Considering I have been blogging now for over seven years I have very little to show for it. That is all down to something many bloggers suffer from, negative mind talk. Add self doubt, procrastination and no one to talk ideas through with and you get a toxic mix that destroys your productivity and creative skills. Here’s my story:
My blogging journey:
Over the last seven years I have blogged about two common themes having two separate blogs running to cover those themes, football and a personal journal blog. You will read and hear bloggers talk of having a niche. Ultimately, if you write about what your passionate about stick to that subject as your passion will translate through into your blog posts.
I love football (soccer if your reading this in America) and I love emptying my head about my day to day activities and thoughts hence often running two very separate blogs. The single biggest issue for myself has been longevity. Due to self doubt, negative mind talk and not sharing my thoughts with others I have often found myself closing sites down for several reasons I will discuss. The regret I now feel is huge as I wish I had logged out rather than deleted sites and returned to the site when ready which would have meant I continued to build a following.
When you set up a blog you are full of good intentions and ideas. What and when to post, what social media sites you will use to spread your work and how you will engage with fellow bloggers. The world is your oyster and you cannot stop typing.
A number of things can halt you in your tracks. For me with the personal blog it was a lack of engagement as my football blogs did gain a following. I would spend so much time putting a post together only for very few people to read it or more annoyingly many affiliate sites on WordPress would hit the “like” button but my stats revealed those people didn’t even read the damn post. So how can you like something you never read? To get follows back that’s why. I would go “Ooh I have some likes, who liked my post?” to reveal sites that were trying to sell me something that I didn’t want. All I wanted was to engage with fellow likeminded bloggers yet my posts would never find their way onto those peoples reader.
Whilst I never set out to blog for likes or views it was nice when I did start to get some engagement with other bloggers. A little community where we read each others work, commenting and helping, advising each other through writers block or other issues with blogging.
Negative mind talk:
The biggest problem for me was negative mind talk which affected any blog I had. My biggest piece of advice for anyone out there is to talk to friends, partners or followers about what is going on in your head. I didn’t and the negative thoughts killed my blogs and my love for blogging.
If I hit writers block, worried what people thought about my work or even when getting down about a lack of interaction if I had spoken to someone about those worries that would have made such a difference. Instead I beat myself up bigtime and took the easy way out and deleted my sites.
Occasionally I did seek feedback from others and the overwhelming advice was I was doing great work, to keep going and their advice really put things into perspective for me and put me back on track. I should have done this on a regular basis.
My mind would convince me no one was interested in what I had to say, what was the point in writing as there were so many other similar more established sites out there that got the attention and I felt I was “pissing in the wind” when it came to trying to tap into that arena. I struggled with the concept of promoting myself on social media.
You really need to engage with fellow bloggers on social media. Share each others work, help each other and you can tap into their following and grow yours. Many people advise in commenting on other blog posts with genuine comments of course. That way people reading those comments will have a nosey at you and your site, if they like what they see they will give you a follow. The main thing is to be genuine with this. Don’t post “Great post, come and see mine here” because you are clearly not being genuine and only after getting people to land on your site, which no one will fall for.
Blogging takes time and energy:
All this takes an incredible amount of time and effort. Blogging is not easy. You may have a passion for writing and find what to write about comes very easy to you, well done if you can because not everyone can be like that. Once you have posted online and happy with the title, pictures, etc then comes the hard bit, getting others to read what you have written. Remember there are millions of websites & blogs out there at anyone time all fighting for attention.
You have to strike a balance with sharing on social media and not ramming things down peoples throats. I found on Twitter tagging other like minded sites into my blog posts worked well as they often re-shared my posts. Be careful though, sharing is a two way thing. Make sure you follow back and comment and share those sites work too. Build a community, its not all about you.
I have struggled with when to post, how to post, whether to schedule posts the list goes on. It is a minefield out there, thoughts and ideas flow around your head and in the end my head popped and the negative vibe won through. I got distracted away from why I blogged in the first place and became distracted with trying to grow a following. Remember longevity. If you stick around and write consistently then you will gain an organic following.
Numbers mean nothing:
Numbers are just that, they mean nothing. What was important for me was having genuine people read my posts and engage with me. I would rather have 50 genuine and engaging followers than 5000 who never read my work or communicate with me. Numbers look good don’t they when you see peoples stats but give me a smaller honest following any day.
There are so many pitfalls to blogging I could go on all day. The main things I would ask you to take away from this post are:
- Avoid the negative mind talk by speaking to people about what you are thinking.
- Set realistic targets. Don’t try to grow too quickly, be a slow burner and take your time. If you write good enough posts people will find them eventually.
- Take breaks if necessary. That way you avoid deleting sites, log out instead!
- Remember why you set out to blog in the first place and stay true to those values.
- Don’t compare yourself with those big sites that have huge followings. They may have spent a fortune to get there, have several people working for them or just been very lucky at the right time.
- Ultimately enjoy what you do. If you lose the love you will soon walk away.
- All this advice is easier said than done, I accept that. Try not to make the mistakes I have over the years. Had I listened to my own advice I could be sat here now with a successful blog that over time had built a loyal following.
Thank you for reading & good luck in you’re blogging journey.