It's one of the most controversial topics in the blogging community:
Should blogging be about the money?
Unfortunately, the answer to this question is not a straightforward one. Some people insist that they only blog for the love of blogging, others freely admit that they do it for the dosh.
There are no set rules about blogging, which is why it appeals to so many people. Anyone can set up a free blog and get started straight away. Most of us start a blog as a hobby because we love writing, taking pictures or have a passion we want to share with the world. Some have managed to turn their blog into their full-time career, whereas some prefer to keep it as a hobby and others use it as a 'side hustle', a way to make a little extra money alongside their main job.
I fall into the latter category; I have a full-time job and write my blog in my spare time. Although I started blogging as a hobby, I'm not averse to making some money out of it or being gifted a product I really want to try, in return for a review on my site. I will, however, only take on a paid job or accept a free product if it's relevant to my site and doesn't go against my principles.
There is no right or wrong way to blog. You're not a bad person if you want to use your blog to generate some cash. Don't let anyone tell you that you should only blog for the love of it. Yes, it is definitely a labour of love and if you don't enjoy it you probably won't last long - but don't let people try and take advantage of you by getting you to promote their product or brand for 'exposure', effectively asking you to work for free.
If a brand approaches you to write for them, they've seen value in your work and know that you could be an asset to their company. Therefore, don't be shy about asking for payment. Some will try to tell you that they have 'no budget' for the campaign: they can't pay you, nor send you a sample of their product. This is a lie as they obviously have a budget for everyone else involved; they're just trying to get some free publicity from bloggers. Don't fall for it. Why would you waste your time writing about a company who doesn't respect you enough to pay you for your efforts?
Other brands couldn't be nicer or more professional. They understand that testing a product, taking photos and writing up a post all take time and a lot of work and are prepared to compensate you for doing so. These are the brands to keep on your radar and work with time and time again.
It's not always brands that are in the wrong, though. There's a stereotype about bloggers that we're entitled and expect to get something for nothing. Unfortunately there's no smoke without fire and there are a few bad eggs who make the rest of us look bad. When dealing with brands, you need to be professional and realistic. Don't expect an all-expenses paid trip to Paris if you're just starting out, have only written three posts and have 102 Twitter followers.
The whole 'social media followers' topic is a bit of a sore subject in the blogging world, to be honest. A lot of brands expect influencers to have a following of at least 10,000 before they'll consider working with them. They don't seem to worry about engagement, which can lead to some bloggers being dishonest and buying followers. It's really frustrating to see someone getting more opportunities than you when you know they haven't grown their following organically while you've been working hard to produce quality content and actually have interactive followers. Try not to let it get you down or make you resort to immoral tactics.
I'm going to end this post by saying that you should stick to what you believe is right. If you only blog for the love of blogging and don't want to taint that by making it about money, then more power to you. If you want to earn some money from your blog then there's absolutely nothing wrong with that, either. If you've managed to turn your blog into your full-time job, then please tell me how!
What's your opinion on blogging for money?