Why I Stopped Promoting My Blog (OK, Not Totally)

As I approach my one year blogiversary (or maybe I’ve passed it, who even knows), I’ve been reflecting on how I’ve swung in every different blogging direction over the past 12 months.

I’ve gone from, “It will be fun to blog again,” to “I AM DOING THIS MOMMY BLOGGER THING FOR REAL / WATCH OUT WORLD,” to “effe this nonsense,” to “Eh, I’m just going to do this blog thing for fun.”

Full circle, much?

I’ve learned a little about myself — about what I’m willing to do and what I’m not willing to do as a blogger (including that the term “PR-friendly” doesn’t apply to me) as well as where I need to focus my energy for my freelance career (Spoiler alert: It’s probably not on my blog). On one hand, I put a lot of energy and hours and a little money into attempting to promote and learn how to monetize this blog, but it’s a weight off my shoulders to admit this isn’t a world I want to compete in.

The best part is now that I’ve made my way back over to the “whatever” end of the blogging spectrum, my authentic writing voice seems to have returned and I’m actually kind of enjoying enjoying social media (gasp!) rather than feeling overwhelmed by it. To be more succinct: Acknowledging my blog is not going to be my business took the pressure off and has made me feel more creative.

That said, in the process of figuring this out, I read about ALL OF THE THINGS I should do to facilitate my meteoric rise to blogger fame. I tried many of these tactics, and a lot of them didn’t really seem to have the impact I was expecting.

Now this isn’t to say that my expectations weren’t the problem in these scenarios, but the return on time investment didn’t pay off for me. That doesn’t mean there aren’t other bloggers out there who have found these tactics to be super useful and valuable to their growth and goals. But, if you happen to be someone who has tried one or more of these only to see minimal, if any, results, I want you to know you’re not the only one.

Four Things I've Stopped Doing to Promote my Blog

No More Link-Ups

I loved the idea of link-ups. There are a few bloggers I like a lot who host link-ups, and I tried to get with the program on several occasions. And while I would see a trickle of referrals, it never amounted to much traffic or participation for me. Moreover, reading other blogs, commenting, pinning posts — whatever the deal was — was incredibly time-consuming. I always followed the link-up rules (because no one wants to be known as someone who link drops and runs, but I don’t actually know how anyone truly figures out who participates without a complicated manual calculation), but the ROI just wasn’t there for me. This isn’t to say link-ups aren’t a great tool for you to grow your blog, they just didn’t work for me. If I had all the time in the world, I’d probably participate in approximately 20, but I don’t, so I’ve crossed this one off the blog promotion list.

Embracing Tribe-less-ness

For real, there are bloggers who I like and follow. There are (a small number of) bloggers that I feel I’ve made a more personal connection with — though some of those are from my old time-y blogging days. There are bloggers whose stuff I promote via social media whether or not they reciprocate — I don’t care — and there are blogs I more regularly comment on. But the idea of a blogging tribe remains elusive for me. I suppose I should provide my definition of a tribe to you, so here it is: A group of maybe 5-10 bloggers who consistently promote, comment on, and participate in each other’s blogs.

Now maybe what I’ve described is a clique and not a tribe, but truly, that’s what I feel like I’m supposed to have. Again, maybe the problem here is my perception versus reality, but I tend to shut down when anything feels vaguely like high school, so this has not been an easy feat for me. Maybe I will change my mind about the importance of this eventually, but right now, I’m not putting any effort into finding my tribe.

No Guest Posting Original Content for Free

For a writer-slash-blogger, guest posting felt like the holy grail of blog success. So I did it a few times. For most, I guest-posted content that had been repurposed / reprinted from something that I had already published on Mommy Sanest. I’m generally OK with that approach, though the editing process can be a little bit time-intensive. But I did write a few free posts with original content in the process, which ultimately amounted to very little exposure for me. I’m not saying writing for free is always a bad thing — there are extremely high profile sites out there that can boost your writer cred and send your blog significant amounts of traffic (though, to be honest, I’d probably argue that these are exactly the sites that should be paying) — but I never saw much growth from any of my guest posting activities. Again, perhaps I haven’t done it enough or in the right places, but I struggle with the idea that this is how I should spend my time when I can be doing other things to further my writing goals that also happen to pay.

Ix-Nay on the Blogger Groups

It took me awhile to figure out that there are tons of Facebook groups dedicated to bloggers supporting other bloggers. You can share links, get more comments on your blog, ask for likes on your social posts, etc. So here’s the deal: These do work — though depending on the rules, some work better than others. If you’re a committed blogger with time on your hands or a virtual assistant, this is actually a pretty good way to increase your numbers. But (BUT!), being involved in these groups takes a lot of time. For some it may be time well spent, but it made me feel like my blogging duties were never ending. Visiting dozens of sites a day, stumbling posts, liking tweets, commenting — despite seeming super easy to do, takes a ton of time. So I stopped. And I’m pretty sure my blood pressure went down (medical fact). This isn’t to say I won’t participate in some blogger group activities (I participate in one very active group that from time to time will do a follow thread for different social media platforms, and I will do those if I happen to catch them), but I’m picky and have generally stopped promoting individual blog posts this way.

I haven’t totally stopped promoting my blog — despite my leaning-toward-click-bait title and graphic — but after 12 months of this mess, I’ve figured out where my time is well spent. And my time is well spent on Pinterest, other social platforms to some degree, and search, but really Pinterest. I invest time and a small amount of money into my graphics and pinning strategy, yes, but that’s way easier to handle when I’ve taken several other items off the list.

What about you? Do these promotional activities work for you? Are there other promotional activities you’ve stopped doing for your blog? Is it me, and not you? Or is it you, and not me?

21 thoughts on “Why I Stopped Promoting My Blog (OK, Not Totally)

  1. I hope this new approach works for you and fills your bloggy needs. Personally, I’ll read and comment no matter what you do, but I also really appreciate the “I tried this, and it just didn’t work for me” mentality of this approach.

    Cheers to you, my dear!

    xox

  2. All well said– especially the piece about tribes. I’ve always remained staunchly anti tribe in the formal sense. I have plenty of blogging buddies, but I don’t want anyone to feel obligated to promote me and I don’t like feeling like I owe that to anyone either. When I share, it’s authentic and not tit-for-tat.

    • I’m glad to know someone else out there feels this way about tribes. It seems like a tall order to find a number of bloggers who are not only really interested in promoting your blog, but you’re also interested in promoting them, and then everyone else about each other. There’s some serious math going on in there.

  3. I went through the same thing with my book blog to the point that it stopped being fun. Now I’ve kind of gone backwards and neglect it too much (but I’ve been focusing on my running blog a lot more). In the end I still believe that content is king. If you write something worth reading, people will find it.

    • I agree with you about content — or at least, that’s what I want to believe is true. And ultimately, who am I writing for? Myself? Other bloggers? Everyone? I’d like to think it’s somewhere between myself and everyone, but not just for other bloggers. But sometimes it feels like the blog world only engages the blog world.

  4. I agree with the idea that blogging needs to be fun. Why do it otherwise? I have a job. Blogging is not my job. I’m never going to be a superblogger so worrying about all the things you “have to do” and getting stressed about it is stupid.

  5. It’s me, too! Very much so. I’ve spent a lot of time doing X in order to get Y and it just. didn.’t. work. For me at least. Thank you for being real here. It still niggles at the back of my mind that if I do just one more thing or try this or that, then I’ll breakthrough to blogging greatness. But 99% of the time I’m now writing for me and it’s fun to have a few people come along with me, too.

    • Hi Katy! Thanks for stopping by.

      I also had that voice in my head for awhile that pushed me to keep doing some of these things. The truth is, this is an extremely crowded space, and a lot of those activities (for better or worse) just cater to promoting ourselves to groups of bloggers. That’s not really what I set out to do (thought clearly I’m talking to bloggers in this post).

      I’ve always had fun blogging and I think the bottom line is that I either do it for myself and if others start reading, great or I don’t do it. Most of us moms, especially if blogging isn’t our job, simply do not have time to do the kinds of extensive promotion that is “required” of blogging according to other bloggers.

  6. I also find Pinterest to be the best source of traffic for blogging, as well as the most fun. (No surprise I found your blog via Pinterest!!) I agree 100% with the FB blogger groups. I belong to a few as well and I know if I included my link and did all the visiting/commenting/tweeting etc in return, it would be a big traffic boost, but WOW is it labor intensive! (Made worse because I refuse to pin/tweet/promote anything that I haven’t read).

  7. Pingback: Why I Stopped Promoting My Blog - The SITS Girls

  8. I discovered this post on SITS GIRLS, and after reading it, I feel like I have found a soul mate! You put into words the very thoughts that have been swirling around in my head for some time. I love blogging but the increasing pressures of promoting and keeping up with social media have become overwhelming.
    I’m implementing a plan similar to yours to revive the fun of blogging. My blog may not grow as quickly, but I will be less likely to quit blogging from blogger burnout.
    Thank you for speaking out and putting this all in better perspective!
    This is proof that the saying “Content is King” is absolutely true. Your topic drew me in, and now I will be sharing a link to this post on my blog tomorrow. You now have a new follower (me!) without doing any of the promoting you gave up!
    Bravo!

  9. Blogging is definitely a roller coaster! I have only been doing it for a few months and really had no idea what the blog world was like before I started. It is interesting to see what works and what doesn’t, but it can certainly take over your life if you aren’t careful!

  10. I totally hear you and am finding it difficult lately to figure out what IS and isn’t worth it in times of bloggy ROI. I mean, let’s face it: this stuff is time consuming enough as it is. If you really want to BE EVERYWHERE and get all the comments you have spread yourself pretty gosh darn thing, and you know, I like living my life and not feeling obligated to do the blog hops… Though sharing when something strikes my fancy is something that I can always get behind.

    Hope you have a very happy 4th of July! XOXO

  11. I’d love to see a flip side post – what does have a high ROI. I still do linky parties, but only smaller ones where people might actually have a chance of seeing my link. I feel like a party with 100+ links just buries everything that isn’t first. I agree with you those do take a lot of time, as well as the facebook share groups, which is why I only do a few of them or none at all for weeks I’m super busy. Great post and thanks for sharing your experience!

  12. Yes! The promotional end of blogging is very tedious for me and I find myself spending less time on it every single day. I miss the simpler days of blogging.

  13. This is what I needed! I’m so glad I came across this post because right now, I’m going through this! I recently joined several Facebook groups as well as other communities just promoting or sharing my stuff but I don’t think it’s giving me the kind of results I’m looking for. I agree too, it may work for some people but I don’t like that it’s so time consuming and I’m not having fun with it at all. I learned that I rather spend more time on creating and sharing content however I want because that is what I like and enjoy doing, why I started in the first place. I like genuine support and genuine engagement. Very helpful post because it lets me know that I am not alone in this.

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