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10 years of blogging.. Yeah and?

by Clare Mansell
10 years of blogging.. Yeah and?

10 years ago today I published my first blog post. Over the last month I have been weighing up how to mark this milestone, swaying between the obligation to do something significant to mark it (as nearly everyone does these days) or to ignore it entirely.

The truth is that my 10 year blogiversiary is significant to no one but me. My content has changed radically since I started a travel journal in 2006 and very few of my original readers are still on board. I’m also reading very few of the blogs I read back then too, it’s not that the authors did anything “wrong” it’s just that my life and tastes have changed, as they do for all of us.

10yearsofblogging

The blogging world I stepped into in the noughties is very different from the one I am a part of now. For my first seven years I didn’t do a single collaboration and barely touched social media. I followed advice to keep pictures small, because a significant chunk of the world were still on dial-up connections and I made terrible strategic decisions like changing my web address when we moved location every two years.

Last year rather later than most, I decided to embrace the growing commercialisation of blogging by going “pro.” I attended three blogging conferences in 4 months, I joined every blogging Facebook group I could find and I dived in to the nonsensical world of ‘like for like,’ ‘comment for comment.’ Some of it was empowering, most of it was bewildering.

The more I immersed myself in the seemingly bottomless pit of the business side of blogging, while trying to execute every piece of advice I had been given, the less time I had to live my life and create the content that had originally been interesting. My creative output dwindled and the constant and repetitive Facebook discussions about Moz updates, Tots ranks and statistics began to numb my brain.

As I delved deeper I read more about he extraordinary lengths that some bloggers go to to be “pro” and the almost endless list of weekly tasks they feel obliged to do to keep themselves high up in the rankings. I looked at my own ok statistics, the small amount of time I spent doing an average of three posts a week and I wondered what more I really wanted from blogging? Very little it turned out, so I stepped back..

It’s not that my year going “pro” didn’t prove to be successful, but rather that I was doing it because I felt I should, without any really idea of what the end goal was. I earned a little more money for a lot more hours, the opportunites got better, but they also didn’t tail off when I halved my efforts six months later.

These days I’ve stepped away slightly from the competitive business side of blogging. I follow only what I love, not what I feel obliged to follow. My Instagram list is largely photographers and not bloggers (which inspires me, but probably isn’t great tactically) and my Bloglovin account is a small but well curated list so I can actually focus on reading the content I like. There are lots of bloggers out there I admire and respect, but I can’t read it all.

I focus on quality over quantity and only publish when I have something to say or an image to share. Almost always I write more posts than I plan every week, because instead of worrying about my DA score or struggling to fill my editorial calendar, I am sewing, taking photos or trying creative ideas which feed back into what I share with you.

So what have I learned in a decade of blogging? I’ve learned that it’s a wonderful invigorating world that stretches your skills and provides great opportunities, but that I believe you have to do it on your own terms. When you become totally immersed in anything it can be hard to breathe.

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8 comments

Archie The Wonder Dog February 27, 2016 - 8:22 pm

Well said!! And happy bloggy birthday!

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Dawn & Bean February 27, 2016 - 8:48 pm

Hear hear! And here’s to another ten years 🙂

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Christina @ LadyBug Home February 27, 2016 - 8:58 pm

Happy Birthday! As a newer admirer, it is really interested to hearing your experience. I have so much to learn but I think we are all on our own journey. Social media can make life easier but also a negative environment sometimes. Keep the passion and I will keep reading.

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claremansell@mac.com February 27, 2016 - 9:53 pm

Thank you Christina. I think its the phone/tablet aspect of social media and the fact its almost always with us that is hard. We’re all trying to get the balance aren’t we?

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Donna February 27, 2016 - 9:46 pm

Happy 10 years lovely. I am glad, in a way, that you have stepped back from that side of blogging. I love your blog and love the way you blog. You haven’t sold out at all but I think that any blogger when they get caught up in the competitiveness has two ways to go – either the same way which drives you to keep doing more and more and more. Or the other way – to step back. I’ve definitely stepped back although I still post a lot, the momentum is still there but behind the scenes I’m often turning off my laptop at 9pm, reading a book instead or just chatting to bloggy chums on FB instead of actually blogging. That wouldn’t have happened last year and it’s quite refreshing to have the balance right x

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claremansell@mac.com February 27, 2016 - 9:52 pm

Yes, yes, yes…. The big thing for me this year was joining in with A Year Of Books that Circle Of Pines is doing, I get so much satisfaction from ticking off a book from the list, but honestly it drove me crazy when I was too immersed in blogging and worrying about not doing enough… But at least I tried, so I know! 😉

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Jan - isisjem February 28, 2016 - 6:29 pm

You will have seen so many changes in social media in the last 10 years. It’s ironic that when I first started regularly blogging and following people I soon saw there were the professionals and non professionals and over time the ones I continued to read were the non professionals. Too many professional ones – particularly in the ‘quilty’ world were clearly blogging as some sort of advertisement commitment and it was clear it was about bringing revenue to the blogs. Those blogs seemed impersonal and became boring and repetitive to me, so most of those have dropped by the way side.

I can remember finding you through flickr when you were The Little Island in the Med. I enjoyed your travel blogging and went back and read much earlier posts because I found the content fascinating, especially because you were blogging about places my partner often went to for work.

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Pamela | Life With Munchers February 29, 2016 - 10:39 pm

Happy 10th blogging birthday! You made it and survived to tell the tale! I’m living the day to day ‘first year go pro’ tasks and falling behind on my blog lovin (which like you is well cutivated). I should do less ‘comment for comment’ and spend more time on the folks I enjoy reading and who actually engage back. You are an inspiration! x

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