FAQ – Blogging

Where do you get your ideas from?
What qualifies you as a sex blogger or sex toy reviewer?
How long have you been blogging?
Do I really need to use social media?
Which social media is best for bloggers?
How much should I charge for advertising?
Does Page Rank or Alexa Score really matter?
What’s the difference between follow/no follow links?
Do I really have to buy my own domain and/or be self-hosted?
Which is the best host for sex blogging or other adult content?

Where do you get your ideas from?

My ideas for blogging come from things that get my goat (often turned into Stampy Pants Rants), questions I am asked a lot by people connecting with me on social media, information I feel I want to share with my readers, or fun topics that pop into my head. Plus of course, my sex life, products I use, opinions about sexuality, etc.

My life has seemed a kaleidoscope of activity since day one and it doesn’t look like it’s about to settle any time soon, so a blog is the perfect place to share journal updates and amusing anecdotes with the world.

Being connected with the adult industry has afforded me the opportunity to become educated in the ways of sexuality, societal attitudes to sex and relationships as well as having an in depth knowledge of adult products and what’s going on with adult companies.

All of this combines to give a entertaining magazine style blog and website (I hope!) which readers want to return to time and time again.

What qualifies you as a sex blogger or sex toy reviewer?

I have sex, and I use sex toys. To be a sex blogger and/or sex toy reviewer, you need no more than that, when it comes down to it.

If you have sex and want to blog about it, go ahead. If you have used a sex toy and want to share your opinions with the world through either a blog review or a review on a company website, feel free.

Don’t let anyone tell you that you need special qualifications to do either; apart from some basic grasp of language skills to communicate your thoughts and opinions, of course!

My sex life has seen much variety, as I am a bisexual woman who is emerging from a poly relationship with a man and a woman into a time of mono relationship with my man as well as lesbian sexual activity with women. I also enjoy BDSM and kink, as both a Mistress and a sexual submissive to my partner, so I think all of this combines to provide a wealth of blogging material that people are eager to read about.

As for sex toy reviewing, I now own several hundred sex toys (really should have a clear out and send some to the Sex Toy Amnesty for points) and other adult products and I don’t think I’ll have to buy a sex toy in my life again. I started out by reviewing the few sex toys I had bought at Ann Summers parties and from Lovehoney, and it has snowballed to being sent sex toys and other adult products in the post that sometimes I don’t even know are going to arrive. It’s a fun life. 🙂

How long have you been blogging?

I started my erotic blog on Google Blogger/blogspot 3 March 2010. I had a couple of private, journal style blogs and a moonfruit fetish blog before that, the earliest of which started September 2008. In total I have been blogging sexual exploits for over 7 years now.

Do I really need to use social media?

I would advise that you support your blogging with social media if you want to

a) be a part of a blogging community, or
b) build your blogging into a brand which could turn into a professional pursuit.

If neither of these aspects are the route for you, then it isn’t so much of a need. I’m a Twitter addict so I tweet regularly.

Which social media is best for bloggers?

I absolutely adore Twitter, it’s my baby. I really enjoy the fast paced flow of conversation and the immediate news updates. Facebook is wonderful for splitting a personal profile and a more professional looking, blog business page; beware however as Facebook’s ever changing algorithms mean that even if you do build thousands of page fans, not all of them will see the content you share on your page. You can increase the visibility of your links and updates – but of course Facebook want some money off you for that. If you’re involved in the adult industry it is best to see Facebook merely as a signpost for your blog or business which can be removed by Facebook at any time, they often take a harsh stance towards those involved in the adult industry or sex bloggers.

Twitter and Google+ allow you a greater freedom of speech, particularly when it comes to sharing explicit images or particularly profane or sexually explicit written content. Tumblr is fun but is turning into another ‘Facebook’ after the acquisition by Yahoo and consequential wrist-slappings for adult tags and content, which now seem to be hidden behind so many walls I only use Tumblr for cross posting content already at other places and for reblogging images for personal enjoyment.

Pinterest also holds strict anti-spam policies which are difficult to keep within the confines of if you want to use this platform for sharing competition posts or links to your posts and reviews; the attitude towards adult media seems to be ‘erotic is fine, pornographic material is not’ which comes down to whatever Pinterest deems appropriate at any given moment.

Therefore I focus most of my social media update sharing on Twitter where I find I am free to tweet about what I like. Supporting applications to social media which I find fun/useful are Instagram, Feedly, Buffer and various WP plug-ins, as well as IFTTT.com for automagical cross-posting all over the internet which I would not be without.

How much should I charge for advertising?

This comes down to two things, in my experience: your actual site traffic and how prolific you are in the industry. Ideally, both of these will be high, meaning you can begin by charging between £30-50 per month for an advert which is shown on the home page and throughout your site.

This figure is gained from personal experience and moving through the ‘advertising in the adult industry’ ranks.

There are no written rules on site advertising fees for adult bloggers and product reviewers, so ask yourself some questions instead:

  • What figure per month would I be happy with?
  • Can I guarantee an advertiser a decent amount of referred traffic through their placed advert, for this price?
  • Will I be charging the same as, or more than, what I could earn from referred affiliate sales in a month for this advertising slot?

Once you have a ballpark figure in mind, take it down a notch for your first couple of advertisers. Promote it to them, either by way of a blog post or personally approaching companies, as a special offer for the first companies to sign up. Give them an idea of your site traffic and support your request for advertising fees with some history about your blog/site, your involvement with the adult industry, how long your site has been in existence and any other services you offer exclusively to advertisers.

Once you have a couple of advertising spaces taken on your site, you will find more interest from other companies and you can tweak your prices up as the spaces fill, and become more in demand. Start low,  resist temptation to demand too much and fail to fill any advert slots. The first advertisement slot is always the hardest to fill, as the company is taking a gamble becoming your first ever sponsor.

I would also advise against running paid for adverts and affiliate banners at the same time. Why should a company pay you money to advertise if they can merely direct you to their affiliate scheme instead?

Does Page Rank or Alexa Score really matter?

A subject of much controversy; I don’t pay much attention to Page Rank or Alexa Score (see my related G+ post here).

Alexa Score only takes into account traffic from other people with the Alexa toolbar, which is mostly those in the US, and so if you’re mainly a UK based blog or site you probably won’t find this relevant to your site status.

Page Rank has been becoming a more outdated way of defining a site’s status since Google changed its algorithms some time ago. Nowadays, sites such as Twitter and Facebook score 9 or 10, e-commerce sites which are doing well score around 4, and the more prolific bloggers rank between 2-4.

I advise bloggers to pay more attention to their site traffic and to use Google Analytics, and other such reporting methods to keep track of your site’s popularity both on the web overall, and with your audience through social media.

Put some work into the metadata on your pages, for SEO purposes, and read up on the best ways to optimise your content.

As usual, the best SEO advice is: make your website for your readers, and the search engines will follow suit.

That’s the theory anyway! There’s obviously a lot more involved that that, but if you concentrate on producing the best content you can, and not trying to take any short cuts, you won’t go too far wrong.

What’s the difference between follow/no follow links?

When you type a subject into a search engine, usually Google for most people, that search engine has to decide which websites to bring up that most closely relate to the given subject.

A website gains more authority, in the search engines eyes, for any given subject, by how much search engine juice has been assigned to it for that topic. Call it ‘Google Juice’, or just ‘good SEO’.

When you link to a website from your website, you are telling Google and the other search engines that you think the site you are linking to is an ‘authority’ on the topic you’re talking about. That company has a ‘backlink’ on your site. You’ve said to the search engines (and Google), ‘hey! Look here! This site knows about x topic and I don’t care who knows about it!’

That’s because all links placed on your website or blog are default ‘follow’ links. Companies love you to link to them from your site, because you’re telling not only your readers,  but also the search engines, that they’re an authority on a given subject.

Sometimes, it’s best not to do this, for your own website’s standing on the search engines or it may just be inconsequential and racking up outgoing links from your website (in the search engines’ eyes) for no good reason. Some of these will be affiliate links, for example (no point telling Google and search engines how much authority Paid on Results has for sex toys!), or if you want to link to a website you have no financial affiliation with and no good reason to give them ‘Google juice’.

Then, you can amend the html (code) of that link, to show that it’s a ‘no follow’ link. Google and the other search engines don’t see this link from your site, it’s like it doesn’t even exist – except to your passing readers. People seeing, and clicking the link.

To amend a link from a default follow link to a no follow link, you need to insert rel=”nofollow” after the link part in the html code of your post. Mine usually comes after the target=”_blank” (which is the ‘please open this link in a new tab or window’ bit of the code).

Do I really have to buy my own domain and/or be self-hosted?

You don’t have to do anything you don’t want, or can’t afford to do. However, I would always advise bloggers who want to be noticed, to buy their own domain and to be self hosted. This also brings you other advantages, like the freedom to use affiliate links and to write about adult content without wrist slappings from Blogger or WordPress.com or whichever host you’re using.

When you’re deciding upon a domain, give it considerable thought. It’s not great business or blogging practice to change your domain or main ‘web handle’ too often, it’s like a business rebranding themselves too many times, it gets confusing for people looking on.

After giving it some thought, make a confident decision, choose a domain which is recognisable, easy to type and remember and which represents what you’re about.

You never know, you could be about to start your journey towards becoming an internationally famous brand, as well as prolific and professional blogger!

Which is the best host for sex blogging or other adult content?

This comes down to a personal choice. I started with 123-reg but found that although their site was easy to use and the admin was quite intuitive, support was at times slow and I eventually evolved beyond even their professional hosting.

I have since moved to an independent professional web hosting company and pay a set amount per month for the bandwidth I require – no more random downtimes while another host struggles to get my site back up again!

As well as the traffic coping abilities, make sure you look into a hosting company’s attitudes towards adult content. Most companies who offer professional levels of self-hosting leave your content down to you, but a few who offer basic start up hosting do put limitations on what you can blog about on the hosted site.

– Cara Sutra