How I Take Charge of My Blog Before It Takes Charge of Me

 

Taking Charge of Your Blog

Book blogging can be a time-consuming process.  It requires bloggers not only to read and review books, but also to read and comment on other blogs, host blog tours or other special events, guest post on other blogs, maintain several social media accounts, design a website, and take book photographs or make other graphics.  After all this, it can be very disappointing to see that barely anyone is visiting.  As a result, many bloggers feel pressured to change their reading or blogging habits in order to raise their statistics.

This is an understandable reaction.  After all, we blog because we want readers.  We want to interact with other book lovers, not scream into a void.  However, though I do take into consideration what our readers seem to enjoy, I do not allow the lure of page views to impact my reading or writing habits in a noticeable way.  That is, I will make small changes, such as scheduling posts on days that get more traffic, reading a popular book (that I wanted to read anyway) sooner rather than later when possible, and making sure that I schedule a discussion post every now and then since readers seem to enjoy them more than they enjoy reviews (at any rate, they get about four times the traffic).  I will not, however, make changes that make me dislike blogging, keep me from reading the books I enjoy, or feel like reading is a chore.

I don’t have any real secret for my success in managing to stay above the pressures that says we “have” to read certain books, “have” to get ARCs, or “have” to post about certain things or so many times a week.  All I have is a simple attitude: I am in charge of my blogging.  To say that I “have” to do something would suggest that I am a powerless victim at the forces of some vague attitude floating around the book blogosphere.  But I refuse to be powerless.  I take full responsibility for my choices in reading and in blogging.  I am in control and have the authority to say “yes” or “no” to certain books, certain posts, certain schedules.  It’s immensely freeing.

Sometimes it can be helpful to remember that we are in charge.  We don’t have to feel like we “have” to do something just because someone else wrote that we do.  And I like to think that putting ourselves in charge actually can benefit us in the long run.  If we all “have” to do the same things, no one would have any reason to choose our blog over someone else’s–all blogs would, after all, have the same content.  Putting ourselves back in charge opens us up to originality and creativity–two things that will surely help draw traffic in the long run.

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27 thoughts on “How I Take Charge of My Blog Before It Takes Charge of Me

  1. Adam says:

    Well said. It’s easy to forget that we do this by choice, and instead feel that we must. Granted, sometimes there is value in using “I must” as a way to keep ourselves dedicated and focused, but other times it’s important to recognize that we always have the choice. Most of the time we still make the same choice, but knowing that we can choose helps.
    While many want success, it’s success on their terms, doing what they love.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Krysta says:

      That’s a good point. A little pressure can be a good motivator. But that’s where we should keep it–as a motivator. And there can be different measures for success. For many bloggers, I think the conversations are more important than the views.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Zoie says:

    This is a really great attitude to have on blogging! 😊 I can see why it would be easy for one to lose sight of why they blog, but I always remind myself that blogging isn’t something I have to do — it’s something I have chosen to spend my precious time on because I love doing something that fits all my passions so perfectly. I also think it’s very easy for readers to tell the difference between a blogger who is passionate about what they’re writing vs. a blogger who is writing just in hopes for more traffic, so in the end, writing that comes from the heart is what will make the longest and most positive impact on a blog. Great post! 😄

    Liked by 1 person

    • Krysta says:

      That’s a good point! I do think readers will ultimately be attracted to someone who is genuinely invested in blogging and not just doing whatever it takes to get views. Doing the latter makes it easy to lose direction. A cohesive blog with a vision other than “whatever it takes for traffic” is much more appealing!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. SERIESous Book Reviews says:

    I’d say it took me 2 years of blogging to reach that conclusion you’ve described here. It’s so easy to get caught up in everything those first few months of blogging. I always describe it as a bit of a downworld spiral where you get caught up in the stats and the ARCs and the other tangible aspects of blogging. But now, I do what makes me happy. I don’t worry about my stats and I find success in the little things I do and that’s what motivates me to keep going.

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    • Krysta says:

      I think we may have missed the downward spiral in the first months. We were getting like eight views a day! Clearly we weren’t doing enough crazy stuff to warrant more traffic, haha! But I do find it tempting to look at my stats and worry when they dip a little. I actually check them every day. I don’t avoid them like some very strong-willed ndividuals!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Books, Vertigo and Tea says:

    Love this! I wish I could express this very sentiment to several blogging friends (I do try – but some seem set on those numbers). I made the decision at the beginning of the year to no longer look at stats. The last time I looked at them was to see where my followers were located so I could come up with a good time for scheduled posts. And it has been liberating ❤ I totally get that we all want views and someone to listen, I do to. But like you, I am doing this for me and refuse to relinquish control. Now, I move at my pace and do what feels best for me (not what others seem to think is best) and I love blogging even more. I may have a smaller following, but my followers and I seem to connect better and that is very rewarding ❤

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    • Krysta says:

      I think sometimes we forget that success can be measured in different ways. It seems like connecting with people might be more valuable than getting high numbers of viewers. I would rather get more comments than views, personally. A view doesn’t necessarily mean someone even read the post! At least with a comment, you know that someone was interested enough to want to engage.

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      • Books, Vertigo and Tea says:

        I agree! I enjoy the more personal aspect of interacting. I have made some fantastic friends through the blog. Some of which I talk to daily now. Certainly beats views and follows in my books 😊💕 but I do understand we all have our own goals. Again, great post!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Nancy says:

    It’s easy to feel down when stats are low and feel that the blog needs to be modified. But then you run into the issue of losing your passion for the blog if it becomes too different from how you started it.

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    • Krysta says:

      When we first started blogging, I think we were getting about eight views a day! I’m sure most bloggers want an audience slightly bigger than that! Still, I would rather have more comments that views. Views could just be search engine hits. Comments are usually from people who actually read the blog! 🙂

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  6. Valerie says:

    Yes I agree Krysta! I think as long as you’re enjoying what you’re putting out there, then the traffic and the comments (and more importantly the friends and interactions!) will come naturally 😀

    I remember I used to have a blogging schedule, which included doing all my commenting on Tuesdays and Thursdays, reading on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and then coming up with all the posts on the weekends. It wasn’t great because it literally left no room for my social life, or anything else that popped up. Now I’m just doing fine with doing whatever haha.

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    • Krysta says:

      Wow! I don’t think I’m organized enough to have a schedule like that! I just write and comment when I can. And, yes, sometimes it doesn’t get done. But, as you say, we all want a life, too!

      Like

  7. Sandi says:

    Thanks for the reminder! I homeschool my kids, and one of the most valuable things I ever heard anyone say was this: “It’s your school.” In the end, my homeschool doesn’t look like anyone else’s, and that’s okay. (Inevitably, one compares one’s homeschool to others, but, for the most part, it is a non-productive exercise.) Neither do my blogs, which is also okay. I do have to accept that, if I choose to write erratically or to post long-winded pieces, folks may not read them. But I can live with that (most of the time).

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    • Krysta says:

      That sounds like great advice! And I’m sure everyone’s kids are different, so it makes sense your schools would be, too!

      Haha, that’s true! Sometimes I write a huge piece and it gets no views. Now I try to break them up into smaller parts!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. theorangutanlibrarian says:

    Hear hear!! Absolutely wonderful post!! And I really think that the second any part of blogging becomes something you “have to” do it becomes a chore and it’s time to take a step back. So important to actually switch off from the stats and the pressure and just enjoy it for the reasons we started in the first place.

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  9. Marie says:

    This is such an amazing post, Krysta, thank you for writing it. It’s so easy to get caught up in stats, popular books and before we know it, everything blogging has become a chore and an endless chase to gain more stats, more ARCs, more numbers. It doesn’t really MEAN anything. We always need a reminder that we started this for us, and that we are the ones in charge here, no one is telling us what to do. We can do and read whatever we want and blogging is for us before anyone else ❤

    Like

  10. Cam @ Camillea Reads says:

    Aaw Krysta, this is such an inspiring post! I always get caught up with trying to read popular books because I felt that it would get more traffic but it felt too constricting for me. So I’ve done away with that and I’m now shaping my blog space according to what I want! Thank you for this post 🙂

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    • Krysta says:

      Honestly, it’s getting difficult for me to tell what popular books are right now! It seems like there aren’t too many books everyone is really getting excited for in 2018. I do like a little excitement because it sort of feels like we can all buddy read together and then discuss together (or whenever I finally get my review up six months after everyone else ;b).

      But I think that it is important to be able to read what you want. I read a lot of books I know won’t get many views (especially the MG books), but not reading them would only make me hate blogging. I’d be bitter I couldn’t read what I love most.

      Like

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