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.

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.

instagram of banana bread and coffee

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.

laugh, learn, pray, do what you love
 {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?


cheap ebook, decorating, pinterest

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?

How I decorate with memories
from vacations & special places

I have been blessed to have traveled to some lovely and memorable places in my life. I think traveling has stretched and shaped my sense of what is beautiful in this world, I am so grateful for the opportunities I have had. I am definitely inspired … ** Read more **

Summer Fun

I'm taking the day off to splash around with my son! It was blistering hot here this week! I hope you are enjoying your week and finding beauty in those fleeting moments! It is Beautiful Life Friday! Please share the beauty you savored … ** Read more **

A Winding Path

I love a garden path. Especially the curvy ones -- the  ones where you don't know what you might find around the bend! Or what about the paths that offer different directions in which to go? Should you turn left? Go down the stairs? Where does it all … ** Read more **

A Love of White Cottages

Be still my heart! How I love a white cottage! I've shared several white cottages on this blog, including this lovely and this white farmhouse beauty. Oh, how I adore a wrap around porch ... DREAMY! Can you imagine sitting out there in the … ** Read more **

Daring to Rediscover What You Love

jessemillan-flickr

via flickr by jesse.millan I received an email last night from a sweet reader -- it really touched a chord in my own heart. She had been reading some of my posts about my aspirations as a young girl and sent me an email sharing a bit about her … ** Read more **