Comparatively, I’m pretty new to the blogging world. I’ve been running this thing for a little over 6 months, which isn’t much but has given me a decent glimpse into the crazy mess of blogs taking over the Internet. While I love blogging itself, I’ve definitely taken issue with the way parts of the blogging world work. And that’s what I’m about to get into.
Blogger Facebook groups/Instagram pods/goodness knows what else are a huge thing. I’m not going to act superior and say I’m too good for any of these or that I’m not involved at all, but I will say that I’ve been taking a major step back in my involvement with these types of groups. There’s nothing wrong with them on their face (they’re a great way to make blogger friends), but I also feel like they can generate inauthentic engagement. If you’re participating in threads where everyone who posts is required to like your Instagram picture, does the number of likes you receive really reflect the quality of what you’re posting? At that point, you lose a sense of whether or not people genuinely like your content or if they’re liking it because they have to. I think a majorly important part of producing good blog content is picking up on cues from readers on what posts get the most engagement and traffic, and if the bulk of your traffic is artificially created, you don’t get authentic feedback. If you’re going to participate in things like that, you should be participating in the kinds of groups that allow you to engage only with the content you enjoy and holds other members to the same standards.
Also, a ton of bloggers now advertise these “social media cheat sheets” and “blog post topics that get views” and “how to get this many views or this much money in your first few months of blogging” programs that they occasionally charge money for, and I’m going to be honest, I don’t think they work. They may be good in the short term, but not in the grand scheme of things. There’s not a one-size-fits-all approach to growing a blog, and so much of the fun aspects of blogging are utilizing your own creativity and building your own brand, and trying to mimic someone else’s footsteps really cuts into that. Do your own thing, girlfriend (or dude, I don’t know the gender distribution of who’s reading this right now).
And also, so much of social media (I’m looking at you, Facebook and Instagram) is trying to become pay-for-play, where these platforms try to make money by encouraging bloggers to advertise. And then there’s the whole concept of paying for thousands of Instagram followers who don’t do anything besides give you an impressive looking number. I don’t know about you, but I’m a college student who’s doing this for fun. I’m not about to drop my hard-earned money on Facebook ads that I could be buying food with. Also, it goes back to that inauthenticity thing. Bringing in readers organically is the best feeling, and it loses that joy when you feel like you’re paying for readers or followers.
Despite what other people and social media giants are trying to sell to new bloggers, it’s totally possible to generate engagement and monetize your blog organically. My most popular post, which has almost 20,000 engagements on Pinterest and 3,500 views on my blog (small numbers to some people, I know, but a big deal to me), involved no paid promotion or blogger group involvement whatsoever. It was just content people wanted to read. It’s this post, by the way. I’ve started working with various brands on collaborations without paying exorbitant funds for these blogger-run training courses. It’s totally possible, and these little wins feel amazing when I know that I’ve made them happen all on my own.
And one last thing: bloggers who get overly competitive with each other. I hate the idea that if one blogger is successful, you can’t be successful as well. It’s not a trade-off, and it’s totally possible to lift people up while still succeeding yourself. One of my all-time favorite phrases is “empowered women empower women,” and it’s totally applicable here. Lifting other people up is so important, and I promise you won’t suffer because of it. Let’s all just be nice to each other, mmkay? *inserts that one gif from Mean Girls about baking a cake of rainbows and butterflies right about now*
So yeah. That’s my thoughts on the weird and vaguely overwhelming world of blogging. I’m just going to keep doing my thing and enjoying the reasons I started this blog in the first place. To any other bloggers reading this right now, I hope you do the same. (But if not, you do you I guess. I’m not gonna tell you how to live your life.)