8 Reasons Why You Should Be Blogging

Blogging

I always encourage my husband to blog. I even offer to set-up a blog, or create a sub-domain from my hosting account for him. The reason is simple – I’ve been blogging for 8 years now, and the benefits that I get from blogging have been incredible, both in my personal life and income opportunities.

If you’re wondering whether blogging is worth your time and effort, I’ll say it’s definitely worth it. Throughout my life, I’ve had a number of different hobbies but none of them have ever impacted my life or brought me such a great feeling of satisfaction as blogging.

As you may remember, this blog started as a “personal blog” where I documented my son’s childhood and developmental milestones. As years went by, my blog readership increased and I’ve also re-positioned my blog’s theme to parenting and lifestyle of a working mother.

Frankly, I’m not an expert in parenting. I’m just sharing my genuine parenting experiences that many parents can relate to. And I’ve also broaden my blogging topics to include food, travel, beauty, blogging, etc. Gradually, blogging has become a therapy to me. Every time I read my old posts, they remind me of where I am now, fuel me to continue blogging, and motivate me to get to where I want to go.

Why You Should Be Blogging?

In my personal realization, here are EIGHT reasons why I think everyone should be blogging.

1. Blogging makes you a better writer and thinker

This doesn’t happen instantly, but over a period of time as you do it. Blogging is an on-going process of recording your thoughts that takes a lot of maturity and courage to follow through with. It helps you to improve your writing style and grammar, it helps you to think and constantly flesh out new ideas, it encourages you to think deeper into certain aspects of life, and it enhances your creativity too.

2. Blogging leads you to healthier lifestyle habits

It’s true that blogging requires time, determination, commitment, and self-discipline. Blogging helps you to develop healthier lifestyle habits over time. Most bloggers spend their time like anyone else – working, spending time with family, cooking a good meal, and doing all kinds of activities. But on top of that, they manage their time effectively and squeeze the most potential out of each day so that they can still spend time to blog.

3. Blogging allows you to meet new and interesting people

The blogging community as a whole is welcoming, friendly, and supportive. So, you’re going to meet a lot of new and wonderful people – bloggers, PR people, readers, advertisers, etc. I’m referring to real networking connections and friendships that can greatly benefit everyone involved.

So, in my blogging journey, I’m thankful to meet blogger friends like Summer, Angeline, Susan, Rachel, Dominique – just to name a few. And of course, wonderful readers like you. Thank you for being a part of my blogging journey.

4. Blogging makes you learn new skills

For many people, once they get out of university and start working a stable job, they stop learning new skills. It applies to me too. Being in the workforce for more than 10 years, I realized that my skills have become stagnant. When I started blogging, I find myself continuously learning new skills again – which make me very happy.

As a blogger, here are some skills that you’ll learn over time: HTML and CSS, SEO, writing, graphics design, networking, business planning, photography, photo-editing, PR, marketing, videography, communications, etc. Thus, blogging helps to diversity your skills set.

5. Blogging is your best personal journal

A blog keeps your important memories alive forever. A picture may worth a thousand words, but when you pen it down in a blog, you can flesh out exactly how you were feeling, why you were feeling it, and how that particular occasion means to you.

This is more significant if you’re a new parent, newly married, getting a new home, etc. If I don’t have a blog, there’s no way I can remember how I gave birth to Edison, how he started his first day of school, how his kindergarten graduation was like, how we celebrated his 6th birthday, etc. Not forgetting all the great places I’ve been to, all the happy memories that I had, and all the beautiful things that I’ve experienced in life.

That’s why I always say – blogging is my best personal journal. When I read my old posts and look back on the happy times in my life, I have beautiful positive feelings that no words can describe. Thus, every single effort that I poured out on this blog is worthwhile.

6. Blogging opens new opportunities and makes you money

The more you blog and gain followers, the more you become a respected voice in your field. The opportunity to promote yourself and showcase your skills through blogging is better than any resume could provide.

When your blog readership increases, you may find advertisers approaching you for collaborations. You may even get paid by companies for writing advertorials, endorsing a product or service, appearing in TV commercials, and not forgetting the traditional web banner advertising.

But of course, you can choose not to monetize your blog if you don’t want to.

7. Blogging is free after all

You can start blogging today without investing a single cent. Yes, blogging is completely free! I’m on WordPress, and I highly recommend it. You can create a free account on WordPress or Blogspot to start your blog. You can also find free beautiful blog themes from the internet. And if you prefer to have your own domain, just invest a few dollars a month. I’ve written a simple guide to starting a blog, you can read it HERE.

8. Above all, blogging gives you satisfactions

Don’t think that your voice doesn’t matter. It does, and whatever you post on your blog will have an impact on others. That’s where blogging ethics come into the picture. Blog responsibly and with passion. If you’re able to inspire others through your writing, you gain satisfactions and it’s priceless.

Appreciative e-mails and positive feedback from readers, social shares of your writing on Facebook or Twitter, and encouragement from family and friends are your biggest motivation to stay committed with your blog.

Remember, writing a blog is like running a marathon. You’ve got to have grit, determination, willingness to write for free, and have faith in what you’re doing. Admittedly, it’s not an easy task.

But what really makes it worth, you may ask.

Knowing that no matter who reads my blog, and how many visitors or page views that I get, I can rest my head on my pillow because I’ve given all my contents truthfully. It may not be the best as compared to the others, but it’s certainly “my best”.

Enjoy blogging without worrying about my blog statistics, never be discouraged with the success of others, and firmly believe that readers will find inspirations in my writing – that’s what truly matters to me, and makes blogging worth for me.

Do you blog too? If yes, why do you do it and what makes you think it’s worth it? If you’re planning to start a blog, please do not hesitate. Do it now, and good luck to you.

New Year, New Blog Makeover

Happy New Year Readers! I hope your 2015 is off to a great start! Here at Our Little Smarties, we are kicking off 2015 with a brand new blog makeover.

I bought this new theme for more than a month, and finally had time to install it last Friday. The installation was easy, but halfway through the process, I nearly ‘killed’ my blog.

Suddenly, there was a server error and my blog was completely down. I e-mailed my hosting provider for help; thankfully Bryan came to my rescue within just 10 minutes. Frankly, I really like this guy – he’s always fast in his response. With his great service, I can enjoy blogging on this space with ease.

Blog Makeover Small

The main difference of this theme as compared to all the previous themes is the static front page. It makes my blog looks more like a professional website and less like a “blog”. It gives readers a welcome and general introduction of this blog. For me, I can showcase the important and recent posts all in one page.

The slider, as you can see at the top of the blog, shows all my featured posts. The recent posts are showcased at the center of the blog with a short excerpt. This followed by recent campaigns and popular posts. I will add more when I’ve time.

Just when I thought everything was in place, I viewed my blog on IE to double-check (currently using Google Chrome). Much to my dismay, the alignment was haywire. I had to check my stylesheet again to re-align it. Then I had to check it on my mobile phone, iPad and tablet to make sure all go well. Thankfully, they did. (If you see anything wrong, I appreciate if you can inform me, thanks!)

Blog Update Small

Not to worry if you still prefer the blog lay-out. You can click on “BLOG latest updates” on the top navigation bar to read this blog in the usual blog lay-out.

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The usual blog lay-out

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Blog Follow

Finally, I’ve fixed the issues with my blog’s newsletter subscription. If you want to be notified whenever a new post is up, you can subscribe to my blog using form on the bottom right of my blog.

Subscription
Your e-mail subscription will look like this

Alternatively, ‘like’ us on Facebook. I will share the post on my Facebook Page whenever a new post is up.

Monthly Instagram Giveaway

Don’t forget we have a monthly Instagram giveaway happening on the first of every month. Do check out my Instagram @ourlittlesmarties for details.

Last but not least, I hope you like the new lay-out. I appreciate if you can spare a minute to let me know your feel about it. Any comments and recommendations are well appreciated. Just leave your precious comments here. Thanks and have a great week ahead.

Lots of Love,
Emily

Blogging with Passion and Integrity

Blogging with Integrity

I believe it is every blogger’s mantra to blog with passion and integrity, as well as to maintain the credibility of his or her blog. Maybe majority of the bloggers, if not all. What about you?

I’m sure you’ve heard of the recent news about a blogger asking for a free haircut, and then threatened to damage the reputation of the salon when they did not respond to her e-mail. You can read it HERE, HERE and HERE.

What do you think of this blogger?

These days, it’s not unusual to see sponsored contents on blogs. This means that the company has paid the bloggers, in form of monetary benefits or in some other ways, to write about a specific product or service. Think about it as a commercial, only on a blog. Nothing wrong about it. Even if you purchase a print magazine, you’ll also see a substantial amount of advertisements on it. Right?

On the other hand, there are also bloggers offering various services in exchange for products, services or sponsorships. If the companies are keen on partnership with the bloggers, it’s a win-win situation for both parties. Still, there is nothing wrong about it.

But for the case of this blogger, she threatened to damage the reputation of the salon when she failed to get a respond from them. When the news went viral, she apologized to the salon on her Facebook Page and claimed that her e-mail account has been hacked.

I do not know to what extent is truth. But the fact is she has indirectly tarnishes the reputation of bloggers in Singapore.

The Perks of Blogging

Being a blogger myself, I know how easy it is to be carried away by the perks of blogging. We get invitations to new product launches, events, free products, free services, free meals, and even sponsored holidays!

The urge to accept freebies and to go along with opportunities, one after another, is often difficult to resist. If this is not handled well, the passion for blogging will eventually dies out, and replaced by greed or moral issues.

Therefore, I always calibrate myself by returning to the basics. I ask myself what is the main purpose of starting this blog. The main purpose of this blog is to document my journey as mom, and to capture my son’s childhood. My blogging goal is to inspire others to live a happy and fulfilled life as a mom, and to spread the joy of parenting.

By doing so, I will not be lured away by temptations. I want to continue blogging with passion and integrity. I’m still as committed to sharing my honest opinions and experiences with my readers as I was when I started this blog five years ago.

How to maintain clarity?

While I acknowledge that as a blogger, I also received freebies and monetary compensations for sponsored posts, I tried my best to provide readers with fair and balanced information. For that reason, I’m making it clear that each sponsored post or advertorial post will have a disclosure statement at the bottom of the post.

On my blog, you’ll see two types of sponsored contents, and I like to make it clear again on what do these tags means.

1. Advertorials: If you notice a post that is labelled as “Advertorials”, this means that I’m paid to write a post to advertise a product or service based on certain contents provided by the advertiser. I will only write about things that meet my own integrity standards. You will not find an advertorial about alcohol or contraceptive pills on this blog.

2. Sponsored Post: If a post is tagged as “Sponsored Post”, it means that I received the product or service free-of-charge for personal use and review. I do not accept invitations to review products or services where the advertisers will dictate to me on how I should write my reviews. I might be compensated to write these posts, depending on the complexity of the projects. Hence, please read the disclosure statement at the bottom of the post.

I want to be honest and transparent in my blogging. With a full disclosure, readers can make their own judgement and always be mindful that a person’s opinion is still his or her opinion. They should make their own decision rather than depending solely on the blogger’s reviews.

In addition, I will only advertise products that I’ve tried and tested, that I genuinely like, and that I can confidently recommend to my readers. Therefore, I like to review products that offer some combinations of value, quality and uniqueness, and also relevant to my blog.

Should bloggers accept compensation?

I also know that there are people who don’t think that blogs should accept compensation. Allow me to explain this from a blogger’s point of view. Bloggers also work hard to churn out their reviews. A lot of time is taken to test the products, take pictures, edit and publish them. Maintenance of the blog costs money. Creating unique contents and maintaining the blog’s traffic take a lot of time too. So, it’s definitely worth 10x more than what bloggers are getting paid in products and ad revenue.

Having said that, I have a lot of respect for bloggers who put their time and efforts into creating contents without having advertisers. Kudos to you!

Ultimately, I blog because that’s what I enjoy doing, and I will still do it even if it’s not a source of income or recognition. I will never let compensations influence this special space of mine.

If you enjoyed this post, feel free to share it! If you’re a blogger, let me know how you blog with passion and integrity. What motivates you? And how you maintain clarity in your blog? I love to hear from you too!

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