I’ve been reading several articles recently about how blogging has changed over the course of the past several years, and it seems to me that it might be time to re-evaluate my blogging goals. How about you? Are you still blogging on a regular basis and finding that things are dramatically different out here in the blogosphere than they were ever just two years ago? I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic.
My blogging journey started a long time ago . . . it was probably in the late 90s or early 2000s . . . when a friend of mine mentioned, quite casually as we were chatting one day, that he had just finished writing a “blog.” Well, what the heck is that? I asked with feigned interest. My recollection of that conversation is that I really didn’t care so much about what a “blog” was as much as I was contemplating some writing projects and we were just talking about writing opportunities in general. Much to my surprise, “blogging” was becoming a pretty popular way for aspiring writers to put their words down (somewhere) in black and white. Suddenly, I was interested in finding out what a “blog” was!
I started simply enough with a free blog site where I wrote posts about our adoption journey, our beautiful girls, our home projects, and my sewing projects. Back then I blogged under the brand name of mamas*little*treasures which was the name of my handcrafted, boutique children’s clothing designs that I sold in my Etsy shop by the same name. That was fun! As a stay-at-home mom of our two young daughters, I was doing several things that I love the most: raising our girls, sewing for them, and writing. I even had modest success with that Etsy shop, designing and creating custom boutique clothing that sold rather quickly to young moms who wanted to dress their tots in unique, one-of-a-kind outfits.
It was nothing (so it seemed) for some of these moms to pay $200 – $250 for a three piece outfit that I had designed and created in my little sewing room. That was quite amazing to me, because where I came from, the only people who wore “home made” clothes were those of us who were too poor to buy brand-new outfits from the store. But that, of course, is why I learned to sew at such a young age and so by the time I discovered this market for (now called) “hand-crafted” children’s clothing, I was quite experienced at this kind of sewing. And apparently I had a good eye for design because my creations sold enough that I finally had to stop making things for that Etsy shop . . . I couldn’t make them fast enough, and I was exhausted and stressed from trying to make little outfits that might take anywhere from 15 – 20 hours each.
With all those ruffles and other details (and me being somewhat of a perfectionist when it comes to my sewing projects), I would get orders for six or seven of the same design and then I would find myself working half the night long, afraid of making a mistake (which of course inevitably led to making mistakes), and realizing that I was not enjoying my little “hobby” much at all. I began to limit the designs I made available in that Etsy shop, and decided to stop altogether when the girls were a bit older and we made a major cross-country move. That’s when my blogging also picked up and I changed my focus.
Over the next few years, as the girls grew up and my time was diverted to their activities (and for a while I worked away from home), my blogging really went by the wayside. Eventually, I picked it up again, this time with a renewed interest in blogging about my spiritual journey and life as an “older mama” – thus began my blogging home at Vintage Mama’s Cottage. Since that time I have transitioned somewhat again to focus primarily on home and family, especially with an emphasis on creative inspiration for women in their homes. However . . . . here’s where we are now in the world of blogging:
It appears that there are so many changes in technology as well as ecommerce and the need for a simple blogger-mama to know detailed and in-depth things like SEO and lots of other techy stuff, that it has become almost impossible to be “successful” at blogging unless you choose to make it your full-time job. Which I don’t want to do. So now I guess I need to define for myself what a “successful blog” looks like. Here are a few things that I discovered while researching this topic a bit . . .
According to Singlegrain, part of the evolution of blogging was movement from hobby / special interest writing to monetizing blogs which became “serious business”:
By the mid to late 2000s, blogs grew to represent groups unified along common interests or states of life. Mommy bloggers, sports blogger, political bloggers, entertainment gossip, tech bloggers, comic books—you name the interest, a blog community (not a single blog, but entire circles of content creators and discussion leaders) would spring up. It became fairly common for many bloggers to monetize their blogs successfully (relatively). It went from special interest to serious business.
Then, when “microblogging” was introduced, along with the uptick in social media activity, blogging changed again:
With the advent of Twitter, Facebook, and other microblogging services such as Tumblr and Posterous, many blog networks have seen their communities drawn away from the message boards and comment sections—people who were in the audience now find themselves key contributors. It’s not just that everybody has a blog: everyone has three or four online presences that could be technically classified as blogs.
There is still a place for blogs that create or aggregate compelling, interesting, entertaining content. But they now have to compete in an ever-changing blogosphere in which everyone fancies themselves content creators.
So . . . like so many other things in life, what was once a fun, sometimes profitable, but always just a great way to connect with other people who share similar interests, has now become a situation where we find ourselves competing for readers, dollars, prestige, and influence. And if we aren’t any of those things, and really don’t want to be any of those things, then I’m wondering what is the point of continuing to be a blogger? Especially if what one really wanted to do in the first place is be a writer / creator / maker / designer and not so much a tech guru . . . . what is a person to do in this era of “super bloggers” when all we to do is be kind of creative?
So, that’s my question for today. I am asking myself, and I would love to hear your input, why should I keep doing this every week? There is much more on my mind and in my heart about this topic, but as the research has suggested, people rarely read a lengthy blog post anyway, so I’ll leave this for a few days and see what comes to mind as I am trying to decide what direction to go next with this writing / blogging journey. Thanks for stopping by to visit me here at Vintage Mama’s Cottage!