I think that most bloggers, whether hobbyist, professional, or somewhere in the middle, will all love different things about blogging- some love the community, some love having an outlet, some love the extra income if they have it (who wouldn’t?), and countless other aspects. However, what a lot of bloggers won’t actually discuss is the downsides of blogging, and they exist for all of us. If you are committed to growth, there is no way around it- a blog is a commitment like anything else, and there are aspects of it that can make it difficult and draining. I hope that this post can shed some light for the non-bloggers out there and offer some comfort and camaraderie to the bloggers out there, a nod to what actually makes blogging difficult!
1) Traffic Can Be Slow
I am in one large blogging group where nearly every person proclaims that you need to have a self-hosted blog and Tailwind for your Pinterest account (a boosting service), and then success and traffic will inevitably follow. My issue with this is that there are two assumptions that are being made- that you have the time to maintain a self-hosted site (or the money to pay someone to do it for you), and that you have the money to maintain $110+ membership to boost your pins.
Traffic is notoriously slow for a lot of us- unless you started blogging 7+ years ago when the market wasn’t so saturated, or you are lucky enough to have the time free to put into promoting your blog, traffic can be very slow to come. Being entirely honest, in my first year of blogging, I was lucky to see more than 20 views a day. Now, 3 1/2 years on, I typically have between 100-250 views a day (which are realistically nothing in the blogging world), and it takes a lot of continual work to maintain that. Although it isn’t a particularly high amount of views relative to a lot of bloggers, I’m proud of where I’ve gotten to.As a point of reference, I spend roughly 15 hours a week solely promoting my blog, and that is for a relatively small amount of traffic. Unless you can be fully devoted to your blog, or have a sizeable budget, it is incredibly difficult to grow your stats.
2) It Can Bring Out the Worst In You
I realise that this blog is a hobby for me at this point and that I make exactly zero dollars from it, but in my head, it is a professional project that I am responsible for maintaining and growing. This means that for better or for worse, I will have posts out on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday because that’s what I have committed myself to, and what I have told readers to expect. I spend most of my weekends working on my blog posts and various arms of the blog, I spend at least 30-45 minutes a night checking in on it, and I have to ensure that each post has enough photos (with a pinnable image), a call to action, links to my accounts, etc, or I can’t get anything done until they do. All to say, blogging will bring out perfectionism, and not always in a good way.
If you are truly a blogging hobbyist with an easy-going personality, not having a post up regularly or have a checklist completed for each post isn’t going to bother you too terribly much. However, if you tend to have perfectionist tendencies, you may hold yourself to higher standards than you should be. I tend to compare myself to the biggest lifestyle blogs on the internet. I know that people say “dress for the job you want”, but comparing myself to professional bloggers who run their blog as a full-time occupation is slightly ridiculous when you stop and think about it. No, my blog isn’t at that level but I also have a full time job, a puppy, family and friends, and still manage to spend 30 hours a week on my blog- that’s a lot of commitments when it comes down to it. If you aren’t careful, blogging can emphasise your worst and most challenging tendencies!
3) It is Easy to Feel Inadequate
Everywhere you look on the internet- blogging groups, Pinterest, Instagram, forums- there are people who randomly blow up. Their blog goes from 20 followers to 5,000 in less than a year for what seems like no discernible reason. (That’s not to say that they aren’t wonderful blogs, it is just to say that they don’t seem to do anything terribly different than any other blogger.) Here you are, working on your blog for 2 years and you’ve just hit 1,000 followers when another blog in your genre puts up 20 posts in a few months and takes everyone by storm. It can certainly be difficult to keep your motivation going when it happens, and it will happen to every single one of us.
You can never see the full picture of someone else’s blog. You don’t actually know just how much time they are putting into it, how much money they are investing into it, who they are making connections with, or anything else that may influence and help their blog. Realistically, I put about $40 into Facebook ads for my blog, and probably won’t put much more into it, as I didn’t see much from it. There may be another blogger who was able to put $400 into their Facebook ads and has seen huge growth from it- I have no control over that, and can’t expect to have the same results that they do. You can’t compare yourself to other bloggers, because when you do, inadequacy is bound to follow.
4) A Consistent Blog Does Require Time
Above all else, I think that consistency affects a blog’s growth. If you are all over the place with posting times and days, and never write about the same thing twice, it’s difficult for readers to know when to find you, and even what they will find when they do. Scheduling tools are a wonder for bloggers (thank you WordPress, Facebook, and HootSuite for your magical scheduling capabilities!) but at the end of the day, you do need X amount of time to get things done. I write posts a few weeks ahead, but some are more timely and can’t be written beforehand, sometimes I can’t get fair enough ahead with the time that I have, and sometimes life just happens. My blog is an automatic part of my schedule- I know that I have to have X number of evenings at home and free to make sure that I get everything done. At the end of the day, to see blog growth, you have to set a good amount of time aside!
This is a good time to talk about some upcoming changes on the blog! I am not planning to change too too much, but I am going to be playing around with themes to see if there is a similar theme that offers what I’m looking for. Sometimes you just need a change 🙂
I’m also hopefully going to be monetising the blog soon. This is something that I have been struggling with for a while now- when all is said and done, I’m probably spending 30-40 hours a week on the blog. That means it is a second full time job that I get paid zero dollars for, and I’ve come to realise after 3 1/2 years that that is a little nutso. This doesn’t mean that I’m going to quit my regular job and every post is a sponsored post, but that hopefully once a month, I could have a sponsored post. I also may use affiliate links if I find an affiliate network that I am comfortable with, but these would be limited to a few select posts. (One of my pet peeves is still people who make gift guides to affiliate link to things that they don’t even own- I can promise I will not do this!) If and when these things happen, it will be made very clear that that is what they are. I would like to think that my blog is useful and helpful, so to make enough money to pay for my WordPress plan would be wonderful 🙂
Bloggers, what are the best and worst parts of blogging for you? And if you have any questions about where the blog is headed, please let me know!