Think of Your Sex Blog as Your Personal Sandbox
I once heard a personal website described as the hub of a wheel. All the spokes of the wheel were the ways people should be able to get back to your website. Social media, email newsletters, even writing for another website – it should all point (link) back to your blog or website. All were necessary and everything worked together, but everything should come back to a centralized location.
That’s a good metaphor, and a good way to look at the relationship of free tools like social media and your website. There’s another metaphor that sex bloggers should keep in mind, though. Create your own sandbox to play in.
Why a Sandbox?
In your own personal sandbox, you get to make the rules. You decide what happens or what doesn’t. This is your sandbox, so you get to let people in or kick them out. Don’t like someone? They have to go. Treated poorly by someone? Delete their comments. Block their IP address. You also get to be your most authentic sex blogging self in your sandbox. Write about what you want. Promote who you want. Add features. Upload naked images. Whatever kinky or sexy thing makes you happy, you get to do it.
You’re the leader. You make the rules and the decisions. What you say goes. Do what you want to do, when you want to do it, the way you want to do. When you create content for someone else’s sandbox – social media, free platform, etc. – you have to play by their rules. And their rules often suck for anyone writing about sex or kink.
Be As Objectionable As You Want To Be
In 2013, I moved from the free WordPress.com platform for my personal blog to self-hosted. It wasn’t something I’d ever considered before, but when multiple sex bloggers had their sites pulled for vague “violations of Terms of Service,” I got worried. There was no rhyme or reason to who got to shut down, and WordPress gave no specific reason. All we knew was that the bloggers wrote “objectionable content.” A definition that vague can be used for almost anything – and often is.
When you self-host, as long as you do your research and work with a sex-friendly company (I recommend Stress Free Host), you control the content. Write about tying your partner up and slathering them with honey while you pee on them if that’s your thing. You have the freedom to be as objectionable as you’d want to be. In your sandbox that you pay to have and use, you set the rules.
You Don’t Have to Pay to Play
Most sex writers already know Facebook isn’t exactly friendly to us. You can’t advertise anything explicit. Don’t show a nipple – God forbid. You can’t use your pen name without (eventually) getting your account shut down – ask me how I know. Knowing all of that, most of us still create an author or website “business page.” And then we quickly learn a single fact that absolutely sucks.
To have any of your content seen by the people who like your page, you’ll have to pay to play. Except, your best stuff probably won’t get approved for a boost or an ad. You’ll spend most of your time fighting with Facebook to take your money. It’ll be a test of your patience more than anything else. On your own website, the more content you consistently create, the better you perform in search and the more people keep coming back to your blog. You’re paying in time, of course, but you’ll actually see results, too.
Avoid Getting Reported
Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, WordPress, Blogger – any place that allows you to create content in their sandbox (especially for free) has rules. Most sites understand the importance of being able to report objectionable content or people. We can all admit there are some awful human beings out there, and we need the ability to let someone know about them. The problem is, of course, when writing about sex or kink makes you the target. My first Loving BDSM Instagram account went down after a single report. No one would email me back or tell me what happened. Why? Because they don’t have to.
In your sandbox, you make the rules. If someone doesn’t like you, they can go away. I recommend moderating your blog comments for at least first-time commenters. This gives you control over what gets said on your blog. People can object to you, but they can’t get you tossed out of the playground completely. You’re in your sandbox, doing your thing, following your personal rules. Note: This is another reason why it’s important to research your hosting company because they have rules, too.
You Get Total Control
The point of creating your own personal sandbox as a sex blogger is to give yourself control over your blog. A book reviewer friend of mine lost her Blogger account because they said she violated the TOS by making money on her blog. She’d accepted free books in exchange for honest reviews. That’s all. While they ignored all the other book bloggers, the erotic book bloggers seemed to get special attention.
Of course, it’s not all about outside forces trying to tell you what to do. Imagine if tomorrow Tumblr or Facebook vanished. I know it’s hard to believe, but businesses crumble all the time. If all of your content is sitting in that free space – because it was free – you’ve now lost it. The audience is gone. The content is gone. Rebuilding means you start from scratch. When you’re playing in your own sandbox, you can create back-ups – which I recommend. As long as you pay your bill and your hosting company stays in business, you’ll stay up. With back-ups of your content (really, I can’t stress that enough) you have a starting place to rebuild if the walls of your sandbox fall down.
Why It Matters
There’s nothing wrong with starting your sex blogging life using what’s free and available. Until you know if this is a thing you want to continue or turn into a business, it makes sense. But the moment you develop a healthy audience or you decide to make money, it’s time to get your own sandbox. You can use the free spaces, especially social media, to grow your audience but that’s when it’s time to remember the spoke and hub thing. Point back to your website (sandbox) as much as possible. Use the spokes of your wheel to get attention, but make sure to bring people back to your beautiful and well-established sex blog sandbox to have a good time.
Hopefully, the mixed metaphors can be forgiven. If you’re self-hosted, why did you make that choice and do you have a beloved web hosting company to share with us? If so, feel free to add them to our sex-friendly business list so we can all benefit! Share your sandbox adventures in the comments below!
This is something I worry about constantly.
What about it worries you?