What I Learned About Blogging in 2011

What I Learned About Blogging in 2011

This post is for you, fellow bloggers or bloggers-to-be.

It is going to be kind of long and rambling, but basically my blogging sensors are telling me this:

Blogging is changing.

And we need to learn how to deal with it if we want to succeed.

Profound? Probably not. Sorry. But, I’ll proceed anyway.

When I first started blogging four and a half years ago, it felt like a pretty small community where you just might actually get to know everyone in your niche. Of course, it wasn’t THAT small, but it certainly was MUCH smaller than it is now. And I’m sure the year or two before I started blogging, the world felt even smaller.What I Learned About Blogging in 2011

Award – 2007

A few years back, you would write from your heart and if you were decent at blogging you could still stand out in a sea of blogs. It was still really hard work, but if you were diligent, persistent and better than average at providing good content and building a community through blog comments, you probably could survive and succeed as a blogger.

Things seem a wee bit different now. It feels like everyone is getting in the game, which is great! But today, it seems blogging isn’t only about blogging well. It is evolving to be about the numbers you have all around the internet and how clever or persistent you are at getting those big numbers to drive big traffic back to your blog.

These days bloggers concern themselves with things we never even knew we would need to think about back in the day. Like, how many pins did your project get? And how many will you get if you are just a little bit more fancy with Photoshop or do a few more pinnable posts? How can you get the most Facebook likes or Twitter followers? Did you get any RT’s on twitter? How many people follow your images on Instagram or your pins on Pinterest? Do you have Klout and is it rising or falling? Should you go to a blogging conference? Which ones should we go to? Who got asked to speak where? Should we join a promo group to promote each other to the top of the game? What kind of camera do all the “successful bloggers” use?

It is kind of complicated (and sometimes expensive) to be considered a great blogger and online influencer. In fact, just thinking about it, my head *might* implode from the crazy endlessness of it all.

What I Learned About Blogging in 2011

When is “enough” really “enough?” Don’t get me wrong, I adore blogging. I still LOVE LOVE LOVE it. I’m not against competition or numbers or the growth of the internet, those are good things.

But let’s just say I don’t really like to be pressured or even tempted to do more.

So how does one go about setting goals for blogging success these days?

There is power and reward in numbers and influence. But, should those markers of success be our real goal?

While I think having specific numerical goals is helpful and necessary at times, when I’m setting blogging goals I would rather think about what it is I’m really looking for. The underlying building blocks of a well-lived life. Things like more contentment at home. More peace. More joy. More meaning.  Health. More family time. All that real LIFE stuff.

What I Learned About Blogging in 2011
 {this artwork with the fabulous message can be found via Home Grown Hospitality}

Can we achieve those ideal life goals while reaching higher numbers and more influence online? Sometimes, yes. It is possible to grow a blog, be happy and maintain sanity. But for a lot of people, more time on the internet and more numbers to watch means we end up feeling a wee bit more crazy and scattered.  Not “more at peace.”

It is so easy to lose yourself and lose sight of your real goals because you are being pulled every which way online.

So, how do you focus your online energy and what is ENOUGH when it comes to setting blogging goals?

Do we have to choose between a successful LIFE and a successful BLOG? I think the answer for me lies somewhere between taking deliberate action to grow my blog business (which is important to me right now) and knowing when to say “enough” (which is VITAL for my overall long term health and success in life). I don’t always get that balance right, but I know it means I cannot do it all and do it all “well.” I have to make choices every day.

It comes down to being intentional. It actually always has. The times might change but the goals really don’t. Even “back in the day” being intentional was the key to feeling successful. Two extra hours on the internet each day or two more blog conferences across the country or two more DIY projects this month might bring me more followers, pins, likes, or more influence, but I might lose myself and distance my family in the process.

Being intentional about our real underlying goals at home and in life first, before we set our blogging goals, might keep us balanced enough as people to stay in the blogging game for the long haul. Four and a half years later, I’m still here so I haven’t gone too crazy yet! By first looking at the end result we want to achieve in life, it is easier to make choices about where to spend our time now. Today. This minute.

Otherwise, we might just head toward burn out or imploding heads. And no one wants that.

So bloggers, let’s talk about blogging with intention!

How do we pace ourselves?

What I Learned About Blogging in 2011

What I Learned About Blogging in 2011

If you are a blogger, would you share in the comments how long have you been blogging? What is your experience with the growing and changing nature of blogging? What advice or questions do you have for other bloggers, old-times or newbies?

What are the things that drive you crazy about trying to grow your blog while maintaining your sanity?

What are some ways you are intentional, set goals, and say “enough” when it comes to time spent on blogging and related blogging activities?

What I Learned About Blogging in 2011

Comments

  1. Wow – my head is spinning, Melissa. You spoke directly to me. I started my little blog project back in August to let family and friends know what was happening after we moved away from them. Somehow it’s grown and I’m now getting over 100 hits per day. Nothing compared to the big bloggers out there, but a lot for what was supposed to be a small thing.

    I’m trying not to get caught up in all the hoopla of hits and pins, but being a person who is naturally competitive I find it difficult not to seek success (meaning big numbers).

    Now is a good time to rethink what’s happening and go back to the first intention of the blog – to share with family and friends the things we’re doing here to build a new life.

    Thanks so much – have a wonderful New Year and (dare I say) a successful one.
    Heather recently posted..Year End Project Wrap-UpMy Profile

  2. Thanks for addressing the quietly competitive nature of blogging … even in our Christian circles. I guess we all start blogging for different reasons, but after awhile, so many of us get absorbed in the stats and in tweaking and updating and writing and trolling around the internet …

    And our families suffer. The people we love don’t get to spend as much time with us as they might like. Instead of spending the evening with the family, we’re sitting at a screen.

    As a blogger, counselor, and life coach, I see this as becoming a bigger challenge for us – how do we stay balanced and healthy in all the ways that matter – relationally, emotionally, spiritually? And in reality, are our worlds actually getting smaller because we’re pouring so much of ourselves into our screens?

    The thoughts below might add to the conversation:
    http://creeksideministries.blogspot.com/2011/07/we-are-so-out-of-control.html
    Linda Stoll recently posted..Panning for GoldMy Profile

  3. I love this, Melissa, because it speaks right to my heart and where I am right now in life. My three daughters are teenagers–they need me more than my readers do. My husband has a very demanding job–he needs me more than my readers do. God called me to do something entirely different this year–following His lead is more important than my readers. It really is all about perspective.

    I wrote about it just last week when I was interrupted yet again: http://www.shellywildman.net/2011/12/tea-will-be-waiting.html

    Thanks for this!
    Shelly W. recently posted..My Top 10 Favorite Posts of 2011My Profile

  4. Thanks for writing from your heart, Melissa :) So many of the issues you mentioned I have found to be true. I have found that I keep my blog more in focus with what I want it to be when I don’t read a lot of other blogs. (Eeeek!)I know that sounds bad, but I think I do get discouraged or overly-influenced by other bloggers when I read too many. I may not ever become a huge blog or a well-known “online influencer”, but I’m totally fine with that. I’ve left it in the Lord’s hands from the beginning & I trust Him with it all.
    P.S. Your blog IS one of the ones I read regularly & posts like this are the reasons why :)
    Julie recently posted..Project Highlights of 2011My Profile

  5. Well, technically I’ve been blogging since 2007 but “real” and intentional blogging for the last year and a half. At first, when I decided to make the leap and really try to grow (rather than simply keep grandparents up to date on potty accidents and such), I got really caught up in the numbers game. I spent an inordinate amount of time on Twitter and reading/researching, etc. Finally, I found that while my numbers did inch forward, it wasn’t worth the amount of time and yelling at my kids it took. Instead, I decided to just be ME. Focus on my content. Write from the heart. Have every (okay, most) post somehow point back to my Purpose…which for me and my blog is about cultivating a giving and compassionate family and providing a safe (albeit transparent) place for women to connect. Some days I don’t blog. Some days I get only a handful of comments…and truthfully, my blog isn’t huge by any means…but I feel like the community we have is tight knit and engaged and heartfelt. And at the end of the day, that’s what I want. A place where women feel like they aren’t alone…and a place that encourages them to stretch. Numbers are dangerous. I find myself slipping back into old habits sometimes, but they don’t make me a better blogger…they just make me a worse mama.
    jeannett recently posted..InstaFridayMy Profile

  6. kelly in georgia says:

    As a “blogger-to-be” your post was…overwhelming.(not your intent I know) I am so terrified of not knowing HOW to do all the things you listed above (and new things to add seem to come along daily), and then there are all the complications with the balance issues (which I have thought of time and time again too in my fear – especially since I work full time and bring home more work nightly) and it does make you think you will implode. Lately, the message that God seems to be giving me (probably to humble me, ha!) is that I should not think of trying to be THE voice of whatever, but A voice of whatever…one of many. I am going to be reading all these comments to find wisdom from all you experienced folks. Thank you for a timely, well needed post today.

    • Yes yes yes…that is it. When you try to be THE voice it is exhausting. Being one of the voices is exactly the right mindset. See? You are already learning. You don’t have to know it all in order to start. We all just learn as we go, one day at a time!

  7. Three cheers for this post! I’ve been blogging for 3 years. And I agree, there’s so much to it “nowadays” (ha) that it can feel overwhelming. Two things have recently helped me put it into perspective. 1) I wrote about the same topic (Letting Go) for 31 days, back in October. It would liked to have killed me, but I did it. Once November came, I was quasi-burned out, and it was all very…freeing. I suddenly realized that the world wouldn’t stop spinning if I skipped a few days. My numbers would fall and then rise again and do it all ten times over. 2) I find that the more there is to “do”, the more I start to not care so much. It’s like fighting a losing battle – I don’t want to lose an arm in a battle I probably won’t win, you know? It somehow removes some of the pressure.

    I am determined to blog for the joy of it all. If it doesn’t bring me joy or if I’m just too busy four days running, then so be it.

    Thanks for sharing, Melissa!
    Flower Patch Farmgirl recently posted..Then Comes the PangMy Profile

    • Yes. I think the longer you blog the more you realize numbers go up and down so no use losing sleep (or an arm!) over it. If you lose the joy, why keep doing it? Loved your series, BTW! xo

  8. I find this a really challenging topic. I started a fitness blog 3 months ago and am about to start a family/projects blog. I really struggle with knowing how to grow it so that I feel like I’m not talking to empty space while at the same time not losing myself to feeling like I live for the blogs. I want traffic so that I can feel like someone hears me and that maybe someone might get something useful out of what I have to say.

    I don’t want to jump through hoops just to get the stats, but I do want traffic to obtain regular readers that I can connect with. It’s all so confusing to me about how to get that done.

    I really enjoy blogging, but I do feel the pressure sometimes and start to feel like a blogging loser if I don’t get comments for days on end. I know I’m still a rookie blogger and that maybe the comments will come with time and persistence, but sometimes I feel like I’m a small business owner trying to “compete” for attention with mega-corporations!

    Thanks for the post, and Happy New Year!
    Julie recently posted..Friday Favorites: Water BottleMy Profile

    • Ah yes. Comments. I always enjoy the interaction and wish more people would join in conversations! but most people are silent. Don’t let the sound of crickets discourage you though.

  9. Hi, Melissa! oh, girl that is the big question, still after all these years. How to keep that balance without going crazy. As you know, I am about to hit my 5 years blogoversery and you were one of those I met that first year. I’m happy we have both survived and thrived & while still fun & exciting, it is changing that is for sure. I’m in the process of writing my Blog story & just posted Part 2 yesterday. How it has changed in those years! We all have to find out our journey with balance and planning and yes, living life as it comes. I have had no choice but to keep living my mixed up life this year & blogging has gone right along with all the changes I faced in 2011. I personally am looking forward to the new year & what 2012 has to hold. It’s exciting and the possibilities are wide open! xoxo

  10. This really comes handy… I’ve been blogging for about three years now, just kind of casually, to show fellow COOKIE decorators my work and admire theirs. I found out I have a good group of followers so I been blogging regularly and with clear intent of growing it.
    Your post is a reminder of things that really matter when dealing with time… thank you!
    Happy New Year!
    Bea recently posted..Thank you! Gracias!My Profile

  11. Hi Melissa!
    Good post!
    I have been blogging 22 months, and when I started blogging, I determined that I would only blog to glorify God and encourage women in their homemaking.
    Stats, Pinterest, sponsors, conferences?
    Meh.
    I blog about life, I don’t live to blog.
    Sure, I watch the trends and rises and falls of “blogland”, but I’m not worried about what the other gals are doing, but rather, learn from them–glean the good stuff about home making and life and leave the rest.
    I learn a lot from YOU!! I appreciate you!
    HUGS!
    ~Leslie
    Leslie, the Home Maker recently posted..Christmas Day Home Tour 2011My Profile

  12. What a great post Melissa! In fact, I’m bookmarking it so I can read it again. I have been blogging for about a year and half and I’m still trying to figure it all out. More importantly, I’m still trying to be sure that I’m staying true to myself and not getting caught up in all of it. To be honest, finding that balance is hard. But at the end of the day, being true to yourself really is what it’s all about! Thanks so much for sharing some thoughts on the subject!

  13. Thank you so much for this. I started my blog recently as a fun project since I read a lot of food blogs. But then I also did get caught up in the hoopla and signing up everywhere to see if I could get more readers. But in the end it became a job and stressful and took time away from my family. I have a full time job, a husband and 2 small children. As much I the life of a successful blogger looks glamorous and fun, I have to step back and see what is important. I have a good life and am happy with it, so that is what is important. I have cut back on blogging and am less stressed now. I will continue to share with the world, but at a different pace. You have a beautiful blog and I will continue to come visit when I have time.
    Carole recently posted..Red Velvet Cake BallsMy Profile

  14. Your insight is so right on, Malissa! I think that blogging has changed so much in the past few years-and it really has become more of a popularity and numbers game. Everyone wants to glean some sort of gratification from her blog, whether it’s large numbers in the comments/followers column or glowing praises in comments. It’s human nature to want our egos stroked, but there are a lot of “big heads” out there who fancy themselves at the top of the food chain. We aren’t in junior high anymore and this isn’t the movie, “Mean Girls.” There is a niche for each and everyone of us, and we should strive to fit in just as we do in our everyday relationships. I hope to do this by trying to stay true to myself. Thanks for allowing me to vent!
    Sue recently posted..A Vintage Photo Christmas VignetteMy Profile

  15. This was perfect for me this morning. I love that you put this all out there and how competitive all this has become. We all love the satisfaction of getting hits, follower and pins but focusing on the actual fun that is blogging should be the primary purpose. Thanks again. This was very insightful.
    Anna recently posted..A very special baby shower – DIY decorMy Profile

  16. Great post and surely you are doing it right as you have a very successful blog.

    As for me, my only goal was to grow my blog by 100 followers this year. I didn’t reach that goal but I did add about 50 new followers. I don’t spend a lot of time on my blog and I post when I find something interesting to post about.

    I do want to grow my blog (I’ve been blogging since May 2008)and direct more traffic to it in 2012. Not sure what direction my blog will take but I know I will need to dedicate more time to it if I want to see the rewards.

    I think your blog is interesting and I always learn something from it. Each person is a treat to read.

    I wish you and your family a happy new year and many more successful years of blogging!
    Elaine recently posted..Christmas Light PoliceMy Profile

  17. Timely words – fitly spoken. We all wrestle with this. The doubled-edged nature of blogging is the instant success and ever-changing nature of social media. I find the evolution process fascinating! Keeping the balance is an everyday process for me.
    I’ve been blogging for 2 years, just launched a 2nd blog and help my husband with his fathers devo blog.
    I’m with you – LOVE it all! I haven’t ventured into money making at this point – still weighing by options there.
    The Inspired Room was one of the first blogs I read – still do and recommend you to others.
    Thanks for starting strong – may we all end strong.
    Debi recently posted..Everlasting NoelMy Profile

  18. Love this post. It’s hard not to feel the pressure to do it all and be everything to everybody in Blogworld. And you’re so right about how things have changed over the years! Blogging seemed so much simpler when I started mine on a whim in 2008.

    In 2012 I’m determined to BREATHE more and spend less time online. I want to simplify my blogging life a little, too. I’m removing the privately sponsored ads from my site, for instance, so I no longer have to send all those emails and deal with billing and account-keeping for them at the end of each month.

    Wishing you all the best–and more blogging success–in the new year, Melissa! :)
    Julia recently posted..The Top 20 “House Stories” of 2011My Profile

  19. I’ve been blogging on and off for about a year. In the beginning it was an outlet, a way to connect with fellow bloggers I had been following for years.

    As I continued, I began to get caught up in the numbers and would check my stats daily. I joined Twitter and began connecting with even more people there. I would get discouraged when my blog wouldn’t get a certain number of hits or I wouldn’t get any comments on a post that I thought was really good. I sometimes wish there weren’t such pressure to have a fancy DSLR camera with which to take flawless pictures. The pictures on my Smartphone look just fine and definitely get the point across. It never bothered me before that I wasn’t an awesome photographer, but the blogging world has alerted me to my deficiencies. Not to mention the thinking every second…I should have taken a picture of my dinner/activity/whatever before the moment passed. Too much thinking, not enough living.

    And then I remembered…blogging is about documenting my journey. A time capsule of memories for myself. If others choose to follow me on the journey, so be it. If not, that’s fine too. I love to write and blogging is an excellent outlet for that.

    Thanks so much for your thoughts on this issue!

  20. Found this fascinating…

    Your post is for “the big bloggers” more than little ole me who could care less about driving traffic back to my blog. I do not make my living blogging. If I did, I’d be far more interested in the numbers I’m sure. I don’t tweet, twitter, facebook, heck, I just added followers this year. Wishing you, my dear, a wonderful new year of blogging and may your desire to remain intentional and available for your family and friends be blessed.
    Vee recently posted..Tea and Mug Cozy and an Offer Easily RefusedMy Profile

    • I think there bloggers of all sizes who deal with these things on different levels or at different places in their blogging journey. That is the cool thing about blogging though…it can be unique for everyone!

  21. I’ve been blogging for almost 4 years. I have the same issues about all this. In the time I’ve been blogging, my numbers have grown. Our income has dropped in the last 2 years, so I recently started to include ads on my blog. BlogHer ads pay money each time there is a hit on the blog. So I blog daily. Blogging has always been a joy for me, still is, but it is also hard work. I have a twitter account but frankly, never use it. I have the same competitive nature as everyone, but I also have to have a life. And I will catch myself being online too much. So I’m looking for balance, as well.

    Thanks for a great post!
    Claudia recently posted..WordsMy Profile

  22. I hear ya! I’ve been blogging for just over a year, and for some reason found myself feeling encouraged and discouraged at that mark. I felt like I had come a long way in a year- but then kept finding “newer” blogs that somehow had 10x (or more!) the readership as mine, and just wanted to know the secret! I feel like I can spend a ton of time on things like FB/twitter/commenting/guest post query-ing and get little to no return…and then do something as simple as post to a popular link party and see more hits than I ever imagined.

    For me the balance is time driven, not results driven. I can’t set a goal like “get this many new followers” but I can commit to 3 comments on new blogs, 1 link party, 1 RT by myself, etc each day- and then just be happy with whatever small return I see from it. I try to remember that I should focus my energy on only the things I have control over. I can control the effort I put out, but can’t control what the universe gives back to me…so I set limits on the energy that I put out and try not to obsess over the results.
    AlexisAnne recently posted..Bedroom makeover #2My Profile

  23. I’ve been blogging four years the last day of this month, the last day of this year. I got divorced recently, and it was a very difficult year overall. But blogging helped me get through all that, because it is therapeutic for me. And because the readers gave me strength. I will say that I don’t do Facebook, Twitter, or any of the other things you mentioned. I do enjoy Pinterest, as I’m very visual. Personally, I can’t imagine how bloggers have time for all these other social formats. It would send me round the bend. I stick to blogging, and I stay sane. And I think that is much of the reason why. Being spread too thin is insanity.
    Brenda
    Brenda Kula-Pruitt recently posted..Welcome Wagon Friday 12/28/11My Profile

  24. I’m glad you’re sharing this! I am not a blogger. I am a blog follower, though. My GoogleReader is full of dozens and nearly hundreds of blogs that I read. Some I scan for the pretty photos. Some I read for the content. I enjoy them like I would a nice glossy magazine or a good book from the library. They make my life more full and inspire me to live more beautifully and more intentionally. That said, I encourage you to keep inspiring me! If you inspire me, you’ll inspire many and that will turn the wheel for you naturally. Those who force the wheel to turn grow dull in their posts quickly. Trust me. I’ve deleted them.

    • Thank you….those are great points! I lose interest too when I see bloggers trying too hard for numbers over just being genuine. It is a tricky balance!

  25. I have been blogging for 2 years, and started my blogs as a means of communicating with my customers and clients. If you are knowledgeable and passionate about what you do, then you’ll add meaning to the lives of your readers. You do end up wishing there were more hours in your day, especially if you make the products you sell, run a storefront, belong to Artisan groups, and so on. Then there’s your Facebook page and Twitter…and ..your laundry..and dishes..and the 5000 emails in your Inbox..and the 30 mins. of walking every day..and your family..and the dog…and your Bookwork if you have a business…well you get the picture. In the end, it’s all worth it!!
    Camille recently posted..The reason for the season..! Camellia’s , Thunder BayMy Profile

  26. I love this. I’ve had my own blog for only 6 months and it didn’t take me long to realize how easily you can get sucked into looking at numbers, waiting for comments, trying to find the best link parties and doing everything you can to get traffic. And a lot of people don’t want to admit it, but it does become competitive. There are days I’m discouraged when I see new blogs sky rocket to the top and I wonder what THEY are doing. But most days I’m completely at peace with the pace things are moving for me. I blog because I enjoy it and because it’s a creative outlet for me. Putting all of those ‘complicated’ things aside, I love blogging and it has made a really positive impact on my life.

    I’ve learned to set boundaries with blogging. I check mail periodically throughout the day and at nap time and then do 95% of my blogging at night after my family goes to bed. That’s ‘my time’ and then I don’t feel like I’m cutting into family time and I’m not missing out on anything.

    Thank you again for posting this. I’ve always loved your blog and love that you are another NW/Seattle blogger :)

    Have a great new year!
    Taryn recently posted..Christmas TutuMy Profile

  27. Love this post Melissa. I had decided my theme for 2012 is living with intention not perfection. So interesting you are talking about intention! I have been blogging for a couple of years, and it has taken till now to really love it. Where the writing is flowing and easy because it is my perspective and heart. Loving it means keeping it simple,putting on some blinders, and not participating in everything that comes my way. The biggest reason I really love blogging now is because I feel I have found my unique voice, and mission for blogging in the first place. It took a while to get there. This place has nothing to do with numbers or how big my blog is, but like you said the intention behind why I do it. If I ever lose sight of the why then I can get discouraged.

    Thanks again for your post!
    Denise In Bloom recently posted..Merry Christmas From Denise In Bloom!My Profile

  28. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!
    I started blogging March 2008 and this past summer I posted for the last time. I do miss “the ole days” when you visited about a dozen fellow bloggers and had a cyber relationship, now I feel it is about the number of hits and how do you reply to so many great bloggers.
    I wish you great success in finding the “Blog Balance”.
    Happy NewYear!

  29. Great post. I’m a newbie blogger as of this spring and already the balance is a daily thought. You’ve made a lot of good points and observations. I think, even outside of blog world, we all struggle with the same inner conversations. The never ending self-criticism of, Am I doing enough? No matter the circumstance or situation.
    Here’s to finding peace, happiness and balance in the new year!
    Mindy recently posted..Annual Christmas Gift ExchangeMy Profile

  30. Melissa,
    Have you been reading my mind?
    I’ve been blogging since 2006 but it was only for fmaily and a small group of friends.

    Then I opened a couple of Etsy stores and got to know some folks – virtually – and I really liked it. I started to blog about the wonderful things my friends were up to and I enjoyed it.

    Then I committed to the 31 Days Series – 31 Minutes to a More Organized Life – and it changed my world. Suddenly people were reading, and a few were even commenting!

    Now, I’m writing many days a week and loving it. (And, comments make me smile.)

    As long as I’m having fun, and people are (hopefully) reading, and occasionally commenting, I’ll keep blogging away.
    Dana at Cooking at Cafe D recently posted..Martini Madness 3: The Minty MarshmallowMy Profile

  31. Hey Melissa, I enjoyed this post very much and love all the responses too! I started blogging around 2008 for what seems like a strange reason. We had just done an expansion to our business. It was a pretty large and obvious expansion. Suddenly I felt that people I knew had started treating me like I was somehow differently. I thought “If only they knew me a little better, they would realize that I’m just the same old me I have always been”. And so I started blogging about what life was like behind that big greenhouse facade they saw every time they drove past my place. I always try to post in the positive. I always want to count my blessings. I really want to rejoice with my friends in a Life Well Lived.

    The end result off all this blogging? People I knew long ago dare to call and visit when they are in town. Aunts and Uncles call or facebook with encouraging words. Peoplle I have never met chat with my family about what’s going on at my place. They are excited about what we do and share that excitement with me in many different ways!

    Now THAT’S an amazing blog stat that I could never have imagined. Can you believe it?!

    Thanks for your post today! Love how you keep all these things in perspective for us.
    Tamara recently posted..Christmas Eve at My HouseMy Profile

  32. Great post Melissa. I will have been blogging 3 years this February (Feb 2009). At the time I had no idea I would still be doing this almost 600 followers later. While I do try my best to stay as up to date as I can (considering my technical abilities and with my rather tight do-it-myself budget) mine is certainly not a big enough blog to be competitive. I blog because I enjoy it and because I enjoy meeting and visiting with other bloggers. Oh, and for all the great inspiration and ideas. That doesn’t mean that I don’t look at my stats often, just that I know that being a mom, wife, full time employee etc. have got to come first. Despite how busy ‘real life’ is I do still crave a creative way of earning more money and possibly tying the business into my blog, but I am stumped as to where to go with that. Thanks to you and your readers for sharing some insight, and all the best in 2012!
    Elizabeth recently posted..A Ruffled Drop Cloth PillowMy Profile

  33. I am new in this blog world, as of Sept. 2011, and sometimes my head wants to explode. I read about stumbleupon, tumbler, and some of this other stuff and I just say to myself “what are they talking about?”. I’m just trying to get the basics. I would love to make money at this but sometimes I wonder if I should just relax and let this whole thing just unfold to be whatever it’s going to be. I don’t want to do anything that is not a joy to me. I’m trying to increase traffic to my blog and sometimes I’d love to have a fellow blogger to give me some feed back on how to improve my blog because I really don’t know what I’m doing. So feel free to look at my blog and give some feed back on what I should do differently. I do appreciate what you’ve written and it is very helpful. Thanks

    • michelle

      i read your comment
      and stopped by your blog

      i think
      that when we start out
      we all want to make money
      and generate those big follower numbers immediately

      the truth is
      building a blog following
      is really similar to building any sort of community

      it just takes time and perseverance

      here’s a blog
      that has been extremely helpful to me
      in figuring out html and design aspects of my blog
      http://www.sneakymommablogdesign.com/

      also
      if you don’t have Photoshop
      you can download Picasa for free
      in order to edit photos

      just a couple of tips
      but i hope they help

      welcome to the wide and wonderful world of blogging!

      alison
      Stuff and Nonsense recently posted..Fridays Unfolded #47My Profile

  34. thoughtful stuff here

    your post really resonated with me
    since i’ve contemplated many of these things
    over the past 2 years of blogging

    the truth is
    i struggle with blogger envy
    (yes, i really said that out loud)

    i’d love to run out and buy that
    ‘blogger’ camera
    aka dslr

    but it just isn’t in my budget these days

    and i don’t have photoshop
    (gasp!)
    for the same reason

    and i haven’t been to any conferences
    and so on
    and so forth

    and i do sometimes get caught up
    in my numbers
    (how do those bloggers go from 150 Pinterest followers
    to 700 overnight???)

    however
    when i’m feeling green
    and thinking that
    i’ll just never be the success that i dream of
    i am reminded that
    as long as i’m still enjoying
    the creative aspect of writing
    crafting
    decorating
    and sharing
    than i need to find contentment in those things

    thank you for sharing your thoughts
    and reminding me
    why i started this virtual journal
    in the first place.

    alison
    Stuff and Nonsense recently posted..Fridays Unfolded #47My Profile

  35. I love this post and thank you for writing it.
    I started blogging in 2008 with the intention of blogging about interior design (a profession I left to stay at home with my son). Soon, I found that I was writing about our family, my baby and my daily life as a mom. So, I started a second blog for just family and friends about our daily happenings since we live far away from any family. So, I tried to maintain both, but found that eventually I wanted to consolidate into one…and that is how my blog http://homeiswhatyoumakeit.com came to be. I write, like many others, about my kids, crafting, design, and many other interests of mine.
    My main reason to blog is to keep family up to date and keep my creative juices flowing after leaving my career in interior design. It is hard to keep a balance and not get caught up in numbers, who’s who, and wanting to be more. However, I am happiest when I just focus on having fun and doing what I like to do!
    I need to remember that in 2012!
    Thanks again for this post!
    stephany recently posted..{best of 2011} through the rearviewMy Profile

  36. I LOVE this post! Could totally relate to it, and I’ve only been blogging for 6 months! It’s so easy to get wrapped up in it all – the numbers, the pins, the pageviews, and I got a little too wrapped up in it when I first started, but now I’m realizing exactly what you wrote. I started my blog as an outlet for my creativity, hopefully inspire some people; NOT to turn into something that consumes my life. Once I made that realization, I’ve enjoyed it so much more. Thank you so very much for this excellent post – yours was one of the very first blogs I followed, and enjoy it so much!

  37. Melissa this is a wonderful post. I just started blogging. I have a one year old daughter and I’m a stay at home mom, and I was looking for an outlet to show my home and talk about the things that I think about. I’m just growing my blog, so we are in completely different places. But I have to remind myself of my real goals, to be a wonderful mother and wife first. I think the hardest thing for me is getting sucked into reading so much great content, and always having my mind thinking about what I could write. It’s a very creative and wonderful place to be, but I also want more to be present and intentional. I just plan to try to learn how to balance better, just like everyone else right? Thanks for writing and sharing.

  38. thank you for this post! i think i will be digging in and working through the comments :).

    i’ve been blogging for three years. i think?

    the anchor for me has to be staying true to my own voice. once i let numbers and growth take too much attention, i start to lose who i am which is really the only unique thing about my blog.

    that said, i think growth shouldn’t be ignored. but. i like to think about it like community. who can i connect with? then it feels valuable and real and less hollow. but that also takes risk and i think many people forget that. the bigger bloggers that i love risk being vulnerable.
    ellen recently posted..my secret.My Profile

  39. I think it all comes down to the fact that it’s addictive.
    Like all addictive behavior, you need to be able to pull back and really understand why you’re checking every few minutes or whatever the case may be. There is no ultimate satisfaction. It leaves you wanting more.

  40. I’ve just been blogging since Spring and wanted to do it to update my distant family and friends on our lives and maybe connect with people that share my experiences. I quickly got caught up in all the social media, making it beautiful, an obsessing over hits and comments and all that. It caused some strains in friendships that may never be repaired, it cost me hours of my own personal time, and eventually I woke up and wondered where my original intentions had gone. I asked myself if I was just trying to stand out in the “sea of blogs” or if I was really truly saying something. I ended up writing a post about my grandpa and his life with dementia. I got more hits than I ever had or have again. I learned an important lesson that day, took a step back, and thought again about what I wanted to do, what I wanted to say, and what it was worth to me. It’s definitely not worth friendships or family time and if I’m not truly speaking from my heart on subjects that really mean something to me, I will never be fulfilled by this. I realized that I don’t need to be successful in this. I actually have a job as a nurse that I love very much. I do, however, want to express myself in writing, a medium I love, and in that, laugh with others, mourn and celebrate with them, and use this method to connect with a lot of different kinds of people. I really appreciate your insights and those of the bloggers who have commented here. Thank you for your transparency and for sharing this with us!

  41. Hi Melissa, I just stumbled across your blog today, and decided to subscribe because you intrigued me so much. I just started my blog in Feb 2011 and then again in June 2011 and really have not made much of an effort to keep it current. I thought I would use it to promote my Memory Works scrapbook consulting, but find that I love creating more than blogging. With the new year about to open, I am thinking about what direction to take with this blog. I am all about balance and would love to spend more time uploading my pics and making video tutorials, but I just don’t think I can commit to much of that. I don’t mind NOT having traffic at all. I have done NOTHING to promote the blog, and so it really is just a personal thing. When I get all worried that I have to add to it, I end up completely apathetic about it and instead of being driven to write, I end up completely ignoring it. Which is why there have not been any new posts in a number of months.
    Oh well, I will keep reading your blog, and maybe make some attempts at updating mine soon, but I refuse to be guilted into it or to give up my family, work, or crafting time for it. Thanks for your thoughts about being intentional. My word for 2012 is REFINE, but it may not apply to the blog–only time will tell!

  42. This is a wonderful blog post. A lot of folks blog merely for the pleasure of blogging. Its a bit like show and tell for adults.
    As for the blogs that are seeking numbers and stats, I usually weed them out and take them off my read list.
    Bloggers who make their day old posts show up as new posts every few hours are history, its so annoying!!! I’ve also grown weary of bloggers who just repin photos from pinterest and constantly use other peoples photos. Orginal content less frequently is more appealing to me. I rarely even look at blog give aways anymore, they just seem like gimicks to get numbers up.
    I usually only comment with regularity on the blogs that do not advertise now.
    All that said I do enjoy your blog, thanks for blogging and inspiring me!

  43. Thank you Melissa for your insight. I started my blog in very late 2010 for the mere reason that I just love to write and share. I’m that person any day of the year that would rather watch someone open a gift that I poured thought into then be watched opening a gift. Someone told me when I started my blog to write what I want to write and enjoy it. I work a full week outside the home so I don’t want to spend every other free moment worrying about blogging. If I can link to a party I’m happy but I truly don’t have the hours in a day to make it a full-time job. I know some do and I admire them as they do it well. But for now, I’m still trying to find my groove and along the way if someone likes what I share I consider it a bonus,
    Renee recently posted..Favorite 2011 Project and CraftsMy Profile

  44. Love to get perspective from a seasoned blogger. Thanks so much for sharing. I really enjoyed reading your thoughts. My main goal when I started blogging was to experience a community of other women who like to do what I like to do, decorate! I figured I would join in on the fun everyone was having. It’s only been a few months but I have found it to be very welcoming. I enjoy exchanging ideas & tips, while getting buckets of inspiration. I had no expectations. I figured I would basically be blogging to myself, but I was okay with that. I certainly had no intention of getting wrapped up in how many followers my blog had, I did not expect to have any. The people who have decided to hang out with me have been a blessing and a great, big surprise I never expected. I also have a facebook page for my blog and I must admit, I play there a lot. I have so much fun and really enjoy all the banter. It’s so easy to share, post and chat there. I feel like I really get to connect and that means a lot to me. I look forward to seeing what 2012 brings.
    Shannon Fox recently posted..Readers Choice "Top Ten" for 2011My Profile

  45. The possibilities of the internet are exciting now-a-days!
    This post is just what I needed to hear at this time in my blogging life.

    First time blogger, here!

    I started a brand new blog this November. I look at it as a hobby that explains my hobbies. But lately I’ve had to be careful and not let it consume so much of my time.

    It’s quite remarkable to see your numbers rise because of a facebook share or pin on pinterest….almost to the point that stats become the main goal/obsession. I think that having the “stats goal” is a good thing(and exciting!), but I also need to keep telling myself that good content (funny, touching, interesting, crafty, feel good content) is the main goal.

    Thanks for the input and advise! :)

  46. Melissa, You struck a chord with me today. Your comments are similar to what I would like to share with others in April.

    It seems that everyday there is a new “tool” that “helps” us communicate. I use them. I love them (sometimes), but who can keep up? Not to mention it seems that with every new application available, we are taken farther from REAL interaction.

    I remember when I first started working in social media, we’d talk about how over the fence conversations like our parents used to have were now online – one click away. We were all so proud of our efforts…

    Today, I just want to live in a neighborhood where the neighbors are all friends and I care as much about the mom down the street as the one three states away…

    Having said that, I love the friends I have developed online and I am passionate about what I do…I just wonder. Wouldn’t it be nice if we all stepped back and took the time to leave a comment rather than just hitting the “like” or “pin” button. It’s something that’s on my list of goals for 2012.

    xoxo
    Tauni recently posted..SNAP! SpeakersMy Profile

  47. Esther Glick says:

    i LOVE this! what i like about blogging is meeting others in other places beside my own little world. taking pics has given me a new perception of life. in the short time i’ve been blogging, it’s easy to be dissatisfied w/ what we have & the constant need to change this & tweak that. i LIKE change but not at the expense of peace w/ my loved ones. & the driving need to be known by the blog famous at the expense of our own gifts is sad to see! thank you for writing this!

  48. Melissa… it is so great that you took the time to put your thoughts about this “issue” into words & shared it with everyone. I just began blogging about a year & half ago. I had lost my full time position as an interior designer in a firm & was starting out on my own as an independent designer. I thought that blogging would be a great was to share my perspectives on design, while also growing my potential client base & my peer group, which I love to share ideas & thoughts with. What I didn’t realize is that in order to be successful at blogging, it seems that you have to really spend most of your life promoting yourself… I knew that I would have to make an effort to make myself known in the blogosphere, but did not grasp that it would require a rather aggressive approach & would feel in some ways like a popularity contest. I am sorry to report that I have not become one of the “popular girls.” My blog is indeed very important to me & I would love to know that when I share my thoughts & ideas, there is someone out there that is listening & looking! But I seem to be blogging in a vacuum. I still update my blog with posts that I feel have significance, & will continue to do so to express myself. But when you described in your post that you had to question how many blog conferences, & other numbers games, you have to play/participate in to keep up… it made me feel comforted to know that I am not alone in what I have observed (not that I am anywhere near on the same scale as you… nor do I want anyone to feel the anxiety!). Anyway… thanks for your continued openness! I am truly a fan:)
    Katherine Hawkins recently posted..Gift Of The Four SeasonsMy Profile

  49. Hi Melissa! You have such good posts about real life crapola! :) I mean, your other posts are good to but I really enjoy the ones (and your latest ebook) about all the other “stuff” that goes on in the blogosphere. I only have been blogging for four months and fortunately, I don’t do it for the money. Good thing, because it seems that the competition is fierce and I wonder how a newbie would even “get in the game”! Although, a wise blogger recently suggested adsense for my blog so I did it and made $4!!! I was was like, holy smokes, if I could make just $25 a month that would pay for my trips to Dunkin Donuts! yay! :) I love my new friends I have made blogging! I actually don’t really care (I probably shouldn’t say this, so hopefully it doesn’t come out wrong) if my little ol’ blog grows because I really just like hanging out in the blogosphere chatting it up and making new friends and if they by chance find me or my blog interesting, cool, an added bonus! Don’t get me wrong, I do get excited if my little friend connect increases and I do want my blog to look “presentable” b/c I am an OCD nut about stuff like that but it’s not the end of the world if doesn’t grow like a weed. Good stuff Melissa! :) Happy New Year!
    jessica recently posted..Four Generations One Roof in Four Months ~ 2011 Recap!My Profile

  50. I love this post and you prompted me look at my blog, I’ve been blogging for four years now…4! That’s crazy to me :) I started the blog just to keep my family up to date on our crazy life. My blog has evolved since then, but honestly the numbers don’t really interest me…I guess it’s just not about that. I blog because I have things to say and I pray that others are encouraged through them. I do it for the enjoyment of it..and that’s all there is too it :) Maybe in a different life season I could work on “growing” my blog but for now I’m happy where it is :)
    Gina recently posted..Christmas on Purpose: wrapping up, recent news, and unpluggingMy Profile

  51. Awesome post and I really enjoyed reading other people’s take on it. I’ve been blogging for about 1 1/2 years. Just in that short time I’ve seen a change in blogging. More people just blogging for money. Period. Instead of loving writing, taking photos, etc and then finding money in it later on down the road. It’s almost like it’s the new Amway or Tupperware (no offence to Amway or Tupperware people, my Mom used to sell Tupperware).

    I do find it hard to get noticed with all the other blogs out there. I do not want to post a wild, crazy, out of this world post just to get noticed, because I don’t feel that is being authentic. I do post on Twitter and Facebook, but really don’t have the time to do it all that well. So I guess that is where I say enough is enough. I can’t be on my computer all day and still be “present” in my life with my husband and son.

  52. Such great points you make in this post. I’ve been blogging 5 1/2 years now and find it can be so easy to get sucked in to all the things I “should” be doing. Every other day there are list posts telling me to do x,y and z if I want to have a successful blog. The problem is if I did all those things my family life would definitely suffer and so I tune most of it out and dance to the beat of my own drum. Sure my blog hasn’t grown as fast as it probably could have but I’m okay with that. Sometimes I feel bad about certain things like when I can’t answer my email within a reasonable amount of time or comment on the many awesome posts I read (I’m the worst!). I’m still trying to figure out how to alleviate the guilt on that one.

    The one other thing I do though that keeps me from getting in over my head is obsess about my stats. I rarely check them, maybe only once every 3 or 4 months so I can update my advertise page. What a world of difference it makes. It’s not productive for me and I don’t need the stress.

    I also don’t participate on Twitter that much but I do enjoy Facebook.

    Bottom line is everyone needs to do what’s right for them and not worry so much about doing it “all” but rather maybe pick 2 or 3 things to concentrate on and do those things really well.

    Happy New Year!

    Laura
    Laura recently posted..52 Weeks: #52 Congratulations and Planning for the New YearMy Profile

  53. Interesting post. I’ve been blogging 3 1/2 years. My previous blog, A New England Life, started out small. When I quit posting on it this fall I had advertising, and anywhere from 30-60 comments per post. It was to much. I felt overwhelmed.

    Now I have my new blog which is much more personal and it feels like home. No advertising, just honest, fun photography. I don’t know how the more well known bloggers like yourself keep going day in and day out. But I say all the power to you! I love all the diversity. It’s like looking at magazines without buying a thing. Blogging has made me realize just how much women rock not to mention how damn smart they really are : )
    Sharon recently posted..JoyMy Profile

  54. Wow, I thought I was the only who felt that way!! I’ve been blogging regularly since 2009, and I felt so great about it early on. I could keep up with comments and I felt like I was getting to know my audience. Now, there are soooo many blogs out there clamoring for attention, you have to shout (or link up to 56 blog parties) to be noticed. I don’t like that feeling. I wish everyone would just slow down a little bit and enjoy the community aspect. I want and need to grow my blog just as much as the next person, but I don’t want to do it at the expense of my sanity or my family’s well-being. :)

  55. I’ve been blogging for 6 years now and watched my blog “audience” grow slowly but steadily. I even made some friends in the process. I started blogging as a way for people to get to “know” me in relation to my online quilt shop, but it wasn’t all about business. It was fun then, in the early days, but has increasingly become work and feels very competitive. I’ve discovered my own real life again as I backed away from the computer. I don’t get many comments any more and when I do, it’s from my steadfast “friends.” I don’t visit nearly as many blogs as I used to either, partly because I don’t want to spend my time that way, but also because a lot of them became way too “commercial” and I rarely leave comments. Unless you blog for a “job/living” I don’t think you should worry about stats. Just enjoy what you do and do it for yourself as if no one reads it. Relax, enjoy life, and have fun!
    Terri recently posted..Happy Holidays to all!My Profile

  56. Thank you, Melissa for this post. The timing is perfect for me!

    I have been blogging since 2004 (although my earliest posts no longer appear in my blog). For most of the past 7 years, my blog has been about my hobby (cross-stitch); it’s only in the past year that I’ve started reading non-cross stitch blogs, and when I picked up a copy of “Artful Blogging” a few months back, I became hooked on all kinds of gorgeous blogs. I decided that I wanted to focus more on learning to take gorgeous pictures, and so decided to take a step back and re-focus. In the meantime, I’ve continued to read blogs for inspiration etc.

    I’m not about the number of followers I have, or stats (I can’t remember the last time I looked at my stats!). I don’t advertise, and I’ve never linked up to any kind of party (I wouldn’t even know how to do it!), but what I’ve discovered in the past couple of months is that although I want to continue to blog, and grow my own blog, I’m not just going to mindless follow blogs, and comment for the sake of commenting. I’d rather feel connected to my readers. I stopped reading a number of blogs when I realized that although I was often the only person who commented on many blog posts, some authors couldn’t even take the time to acknowledge that I was commenting. I don’t want to turn into that kind of person.

    I understand it when a blog is hugely popular, and receives tons of comments on a daily basis, but if you only receive one comment a day, how difficult is it to respond to that commenter? I don’t want to lose sight of why I’m blogging – because I enjoy the interaction with like minded women.

    Here’s to a happy medium in blogging, and to a wonderful 2012!

    • I love the interaction too, it is hard sometimes to respond or comment to everyone and I certainly can’t do it all either, but when there is a back and forth discussion in the comments, that is what makes it fun!

  57. Brazilliant reflection my friend, oh I could go on an on and on. I wish we were sitting over margaritas like we did in NY that night. Oh I think you’re so right, what starts as a hobby and hopefully a passion can quickly morph into a wierd competition where you choose to be online caught up in some numbers game rather than living your life and my favorite bloggers are the ones who do (and write about) the latter.

    You really have to decide where you want to invest your time and then call it a day cause let’s face it: a year from now it won’t matter that you busted out one more project or post and killed yourself to photograph it perfectly. What WILL matter are those moments you chose to serve your family and keep your priorities focused on them.
    amen sister, miss you,
    Kate

    • Amen amen amen. Miss you too Kate!!!

    • birdsandsoap says:

      Yes!
      I am new to blogging (1st year greenhorn) and I Initially started after a little encouragement from my husband to carve out a little space for myself aside from my life as a stay at home mom.
      I was really enjoying pouring myself into writing, sharing things I am passionate about, and participating in a few little linky parties here and there. I found my little Stat page and to my surprise, I had visitors. I built a bed and posted about it, linked up, and started getting a little attention.
      That was when the monster was created. The drive to produce
      more posts, more pictures, link up. Shift my focus; less talk, more tips… sponsors, giveaways, stats.
      Needless to say, I am overwhelmed. This awesome thing I started has now become a source of stress.
      So what did I do? I quit. I’m on hiatus till I can get my heart right.
      I am now going through what I like to call the “Blog Guilt” phase. This is where I feel bad for all of the projects and events I have not posted since my absence from the blogosphere.
      It is a total heart issue for me…I struggle with contentness daily in my personal life and I know that my heart is not aligned with God’s will when I get all wound up trying to force something that in all actuality wasn’t intended for that purpose anyway. If blogging isn’t blessing my family (whether that be time, energy, or mommy’s mental health, haha.) then I guess I don’t need it.

  58. Love this post Melissa!! I am a newbie blogger, just at it for 10 months, in that time I have learned a lot! Mostly from so many wonderful professional bloggers like yourself. At first I blogged because I liked the community of so many talented women interested in the same things as me. One thing I never considered is the friendship and networking, and awesome ideas I would learn from so many like yourself! As of now I’m not getting caught up in the numbers, or business side of it, I have just decided to enjoy the ride……..
    Noelle recently posted..Picture Perfect!My Profile

    • That is exactly how I got started and I think that is the best way to do it. If you want to evolve in time to more, you can. That is the beauty of blogging, you can carve your own path and do it YOUR way. :-)

  59. Another perfect example of why I love reading your blog! I have only been blogging a little over a year but read blogs for a year or so before that. I can see the changes you are talking about. Sometimes I feel the pressure and think I should be doing more or adding another feature to my blog or writing more frequently…but then I don’t think I would enjoy it as much. I get the most enjoyment out of reading other blogs and getting great ideas as much as I enjoy sharing my own. Where else can you share an obsession about decorating and home projects with people who as equally obsessed?!! But I agree with your observations and I really don’t know where blogging is heading. I guess the people who truly love it will keep doing it and the people who get into it for other reasons will get bored and move on to something else! Anyway, I love to read your opinions and have always enjoyed your blog! Best wishes for 2012!
    -Shelley
    Shelley recently posted..My Favorite Posts for 2011My Profile

  60. I’ve been blogging since 2008 I believe and I do not blog for income. Mine is a sharing my life with extended family around the country and around the world, things I’m thinking about, learning,etc…

    I have found a nice niche of friends online – I blog pretty regularly, and enjoy it but if I miss a day or two I don’t worry about it.

    When something becomes a burden, it is time to reevaluate what your doing, and see if the Lord is in it!

  61. Thanks for this post, Melissa. I’ve been following you for about 4 years now (I remember the brown background:);yours was the 1st blog I ever discovered and I have been inspired by you from day 1. From that very first post I read and then all the other blog discoveries I came across after your blog opened a new world to me, I have thought of starting my own blog. The one reason I have not in all those years was I am afraid it would consume me and take me away from my family and life obligations. And then, could I even measure up? Posts like this could just give me the resolve to go ahead and jump in (yes, I’m slow that way). But I guess you could call that intentional on my part. Anyways, thanks for all the ways you inspire, here and at incourage.

    • Thanks for your comment Faith, it was encouraging and I’m thrilled to hear you are considering blogging. I like to put the truth about what it is like out there so people know all sides of blogging, but knowing what you want out of it and what it will take is the best way to make an intentional decision to jump in and LOVE it like I do!!

  62. What a wonderfully timely post, Melissa. As we head into the new year, I’ve thought about many of these very points. What do I want from my blog? How can I keep it fresh and interesting to not only my readers but (just as importantly)to me too? Do I really have the time to devote to the kind of blog changes I’d like to implement and maintain in the new year? My list goes on and on.

    I’ve been blogging for four years (you were one of my first regular readers). You’re right the blogging population has exploded and I do think it’s harder now to continue to stand out in such a large, overwhelming crowd of lovely sites. My stats go up and down and I’ve learned not to be obsessive about the fluctuation-lol.

    It’s great to see what you’re readers have shared on this topic because I think these are issues we all mull over.

    Allow me to share with everyone a few things I employ in my blogging efforts:
    1. Blog about the things you love and truly find interesting.
    2. Pace yourself and focus on quality not quantity of posts.
    3. Include large, colorful photos if possible. We’re highly visual creatures, aren’t we?
    4. Inform or educate. I call this my “news you can use” approach to blog writing.
    5. Have fun. Try incorporting new regular segments to make your blog more fun to write. This is something I’ll be working on more this year.

    I don’t blog hop as much as I used to but it’s always a pleasure to pop by The Inspired Room to see what you’ve been up to. I love how you’ve transformed your blog over the years into an easy to navigate, inspirational, destination site.

    Take care, happy blogging and Happy New Year, Melissa!
    Lisa recently posted..That’s a WrapMy Profile

  63. I’ve been blogging under a year. For me it’s just a way to document things for my family for myself, like a new spin on a scrapbook. I really don’t care about numbers. Facebook and Pintrest are too much of distraction for me, but I understand the appeal. I’m just chugging along doin’ my own thing.
    Pam recently posted..A Little of This a Little of…My Profile

  64. I really enjoyed this post and it has made me sit back and think about what I want to achieve. I only started blogging 6 months ago and didn’t have much clue as to what I should be doing (still don’t really)! I read lots of other blogs stating what I should/shouldn’t do, how to make money etc etc which was not what I wanted to achieve. In 6 months I have picked up a handful followers and have had more page views then I thought I would. However, I haven’t had nearly as many followers as some blogs, and I was worried about this. I thought should I be doing what everyone else does, should I Tweet more, advertise etc? But your post has made me stand back form all this. I started blogging as a way to record things that have happened in my life such as travel, photography, DIY and baking. It’s a way for me to look back when I am old and see what I did (as I was always rubbish at keeping a diary). If the only people who are interested in this are some close friends and a few followers who tun into ‘e-friends’ then so be it! I’m happy with that. I’d rather have say 10 dedicated followers/friends who are interested in my thoughts and opinions than be forced into turning my blog into something I don’t want it to be. So thank you! Have a fab 2012! :)

  65. Thank you for writing this. As we are at the beginning of a new year I have been thinking about ways to change my blog, make it more interesting, improve my photos and writing, but still keep it something that I am proud of. I don’t care about the numbers or the games. When I read other blogs that get too “commercial” I lose interest and will move on to other blogs. I care about the people and the story, not about the latest giveaway. I think your post speaks exactly to this.

  66. Oh man, what a great post! First off, I love what you said about doing a few things, and doing them well, rather than trying to do all sorts of things and just doing a half way job. I started my blog the summer of 2010, right when I moved into a new house. I thought it would be all glossy and great as I got settled into my new house! Haha! Once I realized how much work blogging would actually take, I had to take a long break, to organize my real life, and once that was somewhat done, I redevoted myself to my blog. I LOVE blogging because it really does motivate me in so many ways to accomplish and create. But like others have said, once it becomes a burden, reevaluation must take place!

  67. I started my blog in the Spring of 2011. Less than a year ago!

    My husband and I started scouring thrift stores and CraigsList for furniture for our teen’s room makeover that she wanted. I wanted to document our furniture makeovers as we were complete newbies to it. I also am an avid crafter and thought I could share my hits and misses when creating new things. That was it.

    I guess I thought in the beginning that if I could make a little money while showing the world what we do, all the better. Shortly afterward I realized that I didn’t want to be concerned with the whole numbers thing. Better to just share with the world what I thought was interesting and if no one was interested in what I had to say, that was fine.

    Watching the whole stats thing on a regular basis can be stressful and who needs more stress in their lives?? Now if I check them, it’s just to see what cool places in the world I reach, not the number of people. I surf around on Pinterest occasionally, but not often. Don’t twitter, either.

    A few months ago I started having some semi-serious health issues and I have dropped off the radar a bit. I still enjoy reading my favorite blogs and finding new ones to follow. I hope to get back into blogging and have even plan to attend Haven in June. Right now I am just doing what I can when I can. It’s too cold to refurbish any furniture (we don’t have a garage or basement) and the health issues had me in the dumps and not wanting to craft. I am determined that this new year will bring a change of attitude and a renewal in my desire to craft, thrift and blog!

    Thanks so much for posting this!

    Jenny
    Jenny recently posted..Yummy Pumpkin BarsMy Profile

  68. I started blogging in May 2010~and found a whole new world of creative inspiration and fellowship among like minded women. I love blogging, and think that is the key thing for me. If I stop loving it, I will stop. When I first started it was hard not to watch my numbers grow..and want them to grow…but now it is a backburner issue. I just am writing about the stuff I love, and I am always amazed when people who aren’t bloggers send me emails telling me how much they love seeing a post from me. It feels good to connect with people who think and feel the same way. I kind of gave up twitter to some degree, as it felt more of a thing I had to do instead of loved to do, as in blogging. My klout was going up, but it felt more of a clique in twitter like in high school, where as in blogland it feels more like a kinship. So twitter is not a priority, even though all the different aspects of SM are recommended, for me, I am not going to worry about it. I do want to connect my blog to facebook and am a beginner in that department.
    amy recently posted..Shabby Chic Soho Giveaway Winner!My Profile

  69. I started my blog just over a year ago. I did it to work through my grief after the loss of our daughter. It pushed me to craft/sew/quilt. It brought me back to “life”. I love that family froup can keep up with me. I love that I can write what I have on my mind. Even my hubby says “I didn’t know that was in your head!”. And I love the documentation. I tried freelancing for a local magazine a few years back and hated the restrictions. The need to interview the companies that advertised instead of who I wanted. Instead of having to write what the editor wanted. When I stop loving blogging…I will stop. For now, I keep trucking!
    Heidi recently posted..Hawaiian QuiltMy Profile

  70. Melissa, great post. This is the second blog I read today addressing the stresses of blogging (Hooked on Houses was the other one.) I appreciate you sharing. I am a newbie. I have only been blogging since November. I got into it because I decided to take the advice I give my kids, which is to follow your passion and do what you love. Well, I am passionate about interior design and I love to write! So here I am, just getting started. I don’t even know all the terminology thrown around in the blogosphere, struggle with web design, and am still rather clueless about getting people interested in reading my blog. Already I am being sucked into stressing out about my stats. After reading your post, I am taking a deep breath. Thank you!

  71. It does get so hard and weird and competitive. I have to remind myself monthly if not weekly the grass is always greener, then ask myself “why” did I start blogging in the first place. (I started in 2009) I do, do many of the social media things, but only when I have a minute, I don’t ever plan it out or preprogram my tweets or whatever. I have no adds on my blog…but I have to admit, it would be nice to make a little denaro at some point, money was not the reason I started blogging so I have to keep that in perspective.
    I will say that I have had some pretty amazing adventures because of my blog, and met so many talented people. I have truly been blessed.
    I do wish that I could get more comments. It’s encouraging when someone comments. One of my love languages is words of encouragement. So it makea sense that I would want to hear from my readers. But you can’t force that…at least I don’t want to force it.
    I could go on and on and on, but I better stop. thanks for taking the time to write this post. I made me reflect on my “intentions”. And one of my goals this year was to be more intentional and focused about my blogging. This life isn’t all about ME. How can I use my blog to inspire, bless, and love on others. I like the word art you used and how it sayed at the end ps forgot to pray. I wonder how many bloggers pray before they blog? Many blessings to you this year Melissa! xoxox
    Sheila recently posted..Jerk Chicken over Cilantro Lime RiceMy Profile

  72. Blogging worries me a bit. I started blogging in 2007 to share updates with my family and friends. I’ve grown a little, including my sewing successes (and failures), a few crafting pieces, some recipes, etc.

    Today, I sit down to scroll through Google Reader and skip over so many blog posts because they just look too good to be real. I really don’t want to see an incredible, perfectly organized linen closet. I don’t care to see the color someone has repainted their living room for the 6th time. Everything just seems too perfect–and frankly, I’m not, so they intimidate me.

    I don’t know where blogging is headed. However, I do know where my blog is headed: Simplicity and Realness. I will post pictures of the craziness, the chaos. I will share my feelings, whatever they are. I will post unflattering pictures of myself (within reason). Those are my blogging goals this year.
    Salinda recently posted..The 2nd week of 2012My Profile

  73. I happen to see this post at the bottom of one of your current posts and was curious to read your thoughts considering you’ve been blogging for quite some time. My blog will be two years old in February. Blogging has been a great journey and I’ve learned a ton about social media and computers. I still feel I have a lot to learn, but I’m really trying to enjoy the process rather than getting wrapped up in the numbers. It can be very hard not to compare yourself to others. I majored in Journalism and started blogging to get back into writing and as a way to share my passions in life. I often have to stop and reflect on my intentions to make sure I’m staying true to myself.
    I took a break over the holidays and it felt wonderful to not be tied to my computer. My goal for 2014 is to have more of a life and work balance. I would love for my blog to continue to grow and have found that a large part of my time is spent networking with other bloggers and on social media. While I enjoy discovering other bloggers like yourself and have made some great connections it can be very time consuming and my life balance gets thrown off. Some goals I have for 2014 are to use hoot suite more, no computer after 8 pm. and to write first thing in the morning. I’m also going to limit my time checking email. Thanks for sharing your journey and I look forward to reading more of your posts.
    dawn recently posted..Why I BlogMy Profile

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