In February 2022, I passed a blogging milestone. WordPress informed me that I’d been blogging for eight years! But that notification asked me questions while I looked back at those eight years.
Eight years? It doesn’t seem that long ago that I started to blog. I know of bloggers who have been blogging for much longer than me and who continue to write and publish posts full of interesting content that are always of the highest quality. Not only do they care deeply about what they write, but what they publish. That makes all the difference – knowing what to publish and what not to publish.
I’ve seen thousands of bloggers come and go in those eight years. Some disappeared without a trace, while others hung up their blogging gloves and announced their departure. The ones I felt the sorriest for were the ones who stopped blogging because they couldn’t get the engagement or the number of hits and followers they craved.
Some came here solely for making money, while others came here more for collecting numbers rather than engaging outside their blog. They don’t last long and end up cluttering the world wide web with abandoned blogs in the blog graveyard. It’s a sad sight.
From the beginning
I can count the number of bloggers on one hand who have been with me since that first year. I often ask myself why they’re still reading my posts and leaving comments, but that lack of confidence in myself isn’t something I will dwell on here. All I will say is that I must be doing something right.
I’ll be honest: I have unfollowed many blogs over the years. Why do some bloggers not like talking about unfollowing blogs? It’s as if it’s a taboo subject.
Unfollowing blogs is something I witness many shy away from speaking or writing about. It’s as if it’s a ‘hush-hush’ subject. Something that gets swept under the carpet. But not me, no. I’ve written about it and had great discussions about it in the comments section of those posts, but never on other blogs. Perhaps I’m looking in the wrong places?
Why do I unfollow blogs?
For many reasons, but mainly when I lose interest in the content.
One of the biggest mysteries is the bloggers I stop hearing from because I unfollowed them. I probably stopped following them because I was no longer interested in their publishing content. That’s a simple enough reason. But why then go silent? Surely not for the same reason? Or was it a coincidence that we simultaneously lost interest in each other’s content?
The different faces of bloggers
I’ve had the pleasure of meeting some bloggers face to face. For me, that’s been one of the highs of blogging. However, I know that some bloggers like to remain anonymous. And they’ve every right to remain anonymous. Being behind a screen can feel like a safe place, but it isn’t always that way. I won’t talk about the trolls here because trolls like being discussed.
Ups and downs
I’ve had my ups and I had my downs with blogging. It’s like being on a rollercoaster that some bloggers can’t get off. I’ve alighted the blogging rollercoaster a few times when taking blogging breaks.
Some of those breaks lasted months, while others lasted a few weeks. But they all had something in common. They helped me step back, take a look at what I was doing, how I was doing it, and most importantly, helped me change the way I blogged. I always came back refreshed and, despite what some say, readers do not stop following you because you’ve taken a break.
Barbara, who blogs at Book Club Mom, has evidence of blogging breaks. She recently wrote a terrific post about taking a blogging break. Read it here.
Like everything else in life, blogging changes. It would be a very dull place if it didn’t change. Can you imagine what life would be like if it never changed?
Since I first started blogging, things have changed massively. I’m talking here about the WordPress platform. I was never a fan of change, but I’m confident that the changes I’ve witnessed here on WordPress have made blogging much more fun and enjoyable. Blogging has finally moved into the 21st century.
Those changes helped propel my blog to an even wider audience. Unfortunately, some bloggers got left behind, but I didn’t want to be one of them. There’s too much at stake when remaining stagnant.
At first, the changes looked like they were going to cause problems, but rather than complain about what I believed were problems, I adjusted to the changes and saw vast improvements for me, other bloggers and readers. It’s like climbing a ladder. The higher you get, the more you see and learn, and the more you can make a difference.
When I look at some of the blogs I’ve been following for years, I’m amazed by the changes that have taken place. That shows me how far they have all come on their blogging journey. They’ve adapted, welcomed change, and become better writers and bloggers. But they have also updated and improved their blogs. It’s made them blogging figureheads with their readers and in the blogging world. They have my utmost respect.
They continue to adapt to changes and continue to roar on their journey. That roar is one of achievement rather than the cry of complaint while refusing to adapt to change.
Change can make some problems frustrating, but you become stale by taking no action or hoping others will tackle your issues. Don’t allow your sparkle to dim by not adapting to change.
The biggest blogging trap to look out for
Most of the people I have encountered in the blogging world are friendly. However, some don’t help themselves. By this, I mean that some bloggers seem to believe they have to be everywhere all the time to not upset anyone. It’s one of the biggest blogging traps bloggers fall into that can turn blogging upside down, inside-out, and become something that causes stress or a feeling of guilt. It’s a horrible place, yet it is easy to escape – if you allow it.
Many bloggers fall into the guilt and stress trap during their first few years of blogging. I was one of them, yet some don’t seem to learn the lessons of falling into that trap and continue slipping through the net, making blogging a not-so-lovely experience.
Some bloggers apologise for dealing with life outside of the blogging world. I don’t know why they believe they need to apologise, but it’s sad to see. Some apologise if they publish a post a few minutes late. It’s as if their readers’ lives depend on those posts going out on time; otherwise, something awful will happen.
Of course, the truth is that nobody cares if a post is published a few minutes late. Nobody cares if a post is a day late. But if it goes over a week late or your absence is out of character, care becomes a concern. Another lovely element of the blogging community is looking out for each other.
It’s my life
Something I’ve never been comfortable with on my blog is revealing everything in my life. Why? Because there are so many scammers out there looking for information they can use when they steal your identity. Plus, do people really want to know every detail of my life? Would I give that information out to total strangers?
Those are tough questions, but I decided to only give out a limited amount of information, most of which can be found on my ‘Meet Hugh‘ page.
Some bloggers pour their hearts out on their blogs, telling readers every bit of detail of their lives. Years ago, life was different, and many of us wanted to keep our lives private, but now it seems to have been turned on its head, and people complain if nobody reads their blog. I couldn’t help but laugh when I saw this tweet.
Be careful when giving information out about yourself. You don’t know everyone who reads your blog and the information you are giving out on it.
That’s my quick look at the last eight years. There will be more posts like this because I’ve lots more to share.
How long have you been blogging? Is blogging all that you want it to be? Let me know in the comment section.
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185 thoughts on “Blogging – Is It All That You Want It To Be?”
Hugh, you should never ever stop blogging – I do not always leave a comment, but read most of your posts and always find something useful and good to ponder on.
Thanks for sharing at SSPS. Shared this on SM
Thank you, Esmé. I wrote this post earlier this year, and I’m pleased to say that I’m still very much blogging.
Thank you for reading my posts. I never expect anyone to leave comments on everything I publish. A genuine comment every once in a while is all it takes to know that visitors are still enjoying my blog.
Thanks for sharing on social media.
I hope you keep blogging, Hugh!
I’m pleased to say that I’m still blogging.
You, Mr Hugh were one of my first bloggers, the experience has, … at least for me been wonderful. Then we met. Now I feel we are friends, not just bloggers who love to write. I think, if I turned up in your town we would be like long ago pals who just chatted last week. I am inconsistent or not as consistent as I want to be but as they say, life gets between a writer and her pen. Right now family needs put my writing on hold. But I hope to see you in the blogosphere soon. X
Thank you, Ellen. I can’t believe I was one of the first bloggers you found. It’s made me think hard about who I first encountered in the blogging world, but I can’t remember. However, when I did the Blogging 101 course hosted by WordPress, I connected with many other bloggers, but sadly many have since moved on.
One of the highlights was certainly meeting bloggers in person. Very nervous at first, but those nerves soon disappeared. It was a pleasure to meet you at the Bloggers Bash.
We all have to take breaks from blogging from time to time, but I always find those breaks very beneficial.
I hope all is well with you, Ellen?
Nice blog post. I am just starting I don’t want to do it for money. I would only blog for a hobby. My goal is to at least be consistent.
Which is a great goal to have. Just be careful not to take your eyes off that goal, though.
Hello Hugh and congratulations on eight years of blogging. Are you as surprised as me at how fast times passes? I have been blogging for 6-1/2 years now and still loving it. There have been highs and lows certainly and even a period where I thought I might quit, but instead I loosened up the “rules” I imposed on myself and now take a more relaxed attitude toward blogging, and I am enjoying it again.
Thank you, Christie.
Yes, they do say that time flies when you are enjoying yourself. It only seems like last year that I published my first blog post. Eight years on, I have learned a lot while having lots of fun and enjoying the whole blogging experience.
Most bloggers have low points where they feel like quitting, yet the passion for blogging brings most of them back. You’re right. It’s all about enjoying the whole experience and not allowing guilt or stress to take control of your blogging.
Congratulations on your 6-1/2 years of blogging, Christie.
Hugh, thanks for sending me this link. Congratulations on your milestone anniversary. You have done amazing things with your blog. There were a couple of tips that really spoke to me. One is the “don’t apologize if you’re late” tip. However, when you host a challenge, I think it is different because people are waiting to link their posts to yours. I got three comments on another post this week from one of my regulars who wondered if I was ok because my post was late. Somehow when I scheduled the post, WP created a p.m. schedule instead of a.m. and I didn’t notice it, so the post hadn’t been published when I thought it was. I found the error because of her insistent emails. I am much more consistent because I host three challenges, and it also governs some of my reading as well. There is just so much time in one day. The other tip that spoke to me is the personal one. I know I probably put out TMI, and I loved the cartoon you added to your post about diaries. I agree that it can get to be too much and I am guilty of that most of the time. It’s like counseling. It’s all about the other person, yet as a photoblogger you have to let go of some of yourself or your photos would just be another picture of a flower or a trip. I think a post is best when it contains excellent photos and a well-written narrative. And I work hard to try to write a well-written post. It’s easier to keep my personal (life concerning) comments at bay during posts like Story Chat, which is all about the story and writing in general. I love blogging, and when I have time, I’ll write my ten-year anniversary post. Until then, I congratulate you again and am so glad we met.
Thank you, Marsha.
Terri mentioned hosting challenges in her comment, and how different it is if publishing the challenge a little late. I agreed with her that it is one situation where an apology is valid. I also like how Terri notifies her followers if she is not going to be publishing a challenge because she’s away, as that shows her followers how much she is looking after them. Of course, not everyone will read that part of her post or see the post, so some may worry. It just goes to show what a caring community the blogging world is.
With regards to personal information, I was more getting at the type of information bloggers give out which can be picked up by spammers and anyone wanting to steal personal identity information. For example, I’m always shocked when bloggers give out their date of birth when they say it’s their birthday and give their age. That type of information is like gold to personal identity thieves who thrive on it. I don’t give out any personal information on posts simply because I don’t think my life would interest anyone. All it would do is drive readers away by boring them. However, there is some information about me on my ‘Meet Hugh’ page, as I think the ‘about me’ page needs to contain a little something about the blogger.
Likewise, I take any personal comments or conversations offline rather than adding them to the comments section of blog posts as I don’t think my readers want to read personal stuff in the comments section that has nothing to do with the subject of the post. Certainly, if I come across a comment section full of personal chit-chat between bloggers that has nothing to do with the post, I don’t read it and move on to another post.
As usual we are in agreement. Those are important distinctions. And the birth day is worth many reminders. I’m probably guilty of that.
Although blogging is a wonderful experience, anyone can read our posts regardless of whether they follow us or not. I believe on Facebook that you have to follow someone before you see their posts. If that’s the case, announcing your birthday on Facebook is safe, but when it is done on your blog, any stranger can steal the information. I see too many bloggers not thinking about the consequences of publishing personal information on their blog posts. I always ask myself, ‘Would I give complete strangers that information?’ If the answer is ‘no’, I won’t publish it on my blog.
Very good point, Hugh. Our wonderful conversations with each other tend to lull us into feelings of safety because lurkers don’t make comments, they just lurk and we forget that they might be there. These are good reminders, Hugh. You always have a sensible head on your shoulders. Maybe that is why you are so loved across the internet.
That’s a lovely compliment, Marsha; thank you. The biggest problem for some bloggers is that they use their blogs like they do their Facebook accounts. And of course, there are also copyright infringement problems, especially when reblogging. But that’s all on another post of mine.
I think I read it. I have quit reblogging and have started doing what you do by rewriting another post and linking to the post I would have reblogged. It makes more sense.
Since that post was published, I’ve seen many bloggers stop reblogging and using ‘Press This’ or pingbacks instead. It’s far safer to do.
You make a difference, my friend.