The Seven Deadly Sins: How They Sabotage You and Your Blog

Ah, the seven deadly sins.

You know those cardinal sins that are guaranteed to derail your life and spirituality? Well honey, I’m here to tell you those nasty little vices—greed, wrath, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony—can derail not only you and your life, but your blog too.

This is the first part of my Seven Deadly Sins Series…read on to learn more about how to keep these commonly committed sins from sabotaging your blog…

greed

I want.

This vice is numero uno amongst fashion bloggers. Who isn’t seduced by this season’s It Bag, or by the potential revenue advertisers are dangling in your face? If there’s one thing I’ve come to realize about human nature, it’s that no matter what we have, we always. Want. More. What’s worse is the blogosphere is especially good at stoking the greedy little bitch inside all of us. Unlike magazines, when you see something on a blog that takes your fancy, you are just a few clicks from making it yours.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found myself on a shopping site with some item in my basket that I never even knew I wanted until I saw it on a blog. Know what I’m talking about? Yeah, you do. It’s a vicious cycle: shop, shop, shop; incur debt; try to make more money from your blog to cover said debt.

I need.

Then there are the advertisers. They want to send you free swag to up their SEO with your review. Or they want to give you $100 for a sponsored post about site you’ve never heard of (and would never actually visit)—and they’ll even write it for you!

 But it’s $100!, you think. I need the money…I just bought that [fill in the blank].

You know what happens when you use “I need the money” as your sole advertising and content publishing philosophy? I can tell you: zilch. You get a little money, yeah; they get a permanent link and increased SEO; and if you oversaturate your blog with monetized content, your readers eventually get lost.

Absolution: JUST SAY NO

To most advertisers. And yourself.

Remember:

  • If someone is offering a freebie for review, you can bet they are making the same offer to several other bloggers. Do you think anyone wants to read one more GHD review? Be selective about with whom you choose to partner or collaborate. That often means saying no more than you say yes.
  • You will probably never make enough money from your blog to fund the purchase of even one designer handbag (after covering your overhead expenses), much less your life. Doesn’t mean it can’t be done. It can, but statistically speaking, it’s probably not going to happen. So don’t pollute your blog with dozens of ads, canned content, and disingenuous posts. It’s just not worth it.

And if you suddenly find yourself about to purchase something that you weren’t thinking about this morning when you woke up, you probably don’t need it. I have probably abandoned hundreds of online shopping carts in my time, and you know what? I can’t even remember an eighth of the things I almost bought because I saw them on a blog and instantly wanted them for myself.

Add things to your cart, every day if you like. Fill that Zara basket up with all those pieces you think you must have. Then click the big X at the top and close the window. If you’re still thinking about whatever it was you wanted a week later, and you have the cash, go for it. Chances are you will have added to a cart…and abandoned…a slew of other things by then.

NEXT: Seven Deadly Sins Series: WRATH

30 comments

  1. Great post V! So very true…the seduction of that “it” thing or the money is overwhelming for a new blogger. I hope everyone takes heed to your advice!

    xoxo
    Cyrillynn

    1. Hi Cyrillyn!

      It’s such a catch-22, the blog and money thing. We just need to find some balance. I think the monetization of blogs has swung too far the other direction. I’m curious to see what’s on the horizon.

  2. Ooh, this sounds like a juicy series! I’ve run into some sponsored posts on blogs I otherwise admire, including cut-and-paste text, and they do make my mind ache. “Why, girlfriend??”

    I’ve received one official offer from a marketer to have products mailed to me, for me to try and *mention* in my blog. The items were from a well-known brand, and a line I use anyway, so I accepted. Unfortunately it took months for the products to arrive and they were poorly packaged and all gloppy in their manila envelope. I decided my obligation was over.

    I do like the idea of filling up fantasy carts and then closing them. Just have to make sure the company doesn’t have a one-click ordering system set up for me, so accidents don’t happen!

    1. Hi Sarah, thank you for your comment! Yeah, I’ve had some issues with some potential product reviews too. Sometimes, as you have discovered, it is just not worth it.

  3. Oh, I am already in love with this series. This is what I need right now, a good pep talk! Especially from you. I see some of these emails that you write about and then about a day or two later start noticing posts on other blogs touting whatever product was pitched to me too. I let that stuff go by and don’t take the bait. It’s just not for me, I know myself too well, and if I wouldn’t buy it, I would never ever feature it on my blog. Great series start, looking forward to more! XO, Jill

    1. Hey you, hope you are well! Thanks for dropping by. Glad this series is interesting to you.

      I know you know yourself very well…it helps you navigate blogs, pitches…and LIFE so much more easily.

      Stay cool up there!

  4. So on point, V. I mean, I find myself wanting in a way that makes me feel superficial and materialistic, and that’s so not who I am. It’s also one of the reasons I really don’t read fashion/outfit blogs because they create this exact unnecessary want. I discover enough sales and deals as a result of research for blog posts that I don’t need to find it other places.

    Excited to read more of this series…

    1. Hi Alyson! I totally identify with this: “I find myself wanting in a way that makes me feel superficial and materialistic…” And you are right, those glamorous bloggers really do cultivate and insatiable want of THINGS. I’m trying to find balance by using them as inspiration for outfits that I can create from items I already have. ‘Cause I have plenty!

      By the way, I’m super excited for you and how far your company has come. I so admire entrepreneurial ladies who are creating their own companies and living their dreams!

  5. Vahni this one hits very closet to home. A few months ago my best freelance client was laid off, and the constant stream of projects they had sent my way for almost two years stopped cold. I looked around for other ways to make money while I worked on my portfolio and networked for new clients. My blog seemed perfect. I already spent hours working on it. I know people who make good money off their blogs. Why not me? So I dove into affiliate links and sponsored posts like mad. The result? I still haven’t made any money off affiliate links and most of the sponsored posts are an embarrassment. Thankfully my readers didn’t flee.

    The truth is I do want my blog to at least pay for itself, but not at the expense of it’s soul. It’s a creative outlet and it needs to stay that way to be interesting, not just to my readers, but to me as well. There are plenty of blogs that have “sold out”. I don’t want mine to be one of them.

    1. I saw your post on this topic…and I think most bloggers, save the top 5% experience the same result: minimal revenue for a lot of work. Of course, I still add affiliate links because I have made a few hundred bucks from them in the past, but I think I just got lucky with a particular sale scoop. Anyway, I’m leaning more toward editorial content these days. I want to get back to my roots as a writer, and this series was a way for me to jump back in.

      I think the key is that you tried some monetization and learned from it. I get inquiries all the time for ads, etc., and as soon as they see my rates, they tend to disappear. I keep them high deliberately, because otherwise, it’s just not worth my time.

      I once had someone ask me to place 50+ PERMANENT links throughout my blog for like $400. HAAAAAAAAA. First of all, the work would have been a nightmare, and my time is worth more than that. It would have taken me hours. Second, That’s what I charge for a handful of permanent links on my site…that’s a major SEO score for them, not enough for me to link to them FOREVER. Third, it would have polluted the absolute hell out of my blog. Then they asked for me to do 25 for $400. Riiiiiiiight. Uh, no thanks, and goodbye.

      I hate companies like that that lowball bloggers. A lot of bloggers don’t really understand the commitment they are making for a few hundred bucks, and the horrible effect it has on your content.

      Anyway, you know better now! Stick to what you know and do best….those super illustrations! There IS a market for them. Keep looking for your angle…can you say Sh*t Bloggers Wear? http://shitbloggerswear.tumblr.com

  6. TOTALLY true..I have deserted many an online shopping cart for the same reason.s
    Truth is..I always love love the asos and zara goodies that many of my fashion blogging buddies have…but those stores have never really quite worked for me as far as fit and quality…So I decided I needed to stop “trying so hard” and stick to the stores/brands that work for ME. That said…I am often inspired to find look alike items from bloggers who are rockin a particular trend/look amazingly.
    For me it is all about the balance of looking at pretty things and admiring them…to actually making a purchase.
    I hope you are well lady..haven’t popped in in a while…life has been crazy and there are so few minutes in the day to visit all my favorite blogs…I keep saying tomorrow..and then tomorrow becomes crazier than today!
    Stay cool.
    C

    1. Hey lady! Ms. I’m-personally-putting-camo-skinnies-on-the-map! (Love that!)

      I agree that the Zara and Asos stuff is really hit-or-miss, and generally doesn’t last very long. Also, the fit/cut isn’t for everyone, so good for you for sticking to what you know works for you. You always look great, and clearly, you box clients love what your choices. And what a GREAT idea THAT is! So wish I could do something like that myself.

  7. Great post. More and more I’m seeing blogs that are just a stream of sponsored posts and it’s so tiring. Even when they put their own spin on items it just screams cash in. I’m not opposed to people making money from their blogs but it’s the equivalent of buying a magazine and it being filled with advertisements. Give me something with a bit of meat that I can get my teeth into!

    1. Hi Arash, thanks!

      Yes, it’s gotten out of hand, the sponsored posts and product pushing. You are spot-on with this statement:

      “I’m not opposed to people making money from their blogs but it’s the equivalent of buying a magazine and it being filled with advertisements. Give me something with a bit of meat that I can get my teeth into!”

  8. thank you for this post, v! i have been feeling this a lot recently on a much deeper level than i’ll go into, but anytime i get the request for collaboration, i remind myself that my readers come before the measly money – i would never sell out. lately, i’ve been responding giving them my price, which is a fair one, might i add, and don’t hear back. that’s the way i sort through the crap 🙂 personally, i have stopped reading blogs when they become all about showing off what they received for free and/or when they are blatantly selling me something to make some crappy $0.02 commission. don’t they consider the bigger picture? x

    1. Hi Erin, thanks for your comment! Don’t know how it is that I’m just seeing you and your blog, but I LOVE IT! And your Instagram feed as well. Hope things are going smoothly for you as you work on making your big dream a reality!

      And, OMG, thanks for the honesty in the post linked above. I have always wondered if natural deodorants are really effective. You pretty much confirmed what I thought!

      Happy Monday!

  9. You are so right, especially about partnerships and reviews and such. I just finally accepted my first sponsored ad and that was because it was Austin-oriented. I do my blog because I love it, and I don’t want to turn it into a sea of ads and reviews of stuff that I would never really wear or use. Heck, I review stuff that I love without the company even knowing! As always, I appreciate your insight 🙂

    1. Thanks, Cathy! Ads/sponsorships can be a blessing and a curse…when you have a great sponsor, it’s very good! When you have a pushy, controlling PR rep, it’s a nightmare. And there’s always the pressure the exchange of money entails. You’re smart to be selective.

      Hope you are well!

  10. Hey V, long time no speak! I am so excited for this series, what a wonderful idea.

    And I so agree on “greed”. It is human nature, isn’t it? But it’s all about self control, and ultimately where your ethics lie, in terms of your blog. I believe you can sum it up in a few simple words: Don’t Sell Out. Making money off your blog is definitely a bonus (as well as freebies, invites, etc), but “lose yourself” in the process and you’ll also lose all credibility, and eventually readers.

    x Renee

  11. I totally agree…especially about the sponsored posts.
    I’m my opinion, that’s something that a real blogger should avoid.
    The best “sponsored” posts are about places, brands and things you actually use and enjoy.

    As for the greed…there is something about seeing the newest Louboutin on a blogger that suddenly makes you want it even more…
    That’s something I’ve had to tame within my self. The “Keeping up with the Jones” mentality. Only thing that got me was a closet full of clothes I never go around to wearing and a very high credit card bill 😉

    1. That high credit card bill thing…I wish it scared me more. Balance is key, and definitely easier said than done. I think most of us, me included, tend to live beyond our means, thanks to the proliferation of credit cards.

  12. Haha! great idea for a series and I could relate to this post – quite apart from the blog I’ve always been a greedy shopper. Online shopping is sooooo bad for that! It does help to step away from the laptop and sleep on it!

    1. Oh, amen! Online shopping is the ultimate blessing/curse. It’s just too easy to acquire things that way. I have to step away every day and ask myself things like, “Do I really NEED that crop top from Zara?” Usually, the answer is no.

      I also think evaluating a trend like that and recognizing it is a fleeting one helps. You reason with yourself: Is this a classic? Will I wear it in even just a couple years? Most of the time, again, the answer is no. Now that I’m an old lady, I don’t want to fill my closet with cheapness. I want clothing befitting of a woman, not a girl. So I let that guide me too.

  13. Literally, this series is the best thing ever. I fill up my shopping cart ALL the time on sites and then just click the X and never go back. Honestly, it’s online shopping without the guilt + I just go to sleep, dream up the outfits, and then wake up feeling great because my bank account is still full. 😉

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