The Dark Side of Blogging

Katie Wells Avatar

Reading Time: 8 minutes

This post contains affiliate links.

Read my affiliate policy.

The dark side of blogging
Wellness Mama » Blog » Organization » The Dark Side of Blogging

This week something happened that doesn’t happen often. I got mad. Not to say I don’t have bad days, but I rarely get in a pissed-off, mad-at-the-world mood. But this week I did.

Don’t get me wrong- I have days where I wish I kept my cool with my kids, or wish I stayed calm or got more done, but I don’t get truly angry very often.

I also typically try to keep my emotions in check, but today they were most definitely not and my poor husband had to bear the blunt end of my rant/venting session.

What made me mad?

The Dark Side of Blogging

Not my blog specifically (I love you guys, my readers, and I love to write) but the idea of blogging, the profession of blogging and all the things that happen behind the scenes that readers never see or hear about. The things that bloggers get sucked into and are forced to deal & compete with.

To preface, I should explain that the part that made me most angry is the perceived “selling out” of bloggers in various ways. This made me upset because I pride myself in writing ALL my own content, doing all my own research, making sure each article is super high quality and everything I ever link to, suggest or promote are products I personally use and love.

It makes me mad when I see other bloggers not extending their readers the same courtesy.

Here’s the thing…

From the outside, health bloggers often appear to be perfect human beings who cook gourmet meals three times a day, have impeccable style, washboard abs, and an incredible personality. We aren’t (at least not all of those things all the time).

Think about the pictures posted on facebook or instragram. You put your best foot forward. So do bloggers, but many of us are even more “filtered” since we are potentially exposed to and judged by thousands of people each day.

I sincerely hope that no mom ever comes to my blog and feels like she isn’t good enough because it seems like I “do it all” or “am a great mom all the time.” I assure you I’m not. I have laundry baskets full of clothes in my bedroom right now and yesterday’s clothes are still on the floor. We’ve eaten organic hotdogs three times this week because the Wellness Mama Cookbook (and dealing with Amazon) has taken over my life.

I don’t always cook three meals a day. Occasionally, I order Pete’s Paleo or from a local Japanese restaurant out of sheer convenience.

I don’t always make my own detergent and cleaning supplies. Sometimes it’s just easier (and saves time) to buy (natural) products at the store or online.

Sometimes I cry because of comments I receive on my blog or facebook (sometimes happy tears, but usually tears of sadness, hurt, or pain). I’m very much not a perfect mom. Nor a perfect human.

I blog to share things that have made my life easier or better and to hopefully help other moms, but I hope that everything I write encourages and uplifts and never makes another woman feel like she isn’t doing enough or isn’t good enough.

If you’ve ever felt that way- trust me…. you are good enough. You are doing enough. You are a great mom, and one lesson I’ve learned the hard way lately is that your children, your family, need you. Imperfect, wonderful, you.

Back to Blogging Though…

Certain things I’ve seen in the blogging world lately have really upset me because I felt like they crossed that line with their readers. Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with bloggers making money. But I do have a problem with:

  • I have a problem with bloggers making money in a non-genuine way at the expense of their readers.
  • I have a problem with incestuous back-room affiliate deals. I have a problem with “I’ll promote your product if you promote mine.”
  • I have a problem when people duplicate my blog exactly for themselves, the design, every post and picture on the site, strip out my affiliate links and add their own, then claim everything as theirs.
  • I have a problem when other sites pull every post and picture of mine to use for themselves… to get more traffic so they can charge more for ads.
  • I have a problem with people copying content (both my content and that of others), stealing ideas and writing in an unauthentic voice solely for the goal of pushing more content out to the search engines. This annoys me because it isn’t about Google. It is about you. The readers. I don’t write for Google, I write for you!
  • I have a problem with the 100+ emails I get a day from people asking me to promote their stuff to my “list” (the people who subscribe to my email newsletter)

I don’t have a “list.” I have readers. I have friends. I have you. And you are the most important part of blogging to me.

And you know what? I’m not the only one who feels this way about the dark side of blogging.

I’m extremely aware, appreciative and grateful every single day for the amazing community that has grown through Wellness Mama. It is so much bigger than me. It is a group. A sisterhood. A family of moms who quite literally have the power to change the world. I don’t take that lightly. It annoys me when I see bloggers in the industry who do.

For me, blogging is really about creating a change for our kids. It isn’t about the money (though if that happens, it is great since we have six kids to feed, clothe and put through college one day) but that isn’t the goal. It is about making a healthier future for my children so they have decades and decades of health after college and so I get to live long enough to meet and enjoy my grandchildren.

I like to think/hope that I don’t have the amazing community that has developed here because I’ve written good articles about certain topics, but because I care about you. Because I want an actual (online) relationship with you. Because I care about the future for your kids as much as for my own.

I don’t want to be a “celebrity” from blogging (as some bloggers seem to want). In fact, this would utterly terrify me and get me so far out of my comfort zone I wouldn’t know who I was anymore. My goal isn’t to make millions, it is to HELP millions.

Someone else could copy my writing, copy my posts, copy all my ideas, but it wouldn’t be the same because the passion isn’t there. Because the world doesn’t need another blog post about how to make lip balm or magnesium body butter (which I did invent, btw), but the world needs more passion. It needs more people who care. If that is you- I am forever grateful for you… really! If you are passionate about your own goals, your own life, your own family and their health… you are changing the world more than the bloggers you see making tons of money and looking perfect on Instagram.

Because here is the deal… at the end of the day, it isn’t about me (and I’m super glad it isn’t!). I don’t use my last name. Not because I’m ashamed of it or have something to hide, but because it isn’t important (and because I value privacy for those six small children I mentioned). And because the movement, the “wellness mama idea”, is so much bigger than me.

I’m here because I want to make a change, not become famous.

My Blogging Struggle

It takes an incredible amount of time to make Wellness Mama what it is. Researching for posts. Taking photographs. Writing. Editing. Moderating comments. Social media promotion & communication. Etc.

It costs a lot of money to keep it running. Design & development costs. Hosting. Upgraded servers when traffic grows. Premium plugins. Email service. Etc. Etc. Etc.

The list goes on.

I’ve struggled with the fact that I could implement ads with the click of a button and make much more money that would help support my family and help fund a charity I’ve wanted to start for a long time (to provide sustainable food and clean water worldwide and to help distribute leftover food from farmers markets to soup kitchens, schools and food banks), but I’ve never made the jump because I personally hate ads and feel this would be “selling out.”

I want to make sure I’m always focused on you, but sometimes I don’t know the best way to do this. I make sure I don’t use spammy tactics to try to sell you things you don’t need. I don’t white label products that I didn’t create to make money. I moderate every comment so that the community is an uplifting and healthy environment for you to learn. I prominently display my affiliate policy so that readers are aware of my quality standards, practices, and promotion requirements.

I’ve struggled with the fact that I’m very much imperfect. has grown beyond my greatest goals and expectations. The blog gets a lot of traffic and in turn makes money through some of the products and resources I recommend.

I still feel like a failure because I’m not the perfect mom or the perfect wife. I think we all do. I’ve said it before, but I don’t think any mom goes to bed feeling like she has the whole wife/mother thing under control. I know I don’t. In fact, every day, I stress because of this incredible community that I love so much. Because I don’t always look, act and behave the way a “perfect” mom should. I think we all do.

So- long story short. Thank YOU so much for reading. For putting up with my rant. For caring about your family and the future of our children and our world.

At the end of the day, I don’t give a damn about just having your email address on my list. I want you to actually adopt the healthy changes I write and email about. To put in the time. To make a lasting change for your family. To say that your family’s life has improved because of changes you made. That is what matters to me.

2014 has been a tough year in many ways. The blog has grown. A lot. But I’ve made mistakes. I promoted a course (against my intuition) for someone that wasn’t a good fit… because I was too competitive. I started promoting an essential oils company (against my better judgement) because I thought there was an opportunity to help some friends make money. I self published the original Wellness Mama Cookbook, even though I had numerous offers from traditional publishers for upfront advances. And it’s wreaked havoc on my thyroid condition.

At the same time, 2014 has been an incredibly wonderful and rewarding year and I am grateful for everything this year has brought. I’ve made awesome friends who started as online friends and are now real life friends, like Heather, Genevieve, Emily, and Kelly (go check them out- they are amazing!). People like Sean, Steve & Jordan, Mary, and Christa. I finally found an amazing doctor who has helped me find answers for my thyroid struggles. And I finally finished writing my book!

My Pledge to You and a Question

So here is my pledge to you: I’m going to stop trying to be the “perfect” mom on the blog and social media. I’m going to stop stressing about answering every comment and start deleting those that don’t meet my requirements. I’m going to spend more time with family, even if that means I don’t post quite as often. I’m going to only create the most valuable, most helpful things I can and share those. I’m going to stop deleting posts because I feel like they aren’t good enough or might be met with resistance. I’m going to stop censoring my writing to meet the “squeaky clean Wellness Mama image” and let the real me shine through.

Because at the end of the day, I rarely feel like I’m good enough.

I feel inferior because I don’t look like Jennifer Aniston with the patience of June Cleaver and the culinary skills of Julia Childs. I feel imperfect because I don’t have 28 hours a day to get everything done that I want to accomplish.

In the coming weeks:

  • I’m going to be moving away from most “JV promotions” because they just don’t seem genuine to me.
  • I’m going to start creating more ebooks, courses, and products. Things that I enjoy doing and things that I wish I’d had when I started out…
  • I’m going to focus on creating more helpful and useful content for you.
  • I’m going to focus on enjoying my family and having balance and enjoying things more and stressing less.

This crazy world of blogging has led me to wrestle with several internal struggles lately, and rather than try to face them on my own, I figured I’d ask for your advice (it has never failed me before, so no pressure!).

I Want Your Opinion

1. What do you consider “selling out?” If I were to allow advertisers (carefully selected of course) would your opinion of as a trusted resource change?

2. How much of the “real me” do you want to see? Do you want more of the raw, uncensored Katie, or prefer the squeaky clean, “Wellness Mama” image?

3. Do you want me to create more courses, ebooks, and products for you or just recommend others?

4. What type of content and information will be most helpful to you moving forward? How can I best provide simple answers for healthier families for you?

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


759 responses to “The Dark Side of Blogging”

  1. kenya Avatar

    I’m not on your newsletter but I just stumbled across this post and fell in love . I am currently starting a blog (not up yet) and i do want to monetize but not in a shady way .
    My passion is to share the things ive learned and hope it helps someone you know , not to bombard with ads and promotions for expensive products . I want to inspire and encourage and I just want to encourage you to not be discouraged ,that I can tell your posts are genuine and that is why you have had success . keep up the good work

  2. Eliana Avatar

    HI Katie!!
    I love your blog… Thank you. When it comes to making changes, I really agree, and we have to do this together, in order to achieve a healthy life for our families. I wonder: how to achieve all this with the family, a tight schedule and with so many distractions? I will start to combine all this with what I am doing.

  3. Shanni Avatar

    I love your blog! It is everything that I wish I had time to do. I love to research and find the best things for my family & I only wish that I had the time to blog about it. Kuddos to you for doing it! I appreciate all the work that goes into each post & I’m greatful for your hard work <3

    Also – I know it's hard; but, those people who post toxic things or try to rip you off are just that – toxic. It has less to do with you than you might think & more to do with their own insecurities & inadequacies ruling their lives that prompts them to try to circumvent all the hard work that goes into success.

  4. Julie Avatar

    HI Katie, your posts are great. I am commenting on your blog 5 years after your question! I don’t think the right ads are selling out. I always enjoy knowing more of the ‘real’ person behind the writing. But, either way it’s what you want and need and your family too. I LOVE your information! Good day, Julie

  5. Nancy Avatar

    Fascinating post. I know some of my posts have been stolen, and I’ve never been an Instagram fan. I still don’t really use it. I’d love to make enough so I didn’t have to work at a job, but that may never happen. I don’t spend anything on my blog since I just don’t have the funds. I can’t afford to pay anyone for any design services or blog hosting. There are many of us who don’t have anything published, only use free bloggng services and can’t afford to order out meals if we’re too busy. I’m glad you have the funds to do so, but you might consider some of us who don’t make any $ and have been doing this for years. We’re the other half of the coin. We do it because we love it, and our jobs support our blogs, not the other way around. Putting a link back on my blog, good reading.

  6. Amber Avatar


    I realize this was written years ago now. But, oh my goodness!! I only read a dozen of the hundreds of comments and got so choked up because it blessed me to hear the outpouring of love for you.
    I am so thankful for you, Katie. You are such an inspiration and an excellent example of what it means to walk boldly in your calling. Because you were brave enough (and vulnerable enough) to share your thoughts, ideas, and research with the World Wide Web, look at the magnitude of the impact it’s had on all of these people and families that you would otherwise never know.
    I was introduced to your website when I was pregnant with my first, over 4 years ago. Since then, it has been my go-to and honestly my life-saver with childbirth and motherhood. I always search your website before I search google. I joke that you are my life coach, though we’ve never met. Finding your website felt like a gift from Heaven and has caused our family to dramatically change our path in health, medicine, and even social media. We think differently in almost every area of our lives and are SO THANKFUL for the wake up call. When I’m discouraged or feeling pressure from “conventional method” friends and family, your posts and podcasts have given me courage. Your ability to stand up for what you believe for you and your family in a world of opposition is truly inspiring. You’re a trailblazer!!
    There are many areas of your life that you’ve shared that speak into my similar circumstances. From your thyroid, to your c-section, to your successful VBAC, to your makeup and skincare, your hair, your community, your lifestyle, your way of shopping, cooking, eating, your respect of your children’s privacy online, and pretty much your entire website has in one way or another touched me and my family and shaped our perspective and awareness.
    To respect and trust someone so much that I literally don’t know is a miracle and a testimony to how your heart shines through in everything you do.
    I want to be like you when I grow up (even though I think I’m older than you) and I want to move to wherever you live and be a part of your community. And mostly, I hope to walk out my calling with such grace and boldness as you have! You are a blessing to your followers and I thank you for your courage. I cannot thank you enough. To say I respect and admire you is an understatement. Since I’m reading something posted years ago, I think it’s fair to say since then, “Look at all that God has done!!” Wow!!! Because you have sown good seed, you will reap a great harvest (and already are)! May you continually be blessed with favor in all that you put your hand to, Katie!

  7. Sarah Avatar

    Hi Katie! I know you wrote this a long time ago. I just wanted to chime in bc I stumbled here as I’ve been thinking about my next steps (and blogging/vlogging might indeed be a part of that) and I ALWAYS come to your site for feedback on things I’m considering (ususally health, but hey! I love reading your thoughts on other topics too). I’ve been a very grateful user of your site and more recently podcast for a long time now, and I just want to affirm for you that I DO NOT in ANY way need you to be “perfect.” I can’t imagine you feeling “not enough,” except that such thinking is epidemic in our culture. The thing I appreciate most about your work is that I feel I can trust you; I love that you rely on research and site your sources. I will always be loyal because of the quality and passion in your work, and I hope that you ARE making a good living from it, because the service you are doing for us all is incredible. You are a role model that I am grateful to have. Thanks so much.

  8. Martin Poirier Avatar
    Martin Poirier

    I usually never comment but I felt that I have to because you have helped so many people, not just women. I am a father of three boys (ages 6-4-4 identical boys)and I find your blog so insightful.
    I love how you’re so genuine and caring for others. I recommended your blog to my wife and she loves it. It actually made her cry when she read this article because she feels the same way. People think she’s wonder woman (She Is) for taking care of 3 boys and me (No. 4) but she also has her struggles, we all do and I wanted to thank you for the great work you’re doing and to always hold your head high because you’re awesome!

  9. Jen Avatar

    I’d like to see the real you. How do you have time to parent with all of the meetings, blogging, and traveling?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *