Question: How do you keep going so strong when today there are thousands of blogs, unlike seven years ago when I began…I’m finding it hard to keep readers interested!
How to keep on keeping on in an over-saturated and ever changing blog world. I loved this question so much because my first response was “girl I feel ya!” Blogging has changed significantly since 2010 when I first started blogging as well. Change is not necessarily bad but it is very different (and that makes it hard.) Back when I first started blogging, there were simply less blogs. People wrote more personal posts like “life lately” or “weekend recap.” Not every blog post was scheduled out or was monitored by google analytics for page-views & response rate. We read each other’s blogs and commented all the time (seriously, some of my older blog post have 60+ comments and now I am lucky to get four!) Instagram wasn’t a thing, Facebook was still for friends & family, and I had no interest in Twitter/ barely knew it existed. Before Snapchat, Pinterest, and a blogging tool for every need, was just a bunch of people who wrote about their lives on the internet.
Times have changed.
Now in addition to our blog, we have to keep up on the ever – changing algorithms of social media. We feel like we have to fight to be seen – or at least pay to be seen now on Facebook & Instagram. The pressure to create content that engages and draws people in is real. We are tempted to sound more like click bait articles than let our own voices shine through our writing. Our pictures have to be bigger & better (and vertical!) for Pinterest. “How I made $1000 in just one Week on my Blog” and “All my Secrets to my $100K launch” are the new blog trends and those posts sound very temping too.
It is easy to see all the negatives of the growth over these last seven years but there are also a lot of positives. Social media allows us to connect with our readers in new ways (and more of them!) There are so many more resources out there to help us grow and manage our blogs. AND brands are just now starting to put more and more of their advertising budgets into influencer marketing making blogging an actual job and not just a hobby.
While blogging is not the same as it was, I think it is important to keep on keeping on. I’m still here seven years later and while I do get frustrated at times, it is my wonderful, flexible, fulfilling full time job! I wanted to share with you some things to help encourage you to keep blogging in the midst of this ever-changing & over-saturated blog world:
GET BACK INTO COMMENTING
Like I mentioned above, commenting was a huge deal a couple years ago. That is how we let people know we were reading & checking in. That is one of the old things of blogging I really miss so I am making an effort to bring it back! I found that all the responsibilities of maintaining a blog has left me strapped for time and my reading of other blogs and commenting went way down. Why was I expecting readers to make time for me when I wasn’t making time for other bloggers?
When we recognize some of the things we miss about the old way of blogging, we can bring bits of that to 2017. While it won’t look exactly the same, we can still do something about it and revive it in our corner of the blog world.
To encourage commenting & engagement on blog posts again, I started a Facebook group called The Mountainside Gathering. Fill out this form and you can be part of a group of bloggers who are bringing commenting back!
WRITE WHAT YOU WANT TO WRITE
It is so easy to start writing what you think other people will want to read, what everyone else is writing about, or what you know will make you money. While blogging is my full-time job and it is important to recognize what my readers want and make money, I found I was getting so burnt out trying to keep up with all the new blogging trends. Just recently I hit a breaking point where I needed to either give up blogging (which I just couldn’t because I love it too much) or stop trying to do all the things and instead do my thing. I chose to do my thing.
You don’t have to write about how to have a $100K launch or everything you need from the Shopbop sale (unless you want to), you can write about what you want to write about! And you know what? When you write with your voice about topics you are passionate about, people see that. People are drawn to what other people are passionate about. One of my favorite lines in La La Land is when Mia tells Sebastian, “people love what other people are passionate about!”
It is important to know your audience and share with them helpful, encouraging, posts that meet their needs but make sure that you are giving out of your gifting, passions, and sweet spot.
PS: This also means that if you want to bring back “life lately” or “weekend recap” then do it! Bring back what you miss from your blog circa 2010. It might not end up as a viral pin on Pinterest, but it may connect with a reader and give them hope, encouragement, or a good laugh. And isn’t that worth it in the end?
More than ever it is important to be yourself. In a world that has so many social media algorithms, bloggers, and influencers it is increasingly more tempting to try to be like everyone else. BUT the only way you can stand out is when you let yourself be yourself. It feels cheesy and we heard it a million times growing up but it is the truth. There is no one else like you so don’t be afraid to bring what you have to offer to the table.
Not only will it help you stand out in a saturated market, but it will also make you happy.
ROLL WITH THE PUNCHES
While I am all about remembering the glory days of blogging past, it is also important to keep growing & moving. Stagnant water is unhealthy and we can end up like that if we let ourselves. So what Instagram changed their algorithms, keep posting content you are proud of and engaging. So what if more people respond to you on Instagram than Facebook, engage with them where they are. Don’t let each new change beat you down, just roll with the punches. While I loved blogging circa 2010, I did not love my blog then. It is WAAAAY nicer these days and I am honestly proud of how far I have come. I wouldn’t be here now if I wasn’t always adjusting, learning, and trying new things.
Change is scary. We don’t know what new things look like and trying new things is often hard. But if we allow ourselves to keep learning and trying new things we will grow and we will thrive.
REMEMBER YOUR WHY
And above all these things, remember why you do what you do. I had a good couple cries with my husband a couple weeks ago about blogging. I can relate to the fact that this market feels over-saturated. I know what it feels like to be solely in charge of my income. I know how hard it is that all the things are always changing (gah! Instagram!!) and I know what it feels like to fight for every page-view. But you know what? When I look back and look deep into my heart – success isn’t the numbers or the money, it is the people. If I can encourage just one person, it was worth it. If I can show just one person the joy in capturing photos of their everyday moments, it was worth it. If I can empower people to run after their dreams, live out my passions & talents, and make time for my family and friends, it was worth it!
When my idea of success gets blurred the pressures of money & numbers weigh me down and I can feel so lost in this blog world. But on those good days when I am living out of my passions and I am making a difference (no matter how large or small), everything else falls into place. The money, the people, the creativity.
You want to know something? We may never be one of those huge bloggers – like A Beautiful Mess, Gal Meets Glam, Jenna Kutcher, or Oh Joy – but we can all still have a place at the table. We all have something to offer. That’s what keeps me going. Not the idea that one day I may be rich & famous, but that there is room on the internet for Elizabeth and what I have to offer.