Is Blogging Still Relevant?
I started blogging in 2008, and I instantly loved it. Writing a blog provided me a different outlet for my writing--one that meant no plotting, no characterization, no worrying about pace--just short, informational, casual pieces.
Until a few generous souls went out of their way to help me, I struggled to find readers. Who knew a "Google Friend Connect" button would rock my blogging world? I thought it would only show readers how unpopular I was!
It didn't take long to see the Golden Rule worked beautifully with my blog. By reading other fabulous blogs and commenting, I found plenty of new readers. It was slow, time-consuming work, but it was worth it.
I tried other outlets too--I had my blog fed to Networked Blogs on my Facebook account. I signed up for my posts to automatically post to Twitter when they went live. I included my blog link on every social media site to up my odds of having new people stop by.
Through it all, my blog thrived with the support of fellow bloggers, Twitter users, Facebook friends, and the like. All the shares, retweets, and links helped boost my readership.
Over the last year, I've noticed a trend. Many of the blogs I followed no longer showed up in my Google Reader (Google Reader has since been eliminated). Some of their blogs still exist--the bloggers chose to stop posting new articles. I also noticed my blog comments went down, but I figured a large part of it was the fact I'd trimmed my blog reading time by about 75% in order to meet my writing goals. I'm realistic--when I don't take the time to comment on other blogs, I don't expect people to flock to mine.
But then little things jiggled in my conscience. More friends reduced their blog posting schedules. Google Reader disappeared. I used to see tons of blog posts on Facebook every day--I started seeing only a handful.
Was the blog dying? Was my blog dying?
For years I've tracked my social media stats. On the first of each month, I log the number of followers I have on various sites, how many page hits my website gets, and how many page views my blog gets.
The comments might be dwindling, but I still get thousands of hits every month on my blog. Maybe it's just a perception that blogging is dying. Still, I asked myself, Would my time be better spent somewhere else?
(For a terrific article about this topic, head to Jody Hedlund's "The Changing Nature of Blogging for Fiction Writers."
If I only view my blog (or a Twitter account, Facebook Page, Pinterest Board, etc...) in terms of pageviews (or followers, likes, repins, etc...), it will only lead to disappointment. But more than that, it isn't the question I should be asking.
I went in to all of my social media accounts with one purpose: to increase my author name exposure.
I want my author name everywhere. I want a web presence wherever a reader might be.
For me, blogging IS still relevant, because I'm still accomplishing my original goal. I'm sure I'll get flak for admitting my main goal with blogging isn't to get a million hits each month.
The reality is, every time I publish a post, search engines pick up my name and my topics. Regularly submitting posts keeps my author name out there.
This blog means a lot to me. It's where I show up every week whether I'm two millimeters away from quitting or flying high with great news.
This is where I share my life. Maybe one of you will be inspired to buy that used leather purse and attempt to restore it because I posted about it. Maybe you'll try a book by a new-to-you author because we had a party for the release here. Maybe you'll nod when you read that I struggle with disappointment, or you'll share my happiness in a plotting breakthrough.
I don't know, but I do know I appreciate you. I love that I have the opportunity to connect with you here!
What are your thoughts on blogging in 2013?
Join me on Wednesday when we'll tackle Blogging: The New Challenge Part 2--Finding Readers.
Have a wonderful day!