Crisis over: Let’s kick off the year!
Over the Christmas break, Colour Me There turned three. It hit over one million visitors to the site and over two million page views. It also went through an existential crisis.
Along the lines of what I wrote here, I’ve been thinking long and hard on the big questions for this space: What is its purpose? Why is it here? Is it taking up unnecessary space on the interwebs when pictures of cats could be using those precious megabytes?
I started questioning things because places like Pinterest and Loverly now allow anyone to curate, share and explore inspirational images, products, recipes, you name it. Also a huge number of colourful-and-fun-for-kids style sites have sprung up, versus the overly-styed and perfectly-placed sites that were in abundance when I first started (and which I was hoping to counteract a little so Mums didn’t have to be stuck with one perspective of how interiors and life should look).
Plus, you may not know it but when you become a ‘blogger’, you are exposed to the world of blog awards and PR companies targeting you for free products and being asked to talk at conferences and being exposed to bloggers who have achieved huge audiences and online fame.
Believe me, I’m as competitive as anyone so it would be easy to get sucked into the downward spiral of ‘competing for numbers’, ‘mindfully self promoting in social media’ and dedicating blog space to big brands at the cost of regular content (and readership). Being in the advertising industry, you’d think I’d be comfortable with this sort of stuff but actually, I’m just more keenly aware of selling yourself out (and your readers in the process) for that kind of short term gain.
So I thought of quitting the blog altogether. I felt that in order to compete and show that I’m not just a ‘reblogger’ and that I am as worthy as other serious bloggers out there for big awards and fame, I had to change my blog content: Am I using my own material enough? Am I saying important things? Am I pushing the boundaries? Am I keeping up with current trends?
The thing that I’ve ended up realising in the process is that these questions are only important if I am blogging for fame or financial reward. Am I doing this to score that book deal I saw someone else get? Am I hoping to be as big as Dooce with the big money and fame that goes along with it? Do I want to be considered a style icon or trendsetter? Do I really need to win the latest blog award? (OK I’ll admit that would be awesome)
Luckily, in the end, the answer is no. I am blogging for me. Sure, part of that is an ego boost – I get a big kick out of seeing that someone has used one of my printables or bought something from a local store I featured that they didn’t know about before. Ego will always be there (I am no saint). But more than that, I blog because I
want need to share. I honestly think that is the case with the best bloggers out there. They genuinely want to share their life experiences to help and inspire others, to amuse and delight, to make us feel like we are part of a global community and not alone out there in the big scary world.
At the start of my blogging journey, I had high hopes (like a lot of bloggers) that this would be a high paying gig and I could quit my job and work at it full time. In the three years I’ve been doing this, I’ve found that the financial reward has been enough to cover expenses (I pay about $600 a year in server expenses and back-end programming help from an awesome dude in NZ) and enough to pay for my online shopping habit (which is smaller than you’d think… I blog about products here to STOP myself from buying them!) but not enough to ‘quit my day job’.
And I’m fine with that. Because I’m lucky. I scored a great in-house design job last year which allows me to work a 3 day week, spend time with my daughter and cover daycare expenses plus I love the company I work for and the people I work with. Believe me, I know how lucky I am for having that. Many serious bloggers rely on the income from blogging to pay their bills. I’m lucky I do not. You’ll notice that I run my big ad promotions like the Christmas special to raise money for charities I want to support. For me, this is the best part of blogging – I can do something silly that can actually do something important at the same time!
So now that I’ve blabbed on for so long, you can see how I’ve ended up here.
Right back where I started.
I’m not going to change my blog content. I’ll still share things I see. Sure, I’ll be doing more and more of that on Facebook now but I will always want to keep things in a more permanent place than Facebook or Twitter – social media are such a fast-moving and impermanent space and I really want to have a place where it’s easy to access colourful inspiration and ideas easily at a later date (i.e. a friend the other day asked about how to make a cake for an underwater party – bingo – fish cake tutorial!)
In true Graphic Designer fashion, I decided to reboot the blog with my new mindset for 2013 by redesigning the logo. Do you love it?
I’ll also spiff the place up a bit (in real life I can’t help but move furniture around every so often to keep things fresh) just so this can continue to be a space where you can sit down with a cup of coffee, turn off your brain for a while and enjoy some fun, colour and silliness (and I can keep sharing things I love).
To stores who have emailed me over the past couple of months about advertising, giveaways and reviews, yes I will be reopening them as of this month. I will update all my info under the advertising tab next week. I look forward to helping promote local, handmade, eco friendly, colourful, fun or just plain handy products for Mums and kids and I can’t wait to work with you all again.
Thankyou everyone for your patience. If there’s one thing I hate, it’s letting people down and I appreciate that you’ve let me post sporadically over the last few months (and not answer any emails – sorry!!) while I think things through. I hope we can keep coming back to this space together and having fun. It’s why we’re both here, after all!
Posting here weekdays as of Monday again (and always always on Facebook!)