Authentic - Definition: not false or copied; genuine; real.
My six year journey of blogging has taught me quite a bit of what not to do. What I once thought was fun, like having giveaways, commenting on multitudes of blogs when really I didn't have anything insightful to say, and mass promotion of my site, are now a complete turn off.
Before I publish any more posts I thought it would be good to set things straight as far as where I stand and why I am publishing this blog.
My goals: To provide delicious recipes and family/kid activities to my audience, with a little of my life views woven in, in an effort to connect with my readers.
On giveaways: In the past I only allowed myself to give away cookbooks to my readers (which were provided by the publisher), but at this point I am not interested in hosting any giveaways. I found myself focused on how much traffic was generated by such contests, and it just makes me feel icky to go back to that now.
I have seen quite a few blogs get sucked into the trap of promoting companies and products so much that the quality and frequency of their original posts falters. Sites that I use to enjoy visiting that now make me feel bleh. It is such a shame. There are a lot of sites that provide a good balance, but I don't even want to start down that road for my own site.
On sponsors/advertising: I think this is great. For quite some time I have not run any ads, but I will be looking into this in the future.
Overall, I think everyone should go with their gut. If it feels icky or somehow like one party is being taken advantage of or something is on the down-low, perhaps it should be avoided.