It wasn’t an easy decision but I’ve decided to ignore a lot of the blogging advice out there and just be true to myself. This may be a mistake but it’s a risk I am willing to take.
I’m in a small blogging group and each month we fill in our blog and social media stats on a group spreadsheet. I’m going to be very honest here. I was pretty discouraged by the most recent stats.
You see, I had been an early adopter of a really cool app called These Reads. I have no idea where I first heard of it but it was easy to use, taking only a couple of minutes a day, so I used it consistently. I was absolutely dumbfounded by how quickly my followers grew. Within a few months I had over 13,000 followers – more than the Today Show. Since it was easy to share from the app to Twitter (and the posts automatically included photos) my Twitter followers also grew quickly. Fully HALF of the traffic to this blog was coming from These Reads by the first of this year.
And then…These Reads was no more. They sold out to a company in China and the app no longer exists here in the United States. Almost overnight the traffic to my blog was cut in half.
The decrease in traffic obviously wasn’t a result of me doing something wrong. It’s just one of those things. But I couldn’t help but compare my disastrous stats with my fellow bloggers, a couple in particular who had fabulous February stats.
I’ve blogged for almost a decade but only decided to take it seriously when I started Life With Dee this past September. My goal is to eventually make enough from this blog and other writing projects to supplement David’s retirement income in a fairly substantial way. The fact that the goal is not an immediate necessity doesn’t make it any less important to me. I’ve been fortunate that David has been able to support our family most of our married life. I did work as a nurse for four years but otherwise I’ve been able to be a stay-at-home mom/wife. But I want to contribute financially, too. I want him to be able to retire when he is ready and know that we can do so comfortably.
So I started reading articles and listening to podcasts about how to make money from a blog. I began looking at what other bloggers were doing. Examining the kind of posts that seem to be popular. Looking into affiliate marketing, sponsored posts, ads, etc.
It was all so overwhelming. And time-consuming. And…a lot of it just didn’t feel authentic to me.
Now, I’m not being critical of the path other bloggers are taking. At all! There are a lot of people out there making 6-figure incomes from their blogs so obviously what they are doing works. They couldn’t be doing that if there wasn’t a substantial audience for their blogs.
The thing is, I love to write. I love interacting with people on social media. I actually enjoy the whole process of blogging. Even if I knew I’d never make another dime, I’d still want to do this.
But I don’t want to feel as though I’m constantly chasing numbers. I don’t want to write every post with the idea of how I can monetize it foremost in my thoughts. I don’t want to compromise the personal tone of my posts.
Instead, I want to build a community. I want to meet new people and make friends here on the blog and on the Life With Dee Facebook page. I don’t just want to tell you about MY life – I want to hear about yours. As I mentioned in my latest newsletter (if you aren’t subscribed, you can do so at the bottom of this post) I changed the description on my Facebook page to “Community” in order to reflect what I’d like it to become:
I want my readers to feel free to not only comment on my posts but to share their own finds. If you run across a photo, video, podcast, article, blog or anything else that fits the general vibe of Life With Dee, I hope you will share it on the page so we all can enjoy it.
I would also love to see my readers interacting with one another. Sharing, encouraging, supporting, forming new friendships. Together we can make Life With Dee a shining example of positivity, love, kindness and inspiration. When the “slings and arrows of misfortune” have taken their toll…when “the world is too much with us”…when you simply cannot take one more rude or negative comment, come visit me on Life With Dee. We’ll take a collective deep breath and then remind one another that life doesn’t have to be like that. We can indeed create a beautiful life – both individually and in community with one another.
The other night, David and I were outside stargazing and I was talking about this with him. I told him how I felt about losing so much of my traffic but that I really want a community more than numbers. He told me to just be true to myself and it will come. I know this approach flies in the face of most professional blogging advice but the truth is I’ve never been very good about following other people’s paths.
I know I won’t have this all figured out immediately. There will be trial and error. I do hope you’ll be honest and tell me what you like to see here and on the Facebook page. Even though I have to be authentic, the truth is I’m still writing for an audience. This isn’t a private journal and I want my posts to resonate with you, the reader, on some level. I’m counting on you to help guide me along this journey. I’ve recently received a couple of emails from readers which were such a source of encouragement that I’m on the right track.
If you, too, are seeking a positive online community I sincerely hope you find it as a reader of Life With Dee. I’ve got a couple of things in the works which will make it even easier for you to build relationships with other Life With Dee readers. I’m SO tempted to blab about them right now but I’m going to restrain myself and wait until all my ducks are in a row. Expect to hear about these before the end of the month, though!
And now I’m going to ask you to do something for me. I want to hear from you. If you are on Facebook, would you please make sure you are following the Life With Dee page? Then I’d be so grateful if you’d take a couple of minutes to scroll through the feed liking/commenting/sharing the posts you enjoy. First of all, Facebook is more likely to show my posts in the newsfeed if they receive some form of interaction. But more important to me, your reaction tells me which posts you enjoy. I pay close attention to the Facebook page insights which show me how each post is received by my audience. Right now I’m just employing a bit of a scattershot approach but as I become clearer about what YOU want to see, I will tailor the content to those parameters.
If you want to make sure to see all my posts, here is a fabulous explanation for how to make that happen, as well as other helpful information about adjusting your Facebook feed:
by The Glamorous Housewife
If you’re not on Facebook then I’d love to hear from you in the comments and/or via email:
I do hope you are having a lovely day and remember: Create a beautiful life.