Things I Learnt Blogging in 2018

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). 

blogging in 2018

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! 

Until tomorrow,  

Sophie 

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22 Comments

  1. 30th December 2018 / 4:06 pm

    I am very much enjoying these reflection posts at the moment. I totally agree with your comment thing, getting views is great but it is so lovely seeing some kind comments at the bottom of a post, I always find that I really enjoy reading and commenting on others blog posts anyway, if I read one then I will always comment because if I enjoyed it why not let them know. Also the one line comments get to me too, the ones that are just like ‘Great post’ yeah you didn’t actually read it did you haha. And I love that point you made about we’re all just winging it, we really are! Have very much enjoyed reading your blog posts <3

    Chloe xx
    http://www.chloechats.com

  2. 30th December 2018 / 4:13 pm

    Yes I agree so much with all of this! Great post <3

  3. 30th December 2018 / 5:24 pm

    I’m with you on Instagram! I hate it too. I’m just not a good photographer and I don’t really want to learn. Twitter is my platform of choice; I love the engagement and support you can get on there. I also agree with you on the engagement thing – I’d rather have fewer followers who actually interact with me than loads of followers but feel like I was shouting into a void. And I love blog comments – views are great but the fact that someone has taken the time to leave a comment on your post is a lot more meaningful.

    Nicola
    http://nicshealthylife.co.uk

  4. 30th December 2018 / 6:51 pm

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who hates Instagram! I find it the least enjoyable part about blogging and the follower/unfollower thing is just annoying and unnecessary. I totally agree, Twitter is the place to be and the blogging community is so awesome and supportive there. I feel the same about blog comments too, it is always so nice when someone reads the post, engages and leaves a genuine comment, it is much better than views alone. Ha ha and yes, I 100% agree we are all secretly winging it really! Thanks for all the love and support this year Sophie and I hope 2019 is an amazing one for you! <3 xx

    Bexa | http://www.hellobexa.com

  5. 30th December 2018 / 8:03 pm

    Love these lessons you learned in 2018. I agree with you – you don’t have to follow a certain path to achieve something. Oh man, Instagram got me messed up – there’s so much work to keep your followers and engagement. Totally not worth it. I’m the same when it comes to numbers. I never talk about them but still want to achieve a milestone. YESSS on engagement being more important than views!! It means so much more when someone actually digested my blog posts because views can come from bots as well. Hope you’ll achieve all sorts of new heights in 2019!

    Nancy ♥ exquisitely.me

  6. Emma
    30th December 2018 / 8:04 pm

    Fab post! I agree, Instagram is a bit of a downer… losing followers and engagement isn’t as great as I always hope. But twitter is a great place to gain blog engagement and I love the twitter blogging community. Good luck with your goals, what ever they may be lovely 🙂

  7. 30th December 2018 / 8:12 pm

    I loved reading this blog posts, a lot of them I agree with you on. I think there is so much pressure with blogging, everyone thinks it should be done in a certain way, but we all work differently. The more i have gotten into blogging the more I have realised that you need to blog for yourself and do what you enjoy. People will come to your blog because they like what you are doing.

    Hope you have a lovely new year and a good 2019!

    Steph x
    http://www.stephhannam.com

  8. 30th December 2018 / 8:12 pm

    I agree with a lot of these! I totally get it about Instagram, I do enjoy taking photos but I always compare mine to other peoples, also the follow/unfollow gain is a pain! Love the new change in your blog xx

  9. Michelle Blackadar
    30th December 2018 / 8:13 pm

    love this post so much, I really love your first point about you don’t have to do anything. it just rubs me the wrong way when people say you HAVE to work on your blog 24/7 and give up your social life or else you won’t have a successful blog. that type of talk is so discouraging because regardless the amount of “effort” you put into your blog, like you said we are all just winging it. we do what we think will work best but things can change at the blink of an eye. great job sophie xxx

    mich / simplymich.com

  10. 30th December 2018 / 8:14 pm

    Engagement is SO much more important than views. I’d rather have 100 comments than 100 likes any day, there’s nothing better than people engaging with your content and offering recommendations etc. When a post doesn’t have as much engagement as I was hoping for, I’m sadder than when it doesn’t get many likes. The power of a simple comment amazes me!

    Fran | http://www.franciscarockey.co.uk

  11. 30th December 2018 / 8:16 pm

    Ahhh I loved reading this post Sophie, I loved finding out that you started out as a skincare blogger and now you’re a foodie! I also definitely agree that blogging twitter is a fabulous place, the one thing I think is missing is all of the twitter chats that used to be around – I really don’t seem to see any now and I loved getting to know people through them! ♥︎

  12. 30th December 2018 / 8:17 pm

    Love this post! Agree with so much you have said, especially about Twitter – I love using it to support my blog and connect with other bloggers.

    Holly x
    http://www.ldnmuse.com

  13. 30th December 2018 / 8:17 pm

    I understand what you mean about talking about goals, I’d feel ashamed in a way if i say my goals and then don’t reach them. I guess that’s a silly way of thinking though as it really doesn’t matter at all, it’s just good to set yourself a target to work towards x

  14. 30th December 2018 / 9:07 pm

    Change is definitely okay and it’s something I plan to do more of in 2019. There are some positive changes I want to make such as my food lifestyle and my job and change will be scary but it’s a good thing too.
    I also hate Instagram and barely use it to be honest because I find it very unreliable and an app that many use for advertising their accounts etc and I don’t like the set up of it. I barley see any of my friends photos because of its algorithm.
    And I 100% agree the blogging Twitter is an amazing place and I have made so many wonderful blogger friends there. I’m so glad I created a blog twitter and met so many wonderful people. That includes you too Sophie
    I hope you have a wonderful new year and happy 2019!!

  15. 31st December 2018 / 1:29 am

    I enjoyed this post about the things you learned from blogging.

    I have to agree with you on Instagram. I am not a huge fan of Instagram with the follow and unfollow. I also don’t like to talk about my goals. Maybe, I am afraid I will jinx it. https://debsbecorativelife.com

  16. 31st December 2018 / 5:35 am

    This is honestly one of the truest and most relatable blog post that I’ve read in a while. Blogging is hard. Between generating content, digital marketing and all the other cumbersome things that accompany it, it can feel overwhelming and worse we feel like we have to do everything the norm says we should. It’s nice to be reminded that even if we aren’t where convention says we should be or do what convention says we should or even like what convention says we should like, we still have a voice and can find a community to share with. Great job.

  17. Daisy
    1st January 2019 / 9:31 pm

    Yes!! I really hate how Instagram is becoming more and more difficult to use! I wish it was better because I do love photography! I also agree with the whole engagement thing…I much prefer to get comments! xD

    Daisy | TheDeeWhoLived

  18. 2nd January 2019 / 12:21 pm

    Great post! I’m not a huge fan of Instagram either tbh mostly because like you, I hate taking photos and I’m not very good at it and it seems an awful lot of effort for not much gain! And we’re definitely all winging it… I certainly am but change is good 🙂 xxx

  19. 3rd January 2019 / 3:38 pm

    Learning these things make blogging much more enjoyable. I hate Instagram too. My photography skills are so bad ha.

  20. 3rd January 2019 / 4:04 pm

    Love this blog post! I totally agree that Instagram wasn’t my favourite for 2018 but I’m hoping to enjoy it more this year.

    With love, Alisha Valerie x | http://www.alishavalerie.com

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