How to Stop Worrying and Learn to Love your Blog

My blog is imperfect.

I haven’t won any blogging awards. Major supermarkets don’t line up to put my blog on their list of ‘favourites’. Some of my blog posts get lots of traffic and comments, some get much less.

I use a paid-for theme, because I don’t have the skills to customise my own design. I work strictly within the limits of the theme – I am not about to get my hands dirty with CSS.

Sometimes, people read my blog and just don’t get me at all. It can be frustrating. Sometimes people get into disagreements, and the result can be a period of nastiness, or negativity. But you ignore this stuff as far as you can, and it always, always blows over.

But I love it. I love blogging. 

Earlier this week, Jane and Becky both (temporarily) lost their blogs. I can imagine that lots of people were like me – struck by the horrifying thought of, “God, what if I lost my blog?”

I’m not going to lie. The thought made my blood run cold. And I emailed the person who does my company’s web support and asked him to immediately do a full back-up of my blog. I wasn’t worried about losing my theme, or my inlinks or my backlinks or any of that stuff.

I was afraid of losing the video I took of the first time Flea swam a length of the swimming pool. Of not being able to re-read the quiz I gave Flea when she was three and told me the thing that made her the most sad in the world was when, “naughty puppies steal our biscuits”. Those pesky puppies. I want to remember that Flea made the face in the slightly fuzzy photo above because “You said sausages, and now I am alive with joy”.

I’d hate to lose the memories I’ve captured on this blog of days out, trips to the beach, the funny little conversations we have at bedtime. The personal moments, too – when I felt very low after my divorce, and the feeling that gradually became more and more evident in my posts as I came out the other side of that experience, realising we were both going to be okay. That life’s pretty good, once you take a good look at it.

Here’s the thing. Some of us blog for profit, some for the love of technology, some for friendship, and still others for the creativity of writing. Many, like me, blog because they want those memories, in a form that can be shared and looked back on, in years to come.

The key to being a happy blogger is to remember what it is about blogging you love. Put that right at the centre of your blog, and feel absolutely free to ignore the rest of it. So you don’t like HTML? Don’t use it. You don’t like awards, or charts? Don’t be in them. Don’t want to sell out? Then keep your blog an ad-free space.

The wonderful thing about blogging is you can pick and choose. Do the stuff that works for you, and ignore the rest of it.

(this post was inspired by the wonderful CJ, who isn’t having much fun blogging at the moment. CJ, you (and your blog) are amazing.)

I made a video this week, as part of the promo for the MAD Blog Awards, which my company runs. I love this video – not only because it represents how a technical muppet like me actually made something with iMovie – but because it reminds me that when it all comes down to it I think blogging – and bloggers – are pretty fucking cool.

 

About 

Sally is a full-time blogger and founder of the Tots100, Trips100, Foodies100 and HIBS100 communities, along with the MAD Blog Awards. She spends a bit too much time on the Internet. She's also a very happy Mum to Flea, the world's coolest ten year old.

39 Comments

  1. Domestic Goddesque
    3rd April 2012 / 10:03 am

    I love blogging. I love this blog. I love this post. I love CJ (don’t give up CJ.) I love the community. I am doing what I love for possibly the first time in my life. It doesn’t make me any money, but it does make me proud, and it has introduced me to some brilliant online and real-life friends.

    • 3rd April 2012 / 11:04 am

      Perfectly put.

  2. Nicki Cawood
    3rd April 2012 / 9:25 am

    Yeah, you aren’t too bad yourself 🙂

    I love blogging. I get a bit of income from odd things, I like shiny badges that say I rank well in Tots etc but they aren’t the be all and end all of my blogging existence. It’s so easy to get caught up on it all and forget why you are are blogging in the first place. For me, it’s because I want to! I can ask nosy questions, boast about the boys, talk about my lady garden (and then apologise to my parents who read my blog), capture funny experiences or rant about the world. The blog is for me and I love it, as much as I love several others because they are different, unique and fun/ interesting to read.

    It is great to get recognition and for people to say “Hey, that was a bloody good post” and I’m not immune to that. This year I haven’t asked for nominations for the MADs or even mentioned it up until now so am thrilled to find people have make the effort to nominate me in a few categories regardless, purely because my blog name came to mind when they opened the nomination form.

    Basically, your post just says it all for me.
    (And I am most impressed with the mini-movie!)

    Also, I must do a back-up!

    • 3rd April 2012 / 11:03 am

      Ha! Thanks for the compliment.

      It is all about the lady garden, I agree.

  3. 3rd April 2012 / 9:26 am

    Having won some awards (I know right?), being put on various supermarkets favourite blog lists and other stuff that I am sure is “important” to some bloggers, I’m with you. My blog isn’t about awards or favourites or profit (it’d be nice though) or friendship but because I like keeping an online record and being nosey and reading other peoples online records!

    All the rest is like the icing on the already pretty sweetly decorated cake.

    • 3rd April 2012 / 11:03 am

      It’s a splendid cake, too.

  4. 3rd April 2012 / 9:54 am

    My blog is pretty new, and I’ve been doing a lot of worrying about it… I don’t know how to write (I can still see all the C- marks in big red pen on my English language books) and I don’t feel I have a lot of great advice to offer the world. I’m not sure I started my blog for the right reasons but I have really surprised myself, and actually, I really really love writing my blog!

    • 3rd April 2012 / 11:04 am

      I’m a writer, but I think it’s about the stories you tell and the passion and the voice – more than the odd spelling mistake or typo!

  5. Krysta Radder
    3rd April 2012 / 10:27 am

    Sally, great post :)! Even I have started late and now a solopreneur. I JUSt enjoy writing and I am in love with my blog too. I know I dont have great traffic in the blog and the blog isnt making any money, but trust me it is one of the most satisfying things to do..

    • 3rd April 2012 / 11:10 am

      I think it’s great to do that – and not feel like you’re somehow not doing it ‘right’. Well done, you!

  6. 3rd April 2012 / 10:35 am

    My little bio says it all. I sometimes think I should change it but when it comes down to it I really am just a girl who met a boy who had a baby trying to keep in touch with those that matter. If I lost my blog I don’t know what I’d do. I never did a baby book. My blog is my baby book. If I need to remember the exact date Squidge got the chicken pox I look on my blog. It’s more than just a date I could have written down in a diary. It’s what we did, how she felt, what she looked like. Now I’m off to back up my blog.

    • 3rd April 2012 / 11:11 am

      I think having a bio is a great daily reminder of what your blog is FOR. Not that the other opportunities aren’t great, if you like them, but they’re not what it’s about.

  7. 3rd April 2012 / 11:11 am

    Ah, thanks – it does capture some pretty cool people!

  8. becky
    3rd April 2012 / 12:01 pm

    Aw I can’t tell you how glad I was that my liyttle pink and green blog returned. i didnt think I was quite as satteched as I am. Mine isn’t emotionally personal but it is our stoey in lots of ways and it has lots of hardwork, memories and stuff I have done with my kids up there. Am ever so glad its back. Typss and all.

    • 3rd April 2012 / 7:07 pm

      So pleased you got it sorted – you must be all kinds of relieved!

  9. Emily - mummylimited
    3rd April 2012 / 3:07 pm

    I totally agree with this and I don’t comment on blogs about blogs, because they are usually complaining “Shall I do sponsored posts” “Shall I ask for award votes” “Shall I come out of rankings”. I always want to tell them to do what they want. If it will make them happy then do it.
    I love blogging too, love the people I’ve met, love the fact I now have an awesome record of my babies as they grow up, love that I sometimes read my post back and feel proud of it, love that it’s made me take photos. I didn’t get into it to make money or get recognition, but yes, I also love it when my blog goes up in the Tots rather than down, I love it when I make the odd bit of cash and when I get nice feedback.

    I do wish others seemed to love it too or if they don’t then just stop doing it.

    • 3rd April 2012 / 7:08 pm

      Yes, I sometimes get exasperated about all the angst that can crop up – this is supposed to be fun, people! But then if you’re passionate about something and want it to be great, I can see where people put pressure on themselves.

  10. 3rd April 2012 / 2:51 pm

    I have many treasured memories on my blog – first time my son ate solids and just about every other first so far. It is my online diary, my hobby and my therapy on bad days. Here’s to blogging!

  11. 3rd April 2012 / 4:14 pm

    Fab post, I am a newbie and have been blown away by some of the amazing blogs and bloggers I have come across. I had no idea just how much of a community was out there! I am using a basic wordpress format as it literally did start out (and still is) a diary for me and anyone interested. However I am intrigued about potentially developing my blog more and where this can lead me, so much so I am considering a web design / social media kind of evening or open uni course as I think it will help me in my blogging but compliment my existing Marketing Comms background and possibly lead to future career opps. Some of my posts get fab hits, some a lot less, I am not yet showing a rating on Tots100, I feel my blog isn’t as attractive due to me not posting images of me and my family and not having fab banners and buttons, my blog hop may not yet have taken off, but I will keep sharing. For me at the minute it’s just me sharing what I’ve done and loving being a mummy, anything extra is an added bonus. Where my blog takes me who knows but at the minute all I can say is I am addicted and loving it, I’ve also come across some lovely people! Fab video you have done there, really inspiring, one day you never know I may be in that mix xxx

    • 3rd April 2012 / 7:10 pm

      I think you’re doing great – trying lots of different things, and working out what you like, what you enjoy – and that’s where your audience will come from – enjoying the same things you enjoy. It’s exciting how many different avenues are now open to people who blog, but I just think it’s important never to feel obliged to explore them all (or any of them) if you’re not enjoying it.

  12. 3rd April 2012 / 4:49 pm

    Super post Sally, and excellent video!! I started out just a little crafty/family type blog in a sea of thousands of others nearly 4 years ago, and as my blog grew so did I in many ways. I found out a little more about myself, how much my family mean to me, my ambitions, what makes me tick etc and as a lover of writing blogging has become a real creative outlet for me. I then thought about popping my blog in for the TOTS100, genuinely never really thinking it would appear anywhere near where it has done on the list, let alone on the list itself and so many opportunities have come my way for not just me but the children, I love creating relationships with people, getting out and about and meeting them face to face ( which is why I love blogging events ). However this is where for me it gets a bit sticky, I think perhaps some see me as having *sold out* there is an in built thing in me perhaps regarding awards etc that shouting out is showing off and no one likes a show off. I have won the lovely holiday to Estonia through an opportunity that came my way through my blog and yet I feel like keeping quiet and not shouting out *Yay I won!!* My confidence has been knocked I guess. I always feel uncomfortable asking for *votes/likes* for things but secretly know I have that gutsy/feisty person inside that wants to ask. I started blogging to document my children’s lives and am not even sure if my blog is backed up, so for that alone would would be pretty crap to loose it all in one go, I must look into learning how to back it up. I am very naive to the techy stuff, but just plod on and somehow get through all these techy changes. I think deep down I would love to become self hosted but just don’t really know where to start. Maybe I need to go back to the drawing board, maybe if am uncomfortable with how others perceive me through my blog I should come of lists etc, strip it all back but then that is not me, my blog is mine and needs to be a clear representation of me, I wouldn’t be being true to myself by taking a step backwards. Onwards and upwards. Sigh…. pretty much a blog post in your comments here, apologies. I guess I want to know how to get my blogging confidence back. Or go for some bloggy therapy….know anyone?

    • 3rd April 2012 / 7:11 pm

      Thanks Mary – I think it’s hard to be in your position, where people felt able to judge you, but as I’ve said before those people do NOT know you, or your character – and you mustn’t let them shake your confidence or stop you from doing what’s right for you, what makes you happy, and helps you on your own journey. I hope you have a wonderful time in Estonia – and come back to tell us all about it on your blog x

  13. 3rd April 2012 / 7:11 pm

    I will out my hands up and say Yep I love blogging and I do I get down .. as I do comment on blogs and don’t seem to get anything back. But I am in for me … at the end of the day right?

    So each time I am down or some bloggers/ person /company P**ses me off I can relook at my blog and I change it around.

    I have met some fab bloggers like Cass from Frugal family.

    So I am in in for the long haul as blogging has bought wonderful friends and things I never dreamed I would do!

    I may get things wrong from expressing myself the right way well if people don’t like it they can lump me !

  14. 3rd April 2012 / 7:12 pm

    I blog because It keeps me sane. It is so easy to be sucked into the ads, awards, twitterati etc but at the end of the day, I remind myself why I do it (with such enthusiasm). Not for money (I get none), not for fame (I am not in the ‘cool bloggers’ group) and not for anyone else. But for myself. To write and enjoy it whether one person reads it or one hundred. I absolutely love it.

  15. TheBoyandMe
    3rd April 2012 / 7:31 pm

    What a bloody marvellous video! (You swore first!)

    You almost made me cry halfway through that post, tears Sally, tears and fluffy stuff.

  16. 3rd April 2012 / 7:55 pm

    It is like that video is haunting me; everywhere I look I am contorting trying to lick my sodding elbow. You know I dislike failing and that video shows me failing!

    Any ways, blogging – I loves it!

    Losing the blog for 24 hours was horrid, and has given me a fresh perception on what is important to me about my little internet space!

    Thanks for all your help ms whittle x x

  17. 4th April 2012 / 10:33 am

    Found you via Networked Blogs. This post is fab! I blog for sanity and to keep a record of my little family and all the things that we do. With all the award hype around at the minute, I panicked that I should get involved. Luckily my blog is too new to enter so it has given me a year to find my feet before I have to worry about all the madness. Thanks for sharing! Our blogs are fab because they are ours!!!

  18. Nida Moughal
    6th April 2012 / 9:30 am

    so true darling I have just started blogging and I m loving it. This post made my day!

  19. 9th April 2012 / 8:06 am

    Exactly what I would most be upset about losing is the memories. Nothing big, nothing amazing just stuff that has left my head and ending up on my blog. Things I love and also sometimes the hard stuff too.

    Right ummm a bit of a back up then!!! 🙂

  20. 10th April 2012 / 8:12 am

    Love this post. I was talking to someone on Twitter about exactly the same thing last night. She said she’s losing the love because she isn’t technically minded and feels she can’t necessarily make anything more out of her blog without getting involved in things like HTML and SEO. I reminded her to think about the reason she started her blog in the first place. And that made her remember that she did, actually, rather like it.

  21. Aly
    12th April 2012 / 2:02 pm

    Yep, my hosting went down for a few hours a couple weeks back and the first thing I thought,”OMG! The kids blog!”.I back up online and via my hard drive and disc.Started thinking I might print out pages too.You always put things in perspective Aunt Sally 🙂

  22. Emma
    14th April 2012 / 3:16 pm

    I love this post and it’s so funny because just today I wrote a post touching on this very subject. It’s easy to get sucked into what others may think, and how much to share and it’s so important to write from the heart. To be real, it has to be mine and not a wannabe copy of someone else’s no matter how fabulous that might be. Thank you for reminding me of this, Emma

  23. 19th April 2012 / 3:44 pm

    Thank you for writing this. I am very new to blogging but since starting I have had very restless nights wondering what people will think, shall I just take it off, I have even been known to change a post once it has been ‘published’! Silly isn’t it? Why did I start? Because I have a simple love of writing and enjoy making people smile 🙂 Worth remembering that.

  24. 19th April 2012 / 6:45 pm

    Hi Sally, I just found this post via the comments list at the bottom of the page and wanted to leave a comment because I really enjoyed reading this. I am relatively new to blogging and still working out what my blog is going to be, even in these early days it is easy to get hung up on numbers and statistics, but actually I love the creative challenge of the writing, photography and design involved in running my blog, and just having something that is all mine while I’m being a stay at home mum after years of working. Thanks for this thought-provoking post.

    Amy Xxx

    http://www.heynicecardigan.com

  25. 23rd April 2012 / 9:05 pm

    I have stopped worrying about my blog>> coughs<< I have well just a bit and that is good for me as I am a right worry wart as you all know. I am doing what i want in my bog and that is suiting me fine.

    So keep all the good advice coming please !
    Claire Toplis recently posted..A Parents stressMy Profile

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