New Year, New Everything! :)
Hi! I've missed you all! Truly, I have!
January 2nd was my 6 year blogging anniversary - six years!! It's been a long journey. One day in 2011 I decided to start doing product reviews on this website because I couldn't find helpful reviews myself. Next thing I knew, I was doing Youtube videos, receiving press samples, taking paid blogging opportunities, it was exhausting but everything was looking up! And then Spring of 2016 came along and all of a sudden everything started to look unfamiliar and uninspiring. That's really when my blogging hiatus began. I guess I just had to step back and really see where I was and was that where I wanted to be?
Blogging was a new-ish fad when I started, and few people in my life really knew what blogging was - actually, I didn't even know I was a blogger when I started my website, ha! Then Youtube vloggers began to grow popular on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and alongside them, bloggers became regular reading material for a lot of people. I mean, there was a time when I was subscribed to over a hundred different blogs - beauty, home, lifestyle, cooking, crafting, etc. etc. etc.
It was pretty awesome to feel like I was this inexperienced, amateur "beauty blogger" who just happened to have relevant content on my website. I started looking up to other beauty bloggers as inspiration of where I thought I wanted to be as a blogger. To be a professional, regular income, stay at home mother, beauty blogger.
It felt good to create my own schedule of when I would photograph products, test out products, film videos, editing, create makeup looks, nail art, draft product reviews and swatches for the website, network on social media, promote myself to gain more traffic, and then more traffic lead to ad space which was when the money came into the picture... well, more like the pennies. Blogging is not a lucrative career - you have to reallllly hustle and sort of push yourself to look like you are of monetary value to ads, Google, pr companies, brands, even other bloggers that would pay for ad space on your website. It's a LOT of work!
Blogging quickly became real work to me. I'm a full time, around the clock, stay at home mother of two young children. I don't have family around to help me out. I don't have many friends around to help me out. So all of my time went to my family and then whatever was left over went to my blog, because I was in a place where I could make real money from my website and I wanted to have the independence of running my own website, making my own income.
I guess that's when the passion started flickering in and out. I started to feel overwhelmed by my never-ending inbox, by all the products that companies would send out of the blue with launch dates that implied 'hurry up and share this with your followers', by all the requests I received to review so and so product, make a video about this or that... It was like, I wasn't really blogging for myself anymore. It was for everyone else, and for the money that it brought in.
That was around 2014-2015, so when 2016 came and I really worked hard to change up how I was blogging - I started doing regular nail art blog posts, makeup looks featuring some of the latest products, and it was fun again! I really enjoyed it! But, it only lasted a few months because then companies started emailing me again, a lot. At first, it was flattering that my content was getting more attention, like, that's good - who doesn't want to feel proud of their hard work? Until it got out of hand again. Just so many emails, every day, dozens of companies asking me to check out their website, check out their products, join in their campaign and use their special hashtags on Instagram... it was... exhausting.
Everyone wanted content from me FOR FREE! No one wanted to pay my extremely low rates for a sponsored post, they just wanted a spot on my Instagram because essentially it was free advertising for them. That was the last straw for me. I didn't like it, I felt like they didn't know my name, they only knew my follower count - that's really all that matters in this online beauty community anymore. And, I don't even have a big following - that's the crazy part! I only have 5000 followers on Instagram, and really, at the most I will get about 100 likes on a popular post - otherwise, I'm really only seen by 30-ish people.
So, I stopped blogging. I didn't mean to, it just sort of happened. I stepped back and realized I was blogging unlike myself. I was blogging like how other bloggers were blogging - receiving the same pr package as a bunch of other people on social media did, at the same time too, so everyone is posting about the same products around the same time. Campaigns were boring - "post your photo and use #blahblahblah and we might feature you". It was monotonous, and I disliked it.
I went through a moment of time where all the Youtubers and bloggers and "influencers" that I followed were all doing roughly the same thing over and over and over. Like a giant trend train came though and picked everybody up. *sigh* I started unfollowing everyone - everyone who seemed to be squeezing into the same cookie cutter. It got kinda sad. Like, the good old online beauty community that I loved just a few years ago is flooded with trendy crap.
Everyone is just trying to be the first to post swatches, or first sneak peek at a new launch, or trying to go viral with beauty hacks and beauty dupes and silly challenges that get millions of views... Everyone is rocking a warm smokey eye or plump matte lips or chiseled features with the latest contour kit... and then there's the lack of honesty anymore. People pay for followers, pay for subscribers, pay for clicks, views, shares... people start featuring the latest pr package in their monthly favorites... like, I know you had to have received that product this month and it's not that great yet it's on your favorites list and you have a coded link in your description box? Really? Am I the only one who thinks it's strange that these "influencers" have so many favorite products every 3-4 weeks??
Okay, now that I got that tangent out of my system, if you're still with me here ;) I finally realized that I do not have to be a "beauty blogger". I do not have to have a blogging network, I do not have to have ads, I do not have to do sponsored content, I do not have to post swatches of 20 different shades of lipsticks in some brand's latest product launch. I do not have to write a review on every single product that I love, like, dislike, hate. I do not have to do any of this if I do not want to! It is MY website... I did just change it to www.krystalcaracol.com, which means I can do whatever I want :)
And that is where I am today. Doing what I want to do, in my own style, in my own time, and in my own words and selected use of hashtags. If you want to follow me, that's great! If you don't, that's great too! I'm not worried about traffic and ads and clicks anymore. It's just not worth it to me. I'd rather review something awesome, and we can have a grand old conversation in the comments together. That's what I'm blogging for. I want that community feel back that I used to love so much about blogging.
I hope you enjoy what I have in mind for this website!