It’s now been almost a month since I totally relaunched this blog space, giving it an all-new name and look. As I mentioned in my blog relaunch post, I’ve been wanting to upgrade my blog for years, and now that it’s finally happened, I find that I’m more motivated to blog than ever before.
However, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention some changes that will be happening to the blog soon (and to comment on some that have already happened). Some might argue that as it’s my blog, I don’t owe my readers any explanation about WHY I do certain things, but I would argue that it’s BECAUSE of you, my reader, that I am excited to blog at all, so therefore you are the MOST deserving of an explanation as to why I’m doing what I’m doing.
Therefore, I’ve decided to do a little “Blog Manifesto” to let you know how the blog will change in the future, how it will stay the same, and why.
How the Blog Will Change
Primarily, the main thing that’s going to change (and that I’ve already started to change) is that I’m now going to monetize the blog, which is a Big Deal for me. Years ago, interestingly enough, I actually made the opposite decision—I had decided that I was only going to continue blogging for myself, rather than to pursue any monetary gain from it.
However, times change, needs change, and knowledge changes–I am in a different situation now than I was three and a half years ago; we are now scrimping to live off of one income and to still have money to support some of our dreams, and that would be made a lot easier if I could help out in bringing some income home every month. Also, when I made that decision about the blog before, I had a limited idea of how bloggers made money, and I had somehow convinced myself that I would basically be selling myself out and killing my joy of blogging if I decided to monetize.
Although some bloggers might walk that line, I have found that the vast majority of bloggers who monetize their sites are hardworking, creative women and men who are only seeking some compensation for a job that, quite honestly, takes a lot of time and work, and who only actively seek to promote products and brands that they genuinely love and respect.
That being said, I have thought for a long, long time about this, and I have still decided that, first and foremost, my blog’s principal mission will NEVER be to make money–it will always be to make connections, to document my life, and to share my passions. Therefore, you can be assured that the blog will not be taken over by sponsored posts, endless requests for you to buy a certain product, or anything of the sort.
Many blogging professionals say that to really make a decent living off your blog, you have to specialize–you have to choose a niche, and only post within that niche, so that people always know exactly what to expect. There are many, MANY blogs that do this so well and that I adore (and that I am super glad to follow and learn from regularly!), such as the Frugalwoods blog, or the Mel’s Kitchen Cafe blog.
I have found that for me, though, my joy in blogging has come from “meeting” friends online through reading and commenting on each other’s blogs, and while I know that posts about my dreams and goals and musings are not usually going to translate to more money made, I do know that those kinds of posts are the ones I love reading about the most on other people’s blogs because they help me to see how we’re connected and to get to know the writer much more deeply.
So, as usual, I will monetize in my own way, on my own terms, even if it means that I make less than what I could potentially earn. Some things I will be implementing soon (if I haven’t already) are affiliate links with products I genuinely like, referral links to companies I use and trust (like Ebates, which I explained more about in 7 Things I’m Doing Now to Save More Money), and the possibility in the future of certain kinds of ads (though this is undecided), a limited number of sponsored posts (if the product is something I feel I can get behind fully), and the possibility of an ebook or two down the road that I publish myself.
We shall see.
Just so there are no questions, I will only promote products and services that I genuinely like and that I would get for myself (if I haven’t already done so). Generally, I only post links to products that I actually DO own and adore (like these 5 products that make my life surprisingly better or these ten favorite board books for toddlers), but occasionally, I will post an affiliate link for a product that I myself am genuinely thinking of buying (like in this post about our future plans for our front room). If a post is sponsored by a company or product, I will let you know. If there are affiliate links in the post, I will let you know. (And yes, there ARE some affiliate links in this post!)
Also, please note that with affiliate links, it doesn’t cost YOU anything to go through my referral link—it just means that I get a small percentage of the sale from the company (such as Amazon). I still encourage you to do your own research about whether the product is a good fit for you, and if there’s a better way for you to get the product than by what I’ve specified, by all means, go that route!
Another way the blog will change slightly is that I will be posting more about interests of mine that have only sporadically shown up on the blog before, like tried-and-loved recipes, tips for living frugally, and posts on photography. I will continue to post about books and reading (as it is one of my great loves in life), but I will probably do so with greater frequency, and I’ll especially be trying to compile a lot more book lists for you under specific categories to hopefully aid you in finding your next favorite book.
How the Blog Will NOT Change
As mentioned above, I will still continue to do posts of a personal nature, including monthly recaps, thoughts on motherhood and marriage, and what my personal goals are at the moment. Eventually, once Raven hits an age where she’s in school, I will probably stop posting much about her, as I don’t want to infringe on her privacy or her ability to choose what gets put out onto the Internet about her life.
I also will continue to try and respond to every single blog comment in order to make connections with you and to show you that I appreciate you taking the time to write down your thoughts for me. Right now, under my current WordPress plan, I am unable to send a reply directly to your inbox unless you check that box underneath your comment that allows me to do so. (I have actually written a rather lengthy email to WP about this issue and am hoping that they might reconsider the very limited commenting options that are offered under their Premium plan.) However, if you click back into any post that you’ve recently commented on, you should see that I DO indeed reply to pretty much every comment I receive, and I’m hoping that WP will take my suggestion and allow me in the near future to directly reply to the email address you provide when making a comment. (If not, I will be switching over from WordPress to a self-hosted site so that I can continue to make those connections with you.) I appreciate your patience with me as I try and get this figured out!
(Note: if you happen to have WP as a host and are on a Premium plan with them, I would LOVE for their inbox to get filled up with requests to fix this commenting issue! Right now, directly replying to comments through the commenter’s email is only offered with their Business plan, which is three times as expensive, though it’s a service that’s offered for free on other blog hosting platforms.)
More than anything, my overall wish for the blog to remain a positive, uplifting, and authentic space is what will not change, no matter what things I may tinker with in the future. I want you to know that I’m not here to stir up controversy or post about divisive topics or make judgments on the choices or beliefs that you may hold–in fact, I hate confrontation and physically recoil from contention of any kind, which is why you’ll find that I tend to shy away from controversial subjects.
In all my posts, I try to be optimistic, tactful, and honest, and if I ever do offend, know that it is without any intention of doing so. Occasionally, I will write some about my faith (as a member of the LDS church) and my beliefs because it is such an integral and important part of my identity and life, but when I do so, it is with the intention of sharing those things that help me and aid me and comfort me, and never with the intent of alienating or pushing my beliefs on you.
In conclusion, the most important verbs in my life (loving and learning) are the ones that I hope to convey in my blog space as well, and I thank you–a hundred times over–for supporting me on this journey.
Above picture taken by Britta Brown Photography