Wednesday, January 11, 2012

My blogging philosophy

I've always intended this blog to be a record of my life, not become my life. That's why I don't apologize for absences. If my blog starts to become my life instead of just a way to talk about my life, then it will be time to walk away.

I love my community here. I love chatting with friends in comments, and on Twitter. I spend significantly more time reading other blogs than I do on writing my own. But I've been getting a little discouraged lately by reading blogs written by full-time bloggers. By blogs that seem to exist solely for income and popularity. I followed a lot of them because I felt like I had to. (They're popular! Everyone knows about them! I have to win all the giveaways! Maybe I'll get more traffic if I do!)

So here is my little PSA, which I'm preaching more to myself than anyone else:
You don't have to have 5,000 (or 50,000) followers to have a good blog. Some of my favorite blogs in the world have less than 100 followers, and don't worry about how to increase their following.
The reality is, Latte Love will never be able to compete with the daily, semi-professional, over-edited dSLR photography found on popular blogs. There won't be monthly header redesigns, or sponsor posts. There won't be weekly giveaways and pinterest-worthy DIY craft tutorials. There probably won't be cutesy photos of E and I out on 'date nights'.

I started a blog in order to write. And to share that writing, and a little portion of my life, with the public on the internets. So, thank you for being here, despite the perpetual lack of all things that seem to make blogs popular/profitable. I hope, in one tiny way, that this could be an encouragement to other bloggers who feel overwhelmed in the sea of twee.

/rant.

I really don't mean to offend anyone with this post, (and part of it is just unsubscribing from those particular blogs that invoke these feelings, and letting it go), but since I think the culture of blogging has been changing so much over the past 5 years especially, I wanted to share this and get your thoughts.

37 comments:

Layla said...

Everything you just said. Yes. I agree.

beka said...

Oh my goodness I love everything you just wrote! I love the fact that I can think through things and sort things out and hear feedback when I post about things on my blog - but I honestly don't remember the last time I remember to take pictures, let alone post them! And when I do, they certainly aren't anything to brag about. And you are right - that is ok. :)

Claire Kiefer said...

Oh, I couldn't agree more. The worst is when I see people on twitter tweeting things like "PLEASE FOLLOW ME! I only need ____ number of followers to get to _____!" It drives me crazy! Why on earth does it matter if you have 5 more followers?! When did that become what blogging is about? It's sad to me, and it takes away from the authenticity of the blog.

Glad to have found you, though! xo

Jill said...

I think I like your blog for that reason. I stopped following a lot of blogs recently that all started to sound the same. It seemed like one popular blogger started "talking" a certain way and other bloggers had to follow suit. It really irked me. I prefer blogs about people and their lives that sometimes being something new to light that I hadn't thought of before. Thanks for being so honest in your blog post. :)

Erica said...

I realized my comment sounded a bit "holier-than-those-with-big-blogs" so I deleted it. What I meant to say was, that I agree. I'm happy with my blog being small, and I never plan to make money on it. I know bloggers who vastly popular blogs, and they stress about the size of their blog and growing their blog more than I do. I want to keep my blog a hobby, something fun, and never let it be something stressful.

lo @ crazy ever after said...

I am so proud of you for writing this. Thank you. It's seriously been something that has been on my heart a lot lately. I blogged for a year without ever promoting it (other than to my friends on FB). This past fall I started branching out a bit more, and I just recently hit 100 followers (last night actually). Of course I am a little excited about this. But I also don't want to get so large that I can't have the fun and meaningful conversations with fellow bloggers. I want to connect with everyone who takes the time to read my blog. I won't be able to do that (and still connect with my husband and my life outside the blog) if it grows huge. I could write an endless diatribe about this, but I shall end it now because I am rambling. Haha. But again, thank you for writing this. It speaks to me, and I am sure to many others as well.

lo @ crazy ever after said...

Oh and I totally tweeted the fact that I was at 99 followers and needed one more to hit triple digits last night. And it was because of Twitter that I got my most recent follower. Most of my readers know that I say a lot of that stuff tongue-in-cheek, though. Yes, followers are fun. But I really try not to put a crap ton of emphasis on it. But if we're being honest I will admit that I do put a leeetle bit of emphasis on it. ;)

Kimberly Michelle said...

Blogs will always be blogs. Logs of life. And if you have 5 loyal followers (as I did for my first 3 years of blogging), then that little support group is just as amazing as having 500. :)

I just tweeted something similar... as I see this move that people abandon what got them followers and move to some sort of formula that they think works. And then they get sponsors and suddenly their posts are just for traffic and not for content. And that's when I say goodbye.

And the absence part... completely agree! Unless you literally owe someone a post (they PAID for it and you didn't blog) then never apologize. :)

Jessica Lynn said...

I like what you said in your very first sentence: "I've always intended this blog to be a record of my life, not become my life." I find that the bigger blogs out there lose the personal touch...you can comment all day, but never hear a response back. I love the connection I've made (and continue) to make with people. I think my views of blogging have changed a bit in the past year (being overseas and knowing this is the only way some of our family can see what's going on is part of that), but I hope to always write for me...for a record of my life.

momentspassslow said...

Rock on Katie. That is all. :)

Meagan said...

I 1000% agree and I love you for posting this.

I have gotten so sick of blogs that only post giveaways, sponsor requests, and recurring themes posts. There's no substance there, and that's not why I read blogs. I want to read about genuine, real life things ... And that's why I love your blog!

Keep on, keeping on, dude.

Coasting Anon said...

:)

hernewleaf.com said...

I love your writing, Katie! And I love my little blog. I also love getting new readers though, not because "woo hoo only __ more til I get __" but because it is one more person who found what I wrote interesting or helpful and worthwhile to read. I love sharing my posts with people but I'm going to write what I want, when I want to write it, not because it's what people prefer to read. I hate that many of the "biggest" blogs are just women who post a photo and link 3x per day. If that's what it takes to be a successful "blogger," I don't want to be one!

Stacy said...

Well said! I have thought along these same lines! I just unfollowed a lot of blogs last night because I thought...I don't even enjoy reading them. I have nothing in common with them. I only followed because they were popular. If everyone else likes them, I should too, right?! Wrong!

Thanks for the post!! :)

Lissa said...

I agree 100%!!!

Vicki said...

AMEN sister!!!! I agree totally & completely agree!

Laura said...

Totally agree with this. I've also stopped following a few blogs like this recently.

Lily said...

Great post! Totally agree! I'm actually really put off by the professional bloggers. I too started following and almost promptly unfollowed. Of course, Latte Love isn't in that category. You post just the right amount.

Geek in Heels said...

I agree too. And while I do make some money from blogging, I try my best to remember why I blog in the first place: an outlet for myself and to share the things I feel passionate about. Some of my favorite blogs have tiny followings too, and I always wonder why they don't blow up (but at the same time, I don't want them to become super-popular lest they change). For what it's worth, I love your blog and I hope you keep doing what you're doing. :-)

Cara said...

Great post! I too started out with just posting with what is going on with my life/what I like, but I do feel like I put pressure on myself to be like other bloggers and second guess posts that I want to write thinking it doesn't fit in with all of the popular blogs. I think we all just need to be US and if you want to follow...awesome, if not, that is ok too. It shouldn't change me or my blog.

Estelle said...

Latte (can I call you Latte), once again you read my mind. I have been slowly cleaning out my Google Reader and figuring out what I want to read. I sort of dabble in a lot of different communities and I admit that it's hard to see people who post a picture and a few links a few times a week and people are always ohh & ahhing over their stuff. I still have not figured that out. It (semi) hurts when I feel I've researched something to the bone and don't get one comment. But then again, through all my blogginess, I have met some awesome people who I love and are equally supportive of what I'm writing. I guess it's all about being comfortable in your niche and understanding what certain opportunities will mean for you.

I, for one, love all of your blogs. Your writing is natural and thoughtful. Your fashion posts are so much fun, and I feel if I was in CA, we would have much to chat about over a cup of coffee. I know I don't speak up that much and normally send you a tweet, but there it is.

Thanks for all you do and all you say. And keeping things in perspective. xo

kitty said...

AMEN. i have unsubscribed to so many blogs and twitter feeds lately- some even belonging to my close friends-because it's gotten so annoying and promotional. the best content (IMHO) comes from an inspired post. maybe one that trails the previous one by weeks. but a meaningful, funny, or interesting one nonetheless. thanks so much for sharing; glad there are like-minded ladies out there!

Clothes Karma said...

You expressed so eloquently how I am feeling about blogs right now. In fact, I believe that even the big-time bloggers (esp. in the fashion realm) have also been rethinking their strategy in the new year. I've read a lot of "I'll be scaling back" sorts of posts. At some point, people just need to enjoy their meal, their date, their children, etc. without documenting it. I gave up a lifestyle blog a few years ago for that reason. It's so consuming and takes the fun right out!

What really saddens me is that there are so few professional women fashion blogging. Although I enjoy seeing pictures of how othersdress, what I really want are photos of real women wearing real clothes to work - not playing dress up in a field during the golden hour! ha ha.

clotheskarma.tumblr.com

livingabrighterlife said...

I totally agree! Blogging should be about what you want to blog about and not solely about what others want to see. Your "true" followers will follow you regardless and be so excited to see a post from you even if it is months since the last one.

Being a fairly newbie blogger (just over a year), I've sometimes succumbed to wanting to increase my readership and stats (not for monetary reasons, but just so I have a larger community to connect with.) I struggle with what to post because I worry that it isn't something the readers want to read or my pictures aren't taken with some fancy schmancy camera. Thanks to your post (and a few others I've seen in recent days), I'm snapping out of that mindset right now!

Thanks so much for your honesty and you will definitely still have a reader in me!

Ali @ His Birdie's Nest said...

Amen!

Melinda said...

You really hit a nerve here Katie (in a good way)! Blog readership is merely one metric, and arguably a poor metric, for deciding whether or not to read a blog. The number one metric is consistent, interesting content. You're one of my favorite bloggers and I count it a blessing to see you comment on mine too. Instead of small blogs, we should just call ours petite or boutique - the frenchified size sounds more elegant. LOL.

ambergontrail said...

BRAVO! (Brava? Shit, I don't know) You got it, Sister. And if I pay you three dollars will you apologize to me if you don't make a post in awhile? Like, "Sorry Amber, I know you paid me three dollars for a post in the next week, but well, I got busy living my life instead of living to make sure I got a certain number of posts in this week".

This is why I don't really understand "guest posts" when someone has a reason to be gone (a trip, a baby, honeymoon). Maybe it's because I'm a nobody, and no one would miss me when I'm gone. I guess I figure that people come to my blog to see what *I* write, not to see a bunch of my friends who have their OWN blogs anyway writing about their topics on MY blog. So I would hope that if people come to my blog to see what I have to say, that they'd understand when I'm gone and while I would hope they'd miss me if I am gone, that they'll still be happy to see me when I turn up. Because of that, I felt no need to put some "filler" in there just to make sure people kept hitting my blog while I was gone having babies. Then again, since I don't make money off my sad little blog, I don't really have to care about keeping people (and advertisers) happy by continuing to get traffic to my site. If no one comes, it's fine, because when it comes down to it, it's MY words, MY life and MY blog. I write for joy, not commerce.

EmilyB said...

Great post! This really resonated with me:

"I've always intended this blog to be a record of my life, not become my life."

I have no desire to become a professional blogger or have bajillions of readers. For one, I don't have thick enough skin for that. But more importantly, I like to be able to reply to the comments I get. I like reading smaller blogs because I like the interaction between the writer and her readers.

Sometimes I feel guilty for not blogging, but then I tell myself to stop. No one is going to be mad or hate me because I go through periods of radio silence (and if they do, eff them). The *worst* thing a blogger can do, in my opinion, is writing for hits. If you don't have anything to say, please don't fill up your blog with crap just to get more hits. I can think of a particular blogger who does this and oh my, it's a trainwreck.

Anyway, you're great and pretty and nice and I love reading your blog. Keep it up. :)

Krista Lynn said...

I love this - great perspective! Blogging became something to do to keep in touch with family and friends. I honestly document things to make it easier on me. So convenient to be able to click on a button that says 'recipes' and all my favorite recipes are there..for me to use. I really don't like it when bloggers post things like, 'help me reach ___ amount of followers.' It shows me they're more concerned about the popularity status.

I also love the smaller blogs because they are more personable. I have tried emailing questions to larger blogs multiple times, and they never respond. Smaller blog writers want to get to know you - they are in it to make friends, not followers.

Great post!!

Audrey @ Putting Me Together said...

I agree! It's a constant battle I find myself fighting--wanting to be like other blogs and blah blah blah. But I never want to find significance in a BLOG (!!!), and much less in the numbers of it, but admittedly, it's hard to stay true to self-expression. As I learn more and more what it looks like and feels like to let myself just BE, it's incredibly liberating!

Maria Diana said...

Amen sister. :)

Lauren said...

Amen sister!!

Suz L said...

totally agree!

I have had a problem with Google friend connect though in that once I add a blog to my reader using that, I can't get rid of them! Now my reader is full of junk that half the time I could care less about. Blogs have become more fluff, giveaways, crafts, and theme posts than anything. It's sad.

Loribeth said...

Your blog is one of my favorites...

Like you, I find myself reading blogs more than I write my own. I realize I need to thin out my reading list, and keep only the blogs I truly enjoy, not because they have thousands of followers, but because they speak to me.

Thank you for reminding me why I started blogging!

Vanessa said...

Sounds like the right attitude to have! I love blogging for some of the same reasons, but I always try to blog about my life, not live to blog! Important distinction! Have a great great weekend!

Katie said...

This is a great post! :) Thanks for putting it out there.

I do understand the frustration with a few things regarding "bigger blogs" - lack of interaction being one of them. I don't respond to every comment that I receive on my blog, but I do like being able to reach out to people and continue that conversation when I can! I don't ever want to lose that.

And although I do make a little money off of my blog, I do not ever want to compromise what I'm writing in order to do so. I've turned down a handful of offers to review products...but they weren't "me" or something I'd typically use, so I've declined. If a sponsor comes along that is a great fit, that is fabulous. If one doesn't, then it is what it is. I do see a lot of people begging for sponsors/products to review...and I just have to remind myself that I blog for myself (and of course for readers to enjoy, if you will) and not for goodies. ;) Haha!

happyandthankful said...

I agree! I've always written as an outlet and way to share my life and thoughts with anyone interested in reading. When I wrote my husband's blog, it was to keep family in the loop and to be used as a resource for other patients and caregivers. I know my blog will never have the readership that others do, but I hope the few that read it walk away with something. But ultimately, I write for me and I'm trying to be true to who I am.

I appreciate your posts and look forward to them. I have your blog in my reader because of your honesty and that you aren't like those other bloggers. Please know that you have readers that want exactly that. Thank you!

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