Sunday, January 13, 2013

Are Blogging Assignments a Money Wise Strategy or a Waste of Time?

As my regular readers will know, I am a stay at home single mum, working when my child sleeps, and attempting to bring in enough dough to keep us going with our relatively simple but fulfilling life. I work as a Virtual Assistant doing all manner of tasks, and I help people with the creation of small business websites and related social media.

I also blog.

I have been blogging for some time, but it's only in the last few months that I have started to think about the idea of generating an income from my blog. Lots of people do it. I have been cautious about the whole idea as I don't want to compromise my blog. I'd hate for my need to make money to take the authenticity out of what I write.

However, towards the end of last year, I thought it might be worth a try.

The first thing I tried was google ads. I have a made a few pence, but that is all.

I have also added a couple of affiliate ads to the side bar. I have been told that 4 sales of the Baby Care DVD (code BLISS to save yourself £5!) are a result of people reading my review, that's good to know, and I should see a little income from this. Writing this review did not compromise my integrity, so it's all good so far.

After going to Mumsnet Blogfest in November I thought I might try and take it a step further. I responded to an advert for bloggers to follow an Elimination Diet. I liked the sound of the diet because it was about identifying your own issues rather than following a rigid plan that someone else has written and you can never stick to - so I made further enquiries. I kind of hoped it would be paid, (that was one of my first questions) but no! What they offered was to promote my blog through their 'extensive networks' and bring me more traffic, and a free copy of the book.

I figured I had nothing to lose. The diet sounded interesting and more traffic would be a good thing, especially as I now had affiliate ads on my blog. There was also the fact that as a result of not being paid, I didn't have to lie, I just had to tell the story as it was with no obligation to anyone or incentive to increase sales. I liked that, but the thing really that sold it to me was the fact that if I was blogging about a diet, I would have to stick to it, and that might just bring me some results!

It did work, from the diet perspective. I lost 5kg and 32 cm and was never hungry. I learned some interesting things about my own body's response to certain foods and I did stick to it. I also think it is a healthy approach to eating.

My question for this post though is was it worth it as a blogging assignment? Was it worth the hours I invested. I wrote a total of 27 posts over 6 weeks and this is what happened.

Did it bring me extra traffic?

No. I tracked all the tweets and their retweets and found that in 27 blog posts I got only one visitor as a result. I also looked on stat counter at where my visitors have come from and have not found a single person that came from the 'extensive networks' they told me about.

Did it bring me more followers?

No. In fact I think it could have lost me a few. I have just been looking at my stats on feedburner and I lost a significant number of followers on 8th Jan - the day that I posted 4 items about the diet. I also had less page views in Dec that in did in previous months.

Did it bring me any income?

No. As I said there was nothing for the posting, and as far as I am aware none of my affiiliate ads generated any money during that time?

Was it worth it?

From a personal perspective yes, but as an income generator, definitely not.

What have I learned?


When someone says they have an extensive social media network check it out first! Their 'strategy' is twitter and Facebook, and the number of followers for each is very small.

Time is precious, especially when you only have the hours that your kid sleeps to generate an income for your family. I have used a minimum of 27 hours of precious money making time to generate zilch pounds sterling! This is NOT money wise!

It's not all about money -  I am still pleased I did it. I feel better, and lost weight and inches.

Will I do this kind of blogging assignment again?  maybe, but again only if doesn't compromise my integrity, and if it doesn't piss you off, and I will check out the 'promises' before I commit and hopefully benefit my family a little next time as a result of what I learned this time.

Is this real???


What can you tell me? I am curious to know your thoughts. 

If you are a regular reader, did it get on your nerves that I was blogging about this diet so much? Did you read less? Please be honest.

Are you a new follower that found me through the 'extensive networks' that the publisher provided?

Or did you start following though my own social media profiles because of the topic of the diet?

Are you a blogger who makes money through your blog? If so do you have any tips to share with me and other folk thinking about this idea?

Thank you in advance for your feedback.








11 comments:

  1. I don't tend to read sponsored blogs/blog posts. For some reason I find myself to be less interested and I skip it. Honestly I only read of your diet results because that is the part I was rooting for. I wanted you to loose weight because you wanted to beyond having this book but I have no interest in anything diet related and wasn't going to buy it so I skipped it. Sorry. That tends to be how I am with sponsored posts. I don't really prefer advertisements on blogs (posts not on the sides, etc.) or sponsored reviews or anything like that. It's like the blog pauses and I just wait for it to pick up later. It's one reason why I don't do as well with Business 2 Blogger but if that's your thing, go for it. It is your blog :)
    PS you didn't get on my nerves at all!

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    1. No I generally don't read sponsored ones either, they generally get on my nerves.

      I certainly couldn't write sponsored posts, because I am guessing you would need to say that something was good even when it wasn't. I had exactly the same problem when looking for work in Science Communication when I finished my Masters - there were few jobs where you write the truth, but you can get paid by an energy co to say that nuclear power is the safest way to create energy. I don't like the truth to be compromised by someone or something else.

      I stopped google ads again too.

      thanks heaps for your feedback

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  2. I too was interested only in the personal side of the weight loss posts - I'd rather hear about single mother issues, and weight loss only as it applies to someone's personal "journey". I did tend to skip the posts that got too repetitive and were just about the program rather than more personal stuff (also I'm extremely skeptical about diet plans in general)

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    1. Ha yes - I understand - they got too repetitve for me too, tats why I banged out 4 in a row one day to get them done with. I didn't enjoy it that much either!

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  3. I found you through a single mom blog (don't remember which) but i was definitely interested in the weight loss journey.

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    1. Thanks - yes I was interested in the actual concept behind the diet, ie being specific to the individual rather than being a a specific plan or program that is rigid - I think there was definitely some value in what the book was saying - we'll see if the weightloss continues now tho' . that will be proof really.

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  4. I too was rooting for your success I'm weightloss but really just skimmed those posts. I wonder about your drop in traffic in December if it can't be explained by the holidays & a lot of people just not being on line as much?

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    1. You could be right, but I think I had more posts than usual so that should really have cancelled it out. I have removed the bloggers required and PR friendly blogger badges though. I don;t particularly want to it again.

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  5. I'm interested in your weight lose because it's a part of your story, but I too just skimmed most of them. When your posts pop up in my reader if it was about BB or your day to day life I would usually click over and read, but I would miss some of the weight loss ones if I was in a hurry.

    I've often wondered about monetizing my blog and what it would do. Right before I took my blogging hiatus my hits were getting up there and I was approached by someone about placing an add on my blog. In the end I decided it wasn't a route I wanted to take, both because I was afraid that it would change how I blogged but also because I was afraid it would start to feel like a job.

    Good luck if you continue that route, if it helps you be able to stay home longer that's great.

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    1. I think Ads might be different, especially if they are specific and for something that you believe in. And they go on your site and don't take any time or effort after. Doing a big assignment like the one I did for no return is just a huge waste of time I think - I wouldn't recommend it. Maybe in this case though it was worth it to lose weight and learn more about my body, but financially it just took time that I could have been doing real work - that pays!

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  6. It's interesting too that no new people have shown up here! I really don't think there are any. I also don't mind that. There are lots of reasons why I don't really want the blog to get more readers. I like it that it works as a way of sharing with you guys, but really I don't want the whole story out there too much anyway. I did try doing other blogs and keeping this one as is, but that didn't seem worth the effort either.

    So, no more boring assignments, it made blogging a chore too which wasn't much fun. Maybe some ads though, if they are for things I like! google ads are off again

    thanks heaps everyone for taking the time to respond

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