Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Trying to Figure Out What the Point Is

I can spend a LONG time mulling over big questions, which is what I've doing with quite a few blogging ones. Most of this year has been focused on trying to find the answers to these questions and move on, actually. (I guess you can say this blog is going through growing pains because of that. Or changing pains. Is that a thing?)

Now, my question isn't the point of blogging. I asked myself that a lot last year and, thankfully, found my answer. The point of blogging for me is to 1) help me connect to other book lovers, 2) provide a healthy and creative outlet for myself, and 3) share the bookish love. It's pretty easy to satisfy those three things with a book blog.

My question is about the MORE. I'm talking about blog growth. Goals. Outreach. Follower/stats milestones. I look at these things and I ask myself this:

What is the point of making my blog bigger or more influential?

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(By the way, this is a mostly personal post. I know there IS a point. But that's for other blogs. The point is murky for my own, though.)

Every time I see a post about improving your blog, bettering your outreach, etc., I feel weird. Is it something I should be focusing on? What is my place in the blogosphere when I'm not aiming to improve my stats or following? And why am I even wondering about this when I'm not even trying to make those types of improvements.

I AM trying to improve this blog, but...my motivation is always about bettering myself and my connection to my followers. I want to relate to you guys. I want to have conversations about the topics I write about. I want to know what you think! But...weirdly, that doesn't feel like the same thing as making my blog "better" or more popular gain a larger following. (What is a popular blog, anyway? I shouldn't say that.) I can't place my finger on exactly WHY, though. Maybe my goals don't align well enough to what most people talk about when explaining how you can improve your blog or following.

The solution to my worrying seems to simple: don't worry about it. Just be you! You're fine, Kaitlin. That's what most of you would tell me, right? 

But I still mull over these thoughts. What's the point in growing your blog? I imagine most bloggers can answer that easily. They want to do it just because or because it makes them feel good. They might have a business or project they want to grow and their blog is a big part of that. They may want a larger influence and get their book recs to more people. There can be a lot of different the answers, depending on the blogger.

I feel like I don't have that larger purpose, though. I don't have a business/program and don't intend to have one anytime soon (not bookish, anyway). I'm not a writer or a graphic designer or a photographer or an artist or a marketing major or a publishing person or a book seller or...anything. I'm just a 20 year old woman who likes to share her thoughts on books and connect to other book lovers. My purpose is very simple!

Maybe I'm worrying about these things because my approach towards blogging has changed a lot in the past year. Improving stats and a following helped with reviewing and publisher ties and events and promoting newer (and sometimes older) releases. But since taking away author features, most event-type posts, and fading out ARC reviewing (okay, I faded out most requesting but not reviewing), I've focused a lot less on promoting my blog posts. Blogging has become even more laid back and in the moment for me than it was before. I don't have as many goals. I'm not planning as much. I guess I'm still adjusting to that.

I could also be worrying about this topic because my blog has kinda...slid backwards? It's a negative growth. That kinda got to me in a way I didn't want it to last year, which is when I noticed it happening. I used to have a more active following (not by much, but still), but now it doesn't feel like I have a follower base. It feels like my words are just echoing in a nearly empty cave now and it's a very...odd feeling to have. I guess I'm still adjusting to that, too!

Both of those adjustments are probably a big reason I'm even writing this post. When I'm done adjusting, maybe I'll have a solid answer to my question about growing my blog. Or maybe I need to find that answer before finishing with adjusting to the blog changes. (This HAS been going on for a long time.)

After writing this post, then editing it as I transferred it from paper to my phone, I have realized that a possible answer is that the point of growing my blog is to improve the chances of conversation. Maybe it's that simple. Better chances at conversation = better way of satisfying the three main points I blog. It doesn't feel completely right, but I am now feeling a little more at ease with this question.

Now that I finished with my own thoughts, I have a LOT of questions for anyone willing to chime in on this topic. I'M CURIOUS. And I want to know what you think.

- Do you ever mull this topic over too?
- What is the point in improving a blog?
- Is "improving" a blog the same as gaining a stronger or wider outreach? If it's not part of your personal goals or something that you feel would improve yourself, is this even something you should focus on?
- And something I didn't address, but am now curious about: Do you ever feel like there's a pressure to make your blog "better" and more visible in the blogosphere?

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