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?
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?
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?)
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?
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.
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?
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?