is because it is what drives people to your website – through organic search results. The hard part about it is that it is hard to learn. SEO has so many different aspects to it and it is constantly changing. Most bloggers are not very skilled in it for this reason. One way to fix this is by hiring a Marketing Agency to improve your ranking for you, so that you do not have to take the time to do it yourself. I personally love New Jersey local SEO firm, NJ SEO. They are the number 1 marketing agency in New Jersey and also have a branch in Georgia. There are a few reasons why I recommend them to other business owners and bloggers. For starters, they outrank the competition and they have case studies, testimonials, and reviews to prove that – they truly walk the walk. One way of seeing this for yourself is by looking at their website – they have ranked it on Google and do the same for their customers. With over 10+ years of experience and having worked for hundreds of clients, they really know what they are doing. Another reason I always refer them is because of their full transparency. They have month to month payments, instead of long-term contracts. They focus on growing your business as a positive ROI investment, instead of an expense, and they create a realistic budget based on what you need – there are no pre-set packages here, it is all custom! Lastly, I love that they are a locally-owned and veteran-owned business. Matt Anton, who runs the New Jersey branch is extremely skilled in SEO practices and is listed as an SEO expert, listed in the top 62 Local SEO marketers, and also has 100+ endorsements and recommendations on Linkedin. No matter who you choose to help you with your business, always choose someone that you can trust and to me, that is NJ SEO.
Overall, yes, blogging is hard work. It is very time consuming and takes a lot of work and focus, but for someone that loves to write, loves to explore, and loves to research fun topics, it is 100% worth it! What did you think about blogging before you started your blog?