First, if you haven’t seen it yet, I’d really encourage you to pop over to Bibliolatry Me’s post on “Why do you blog?” That’s really what spurred this post! Lenore brings up some fantastic ideas that will have you pondering why YOU blog.
If you check out my comment, you’ll see where this post comes into play.
With other hobbies, we’re always trying to better ourselves
Think of any hobby besides reading/blogging. I’ll use baking as an example. Tons of people bake for fun. But every time they do it, they try to do it better than before. Bakers always want to improve their recipes, use better methods, and ultimately end up with a tastier result.
Or let’s look at athletics. If you enjoy running, you’re probably always trying to run harder, longer, and/or faster. You want to run a mile, a 5K, half marathon, marathon, etc.
We take pride in what we do
The idea is, no matter what we’re doing, we’re proud of it and always want to do it better. It’s not because we HAVE to or because we want to be THE BEST. It’s just because this is a personal journey and we want to do the best job we can… FOR OURSELVES.
Every time I design a website, I think about how I can make it better than my last design. It’s not because I’m “competing” with other designers, it’s just because I want to grow and change as a designer. I don’t want to always stay the same.
Every time I code a website, I look at my coding practices, methods, and file structures and think about how I can improve them or better streamline the process. That’s why I switched from using CSS to SCSS.
Are our blogs any different?
But then you look at blogs. People who want to get more followers and more page views are kind of seen in a negative light: “Oh, they’re just in it for the numbers… *grumble*” But I don’t think that’s necessarily true. I don’t see anything wrong with taking pride in your blog and wanting to make it the best you can. Wanting to write better blog posts and get more engagement on your blog isn’t much different from wanting to make better cookies that more people enjoy eating.
There’s nothing wrong with growth.
I think the only time that growth becomes a problem is when you OBSESS over it. If you turn it into a competition, that’s when people might see you as being too obsessed with numbers and that’s when YOU might start drowning under pressure. But if you look at your blog in terms of personal growth and just you wanting to succeed and expand with your own hobby, I don’t think there’s any problem with that! There’s nothing wrong with striving to be better and improving your writing/blogging/interaction. And as long as you get too obsessed, there’s no reason that you should be under any pressure.
I know that posting every day will lead to more traffic, because more posts = more page views. But I don’t force myself to do that. If I don’t have inspiration for a post, I don’t force it. It’s not the end of the world if I can’t whip out 7 posts per week. But even if I “fail” that point, I still try to always improve my blog posts, and pick topics that I think are really interesting. I want to be a better blogger, a better designer, a better coder, a better artist..
Blogging is a hobby, and it’s only natural to want to constantly improve how you handle it.
Well yeah, of course I want my blog to grow! I blog because I love it, but I do want to reach more people. =)
Exactly! I don’t want to force myself to grow my blog or go about it in “unnatural” ways, but the desire to always improve and get better is always there.
I’d love for my blog to grow. But I also try not to think about it too much. Compare my blog against other blogs, I mean. This month will be my 6th month blogging, and I’m still learning all kinds of things. And poking people with questions. *grins*
So mostly I try to ignore numbers, and just blog because I like it and want to. If I stress about getting more followers, or page views, or whatever, then it isn’t fun anymore.
Yeah I don’t think we need to compare with other people. I think that blog growth should be more of a personal thing than a competition, you know?
And if looking over numbers or stats stresses you out, then that’s definitely something you should put aside!
I want my blog to grow in a way i enjoy it and fullfill my needs and if other people enjoy it too, great! That’s why this year is a year of investment in host, plugins, design etc…and not buying books, because i have a lot!
If i pick in the cookie example: if i want to cook great cookies they might just be only 10 but they will be worthy instead of doing 1000 sh*t cookies just because i want to make more cookies to reach more people etc…eventually if the cookie is good people stay and share if the cookie is bad, no matter the quantity, people will walk away…and that’s what happens with people and their like/follow me obsession…even if they have a nice blog…it will always taste like a bad cookie, because of they obsessive behaviour!
I hate when there’s no comment, interaction and just spam spam, follow me etc
I think you’ve made some fantastic investments, Vera! 🙂 They’ll serve you well.
And I love what you said about cookies—that’s absolutely right. I’d rather have a smaller amount of high quality cookies than thousands of bad ones.
I have no problem I would like to see my blog grow. For now, it is a creative outlet. I love to write, make people laugh and like creating things. Even as a new blogger I see how time consuming it can be to be a blogger and there is nothing wrong with wanting to grow it enough to actually get a bit of profit.
Great post! Yes, I definitely want to see my blog grow 🙂 I’ve grown to love my blog so much and it’s so much a part of me! I think about blogging all day lol. So yes, I want people to see my work, because I’m proud of how far it has come x
Yes! Like your first example, I’m also a baker and you’re right, that’s exactly what I do. I love to try new recipes, modify them, take pictures of them and of course I want others to love them. I think it’s human nature to want to be better and to work hard for anything that’s important to us. Great post!
Thanks Liza! I think for a lot of people, this desire to always improve just comes naturally.
Huh for some reason I don’t feel that way about my hobbies. When I bake it’s generally just because I feel like baking and am happy about turning icky things into tasty things but I’m not thinking to myself how to improve anything, just making sure I don’t screw up. I guess with hobbies I generally feel like I want to turn off that sense of trying to improve so I can relax and enjoy the process instead of thinking of how to improve and being sad when something doesn’t turn out. I picked up crocheting recently and my thought honestly was never “I want to get better” it was just “What should I try next no matter how it turns out”. I definitely had the impulse to try to improve my blog for a long time until life became too stressful and now I’m trying to go back to the feel I have for my other hobbies of just doing whatever whims come to me to keep the stress at bay, ha.
Well we’re all different, so not wanting to grow or get better is totally fine too! 🙂 I totally understand why you’d want to turn all that off. For me, it’s just something that’s there and I don’t think I could turn it off if I wanted to, lol.
I guess we just all have different ways of going about our hobbies and that’s cool!
Once again, you’ve hit the head on the nail. I hate it when people are like “numbers don’t matter.” In a way, sure, they don’t but in reality, they do – they show that someone is reading the content that you took previous hours to write. Yes, I would like to see a return on that investment in time, thank you very much. It’s always nice to see that someone has enjoyed something I’ve written. Lovely article, Ashley.
Yeah if I got zero page views and zero comments, that would matter to me. Instead of having a blog, I’d have a journal. Instead of talking WITH people, I’d be talking to myself. That’s a huge difference and can massively impact your motivation.
Yes, exactly! OTOH, I don’t want to stress out or obsess over numbers, either. Or for that matter, over posting every day. I’d rather my reviews were well-written. And I do want to get better at HTML and learn some CSS, and work on tweaking my theme (it’s Tweak Me, after all!)
I totally agree with this! As a new blogger, I’m still figuring out what sort of posting schedule works for me. I want to do so much – but I have to have a life outside of work and blogging too. I’m still working on striking a balance. I do have myself on a schedule though, if I don’t I won’t “make time” for blogging like I should (referencing back to you birthday post hehe)! I also want to grow my blog – but I keep telling myself it’s a slow process. Traffic isn’t going to magically pick up over night. In a way, I feel like posting regularly, commenting back and on other blogs, and being active on social media are almost MORE important as a new blogger than one who has already established a following. So I keep telling myself that this hard work I’m putting in now will pay off and that eventually I can back off some. In a way, I’m lucky because I have been following your blog for a while and you’ve posted a few topics related to this before. So I was already thinking about this stuff before I started blogging! Thanks Ashley 🙂
Yep, growing traffic is a slow process, which can almost be a bit frustrating. 😉 But the best traffic you’ll get is the kind that comes naturally and organically. So even though it will take a long time, it will be worth it and eventually you’ll see your hard work pay off!
I love seeing that my blog is gaining followers because I like knowing that my writing and the thing I share are reaching and impacting more people. I feel the same way with journalism. When I work hard on a story, I like knowing that I’m informing and impacting people.
Same here! Seeing new followers and commenters can be very encouraging. It’s what makes me want to keep posting more and more. 🙂
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to grow your blog! I think it all comes down to what you define as success for your blog.
In my blogging circle, most people are okay with having consistent regular visitors and make friendships that way. I’ve had blogging/Tumblr friends that I now talk to on the phone and consider real friends. That’s success to me, but again, it’s different for other people.
If you define success as a large follower base and maybe a source of passive income in the future, then go for it! Blogs aren’t just personal diaries anymore. They serve different purposes. As long as you’re clear about it and your viewers are on the same page, then why not?
I wouldn’t be doing what I do if I wasn’t egotistical enough to think that people should be reading what I write. I want to be big. Bigger than I was last week, and the week before. I agree with you completely. Not a darn thing wrong with it.
I actually feel a little disappointed in myself because when people ask me how long I’ve been blogging, I want to reduce my time. When I say “two years” some might raise my eyebrows. I have less views than a lot of newbies that I know and that sucks so much for me. And technically it’s 1.5 because on and off but it still makes me sad sometimes.
I hate it when people tell me that when I think of my views, I’m not being “genuine”. Just being judged like that, hurts a lot, right? Like you mentioned, it isn’t wrong to want to do well. And I really appreciate this post!
Aw, don’t be disappointed in yourself! I see where you’re coming from though. I think you need to remind yourself that everyone grows at a different pace. I know it can be discouraging to see “younger” bloggers than you (in terms of years blogging) have more followers, but sometimes that’s the way things are.
But if growth is something that you want, you can make it happen. It might take a little longer than the next person, but you can make it happen.
I love this post! I think there’s always so much pressure to be consistent with blogging but to not seem like you “care” about your numbers, or else it makes you shallow. I personally am really trying hard to grow my blog, and I’m so proud of myself because I’ve stuck consistently with a hobby for the past year and my blog growth reflects my dedication and passion, and how I’ve chosen to put something that I LOVE to do as such a high priority in my life.
Wonderful post! 🙂
You’re totally right. I feel like for a long time there were all these posts about how people don’t care about numbers, or they moved on from them, etc. and it created this idea that suddenly caring about numbers was BAD. But it’s not!
I know some people tend to obsess over numbers, so that’s why they take a step away from them. And that’s totally fine.
But I also think there are people who can strike a good balance. They can care about their numbers without obsessing/stressing over them, and that’s totally fine too.
I used to be really obsessed over my blog’s statistics — which takes the fun out of it! That said, yes! I want my blog to grow. It’s better now — mainly because of the new layout. Hehe, the eliza theme is amazing 😀
I think it’s important to strike a good balance. Being obsessive can lead to stress and this idea that EVERY SINGLE POST MUST BE PERFECT AND SUCCEED. That’s the kind of thing that will lead to disappointment and blogger burn out.
But if you can hit that “sweet spot” where you care enough to see your blog grow, but not too much that it’s running your whole life, then that’s perfect!
I’m so thrilled that you love Eliza!!! 🙂
Of course,I want my blog to grow.I get butterflies inside me every time I see a new comment,see a rise in my pageviews or hear a compliment.It makes my day!
My blog is just one and a half month old,and I really want it to grow into something great as time passes.
I get those butterflies too!! 🙂
Good luck with your blog. 🙂 You’re going to love the journey!
I adore this post, Ashley! Honestly, growing my blog leaves a huge sense of fulfillment for me. I just love blogging, like I love photography, designing, baking (occasionally) and a lot of other hobbies. Maybe even a little more than the rest. I’m very proud of where my blog is right now, but I’m always going to aim to make it even more better as time passes. Not because I’m competitive, not because I’m hungry for great stats/numbers. My blog is my baby and like any parent who loves their child would, it makes me ecstatic to see it flourish and become successful. 🙂
Exactly!! I totally agree with you Hazel. I’m very proud of my blog and how far I’ve come, but I’m also excited to keep moving forward with it. You’re right that many of us love our blogs like a parent would love their child. We adore them no matter what, but we do still hope for success and great things. But if it doesn’t come, that’s okay too and we still love them.
Back when I started on the blog at the beginning of June, we had about 35 followers. Now we’re close to 300. We get comments on every single blog post, which wasn’t always the case. So yeah, it makes me feel good, because we know our stuff is being read and that they like what we have to say. I don’t obsess over it, though. I’m perfectly happy the way we are, as long as people still read us and engage with us. 🙂
That’s so fantastic, Inge!! You’ve made some incredible progress with your blog. I totally get why you’re proud of it. 🙂 🙂
I want my blog to grow! I’m not ashamed to admit it at all (and I loved how you just compared it to other hobbies and how acceptable it is to grow/change/develop other hobbies too…*nods*) It shouldn’t be frowned upon to want to blog and have good stats. I agree, obsessing is when it gets unhealthy. >.> But that’s true for like ANYTHING in life.
You’re right, Cait, ANYTHING in life can be taken “too far”. You have to find a nice balance between caring, but not letting it take over your life and become an obsession. 🙂
I want my blog to grow but I don’t want to force it. I want people to enjoy what they read and for myself to continue to enjoy doing it. It’s grown so much already! 🙂
I totally agree Kelsey. The best kind of growth is the natural kind. 🙂
I love seeing my blog grow. I don’t obsess over the numbers like I did when I first started blogging, but I love when I see my followers increase, not because of giveaways, but because they like what they are reading. It makes me feel good, and there’s nothing wrong with that 🙂
My blog is definitely the best thing in my life right now, and yes, I do view it as an achievement. I wont feel shame for wanting more numbers, because that’s an indicator that my blog is improving. I can’t be satisfied staying in the same place that I started.
This is a wonderful post, and I agree completely. Of course I want to grow my blog. I’m not totally obsessed over it, but when I get a lot of comments, or a lot of page views, I am always really happy, and I try to replicate that.
The whole point of blogging for me is connecting with people that love what you love. So of course, the more it grows the better, the more interaction, the more fun. I am trying to do so lately more and hopefully I can stick longer to it than a few weeks. Basically scheduling my posts about 2 or 3 times a week, this way when I have no inspiration, I have backup! 🙂
Thanks for posting this, Ashley – I feel like, yeah, there has been some negativity towards looking at your stats and stuff, and it’s true, of course we want our blogs to grow. For me, it’s less about the numbers than it is about knowing that some posts are actually getting to people and people like reading them. I want my blog to grow and I want to be a better writer. And yeah, sometimes it feels really hard when I write a post I really like and no one comments or reads it – it just makes me feel like the parts of my posts that I like the most are the ones that no one cares about?
That’s a hard feeling to have.
But I have to also remind myself that I’m also doing this for me – it’s about connecting, but it’s also about charting my own reading and path. So there’s gotta be a balance of that.
I feel like my blog has been growing constantly since the day I started it because even though I’ve been blogging for three years, I’m still learning the ropes and figuring out what works and doesn’t work for me. Sometimes I do get myself really down when a post that I put a lot of time and effort in doesn’t get many views but then I remember that I’ve got to work at it because if people don’t know that I exist, how will they know that my blog exists? It’s definitely disheartening, but I shouldn’t let it completely destroy me.
This is a great post. I completely agree! It is important to remember that we blog for fun and not to get too caught up in all the other “growing” stuff, but there is also nothing wrong in my book with wanting your blog to be better to grow more. I love that you point out it is about taking pride in your work. I don’t think anyone could have said it better. Thanks Ashley!
I love to see my blog grow. It’s not the reason why I blog, but I spend more than enough time on it and it’s great to see that effort is paying off 🙂 I think everybody is happy when they see they have gained new followers. If I would stay like this, I’m happy too, but getting bigger is also a great feeling.
I always think it’s interesting that wanting to grow your blog is seen to be a bit of a ‘dirty’ thing. Of course I want to get to attract new readers and get to know people. It is easy to get caught up in the statistics though, and that happened to me when I started and it made me feel so disheartened. Despite what some people say, you should pay attention to your statistics but try not to let yourself get caught up in them and worry about them.
I totally agree with you. Blogging to me is about enjoyment and improvement. With both usually comes more followers but if not then oh well. Blogging is still about me just like most hobbies. If you don’t enjoy it, its not a hobby anymore but a chore.
i def see it as a personal journey and enjoy growing in my interactions and blog ideas. I get enjoyment when my post gets comments so I can learn others opinions on the topic I’ve discussed. I think it’s a great reminder that it is ok to want your blog to grow and flourish. I sometimes feel sort of bad for having that desire though logically I know that I shouldn’t. Really wonderful post!
Thankyou for saying what we are all secretly thinking! I do want my blog to grow, I do want better content and more engagement and I don’t know why bloggers are made to feel bad for admitting that. I check my stats everyday to see how they are in comparison to the day/week/month before. I do believe in blogging for yourself and only posting when you have something worth saying but that doesn’t mean you can’t also want to improve and expand.
Well said, as always.
I think my biggest thing right now is it’s taking great pains to grow my second blog and I feel down about that. :/ I think it’s okay to want to grow and gain followers.
Great post, Ashley! Being competitive and striving to improve can be an excellent thing, as long as it isn’t THE thing that takes over your life and defines you and your interactions with everyone. I love improving in my hobbies, but I don’t like obsessing over it. Takes the fun out of life. 🙂
I completely agree with this! I love improving and expanding myself and my brand, because it’s a challenge for me to do better and to reach out to other people. I hate it when people grumble about bigger blogs being who they are now and how they are accused of doing what they do because they want the fame and the popularity, and even if that were true, so what if that’s their motivation to do so, and especially if they’re doing it healthily and are happy with what they do? I don’t consider myself a big blog yet, but I love it when more people comment on our posts, I love it when our stats go higher, I love it when our page views go up – because it means I’ve done something right with what I do (and I love what I do!) and I’ve somehow bettered myself along the way 🙂
This was such a great post as Im running a new book blog. Of course because Im just starting out Im really hoping to develop a following. I love blogging and I hope that people will want to read my posts as my blog grows and changes in the future. By the way your blog is so pretty! Gorgeous design. <3 Bee @ Bee Reads Books
Thank you so much! 🙂