Here’s this week’s instalment of Blogger Behind the Blog where I interview a blogger all about their reasons for blogging and what it means to them. This week I’m joined by Chammy from Chammy IRL.
Here’s Chammy with more about her blogging life:
Where did your blog name come from?
Chammy has been a nickname of mine since I was a teenager, given to me by an old boyfriend. I dropped it for a while until moving in with a college friend who knew me while I was “Chammy” and it just stuck from then on. It’s very rare for someone to not call me Chammy, I think it’s only my family who call me Chermaine. I added the IRL (In Real Life) part as kind of a general description of what would be on the blog.
When did you start your blog and why?
I started ChammyIRL in 2015 so I could just tell people stuff. I had hoped to run it alongside an MLM/Direct Sales company I started around the same time but soon found I hated blogging about the products and preferred to just stick with whatever I fancied.
What did you do before you blogged?
It wasn’t until 2014 that I first really took note about blogging, and blogging to make an income. Before that I’d done a little online work for a text Q&A company, sold cakes, written some posts for others and even worked for Netmums for a while. Back in my employed working days I’ve been a waitress, a cinema assistant, call centre person, Shift Manager for McDonalds (and all the rungs below that), a nursery nurse and office assistant in a college.
What was your first post?
I reviewed a Vidal Sassoon hair dye that I’d received to try, it was a nice and easy starting post to easy me in and get me going.
What inspires you to blog?
I like having the extra income, it comes in handy for all the extra treats for the family during the month (or if I want to treat myself). I also enjoy getting free things to try, especially if it involves the family such as meals or days out.
What post has had the best response, which post are you most proud of and which post did you enjoy writing the most?
The best response is my “Juice Plus Boosters: Do They Really Work?” review, it brings in most of my traffic each month and ranks very highly on Google – at one point it ranked higher than the company’s page.
The post I’m most proud of is my “My MLM Makeover: Transforming Me Into A Stranger” – it forced me to take a serious look at how I’d changed to “fit in” and sell make-up products. Until I wrote this post I didn’t realise how bad I’d become.
I most enjoyed writing “Me, A Desert Island And Eight Songs…This Is DesertDisc” as I got to listen to some of my favourite music while researching it. Turns out it is ridiculously hard to narrow down your eight favourite songs.
Have any of your posts not had the response that you expected?
I’d hoped that my “Where Do You Draw The Line As A Blogger?” might have had a little more interest. It was inspired by a conversation we were having in a Facebook group about your obligation to your readers as an influencer – what should you post about and what should you avoid. Where do your morals stand when there is money involved? There is still time, you never know it might pick up eventually.
Where do you see your blog in a year’s time?
Pretty much where it is now. It’s already had a couple of re-vamps and re-brands but I’m now happy with it aesthetically. I am currently moving the money-related content over to a different blog because I don’t feel it fits in with ChammyIRL.
What is your favourite thing about blogging?
Other bloggers. I’ve met some awesome people over the last year through blogging. People who I can turn to for advice and people I can genuinely call friends, who I’m happy to travel to see and go out for some adult fun.
…and your least favourite?
Promoting the blog. I just can’t be bothered to sit and schedule tweets and Facebook posts. To me it’s a necessary evil and I know when I do it my traffic increases; and obviously the blog gets seen which is the whole point.
What’s the best blog post you have ever read?
This is going to sound really biased but my favourite post of all time is “20 Things I’ve Learned from My Wife – Husband Training” on Virtual Wombat, who is my husband. It’s also about me, a tongue in cheek one. It had me giggling, it had me in tears and reminded my why I love my husband so much.
What blog do you love to read and why?
I’m not a huge blog reader if I’m completely honest. I have a couple of go-to blogs, mainly the blogging friends I mentioned above (Katykicker and Thinking Thrifty) but I came across an anti-MLM blog called “The Not Quite Fairy-Tales of Elle Beau” who is an ex-Younique presenter. She is blogging about her life in Younique and what drove her to quit. I’m hooked and will read as soon as she posts. I’ve also befriended her in real life and enjoy helping her to develop her own blog so once she has ended her Younique story she can continue blogging.
Do you do anything differently now to when you started blogging?
I’m much more aware of how I structure my posts; my images and such. Before I’d just throw any image in and not give a damn about the image size or how much memory it took. As part of a recent overhaul I took a great deal of time insuring my site loaded as quickly as possible so now I am fully aware about optimising images.
Is blogging what you expected it to be?
I knew what I was in for before I started, I used to write for other bloggers. With that in mind I didn’t realise how much of my day it could suck up and I’m terrible at getting things done; I’m so easily distracted. It often rolls over in to family time, such as now. I’m answering this at 5:30pm when I should be thinking about getting dinner on but it feels normal to be doing so.
What’s been your favourite blog collaboration to date?
It might sound strange but I was part of the Restore The Floor campaign in July 2016, I received a device from INNOVO to tighten my pelvic floor – the joys of becoming a Mum who didn’t do her exercises. Even now the company keeps in contact, letting me know about new campaigns and sharing the blog post. I’ve not had many other collaborations do that, they tend to just retweet and run.
Are there any brands you would love to work with, why?
I’m grateful for any and every brand who wants to work with me, especially if they’re food based. I’d love a collaboration which involves taking my family away somewhere such as Bluestone or a trip to London, a treat for them more than anything.
Have you had any blogging fails so far?
I think my biggest fail has been not setting out a clear vision about what I wanted from my blog or how I want it to look. Things such as Pinterest, it now takes me 2 minutes to knock up an image for my boards but I didn’t start it until recently so I’ve got a huge list of posts I need to (eventually) revisit to update them.
What is your biggest blogging hope, dream or ambition?
I want to continue helping people. I get a few comments asking for help or advice with regards to Juice Plus and I feel happy when I can offer some advice. Also helping others who want to blog, I’m no expert and there are many people out there who know more than me but I really enjoy helping people.
What do you do when you’re not blogging?
I enjoy gaming. I’ve recently started an online game called Final Fantasy 14 which I play with my husband (Aaron). If we’re not doing that then we’re binge watching a show on Netflix or going for a walk with Eban (our son) and the dog.
and lastly, tell us all a random fact about yourself
I was a boy for the first 30 seconds of my life, well…until the doctor realised that it was the umbilical cord and not a penis.