Do bloggers need to do everything? Blogging Update

I try not to blog too often about blogging, as it is for an incredibly small audience, and I don’t think that I am an authority on what you should or should not be doing on a blog. However, sometimes a question strikes me and if it sticks for long enough, I will share it here to hopefully open up a discussion. Lately, I’ve been thinking about the proliferation of bloggers that have a store on their blog, and a course, and an e-book, and a YouTube channel, and services, and this, and that, and and and- is this becoming the norm for bloggers? And are we expected as bloggers to have all of these things?

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I know, I know, the first instinctive response is “Your blog is what you want it to be”, which is theoretically true but if you are at all interested in growing your blog isn’t actually the truth. I would guess that you have to be incredibly lucky to only have your blog with no social media (and no participation in groups) to grow with any steady rate. (Sidenote: I, like 98% of bloggers, like to see growth with my blog. I don’t care if it’s only 0.2% growth, but if we are going to put 20+ hours a week into this, I think we would all like to see a little something in return.) So, if we do need to diversify, what is it that we need to be doing?

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I’ve noticed more and more and more bloggers starting YouTube channels. To me, a blog and a YouTube channel are two distinctly different mediums, and get at very different audiences. But am I going to appear like I am lacking to general readers if I slowly become only one of a few who hasn’t started one? I still don’t feel incredibly comfortable appearing physically on my Instagram or in Stories, but I am trying to push myself in that area. However, a full blown YouTube channel is much out of my comfort zone, and quite frankly, far out of my monetary and time budgets. The pride I have from my little only community is amazing, and has gotten me through some very tough times as of late, and I would hate to think of it slowly dying off because I didn’t evolve as a blogger. However, is blogging to YouTubing a natural evolution? And is YouTube even as big as it once was? (Is anything, really?)

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I also don’t know where to draw the line for social media, right now. I’m actively working on Pinterest, and I’m actually seeing growth. Not a ton, but enough that it feels like I’m doing some things right (and actually enjoying using Pinterest like I used to)! I’ll probably never pay someone to run my Pinterest, or one of those boosting services, but maybe I can build more of my own traffic through it. I also feel like I’m still okay with Instagram, even though most people rage about the new algorithm more than Canadians gripe about snow. I’m never going to have an entire feed of the same “theme” but I enjoy what I post, and that’s what is most important to me.  Realistically, I can’t dedicate the time needed to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Stumble Upon, and Flipboard to truly succeed- do I just stop using them altogether or sporadically share and post on them as I have been?

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One of the most difficult parts of blogging for me is the lack of feedback- I can get a sense of what people like (or dislike) from the number of views, comments, likes, emails, messages, etc, but that is just a feeling. I do put up a poll every so often to see what readers what to see on the blog but that’s more for when I have too many ideas and just need help deciding which direction to go in. I’m determined to give more feedback to bloggers when I enjoy their post or series, because I think that is feedback we can all use.

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This also leads me into my blogging goals for the next few months! I don’t share on Twitter anymore, because unless you are a magical unicorn, you probably aren’t actually getting traffic from there. I’m going to try and thoughtfully share the post to the best network (ie, Pinterest for recipes, Stumbles for style tips, Flipboard for more conversational pieces, etc). I also am going to continue trying to interact with and share posts from bloggers that I might not normally converse with- in every blogging group I’m in, it seems that most people continue to interact with the same few people. I might not be interested in a parenting guide but maybe someone who follows me on Pinterest is! I also am going to be working on diversifying my traffic away from blogging groups. I very much enjoy blogging groups and I think that the bloggers I have met in them are some of the best people on the internet, but strictly traffic-wise, it’s not sustainable. The day you stop participating is the day that your traffic will fall, and I’m okay with that at this point. It’s lovely to see higher traffic on the blog but if people are only going there because it’s in a thread and they have to, is it genuine traffic?

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Cute puppy because… just because!

I know that there are a lot of thoughts in questions in this post, and that most people will skip it! Bloggers, how do you feel about all of the expectations of blogs nowadays? And what are your spring blogging goals? 

Until tomorrow,
The Historian
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47 thoughts on “Do bloggers need to do everything? Blogging Update

  1. MissteriosoDas March 18, 2018 / 1:50 am

    This really got me into thinking. I guess it’s not really a necessity to do everything. But today everybody has such varied interests. So I guess Blogging and Vlogging might go hand in hand provided it has quality content worth sharing and not just for the sake of making.

    Like

    • anhistorianabouttown March 18, 2018 / 7:32 am

      That’s my big question- it is very possible that I just work slowly but how do people have time to put out quality blog and vlog posts? The writing of both, the photos, editing, and linking of a blog post, the sound, mixing, and editing of a vlog, both are very time consuming!!

      Liked by 2 people

      • MissteriosoDas March 18, 2018 / 7:38 am

        I think for that level of achievement one has to dedicate their full time into it. It can be tiring but I think can be achieved with full dedication. But then I feel the motivation to stay dedicated has to be super strong else it won’t yield the expected result and that might lead ones moral to go down. One has to really understand what he or she actually wants. What is their main aim. And if they are prepared for the hard work then maybe going forward with it is great.

        Like

        • anhistorianabouttown March 18, 2018 / 8:31 am

          I also find that I get frustrated with the number of bloggers and YouTubers who are super active, super active, super active, and then disappear entirely. It doesn’t seem fair to readers/followers and while I think that it’s not sustainable for most of us, don’t set up those expectations! Instead of half-commiting to several different projects, why not focus on one??

          Like

  2. John H. March 18, 2018 / 3:36 am

    Great post! I don’t really participate in social media either…I’m like you, any growth works for me…slow is fine for me…I have no plans for a store or youtube…I simply write and read other blogs…I think there are many paths to success…

    Like

    • anhistorianabouttown March 18, 2018 / 7:34 am

      There are so many paths to success, but I think at a point we have to decide which to focus on! Jack of all trades, master of none deal and whatnot!

      Like

  3. Chomeuse with a Chou March 18, 2018 / 3:36 am

    I feel completely overwhelmed by all the extra platforms ‘needed’ to have a successful blog. My only social media account is Facebook but I really don’t want everyone I know to know that I have a blog, so I don’t post anything on it. I am in a blogging group, but, like You, am wondering whether it is actually truly beneficial. People who automatically follow because of the Facebook group then never actually read any of my posts or interact unless it’s s requirement for a thread. But I’m absolutely fine with all this and am happy to have a teeny blog at the moment 🙂 hopefully it’ll get a little bigger one day…

    Like

    • anhistorianabouttown March 18, 2018 / 7:41 am

      I recently joined a group for female bloggers with 10,000+ members- I have never seen such a pointless group. No one actually follows threads (because how do you police that many people), and if they do follow, they unfollow a day later. I would far rather just not be followed in the first place! I have a lovely little community of people who follow and engage with me, and it’s honestly everything I had hoped a blog would be 😊

      Liked by 2 people

  4. lady sarah in london March 18, 2018 / 3:56 am

    Mine are simple-get my thoughts out there, help people spread the knowledge… I like to keep my work private no YouTube channels for me.

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    • anhistorianabouttown March 18, 2018 / 7:42 am

      That’s the other thing- I would consider my blog semi-anonymous, j stick with the Historian publicly. A YouTube channel would decimate that anonymity

      Like

  5. HistorianRuby (Ruth) March 18, 2018 / 4:27 am

    I have a quarter of your followers and my experience with blogging posts (the few that I have) is different! They seem more popular than some of my history posts! I do have the same few posts that are found via search engines and one has just passed 500 views! That post sustained my blog stats while I was inactive for over a year 🙂 I agree about Twitter – I only get about one view per 6 posts but as my Twitter account was set up for history only I won’t worry as I rarely interact. And I completely forget to share on HistorianRuby Instagram. Maybe that should be my project for this week?

    Liked by 1 person

    • anhistorianabouttown March 18, 2018 / 7:44 am

      My blogging posts do very well with my WordPress followers, because I would guess 90% or more are blogger themselves, but my non-blogger readers aren’t always overly interested (which is more than fair!) 🙂 I have two posts that keep my blog going- to be honest, I wish one of them didn’t because I feel it’s a very “meh” post I have but what do I know??

      Liked by 1 person

      • HistorianRuby (Ruth) March 18, 2018 / 8:44 am

        I don’t share my blogging posts to my Facebook. I’m sure my FB friends to do not care! I’ve set up Pinterest, Google + and Instagram but I’m really poor at engaging.

        Like

        • anhistorianabouttown March 18, 2018 / 9:00 am

          I rarely share any posts to my personal Facebook, unless it is a very rare exception. I need to actually use Google+, it’s set up but I don’t do anything with it!!

          Liked by 1 person

          • HistorianRuby (Ruth) March 18, 2018 / 9:26 am

            I’ve set Google + for auto-posting, like Twitter, that’s about it! I started to share on FB as I wanted more readers and depending on the topic I’ll get a few views. I’ve a few family history posts and they do relatively well on FB (no pun intended) as cousins from Australia read them. The best one was the one about my young uncle’s death in WWII as I shared in a FB one name study group and it was hugely popular the first day then about a month later my stats went crazy with FB views of around 160. So I can see if you link a post to a themed group you could gain more traffic quite easily.

            Like

          • anhistorianabouttown March 22, 2018 / 7:50 am

            I find that a lot of my themed groups have rules against sharing blog links 😦 I understand why, given that with the size of some groups, you could be flooded with links daily, but it is disappointing! (Especially when you just think that people would genuinely enjoy it)

            Like

    • anhistorianabouttown March 18, 2018 / 7:49 am

      My blogging posts do very well with my WordPress followers, because I would guess 90% or more are blogger themselves, but my non-blogger readers aren’t always overly interested (which is more than fair!) 🙂 I have two posts that keep my blog going- to be honest, I wish one of them didn’t because I feel it’s a very “meh” post I have but what do I know? And Twitter is an interesting case. People will share via Twitter in blogging groups and I will get zero shares, but my own regular posts just getting pushed through to Twitter get a teeny bit more traffic. No idea the whys or hows of it, though! And congratulations on 500 views on your post!!! Please share it for us! ☺

      Like

  6. Steph March 18, 2018 / 4:53 am

    See, I’m on that precipice of feeling like I want to grow my blog, but at the same time feeling terrified that PEOPLE I KNOW MIGHT READ IT!! Which is ridiculous – why write it if you don’t want people to read it, right? Currently pretty much all of my readers are other bloggers and there is a comfort and safety in that, but I know if I’m going to spread my wings and make my blog a ‘thing’ I will need to properly branch out into social media and in a way I’m dreading it! I have an uncomfortable relationship with social media in general already – I feel painfully awkward about the idea of self promotion, and yet my most popular posts, and the ones I enjoy doing the most, are outfit posts, which is basically content that says ‘HEY EVERYONE, LOOK AT ME!! Such a conflicting thing, blogging!

    Liked by 1 person

    • anhistorianabouttown March 18, 2018 / 7:55 am

      It took probably a year and a half for two years for me to feel comfortable with anyone knowing I have a blog. I mean, it’s not a fact I lead with when I meet people but if it does come up organically, I can finally speak up! And there is very much a comfort in knowing it is other bloggers reading your posts, because there is almost an inherent support network in it. A regular reader who might not understand all that goes into a blog and producing those posts can cavalierly dismiss it as trivial (or whatever they decide) from a place of ignorance, but it is still hard to hear as a blogger. I’m also not great at self-promotion- that’s what I like about Pinterest and StumbleUpon, it’s there if people are interested! Instagram as a source of promotion is The one that baffles me the most, though-it is confusing enough without adding in that aspect!! I say that if you are enjoying them (and it really does shine through in your outfit posts), pick one specific one to try promoting more as an experiment!

      Like

  7. lifebythepages March 18, 2018 / 6:03 am

    I didn’t know that blogging groups exist! Is that on facebook?
    I’ve linked some YouTube videos to what I’ve written previously, but it’s not my own channel, just something to tie it together.

    Like

    • anhistorianabouttown March 18, 2018 / 7:59 am

      The ones that I’m in are on Facebook, but I’ve heard there are other more private groups on Google+ and other networks. I would just Google “X Blogging Group” and see what comes up ☺ and I link to existing YouTube videos whenever necessary, but that is the same as any link to me, rather than actively creating your own YouTube videos!

      Like

  8. Ianthe March 18, 2018 / 6:35 am

    Good post! I’m struggling keeping up with all the social media. I want to do it all but there is simply no time to keep everything up to date. I do like Twitter for the discussions, and not so much for the traffic. I hadn’t even thought about starting a Pinterest!

    Like

    • anhistorianabouttown March 18, 2018 / 8:03 am

      The sheer volume of social media is overwhelming and I have nothing but awe for those who gracefully manage it! I’m really enjoying Pinterest at the moment 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. You Can Always Start Now March 18, 2018 / 6:57 am

    I am in the same boat as you – nodding my head while reading. I enjoy blogging as it gets me writing and pushing my boundaries (just starting a blog was a big push). I have sort of come to the conclusion I will never have thousands of followers but as long as I’m continue to put a message out there and enjoying it I’ll continue. I like being part of a community of creatives. Evolving I’m not sure, like you YouTube makes me uncomfortable but what about a podcast? It something brings you joy – do it is my motto. I always enjoy visiting.

    Liked by 1 person

    • anhistorianabouttown March 18, 2018 / 8:09 am

      I’m never going to have more than about 2000 followers (and I’m years away from that), and that’s a-okay! I have a wonderful little community here and that’s more than I could have hoped for!! I do love listening to podcasts, but I sadly know that my voice isn’t suited to it, and I don’t have the time to record and edit and upload haha! I will just enjoy others’ ☺

      Like

  10. Denzil March 18, 2018 / 6:58 am

    I think you make a valid point Jessica, that in this blogging world it is far far too easy to spread oneself too thinly and take on things that simply waste time or distract from your core activity. On the other hand it takes time to experiment with different media before discarding them.

    Like

    • anhistorianabouttown March 18, 2018 / 8:11 am

      I’ve been trying to give myself a set amount of time to work on a particular form of social media- I set myself three months to actively work on Pinterest to see if I can make any headway, so far so good. I think that we have to be realistic and understand that if we are spending 5 minutes a week on something, it’s probably not enough!

      Like

  11. Jennifer March 18, 2018 / 6:58 am

    I don’t understand the need to blog and YouTube either. I read blogs. I like to read blogs. My husband hates it. He’d rather watch YouTube videos. So while I read, he watches with his headset on.

    Like

    • anhistorianabouttown March 18, 2018 / 8:12 am

      I like both reading blogs and watching videos but it starts to vary wildly for me when it comes to content creation!

      Like

  12. Ritu March 18, 2018 / 6:59 am

    Oh man there are sooooo many expectations nowadays! It seems to have changed in the last year, or that’s how I feel!
    As long as I am happy with my shares, I think I’ll stick to what I do! i think you should feel comfortable with whatever you choose to do!

    Like

    • anhistorianabouttown March 18, 2018 / 8:23 am

      I always like to go with the platinum rule on the internet- treat others how they would like to be treated 🙂 It serves me pretty well most days!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. gemmaorton March 18, 2018 / 7:15 am

    Interesting post. Got me thinking about my readers and what other interests they have. Personally I don’t follow any YouTubers or use YouTube myself. Blog growth and social media badfles me a LOT. I confess I don’t really know what I’m doing with it and what works.

    Like

    • anhistorianabouttown March 18, 2018 / 8:28 am

      I only follow a handful of YouTube channels, and they are mostly yoga channels! It’s not really my favourite medium. I still think a lot of my growth is just luck haha- I’ve no idea what I’m doing here 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Em Linthorpe March 18, 2018 / 8:07 am

    Hi, really enjoyed reading your thoughts on this. I feel exactly the same as you do,l with regards to YouTube and vlogging. I don’t mind photos of myself but I hate video. Hate it. I don’t think I could physically sit there and edit footage of my face and voice, ahahaha. So that’s not for me either!
    There are loads of trends in blogging and absolutely you can’t do everything. It can be fun finding out what works for you and what doesn’t though. It’s usually no loss if something doesn’t work, if a particular thing isn’t helping you. Just step it down a notch or step away completely.
    I’m just starting a Pinterest design company, so see what happens there. I wouldn’t ever want to run a course. FB groups are popular but I don’t have a ground-breaking idea, or the time even, to run another one of those.
    Currently I’m loving Pinterest and Twitter for networking – and I get a fair proportion of my views from there. I can never really hit the right note with my FB page so not using that much. And I got a bit bored with Insta, haha! Ask me in a year’s time and I will probably give you different answers 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • anhistorianabouttown March 18, 2018 / 8:40 am

      I LOVE podcasts and every once in a while I will think, I should make a podcast, and then I hear my voice on the phone 😂😂

      In some bigger blogger groups (like 10,000+) there are thousands of people who firmly believe that you have to use every form of social media and won’t hesitate to tell you that your followers will be bored if you don’t.

      What will your design company be doing specifically?? I think my hesitation with services and whatnot is that (to me), they are quite expensive! If I pay $130 CAD a year for my WP plan, it is entirely out of my budget to spend $150 CAD per month on some social media (especially when I don’t earn money from the blog). I wish more services would have a “pick your budget and we can tell you what we can do” options, because I would be far more willing to try!!

      I never really got into Facebook with my blog, it doesn’t seem to do much. Twitter never really came through on views, either- Pinterest and StumbleUpon do, though! And I’m on Instagram for the dogs and tea hahahaha

      Like

  15. angelanoelauthor March 18, 2018 / 9:03 am

    I didn’t realize flipboard was more for conversational topics! I feel like, though I’ve been doing this for two years, I still understand so little. I love interacting with people on my blog and growth is nice. But, I think part of it for me is trying to understand, as you point out, what connects with people. I am not writing for anyone in particular. I write what I’m interested in. But, I do want my words to be where the readers are. Otherwise, how can I learn from them, too?
    I like the challenges you’ve set for yourself. Gave me some things to think about.

    Like

    • anhistorianabouttown March 22, 2018 / 7:47 am

      With Flipboard it might just be the people/magazines/sites, I follow there, but conversational/anecdotal seem to do well there for me! This is still largely guess work for me. I think everything is going swimmingly and then all of sudden no views/engagement and back to square one haha. And I know that there are a lot of bloggers who swear that you should never ask readers what they think/like but how else are you to get any feedback?! Happy blogging, Angela!! ☺

      Liked by 1 person

  16. gigglingfattie March 18, 2018 / 9:32 am

    I have a YouTube channel just as a way to post my nail art videos. I can’t upload videos to WordPress without switching to a paid account so this was the easiest way around that. And I never show my face. Just my hands. They are horrible quality but at least people can see what I’m doing and how I do the designs. It’s fun! At first, it was a little weird doing it but now it’s ok.
    I don’t use any of the other social media platforms though. But I’m not the kind of blogger who needs to see lots of growth or new followers. If all my followers decided to unfollow me, I’d still be blogging lol so using the other sites has never really appealed to me.

    Like

    • anhistorianabouttown March 22, 2018 / 7:52 am

      That makes sense to me though, because while you could do a pictorial how-to for each design, that would be incredibly laborious. To me, it doesn’t make sense for a mostly conversational blog to switch to vlogging because the conversation is one sided. And I don’t think they are horrible quality at all, I love watching your videos 😍😍

      Liked by 1 person

  17. fattymccupcakes March 18, 2018 / 10:51 am

    Great questions here. I am like you, feeling totally overwhelmed by all of the other platforms you must excel at if you really want to get anywhere in the blogging world. I do not understand Pinterest AT ALL. I post there whenever possible for others, because I know bloggers have found success there, but I don’t utilize it for myself at all.

    I agree with you wholeheartedly on the Twitter thing. I just want to write and connect to people. I never got into this blogging thing to be an expert at social media.

    Also, I’ll NEVER do video! Just the thought of that gives me heart palpitations. MANY of the bloggers I know are introverts at heart and that’s why they use blogging as their connection to the world. Vlogging and blogging are two completely different worlds.

    Like

  18. Claire Saul (PainPalsBlog) March 19, 2018 / 5:07 pm

    Agghh..I can only just cope with basics and then struggle, let along vlogging on Youtube! I have shared this link on my PainPalsBlog regular feature Monday Magic – Inspiring Blogs for You! Claire x

    Like

  19. Ally Bean March 19, 2018 / 5:07 pm

    My answer to your title question would be NO. I’ve written a blog for well over a decade and I don’t entertain expectations anymore. I do my own thing, in my own way now. My seasonal goals are always small, but doable. Maybe I sound crazy, but by not stressing over the numbers and the various social media platforms, while focusing on blog content and blog commenting, I’ve gained a following. Relaxed has worked for me.
    [I found you via Claire Saul (PainPalsBlog).]

    Like

    • anhistorianabouttown March 22, 2018 / 7:08 am

      I set myself very small numerical goals (gain 20 followers in 4 months), for example, but even if i don’t accomplish them, the world keeps spinning haha. I’m finding the best way to tackle social media is to engage with the platforms I truly enjoy. People can tell if you absolutely hate something, and it’s just a waste of your time! Even though some bloggers may try, I’ll admit defeat- I can’t do it all!! Thank you for stopping by 😊

      Liked by 1 person

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