She is one of the blogging pioneers that understands this new industry inside out. Linda Hornfeldt, probably better known by her blog name La Linda, has been present online since 2001 and she had many different hats since then. She is an entrepreneur, a blogger, a YouTuber and she has her own podcast. So, it is no wonder I enjoyed talking to her so much and picking her brains on so many interesting online related topics.
Please introduce yourself to our readers. Who is Linda Hornfeldt?
I am founder of Better Bloggers, a professional network for bloggers and online influencers. I am also an online communications consultant. I’ve been running my own company for almost six years, and it’s been full time for the last three. During that time I’ve been working with content marketing and social media, and since one year ago with bloggers and influencer marketing.
I am curious just how big is influencer marketing in Sweden?
It’s pretty big. We’ve been among the first ones to start blogging. There were The United States and maybe Britain and us. Sweden is one of the biggest countries in blogging in the world and I think the industry is finally noticing. People have been trying to work with bloggers but for the wrong reasons and in the wrong way.I feel that people are realising now how to do it and make it work in the long run.
How did you get into blogging?
I started blogging in 2001 when I moved away from my home town. It started with me doing web design and I had to make a website about something. So, I made a website about celebrities and I started thinking that I should do a website about myself because I was narcissistic even back then (she laughs). I am not even sure what constitutes a blog, but it was my online diary. It wasn’t WordPress or anything (didn’t have it back in the day), but an HTML page. For the first four years I blogged in English because it was big in The States and it didn’t still come here. The only blogs around that time in Sweden were about technology and internet. It was around 2005 that I saw people starting to blog more and that is when I started my blog in swedish, which I still have to this day.
She adds that she started using WordPress around that time and we enjoy discussing just how big of a change it has been and how it made blogging so much easier (and better looking!).
What else has changed since you first started blogging, besides the looks and blogging platforms like WordPress coming to the rescue?
The better question is what hasn’t changed! If you go way back my images were tiny. The screen resolution has changed so much. Now we have bigger and much better photos. I think I also blog less nowadays, but it’s more about quality. I think it’s because a lot of the things I shared on the blog I now share on different social media platforms. Somewhere between 2005 and 2008 you could blog like four or five times a day. But it was like you posted tweets almost. You could just use one photo with a short line, and now we use Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and other social media for that. I think that’s also one of the reasons people are saying that blogging is going down. I feel like blogs are now about longer posts with better images, and the other kind of content is saved for social networks.
What would you say is the most important thing for a blog to last and survive?
The relationship that you have with your readers is the most important. You need to build that relationship and gain their trust. I could say it’s good photos, but that depends on the kind of blog you have. Wether you post photos or not on your blog, you need to know your audience and be responsive. Also, stay true to yourself.
How would you describe your blog and your content?
First of all, I don’t follow my own advice (she laughs). I never had the desire to make my blog big and make my living from it. I wanted to work with the industry and try to help others. I’ve been blogging for so long that I don’t have a genre anymore. That’s a thing you want to define in order to last – find your genre and your niche. That doesn’t mean that you have to stick to just one topic, but have a common thread. On my own blog I sometimes get a bit all over the place, but I usually stick to plus size clothing and entrepreneurship. Sometimes I go out of that box, but I always come back to it.
As someone who sees so many different sides of the industry, just how important would you say traffic is for a blog?
It depends if you want to grow it into a business and make money from it. I have to say that it’s important and at the same time it’s not that important. I know people who make money from their blogs with around 1.000 readers per month. Don’t go to link buying websites because those will make your Google ranking go down. If you sell a link you can always make money regardless of your traffic. I would say that if people ask you to post about them in order to get some money on PayPal you need to run the other way. It might be tempting – but don’t do it. It you see banner ads as a way of making money then you need a bigger audience of at least 50.000 page views a month. If you want to do collaborations and sponsored posts I firmly believe the relationship with your readers is more important than the numbers.
Linda explains how she enjoys reading lifestyle blogs the most (like Vanja Wikstrom among others) and her favourite social media channel is Snapchat because it’s “so real”.
Since you also have a podcast I have to ask – do you see a brighter future for podcasts or blogs?
I think that blogs might be doing better since you need to have a platform. They both have very different audiences. Listening to a podcast might require a bigger commitment than reading a blog. But, if I have to choose, I’ll say blogs. I would choose YouTube over podcasts personally. I do my podcast because it’s a good way to do the kind of interviews I do. But, I don’t think this podcast frenzy will last that long.
Your advice for people who want to start blogging?
If you have a passion for photography, or writing, or anything – go for it. Do not start a blog to get famous. That’s not going to go well. If that’s your goal than YouTube is a much better place for you.
Best and worst sides of blogging?
The hate. I don’t get much of it, but it’s still amazing how people feel they can say/type anything just because they hide behind the screen. It can really get you down. Besides that, I feel for most people it’s the stress of constantly delivering fresh content. The best is about all the relationships that you create with your readers and other bloggers and all the new friends that you make. You really do learn a lot about yourself.
Where do you see the future of blogs as things are changing so rapidly with social media?
I advise everyone to keep in mind that you can put content out there, but remember that you don’t own any of those platforms and you don’t have any control over the changes that might happen. So, don’t keep all the eggs in one basket. Blogging is going to be more about quality and that will prevail in who stays present and relevant. New social media channels may come and go, but I don’t think that blogs are going anywhere.