Crazy-Making Blog Comparisons

rainbow-coloured blogging word cloud

If you’re sufficiently mature and self-assured that you never fall into the trap of blog comparisons (comparing yourself to other bloggers and/or their blogs), well that’s great, but this post isn’t for you.  If, however, you’re a human being, read on.

I suspect that at some point most of us have some sort of ugly, envious thoughts when it relates to blogging.  This may lead to guilt or embarrassment for having those thoughts.  Then maybe we manage to get back on track until the next time those ugly thoughts sneak up to bite us in the butt.

Those ugly thoughts tend to come from comparison – either to other bloggers or to what we think we should be able to do with our own blogs.  This post is a sort of airing of dirty laundry of some of those ugly thoughts that we probably all have once in a while.

They have more followers

Since follower numbers are easily visible in the WordPress Reader, this is one of the easiest ways to start comparing yourself to others.

Numbers only say so much, though.  People can have loads of spammy followers.  And while it can feel like follower counts are representative of blog quality, from what I’ve observed I would say that’s not necessarily the case.  Sure, some blogs get big because they’re high quality, but I also follow some amazing blogs with low follower counts.

And if you’re happy with your follower count (like I am)?  Don’t worry, there are still plenty of other ways to feel insecure.

They’re growing faster

For some people, it would take years to get 1000 followers, yet some people can do it in a few months.  If they can do it so easily, why can’t you no matter how hard you try?

Unlike follower counts that you can see immediately, growth occurs over time so it takes a bit more paying attention to notice.  I noticed this the most when I first started blogging and others who started right around the same time were getting bigger faster.

To be honest, while some of blog growth comes from hustle promoting it, I think there’s also an element of sheer luck.

They have more engagement

Another blog may have fewer followers, but they get twice as many likes or comments as you do.  So you start to wonder what’s wrong with your blog that people aren’t interested in reading it and engaging with it.  Does it mean your followers don’t actually like you?  (The answer is no, by the way.)  I fall into this trap sometimes, because it’s not uncommon to come across a blog that has half my follower numbers but way more engagement on each post.

So-and-so is reading their blog but not mine

Quite a while back someone mentioned this as one of their own insecurities – that certain people the blogging community were interacting with other blogs but seldom with their own.  After that I started noticing the same thing.

For me these kinds of thoughts feel the ugliest, I think because it gets so specific.  You can be envious of other people’s growth without having negative thoughts/feelings directed at the specific person, but this particular ugly thought pattern encompasses at least two specific people in a very specific way.  When I get sucked into this particular trap I recognize that it’s petty, but that recognition doesn’t immediately make it go away.

I read their blog but they don’t read mine

I don’t believe in the idea of follow-for-follow.  That’s especially the case with different genres or even different sub-niches.  Sometimes I’ll get caught up in this trap with medium size blogs, but not usually.  Where I do tend to get tripped up is when a new mental health blogger follows my blog, and then I follow back and read their posts regularly, but they never read my blog.  A small vs. a medium blog makes a difference (at least to me) in this respect, because on a larger blog there are more notifications and it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle.  If I’m one of only two people regularly liking someone’s blog, that’s pretty conspicuous.

Recognizing these thoughts as just thoughts and putting them out in the open is an important part of not getting too attached to them.  They are thoughts and feelings that are valid and quite normal to have, but that doesn’t make them literally true.  And they’re a lot less ugly when they’re aired out rather than kept inside.

Do you have examples of any other types of blog comparisons that you find are easy to fall into?

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44 thoughts on “Crazy-Making Blog Comparisons”

  1. Yes, I have these. I think I have them less than I used to (I’ve kind of got used to the idea that I have only a few readers and that’s OK), but they do sometimes come up.

    The other thing that bothers me, not comparison-related, is when someone interacts with my blog a lot for a while and then suddenly stops and I’m left wondering what I said wrong (when it’s probably nothing to do with anything I said anyway).

      1. One possibility is that WordPress has randomly made them unfollow you. That’s been happening to a few people lately. I’m a bit slow on the uptake so the odd time it has happened ot me, it’s taken me a while to notice I’m no longer following someone.

        1. Ah, I wonder if that’s why I’ve sometimes been repeatedly followed by the same person. I assumed they couldn’t decide if they liked my blog or something like that.

          1. I sometimes unfollow people by accident in the WP Reader when I mean to click the like button but I accidentally click the unfollow button just above it, so then I have to refollow them.

  2. An interesting subject matter, Ashley. I’ll admit, in the beginning of my blogging career (LOL), I would feel very insecure about my content and watching other bloggers gain numbers faster when they started around the same time as myself. Thank goodness, I got past that nonsense in my thinking.
    I started reading more and more post that suggested, write for yourself first. That made a great deal of sense to me. It was then that I was writing because I was enjoying myself. All of a sudden, my laid back attitude paid off… Followers! Yay!
    However, it easy to fall down and go boom too.
    If you remember, a certain blogger had utilized the same title and concept for a series I’ve been doing for over three years. I was rather annoyed at this blogger, because I had been following this person, and truly liked this person. — This had nothing to do with feeling insecure or envious of the blogger, but I held back from following them. i actually received messages from said blogger, “Why aren’t you following me anymore?” — I would have never asked another blogger why they weren’t following me… (That was insecurity).
    However, I have re-started following this person again… Slowly.
    Yes, it’s easy to fall into a pitfall of wondering why something is not working, or doubting your own content. But something I’ve learned, (recently, mind you), I’m still writing for myself. I don’t pay too much attention to the numbers/stats anymore at all, at least for over a year now. Like you said… Some are spammers and the numbers are going to be false.
    I personally am sticking to the original suggestion I learned a long time ago… “Write for yourself”, whatever else happens is what’s going to happen.

    Excellent post, Ashley!!! 💖

  3. I’ve definitely felt some of these things. I try not to let it bother me, and most of the time it honestly doesn’t, however when I get in certain moods (hypomanic especially) and I start feeling like I have to do everything and make it great, comparisons like this can bother me a lot more.

  4. I don’t really pay attention to that kind of stuff because I know my blog is different. I just talk about what’s going on in my head because I’m lost in my head. Maybe once I start blogging about other stuff besides myself… I’ll start paying more attention. And I realize other people blog about their lives but their life seems like it has a whole lot more going on than mine. So that makes their blog interesting. I’m happy to have any followers and I’m pleased to have some likes and comments. There is 3 people who really support me and that’s enough for me. I’m sure my feelings will change later.

  5. I cop to being human and paying attention. Not to pure numbers as such because I understand how meaningless those can be and how you can easily boost up by following a bunch of boring business blogs, blech. My blog is way old and I have half the number of followers as some new bloggers who’ll follow anyone back. I won’t ~ and they drop off.

    However! I have unfollowed regulars in our community who are apparently too good for me. Talking about poets and normal chitchatters who have refused to visit/comment on my blog after I’ve followed them and repeatedly interacted with them on theirs. I do notice. And I eventually dump them.

    Why? Why not, is the better question. I’m not some beggar. This is about mutual interaction, imo. No one is a celebrity to be worshipped. If they aren’t interested in what I have to write, that’s fine. Then bye!

  6. It can take me a while to warm up to a blog, but then I’m often hooked for life! (I hope my slowness to get involved with posting never hurts anyone’s feelings!) I had no idea you could see how many followers everyone has! Your line about being human made me laugh out loud.

  7. In the very beginning I didn’t pay attention to it. Then I was excited by these ‘magical’ numbers. Then I started to ask myself if I’m writing what ‘people’ want to read. That brought no happiness and I kept writing what I want. I write to get stuff out of my head and to be ‘understood’ to a certain degree. I sometimes find it sad that people can ‘like’ but not ‘read’. That can make me doubt my blog. As for real numbers, I don’t know, it seems so shallow with the follow me I’ll follow you because there is no added value to that. If I think jalous thoughts that it would be mostly about the interaction I think. I like reading about blogging, it’s a whole new world!

  8. My weird statistical anomaly is while I have a lot of hits, I get proportionally far less followers, likes and comments. I think it’s because many feel my subject, porn addiction, is still taboo, or maybe that others will infer something should they do more than anonymously read. Not sure there is any “solution”. I think it’s just the way it is.

    1. Some of that may be if people are finding your blog through ways other than WordPress. A few of my posts get a lot of hits from Pinterest, but no but those people don’t make themselves known once they arrive at my site.

      1. Yeah, it could be. I certainly have a dedicated core, and I guess none of this stats stuff matters unless you’re trying to monetize your site, but I wish I could convert some of those that visit the site to regular followers, or get them to say anything. Again, I just really think it has to do with the subject matter. There’s a reason I called the first book The Addiction Nobody Will Talk About

  9. 🙂 A lot of bloggers probably hate it when they read blogs from their fellow bloggers who do not reciprocate.

    The WordPress Reader could be partially blamed for this because I do not always see the blog posts from my fellow bloggers on it (And, I am speculating that they have experienced the same thing).

  10. I’m definitely guilty of not always following someone even if they read and engage with my stuff. Most of the time, it isn’t deliberate. For some reason I can’t visit their blogs from their comment/like through the WordPress smartphone app, and by I don’t always go on desktop. If I go on desktop, I spend my time catching up and don’t always remember “check out this person’s blog”. I want to do better, definitely, as I love the community feel as a long time reader.

    When it comes to comparison, sometimes I do envy people with lots of engagement. But then, if I had a lot of engagement, I might lack the energy to give individual comments the attention they deserve.

    I think it’s great when people write for themselves and I want to set aside some time, definitely, to check out people’s blogs. 🙂

  11. Literally before I read this I got caught up in comparing my Medium followers to that of one of my medium friends. SMH

  12. anything that makes us feel anxious & awful is terrible – the better thing is to decide if we want to have goals, & then figure out how to persue them…

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