How I Became A Better Blogger

I first started this blog as a way of keeping my friends and family in touch with how my impending move to the US from the UK was going. I had always wanted to have my own blog but I had never felt that my life was interesting enough to warrant one. Who would want to read the banal story of my existence, that kind of thing is what Facebook and Twitter is for right? When I announced that I was moving to America and lots of people expressed interest in how the process worked I realised that I finally had a use for a blog. Instead of having to explain to everyone how painfully slow the visa process was and all the details I could direct them to my blog instead.

I started blogging and linked my blog to my Facebook account. The first month of my blog I only had 80 viewers and it was almost exclusively friends and family and the odd person who was looking for something on Google and got lost. The next month my blog had 200 views and it was more of the same but then a wonderful thing happened; other bloggers started finding and following my blog. Perhaps it was my awkwardness and the amusing mishaps that seemed to happen to me on a daily basis once I moved to the US. Like the time I spent 10 minutes trying to find the pound key on my phone only to discover it is what we call the hash key in the UK. Maybe it was the anecdotes about people who asked me if I’d met the Queen or if I was Australian.

I realised that I loved blogging; WordPress was not like Facebook, I could share my life without people reading my statuses and thinking “oh shut up” because they had chosen to visit my blog (if you are reading this now and thinking exactly that then I do apologise, I may have misjudged the situation). Even better, I checked out the bloggers who discovered me and found an amazing range of blogs out there. There are bloggers who make me laugh and bloggers who make me think and even bloggers who make me think why? Everyone has a niche on WordPress and the best part of blogging has been meeting other bloggers.

The problem was as I got more into blogging and more and more people started following me and liking my posts I started to focus too much on the metrics and not the love of writing. I would challenge myself to increase my views month on month and post things that I felt would attract more readers and not what I wanted to write about. I would get stressed if I had been over a week without posting because I knew it would have a negative impact on my page views. If I was travelling I would be aiming to get that great photo I could post on my blog.

Eventually after being stressed for a whole weekend because I couldn’t think what to write about I realised it had got silly and I wanted to go back to how I was when I first started blogging. So I made myself some new rules; I would write things that were a reflection of my life and I wouldn’t spend time looking at my stats or worrying about whether something would prove popular or not. Instead of making Buzzfeed style posts because I couldn’t think of anything to post, I would wait until I had something to say before posting. If that something turned out to matter only to me then who cares, the beauty of WordPress is that you only need to click on posts that interest you in the Reader anyway.

Since I started to focus on writing about my life and what matters to me rather than what I feel would be popular I have become a better blogger. The content may be no better but I am writing for my own enjoyment and to make other people smile (usually by sharing my mishaps) rather than to get likes or new followers and that is surely the point right? If I go a few weeks without posting because I lack inspiration does it really matter? The followers I already have are amazing and supportive, whether I have posted about my first novel writing attempt or going through a rough patch. Since I have reevaluated why I write I have realised that I have rediscovered my love for blogging and it has become fun again so you might be stuck with my anecdotes for a while yet.

Have you ever had a similar rethink of why you blog?

27 thoughts on “How I Became A Better Blogger

  1. I’m currently trying to up my followers right now! I feel like I’ve reached a nice middle ground where I’m concerned enough about followers to update weekly, but not so much that I’m writing about stuff I don’t care about. Thanks for sharing this! It was a really helpful read.

    1. I’m glad you found the post a helpful read! You now have another follower because I am about to start my second novel (the first was a NaNoWriMo effort) and I like all the writing tips on your blog. Also I love puns. 😛

  2. Aakansha

    My goodness Tom. I went through the same phase a couple of months back where blogging started to feel like a competition with myself. The urge to get as many views as possible and the anxiety of not being able to find something ‘worthy’ to write about. For the sake of approval, I felt that I had eventually started to write for everyone else rather than as a therapy for myself which was the original purpose of the blog! To pour out all those views and opinions that caused such a great confusion in my head.

    But slowly I began to realize that this isn’t something that I should be worrying about for it defeated the entire purpose of my blog. This blog was my happy place, a place where I could be myself without being questioned or doubted and I could not allow it to stress me

    And I ardently believe that as long as you are true to yourself and to what you write you don’t need to craft your posts to attract a healthy audience, your energy and honesty would automatically gravitate the right ones to your blog.
    The followers may not come in flocks, but the ones who do would be the enthusiastic ones who give you honest opinions.

    This is the principle that I abide by and this is why I love blogging.
    As usual, a wonderful and thoughtful post Tom. 🙂

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your feelings on this,I’m so glad that you feel the same way! It’s great knowing that you are writing for yourself again and it is definitely reflected in your writing. Your posts always make me stop and reflect which I think is awesome. It really is liberating to have that feeling where you realise it’s about you and not about how many views and followers you get. 🙂

  3. My blog is somewhere between venting and memoir. Or perhaps a venting memoir? (If you’d met my in-laws, you’d understand.)

    I think, like you, I’m amazed that other people think my life is funny.

    1. I find it really helpful to be able to vent at times and I hope it helps for you too! I have had some rants on here in my time, the most famous one being the anti Hershey’s rant last year year!

  4. I got to a point where I just didn’t have time to post as much as I had been and like you getting more and more stressed about blogging….so I decided once a week was enough and if I didn’t write anything it didn’t matter. This gave me more time to share what I did write in other ways, read and comment on other blogs etc. If anything, my viewing figures have gone up!

    1. Thanks for sharing your view on this. I have also found that not stressing about what I am writing gives me more time to explore other blogs and meet new bloggers so it is definitely a win-win situation. I’m glad it has hasn’t had a negative impact on your viewing figures! 🙂

  5. I went through a similar phase when one of my first posts went WordPress-viral and I shut down from fear of not writing something of similar quality. Glad to see you keep going.

  6. A.PROMPTreply

    I have enjoyed your blog all the way through since I found you, Tom. You just keep right on doing what you’re doing! I think it’s great!

  7. I can very much relate to your experience. In the beginning I was looking for likes and comments but with the passage of time and with maturity of mind, my priorties started to change. Today, I write not for likes but I write because I wanted to enjoy this process of creation.

  8. In my first 3 years of blogging (or “this blogging lark” as I like to call it 🙂 ), those numbers of likes and followers seemed to be an indicator to me whether I was doing something right. Those days are long past, though, and these days I hardly ever look at the stats (only when there’s an unusual spike).
    It might sound rude to (real) readers but I don’t care about the number of followers anymore. When I suddenly had 600 followers I got hung up on why only about 20 of them ever liked my posts or left comments.
    Then after being FreshlyPressed by WordPress several times, I suddenly had almost 10,000 followers. Being FPed is a great honour but it has a dark side, too – tons of fake followers (who just want you to go check out their website) and more spam.
    So these days whenever I see I have new followers I don’t get excited at all but wait them out to see if they ever “show up” on the blog. I’d say out of those 9000+ followers 0,5 % at most are “real” followers.
    As in my very first year of blogging, I still blog because I love what I do, being creative, I love the interaction with people, and I do appreciate new (real) followers (it might not have sounded like I do above…). If I suddenly had just 20 followers, I’d still keep going. In the end, it’s YOUR blog, YOUR time and YOUR enjoyment of what you create.
    Sorry for writing a whole novel here 😀

    1. No need to apologise, I’ve always wondered what it would be like to be Freshly Pressed and not considered the dark side (except the time taken to respond to hundreds of comments). The fake likers must be really frustrating, I’ve noticed some on my blog too but nowhere near that number! Thank you for sharing your insight, I’m so glad you still love blogging. 🙂

  9. You started your blog around the same time as me, so I’ve followed both journeys and it’s great that we’re both still going 🙂 I always know what I’m posting as it’s social history/autobiographical/self reflective. With the initial enthusiasm of finally getting going it was tempting to over indulge, so I did restrict myself to regular, once a week postings; the rigid structure has precluded the temptation to experiment to increase followers and views. I’m glad you’re staying true to yourself and I really admire you for leaving the beautiful west of Old England for a life in the equally beautiful (but possibly more socially formidable) New England.

    1. I’m glad that you have always been measured with your posting and not given into the temptation of posting for likes. It’s really good that we are both still going and enjoying it and I hope that continues for a long time to come. 🙂

  10. Since I began mine in 2011, I was hoping to find a way of connecting with readers and writers. It has certainly achieved that, and with the release of my ebook last year I hoped getting more hits would result in book sales. That hasn’t happened so I have scaled back how often I post. It used to be every two days, now it is typically 3-4 days. I do enjoy it, but I don’t want to invest time in it that my fiction suffers.

    My hits have dropped under 1500 per month now which is a shame, but I don’t want to lose sight of the fact that my blog is supposed to complement my work and my self-promotion.

  11. I’m just in a strange place in life and my absence in my blog reflects it. Most of the kids temporarily don’t live with us, and with so much legality I’m reluctant to post for fear it will be referenced in the courthouse. I wish it wasn’t true, but readers can have a huge influence on what we write.

    1. I’m sorry to hear that! Readers definitely can have a huge influence and it sounds like you are doing the right thing. I hope things get sorted and you are back blogging again soon!

  12. This made me really happy to read. I have started writing several posts which I had not posted because I was worried that it was not what my current followers would want to read about. In some ways, some of what I am writing follows the same theme of my blog but they are all things I want to write about. Reading your post has made me feel more confident about writing what I want to write about, obviously what I write is not always going to appeal to my followers or encourage new followers but if I find joy in writing it that is what is more important.

    1. The joy in writing is definitely more important otherwise you reach the point where writing new posts seems like a chore as you try and get more and more viewers. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. 🙂

  13. Brenna In France

    Thank you for this post! I just started my own blog at the urging of my husband. We are moving from the USA to his native France and I’ve been facing my own insecurities (why would anyone care what I write?). It made me smile to see that someone else has had similar thoughts as they started out. I really do enjoy writing- I’m going to stick with it. Your inspiration is greatly appreciated!

    1. I’m really glad my post inspired you! Good luck with the move to France and the blog. A great advantage of blogging is that you will be able to look back over time and see how you have adapted and changed. 🙂

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