I have been blogging now for just three months, and whilst I’ve started to take a more relaxed approach to how quickly I churn out content and the engagements I make, I have learned a lot about what I want out of my blogging journey and what I’ve achieved so far.
I learned early on that the biggest part of blogging and bringing in traffic is engagement on social media – with my platform of choice being Twitter. Once I established my blog brand, I set my blog Twitter page up and set about trying to connect with other bloggers. When I first started out, I really wanted to get a feel for other blogs in my niche – lifestyle blogging – and wanted to see how my writing compared to that of more established and experienced writers. So, I followed a lot of similar blogs to mine, and started writing a lot. I got my content out there, and as my blog posts grew, so did my following.
I didn’t expect to make friends – but I did. I’ve made some really fabulous supportive friends who I talk to everyday. Not even about blogging really anymore; we talk like old friends who have known each other a long time and share experiences and feelings and give each other advice. I’ve really enjoyed that side of the blogging community; and not just with my new ‘squad’ of bloggers – but all the people I’ve connect to, that I have interacted with, who’s blogs I enjoy reading. The community is what kept me blogging; I felt – feel – like a part of something that’s just for me.
Being connected to so many people brings a variety of opinions, experiences, knowledge and skills. No post is the same on my Twitter feed – I’m no longer just connected to lifestyle bloggers, but also to travel bloggers, beauty and fashion bloggers, foodie bloggers, parenting bloggers… everything. It’s amazing to see so many different ideas and experiences – see how someone lives their day-to-day compared to yours. And Twitter is a huge stage – there’s a very big audience with a lot of potential for your post outreach.
But the difficulty of being part of such a big community with these different ideas and opinions, and varying levels of ‘success’ or ‘stature’ – is that you can get distracted by what you think is expected of you as a blogger compared to what you actually want. For me, I don’t have any goals for my blog and I’m actually wondering what I’m gonna do when I turn 30 in less than 3 years and the name of my blog won’t stand anymore. That’s all I’m worried about – I’m not fixated on numbers or traffic anymore.
However – my first day of blogging on Twitter – I was hit with post after post about ‘How My Blog Became My Full Time Job In Just 3 Months’ or ‘How To Get 1000 Followers In A Month’. I had never blogged before, and didn’t start blogging with any aim or goal – but the flurry of posts on just my first day made me stop and question if I was doing something wrong? After 2 weeks, when I didn’t have 200 followers, I was wondering why I couldn’t make 1k in one month? I became embroiled in the ‘I need 500 followers by…’ frenzy and although I made and surpassed my goal – the event passed as quick as it came.
After that ‘event’, I stopped dishing out posts everyday. I took a break for my birthday – and decided I wasn’t going to fixate on the numbers anymore. Because the numbers don’t define me as a blogger – I define me as a blogger. Who is anybody else to tell me that I’m not a successful blogger because I don’t earn money from it or I don’t have 10k followers or I don’t get 1k views a day? My blog is my blog – it’s my log of experiences that I choose to share with others. I don’t share it in the hope I will get monetary offers or that tons of people will decide to follow me. I do it because I want to connect with other people; I have experiences and thoughts and feelings that make me unique but also help me to share something with somebody else that helps them to feel they are understood. That they aren’t alone in their experiences because I’ve been through something similar.
I may not have been blogging for long, but I recognise that blogging is as much about making money as any other creative art – it isn’t. Art is about expressing yourself, either through words, music or drawing, modelling or painting – however you decide to visualise what’s in your soul and your mind. Sure, there’s money to be made – but that isn’t what everybody should set out to do. I don’t read a blog and think ‘wow this is worth a lot of money’. I read a blog and think ‘Wow, this person really understands what I’m going through right now’ or ‘This is a fantastic writer, I wanna read more of his stuff’.
And there’s nothing wrong with making money from your blog – that’s incredible that you’ve been acknowledged for your work and made something from it! But please stop making other bloggers feel as though they are underachieving because they aren’t making money too or because they don’t have as many followers as you. They are putting themselves out there just as much as you are. Rather than focusing on making posts about how another blogger should be just like you and have a blog like yours, why not take an opportunity to read others’ content – new bloggers especially? You were once starting out just as they were.
When I was starting out, the one thing I wanted out of my blog was for people to read it and it still is! And it’s the hardest thing to get people to do! It’s so easy to retweet and share a post – but they didn’t spend hours writing it for the shares; they spend hours pouring their soul into words so that you might read it and enjoy it, connect to it or learn from it. As any experienced blogger, with thousands of readers and people who look up to you, words of encouragement and advice is invaluable to a new kid on the block.
So please, stop telling bloggers why they should aspire to be something you think they should be. Maybe they don’t want the same things as you – and that’s fine – but it also doesn’t make them less of a blogger or even less successful. We define for ourselves what successful is. Do you know why I’m a successful blogger? Because I didn’t give up after the first day. I kept going and I’m still here when I didn’t think I would be. And to those of you who feel you’re behind in the race – this isn’t a race or a competition. You are doing something amazing by putting your passion into words and sharing it with the world. Imagine if all the world was full of bloggers – and social media was as positive as the blogging communities are? It would be incredible! But for now, we are part of this big family and we should be supporting each other with whatever they want or don’t want out of their experience.