I've been blogging for five years now, and have noticed quite a change in that time. Changes that might suit some, but aren't for me.
There's a lot more people blogging for one, which means a lot of competition out there for readers. There's comments to moderate, stats to worry over, and Facebook pages to promote your blog on. There's ads, sponsored posts, and affiliate marketing. Then there's networking, through like minded blogging groups as well as through Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, Pinterest and whatever the latest platform is.
There's bloggers conferences to go to, blog competitions to enter, and the need to ensure you have a steady supply of new material on your blog to keep the punters happy. Because if you don't get the traffic, then you won't make the money.
So, what starts as a little hobby, a chance to share some tips, or indulge in a passion for writing, soon morphs into an all consuming full time job running a business. And hopefully making enough money to justify the numerous hours spent doing so.
I'm impressed that people put all that effort into making a go of it, but I'd just like to stand up for the other point of view.
Which is that blogging just for the fun of it is just as valid. And it doesn't have to be about numbers.
I think people today are totally obsessed with gaining recognition for every little thing they do, and blogging is no different. So what if only 3 people read your post? Does that make what you wanted to say less valid? Of course not!
If you want to make money, then your content needs to reach a big audience and you need to market it better. Well written content markets itself better, but even crap content gets an audience given the right hard work. Perhaps it's in the eye of the beholder but I've read some total drivel on some extremely successful blogs in my time.
If your blogging stays a non commercial hobby, it actually isn't all that important if you don't have a burgeoning readership because just one comment from someone makes your day. Savouring the joy of a complete stranger finding your blog and leaving a comment is priceless, but when you become obsessed with keeping that readership up, it loses its shine pretty quickly.
Are we all so obsessed with gaining our 15 minutes of fame that we forget to sit back and smell the roses? Does the act of creation no longer gain credibility until it's acknowledged by a few thousand followers?
I hate that crap!
In fact I'm proudly bucking the trend.
I won't monetise my blog, because I hate ads and, to be brutally honest, I'm far too lazy to put in the marketing effort required! I'm not against a bit of self promotion so I do have a Facebook page. I removed Google Plus comments because it limited who could comment to those with a Google Plus account, which is just plain wrong.
I'm not against commenting, in truth I love receiving comments. I also like to reply to them, because I enjoy the personal connection and hope that I can add to their experience. And keeping it small and personal is all the joy I need. At the same time I totally refuse to value my creative output purely based on number of visits and comments.
I just want to say to anyone thinking about blogging, or who already blogs and wonders whether they should jump on the bandwagon with all the other yummy mummies, travel blog gurus and probloggers, YOU DON'T HAVE TO!
It's OK to just have a hobby. And share it with others. And be happy that at least your mum, your bestie and the funny kid down the street are fans.
Yes it's awesome when a stranger says Hi, I like what you're doing.
You start hoping that will happen every old day and before you know it you'll be eaten up with self doubt. And for what? A darn hobby you enjoy doing in your spare time.
But since no-one actually reads my blog........................................