Is Blogging Causing You Stress Or Making You Feel Guilty? How To Fix It

What makes you put your head in your hands or shake your head regarding blogging?

Recently, I’ve been shaking my head a lot when visiting the blogging world.

Some of my fellow bloggers worry me, and I’m concerned about their mental health.

I’m witnessing bloggers panicking, stressed, feeling guilty, or apologising because of how they blog.

Banner for the blog post 'Is Blogging Causing You Stress Or Making You Feel Guilty? How To Fix It'
Are you showing signs of stress because of blogging?

Here are some of the bloggers I am referring to. Are you one of them?

The Sprinters

Have you heard this quote?

Blogging is a marathon, not a sprint!

It’s a quote many bloggers acknowledge.

Sprinters rush around the blogging world every day as if they’re on a time challenge where they must read and leave comments on as many blog posts as possible within a certain amount of time.

The comments they leave are seldom engaging and are often empty. Instead of leaving a comment saying why they thought a post was great or why they liked a photo or reading a piece of fiction, they’ll leave a comment like, ‘Great story’ or ‘I enjoyed this.’

They don’t have time to leave engaging comments, so leave comments that’ll not make you want to engage with them other than maybe to say ‘Thanks.’

If they fail to leave comments on all the blogs they’re following, they believe they may upset someone. They need to prove they’ve visited your post, often by leaving an empty comment.

They often show signs of stress or pressure in the content they publish and the comments they leave.

They won’t read long-engaging posts because that wastes time and worsens their stress. They’re on a mission to read as many posts as possible in the time they have so they don’t upset anyone.

Why read a couple of interesting, engaging, long posts when you can read lots of short blog posts in the time it takes to read one fascinating post over 1,000 words that gets you and lots of other readers wanting to get into a discussion?

When I saw the above tweet from James, I punched the air with my fist. He makes a valid point. And it doesn’t only apply to new bloggers.

Blogging should never be about sprinting under pressure around the blogging world to see how many blog posts you can read and comment on in 20 minutes!

Those posts will still be there next week.

There is no such thing as being behind in blogging. Read, respond and leave comments when you have the time to do so.

Hugh W. Roberts

Ask yourself why you started blogging. Was it for enjoyment and fun? Or did you come to the blogging world on a mission to try and break the world record every day for the number of blog posts you can read and comment on so you don’t feel guilty or upset anyone?

Is rushing around the blogging world, feeling stressed out while leaving the same non-engaging short comments, fun?

Slow down, and engage with bloggers rather than trying to prove the point that you have visited their posts.

If you don’t have the time to read and leave comments, make time by reading less blogs.

Hugh W. Roberts

This brings me to…

The obliging blogger

In the next paragraph, I’ll ask you a question. Leave your answer in the comments section before reading the rest of this post.

Question: If a blogger reads and leaves comments on all your blog posts, should you feel obliged to read and leave comments on all their posts?

You won’t be surprised that my answer to that question is ‘No.’

But if you answered ‘Yes’, share your reasons in the comments section.

Nobody should feel obliged to read and comment on another blogger’s posts because they read and leave comments on all their blog posts.

Your time is precious, and wasting it by forcing yourself to read and comment on content that does not interest you is a waste of your time.

“But won’t the blogger who reads and comments on all my posts stop reading and commenting on my blog posts if I don’t return the favour?’

Yes, they may, but does it matter? And if they do, ask yourself this question.

‘Why am I following that blogger?’

If it’s because you genuinely enjoy reading their content, then, by all means, continue to follow them, but don’t feel obliged to read and leave comments on all their posts.

If a blogger gets upset with you for not reading and leaving comments on all their posts, consider unfollowing them.

Allocate the time you spent reading their blogs to the blogs you enjoy reading, and leave valuable, engaging comments on those posts rather than short, empty, non-engaging comments.

Tip: Make the first comment count and show that you genuinely want to engage.

Don’t get too upset if the blogger you’re trying to engage with doesn’t want to engage with you when they respond to your comment with nothing but a ‘Thank you.’

That’s your cue to think twice before engaging with them again.

If you don’t want to engage with a blogger after reading a post, press the like button and move on. After all, that’s why it’s there.

There is nothing wrong with not leaving a comment after reading a blog post if you’ve nothing of value to add. Stop acting like it’s a crime not to leave one.

Hugh W. Roberts

Don’t be tricked into feeling guilty if you don’t always leave a comment. I read many blog posts where I do not click the ‘like’ button or leave comments. Why? Because I have nothing of value to add.

Likewise, never feel obliged to follow a blogger who has followed your blog. There’s no harm in visiting their blog to check out their content. If you like it, by all means, follow back, but don’t follow them simply because they followed you.

The desperate blogger

This blogger comes in two forms.

The first are bloggers you’ve never received comments from, and suddenly they’ll leave a comment and link on one of your posts that begs you (and your readers) to check out their blog, read their posts and leave comments.

I’ve received lots of these types of comments recently.

Their comment won’t mention anything about the contents of the posts they’ve left their comment on, just a few words of desperation and a link to their blog.

You’ll see them leaving the same comment on other blogs. I never approve these comments, so you’ll never see them in the comments section of any of my blog posts.

These types of comments are often left by new bloggers looking for new followers and readers.

If you’re new to blogging, there are much better ways to gain followers and new readers than to leave uninvited links on other blogs. These posts list some tips that will help you gain new followers and readers.

New To Blogging? These Free Tips On Leaving Comments Will Help Bring New Visitors To Your Blog

Are You Struggling To Get People To Your Blog? These 7 Free Methods Will Help

The other type of desperate blogger is someone who has previously left some engaging comments but unexpectedly starts dropping links to their posts that have nothing to do with the content of your post, asking you to read and comment.

I’ve said this many times before. Other blogs are not places for you to leave links unless the host has invited you to leave them. For example, in my Wordless Wednesday posts, I invite bloggers to leave links to their Wordless Wednesday posts.

If you have a post you’d like to share with a blogger in the comments section because it’s connected to their post, ask for permission to leave the link first.

Many bloggers class uninvited links as spam and move comments that include them to the spam folder or bin.

How do you deal with uninvited links left in the comments section of your blog?

I edit them out before approving the comment by pressing the edit button.

Image highlighting the edit button on a comment on a WordPress blog
Click edit to edit out uninvited links from bloggers

Remember to save the changes and then approve the comment. Most bloggers leaving uninvited links soon get the message.

Let’s wrap it up

  • Never feel pressured to read and comment on too many blog posts when you don’t have the time.
  • Read and leave engaging comments on a few blog posts a day/week rather than try and read and leave empty, non-engaging comments on all the blog posts of those you follow.
  • Never feel obliged to follow a blog simply because they followed you.
  • Don’t force yourself or waste time reading blog posts that do not interest you. Instead, invest your time reading and engaging with bloggers who publish content that interests you.
  • It doesn’t matter if you don’t read a blog post today. It’ll still be there to read in a week or when you have more time.
  • Don’t feel guilty if you do not get around to reading all the blog posts you want to read and comment on.
  • If you have nothing of value to add in a comment, rather than leaving short, empty, non-engaging comments, click the ‘like’ button and move on.
  • Other blogs are not the place to leave uninvited links promoting your blog.
  • Edit out uninvited links before approving comments.
  • Remove any thoughts of thinking you’re behind with blogging and have to catch up. Read and comment on posts when you have the time to do so.

Are there any examples of blogging that have you holding your head in your hands, shaking your head or concerned for other bloggers? Please share them in the comments section.

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102 thoughts on “Is Blogging Causing You Stress Or Making You Feel Guilty? How To Fix It

  1. Hi Hugh,
    This is an enormously helpful post to me as I have often been guilty of rushing around trying to visit and comment on as many blogs as I can. So, thank you for your advice.
    I’d also like to know what you think about someone who clicks ‘like’ from the reader when stats show that it’s obvious that the person hasn’t even opened the post. It gives me the impression that they are trying to appease me with a ‘like’ whilst not being interested in what I have to say. I’m finding it a bit hurtful.

    1. Hi Lesley,

      I’m so pleased the post has been of some help. So many bloggers get stressed out by believing they have to read and comment on every single blog post of the blogs they follow when it’s simply not the case. And if anyone you follow gets upset because you haven’t read and commented on all their blog posts, I’d seriously consider why you’re following them.

      As for the ‘like’ button, unfortunately, it’s often not used for the purpose it was created for. Many bloggers and readers click it without reading the post; some see it as a way of getting some free promotion. Several bloggers click the like button on all of my posts within seconds of being published, yet they’ve never left me a comment. Most of my posts are well over 100 words, so I fail to see how they can like what I have published without reading it. I’d remove the like button from WordPress if it were down to me.

      1. Yes, I know what you mean about getting a ‘like’ within seconds of publication. I’ve had that happen too.

        I agree with you about removing the ‘like’ button. I’d rather have a meaningful exchange than count the number of likes I may get.

        Thank you for your opinion, Hugh. :0

        1. I know some bloggers who measure the success of posts by the number of likes posts get. I always shake my head when I see that because I know that some of those likes did not generate any reading of the post. I think a far better way to measure the success of a post is by how many people engage in the comments section and what those comments are. I wouldn’t include dead-end comments like ‘great post’ because comments like that don’t prove the post has been read.

          You’re welcome, Lesley. Thank you for joining the discussion.

  2. I love how you tell it like it is Hugh! You always have something worth saying and I enjoy reading your thoughts especially on posts like this one. The way I see it, blogging is meant to be a fun pastime and shouldn’t become a chore for anyone, writer or reader. I post when I feel like it, about whatever takes my fancy and respond to comments when I have time. I used to feel guilty about things you’ve mentioned in your post but after so many years of blogging I no longer let the guilt get to me. It can be hard when starting out learning the ins and outs of it all and trying to make friends but it shouldn’t take over your life or add stress to your day. Thanks again for your interesting and helpful posts as they show what can be done with blogging and what not to do at times.

    1. Thank you for adding your input, Debbie. Your advice is excellent for any blogger.

      When writing this post, I had a few bloggers in mind who I know rush around the blogging world, leaving short valueless comments everywhere. And then I see tweets from them apologising for not visiting and leaving comments or for being late in publishing a post. Or they start a post with the words, ‘Sorry this is late, but…blah, blah, blah…’ None of those bloggers has left comments here; although some may have read the post, I still see them making the mistakes I’ve outlined in this post. I guess there is only so much we can do.

      Thanks again for your comments and advice.

  3. Thank you so much for this post, I just started a new blog as I really limited what I wrote on my other one as I didn’t want to be judged or have someone think less etc.

  4. Exhibited guilt can be like manipulation of the audience or, conversely, a demonstration of the closeness of the blogger to his fan base.

    However, there is one thing that has been bothering me a lot lately.
    This is what a group of people on the Internet can really bully a person. And this can lead to serious consequences for the psyche. Especially for teenagers who give themselves to the Internet space much more than adults, and for them such a blow is felt much stronger than for an adult.

    Virtual anonymity breeds a sense of impunity. And if the antics also cause the desired reaction, then a feeling of strength is added to everything.

    Thanks for your article.
    I am very interested in reading!

    1. Trolls are certainly something to be aware of on the internet. My advice is to ignore them and not engage with them because they crave attention. Likewise, bullying on the web is a big problem, and I would encourage any teenager to report it to a parent, teacher or guardian.

      Thank you for joining the discussion, Alan.

  5. Wow, wow, wow. Hugh – you told me this post was coming and I wanted to have time to read this post and digest it, as well as read some of the comments of bloggers that had the same mindset as me … and this is because of our recent comments which helped lend themselves to this very post.

    I am posting on your blog site, so there will be paragraphs – otherwise your eyes will run together.

    I have read your posts in the past where you have said “obligation takes the fun out of blogging” but yet I struggled, thinking there was something wrong with me – yes, I’m too chatty, I get that. But sometimes a post has a lot that resonates with me and I interact, not once, not twice and maybe even a third time. BUT … that said, I find sometimes that the back-and-forth on one post with certain fellow bloggers, although fun, still takes away from reading other posts. It spins catching up on Reader out of control. A post by me, comments that linger on and on and an evening passes without even getting to Reader.

    Yes, I feel extremely guilty when I am behind like now – but here’s what I did last Friday night at a whopping 11 or 12 days behind. I took each blogger that I interact with a lot and read all their recent content … that had to do. I skipped the people I recently followed, concentrating on those I’ve interacted with the longest. The philosophical blogger had to wait. The person with a dozen posts, some containing videos, had to wait as well. I had to cherry pick a bit.

    I knew this post awaited me and I know I am guilty as charged. Now, I only post twice a week and I started that regimen when I began Wordless Wednesday in March 2020. I’ve not missed one Wordless Wednesday and it gives me a chance to use some pics that might be on an already lengthy and picture-laden post and put them onto WW. I have fun with WW. I only post one long post a week, every Monday. I make an exception for Thanksgiving and Christmas, otherwise special holidays like Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, I don’t post on the Monday since I posted Sunday. My feeling has been “my posts are long and if you’re going to read through and comment, I must reciprocate or be deemed rude.” I thought people must read my long posts and think “well, no wonder you can’t keep up.” That’s silly – I admit that after reading your post and others’ comments. Truly you have spelled out here how wrong that is.

    My blog’s landing page may say I have 1,044 followers – that is far from the truth. I rarely follow back, if at all now. In the beginning, I was gracious, thanked them, immediately went to their blog, read and commented, then “signed on” to their blog, whether the content interested me or not. I also follow a few blogs where the bloggers don’t follow back – mostly due to their serious health issues. That’s okay … I give them an Atta girl or Atta boy for each effort.

    I was so excited to have my first follower in the blogosphere that was not a neighbor or friend that I was happy to reciprocate. I can no longer do that and I’m happy to see I am not the only one who is guilty of doing this. Whew! I’ve unfollowed sarcastic people and people who interject politics into their posts … if I want that, I’ll get it from the news/social media. I saw you and others remarked like I did about people who post daily – I have one posting daily, sometimes a couple of times daily. Pictures of flowers and kids taken with her phone and published. Perhaps it’s rude of me for saying this, but that is not really using a lot of effort and not really creating creative content or does that matter – it will take me more effort to look/comment etc. Perhaps I am weary of all that. My first follower has suspended his blog. On that day in November 2017 I said to him “how did you find me?” Then “how exciting – my first follower here.” He said “be careful what you wish for – I get up early to address comments before I leave for work and after dinner, I’m back addressing more comments and reading blog posts.” He had a few deaths in the family – wrote me on my blog and said “your first follower is taking a long pause” and it’s been about three years now.

    For me, blogging is special … I put a lot of thought into how/when I’ll publish some posts … perhaps too much thought over blogging and photos, but for me, in a job that bores me to tears and being sorry I told my boss I’d stay ’til HE retires, I feel “trapped” for lack of a better word. Blogging is writing, something I went to college for, graduated and never found a job in the field. Blogging is my escape from that boring job and also, for me, a person with zero family members, the blogging community and following bloggers’ everyday trials and tribulations whether in posts, or in sidebar comments, has been a Godsend to me, living here all alone.

    Lastly, I have taken to heart all that you have said in this post, especially “if you don’t have the time to read and leave comments, make time by reading less blogs. -Hugh W. Roberts

    This is lengthy and I apologize, but I wanted to include everything since we discussed everything in this post.

    P.S. – I am guilty of sending past links, but usually in conjunction with a comment reference and usually with bloggers, like you, where we’ve exchanged links or news stories before.

    1. Hi Linda,

      First of all, congratulations on publishing a Wordless Wednesday post every week since March 2020. I can’t claim fame with that because I take blogging breaks, especially in December, when I find the blogging world much quieter. There are other times of the year too, but they vary and have a lot to do with what else may be going on in my life.

      So many bloggers believe it’s rude not to reciprocate by leaving comments simply because that person has read their post and left them a comment. Some call it networking, although some bloggers believe that merely saying ‘Good morning, hope you’re well?’ on every single post without mentioning anything about the content of those posts is networking. Nobody is under any obligation to do anything. While it may be nice to go back and leave a comment (even if you do not find the content interesting), it can lead to blogger burnout, something I don’t wish any blogger to encounter.

      Unfortunately, only around 20% of followers will interact with the blogger they are following. Some may read and never comment (for various reasons), but by far, most followers are readers who will visit that blog a few more times (if at all) before stopping. The ‘follow for a follow’ is one of the biggest pitfalls in the blogging world.

      The longer one stays away from blogging, the harder it is to return. Unfortunately, some bloggers get into the habit of making blogging a chore when they become overwhelmed with comments or feel they have to reciprocate. For some, blogging becomes something they were not expecting, where the fun and enjoyment get overshadowed by stress and guilt. There are millions of abandoned blogs out there, some of which were popular in their days. It is a shame that many owners of these blogs took the wrong perspective towards blogging.

      I don’t find blog posts about people’s everyday life interesting. I can get that kind of information on Facebook or other social media platforms if I want, so I always skip those posts. But I still find it good that people publish those types of posts for the readers that enjoy them. It’s not being rude not reading them, just something that is not for me.

      I’m so pleased to hear how the world of blogging has helped you. I heard it said blogging has saved people’s lives, which makes me happy because they must be blogging for enjoyment.

      Never apologise for leaving any comment, Linda. Comments can be the heart and soul of blogging, and I know they are important to many bloggers.

      1. Thank you – I am exited to be nearing year three of Wordless Wednesday posts without missing one.

        I have taken everything you said to heart Hugh. I have made some wonderful friendships here in my blog in the last five years since interacting with other bloggers and I feel I feel closer to some of these people than friends I’ve known for years, perhaps because we no longer have anything in common. But bloggers … we all share this hobby, this little creative outlet and that is wonderful, but yes it has become a strain as I seek to keep afloat. I know that most of the bloggers I interact with are retired, so that gives them an edge in keeping up.

        I do regret doing the “follow for follow” and won’t do that again … blogging must remain a joy, never a burden.

        Thank you for delving into this topic Hugh, in part from our comments on a recent post.

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