A couple weeks ago, it came to my attention that there was a bit of talk going around Twitter regarding posting habits (what is “too little” and what it “too much”) and I felt really cringey that there’s still a sort of mention of what bloggers “should” and “should not” do (lots of quotes here, I know… Can you tell I don’t approve?) and what the “norms” are. I don’t often tweet out into the abyss about issues or THINGS but I just couldn’t hold my tongue…
Umm hey blogger friends? There are no “rules”. You post anything — blog or social media — as much or as little as you want to. It’s YOURS.
— Brittany S. (@bookaddictguide) August 9, 2015
I was mostly upset (and maybe a little ranty) because the tweet that I saw was regarding a person who was frustrated someone unfollowed them due to too many social media posts in one day. I know it’s disheartening when you see someone actively make the decision not to follow your account anymore, but it made me upset because it felt like the focus was on the number of followers for this person’s account and not the reason why they were posting in the first place.
I wrote a previous discussion post about how we as bloggers need to give ourselves a break and not worry too much about the so-called expectations of the blogging community. We read for fun. We blog for fun. It’s a hobby and it should always been enhancing our lives and happiness, not causing stress… and this whole posting thing really follows that message as well. This is the ONLY blogging “rule” I think we should abide by and sort of my own personal mantra for my blogging habits. The “blogger advice” posts are great, but to all bloggers — new AND old — remember that advice does not equal rules. I’ve had some bloggers ask me how I come up with ideas, how I schedule, how I write reviews, and even how to gain followers, and I’m always happy to share my experience and advice but the best possible advice I can ever give is to make sure you’re enjoying your time and that there is no wrong way to do something. What works for me may not work for the next person — and that’s a good thing. I think we’ve all created our blogs to have our own little corner of the internet where we can voice our opinions and share some awesome book information with the rest of the world and this is my one “should” — your blog should be that corner of the internet where you’re 100% free to find your own voice and what content works for you and the originality and passion for what you enjoy is what makes your blog successful, in my opinion, and what will attract the most followers to your blog. I think readers are able to see a genuine voice, original content, and something that they connect to and that’s the best way to “get followers”. I know it’s hard not to focus on how many followers your blog has, but trust me, they will come if you just keep doing what you’re doing in your own way.
Recently, I had a lot going on in my personal life and I couldn’t find the time to blog. I generally post every weekday (and that is in no way a “norm” — I just really enjoy posting and generally have enough content to fill a week) and there came a day when I just had nothing to post and no time to write something up even if I could come up with an idea. I find the time to blog because it’s something I enjoy but in this case, my focus needed to be somewhere else. It was very silly to have that number of page views in the back of my mind and how it might drop if I didn’t post that day but I know that page hits isn’t why I’m blogging. I’m a human being who has a life outside of my blog and that is the most important thing to me ALL of the time. I do work hard on my blog but because it’s something I enjoy dedicating my time to. It was very weird letting go and leaving that day empty but in a way, it was also freeing. I didn’t have to post every day. I know that I like to, but it was kind of a reminder that this isn’t something I need to do. It’s something I like to do. I think we all get into our habits and whether they’re fun or maybe a little stressful, sometimes they’re had habits to break.
The other side of that posting “schedule” involves my social media habits as well. I’m sure we all feel that there are certain “norms” — like spacing out promo tweets between personal interactions or the amount of Instagram photos we post in a day — but honestly, along with your blog, your social media accounts are YOURS. You get to choose how often you post, who you interact with, what exactly you post, and what you deem important. These accounts are yours to do whatever you want (well, hopefully you’re being respectful throughout). Whatever you post and however you post it just shows more of your own personality and who you are. If someone unfollows you or doesn’t follow you because of what you’re posting or how often you post it, then they’re not your target audience anyway. Your followers enjoy your content and that’s why they choose to follow you or interact with you. The right people will follow you.
I know it’s hard when I’m sure a vast amount of us feel like blogging is a numbers game. How many followers does my blog have? How many people follow me on Twitter? On Instagram? How many page views do I get? And sometimes it’s really hard NOT to focus on the numbers. For me? I’ve always been a numbers person, even before blogging. I absolutely LOVE statistics so my blogging stats are something that I’m just naturally drawn to. I also can’t help that I have a somewhat competitive personality (sports, grades, board games — that’s just how it’s always been) so it’s not that I’m trying to beat out other bloggers in the numbers game, but I do tend to notice when my numbers grow and I can’t help that happy feeling that happens when I hit an exciting milestone.
It’s not a bad thing to keep track of your statistics and I don’t think anyone should feel ashamed for being proud of seeing those numbers grow. If you work hard on your blog, you deserve all of the followers and recognition and rewards for the work you’re putting into it. I WILL say that may be a harmful thing if you’re blogging IN ORDER to increase your stats. (This is speaking for the majority of us who are doing this as a hobby that we enjoy.) I enjoy blogging. I enjoy watching my follower-base grow. But really, more important than the numbers are the people behind them. I created my blog over three years ago with one idea in mind: I was reading some really good books and I wanted to share my reviews with people so they might be able to enjoy them as well. To this day, that’s still my number one goal. I started writing reviews to share that joy with other people and although the some formatting and content have changed over the years, that’s still my main goal — the reviews, the fun posts, the interviews, the giveaways, the discussions — it’s all because I like voicing my opinions in the hopes that it reaches someone else and enriches their life. I hope that each new follower I get is someone who appreciates the content of my blog and maybe one of my posts brightens their day or they find a new book that they’ll enjoy. I don’t have many extraordinary talents but knowing that this blog might bring a tiny bit of joy or excitement into someone’s life makes it worth it every day and that’s what really matters when I see those numbers grow.
It’s another one of those things where there’s no “right” or “wrong” way to blog. I enjoy keeping track of my stats because statistics are just something I always enjoy. Other people couldn’t care less about followers or statistics… But when it comes down to it, the people are always the most important part of this blogging experience and my blogging life. I’ve made life-long friends, received amazing opportunities, traveled to book conferences to meet even MORE bookish people, and have met wonderful authors. I enjoy talking books to people on Twitter every day and I’m so thankful for the community that I’ve gotten to know. I keep on hoping that my blog and my posts connect with someone out there and they’re enjoying what I write because book blogging is very much about the community and what are all of those numbers anyway? They’re the people behind the stats. And I value those individuals and the way they’ve enriched my life more than the statistics they might provide my blog any day!
So weigh in with what you think! Are you a person who follows stats? What are the reasons YOU blog?