The Blogging Blues

by Heligirl on June 29, 2011

in Beyond Mommyhood,Blogging

Is it just me, or does anyone else feel like blogging is a popularity contest and we’re standing in the rain at the smoke hole after the cool girls locked the door?

Maybe it’s just me.

Today is one of those days, in case you’re wondering.

You see, I’ve been blogging publicly for more than a year (I had my private family blog for years before). I spent hours visiting other bloggers and leaving comments in hopes that someone would come visit mine. I tweeted, I wrote on my Facebook page, I wrote on others’ walls. Slowly I started to build a following, but when I lost my job and began to reduce the time I was online in favor of reevaluating my life, getting my professional life in order, and spending every waking minute with the kids, I was struck with a harsh reality. The daily visits to my blog dropped two thirds within a week. I realized most people were only coming here because I’d visited their blogs.

With concern over income and the stress of being a new stay at home mom overwhelming me, I stopped checking my analytics and didn’t sweat those posts that didn’t yield a single comment. I just focused on writing interesting stuff and let it go from there.

Then, one day I checked my numbers and they had quadrupled from the last time I looked. I was thrilled.

Wow, people do appreciate what I’m writing, I thought.

Then, about a month later (which incidentally was today), I discovered the last several days the numbers were down to those dismal totals from last winter.

What the”¦, I thought.

Then I took some time to really dig around in Google Analytics and I discovered that somewhere along the line, someone had linked to a random graphic I had in one of my posts related to the five stages of grief. I was getting multiple hits every day on that graphic. I Googled the graphic’s name a few weeks back and sure enough, there was my graphic, the first image in the images section.

Yet today, that graphic is there when you Google, but someone has nabbed it and now all the traffic goes to them. There is no link to me whatsoever in Google for that keyword.

And I’m left realizing all the time and research I’ve been doing to write helpful articles, tell funny stories and share glimpses of my life didn’t in fact appeal to more people than before. I just had a graphic about grief, ironically, and it was popular, if even for just a month.


I think I’ll go back to banning myself from looking at the numbers again. I do so appreciate those who do visit. Thanks for stopping by, you two. {snark, snark}


Lynn W.
Twitter: wicwoes
June 29, 2011 at 4:45 am

The numbers game can definitely be both fun and discouraging. But it really comes down to why you blog in the first place. Like you said, is it about a popularity contest, or something else? I blog because I’m passionate about my topic (how WIC affects families and how we can make it better).

I can’t say that I’d continue blogging if I had absolutely nobody reading, but as long as I had at least a few, I’d probably stick with it.
Lynn W. recently posted: Cookbook Review & Fresh Baby Giveaway #2!

Twitter: Heligirl
June 29, 2011 at 8:11 am

Thanks Lynn. I gave that a lot of thought over the last several days. I am really passionate about my positive discipline work and I stated blogging to both share it and keep me focused on it. If I had to write about it, I had to be practicing it. Keeps me focused.

Thanks for the reminder that we each blog for a reason, and that reason is a passion. Be true to our passions and hang the numbers. Though it is nice when others do gain something from the words you write. Thanks again Lynn. The passion you have for making WIC better is so clear in your writing. I appreciate your work very much.
Heligirl recently posted: The Blogging Blues

Twitter: audcole
June 29, 2011 at 7:08 am

When my numbers are down (which is always), instead of feeling sorry for myself, I feel sorry for all the people who are missing out on how awesome I am. 🙂

In reality, I barely understand what the numbers mean, so I try not to spend much time worrying about them. I mean, my most visited posts are about The Bachelorette, so obviously I’m not some high-brow blogger. I’m not trying to get rich or get a book deal or be Dooce. I mostly blog because it’s cheaper than therapy, but if I make people laugh or look at something differently, I’m good. And, even when your numbers don’t show it, I know your posts make people (me) laugh, think, and are valuable. I don’t even have kids but I like your take on things and it helps me be a better aunt.

Oh, and sometimes you have pictures of Jake Anderson, so there’s that.. 🙂
Audreya recently posted: The Bachelorette, Week 6: If I hear Bentley ONE MORE TIME…

Twitter: Heligirl
June 29, 2011 at 8:17 am

LOL, well that settles it. A photo of Jake with every post to boost my numbers. Think it will work? Perhaps I can talk him into a photo shoot with my kids?

In all seriousness, you are a very funny and cleaver writer. I think your blogging is actually honing your skills. You’re getting better and funnier.

Thanks for the kind words about the parenting advice and how it helps you be a better aunt. It’s really neat to know folks other than parents are finding this stuff helpful. That gives me the drive to keep going. And chasing down Jake for pictures…
Heligirl recently posted: The Blogging Blues

Twitter: audcole
June 29, 2011 at 10:33 am

The Jake photo shoot can’t hurt. And if you want to be in some of the pictures, I will selflessly volunteer to hold the camera! Thanks for the comments on my writing – it means a lot.

Wenmei June 29, 2011 at 7:47 am

I’m not sure how the analytics work (and I should probably figure this out too, if I plan to promote my own website and business), but maybe it doesn’t show you when people read you via a feed reader (e.g. Google reader)? Because that’s what I do — every single post. And I enjoy and am enriched by every one. I don’t post comments very often b/c I usually read on my phone and am horribly inept at typing on my phone’s interface, but I just wanted to let you know that you do have people out here who appreciate who you are and what you write and would miss you if you stopped blogging.
Wenmei recently posted: Baby M {Sneak Peek: Newborn & Family Photography}

Twitter: Heligirl
June 29, 2011 at 8:24 am

Thank you my friend. I have 68 readers on Feedburner. I’m not sure if there are other readers from a different source, or if that is a total for everyone. I’m not very skilled on the reader analytics. I should brush up. Sadly, when I’m trying to convince brands to work with me so I can spread the word more, they want to know my website hits, and they’re not counting readers. I could be mean to my readers and only publish the first couple of paragraphs in my reader, making people come to the site. But it’s more important to me that people get the full text than I get the hits, so I won’t do that. I think the more someone has to click, the better chances that I’ll lose them.

Thanks also for the kind words. I’ll keep writing as long as I know folks like you are getting something from the blog. That’s what’s most important in the end. Thanks for letting me know you’re still out there. 🙂
Heligirl recently posted: The Blogging Blues

Twitter: sidheherbal
June 29, 2011 at 8:01 am

I’m quite positive that not a lot of people read my blogs but that’s okay I have fun making them. I love to write about both topics, and it gives me something to do that is purely based on what I want to do. (and when your a SAHM who homeschools you don’t get to do a lot that just for you!)

(second blog is )
Sherri recently posted: Herbal Lotion

Twitter: Heligirl
June 29, 2011 at 8:36 am

Thanks Sherri. That’s a great point, blogging is something that you do for yourself that you love. It’s important that we have fun and love it. I think I let myself get too caught up in the numbers and then loose sight of the fun part. Thanks for the reminder. 🙂 I commend you for keeping two blogs up. Writing and researching articles for this site eats up my free time. Some days I think about just going back to ramblings, but it wouldn’t feel right. I want to share positive discipline.
Heligirl recently posted: The Blogging Blues

Kristin @ Intrepid Murmurings
Twitter: sunfrog
June 29, 2011 at 8:03 am

I think Wenmei’s point is a good one. That is where all my readers are too. On their phones, in a reader. Ha ha!

I hear you on the stats blues. I am in a phase of not checking much at all, and it works pretty well for me. I do start to check more if I am putting in lots of time on my blog, though — If I am just doing a few posts a week I guess I have lower expectations and tend to care less. This stuff is hard! If I put in a certain amount of effort and don’t see results I feel bad and back off again…sigh.
Kristin @ Intrepid Murmurings recently posted: My Life With Twins: Planning for Preschool

Twitter: Heligirl
June 29, 2011 at 8:40 am

Thank you my friend. I love how my local blogging pals are being so supportive.

I’m exactly the same way, the more work I put in writing and promoting the more I tend to see if it is paying off (the marketer in me). When I see an increase in hits of like 2 people a day, I get all down, thinking of all the time I’m spending away from other things to do this and how it’s really not going anywhere, then I get down and tend to slack. I know there’s a happy medium in there somewhere. 🙂
Heligirl recently posted: The Blogging Blues

sybil June 29, 2011 at 8:12 am

I sometimes skip through to leave comments, but I read through google reader. Do you know how many followers you have through feeds? Not that it matters, because it doesn’t, but there may be more to the big picture? Also, maybe you can put watermarks on your images so they are attributed to you? That would annoy me!
sybil recently posted: Thoughts on therapy

Twitter: Heligirl
June 29, 2011 at 2:01 pm

Thanks Sybil. I’ve done the watermark thing before, but found it took all this extra time and wasn’t really making a difference because to make it hard to remove, I’d have to put it across faces and whatnot, which makes it look crappy. I tried the plugin that makes it impossible to right click and save an image, but that disables all right clicking and turned me off too. I do keep track of the reader followers. I appreciate those that read there!!
Heligirl recently posted: The Blogging Blues

Kris June 29, 2011 at 8:57 am

Yeah, I hear you. I get roughly 250 hits – which is FAB, but never more. My #’s are pretty stagnant. Oh well. It only bothers me when I hear people moan that there is nothing to do (and I know they know of my blog) or worse yet, I hear them attend a very cool free event and never even think to post it or at least share it with me so I can pass it along. I even heard it said “Yeah, I was surprised to not see it on your blog.” ARGH, I can’t know about every event!
Kris recently posted: weekly fun (june 30-july 6)

Twitter: Heligirl
June 29, 2011 at 2:02 pm

Arg, that would annoy me to no end too. I think what also really brings me down is I’m trying to reach out to folks, ask what they want to hear about, what issues they’re having so I could write about them to help, and it took three begging attempts to get three questions. It made me wonder big time if what I’m writing is really being read or helping anyone. But for those three people, I’m keeping at it.
Heligirl recently posted: The Blogging Blues

Erin June 29, 2011 at 11:44 am

I quite often feel the same, but I didn’t start my blog for the numbers, I started it as an outlet for questions or concerns I have about being a parent. I get very few visitors, and most of them come from comments I’ve written on other people’s posts. The ONLY reason my lack of readership bothers me, is because sometimes I’ll be thinking about a topic I want to write about, that has meaning for other moms, post it, and get NO response. Not even the crickets chirping. Which then causes me to ask myself, “Why did I take them time to blog instead of activityXYZ?”

Oh, and side comment(s)… I HATE partial feeds in my reader, I generally do not stay subscribed to those blogs. But I LOVE the positive discipline advice you post. It doesn’t always jive with the way my husband and I want to parent, but it does show me another alternative to what we’ve already tried. I’m all about options. 😉
Erin recently posted: Yep, It’s Friday!

Twitter: Heligirl
June 29, 2011 at 2:06 pm

Thanks Erin. I’m the same way, starting my blog more as an outlet and to share. And I feel the SAME thing when I take all this time to research and write a positive discipline article and there isn’t a single comment. I’m sure folks are reading, Monday (when I post my articles) is the highest readership, but I really feel like comments are the only way to KNOW people read and got something from it. I’m trying different things, like asking a question, to see if I can get some interaction. When I know people like it, I’ll keep doing it for them.
Heligirl recently posted: The Blogging Blues

Liz June 29, 2011 at 11:59 am

I don’t always directly visit your blog, but I do read whatever you’ve posted via Google Reader! I wonder if Blogger takes that into consideration?

Twitter: Heligirl
June 29, 2011 at 2:15 pm

Thanks Liz. I know you read. You’ve been wonderful with comments here and on the Facebook page. Thanks so much for all of your support my friend. 🙂 I think in the end, what got me down was the sudden drop in website hits paired with limited comments. I just didn’t think anyone was really reading much anymore. Thanks again!
Heligirl recently posted: The Blogging Blues

Jaclyn June 29, 2011 at 2:19 pm

I read every single post, I promise. I rarely comment on blogs, but I promise I read and find what you write thought provoking and insightful.

Twitter: Heligirl
June 30, 2011 at 8:17 am

Thank you my lovely friend. I love that you read my ramblings. It means a lot because you’re right there learning and living some of this stuff too in co-op. 🙂
Heligirl recently posted: The Blogging Blues

SharleneT. June 29, 2011 at 7:06 pm

I decided to not worry about stats when it became the end-all to almost every blog I was reading. My purpose in blogging is bring solar cooking to the mainstream cook and, sooner or later, they’ll find me. There are some regulars who stop by and make comments but I find it’s pretty much the same folks with a few new ones each week. What I find amazing (and plan on blogging about it, at some point) is the family and friends who begged me to send photos of the oven I invented. After much pressure, I did email them a picture. Nothing. Zilch. Zero, Absolutely no comments from them, ever, about whether it was great, it was garbage, it was worthless, it was nice. Nice. Nothing. Now, that’ll kill you by degrees. I visit you often but don’t always comment. Maybe, that’s how others do it, too?
SharleneT. recently posted: Solar Baked Shrimp and Rice Pilaf – Fast, Succulent, and Easy

Twitter: Heligirl
June 30, 2011 at 8:21 am

Wow, Sharlene. I didn’t realize you INVENTED your oven. That’s absolutely amazing. I think there is a story there the mainstream media might bite. I do love your tasty recipes and your shared wisdom. I absolutely can’t believe the nerve of family and friends who asked to see your invention then said nothing. That’s devastating. Please know there are those of us out here to do look at your work that think it’s brilliant!

Thanks for the support. You’re one of my regular commenting readers and it always brings a smile to my face to read your comments. Your wisdom and experience give me another perspective as I strive to raise my kids well. I so appreciate you. 🙂
Heligirl recently posted: The Blogging Blues

Mama Spaghetti June 30, 2011 at 12:29 am

Oh those darn numbers! It must be the season…I’ve been feeling down about it, too. I’ve convinced myself that it’s because people are away on summer vacation…not reading blogs, you know?

But in truth, you’re right. Sometimes it feels like an unwinnable popularity match. I’ve often thought of it like a sorority or something…one that I’ve not managed to figure out how to get into. It’s frustrating.

Anyway, know that you’re not alone.
Mama Spaghetti recently posted: I laugh at my husband. Now you can, too!

Twitter: Heligirl
June 30, 2011 at 8:37 am

Ha, ha, Mama, I thought the same thing – it must just be summer vacation. And that sorority feeling, I have to admit I never was a sorority type of gal. Too opinionated and unwilling to act like a group. The truth is, I’ve been watching some of the more popular blogs, the ones with thousands and thousands of hits a month, and some of them are filled with snarky drivel. Lots of people will read about someone bashing their husband and complaining about their kids. Even if it’s funny, I’m just not impressed. You all taking the time to leave me such kind comments here (when I really was sure it was two people reading), have convinced me that while I may not have high numbers, people do read this here stuff and it speaks to them. That’s more important than anything. Thanks!

MamaSpaghetti June 30, 2011 at 11:47 am

I was never in a sorority either…so I understand what you’re saying 🙂

And I know what you mean about some of the more popular blogs. I mean, sure, I talk about my husband and my kids, but I try not to bash or whine. There’s a fine line between being sarcastic (but staying positive) and just being snarky and mean. I try (I hope!) to stay on the right side of that line.

I’m so glad that your followers spoke out and gave you some encouragement! Hopefully it helps you get out of your blogging blues.

Kat June 30, 2011 at 7:14 pm

I’ve always contemplated ignoring the numbers, but the reality is, with WordPress on my phone, it’s far too easy to just open the application and start stats-ing away.

I used to comment back on every single blogger who dropped by my blog, but the reality is that some of their blogs? Really sucked. And I know if we were to meet in real life, we’d be on opposite ends of the room. The moment I stopped that is the moment my blogging got happier.

Misti July 1, 2011 at 8:18 am

I enjoy your posts very much, but I haven’t commented until now. ((HUG))

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