How To Avoid The Most Dangerous Trend in Blogging

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Today I wanted to sit down and have a conversation with you all addressing one of the most dangerous trends in blogging. Chances are you’ve been exposed to this trend, and chances are it has affected you and your blog’s growth. 

The Most Dangerous Trend In Blogging

I call it the timeline effect.

The timeline effect derives from posts that focus on achieving a specific goal in a specific amount of time.

You know, the typical posts about how “I made x amount of money in x amount of time”, or the “I gained x amount of followers in x amount of time”? 

Now, I’m not saying these posts are bad. In fact, I have a blog post myself that specifically talks about how I gained 1000 Instagram followers in 28 days. These posts that focus on timeline tend to do well for traffic purposes, and of course, it’s always awesome to share your own experience.

Having said that, when you’re on the opposite end of the post (i.e. as the reader and not the writer), I think it’s extremely necessary to take a step back.

When you focus too strongly on the numbers, too strongly on the timeline, that’s when you tend to run into problems.

Hello blogger’s envy…

This post contains affiliate links, but don’t worry, I only promote the things that I believe in and think will truly benefit you. Thank you for supporting Hustle and Hearts. You rock 😉

What is Blogger’s Envy?

Symptoms include jealousy, hopelessness, exhaustion, overwhelm, and, if blogger’s envy gets out of hand, it can even lead you to abandon your blog altogether.  

We’ll read a timeline focused post and try our best to implement the strategies that are taught to us, but when the work doesn’t bring in the same fast results as described, we begin to question ourselves.

How come I couldn’t make $1000 in affiliate sales in one month? (for a FREE course on affiliate marketing, I highly recommend checking out this resource that will help you make your first affiliate sale) 

How come I didn’t see 50,000 page views after three months?

Why didn’t implementing a Pinterest strategy double my traffic in two months? (edit: I’ve actually finally started having some success with Pinterest. You can read my post about how I reached 1.2 million Pinterest viewers here)

So yes, I totally get it, seeing these strategies work for somebody else can be super discouraging, but, if you’re ready for a little hope, usually all we need is a mindset shift to snap us out of our funk.

How To Change Your Blogging Mindset and Avoid The Timeline Effect

1. Recognize that everyone progresses at a different pace

Just like all things in life, we all progress at different times. It often amazes me how quickly we seem to forget this, myself included.

Your life circumstances are very different than other bloggers.

Perhaps you’re managing your blog while you’re in school?

Or maybe you have a full-time job that you’re trying to juggle with your blog?

Take a step back and think of it this way: you need to learn to crawl before you can walk.

The same goes for your blog.

It’s true that some bloggers step right into the blogging community and they automatically have the page views rolling in, but these bloggers are not common. For the most part, bloggers start small. They experiment with their content, they find their niche, they find their voice, and most importantly, they find their community.

This takes time.

And for everyone, this takes a different amount of time depending on the path you take, and what else you have going on in life.

Whether your path is long or short doesn’t really matter. It’s the destination that matters, and as long as you keep that in mind, you’re golden.  

2. Focus on developing your own strategies to suit your blogging needs

And, just as we all progress in our blogging journeys with different speeds, we also will all find that certain strategies suit our blogs differently.

For example, maybe you keep finding articles that are telling you in order to make x amount of money in x amount of time, you should start pitching brands for sponsored posts.

And hey, maybe that advice is completely right, and sponsored posts would perfectly suit your content, but maybe on the other hand, sponsored posts just aren’t your thing. Maybe your blog is more suited for affiliate sales?

Or perhaps every one and their mother is saying to jump on the Pinterest boat to drive traffic, but maybe you just feel Instagram better suits you.

Follow your instincts, and do what’s best for your blog!

And most importantly, experiment, experiment, experiment. Don’t get stuck implementing one strategy that isn’t giving you results. Try something new, and see what works best for you, which leads us into your next tip…

3. Step away from content

With so much amazing content being put out there into the digital world on a daily basis, it’s extremely easy to get caught up in it.

I have spent many hours scrolling through my Pinterest feed searching for that one article that would give me the secret to blog “success” in the fastest amount of time.

Thing is, when you spend your time looking for that one secret method, you’re really only hurting yourself. The time you spent searching for that secret method could have been time you put into implementing your own strategy specifically tailored to your blog, as mentioned above.

Even more importantly, though, when you spend time devouring content, you’re more susceptible to coming down with blogger’s envy.

This is not to say you shouldn’t read other people’s content. In fact, it’s highly encouraged to continually learn from your peers and gather inspiration, but it’s extremely important you check yourself before going on a content binge spree.

In particular, there is one instance where you should absolutely stay away from content binging…

When you already know you’re feeling hopeless or concerned for your blog

You may think going online and looking for a solution to help improve your blog when you’re feeling it’s lacking might be a good idea, but it’s not.

It’s like googling medical symptoms when you’re feeling sick. You likely have a slight cold, but when you try self diagnosing, you convince yourself you have a rare disease and your life is over.

Same goes with your blog. If you’re already feeling your blog is “sick,” trying to search for a “diagnosis” on your own is not going to help you. It will likely only hurt you and bring you further down into a blogging depression. 

4. Completely ignore time

And lastly, the most obvious way to deal with the timeline effect is to completely ignore time altogether, and to stop placing time restraints on yourself and your blog.

While goal setting is extremely important and highly encouraged, in some cases, it’s important to let go of goals that put pressure on you to achieve a certain milestone in a certain predetermined set of time. (Having said that, if you are interested in goal setting, check out this guide on how to set goals that stick)

Assuming you’re not trying to make a full time living off a blog right off the bat, you should have time to grow organically. Instead of pushing your blog to be everything for everyone in the fastest amount of time, let it grow and figure itself out slowly. This will allow you to more appropriately find your blog’s place in the digital world.

I promise you, it might be tempting to grow as quickly as possible, but in the long run, you’re going to save yourself from some serious burn out if you don’t force it. 

RELATED: How To Identify Your Blog’s Focus 

Have you ever fell victim to the timeline effect?

While I’m certain there are numerous cases where timeline focused posts have provided motivation to many bloggers, I’m also fairly certain that timeline posts have caused just as many bloggers to feel anxious in their own blogging journey.

If you fall into this second camp, as I so often do, I want you to start trying some of the things I mentioned above.

You probably won’t rid yourself of the timeline effect all in one go, but one thing you can start to do is change your mindset and recognize your blogging journey will progress in its own time, at its own pace. And that’s totally okay.

If you need a little extra blog push, don’t forget to check out some of these best selling blogging resources. (I love purchasing blog resources through Amazon, because you can read non-biased reviews, and get cash back when you have an ebates account. Win-win)


And, if you agree that this is a very dangerous trend in blogging, feel free to share this image on Pinterest

blogging trend

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14 Comments

  1. Reply

    Lex

    June 15, 2017

    I totally agree with this! It’s so easy to get caught up in seeing these “how I gained this amount of money or x amount of followers” and think that you should be able to do it too. The reality is everybody and their content is different (which is what’s great about blogging!) so growth happens differently even if you follow every tip to a T.

    littlewhytebook.com

    • Reply

      Kate Findley

      October 6, 2018

      I’m glad it’s not just me! Sometimes those posts can be really helpful but usually they just depress me. Then I look at my analytics and want to cry. And you’re totally write that binging on these posts detracts time from working on our own stuff!

      • Reply

        Andrea

        October 10, 2018

        Totally! You have to go into reading them with the right frame of mind. Otherwise, they’re just bound to make me feel like you’re doing everything wrong. Thanks for sharing, Kate! 🙂

  2. Reply

    Anant Shahi

    June 18, 2017

    Thank God! I finally found someone who have a similar writing style, Your article was amazing and those GIF’s were so entertaining. I just loved your blog and subscribed it too. Looking forward to more amazing blog posts. By the Way, i found this link on Facebook, I forgot which group, but I am glad I found it. If you find me on Facebook, don’t forget to add me.

  3. Reply

    Renee

    June 24, 2017

    God alone knows why this post came at the top of my Pinterest feed. I’ve been struggling to get my blog to look ‘perfect’ like everyone else’s and it just has me overwhelmed! I had to take a month off of social media and try to rethink everything and now I’m finally working on tweaking my blog to my likes and preferences !! Thanks for the inspiration! ❤️

  4. Reply

    Pam Avoledo

    June 27, 2017

    I agree! There is no set strategy. What works in one niche, may be frowned upon in another. Algorithms change all the time, too.

  5. Reply

    Chevelle

    June 28, 2017

    LOVE. THIS! It’s so easy to get discouraged when you read something like “Get 3,276,273 Twitter Followers in 20 Minutes with 1 Easy Step”! It’s refreshing to hear honesty and other people’s struggles. Thank you for sharing!

  6. Reply

    Andrea

    June 29, 2017

    Chevelle, Pam, Renee, Anant, and Lex, you’re all amazing! 🙂 It’s comments like these that make me want to keep writing and sharing a different perspective in the blogging community. I think too often we get too comfortable hearing the same things over and over again. I’m so happy to hear this post resonated with you all! xo

  7. Reply

    Kelly

    March 23, 2018

    Preach, girl! While I have not heard this term before, I love it: the timeline effect. So captures my current struggle! This is my tenth month blogging. For the first four months, I worked my blog like it was my job- easily 20-30 hours per week. Months 4-7 I tapered a bit, working maybe 10-15 hours a week. Last three months I have sometimes gone 2-3 weeks doing absolutely nothing for my blog- not even pinning on Pinterest. I love my day job and never envisioned blogging as a career, so the truth is I am okay with where I am with my blog. I just have to admit when I see over and over pins celebrating “I made 6k my sixth month blogging!”, I do wonder how they are finding success when I have not! I know consistency matters. I appreciate your honest reflection!

  8. Reply

    Envelle

    March 27, 2018

    This post is EVERYTHING. Thank you so much. I keep telling myself that I need to read more about improving my blog and I’ve read a lot of timeline posts. I enjoy them because I love to read about somebody’s success. But at the same time I found myself doubting about my blog and comparing my blogging journey to other ones (who are further along in THEIR journey) wasn’t good for me at all. Now I try to keep away from these kinds of posts for the time being. I love working on my blog, it’s my passion project, so no pressure is needed haha. Sharing your post for sure!

  9. Reply

    Lily @ FindingBalance.Mom

    January 9, 2019

    Great post Andrea!

    The number one rule of blogging, besides keep moving forward perhaps, should be don’t compare. It’s like raising kids, some will be late bloomers who shine the brightest…

    I scheduled this to my pinterest boards.

    • Reply

      Andrea

      January 11, 2019

      Thanks you, Lily! I completely agree, totally on the same page 🙂

  10. Reply

    Teya @tlmblog

    February 24, 2019

    Wonderful advice!! I’ll admit that I’ve gotten caught up in this trend and I totally see your point!

  11. Reply

    Jason | Blogooroo

    February 27, 2019

    As a new blogger coming back to it, I have to guard against comparing myself both to others and my past experiences.

    Great post with a great headline. It drew me in!

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