What Are Your Blogging Insecurities?

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I suspect we’ve all got them—those nagging little blogging insecurities that chatter at you from the back of your mind every once in a while (or more regularly). While we probably all have them, none of us talk about them. After all, they’re not the kind of thing that’s very pretty. But maybe we should talk about them and give them a bit of an airing out.

The clear visibility of stats of all kinds on WordPress makes perfect fodder for insecurity; you can’t avoid them if you try. Early on in my blogging journey, I decided I didn’t want to get caught up in stats, so I rarely checked my stats page. That’s still the case. But there are so many other places where stats will jump up and slap you in the face.

If you’re reading posts in the WordPress Reader, you can immediately see how many followers the person has and how many likes they have on a post. You don’t want to look at it? Too bad, so sad. As soon as you go to click the like button, boom, you have to see who else has liked that post. It wasn’t always that way; you used to have to put a little bit of effort to see all the likers. I hated that change when it happened, and I still do.

So, what might people have blogging insecurities about?

There are multiple areas that can be potential triggers for insecurity and comparison to others. The particular mix for a given blogger will likely depend on their personality, where their blog is at in its evolution, and what their blogging goals are.

Blog quality

I think a common one is to doubt the quality of one’s own blog, whether it’s the ideas or the style of writing. Sometimes bloggers will say that they’re not sure why people would want to read their blog. There isn’t some objective standard for what makes a good blog, so there’s the risk of letting shoulds take over, telling you that your blog should be something other than what it is.

This is one area that hasn’t been an issue for me at any point in my blogging journey, at least as far as I recall. I’m content with my blog, and that’s good enough for me. Plus I have no interest in changing what I write about or how I write.

Follower numbers

It’s easy to get caught in the trap of thinking that follower numbers are a reflection of blog quality. From what I’ve seen, that’s not true at all. Some people, by a combination of luck and strategy, manage to grow quickly right from the start. For other bloggers, it’s a slow process. Once you research a certain follow threshold, things start to take off and followers start randomly showing up. A big chunk of those followers will be spammy. But there are many factors that influence blog growth, and quality is only a small one.

Just because a blogger has a large number of followers doesn’t mean they don’t have insecurities; there are plenty of other things to feel insecure about. I’m quite content with my follower numbers; my insecurities lie elsewhere.

Reader engagement

Views, likes, and comments are all areas to potentially feel lousy about. The particular mix of inadequacy will likely depend somewhat on what stage of growth your blog is at. For newer blogs, it might be a lack of comments that’s a trigger. But even for larger blogs, there’s room to feel insecure, especially if you start comparing your blog to other blogs. Comparisons will manage to bite you in the butt every time if given the opportunity. While you can’t compare views, likes and comments are right there in your face.

One thing that’s been bugging me lately is the ratio of likes to views. It’s normal for only a fraction of the people who look at your posts to click the like button. Lately, I feel like that ratio has been dropping on my blog, and for most posts, it’s less than 1/3 of viewers who click like, or sometimes closer to 1/4. I think part of what bugs me is that I can’t explain it; I have no way of knowing what’s going on for that 70% of people who look but don’t click like, and there’s no possibility of finding out.

Who’s not reading your blog

There are many reasons that people can stop reading your blog. One of the common ones is that people are taking a blogging hiatus. But sometimes, you can see that some of these bloggers are still around. So what’s the deal? One of WordPress’s glitches that pops up every once in a while is that it will randomly unfollow people. If WordPress has randomly caused Blogger X to unfollow me, Blogger X doesn’t realize that unless they happen to notice that they haven’t seen posts from me for a while. It’s awkward, because there’s no way of knowing if it was a WordPress glitch or Blogger X just decided to stop reading.

Because WordPress shoves it in your face who’s liking people’s posts, you can’t really help but see who’s reading other people’s posts but not yours. I get sucked into that trap sometimes, yet it was never an issue back when you had to put that tiny bit of effort into finding out who liked a post. Damn you, WP!

Something that’s come up repeatedly for me over time is that a lot of the mental health blogs that I’ve read regularly never read mine, or at least as far as I could tell. I certainly don’t expect that every blog I read should read mine, but when it’s in the same niche and there’s no return engagement at all it feels a bit weird. This tends to ebb and flow over time in terms of whether it’s nagging at me or not, and it’s more likely to come up during phases when a lot of my readers are non-mental health bloggers. I used to be reluctant to unfollow mental health blogs, but then I figured if it was going to bug me, then I’d be better off unfollowing.

Feeling impressed by other bloggers

It can be easy to compare what someone else is doing to what we’re doing, and frame it all within our own context. But it doesn’t work that way; we all have different skills and things we struggle with. While you’re feeling impressed by one aspect of someone else’s blog, they may be thinking there’s no way they could manage to pull off what you’re doing on your blog.

I’m guessing that most of us have an “easy” type of post. By easy, I mean the kind of thing you can get into a groove with, and cranking out that kind of post is relatively low effort. My easy and your easy may be entirely different; your easy might be my difficult, and vice versa. And what someone easy is may not be obvious.

Whether you share art, music, poetry, your thoughts, what happened in your day, or anything else, there’s most likely another blogger out there thinking damn, I wouldn’t be able to manage that with my blog. Some people have a hard time publishing once a week, while others have a hard time keeping it under five a day. Different things are easy and hard for each of us.

Another key thing to keep in mind is that people have vastly different amounts of time to spend on their blog, depending on what’s going on in the rest of their life. Someone with a partner, five kids, and three animals, plus a full-time job, is going to have a lot less time for blogging me, who has nothing else to fit into the day but some guinea pig cuddles.

What to do about it?

For me, the most important thing is to just keep bringing it back to purpose. I suspect that, at least for most of us, the purpose isn’t about stats or comparisons. It’s about something greater that we get out of it, whether that’s the therapeutic value of writing, a sense of community, or whatever else. When my own securities start nagging at me, it often has to do with inadvertently getting side-tracked from my purpose, and I need a bit of a course correction.

It can also be helpful to try to focus on what you do have with your blog, such as readers whom you regularly interact with. Because the people you do interact with will always be far more important than the people that don’t.

I think it’s also useful to recognize that you’ll never be the only one having blog-related insecurities. It’s part and parcel of the blogging experience, even if no one feels comfortable talking about it. But I think talking about it can help; I know my little niggles have settled down simply after writing this post.

Do you have any blogging insecurities that you’d like to share?

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75 thoughts on “What Are Your Blogging Insecurities?”

  1. I also try to avoid stats, but it’s hard. I used to want lots of followers; then I realised that lots of them were spammy. I’m less concerned with that now, even though I’ve made my blog fully public again. I try not to care about likes, but I admit I’m pleased that my average likes per post seems to have gone up in the last few weeks. What I really like are comments, which I think is because I want some kind of personal connection from blogging. I only get a couple per post at most, so they’re precious, particularly when people comment long term (like you do) and one can get an idea of who someone is.

  2. I find it all terribly confusing to be honest! I haven’t been aware of seeing anybody when I like a post, so I’ll keep an eye out for that one.
    The thing that confuses me is when people who follow me like a post from months back, but then it doesn’t show as being ‘viewed’. If it were a recent post I’d assume it was seen in the reader or something, but nope. Can’t be if it was way back from last year or something.
    Luckily I began posting for my own benefit and then opened it to the world and continued to post, and so still would even if I went private again (can’t see myself doing that unless people in real life find me!).

    1. Huh, that’s weird. I know sometimes people will go through the Reader and like posts without reading, but that doesn’t seem like something would happen with an older post.

      1. Yeah that’s exactly what I thought too. Also don’t see how that’s physically possible, but haven’t bothered to ask the happiness engineers…

  3. I also can have insecurities about likes and follows. Especially if either of both end up stagnating. Those insecurities especially exist for me if I see someone in my niche doing better than I am in those areas.

    And the annoying thing is that I don’t view blogging as a competition and don’t want to view blogging that way.

  4. I barely look at stats but I do get a little insecure when it takes a while for the first like of my new post to come through. Silly really.

    1. Things like that may be silly, but that doesn’t seem to stop them from happening. Sometimes my logical brain says what the hell is wrong with me, and my more immature brain says it’s my party, and I’ll be silly if I want to.

  5. I’ve been guilty of worrying about stats; when I see a lull in likes or comments for a few days in a row – mainly when I haven’t posted, if I’ve been ill. But then I post something and up they go again. Then I think, what if I was sick for longer than a couple of days, or weeks?

    1. I think with the way the WordPress Reader works, new content will always get the most attention. It’s when you start getting more search engine or social media traffic that there’s a steadier stream of viewers regardless of what you post and when you post it.

  6. I don’t pay attention to stats.

    I have two concerns which I suppose are insecurities. One is the reaction I sometimes receive when I write candidly about some of the personal challenges I have. I can write 95% positive cheery happy posts (and that is the way I want my site to feel overall)…but when I am honest about some of the hard things that have happened, I always receive comments from people who seem horrified that the sunshine feel of my site seems to have been tainted. The comments range from readers dropping horrendous cliches like “every cloud has a silver lining” or “everything happens for a reason”…to those who tell me I need to go and get professional counselling.

    It is a tricky one for me because I do love life, and I hope my site overall reflects the enthusiasm and joy I feel about many aspects of life – from love to baking, music to writing, creation to the special people in my life. But I feel strongly that it is ok to speak honestly about real challenges. I am not ashamed or averse to refer to the parts of this world that are wrong, unjust, appalling…etc. I am baffled when someone seems to be disturbed by reading anything negative and wants to advise me that I need help to be 100% positive all the time.

    Everytime I publish a post about something hard, I dread receiving comments which make me think a reader doesn’t have a clear picture of who I am. Nevermind!

    The second insecurity I have is over the way I handle my blog. Because of the hours I have to work, I use the scheduling feature extensively. So almost every day there will be a post published on my site. Midweek I approve comments, but it is normally Sundays in between doing my housework and speaking to family and friends that I get to sit down and properly read comments and respond to them. On a Sunday, I go back over my posts for the week and read all the comments. I am very conscious that I am missing some of the comments that are left on my post. I know sometimes a reader will leave a comment on one of my older posts, and later I can’t find their comment to reply to. I also have noticed that when I do check my spam folder, there are numerous comments from several of the bloggers I am in contact regularly.

    So my fear is I could be coming across as negligent and unappreciative of the comments left on my site. I keep telling myself to make time on a more regular basis to check comments. Hoping my hours at work are going to reduce soon which will allow me to do that.

    Anyway…in the meantime…I am ok with the rest of my blog. It is a happy place for me, an outlet that is fulfilling.

    1. That’s really unfortunate that you get comments like that. Life isn’t always sunshine and rainbows, and if people have a hard time accepting that, they’re living in a dream world. I’m not sure why anyone thinks it’s helpful to say “everything happens for a reason”, because I doubt it’s ever been helpful once in the history of humanity.

      The spam thing is frustrating. I’v gotten in a habit of checking my spam folder regularly because legitimate comments end up there so often. When I do see those comments and respond to them, I mention that the delayed response was because WP marked their comment as spam.

  7. I try not to look at stats because I know it’ll make me feel insecure if I don’t see what I want to see.
    I also worry that people aren’t interested in what I have to say. I’ve struggled with it a lot recently, it doesn’t matter how many people say they enjoy reading my writing and that they relate to it, I can’t get rid of that nagging feeling.

  8. My biggest insecurity about blogging is finding topics. Sometimes I find something that I like but that is not maybe a popular topic and than I start to wonder if I should even write about it. The thing is that is does interest me and I end up doing research on it. But sometimes I can feel so nerdy about that. I rarely have ‘fun’ topics to write about.

  9. I was just comparing my blogger engagement to other book bloggers a few minutes ago while scrolling through the reader! I really appreciate your advice to focus on the connections that you DO have <3

  10. Love this. I think my blogging insecurities come down to me wondering if people are going to like it and then telling myself I’m doing it for me. I think my main insecurity is more to do with grammar which stems from humiliation and childhood trauma. I’m not yet overly obsessed with the numbers, perhaps because I’m still trying to find my voice and purpose. Then again if no one likes a post it for sure dents the ego and when I read a great post from someone else I wish I wrote it, but I’m liking the sense of community even though I’m still very much the new girl.

    1. I can see how the grammar part would be really hard when it’s tied into trauma. I’m lazy about proofreading and sometimes don’t notice major errors, but as far as I can remember there hasn’t been a single time when anyone has commented on it.

  11. I have many insecurities but they don’t always appear all at the same time. The one that is the most consistent for me is self doubt and wether what I write is good enough, the amount of blogs I have written and never post I’ve lost count of! It’s also what makes me sometimes inconsistent with my posting, and that’s when I beat myself up because the stats for that week are low because I haven’t produced anything good enough to post.
    It’s a bit of vicious cycle and something I am trying to break the habit of. Self doubt is always the one thing that holds me back.
    Thank you for this post I too think it’s great that you are talking about Blogging Insecurities, it has provided me with some much needed time for self reflection . ☺️

    1. I see that happen a lot where people haven’t been posting much, their stats drop, and they start to internalize that as a reflection of how good their blog is. But a lot of people read blogs using the WordPress Reader and the WP app, and those are very much geared toward showing newer posts. And if you have 10 regular readers that read all of your posts, if you post once a week, you’ll get 10 views from them, while if you post 7 times a week, you’ll get 70 views; that’s a big difference, but those readers’ loyalty hasn’t changed at all.

  12. Very useful article! Thank you for sharing.

    The part about the “random unfollowing” explains a lot of things as it has already happened to me that someone I used to follow randomly disappeared from my feed so I just looked for his blog and noticed that I am not following him anymore – but I thought it was me who accidentally clicked on the unfollow button and it was such an uncomfortable feeling for me like…..if I click on “follow” he will notice that I “unfollowed” him so he would think I am weird or something. ( I know I always overthink everything but that’s the way I am)

    Well, as for insecurities in my case it’s mainly about my writing skills as I am not a native English speaker and I tend to worry about unintentionally offending people by writing something that I do not find offensive but others would. Ah anyways – I have a lot of insecurities but despite that I enjoy writing cause it just helps me a lot.

    1. Writing is helpful in so many ways!

      I sometimes wonder how many people I’m no longer following because of this WordPress glitch. I’m not very observant, so I don’t easily notice when I’m no longer seeing someone’s posts in my feed.

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