Is Beauty Blogging Hard? Thoughts on Starting a Beauty Blog in 2021
This post is a reflection on my first few years as a beauty blogger – I hope to hear from lots of you in the comments! I initially started this blog because I wanted a place to share makeup swatches that would be more accessible than my Instagram feed. I had been frustrated more than a few times by not finding the exact swatches I wanted to see when searching for a specific product. I love to take pictures, so I jumped right in to starting a blog!
The First Year of My Blog
After doing the initial blog set up and posting a few swatch pictures in mid-2019, I was pretty overwhelmed with the process and amount of time involved. The set-up phase nearly wore me out! I only posted four very short posts. Then the blog just sat idle for many months.
I was unprepared for the amount of time and mental energy that just getting the site set up would involve! I chose a free theme, and I didn’t do much customization. But learning where all the pieces go together was very new. Seemed like you have to install a new widget for any and every feature you wanted on your blog. And for each widget, there are tons of options from different developers. And let me tell you, I’m always suffering from analysis paralysis so all these little choices were agonizing!
If you build it, will they come?
I’ve found that the disappointing answer to this question is that only a few will come. Apparently you’re supposed to spend a ton of time making pins on Pinterest and being extremely active on social media to promote your blog. And also you should become an SEO expert. I just don’t know if that’s something I feel motivated to do, but I think I’m getting a lit bit better at each of those things as time goes by. Just making the blog posts is already a lot of work, and I’d rather try more makeup, take more pictures, and make more blog posts!
How long does it take to create each post?
I think Beauty Blogging is different from other types of blogging in this aspect. I’ve read/watched a lot of people who give blogging advice. And they generally talk about getting a post created and published in an hour or two. I think that’s really unrealistic for a beauty blogger who tests a product, takes product shots, takes swatch photos, edits/labels the photos, and crafts a post with lots of text and links. I’ve noticed that a lot of bloggers in other niches use a LOT of stock photos which take no time at all for the blogger. Stock photos and manufacturer product photos just don’t help a beauty blog reader at all, you know? I think original photos are so important to a beauty blog. Or is that just my bias as somebody who is REALLY into photography? What do you think?
I’ve gotten a bit better about dedicating morning time to blogging tasks on a more regular basis. But my workout routine has definitely taken a hit. I work full time, so it’s hard to find free time for BOTH working out and blogging. I’m working on learning to strike a balance between the two.
Have YouTube and Instagram replaced Beauty Blogging?
Kind of. I was never an avid reader of beauty blogs during their hey-day (before YouTube was popular). I credit YouTube for luring me into the beauty community.
Since becoming a part of the beauty community via YouTube, I’ve found myself often searching for blog posts on specific items. Specifically swatches of color cosmetics such as eyeshadow, blush, lipstick, and even foundation/concealer. Especially when those items are swatched next to similar shades from other brands. Those are the posts that I find the MOST helpful. And there aren’t enough of them out there!!! So many times I’ve searched for a specific product and really not come up with many useful results.
Now, in 2021, I watch a ton of beauty YouTube content for entertainment. I just like to listen to people talk about makeup! Lots of times I have these videos playing while I’m doing something else like house cleaning. Heck, I’ve even made some YouTube videos! YouTube can be really fun!
But when I’m seriously researching a product I want to buy, that’s when I search for blog posts and images. What about you? Do you do this, too? The cycle goes like this for me: See it on Instagram first, watch some YouTube videos about it, search for blog posts with swatches, then finally purchase the product online.
So is Beauty Blogging dead?
I find this topic so interesting. And I really haven’t come to my own conclusion just yet. I’ve had some blog posts do better than my YouTube video on the exact same topic. But I’ve had several YouTube videos reach into the thousands of views, and that hasn’t happened for any blog posts yet.
I like to read what other bloggers have to say about this topic:
Is Blogging Dead? Beauty Blogging Especially? by Coffee Sundays – September 27, 2020
Is Blogging Dead? by Jasmine Talks Beauty – April 29, 2018
Is Beauty Blogging Dead? by Tea Party Beauty – February 17, 2017
Is Blogging Dead? by My Women Stuff – February 2, 2016
Can You Make Money as a Beauty Blogger?
At this point, I’m not a good person to ask! LOL. Currently, this blog is completely un-monetized. No ads, no affiliate links, no sponsored posts. I can tell you that based on my stats, I’d be making peanuts at this point. I like to grow things and do big projects over time, so maybe in a couple years I’ll have something more interesting to report in this category. I certainly intend to monetize in the future – at a bare minimum I’d like the blog to support its own costs.
As of the writing of this post, this blog has about 6,700 views from 4,300 visitors. I don’t really know if that’s good or bad for the amount of work I’ve put in. I’ve only got 43 total posts (9,400 total words), and some of them are very brief such as just a swatch picture I wanted to post. I know that I need to create a lot more content to see any real improvement in results. We’ll have to see where this journey takes us over the next few years!
So tell me what you think in the comments! Are you a beauty blogger, too? I have more thoughts, but since I’ve already rambled for a thousand words, we’ll save those for another time.
Congratulations on your first year! You made many excellent points. Beauty blogging is very time consuming, especially if you’re trying to give a thorough review and not just a first impression. I still haven’t reached the point of satisfaction with my blog format, layout, background, etc. but I like it more than the way it was before. It can be very intimidating and I’m afraid of experimenting too much and messing things up. I’ve been blogging for almost six years, but it has only been a year since I’ve been posting consistently. I started my blog while I was still posting on YouTube (until 2016) because I felt like it was more in my wheelhouse. I’ve always stumbled on my words and blanked out during conversations, which made video editing a nightmare. I made so many points that went unfinished. There were so many times that I explained things one way and thought of a much better way after the video was over. It was like that with every video. With written words, I can work and rework what I want to say over the course of weeks until I’m fully satisfied. Reading my novel-length posts are probably not as exciting as a video, and I don’t get anywhere near the same views (not even 10%), but I love doing it anyway. I’ve always been the type that as long as there are a few people reading…as long as my blog is still helpful to others in some way, it’s enough for me. It’s also funny that I started posting more often on Instagram in order to promote my blog, but because Instagram feels more interactive and engaging with others, it can sometimes feel more satisfying posting there. As a very private person though, I can’t get into the other forms of social media. It’s just not in my nature.
That is interesting that you also tried YouTube also. Did you take all of the videos down? They say making videos gets easier after you do it about 100 times. But that’s a LOT of practice and embarrassment to go through! I’ve definitely made and deleted many videos because I think I just sound like a bumbling idiot. LOL. I’m sure you are your own worst critic and the videos were probably really nice. I still intend to make videos from time to time, though sometimes I change my mind about that. Sometimes I make a video and never get it edited/posted. I don’t know why I do that! And yes, that’s one of the other reasons I started the blog, I found I was writing everything out before making a video so I could cover all my points and get it right. I thought, well I might as well post this as a blog post since it’s already written out! LOL. It’s also interesting that you don’t get as many views on your blog as YouTube – 10% is a really small portion. I think your blog is really helpful because you post a lot of swatches!
I did have 109 videos in total, so perhaps I could have been close to getting used to filming haha. I do still think in some ways making videos is easier in the sense that it took me about 2 hours to film and 2 hours to edit, whereas I put way more time into my blog posts. The main issue is that I did a lot of first impressions (because they were unboxing videos), so products I might not have liked initially I would later find a way to make them work. That happened a lot. But also those times I zoned out and just couldn’t finish my thoughts or went on really wild tangents. Also, I didn’t have a viewfinder when recording videos so I couldn’t see whenever my camera stopped recording or the memory card was full, so I had to re-record a lot. It also recorded in 8 minute sessions so I sometimes didn’t realize when it stopped either. Sometimes the footage got out of sync between the video and audio. Sometimes the file would randomly be corrupted. And then when I was basically running errands in the day and working nights, it just got to be too much. That’s ultimately what turned a break into me never posting again. I’ve sometimes thought about returning to making videos, but I decided not to after realizing how much more I liked the blogging format.
Yes, I kept my beauty account but I made the majority of my videos either private or unlisted. There was a Twitch streamer I met a few years ago. I mentioned I used to make beauty videos and despite me not using the same username he found my channel and was constantly threatening to play my videos live for his audience despite the fact that I didn’t want my identity to be made public. It was punishment for not wanting a relationship with him. At one point I could even hear one of my videos playing in the background of one of his streams, so I made everything private. I even changed my youtube name and instagram handle.
I initially did weight loss videos and then switched to unboxings with a few hauls and reviews here and there. Sometimes a video of mine would get as low as 50-100 views (which is typical for my blog now per post) or as high as a few thousand views, depending on the popularity of the subscription and how quickly I could post mine first. The only time I had views in the thousands on my blog was when google accidentally put my Beautylish Lucky Bag post at number 3 in the search page around the time Beautylish was about to launch their next one. lol. I don’t have the best camera or lighting, so I understand I’m not going to gain the biggest following, but I do the best I can with what I have. And I’m happy it’s still being viewed at all. Thank you for appreciating what I do! I’m confident yours is going to continue to grow. You have great content!
*To clarify, I meant to say 50-100 views on the first day of a blog post is the usual for me. That’s where I got the under 10% number between WordPress and Youtube. If I take overall views, it’s a bit higher than 10% but still less than I had on Youtube.
People can be so terrible! I’m sorry you went through that!
Thank you. When I left that bad situation, it led to a serious of events that actually changed my life for the better. I learned a lot from that time and I’m very happy now!