Hi guys, this post was not planned or on my schedule at all for this month. But I’ve been thinking about my goals for next year and it made me realise a few things about how my views have changed in the last 12 months and I decided I wanted to share that with you. This post will likely be one giant ramble. I believe people like to call those posts ‘chatty’ to make them sound less messy. So, this is me chatting about the things I learnt blogging in 2018.
1. You don’t have to do anything
There are many how to do this to grow this platform kind of posts out there and while I’m sure that a lot of them provide very useful information, I don’t like the vibe of a lot of them. There’s no set structure you have to follow to do anything. If you’re forcing it and not enjoying it, maybe try a different path.
2. I really really hate Instagram
And I mean Instagram. Not the changes, not the algorithm, not follow/ unfollow, just Instagram. I genuinely hate Instagram the app as an entirety. Before I was blogging, I hardly ever used my personal Instagram account. I didn’t have a theme, I didn’t have that many followers and I didn’t care at all. Fast forward to having a blog, a ‘brand’, I feel like Instagram is necessary. But I hate it. Passionately.
I don’t like taking photos, I don’t think I’m particularly good at it. I’d like to be better, but I genuinely don’t have enough interest to try and learn. I hate that everything on Instagram has to look so perfect. I hate that people get validation through likes. I hate the self-esteem issues it causes a lot of people. That’s not the apps fault, of course, I’m well aware of that. I hate that it makes me feel like my food has to look perfect all the time because ugly food can be delicious too.
I hate it, I hate posting, I hate taking photos, I hate choosing photos. And more than anything, I hate that I feel like I have to have one. I haven’t posted in about a month now, I’ve lost around 30 followers and I have zero desire to post again. I know I just said that you don’t have to do anything, but I kinda feel like Instagram is the exception to that rule. If anyone doesn’t have one and doesn’t feel the need to have one please let me know down below. If you follow me and like my photos, of course, I’m grateful. It actually means more when a photo does well because it felt like such a chore to post it to begin with.
Apologies. That turned into more of a rant than I was expecting. Moving on…
3. I like having goals but I feel uncomfortable talking about them
This one is a personal opinion I know many people disagree with and that’s totally fine, but this one comes from a selfless place. I know that many people find blogging intimidating. It’s really bad if you struggle with self doubt. It can be very easy to get your head in that space where you doubt everything. Why do they get so many more views? What’s wrong with mine? Why did they get that collab when we have similar content? I know that some of you will be thinking that if you’re thinking those things, you should be happy for the other person. But you can be happy to celebrate success and still feel jealous at the same time. The two are not mutually exclusive, something that I think is often overlooked and oversimplified.
I don’t want to add to a person’s doubt who feels that way. I’m happy to tweet that I’ve hit my goal, or complain that I’m a million miles from it. But I don’t like to talk about specific numbers. I don’t want to tweet that I’m sad I only got x views today and have someone read it feel bad about themselves because x is over double their goal (or something like that, you see where I’m going).
4. Engagement means more than views
I know what you’re thinking right now, views are obviously important. I’m not dismissing that at all, we all get sad when we don’t get as many or extremely happy when we get more than expected. But, this year, I realised that comments often make me happier than views.
When I first started joining in comment threads towards the end of last year, I saw them as a place to get more views. Which they are, in a way. A comment thread certainly helps on a low view day. But, these days, I look forward to the comment more. I appreciate the engagement so much more. It’s nice to scroll down your posts and see lots of familiar faces offering their thoughts and opinions. Now, when I see someone leave a comment that shows they haven’t read the post or something that’s only a few words long, I’m not grateful that they stopped by, I’m wishing they didn’t bother at all.
This change isn’t new for me, that came very early in 2018, but it’s an outlook I’m very glad I left behind. A lot of my posts with the most comments on were also some of my favourites to write. And while not all of them are the most viewed, it’s nice when your readers engage with something, you’re really happy with yourself. It goes without saying that it’s also great if those posts get a lot of views, but that isn’t everything.
5. change is okay
I started my blog as a skincare blogger who wanted to start sharing the occasional recipe but didn’t quite have the confidence yet to share those yet. Anyone seeing the irony here? 15 months later, I call myself a food blogger before any other category. Most of the gifting or sponsorship opportunities I get offered now are food or health related (some are still beauty, not hating on the beauty side of things, I still love that) and I just released an ebook full of recipes.
Things have changed. As someone who I usually the first to admit that I hate change, sometimes it isn’t a bad thing. Still don’t like it though, most of the time…Need to be clear about that.
6. We’re all winging it
Every single time someone talks about something blogging related it becomes increasingly evident to me that none of us knows what we’re doing most of the time. Right now, I’m thinking about a tweet that Alice posted a while back which ended up with us talking about DA and how it’s calculated. Pretty much everything we discussed was based on assumption, who actually knows how that works. Some guy at Moz, maybe even more than one. Maybe. They might be winging it too.
Likewise, when I posted about knowing your worth as a blogger a few months ago, I was amazed at how many of you also said you never know if what you’re charging is right or how hard it is figuring out what to charge. We’re all winging it.
7. Blogging Twitter is an amazing place
I wanted to end this post with something positive. I know Twitter can be bitchy and negative, but I think that the blogging side of Twitter overall is so supportive. If you Tweet a question, ask an opinion etc, there’s always someone there to help. On a slow view day, or a day just short of daily goals, one Tweet always results in a flurry of support. After my rant about Instagram, I thought I should balance that out a little by saying how much I love Twitter. Maybe I just have great followers, maybe it’s Twitter overall. Probably both.
That’s it for me. This post was supposed to be a really quick one (when are they ever) and it was supposed to end at number five. But I had too much to say (what’s new). I’d love to know if you’ve also experienced any of these things this year and the top thing you’ve learnt blogging in 2018.
I do have one final post of 2018 going up tomorrow, the one that was supposed to be up today. It’s my Me vs You post comparing my most viewed posts of the year with my favourites to write. If I don’t see you tomorrow, I hope you have the most amazing New Year and I’ll see you in 2019!