I read a very interesting article today called Pimping for Likes (thanks again to Opinionated Man, I found another great new blog to follow). The post addresses the all too common frustrations we bloggers experience when our Likes, views or followers aren’t growing as fast as we’d all like them to and asks the question, would you give up blogging if no one read your blog?
If you’re only blogging to be popular or attain a web presence, I think people can tell. Your heart won’t be in it. It won’t be honest and it won’t be engaging. People are smart. They will pick up on your lack of passion for your chosen topics and go elsewhere if all you care about is gaining a web presence without actually caring about what you blog about.
There are lots of wonderful bloggers who don’t have many followers or views. That’s not because their blogs are bad. It’s because either they haven’t been blogging long enough to attain a web presence, or because the blogger is mostly writing for themselves and isn’t actively trying to promote their blog. Some people don’t care about popularity. And there’s nothing wrong with that. They’re blogging for the best of reasons–because they love to write and blogging gives them a voice and a way to express themselves. .
It’s the reason I blog. I really can’t think of anything I love doing more. It’s also been very healing for me. I’d keep writing and blogging even if I was the only person in the world reading my posts. But I’m only human and it can be very discouraging when you feel like your online voice is falling on deaf ears. At first, it was frustrating when I’d spend a couple of hours perfecting a post, choosing the perfect picture for it, editing it and re-editing it, and then post it, only to get no likes and only a few views.
Here is a post I wrote when this blog was less than two weeks old, when I had a whopping 12 followers and hardly any views. It makes me laugh to read this now, but I’m sure most new bloggers can relate to these feelings of frustation:
It was the first time Opinionated Man reblogged a post of mine. With his 50K plus followers (at the time; now he has nearly 60K), he seemed like a blogging God to me. Because of his generous nature and willingness to help new bloggers succeed, this post (which sounds very whiny to me now) wound up getting a ton of views, Likes, and comments, and I got my first sizeable batch of new followers. What a great way to start your blogging career!
Although being popular isn’t my primary reason for blogging, I have to admit I’ve come to care about this blog’s growth too. There’s nothing wrong with that, as long as it doesn’t become your main reason for blogging. I’ve been blogging for a year and a half now. During that time, my stats have grown steadily, to the point where I’m averaging 50K views a month. A year ago I never would have believed it.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have had a little help along the way, thanks to other, more popular and established bloggers reblogging or linking to my posts. I learned about sharing to social media (something I was reluctant to do at first) and linking to other blogs. I’ve made a lot of friends among other bloggers and we’re like a big community who help each other get seen. Yes, of course there is envy among bloggers, but fortunately I haven’t seen too much of it and for the most part, there’s more of a desire to see your fellow bloggers do well than to see them fail.
There are blogs far more popular and successful than mine. This blog is really pretty small potatoes, but watching it grow is still incredibly encouraging and exciting, like watching your baby grow up. It’s a heady feeling when you type a few words into Google and see your own blog come up at or near the top. Although I would still blog even if I only had 10 views a month, these incremental rewards have a way of motivating you to keep writing even more. It’s also very cool being in a position now where I can begin to help other bloggers the way I was helped when I was new. It’s wonderful to be able to pay it forward and help others get more of a web presence.
I’ve been accused of caring too much about my stats. Maybe it’s true. Watching my stats has become one of my favorite hobbies, but maybe that’s because I’ve always been a numbers junkie. The growth of this blog didn’t just happen on its own though. I had to work hard at it, and the hardest part for me was getting over my fear of sharing posts to social media. I don’t have enough of a Google presence to just sit back and let things take off on their own. I have to keep working at it, keep sharing, keep connecting. It’s almost a full time job. Even so, while watching my views and web presence increase is a nice side benefit of blogging, it’s not the reason I blog.
If you only blog to see your stats grow, and care nothing about what you write, not only will people be able to tell your heart isn’t in it, but chances are you’ll get discouraged and give up the minute your stats take a downturn. I’ve had slow months and a few with no growth at all. It hasn’t all been a smooth ride uphill. Some of my posts that are personal favorites just don’t seem to resonate with others that well, while other posts that I could care less about, seem to take on a life of their own. It’s always a surprise seeing what others like and what they don’t. You can certainly try to concentrate on writing more of the types of posts that seem to resonate more with others, if being popular is your thing.
My other blog, which documents my journey in therapy, is nowhere near as popular as this one. It hasn’t really grown at all since I started it in August, and that’s okay. I don’t share most of the posts on that blog to my social media and I don’t promote it at all. I only write about 1 – 2 posts a week for it, while I write every day on this blog. It also has a much narrower topic focus, while this one covers a much wider range of topics. I figure, if people want to read the posts on my other blog, they will find them, but I don’t worry about it too much or try to call attention to it. I mostly write it for myself.
In summary, I blog for four reasons, in the following order.
- Enjoyment, love of writing/blogging
- Self-therapy and healing; giving myself a voice.
- Community with my readers and other bloggers; helping others
- The thrill of increasing web presence.
So. Why do you blog?