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22 In Blogging/ Personal

I’m Having a Blog Identity Crisis

I have a little *confession*. I use the word confession lightly because it’s something I’m quite proud of.

I haven’t looked at my blog statistics for about three months.

That means no looking at how a blog post did, no looking at monthly page views. Completely forgetting about the numbers. I haven’t even checked the growth of my social media engagement as extensively as I used to. Checking my blog statistics, for me, was a way to check how much I should be charging for sponsored content and adverts. I would check my page views because I knew that the more it climbed, the more money I could charge for. This is a problem and is completely unlike me and my personality. I should be checking my page views as a fun way to see what countries my audience comes from, and who’s enjoying themselves in my internet space. This year, I’ve gone back to doing exactly that. It’s no longer about the numbers. This changed after New Year.

Now, I’m normally not someone who treats new years as fresh slates. Personally, I don’t think it’s a healthy outlook on life. But this year was different. When the clock hands faced twelve and I fell into 2017, my first thought (once I’d kissed my boyfriend and wished him a happy new year) was how shit I thought my blog content was. I just couldn’t remove the thought that I was entering the year with content I hadn’t enjoyed creating and cringed at a little when sharing.

The most popular blog posts on my website at the time were these:

40 networks you can join to earn money online
Blog post ideas for beauty bloggers
Blog post ideas for fashion bloggers
7 Ways I’m Improving My Mental Health
A grey area

There are two blog posts on that list that I’m really not interested in anymore, and two that I’m very proud of. It’s probably not hard to guess which two blog posts are the one’s I’m proud of, but they are ‘A Grey Area’ and the post about mental health. The Grey Area article is about my domestic abuse story and where those who experience similar situations can go to get help. It’s the most read blog post on my website and one that I truly believe had a positive impact on people. It highlights the problems with our justice system when it comes to crimes in relationships and offers support to victims. I also included a call out for anyone who wanted to work with me on projects to campaign against domestic violence and make a change. I received so many emails and made real connections with real people and that felt amazing. It also led to me campaigning against domestic violence and attending feminism events as a panellist with companies like Avon, Refuge, and working with Benefit Cosmetics. It’s incredible to turn something shit that happened to you (which is also a big learning curve) and transfer it into something that others can consume and be influenced by, for positive change.  The blog post about mental health is another I’m proud of because it generated a really positive response from loads of people that were taking my advice, and it felt good to know I wasn’t working on my mental health alone. What does this tell me? It tells me this; the content that truly has a positive impact on people and inspires them (which is what I want my work to do, more than anything) are the articles that are personal. Real life experiences where I worked hard to tell the stories eloquently and sensitively. Stories that have a message, a lesson, a bit of motivation. And ultimately, created positive change in a person’s life.

I’m bored of tailoring my content to a specific formula that I know will boost my page views. I’m bored of downloading thousands of freebies on Pinterest to help twiddle with my SEO and ‘crank my pageviews’. Last year, when I wrote content, I’d look at Google’s keyword planner and see what people were searching for the most, and write that. Just that. And that makes me sad. That’s not why I started a blog.

I’m not going to pretend that I don’t enjoy seeing my page views go up. It’s nice to know that lots of people visited your blog and read your work. But when you only write articles like ‘how to start a blog’ and ‘5 ways to save money’ all the time, you start to feel creatively stifled. I’m not saying you can’t write about those topics in creative ways, but I was angling all my content to fit with a monetisation formula. I don’t want to do that anymore.

All this tailored content and filtered words have led to me having a bit of a blog identity crisis. I don’t want to be a blogger who thinks about money 24/7. I don’t want to be a person who worries about money so much that I toss away creative ideas that make me happy, to opt for click bait and bullshit-spun articles.

These last few months of not checking pageviews have been blissful. I used to obsess over y analytics and check it twice a day, sometimes more. And on the bad days (which everyone has) I’d feel down and contemplate deleting my blog. And it was bad page-view days that led me to writing meaningless content that was ‘clickable’. When I’m checking numbers, the sad days outweigh the happy ones, they put unnecessary pressure on you when writing, and that is not the way to blog.

Now, I don’t really check Analytics or Jetpack at all, unless I’m applying for a job or campaign where it needs to know my statistics. For me, statistic measures just don’t work anymore. The best measurement for me and my content, is real engagement from real people, in the form of comments, emails, tweets, etc.

That’s why there’s been a bit of a shift in my content. I hope you’ve managed to see my personality come through in my content more often now. I love displaying my creativity through posts that show you who I am and what I love, especially through projects like my podcast and magazine. It’s going to continue that way. The creative tutorials and advice on blogging & other creative projects won’t disappear but they’ll definitely be done in a way that’s more entertaining and, more importantly, they’ll be me.

Get ready for more ‘me’ content x

 

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22 Comments

  • Reply
    Hayley Fearnley
    April 18, 2017 at 9:13 pm

    The response to your grey area post is amazing, it’s lovely to see something positive come from something so negative! I hate trying to follow “rules” to get my blog noticed more, SEO bores me and I don’t understand half my google analytics, writing posts is all I want to do and it’s all I will be doing after this post! crueltyfreehayley.com x

    • Reply
      Beth
      April 21, 2017 at 7:01 pm

      Thanks so much, Hayley! And oh god, SEO is such a boring thing! It took me ages to learn it!

  • Reply
    Becks
    April 18, 2017 at 9:17 pm

    I haven’t been looking at my analytics for the past while and it feels so good and not as stressful and I feel as if it’s making me enjoy and take more time in writing posts instead of worrying that they aren’t doing well.

    • Reply
      Beth
      April 21, 2017 at 7:00 pm

      Exactly! It feels much less stressful! Glad you’re enjoying writing more becks x

  • Reply
    Marc Lamberts
    April 19, 2017 at 8:07 am

    This was a fantastic read and I genuinely think we all could be happier, if we focused less on statistics. I must admit I do look at my statistics every week, but it’s a lot less than it used to be. Great post, can’t wait to read more from you 🙂

    • Reply
      Beth
      April 21, 2017 at 6:59 pm

      Thank you marc, I think we would all be a lot happier too!

  • Reply
    Sian Harrison
    April 19, 2017 at 11:09 am

    Wow, this is awesome. I feel like blogging for some people has started to turn into such a competitive and negative thing and it shouldn’t be about that! We should be all expressing ourselves and doing it because it makes us and others happy and that’s the only reason!

    • Reply
      Beth
      April 21, 2017 at 6:58 pm

      No, it shouldn’t be about that at all! I’d love to see blogging go back to being a creative outlet for people xx

  • Reply
    Sarah
    April 19, 2017 at 11:21 am

    I stopped checking my stats and my DA as I got to the point where I thought, no matter how many times I look it won’t change it it, it is what it is and I know I try my best. At the end of the day, I blog as a hobby so it really doesn’t matter! Xxx

    • Reply
      Beth
      April 21, 2017 at 6:58 pm

      No, it doesn’t matter! Our happiness as bloggers is what’s most important, not the numbers!

  • Reply
    Harriet
    April 19, 2017 at 11:27 am

    Love this post, we all want our blog to be the best it can be but often forget to be true to ourselves. I’ve stopped caring about a lot of things and just write what I want to!

    • Reply
      Beth
      April 21, 2017 at 6:57 pm

      Best way to be! Thanks for reading harriet xx

  • Reply
    Heathed
    April 19, 2017 at 2:33 pm

    I haven’t really been looking at my analytics too much either. I definitely think it helps you focus more on content

    • Reply
      Beth
      April 21, 2017 at 6:57 pm

      It really does!

  • Reply
    Jenny
    April 19, 2017 at 2:46 pm

    Awh, I think we ALL go through these “crisis” phases with our blog. I did, just over a year ago and ended up taking a 6 month blogging break because of it! I just wasn’t interested, didn’t know what to write about – everything just felt off. But it’s great that you’ve acknowledged all of this. I feel kinda the same, I don’t want to be focused on the sponsored content and the money side of blogging too much. I think it’s great that we can do this but it’s important to keep true to ourselves. I’d love to try something different on my blog, something more creative! <3

    • Reply
      Beth
      April 21, 2017 at 6:57 pm

      I definitely didn’t think I was alone, I bet so many people go through these phases of feeling like their blog isn’t great! And I’m glad you agree, it’s much less stifling of our creativity if we focus on what we want to do rather than what we should be doing to get the numbers going up! xxx

  • Reply
    Caitlin
    April 20, 2017 at 11:10 am

    I love how you’re becoming less interested in the numbers and more interested in the people! I’m looking forward to more of your new content 🙂 Caitlin x

    • Reply
      Beth
      April 21, 2017 at 6:55 pm

      thank you caitlin! xx

  • Reply
    Nicole
    April 21, 2017 at 3:11 pm

    I love your blog! I think it is really important to blog about what you want and not what people want or what is popular!

    http://www.abeautifulchaos.co.uk

    • Reply
      Beth
      April 21, 2017 at 6:55 pm

      thank you so much nicole!

  • Reply
    Marg
    April 25, 2017 at 2:34 pm

    Hmm it seems like your website ate my first comment (it was extremely long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I submitted and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I as well am an aspiring blog blogger but I’m still new to the whole thing. Do you have any points for beginner blog writers? I’d certainly appreciate it.

    • Reply
      Beth
      April 30, 2017 at 1:45 pm

      Hey! Thank you for your comment, I have a whole ebook on blogging if you’d like to purchase. Just click the ‘shop’ page on my nav bar. If you search ‘blog’ in my search bar, there’s loads of free advice on here too!

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