What It’s Like to Be A Blogger.

Have you always wanted to be a blogger? Or maybe you’re just curious to know how long it could possibly take to write a blog post. The worst thing about blogging? The never ending content creation. The best? You work from home so you can wake up and wear whatever you want.

Karen Bertelsen standing against a black background dressed in a homemade black fly costume with giant eyes and red antenna.

You want to wear a fly costume you made out of wire coat hangers and leggings?  Go for it.  But most days you’re going to want to get dressed because as enticing as staying in your pajamas all day sounds, it also makes you feel like a slothy grub.  It’s hard to get motivated about being successful while wearing anything with flannel and a drawstring.  So let’s get that one myth out of the way right off of the bat.  Bloggers generally get dressed during the day.

The next myth?  That blogging is easy.  Blogging isn’t easy. If it were easy, everyone would do it.  Oh wait. They do.

O.K. blogging IS easy. Professional blogging where you expect to make enough money to buy only the finest of no-name cheeses is not.

Movies and television shows seem to depict blogging as this:

Woman goes on fabulous excursion or dinner date, returns home at 11 p.m. opens her laptop and a bottle of wine. She types 3 words and hits “publish”.  Woman closes laptop and grins contentedly at the feeling of fulfillment after putting in a hard 14 seconds of work.

This is not blogging. This is a Hallmark movie. 

What IS blogging?

It is a never-ending daily cycle of creating content, photographing everything you do, videoing many things you do, taking care of advertising, technology, SEO practices (making your site Google friendly) promotion and publishing.  

Those are all things that just constantly have to take place. Dealing with advertisers, finding new ones, answering people’s questions in the comment section, answering emails, being active on Instagram, watching videos and listening to podcasts about new best practices in blogging – these all get done daily. 

Plus … you have to actually blog. You know?  Create posts.

Here’s exactly what goes into writing a blog post:


Writing a Blog (post)

These steps will take place over either a single day or many days.

  1. Come up with a topic to write about. At 3 blog posts a week, that’s 156 topics a year. I have written 1,864 posts since I started blogging.
  2. Photograph anything that needs to be photographed for the post. (1-4 hours)
  3. Edit the photos in Lightroom or Photoshop or both. (1/2 – 2 hours)
  4. Shoot a video if needed. (2-8 hours)
  5. Edit video ( 1-4 hours)
  6. Export video and compress it. I use Handbrake. (5 minutes)
  7. Upload all of your photos and video to your blogging platform (WordPress). (minimal time)
  8. Compress your photos so they are “smaller” in terms of data which makes them load onto your page faster. I use ShortPixel. The faster the site, the more Google will recommend it. 
  9. Check with Answerthepublic.com to see if there are any relevant questions people are wondering about with relation to your topic. (5 minutes)
  10. Write your post. (4 hours)
  11. Go through your post and edit it, adding in Amazon links to any products you use (to make things easier for people to find them and to make affiliate commission).  Also link back to other relevant articles within your site or on other sites. This creates more traffic to other posts on your site, plus it creates a good reader experience which Google likes. (1/2 – 1 hr)
  12. Format the post by adding in bold text, italics, line separators and make sure everything looks good. Add in Instagram links. (15 minutes)
  13. Add alt text to all of the photos in the post.  Alt text is a description of the photo and what is in it. This is used by Google and is a huge benefit to anyone who has impaired vision. You’re visually describing exactly what is in the photo. (1/2 hour)
  14. Optimize the SEO of your post.  This is Google garble for filling out a small form telling Google what is in the post exactly. The description is VERY important to how many people will find your site through Google. If it has a poor description, Google won’t recommend it to people. (10 minutes)
  15. Create a “Pin” image. This is an image that will run when people Pin your post.  It’s usually the best photo you have of the finished project/recipe/garden … whatever … with text over it.  I edit the photo in Lightroom and then transfer it to Photoshop where I add text. (15 minutes)
  16. Upload the Pin and add a description to it within WordPress using “Social Warfare” (5 minutes)
  17. Double check the post and make sure everything is O.K.  (5 minutes)
  18. Schedule your post to publish to your blog at a certain day and time. I always publish at midnight my time on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. (seconds)
  19. Schedule your post to publish on Facebook (using Facebook scheduler) and Instagram (using Planoly). This involves writing unique descriptions for each and for Instagram, finding the appropriate hashtags to use. (15 minutes)
  20. Go buy cheese.

Not every single post has every one of these elements, but the time is generally always similar. If the post isn’t heavy on photos (which take up a good chunk of time) then chances are I’m spending more time on the writing. If there’s no video, it’s taking longer to do the photos and step by step instructions for the post.

It all evens out. 

I can’t speak for all bloggers but I generally work 7 days a week.  I try to do less, MUCH less on weekends, limiting myself to taking photos of something I might be doing and answering blog comments.  

Alert!  Alert!  I’m not complaining.  I’ve worked in a steel mill. Blogging is much more pleasant. Although for some reason I need to wear steel toe boots for both jobs.

This is just a little bit of what I do on any given day and I thought it would be somewhat interesting for you to learn about it.

Someone I follow on Instagram (Goldalamode) asked her followers what they thought the kind of people “influencers” were and what they did all day.  One person (and many answers were like this) said that Influencers were socialites or trust fund women who had rich husbands.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAH.  Omg.  What the f*ck?

To her credit Cara (Goldalamode) was much more diplomatic in her responses than I would have been.  

I’m not an influencer, nor do I claim to be. I’m a blogger.  It took me a while to wrap my head around that.  Calling myself a blogger. It sounds awfully douchey. Maybe I could call myself something else? A photographer/writer? A publisher? A marketer? A creative?

I’ll contemplate it as I open a bottle of wine and type 3 words.

I sense this is a good time to let you know I’m TAKING NEXT WEEK OFF. The whole week. All of it. Because as you can see from the hours it takes, being a creative doesn’t always leave a lot of time to create. 

 
Have a good week!


 
 
 
 
 

 

 

→Follow me on Instagram where I often make a fool of myself←

 

What It’s Like to Be A Blogger.

60 Comments

  1. LL Jones says:

    Wow what an amazing blog Karen! I am so happy I found you tonight as I was searching for articles on stinky toilet paper. When I read your previous Toilet-related stories and all the interesting comments I knew I had come to the right place! So here is my dilemma. About 2 years ago I finally realized that the Cottonelle TP I was using for years started to make me stinky after just a few uses. By the end of the day it smelled like I hadn’t showered for days- yuck! So I switched to Charmin. I have been odor free until recently and it has started again! I did an experiment to be sure by using kleenex for a few days and no odor so I know it’s the TP. Also found several complaints tonight online about stinky charmin! Scary to wonder what I am wiping with… Thought this might be a good topic for u to explore and find out what brands other people may prefer or recommend…

  2. Sachi says:

    What inspires awe for me about you is what you do *apart* from blogging Karen. The gardening, the making, the cooking, you seem to do it despite your blogging career. Even if you didn’t blog about it, I imagine you would still do all those things because that’s who you are? And that really inspires me. I am so glad I found your blog though. You are an inspiration! Thank you for this post as well. Greetings from Sri Lanka.

  3. JoElle says:

    Spot on Karen! Blogging is truly a full time job. I hope you have a personally satisfying stay-cation. I’d wish you a relaxing week off but after following you for awhile, that’s probably not the plan. Hey, quick tech question: I too add the text to my Pin image in Photoshop but I’m having issues with the text being fuzzy when it gets posted. Have you experienced this? Is there a magic step I need to know about? Would love to solve this vexing issue.
    Prost!

  4. Ann Brookens says:

    Karen, people have suggested to me that I “should write a blog!” THIS is exactly why I won’t! Too much discipline involved, I’m afraid. Thank you for all your hard work and vast entertainment! Have a happy vacation!!!

  5. Deb says:

    Karen, you are a great BLOGGER! And I’m guessing I’m not alone is being sooooo glad that you choose to be a blogger and not an influencer! Great bloggers are getting harder and harder to find – so glad I found you (long before I ever even heard the word “influencer”)! Will look forward to reading you again in a week!

  6. Andrea says:

    in contra an earlier commenter, please don’t be a lump of protoplasm — I’d miss your blog! And enjoy your well-earned vacation.

    I don’t generally comment on blogs, but I do here occasionally, and part of it is that you attract a nice group of humans. Thanks for bringing everyone together.

  7. Jennifer N says:

    Time off is one of modern humankind’s most scarce resources. (In the First world countries.)

    I’ve been following Jenny Komenda’s and Shavonda Gardener’s instagram conversations about blogs vs. Instagram. I love and read both. One thing I took away from their posts was that blog readers need to comment, not just read (or lurk). So I’m commenting! My comments won’t be the most witty, but I will pipe up when I have something to say, and – most importantly – let you know that I love your blog and appreciate the investment of time and effort you put into it.

  8. MartiJ says:

    Wow… I just saw myself doing something new for Halloween! Thank you for being the ever white-hot-blinding-brilliant source of crazy-fun ideas that you are, Karen!

    I don’t comment as much (blasted full-time job), but I still show up here every once in awhile to catch up and it’s always a worthwhile click! Thanks!

  9. judy says:

    If you are ever looking for a filler piece for a blog post,show me something of your pretty charming neighborhood,or the local places you go to that you enjoy,parks,museums etc, the youngsters may never see your neck of the woods and at 79 I’m lucky to get down the driveway to the mailbox. May your break bring you lots of rest and fun.

  10. Georgia Girl says:

    Set down the coffee pot and back away.
    Because it is not that important.
    None of it.
    Enjoy the the rest of summer!⛱🏝🛸

  11. Jane Baker says:

    I got every single thing you said about the steps you take before posting a blog. I posted one a week for a couple of months and then nearly every day for 12 years to promote our area to the tourism industry. I still have an image bank that exceeds 20,000 photos because that was a big part of it, taking photos every day and then spending hours writing in the evening after supper, often until well after midnight. (Yep, night person here. Also, my husband kind of resented the hours I put in insisting that I could let people know what was happening with a lot fewer paragraphs! So I often worked after he went to bed.) If I didn’t write, I got emails asking why there hadn’t been a blog. It got so even my husband would ask why he had no blog to read if I didn’t get one done that day, and he LIVED on the same premises and with what I was writing about!!!!
    I spent years learning about SEO, alt tags, what Google preferred, making sure I didn’t spam the search engines by accident, avoided black hat coding, and embraced only white hat, resized, fixed up and optimized my photos for fast loading, struggled with learning the art of video and finally learned how to have an outdoors webcam so that people could keep an eye on the area themselves when I migrated to Facebook and cut back on my writing.
    I also monetized the blog, or the website actually, advertising for local tourism operators but what I got out of it annually probably wasn’t a month’s worth of wage. I did it because I loved my area and wanted to promote it and always thought I would get around to selling ads and making money but you know, just didn’t have the heart. I also had a web business on the go, a huge garden, etc. That blog was a lot of work and I treated it as a job but I enjoyed it enough that I didn’t want to change it so that I would have to make it my sole money earner.
    When I moved two years ago and no longer had to write, it was like losing a best friend. It took a long time to not feel the need to migrate to my computer every evening, sit down and start writing. It has freed up an amazing amount of time and I didn’t do it solely as a business as you did! But I also know you won’t actually relax this coming week.
    If I chose to take a little time off from writing my blog, I felt guilt to the bottom of my socks!! My readers weren’t shy about making me feel that way either! 🙂
    So relax as much as you can, enjoy the time away, and you KNOW that you will not be able to resist keeping notes or writing ideas down when you’re supposed to be taking the week off. But do your best, Karen! No one deserves it more than you do!!!

  12. Melissa says:

    OMG I would be stumped at #1! I’m always amazed at the variety of things you write about. We love you – have an awesome week off!

  13. Rebecca Holt says:

    Thanks for the tips. I’m in the very early stage of thinking about blogging. Your blog pushed me over the fence to stop thinking and start doing!
    I totally agree with dressing for a work day. Before I retired I taught at a university (on-line) after leaving an on ground teaching job. I couldn’t wait to wear yoga pants and sweat shirts ” to work”. That lasted about a week before I realized, relaxed dress =relaxed work.
    Thanks for being you. I read some of names your followers have for you, mine for you is Karen luffa. I found you while doing a search on growing luffa. Which is by the way doing quite well.

  14. Vikki says:

    I’ve not read one of your posts I didn’t like. I really enjoy the variety of your blog. Thank you for doing all of that for us—-your many followers and fans. Have a fun/nice/restful week off. We’ll be here waiting………..

  15. Jane Anderson says:

    No need to respond to this comment. But I wanted to tell you how incredibly helpful this post was! I feel I am on the verge of something that could be good, could be bad, could be great… either way, I feel the info you shared will be pure gold. You got me hooked on raising monarchs through your thorough, no-nonsense, humorous writings. I am now a loyal fan.

  16. Avril says:

    Love the fly costume!!! Still smiling. Another new idea for Halloween!!!

  17. Debbie says:

    I work in the steel industry. I’d rather be a blogger. I tried to blog but failed miserably. Probably because I’m too busy working in the steel industry and have no time to devote to blogging. The steel industry is not as exciting as blogging! I love your blog because of your content. As a blogger you’ve “influenced” me to try some new things. I shared your blog with my daughter and she was “influenced” to grow loofah. (well she bought the seeds). In today’s markets I think influencers are becoming more and more important because most of us are glued to social media. Through blogs I have found things that I never knew I needed. Like a homemade pizza oven! That’s in the works this year for the fall! As a blogger you’re kind of touching both worlds which is why you are so successful! Enjoy your vacation week!

  18. Sboo says:

    I want to know the alt text for your bug costume photo 🙂

    Enjoy your time off!

  19. Cussot says:

    We all know you’ll be labouring away in the steel mill .. ahem .. garden while you’re away from your keyboard. But have a great blog-pause!

  20. Bonnie Gutierrez says:

    Enjoy your vacay and leave the blogging for the chickens that week!!!

  21. Jody says:

    No wonder you moved to 3 posts a week. I was afraid you were going to have one post a week. Enjoy your well deserved vacation

  22. Peggy says:

    You worked in a steel plant??!! Where? What did you do? I’m curious because my husband has been in the steel industry for about 30 years now. And our last name is Steele.
    I’ve been told many times that I should have a blog because I like to do stuff like building and sewing and renovating. But when would I have time to do stuff if I was blogging?!

  23. Heather says:

    I’m always taking my hat off to you, Karen, because you are such a hard worker, and I love hard workers. I tried starting blogs twice, and man-oh-man was it hard work! I like hard work. But not the kind that has me tearing my hair out over computer problems. You are one of the few people I truly admire, and it’s because you’re a problem solver. Whether in your garden or your home or in front of your computer you are tenacious. Your can-do spirit lifts me up regularly, and I so appreciate it. Have a great break from the blog.

  24. Deb Wostmann says:

    No job is ever as simple as it is made to see by professionals as yourself. It was eye opening to see all that steps and activities you need to do for a complete post and now I’m just plain tired!!!

    Have a wonderful week off – you deserve it.

  25. Kari In Dallas says:

    You are a lifestyle writer. And this post lays down every damn reason why I hesitate to start a blog, even though I’ve been asked to more times than I can count.

    Building a garden, throwing a pot, preserving veg, making pasta..,,it’s all enjoyable until you have to document Every. Single. Aspect. of it.

    So, I enjoy all the hard work YOU put into your job…and you’re good at it. I admire you and your commitment.

    Enjoy the vacation…and don’t forget to take pics. Because you know we ALL want to know what you did. (Which I presume is not sitting around on your ass eating peanut butter out of the jar.)

  26. Teri says:

    Can’t imagine what you might get up to during a week of no blogging. I recall you saying that you didn’t find relaxing all that relaxing (that resonated mightily) so I expect you will have an adventure(s).
    Whatever you do, enjoy; and know that we will wait for you to return to, once again, enlighten, entertain and engage us.
    Teri on the (not so) Wet Coast

  27. Spot on, Karen! My wife and I just shake our heads at the pipe dream that many “blogging bloggers” are selling to the legions of starry-eyed newbies. Blogging is a relentless grind, but few jobs are as rewarding (when you’re doing it right). Have a great weekend!

  28. Roisin says:

    Reading this blog post made me very aware of all the flickering advertisements. Couldn’t really focus on either. I don’t think I’m making a point, just commenting. Literally.

    • Karen says:

      Well, now that you see how much work goes into each blog post you can understand why bloggers have ads on theirsites and don’t just do it for free. 😉 ~ karen!

  29. Marilyn Meagher says:

    Have a great week!

  30. Sabina says:

    Don’t sell yourself short, you ARE an influencer! At least once a day I hear myself saying “Karen said…” “Karen did…” “Karen made this thing…”

    Have a lovely vacation, I hope your friends with the beautiful cabin force some relaxation on you. It’s hard, I know, but you can do it <3

  31. Suzanne Reith says:

    Enjoy your well deserved vacay. Know we appreciate you.

  32. I’m always tickled, and inspired by your blogs (and I get a second giggle or two later in the day with your IG shenanigans), so thank you. I’m an esthetician and attempt to run a busy clinic and produce a blog every 3 weeks (we attempted a food blog with 3x a week, that was a shit show), and I’m in awe that you constantly have something to say that I care about. Thank you for the WP and social plugin hints in this post, I’ve needed to research some and haven’t had the time. Again, you are a timely savior of all things I’m looking for (generally more in the ‘wth do I do with this bug I brought home,’ or the ‘to demo or not to demo my kitchen on a whim’). Enjoy your holiday, well deserved.

  33. You rock Karen and pretty much nailed this…. although I take offense with your comment that you can’t be motivated and productive in flannel pants with a drawstring…hold my beer.

    • Sabina says:

      Right??? I spent two hours in the garden Monday in my flannel pants with a drawstring and when the temps finally warmed up I changed into shorts with a drawstring and continued on 🙂

    • Karen says:

      LOLOL! 🙂 O.K., well there are a few exceptions. Those who are exceptionally adept at self motivating in flannel. 😉 ~ karen!

  34. Wanda says:

    Enjoy your vacation Karen. I truly enjoy your work and I know it’s incredibly time consuming. My son has a you tube channel. He’s an influencer in the music industry, especially guitars, and he does a great job. It’s a lot of work to be creative and tech savvy. He too does it all and has no assistance.
    He’s on tour right now and while traveling earlier this week he sent a picture of a huge truck with beautiful black dirt that he knows I like! I’m a very small gardener at the moment. Which is why I love your posts.
    Have a wonderful time off. You deserved it.

  35. Danni says:

    Ha! I knew what this was leading to, the declaration of time off. It’s exactly how I tell the boss at work, how, you know, I don’t just sit in my butt watching YouTube all day, and all that rushing up and down the hallways constantly isn’t due to lack of bladder control etc… 🤣
    Enjoy and recharge! Tho I assume you are also starting to harvest and pickle and blanch and freeze and can…

    • Karen says:

      That season has definitely begun, yes! Plus fall plantings. And everywhere I look something on my house seems to be falling apart, lol. You know. Life. 🙂 ~ karen!

  36. Miriam says:

    Enjoy your week off Karen.
    Hope you’re doing something nice, and fun!

  37. Prairie Karen says:

    You missed the part about reviewing and approving comments. Darn trolls. They take up more time than they deserve.

  38. Sarah Jackson says:

    Hope you enjoy your vacation.

  39. Ecoteri says:

    Karen, I sometimes am too busy trying to figure out retirement (not for the faint of heart. Can be bad for the liver. Why do I wake up at 6 AM when I never could before? How did I ever manage to fit work into my day? Why did my chickens uncover all the potatoes under straw that I forgot to harvest last year so they grew again this year under old straw and are now turning green in the sun? Why do the sheep BAAAAA at my neighbours? [oh, the neighbours feed them fruit, hay, veggie cuttings, more fruit. …] Why are my youngest suddenly 19 and 20 and STILL needing me? How come nobody wants to take over the lease of my office? Why do I hurt all over? How come I didn’t get more massages using my benefit plan [fool]? Where are my glasses/keys/marbles?). I store your posts for times when I really just MUST stop spinning and sit down. Then you post images of awesome fly costumes and I feel compelled to be creative. I just got my 40 year old sewing machine home from servicing. WHOOT.
    NO! I will take next week off too (save for a series of theatrical attendances). And allow you to have your time off. And talk myself down off the “where’s Karen when I need her” ledge, re-read some favourites, and dig those potatoes while you lounge beside your pizza oven… love you, love your honesty. and I never imagined 3 words and done. XX

  40. Mary Cherry says:

    Have a great week off. Loved the info on being a blogger.
    The fly costume is awesome.

  41. Christine Eklund says:

    1864

    Holy cats

  42. Darlene says:

    When the devil do you have time to weed your gardens. 🙂 Have a wonderful week off Karen. Looking for to hearing more of your adventures when you return.

  43. Cathy Reeves says:

    Have fun, be an influencer, a creative, ditch digger, or lump of protoplasm.
    Your week. Your choice.

  44. Mark says:

    You forgot the “be glamorous” step, no idea how long that takes! haha

    Seriously though, enjoy your vacation!

  45. Tina says:

    Good! I’m glad you’re taking next week off, but I’ll miss our thrice weekly meetings. BTW, could you say something about your chickens? It seems like ages since we’ve seen them. Have a fun week!

  46. Mary W says:

    At no time have I ever looked at the picture of you as a bug and not smiled. Big smile. You are magic.

    • Fannie Mae says:

      Ooh, Karen, it’s a tough job, glad you are doing it!
      I can buy the cheese.
      I’ll even eat it for you, and the readers, I mean everyone should help with the tough jobs, right?

      You make an adorable spider!
      All the rest are envious……
      And, you’re the only one I would invite into my home!

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