I started writing my blog back in 2008, back then it was a mish mash of random stuff, reviews of gadgets I’d bought, customer service moans and an a outlet for spurious thoughts. Generally, even now, whilst the blog looks very different, it’s still mostly the same content. Back when I started I didn’t have a clue about visitor numbers, SEO, or whatever. I just hoped some day, someone might stumble across what I’ve written and it would make them smile, or help them.

Last year after joining up with Tots 100, and a few other ‘Blog Networks’, stuff has really started kicking off, I’m getting a lot of PR contact. It’s fabulous, you get a lot of offers of people wanting you to publish sponsored posts, or review their wares, or even just publish a press release. I’m getting more and more of these each week., I could quite easily publish content from someone else each day, and probably get paid fairly well for doing so, but I don’t.

The thing is, I’ve built up the audience I have through various channels, some people like my writing style and honesty, others seem to like my reviews of tech and gadgets, lots of you like the video content. If I start publishing lots of stuff that ISN’T that, then I’ll lose readers, and all the 5 years of work slowly getting people to see my stuff will quickly be gone. Sure, I’ll have earnt a few quid, and helped lots of SEO and PR Companies, BUT, I will have a dead blog.

I am trying really hard to integrate with the ‘Mummy Blogger’ community, and read lots of other blogs, but frankly a lot of them piss me off. It’s sponsored post after sponsored post, with a competition somewhere in between. I don’t want to read what a PR person / SEO person has written, I’m interested in YOU, the blogger, how YOU are, how your family is. This is why I love people like ‘Just a Normal Mummy‘ and ‘Mummy Never Sleeps‘, their blogs are wonderfully honest and open. Of course you’ll stumble across the odd Sponsored Post, but their blogs still retain integrity and character.

I spoke to a small company recently who is branching out and doing more work with bloggers. The rep said it was incredible just how many blogs there were, awash with sponsored posts and reviews of products and how hard it was to find some with decent ‘non sponsored’ content.

I’ve visited so many blogs of late and skimmed through the latest five posts and found it’s just a load of sponsored crap, and quickly left again. I do understand it’s REALLY easy to whack up a sponsored post and get paid relatively well for it, but to continually do it for every other post will do more harm to your blog, and indeed the parent blogging community

Does anyone else see this too? Am I wrong? What do you think? Drop a comment below!

16 thoughts on “Dear Bloggers. Don’t forget why you started to blog.

  1. Victoriananana says:

    I completely agree! I’m not goiung to lie and say I wouldn’t love a few freebies here and there, but it makes me sad to see blogs I used to love to read become just a series of reviews. I tend to stop reading them altogether when that happens, which is a shame as underneath all the sponsored stuff is a geat blog I started to read for a reason.

  2. Alex Walsh says:

    It’s an interesting point. I always tend to publish a “proper” post within an hour or so of a “sponsored” one & never link the sponsored ones to G+. Most of the time it’s for SEO rather than genuine outreach anyway, so they’re not fussed on visibility. I also like to write my own, so they have my voice rather than someone elses. It’s a bit like reviews to be honest. If I write a review like I write a post, there shouldn’t be any difference really.

    It’s funny because I see stuff like silent sunday, wordless wednesday, most blogging prompts etc, as a way of artificially creating content and if I’m going to do that, I figure I might as well get remunerated for it 🙂

    Motivation is a difficult one and I’m not entirely sure it’s straight forward in a lot of cases. I think when peoples sole motivation is to get a lot of traffic, the blog can often become very generic (very full of memes too) because the author is writing to please a perceived audience. I always try to write my personal posts to please myself. And to stop me watching excessive (shit) telly. It’s probably why I get relatively few comments but at least it makes me happy, which after all is a pretty great goal to have in life 🙂

    • Kip Hakes says:

      I’ve started to tuck any I get away now, they won’t appear on my homepage, as you say, it’s all (mostly) about SEO.

      I was amazed at the response (traffic wise) to my Big Brother post yesterday, I was so incensed by what I’d seen on there, I HAD to write about it. There were 40 people viewing my blog at 1am not long after it had gone live.I hadn’t written it for traffic, just purely because I was cross at what I’d seen, but it gave me my busiest day ever!

  3. Chelsea says:

    I agree, but then each persons blog is there own space, but it does get to me sometimes! I am lucky as I can pop it under another tab and reviews and sponsored stuff never appear on my homepage, if some wants to read them they can click on the tabs to find them. I have to admit, I only tend to read blogs with much less of the sponsored faff! x

  4. TonyClifton says:

    I completely agree and this type of post is a lot of the reason I was on your blog in the first place. I am about to start a small blog of my own and with honorable intentions 🙂 I have meant to start a blog for years; I have worked in politics and communications and always wanted an outlet for my own creativity and thoughts – as much to get them out of my head than for anyone else to actually read them. My wife is also now pregnant for the first time and I want to document my experiences in some way.

    I am in the process of designing a WordPress blog to get me started and already the advert, and affiliate options have got me stumped…maybe I should just forget it and start!? (although every blogger I have spoken to has said “I wish I knew and sorted that stuff from day one”…but to be honest it is holding me back as I know nothing about it and that is before you factor in sponsored posts and the like.

    I guess ideally I would like my and everyone whose blog I read to be the honest, personal and genuine thoughts and rants of strange people like me or who interest me. If I could wave a magic wand at my (so far theoretical) blog it would be my thoughts on pregnancy and fatherhood mixed with comments on my interests outside of that – design, tech, politics – whatever. I would also like the opportunity to do some PR (for personal development rather than for the blog or for financial reward). I would like to offer my (so far theoretical) readers reviews on products of interest that I wouldn’t otherwise have been able to offer. I don’t really want to keep the freebies or to be paid…and if the products are rubbish that is what I want to say.

    …sorry bit of a rant (which I already lost to the ether once as I wasn’t registered with disqus) but I am pleased to see you raise the elephant in the room, the thing that helps keep people blogging but also can put people off reading them, the thing that has the potential to dilute the ‘honorable intentions’ of bloggers and to also arguable change entirely what a blog actually is or was supposed to be.


    • Kip Hakes says:

      Hi Tony!

      Well with a nice eloquent writing style like that, you’ll do well, and you’d certainly have a reader in me. If you’re starting afresh, then personally I’d go down the ‘Self Hosted’ Route. I use a company called ‘Vidahost’ to host everything I do and they are superb, once you’ve got a domain name and hosting package sorted you can install your own copy of WordPress in a couple of clicks and you’re away! 🙂 If you do use them, you can use the coupon code KIPHAKES you can get 10% off any of their packages.

      Let me know where you’re blogging and I’ll be sure to read! 🙂


      • thetonyclifton says:

        Thanks, I appreciate the reply and the kind words.

        I actually already have a self hosted wordpress install which has been sitting empty for a year…so even more shame on me for not blogging! I think I will start in a couple of weeks when my wife and I make our news public…until then, I will try and sort the site design and advert/affiliate options by then. Do you have any advice? I have a Standard Theme install which allows for ads pretty easily…I think. Are there affiliate programs or anything you would recommend? given I will probably be blogging on similar stuff to you…if not as well…..and a few years behind 😉

        I will be sure to drop back in and comment when my site is live.

        Thanks again

  5. Vicki Higham says:

    I’ve been batting sponsored posts off left, right and center this week. PRs don’t understand why I’m saying no though. I’ve been approached about dog health, garden ornaments, washing machines, baby clothes and an app that are all really not relevant to my blog. I do accept some sponsored posts but only if I can write them myself and it’s a topic/subject I’ve been thinking about anyway.

  6. justanormalmummy says:

    Well thanks :))) This is a fab post (not just because I’m mentioned in it…lol) – I definitely think the best blogs to read out there are the ones with completely original content and really speak without inhibition 😉 I love blogging and do it only for me. Never written a sponsored post, never even reviewed a product TBH lol – just write the stuff that comes into my head and people somehow seem to like it! tee hee 😉 xx

  7. Dragonsflypoppy-White Feathers says:

    what a refreshing post to read. I only started blogging back in January, and have a lot to learn, but last month I had an email asking how much I would charge for a pre-written post! I had no idea that people put pre-written posts on their blogs. It really is each to their own, and I respect people’s differences, however for me I just could not do that. My blog is rambly and assorted and general musings, but it is mine. I have never written a sponsored post (is that even the same as the above?) or run a competition. I’m not saying I never would, but it would need to be something that really gel’ed with my way of writing and that wouldn’t switch the few readers I have and who I love, off. xx

    in case you would like to pop over it is http://dragonflypoppy.blogspot.co.uk

  8. Looking for Blue Sky says:

    I started a blog after I lost my job and I missed writing – I do the occasional review if I think that I can offer an interesting angle, but nothing else, and I don’t read other blogs that are mainly about making money. Glad I’m not the only one!

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  10. Jem says:

    Ahhh, I have a love-hate relationship with “mummy bloggers”.

    Back before I had kids, a couple of my blogging peers started popping out sprogs and to supplement the family income they started filling their previously decent blogs with crappy sponsored shit from services like payperpost (we’re talking before Google massively penalised sponsored posts and the whole “must add nofollow, must add disclaimers etc” riot happened). It got to the point where they were publishing 4-5+ sponsored posts for 1 genuine one. Obviously this coloured my view of mummy bloggers and sponsoring and I vowed I’d never become a mummy blogger (ha).

    Fast forward a few years and I have my own sproglets, and of course I start to write about parenting related crap without even realising – basically my blog is just a reflection of whatever boring nonsense is floating about my brain so of course there was some kid stuff bound to come out. I eventually embraced the “mummy blogger” in me although I hate the bloody title – I was a blogger long before a mummy!

    Anyway (must stop rambling…) I never lost my hatred for that side of the mummy blogger community and the constant PR bullshit, but have discovered bloggers (who happen to be mums) that don’t partake, or are reasonable about it and don’t do it every other post, and that have become great friends. I can’t knock that 🙂

    As for becoming part of the community… that’s never going to happen, not since I criticised tots100. All hail the gods of the mummy bloggers :p

    (Apols for the comment spam – browsing through your archives!)

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  12. Adventures of a Novice Mum says:

    Good key points for a newish mummy blogger like me with no sponsored posts yet or a clue about how they work exactly. Thanks 🙂

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