I haven't been posting a whole lot. But that's okay. I can do that. We don't like to but sometimes we just can't help comparing ourselves to those blogs that earn money, have thousands of page views per day, get a ga-zillion comments or boatloads of free stuff. That is all well and good, but it comes at a price that some of us little blogs don't have to pay. I realize that "small" or "large" when referring to blogs is subjective, but I think we have a general idea of what category our own blog fits into. Here are some reasons that I really like being a little blog.
Image: Neil Fowler via Flickr
1) Pressure. You have to generate a lot of content and buzz about your blog in order to keep those page views up and keep the money coming in from advertisers or sponsors or whatever else. As a smaller blog, I simply don't have that pressure. I don't have sponsor posts, product reviews, link ups or giveaways that have to go up. I didn't even realize that posting every day was a "thing" until I kept reading posts apologizing for not being able to post everyday. What? I'm just not that creative and I don't want to post something just to call it a post. I've never been a daily poster. Well, except that one time I posted for days on end about my 15 day European vacation which ironically enough is the kind of post that a lot of readers hate. I don't feel that pressure to come up with the next greatest blog post to keep readers entertained every day. I don't feel any pressure to compete for top blogger. When I finally get around to turning that blog draft into a post I do, and if there is nothing I feel like blogging about I don't. I may or may not plan guest posts when I go on vacation. Don't get me wrong. I love writing and coming up with great content that people enjoy. It's such a rush! But I like not feeling pressured. My goal is to show proof of life for myself and Blogher with at least one post a week. I usually do more than that, but I like it that I don't feel like I have to.
2) Scrutiny. They say that you know you've really made it when people start talking about you. And not always in a good way. Chances are I'm not going to be a GOMI victim or find myself the center of some big controversy because of a blog post that I wrote. I simply don't have enough page views to attract enough of a buzz for anything I write to go viral. Not that it's impossible. Just a whole lot less likely. All bloggers really put themselves out there, and it can be a really scary thing. As a smaller blog, I don't worry as much that every single thing I write is potential material for trashing. It's the Internet so really it is, but I don't feel it so much.
3) Hate mail. Big bloggers are targets for those who are green with blogger envy. Success breeds jealousy, and jealousy very often leads to evil comments, finding yourself caught up in blogger drama or as the target of a website dedicated to bashing you. People can be so so nasty. It's really sad to see some of the negativity that has swirled around blogland. I was so shocked at first because I've always seen it as a supportive and happy place. Well, nobody is hating on me. Nobody is jealous of my blog and all of my followers. I've seen smaller blogs get attacked too, but in all my years of blogging, I've never gotten a nasty comment. This could mean I'm really boring or that my life doesn't appear perfect enough or -- more likely -- I don't have the visibility to make anybody jealous enough to hate me. I don't have a thick skin. I'm not sure how I'd handle it, and I'd hate to have to deal with that.
4) Reader interaction. I don't know how some of those big bloggers deal with the sheer volume of comments they get. Unless you have an assistant, it's obviously not possible to reply to every single one and still have a life so you don't. Then you might worry that your readers feel ignored and the truth is they probably do, but there simply isn't anything that you can really do about it. I got an auto generated reply e-mail the other day. It said thank you for commenting. I can appreciate the thought, but I'm still not sure what's worse: the generic auto reply or nothing at all. I don't have to reply to or feel badly about NOT replying to 50 million comments on every blog post. Life gets busy. I don't reply to every single one, but I would say I get to reply to almost all of them. If I get a new commenter, I'll often pop over to comment on their blog. There is no way that would be possible if I were getting 50 comments on daily posts. I'd probably try, not be able to keep up, and end up feeling really bad about it.
5) Blog reading. If I was spending every day trying to generate a new blog posts, reply to comments, organize link ups and giveaways, set up sponsored posts, do product reviews, analyze traffic stats and whatever else it is that big bloggers do, I wouldn't have half the time I do to actually read and comment on other blogs. I am addicted to reading blogs. I read way too many, and as it is, sometimes I have to hit "mark all as read" because I simply can't keep up. I can't imagine how little time I'd have for it if a lot more of my blogging time had to be dedicated to blog business.
6) Social media and marketing. I want people to read my blog, but I don't want to spend a lot of money on giveaways or multiple sponsorships every month to try to get my blog noticed. It has become routine for me to tweet my posts once or twice in a day and post it on my Facebook page. I've always had a personal Facebook, but I started a Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram just for blogging. I don't schedule tweets. I don't have sponsors to shout out. I'm not concerned about my lack of presence. If I drop off the face of the social media planet, it's fine. Except for the most part, I haven't because I started to enjoy Twitter and Instagram. It's such a ridiculous time suck, but I like it, so I try to limit how much time I spend on it.
7) Blogger burn out. I can't tell you how many posts I see apologizing because their heart isn't in it anymore. It's time to scale back sponsorships and stop writing daily posts. Many take an extended break because blogging has turned into a dreaded obligation that they no longer have time or desire to do. A very popular blogger totally quit last week -- indefinitely. Bloggers are running themselves into the ground obsessing over numbers and trying to be that awesome gung ho blogger. I see it over and over again.
There are times that I'm not as motivated to post as others. Sometimes I just don't feel inspired or I'm too busy, but I've never felt burnt out or that blogging was something I "have" to do. I don't do a lot of things the big bloggers do. To me a lot of it feels too "businessy," and there are too many strings attached so it becomes work. I do some of the things that the big blogs do but on a smaller scale. I have the freedom to blog or not to blog, and I like that. It keeps me coming back for more because it's on my terms. I came to a realization that the times I have become most disenchanted with blogging had less to do with actual blogging and more to do with all of the external blogging stuff. Thinking too much about numbers and comparing myself to other bloggers kills my confidence and overall satisfaction with blogging; but only if I let it. Once I block out all that noise, I'm fine.
If blogging was my full time job that paid me full time job kind of money I'd gladly treat it like work. I wonder how much of the joy of blogging would be stolen if it was my job, but I'd suck it up and consider myself lucky. For some, it falls into their lap and they don't have to try very hard. Those are the ones you really love to hate, but I think the majority work their butts off for it and I can't help but think about the sacrifices that all of them make.
I think about how it might start to feel like work and how much pressure they might be feeling to keep it all going. I don't want to HAVE to post 5 times a week and spend 25 hours a week on my blog. I already have one job that doesn't pay me enough. I don't need two. For every blogger that is earning a solid income or a decent chunk of change, there are thousands upon thousands who work just as hard doing everything they are told they are supposed to and still make little to no money. That's the kicker; and I just don't know if it's worth it. And maybe I'm only saying that because my blog hasn't become "successful" by definition of numbers and promotional opportunities. I've never tried NOT to be a big blogger, but I also don't think I've done everything I could to try to be one either. If blogging on my terms at my pace doesn't translate into a large following, that's okay. Not every small blog is a big blog failure. That's not necessarily the goal for everyone.
I started this blog because I love to write. It works for me. I don't get to quit my "day" job but, then again, most don't. I don't get to be "best" blogger or get a lot of free stuff, but I get to spend less time on the business of blogging so I have more time to dedicate to the joy of blogging. For me that's reading, commenting, engaging with other bloggers and posting about whatever inspires me whenever I feel like it. I love sharing my writing, and I want people to read it. I get excited when I see page views go up or I get another follower. I love this community and I love my blog. I still pour a lot of time, energy and care into blogging, but it's on my terms without a whole lot of strings attached. And I kinda like it that way.
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