The Downsides of Blogging (Plus a few updates)

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!

The Downsides of Blogging

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.

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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!

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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. 

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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!

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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!

Until tomorrow,
The Historian
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24 thoughts on “The Downsides of Blogging (Plus a few updates)

  1. thebeasley June 18, 2018 / 2:53 am

    I agree with all of these. It is so disheartening when one works their butt off and gets very few views in return. Whilst I love the writing & connecting side of blogging, I am 100% useless at promoting it. It’s the thing I hate the most about it. If people could just discover my blog of their own accord that would be great haha.

    Liked by 2 people

    • anhistorianabouttown June 18, 2018 / 6:16 am

      People will say, “write for yourself so you aren’t disappointed if no one reads it”. Well, that’s a journal and if I wanted to do that, I could save myself a whack of time on SEO prep, images, promotion, and the nine million other tasks that go with each blog post!!

      Liked by 3 people

    • anhistorianabouttown June 18, 2018 / 6:17 am

      And it seems like for promotion you have to be rich- time rich or money rich, a luxury a lot of us don’t have!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Hannah June 18, 2018 / 4:09 am

    I went through a phase last year of comparing myself! I only get about 20-30 views a day but you know what I don’t care. My blog is for me and I know people read it and that’s all that I could ask for 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • anhistorianabouttown June 18, 2018 / 6:14 am

      Its such a tough habit to break!! And the worst thing is that you are comparing yourself to what you think their numbers are, and you always see it far worse than it is!!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. jay June 18, 2018 / 7:14 am

    I found your blog via WordPress reader (I blog on WordPress). I recently had a lot of enforced leisure and viewed many blogs, from which I concluded that popularity and quality/interest don’t invariably come together. My own is in a small interest niche, but even there one can find blogs with 300 followers which rarely have anything fabulous to say, and others which are often brilliant but have few followers and little comment. Presumably it comes down to promotion, which I don’t do at all, and sounds like an absolute bore, only worth doing if it results in hard cash. Good luck with the new direction.

    Liked by 3 people

    • anhistorianabouttown June 18, 2018 / 7:27 am

      It is quite surprising once you really start looking- there are blogs that I used to follow that post the same generic 4 posts over and over and have thousands of followers, when a brilliant niche blogger who pours their heart in their posts has 100 or less. It really makes me wonder what it is people want to read in blog posts; perhaps they do want the same generic posts? In which case, I’ll stay small and enjoy what I do 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Kelsey @ There's Something About KM June 18, 2018 / 8:15 am

    These are all excellent things to keep in mind when blogging. I’ve taken the last couple of weekends off from blogging and instead prioritized tasks to get done during the week, and – shocker – I feel much less strung out and stressed. It’s so easy to get caught up in working on blog posts, projects, and schedules, because I love doing it! But in the long run it’s important to not let it wear me out, because I have a full-time job and relationships to maintain, too.
    I always enjoy reading your posts, and hope you have great success with affiliates and sponsored projects (and fun, of course. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  5. a mindful traveler June 18, 2018 / 8:19 am

    My downside would have to be time. I spend way too much time on my blog, but I do love it and I am lucky that I do have the luxury of time to spend on it, unlike most. As my kids are older and I work part time I can dedicate a fair amount of time to it, and it has opened up new doors in the process. It still excites me and that keeps me motivated. Xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • anhistorianabouttown June 18, 2018 / 9:05 am

      I have to say, you have had probably the fastest growth and success I’ve seen, and it has been wonderful to watch 😊 You are so genuinely kind and lovely, and your hard work (and time) is paying off!!

      Liked by 2 people

  6. HistorianRuby June 19, 2018 / 4:36 pm

    This was the 5th time I’ve tried to finish this post! I tried several times yesterday and kept getting interupted. I’m trying to promote more frequently but I do think that it is a double-edged sword at times. I’m trying to use Instagram and Pinterest more, I do use reddit for an extra branch of publicity but I only get occasional views from it. My Twitter auto-posts for me and I will sometimes re-tweet, tbh my suffragette posts are most popular on Twitter. I auto-post to Google+ but don’t otherwise use it. I have an HistorianRuby Facebook page, the first weekend I accidentally p​romote​d my post – and it took me 2 days to realise why my stats were crazy!

    I’m not good with criticism, even constructive, and a small comment last week left me taking full 5 days off! It wasn’t anything much, but I’m a sensitive soul and after pouring my heart into my 100th post I found I needed to take a step back and re-group as it is easy to become obsessed with every stat etc..

    I work away from home most weeks and blogging gives me something to do when staying in hotels. 🙂

    Like

    • anhistorianabouttown June 20, 2018 / 7:57 am

      I find Reddit incredibly difficult to use because I think that last time I checked 14/15 subreddits I regularly visit don’t allow you to post your own links (and the 1 that does, I never write about). Apparently I’m not interesting enough for other people to share there haha! My posts are always pushed to Twitter, Facebook, and Google+, and I do see some views from there (mostly Facebook). It’s great that you know that your suffragette posts are popular on Twitter, you can certainly use that!!

      It took me quite a while to get used to criticism- not because I don’t appreciate it (as a ballet dancer, constructive criticism is the default [we all can always improve 🙂 ]), but because it often comes from people who appear not to have actually read your post. And a lot of the “criticism” that I get from the bigger blogging groups doesn’t help, such as “choose a more feminine theme”. What if I am trying to appeal to all genders??

      I think that taking a step back every once in a while is a GREAT idea! I usually take 3-4 days off in a row each month, with all of my posts being written ahead of time I can do this without most people realising. My puppy also forces me to take time off from the blog haha! I think it can be quite hard sometimes to remember why exactly we enjoy blogging!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Modern Gypsy June 21, 2018 / 6:28 am

    I agree with all your points. Not all of us can – or want to – buy a subscription service to boost pins or devote hours to promoting our blogs. I think what a lot of people don’t see is the hard work it takes to get traffic and following, and there are very few people who are really transparent about sharing just what it takes to grow.

    Like

    • anhistorianabouttown June 22, 2018 / 9:56 pm

      That’s exactly why I share what my numbers are- I find that people are very coy and hidden and will allude to things without actually giving you any quantitative information. And I am willing to put money into certain aspects of my blog now that I am specifically looking to grow and monetise BUT scheduling services aren’t one of them. It rather bothers me when people casually say “just sign up for tailwind”- $150 CAD/year is not exactly no money, and the assumption that everyone has it to spend is unfair.

      Like

  8. annerbananer1 June 21, 2018 / 3:01 pm

    Before I started blogging, I never realized how much time it requires, like you said! It’s not just typing out a post here and there but takes so much more work to ensure people actually find you and read your work.

    Like

    • anhistorianabouttown June 22, 2018 / 9:48 pm

      SO. MUCH. WORK. I spend as much time promoting as I do editing, and my growth is considered very minimal by a lot of bloggers!

      Like

  9. fancypaperblog June 23, 2018 / 11:20 am

    I am experiencing more ups than downs at the moment but only because my expectations are small. I do think the amount if work put in is huge however for something thst may barely dent the blog world.
    Good luck with your new venture- you deserve success.

    Like

    • anhistorianabouttown June 29, 2018 / 2:59 pm

      Thank you so much for your kind wishes, Orla!! I am definitely in the “up” rather than the “down” swing currently, but being in the up has really made me recognise all of these disparities!

      Like

      • fancypaperblog June 29, 2018 / 5:03 pm

        Glad to hear that Jessica!
        Isn’t it amazing that there is catharsis in even the downs of our world x

        Like

        • anhistorianabouttown June 29, 2018 / 5:48 pm

          Thankfully we sometimes get that little bit of respite that makes the world of difference 🙂

          Like

  10. johnrieber June 23, 2018 / 8:06 pm

    Terrific insight. I had an issue with Google+ more than a year ago and my traffic dropped by 75%…and once the non-issue was resolved, it still has taken a year to get half of it back…does it matter? I don’t have ads, it’s a personal blog only, but it speaks to your points about traffic and satisfaction in the process – it’s a lot more enjoyable to have a lot of feedback! Again, great post

    Like

    • anhistorianabouttown June 29, 2018 / 2:56 pm

      I would be interested to hear more about bringing in traffic via G+ – I connected my blog to my G+ about 3 months ago, and have seen maybe 10 referrals. When I have gone to find people to follow, they were last active 2 or more years ago- is there a lot happening there that I’m just not seeing??

      Like

  11. Carol June 23, 2018 / 8:59 pm

    A lovely blog post and some great comments… I am lucky(retired) that I have more time than many. I have tried the self-hosted but running it side by side with my baby( my1st blog) just didn’t work and I am really not a techie..so I have gone back to just being me and blogging/ranting about what I feel and love..Yes, I would love to make a little money and may upgrade this one but for now, I am just being me..Social media ..you could spend all day and lots of money so I just confine my self to 3 which work for me …I wish you luck when you take your step forward 🙂 x

    Like

    • anhistorianabouttown June 29, 2018 / 2:54 pm

      I really enjoy the flexibility in not having to devote time to deal with the back end part of a website- I am happy to put the 20-30 hours a week I do into the blog, but if I suddenly had to pull 10 hours of that time into maintaining the site itself, I would definitely have to half my publishing.

      Social media is so much easier to work with when you are focusing more on one or two. Once I feel particularly proficient, I can then start learning another, but from my track record, that seems to take about 6 months per network, and I”m a-okay with that 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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