It’s claimed that most people who launch a blog, give up within the first three months. I published my first post on the 1st December 2017, so the fact that I am still here, lifestyle blogging the sh*t out of life, three months and one day later is a small reason to celebrate.
I can see why people don’t stick at it. Like almost everything I have ever done, blogging is harder than it looks. Far more time-consuming, bewildering and disheartening than I expected. There are moments most weeks when I think “Helen, what are you doing here apart from making an enormous fool of yourself?” But I was advised early on that patience is essential for growing a successful website, so I am hanging in there. And now seems like a good moment to reflect.
Like most people who launch a blog, I am doing this alongside another job. Being a full-time mum. So now I’m experiencing the classic sense of doing neither job as well as I would like to. I can only describe it as feeling squashed. Having found something that I would like to commit all of my time and energy too, I often resent my other responsibilities at home. The hours in the day when kids are at school suddenly seem spectacularly short. And why are there so many holidays? The house has gone to hell at times, a low point was the night we had spaghetti hoops for tea.
Nobody likes change. Certainly not people who are used to having me do everything for them! I need to check my expectations too. Who could describe themselves as truly free to pursue their interests? We’re all restricted, whether it be by time, finances, childcare or work commitments. I am grateful to have the hours I do to give this a shot.
The Instagram Problem
Instagram is a devil. I’ve focused on establishing it (in the short term) as a main source of traffic to my blog. I love the platform, always have, BUT it is a huge time thief. The effort involved with creating daily images, engaging followers, finding potential new ones and creating Stories several times a day, is exhausting.
I wouldn’t even like to guess the number of hours I have given to it in the past 6 months. I worry that it’s a distraction and potential waste of energy. The aim is to create a solid business that exists in its own right (what happens when everyone moves on from Instagram?). Without love and attention, your Instagram following will not grow, but should I continue to allow it to dominate my time?
What’s in a name?
This is subject that is currently vexing me. I’m not sure how to describe myself and this site. For now, I’ve gone with blogger and blog, but have a niggling feeling that this isn’t quite the right fit for me. Perhaps writer is more accurate, and that this is simply my website? Or maybe I should revert to calling myself a journalist, which is what I’m qualified to do and have actually (moons ago) been paid for? This is 2018 and there is so much crossover between roles in the media. Everyone turns their hand to writing, photography, video making, podcasting and more. Maybe I will invent a new job description. I would love your thoughts.
The numbers game
When you ask people what a meaningful blog readership is, they seem very reluctant to answer. All websites are different, but success can generally be measured in the number of unique users you get each month. It seems that a good number is definitely thousands. Maybe five, maybe fifteen thousand. Certainly the more the better. Currently, I’m on a little over 700 for the past month, so have a long way to go. Thank you to everyone who has clicked here already, I wish I could buy you all slice of cake.
The prospect of growing this significantly is daunting. I imagine it’s another reason why people throw the towel in. My strategy (perhaps a grand word for it) is to use social media posts and good SEO practice (trying to get my posts on the first page of a Google search) to help more people find my site. I’m trying to collaborate with other bloggers and Instagrammers too.
A little resolution. I am also going to post more often (upping my goal from two to three posts per week).
Partly because of The Squeeze and partly because of The Instagram Problem (and partly because this is real life) I feel I’m further than I would like to be from understanding what I can realistically achieve with this website. There is not a lot of positive talk about making money from blogging. There’s apparently not much cash in advertising, or even working with brands. So exactly what opportunities do I hope to create for myself, and am I on the right path towards achieving them? This is something I MUST focus on in the coming months.
It’ll be good to update this post on my 6 Month Blogiversary. With a bit of luck, I’ll still be here, and be more knowledgeable and able to answer some of the questions I have asked in above. Maybe I’ll even have a few more readers too.
What do you think, are you blogging and have some advice? Or a reader? What kind of articles would you be interested to read more of…..personal thoughts, social media, interviews, beauty? I’d love to know what you enjoy. Helen x