Written by Margaret Shalloe & Jessica Sinnott
Today, I am bringing you a collaboration with one of my best friends and favourite bloggers, Jess! Jess runs Me, My Blog and I and we’re going to discuss some of the issues facing blogger’s lately. We begin writing in a calm Starbucks environment in Waterford City, on a cold and rainy Friday morning. The table is a perfect size for both laptops, and the coffees sit nicely. I decided on having a chocolate muffin, expensive (as Starbucks is, sorry Starbucks – I love you regardless!) but needed, for the energy boost. We decide pretty quickly to discuss blogging, as we both have had a hard time with traffic and engagement lately – something a lot of bloggers are facing.
We have both seen a lot of hardship in the blogging community – especially with small-time bloggers. Recent controversy surrounding bigger personalities has caused a shift in the dynamics of blogging, making it slightly harder to get your blog noticed. [Don’t get me started on social media platforms and ‘algorithms’ – that is for another post!]
We’re going to add our two cents into what is happening with blogger’s right now, and try our best to offer any pieces of advice we can to help you on your own blogging journey.
So, sit back, cradle that cup of tea/coffee and enjoy our first collaborative post!
As someone who still considers myself a newbie, I am pretty disheartened with blogging lately. I definitely wish that Blogging Communities were as welcoming and warm as when I used to be just a reader of them! I don’t know where it happened, but for a lot of bigger bloggers (I mean HUGE ones) in Ireland, it became a lot about money. I get that it’s a part of doing something you love, I mean why do it for free if you’re good at it right? But after a time, it becomes to impersonal. It’s a fact that bloggers see less traffic on sponsored content, and I understand why. I think it is absolutely fine to get paid for blog work, but I draw the line where it becomes all consuming to them. When the unique, Ad-less content disappears totally. There’s more to blogging than pay. People start in the first place to be heard, to write things that will be read.
With the intense growth of the “Blogger calling out” movement, I really feel as though people read blogs less frequently. I think it’s understandable for readers to feel as though a lot of it is fake, and it is hard to tell the fake from the real. To us bloggers though, it does affect traffic some. People are itching for good, true blogs to read – it’s just hard for them to find them! I really need to say though, this “calling out” did get a bit much for me. I did follow and enjoy the movement at first because I had no idea the extent of the dishonesty of some bloggers. In particular, I found it important to highlight blogger’s selling cheap products from websites, at a huge markup and posting highly unrealistic photos! However, it became very ironic when the people ‘exposing’ started to attend events and pose more like a blogger, by the day. That being, as it is defined in the dictionary, a person who writes material for a blog, and the blog being on the Instagram platform. The question always comes to me; was said exposer a blogger to begin with? Who knows.
I don’t entirely disagree with the premise of accounts like these, bloggers have been allowed to do pretty much anything, bad or good, without being called out – so it is welcomed in some ways. I just fear that sometimes, the calling out transcends into hate and incidents have occurred that that may impact one’s mental health.
So, is there a lesson to be taken? Absolutely. Bloggers need to be more transparent – as I’ve said before on my blog. I think that’s happening more across the board now, I know when I’m seeing sponsored posts which is great! Also though, don’t believe too much of the ‘exposing bloggers left-right-centre’ hype. I think sometimes it goes too far, way beyond the bloggers learning their lesson. Not all bloggers are bad in their ways. The majority are fantastic at what they do, they choose only to endorse things they truly like and work daily to build up a trusting relationship with readers.
I think building trust with your audience is so important. Ask yourself, What can I do for them? Provide them with honest, insightful knowledge at every turn. Show them how you are behind the scenes. If you’re struggling to get views, remind yourself who your audience is and work from there.
Views are not the most important thing. I could say ‘don’t pay any attention to your traffic’, but I’d be lying to myself – and you! Not many write a piece only to have nobody read it. Don’t let it consume you though! You’re more than your social media worth, at the end of the day. I just feel the pain of having slower traffic lately. With any luck, through consistent blogging and a ‘not giving up’ attitude, you will reach your goals. Hang in there.
Being in the blogging industry is tough enough without the controversy and stigma that surrounds it. A lot of internet personalities have been under fire recently concerning their credibility and honesty, and this can have a harrowing effect on small-time bloggers such as Maggie The Muser and I.
Recently, some influencers came under fire regarding photoshopping and airbrushing, a scandal reinforced by the fact that they were beauty and health bloggers, who promoted natural beauty and authenticity. While of course, we are not here to name names (especially as those in question rectified their mistakes) we are here to shed some light on what it’s like for small-time bloggers as a result. Blogging has taken a hit in 2018: traffic is low, engagement is diminishing and I can’t help but feel as though it is this stigma of “bloggers are wannabes and attention seekers in it for the money” that is holding us back. People doubt our credibility as a result of the mistakes (we are all human, it happens!) of a minority of fellow bloggers. As a result, our engagement and traffic have slowed down, which can be incredibly disheartening when you put so much love and effort into it. Another factor is the fact that blogging has become increasingly popular nowadays, and the surge of bloggers leaves little room for originality and the chance of being noticed.
The desperation to be noticed and gain a following can cause an internet personality to resort to dishonesty, which is inevitably called out on, therefore adding to the stigma and scandal. Bloggers calling each other out for the most minuscule of mistakes is also a problem, as it feeds into this web of negativity that is not needed and false. We as a blogging community need to create an honest platform from where true followers and readership can grow, and rather than tear each other down, support and acknowledge one another. It’s a hard enough business without being dragged down by your peers. The reality of it is we love to write, and we love using our blogs as an outlet for our creativity and expression in our writing.
We don’t just blog for views, we blog for ourselves and for all of you guys. As Stephen King said, “First write for yourself, then write for your audience”. If I never made a penny off of this for the rest of my life it wouldn’t matter the slightest to me: I just love writing. But in saying that, our readers and viewers do mean the world. To know we might have helped or encouraged one person is fantastic, and every view is genuinely appreciated. So let the controversy fade to a white noise. We’re just small bloggers sharing our passion, and hoping to disintegrate the stigma one blog post at a time. J x
Anddd Star-Wipe back to Maggie:
So, What comes next for us bloggers?
Well, everything outside of present is unknown, but I can safely say I’m into blogging for the long haul. Blogging can be a passing fancy for some, but for me it really is more than that. If you’re feeling disheartened with your blog right now, stick with it. You will get to where you want to be, you just need to keep going. As philosophical as it may sound; if you give up you’ll never know what you could have missed out on! The blogging world needs you, no matter what you write about!
We won’t be safe from the microscope for a long time, but maybe that is a good thing! We can become better at what we do once we have a fire under us.
What’s your opinion on blogging today? Your thoughts are important to me – leave a comment!