Today I wanted to sit down and have a little conversation with you all. Nothing that results in me trying to sell you something or you feeling overwhelmed by your blog. Instead, just an open conversation addressing one of the most dangerous trends in blogging that I’ve seen a while. Chances are you’ve been exposed to this trend, and chances are it has affected you at one point or another.
The Most Dangerous Trend In Blogging
I call it the timeline effect.
It’s a trend in blogging that I’ve noticed has been affecting not only my work productivity, but also my motivation and drive. The timeline effect derives from posts that focus on achieving a specific goal in a specific amount of time. You know, the typical I made x amount of money in x amount of time, or I gained x amount of followers in x amount of time? If you use Pinterest at all for blogging content, I guarantee you could check your newsfeed at any given time and find at least one pin directing you to a post like this.
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 experiences with your blogging community. 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…
What is Blogger’s Envy?
Never heard of blogger’s envy?
It’s the worst enemy of every blogger. A sickness we all wish we could avoid, but eventually every blogger succumbs to it. Symptoms include jealousy, hopelessness, exhaustion, overwhelm, and if the sickness gets bad enough, it can result in blogging death. Yup, I’m getting morbid here, but honestly, when blogger’s envy gets out of hand, it can lead you to abandon your blog altogether. If you’re a blogger who has never experienced this, I’d love to learn your secret, but for the most part, we’ve all had at least one moment where we wished we could grow our blogs into something like one of our peers.
When it comes to the timeline effect and blogger’s envy, what happens is this: 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?
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 been able to do this, which is largely thanks to the use of Tailwind, which I highly recommend using if you’re serious about growing your blog. If you wanna know more about my Pinterest strategy, just pop your email address below and I’ll tell you how I doubled my page views by 9 and now get 76% of my traffic from Pinterest)
I get it, though, seeing these strategies work for somebody else can be super discouraging. In fact, sometimes you don’t even need to try these strategies in order to find a sense of discouragement in them. Just knowing that there’s somebody out there who was able to start making money from their blog in one month is depressing enough, especially when you’re checking your analytics daily and seeing those tiny little numbers staring you back in the face, mocking you.
Okay, so now that I’ve completely brought you down into the pit of a blogging depression, it’s time for a little hope. A little mindset change is usually all we need to snap us out of the 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 in your niche. Perhaps you’re managing your blog while you’re in school, or perhaps you have a full-time job that you’re trying to juggle with your blog. Or hey, maybe you do have a good chunk of time to dedicate to your blog, but you’re still not seeing the results you would expect. 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. Whether that path is long or short doesn’t 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. There is one instance in particular 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, 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. 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.
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 and unconfident 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.
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