The blogging trap

Saturday, October 6, 2012 Permalink

Someone I know recently started blogging and is already falling into that trap of worrying about the numbers: Facebook likers, page views and so forth.

In many ways I was fortunate when I first started blogging over four years ago. I barely knew anything about the industry. I started with this blog – well, a version of this blog… in Blogger I think before transferring to WordPress.com.

I kicked off my secondary (once ‘secret’) blog just over three years ago, deciding to document what I thought would be my latest weight loss attempt.

The two blogs were very different – if only because the original Diet Schmiet was less-polished. I posted as often as possible and just ‘wrote’. In fact, I all-but vomited words onto the screen.

In this blog (formerly known as Write About Now) I drafted and redrafted and redrafted posts to death in MS Word before FINALLY posting them.

In the very early days I’d occasionally paste a link onto my Facebook page, walk away from my computer and then wonder who-the-hell I thought I was… expecting my 50-60 Facebook friends to go and read my blog.

Argh!

So I’d go and delete the link. I very occasionally got a comment from a friend or acquaintance, but basically my posts went unread and unacknowledged.

Which didn’t both me. Back then.

I’ve always been really nervous about my writing. Over a 4-5 year period I participated in a myriad of writing courses, attended Writers’ Festivals and the like. I knew I loved writing but couldn’t find my voice – or my vehicle.

Ultimately I started blogging because I made a commitment to write (in some form) for a public audience… which is how this blog came about.

And as time has passed, I’ve realised that blogging is the medium I most prefer – in terms of my writing.

My readership has grown, although bizarrely (but perhaps not unsurprisingly) Diet Schmiet has become the more popular and more-commonly read of my blogs.

I decided earlier this year I wanted to take my blogging to the next level. Domain names I’d had for a year were finally activated and new web designs prepared AND I started paying for a hosted site.

I am, however, still easing into the monetisation world.

Like SO many other bloggers I sometimes wonder why the hell I’m doing this. I mean… ‘who do I think I am?’

I find myself writing about the inane. I see the eyes of others glaze over when I talk about taking some time off work to focus on my writing blogging.

And – I look at other blogs attracting advertisers and lots of readers and comments… feeling insignificant in comparison.

In many (MANY) ways my blogs feel like they’re going nowhere. Fast.

I’m constantly agog at some of the numbers of readers, hits, comments and so forth that other bloggers get and – like so many others – wonder why on earth my blogs haven’t grown to the same extent.

My Facebook pages wallow in low numbers – understandable given my preference for Twitter over FB (and I still cringe at the self-promotion required).

I fall into the comparison trap and wonder what it is I’m doing wrong. Or not doing right.

I'm blogging this.It’s then I remind myself of why I do this. Essentially I started blogging for me. (It’s all about me. Me, me, me.) And for me… it’s all about the words. I just love writing.

I went to a bloggers’ meet-up here in Brisbane yesterday. There were only a few of us there, but all from different stages of the blogging cycle.

It’s funny, as I tend to promote myself as a ‘newbie’ despite my 4+ years of experience, but I suspect it’s because I’m only now starting to take it seriously.

Although I do write blog predominantly to get the words, thoughts and feelings out of my head, I do write with my readers in mind. But… I have to confess – and this is where I feel a bit arrogant – I’ve realised I just want more of them. Readers, that is.

In admitting to that I feel like a petulant 5 year old complaining that no one will play with me or be my friend.

I mean, faaarck… is this just all about being accepted, appreciated and loved? Surely not. Surely there’s some higher purpose to it all… one’s need to connect with others, share life lessons or even our own desire for self-actualization? Or something.

Problogger Event 2012In the meantime  (and because that question was mostly rhetorical), I’m heading to ProBlogger’s training event next weekend where I’ll have the opportunity to be both inspired and depressed by those more successful than myself.If you can’t make it to Melbourne in person, rest assured, because you can now attend virtually – from the comfort of your own Batcave  study.

If you click on the link above or the ad and buy a ticket I get a commission or something.

And for those who’ve been following my blog, don’t forget that I’m now unemployed… so think of me like a busker with the virtual conference my hat. Collecting coins. Although consider yourself fortunate you get something in return other than my  tone-deaf wailing!

 

21 Comments
  • What Sarah Did Next
    October 6, 2012

    I’ll have the opportunity to be both inspired and depressed by those more successful than myself.

    This really made me laugh, Deb. I’m going to PB Event too – I’ll be the one trying to look like I know what I’m doing when in reality I probably be wetting my pants with nerves over seeing the blogging glitterati in the room. Seriously though, hope to meet you there!

    x

    • Debbish
      October 6, 2012

      Oh definitely! I really enjoyed Nuffnang’s Blogopolis I attended in June. I’m slightly more disorganised for ProBlogger, only booked accom at the last minute etc, but am getting excited!

      Deb

  • Rachel from Redcliffe Style
    October 6, 2012

    A great post. I think we all feel this way sometimes. I wish I didn’t look at figures, but I do. I wish I didn’t notice how well others do and compare myself, but I do. I didn’t know about a meet yesterday. Rachel x

    • Debbish
      October 6, 2012

      It was a Queensland Bloggers ‘Meet-up’. They have them monthly. I can’t normally go, but now that I’m not working….

      In terms of the numbers – it’s like dieting for me… I feel completely judged by those bloody numbers! (Of course though I want the blogging stats to go up and the bloody scale to go down!!!)

      Deb

  • Jo Tracey
    October 6, 2012

    I’m wishing that I knew about problogger earlier so will be clicking that linky thing! I run feedjit stats on my main blog (the astro self hosted one) & check it obsessively. The other 2 are on the free platforms & I’m not yet that caught up.

    • Debbish
      October 6, 2012

      Virtual attendance at ProBlogger seems a good option if you aren’t there. Following solely by Twitter Feed would be almost impossible methinks. I subscribe to ProBlogger so get emails etc.

  • MinsMash
    October 6, 2012

    You are probably referring to me Deb LOL 😉 Interestingly, it’s not the blog stats that are my trap so much, it’s the MinsMash FB page. Not only does it only have 14 likes but I mostly am talking to myself in there and it makes you start to feel a bit of a fool. It’s always leaves you wondering – what are they thinking? Are any of my posts of interest? Am I boring them? The mind starts to go a bit paranoid! The Blog stats I have on a couple of occasions talked about on the FB page – I guess coz I find it interesting and think maybe others might too but most likely no-one does! LOL I try hard not to get caught in all these traps because ultimately…like you…I’m doing this for myself…but it’s very hard to not notice how much more response other bloggers get in comparison to myself. However, it IS early days – having only just started in mid September 2012!! I’ll have to check out this virtual attendance at ProBlogger because there is still so much for me to learn. Great post today Deb 😉

    • Debbish
      October 6, 2012

      I was thinking of you Min! My FB page likers are really low… Debbish has very few but I don’t really use it (or the DS one) other than for promoting blogs. I only set them up this year as they weren’t really a priority for me. Perhaps I’ll maintain them more when I move and can dedicate more time to blogging.

      I get a lot more feedback via Twitter than I do from blogging / FB. People will often tweet a response to a post and I guess as more and more people access blogs via phones etc then it’s harder to comment than it is to tweet!

      And you’re right – it is early days. If you look at Debbish / DS early posts there are NO comments and I spent AGES on some of those Debbish posts (like bits and pieces of time over weeks or months!).

      Deb

      • MinsMash
        October 6, 2012

        Knew it was me LOL! I set up the FB page to promote my posts too – just to let people know when a new post has been published etc. I didnt want to annoy all the people on my personal FB page….only people who chose to want to hear about them by liking the page. I would make a TERRIBLE salesperson – I can’t self promote – dont like being pushy or peoples faces. I did ONE ‘introducing my new blog’ kinda thing in the SE QLD 12WBT – that is all. You would have seen my post on To Twitter or Not to Twitter? I have not got into Twitter – still dont get it. Who would I follow? Who would follow me? How much time would it consume (I spent enough time on FB and the Blog!). Lots of unknown for me there but an area I suppose I should consider. I’m not really worried. I’m getting quite a few ‘likes’ on my blog posts from other bloggers which is nice – and even some comments. It’s the FB page that is playing with my head – gotta stop worrying about it. Yes definately very early days for me – I JFDI’d with my blog – so still shaping it as I get the feel for it and what I want it to be. I am so envious of you going to Melbourne for the ProBlogger event – what fun! 🙂 Can’t wait to hear all ’bout it!

        • Debbish
          October 6, 2012

          I have to say I always felt bad doing any blog promotion on the 12WBT FB page when I was involved – and even after I left the program, so I know what you mean about that.

          Deb

  • Seana Smith
    October 6, 2012

    Hi there, I’ll be heading down to Melbourne too, hope to say hello in person. My foodie/diet blog seems to have such a different readership, though the niche Sydney, Kids one gets more views. It’s a long-term game for me and still more hobby and creative outlet than anything else. But I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the medium, so easy to use and you can do it all by yourself, fantastic.

    • Debbish
      October 6, 2012

      Seana, I think parenting type blogs are more popular. I note a lot of the reviews, freebies etc are targetted at people with kids or families etc.

      It will be lovely to meet you!

      Deb

  • Lisa
    October 6, 2012

    I am having these same issues. I love blogging but hate the self-promotion side of things. I have good page view stats but low Facebook linkers. I have a twitter account but use it to re-tweet articles of interest rather than conversations. I don’t get that part of it. After a couple of weeks of stressing about stats I have decided to forget about it for now & just blog. Xlisa

    • Debbish
      October 6, 2012

      Yes… I wish I would worry less about the numbers! I’ll have a bit more time on my hands soon (I’ve recently finished work and am in the midst of selling and moving etc) so am hoping to work a bit more on my FB page then!

      Thanks for dropping by!

      Deb

  • Nikki @ Styling You
    October 6, 2012

    See you in Melbourne Deb … your writing style is amazing. And my big tip to you would be to start working on building a Facebook community – to the “normal” person, Twitter is scary. If someone is on social media, they’re on Facebook.

    Twitter is a great networker as a blogger networking with other bloggers and PRs and brands and media.

    • Debbish
      October 6, 2012

      Thanks Nik… hope to work more on FB in weeks (months?) to come. Need to be more strategic if I’m going to be serious about this blogging business!

      PS. Looking forward to catching up!
      Deb

  • kelley @ magnetoboldtoo
    October 7, 2012

    I got rid of my stats years ago.

    Now I just blog for the fun of it. No stats to tell me which posts are the most popular, no stats to make me panic and think I need to post something, anything.

    I wish I was going to ProBlogger, but only for the community and to meet you!

    • Debbish
      October 7, 2012

      I’d love to be meeting you too Kelley! Hopefully some other time. I like the no-stats idea by the way.

      Deb

  • Melissa {Suger}
    October 7, 2012

    You hear it over and over the whole run your own race thing. And it’s true. It doesn’t however make it any easier to watch the ‘good stuff’ go to other people when you’re feeling overlooked yourself. Heck no it doesn’t. I wish it were easier to block the other stuff out, but it’s not. For me anyway. I like to compete almost as much as I like to help. So, I deal in the best way I know how, I work hard, I do what I tell myself I am going to do and I help other bloggers out when I can. Then cross my fingers and hope like hell SOMEONE picks me. 😉

    And about Facebook, from what I can tell there’s a method to that one. Regular posts and lots of them. About 6-10 a day for growth. None of them have to be a like me, like me type. Just things that people will like to see in their feed, that represents the blog and is not boring. That’s what they tell me anyway. You’re welcome. Ha.

    • Debbish
      October 8, 2012

      Thanks for the FB advice Melissa. I’d heard somewhere that you SHOULDN’T update FB more than twice a day as it blocks others’ feeds – guess there’s some happy medium. I do need to be more proactive there however and that seems to be the perfect goal for coming weeks!

      Oh and I think you have a really good hold of your monetisation process. I was hoping to go down a similar route to you (find advertisers directly) but haven’t done this yet. I like that you target certain advertisers – it feels really authentic!

      Deb

  • Annie @ Go Camping Australia
    October 11, 2012

    I thought it was just me who looked at stats too often! And now reading these comments, well, I see that I am far from alone in my thinking about my little project blog/website.

    The all pervading need to get acknowledgement for your work via readers and comments makes me sometimes forget I started this blog/website for fun. By reading this post (and comments) it helps me remember to ‘chill out’ a bit more…….well, at least for a day.

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