Before I started my blog I spent about two years following other blogs. Fun fact: the first blogs I read – and still read – were Picky Runner, Peanut Butter Runner and Hungry Runner Girl (do I like running?). But 99% of the time I was a silent reader, never a commenter. It was when I started participating in the conversation and posing questions to both myself and the writers that I really enjoyed the blog world. To this day the interaction and learning is what I love most about blogging and I hope bloggers and non-bloggers feel comfortable speaking out on my blog.
However, there are some things I don’t entirely love about blogging. Alternative titles: Pet peeves, questions I still have, and double-edge swords. I’m not talking about the comparison trap or general healthy-living blog content. That would make this an even longer post.
I sometimes wonder, if I changed my ways would I be more “successful?” Whatever successful means…I know the likely responses to these thoughts are “it’s up to me,” but suggestions, comments, answers, critiques, and sympathy (yes) are ALWAYS welcome. Also, I’m by no means bashing or calling out anyone, just things I’ve noticed over the last year.
Social media- Confession: I struggle with self-promotion. As I was really hesitant to tell anyone at all about my blog I typically stick to one or two social media (“promotion”) posts per day. I feel like some people go overboard with self-promotion BUT I know that’s the way for “more views.” Should I get over my insecurity and post more frequently? What if page views isn’t my main goal? What if I sometimes still want them?
Commenting- I’ve read other bloggers say they’d rather have social media shares than comments but, personally, I love the comments too. I enjoy hearing people’s thoughts on my post…why did they think it was “share worthy?” I really hope that aspect of blogging doesn’t go away. Also, that notion that people comment just to self-promote? Again, I’m split. I comment on posts that I feel some connection toward (a similarity, opinion, feedback, congrats, etc.) and if that’s taken as self-promotion so be it. I also enjoy reading comments on OTHER blogs…I’ve learned so much.
Expert advice- Start of mini-rant: I’m a 20-year-old college student. I’m not an RD, personal trainer or mental health expert. Therefore, I’m not going to tell you that a certain food or exercise is bad just because I think it is. Also, all of my “research” would come from Google. I personally don’t feel comfortable writing about topics that I haven’t studied professionally. I can (and do) write about my experiences but those are just MY experiences and opinions, not information applicable to everyone.
My “issue” is that those types of posts are so popular and “Pinnable” (aka what every blogger SHOULD want to post, right?). I generally think it’s up to the reader to decide what to follow and believe but I also think the blogger should take some responsibility. I know that’s how I approach workouts/health posts but I don’t know if that’s the general consensus. How do you approach these types of posts? As a reader? As a blogger?
Planning- Every week I write maybe one or two posts in advance and the rest I write the night or two before I publish them. I know it’s “smarter” to work weeks or months in advance but a) I feel weird writing about the future, b) when I write something I want to publish it ASAP, c) I’m lazy. Obviously this depends on the post but how I can anticipate what I’m feeling in two months? I guess this works well for recipes and workouts but I personally work better in real-time.
I can totally relate to this. I barely self promote at all, I know I should do it more if I want to grow my blog but I just don’t like it. I also love comments. I blog more for the community aspect rather than just getting lots of page views. And i’m not a planner either. I have a list of blog ideas but I don’t write them early. I sit down, write it, and post it all in one day. Sometimes I think I should change how I work if I want to be a big blogger, but I also enjoy just writing when I want to write and about what I want to write.
Dani recently posted…A Laosy Life Update
I really enjoy writing and don’t want it to feel forced. I keep a list of ideas in my phone and when I feel like I have enough thoughts to write a post then I write it. That’s my extent of planning!
Gretchen | Gretchruns says
Eek I can relate to most of these! I just recently started blogging and I don’t really do the whole social media thing (mostly because it’s my personal channels and I don’t think my friends really care about my weekly goals!) I’ll post if it’s an interesting post, like when I traveled to Europe. I may have to reconsider and make a separate account for my blog, but I’m not really that serious yet. Decisions, decisions…
Gretchen | Gretchruns recently posted…May 25 – Weekly Goals
I made separate social media accounts for my blog when I first started for the same reason. Now I barely use the personal accounts but they’re still there and I kind of want to “merge” them (which isn’t possible…uh!)
Brie @ Lean, Clean, & Brie says
I completely agree with you about learning so much from reading comments on other blogs. I have found so many new bloggers just by reading through the comments on other blogs and it is always interesting to read everyone’s responses to the topics discussed. I definitely don’t want to see commenting go away as it has been a great way to connect with others and really learn more about each other through blogging. Social media shares may only take you so far, but I think that commenting goes much further.
Brie @ Lean, Clean, & Brie recently posted…Long Weekending at the Silver Lake Sand Dunes
That’s exactly how I find new bloggers too! The comments give added insight into people’s lives and perspectives so it makes me feel like I “know” them more.
I love this post! I have been an avid blog reader (started with Hungry Runner Girl too!) since likeee 2011. I just started my blog almost a month ago and am loving this community! Part of me wonders why I waited so long. Thanks for posting this – definitely helps a newbie blogger out : ) Have a great day!
Jamie recently posted…Tried It Tuesday – MDW ReCap
Thanks, Jamie! I also wonder why I waited so long to start mine. At least I should have started commenting/interacting with other bloggers sooner.
Sarah @pickyrunner says
Yep yep yep and yep. Especially on the “expert” posts. I honestly don’t read a post if it’s a list of “how to do x” or “get better at z.” I want to read posts that are real and relatable. I don’t care about pinnable posts. Tell me about your own experiences and your own life, not what a textbook tells me to eat or run to get faster/leaner/happier/etc.
And thanks for the shoutout! So glad you started blogging- your posts are some of the ones I look forward to most each day :)
Sarah @pickyrunner recently posted…Training 5/17-5/23
YES to everything you said. Reason one million why I love your blog. I sometimes catch myself attempting to write a “how to do x” post and laugh at myself because I don’t know sh*t haha.
She Rocks Fitness says
I think it comes down to what works for you and what makes you happy! I love when people comment on my posts, because it means they took the time to read it and writing their feelings, where as sharing kind of well is just sharing.
I am sure I could do a lot of things to improve my blog, but for right now this works for me. And blogging isn’t my main source of income, so I am doing what I can, when I can. I love social media and what I have been able to do with it, but it is a lot of work and patience. :)
She Rocks Fitness recently posted…The Weekend + Inspiring Others
I have tons of areas that need improvement but, like you said, this works for me. Slow and steady growth is good! Ah I need to gain some patience with social media. I like instant gratification, which it does not always produce.
Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine says
So many bloggers write the day before! I know I CAN’T I stress. I like to have everything (mostly) put together on the weekend (except the Friday Finisher).
I hate social media and I hate that people don’t still comment as they used to. That’s still so important to blogging! But social media is….more important now…to my dislike. But there is so much less connection in a tweet of a post than a comment.
My first blog I ever read was Healthy Tipping Point!! (And Jen’s blog was a first too!)
Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine recently posted…How To Help Ease A “Glutened” Stomach
Wow I admire your planning! I would get stressed trying to do everything in one day. You’re right social media is more important now. I’m working on it ;)
Ana Valentin says
I totally agree with your points! Especially with commenting, I much prefer a comment over a share because I know my words have been seen and heard. A silent reader is still appreciated of course, but for me it’s the validation of my work, of my soul being put out there that makes blogging so worth all the work and late nights! Success comes to those who perservere and with the right combination of work and a touch of luck. If you want this bad enough, it’ll happen! I believe wholeheartedly!
Ana Valentin recently posted…Taking A Break When It Isn’t Easy To Do
YOUR points are so well articulated and I feel the same way. The comments make me feel like I’m not “alone” in my thoughts or opinions, which is nice to hear :)
as a new blogger as well, I still find it very difficult to promote my blog on social media! it takes a lot of effort to build a blog!
athleticavocado recently posted…Paleo Honey Pistachio Ice Cream
It’s a lot harder than I ever anticipated! It seems to come natural to some people but I’m sure that’s not the case.
Ange @ Cowgirl Runs says
I can totally relate to your “expert advice” frustration. As a runner, I feel comfortable commenting about that (especially since I’m working to become a coach) but i don’t feel qualified to give nutrition or strength training advice, or create workouts because I hold none of those certifications. I may be losing page views because of it, but that’s a risk I’m willing to take.
Ange @ Cowgirl Runs recently posted…A Day in the Life
Exactly! I write what I know, which is running, celiac and spinning. Sure I could give other “advice” but it’s not my place. Exciting that you’re working to becoming a coach. I’m interested in learning more about the process.
Alison @ Sweetly Petite says
You definitely hit everything on the nose. I am the same way when it comes to commenting, I love getting comments on my posts. It makes me know that people read them and that they might have gotten something out of it. I have a hard time self-promoting myself… I guess I don’t want to come off as boastful. Blogging is a lot more stressful than it seems! Beautiful article, Emily!
Alison @ Sweetly Petite recently posted…Virtual Coffee Date
Boastful, that’s just the word I was looking for. In a way blogging is very self-indulgent but I don’t intend it to be. Blogging is SO much harder than it seems. The behind-the-scenes work never ends (if you don’t want it to).
Great insights! Thanks for sharing. Yeah, I don’t think hardly anybody knows about my personal blog. I feel the same way (aka awkward) about self promoting. Girlfriend, keep sharing! :)
Thanks for the support, Liz! I think (hope) it will get easier over time.
Julia @ Lord Still Loves Me says
One of my first blogs was Hungry Runner Girl too! I adore Janae, and if I ever met her I would go eat apple fritters with her even though I do not like doughnuts. I LOVE when people comment on my blog (yours are always much appreciated), but I do get muffed when it is clearly self-promotion. As for “expert advice” I have learned to take 95% of facts on blogs with a grain of salt. I LOVE your authenticity girl. Love it love it love it.
Julia @ Lord Still Loves Me recently posted…YOU have to make the decision.
Right back at you, Julia! I really love everything you write. Honest, authentic and relatable.
I think being different, while not a “quick-fix” is what sets your blog up for long term success. Building trust and relationships isn’t easy and can’t be rushed, but those are the people who will keep coming back which is way more important than a viral “Pinworthy” post.
I’ve totally grappled with so many of these issues. It’s kind of crazy that I work in social media because I question it every day. It’s so powerful but it can be so shallow too. In my personal experience and opinion building that “tribe” is way more satisfying and purposeful than a huge audience on a platform (that you ultimately have no control of)
Also I loved reading everyones comments! So many awesome insightful readers <3
Georgie recently posted…Snickerdoodle Protein Shake
Your comments are my favorite because they are so insightful and helpful! I think building a “tribe” is so much more satisfying too. It feels like a group of friends, which I would rather have than page views.
I am much more interested in reading about people’s experiences than The Five Ab Exercises You Must Be Doing (or whatever the click bait of the day is). I’m also a fan of interacting on comments. That’s how you build relationships and get to know other bloggers.
Coco recently posted…Visiting Monuments On Memorial Day
Agreed! I’ll admit I always click on those posts but nothing excites me about them. And it’s usually information I already know.
Rachel Rosenfield says
Hey Emily! As a fellow celiac and runner, I find your blog to be refreshing and entertaining. There are a million and one healthy living blogs, but you definitely have a unique perspective and voice. It’s refreshing to see a celiac blogger who doesn’t promote lots of packaged foods and has a balanced approach to nutrition. Even though you may not be an RD, you’re an inspiration to other celiacs who struggle to navigate the gluten-free diet. Keep up the great work! I look forward to reading your future posts.
Thank you so much, Rachel! I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your comment :)
Don’t call it self-promotion. We can obviously tell you’re humble. You doing so is just putting yourself out there! Do so and others would find your blog and you’ll get comments and build even more relationships!
I’ve always been a little uncomfortable with spotlight (not like I am popular by any means) and putting myself “out there” whether on the internet or in real life is hard for me. I’m working on it ;)
Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious says
You know as I read this I sensed that you were comparing yourself to other bloggers that you view as successful when the reality you are successful. That’s the glory of blogging. You set the standards and you set the rules. You do what works for you! By the way, I absolutely prefer comments over shares.
Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious recently posted…WIAW…6 Recipes, Saks & Shoes
Over the last year I’ve started to change my views of success. Success in the form of blogging friends, community and engagement is becoming more important to me than page views.
Emily @ Sweets and Beets says
I am all about just making your blog what YOU want it to be. But yours is awesome, girl. It’s come so far in a year! :) I struggle with the social media aspect too .. I tend to maintain my personal properties and not my ‘blog’ ones, but that’s okay! That’s what’s important to me. :)
Ideally I’d like to get my blog self-hosted, organize my Categories better, and start getting my posts on Pinterest and stuff.. those are my long-term goals =)
Emily @ Sweets and Beets recently posted…See It to Believe It: Best Deals Ever
As you have the best Twitter ever I highly suggest you continue what you’re doing ;)
I’m with you on your goals. I need to organize categories and better use Pinterest.
GiselleR @ Diary of an ExSloth says
I definitely feel you about the commenting. I’ve fallen into the commenting to self-promote trap before and it’s exhausting. I’m in a couple blogging groups on FB where we had to comment on everyone’s posts and sometimes I just had nothing to say. So I’m taking a backseat on that one and just going back to reading and commenting on blogs/posts that actually interest me. Much less frustrating!
I will say that I am guilty of the ‘expert opinion’ type posts. But I try my best to share them as my opinions. Not absolute truth or anything since, like you said, I’m not actually an expert in this area.
Great post :D
GiselleR @ Diary of an ExSloth recently posted…Nut Free Coconut Date Energy Balls
Thanks, Giselle! I like your thoughts on commenting. I want to contribute something to the conversation rather than always re-state the obvious or give a “lame” comment. Trying to comment on every single blog is exhausting.
Sanaz E. says
So I’ve been a mostly silent blog reader for about 3 years now (attempted starting my own blog 2 times and failed miserably both times) but I’ve really been wanting to become more active in the community because I have gained so much from it! Your post today just gave me the push to really commit to contributing at least through comments! :) (now if only I could figure out how to get my own up and running…)
I’m so glad to hear that! I really want both bloggers and non-bloggers to contribute to the discussion. Hope you stop by again :)
Also, I’m by no means an expert at starting a blog but I use WordPress and find it relatively easy to use!
Thank you for writing this post, Emily, it was so encouraging to me! I am new to blogging, and am still trying to figure some of this stuff out.
I hate self-promotion. I’m just not the type of person who is cool with it. Thankfully, I’m not trying to make money off my blog! I’m kind of working against the flow here, because I don’t have social media, and while I have the sharing option enabled, I don’t have the aspect of having to promote myself via social media. But I still don’t feel comfortable telling friends about it, because I don’t want to make them feel obligated to check it out. I don’t know. Maybe someday I’ll feel more comfortable with that. :) (And I am the same way with page views…even though it’s not my main goal, I like to feel like someone is actually reading it!)
I have this whole comment dilemma after I started a blog. I feel almost guilty when I comment now, especially on new blogs, because I am concerned that people will think I am trying to self-promote, which is never the case. Like you said, I only comment on posts where there is some sort of connection I feel. I try to write meaningful comments and to have the “so be it” perspective, but deep down, I care about what people think about me.
I didn’t even know there were people who wrote out posts a month ahead of time. *Gulp* I am definitely more of a real time person. I understand working on a post for a long time, especially if it is a more personal post, or on a touchy subject, and you are trying to get it must right. But I don’t think I could ever post a month behind where I am. Then I would be like, “That’s how I felt a month ago, now I feel completely different!” Maybe I’m just fickle. But anyway that’s how I am! :D
Oh my gosh, I just read all the comments, and so many people said like what I was trying to say, only so much better! I agree with what they said, too!
Abbie recently posted…The Mariners Out and About
Hi Abbie. Thank YOU for your comment. I remember feeling so overwhelmed when I heard people wrote posts months in advance. I just cannot work like that! My feelings change too much and I would edit the post a billion times before submitting. I loved hearing that other bloggers had similar thoughts. Sometimes it’s nice to “unmask” the feelings behind the blog.
Can totally relate to the whole planning thing… I always write the morning of and sometimes the night before. If I try to write a bunch of posts ahead of time the words just don’t come.
Bri recently posted…10 easy, healthy snack ideas for the desk dweller
Exactly, I can’t try to bang out a week’s worth of posts in one day. I work better writing the night before.