The business of blogging

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Lydia Wilkins explores the world of paid blogging, looking at the benefits blogging can provide for disabled people with tips on making money from blogging from three successful disabled bloggers Jenna Farmer, Scarlett Dixon and Georgia Winstanley.

Portrait of Lydia Wilkins

Portrait photo of Lydia Wilkins

If you’re online these days, you’ll know that blogs are everywhere. Every subject you could possibly imagine is written about – from tax to the latest Netflix series, to politics and cats. However, there’s also a rise in people blogging for business. But just how can this help disabled people? And is it possible to monetise them?

Blogs are defined as being a website that is almost like an online diary – however, people from across the globe can read it.

There are various ways to make money from blogging. The most obvious is the use of adverts, such as signing up to Google Adsense. Sponsored posts are where a brand pays you to create specific content, social media adverts etc. – similar to a brand endorsement, you post on your platforms about products. Similarly, there are also affiliate links – these work by giving you a percentage of the profits when someone buys a product after following a link on your blog. In essence, one of the main ideas is to work with brands, in order to promote them, via creating your own unique content –  whether via blog posts, tweets, or Instagram photos.

Jenna Farmer is a full-time blogger and freelance journalist at The Bloglancer and A Balanced Belly. Formerly an English teacher, she now makes a living blogging about Crohns disease and gut health.

Jenna Farmer writing her blog

Jenna Farmer hard at work. Image courtesy of Jenna

When asked if she thought blogging could disabled people or people who experience mental health issues, she said:

“Massively so! Being able to write about your illness is hugely cathartic – as is being able to offer insight to others. I’ve made some fantastic friends with IBD through my blog and getting emails saying you are helping people is the best feeling in the world!”

Blogging has also been a kind of solace to Farmer; she mentions how she was upset about an operation. To calm herself down, she blogged on the way to the operating theatre.

The main advantage of blogging is that at its most basic, you only need limited resources – a laptop and an internet connection. Similarly, you can also work your own hours, with full creative and technical control; you are also not required to go to events.

Scarlett Dixon is a trained NCTJ journalist (National Council for the Training of Journalists), who is a full-time blogger at Scarlett London. She also runs events with bloggers, enabling them to network with each other, and reach out to brands for potential work.

I put the same question to her as to Farmer:

“Yes certainly, I am testament to that, I struggle with anxiety and IBS (a bowel condition) and blogging has been very therapeutic in my health journeys. It’s so lovely connecting with others and finding out that you’re not alone in your experiences. Often you can feel quite alone with health problems, so blogging really connects you.”

Dixon has also documented living with anxiety and IBS, like Farmer at A Balanced Belly. She describes how the mere act of documenting this has taken away a huge burden away from her; it also allows her to be open about the condition, rather than being secretive.

I asked Dixon if she had any tips for aspiring bloggers:

“I’m not sure there’s a winning formula (I wish), but consistency is key. And also blogging for the right reasons. Let your passion and creativity shine and the business side of it will eventually come through. Your niche is that you’re YOU! No-one else can take that away from you!”

Georgia Winstanley blogs at The Brightoner, a blog based around Brighton; where she has lived for her whole life. “It’s always been just a fun hobby for me,” she explains.

Like Farmer and Dixon, her blog is also an additional way for her to make money. Methods include creating content, whilst using her blog and Instagram as advertising space.

“I think it’s a great way of expressing your feelings, coming to terms with things, accepting things and finding a community. I know loads of people who blog about their mental health issues and it can be therapeutic.”

“I do suffer with anxiety and I have to say the blogging events I go to definitely help on the social side of things! You really get put out of your comfort zone sometimes, but it’s always so much better than you think – and not scary.”

Blogging is a way of creating an outlet for your writing; you can create your own website, quite easily for free, such as through services as wordpress.com and blogger.com. You can write about any topic that you choose; social media is also easy to hook up, where you can create advertising revenue. It’s also easy to teach yourself ‘how to do it’ as you go along; the internet has a wealth of tutorials.

Disability Arts Online is offering one-to-one Artist Development Sessions including how to set up a blog or website and how to blog on DAO.