Blogging Chat: How Has Your Blog Changed Over Time?

the word blog repeated around a globe

The blogosphere changes over time, and so do the individual blogs that populate it. In this week’s blogging chat, I thought it would be interesting to look at how our own blogs have evolved.

Who’s reading?

I’ve had a major shift in who’s reading my blog over the last couple of years. The table below shows the stats from my top three traffic sources since my first full year of blogging, which was 2018. I don’t like using actual numbers because that can start to get competitive and yucky, so I’ve set my lowest figure, which was search engine traffic in 2018, as a reference point of 1, and all the other numbers are multiples of that reference point.

Search enginesWP ReaderPinterest
20181262
20197455
2020635620
20211044528
projected 20221332925

Summer 2019 was when I first got the WP business plan and started working on search engine optimization (SEO). In 2020, search engines became the main way that people were getting to my blog.

Not all of the people I consider to be my blogging community come through the WP Reader, but my Reader stats are pretty interesting. I’ve projected my 2022 total based on the first 6 months of the year, and that’s a pretty massive drop from my high in 2020 (when it seemed like COVID had led to everyone spending more time online). I don’t really tend to personalize that, because I think there’s there’s a broader shift of people who are talking about mental health moving away from the WordPress.com space.

My search engine and Pinterest visitors don’t really interact; they come, they read, and they leave. The WordPress traffic is where the community activity happens, and I’ve definitely noticed the drop in activity not only on my site, but in the mental health corner of WordPress more generally. I’m spending quite a bit less time reading blogs because a lot of the mental health bloggers I follow are posting not very often or not at all.

How often are you writing/publishing?

I started publishing daily back in 2018, and that was also when I started writing my posts ahead of time and scheduling them for later. I kept up the daily publishing, with the odd exception here and there, until the end of last year, when I dropped to 6 days a week. I find the 6 days per week schedule more manageable.

Dropping to 5 is a possibility I’m considering. I like the extra interactiveness of posting days, but given that the mental health blogosphere has been quiet and feels less interactive than it used to be, 5 days a week might work better than 6.

What are you writing about?

This has always been and always will be primarily a mental health blog. I have had a bit of a shift in my non-mental health content, though. I used to post more fluff than I do now; by fluff, I mostly mean the kind of posts that make for good community interaction on the day that they’re published, but no one will ever look at them after that day. I want to keep my site as streamlined as I can, so now I delete anything that doesn’t have staying power.

The shift in my reading audience is a major reason behind that. While the community aspect is by far the most meaningful part of blogging for me, I do have more of a sense in my head now that I’m writing for a broader audience. Instead of being a primarily community-targeted blog, I tend to think of it as a dual-purpose blog. While my weekend posts (weekend wrap-up and blogging chat) are still purely community-oriented, for pretty much everything else I write, I try to keep a broader audience in mind. This change probably started towards the end of last year and has really crystallized in the last month or so.

Other changes

I’ve always been interested in the technical side of blogging, but the more advanced my knowledge base has gotten, the more interesting it’s gotten to tinker around with my site’s nuts and bolts. It started off as more of a means to end to make my blog more findable and work the way I wanted it to, but now I get satisfaction out of tinkering as a way to practice new skills.

Over to you

So, that’s me. Now it’s your turn—have there been changes over time in what you write, how often you write, and who you’re writing for?

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65 thoughts on “Blogging Chat: How Has Your Blog Changed Over Time?”

  1. I’ve only been blogging for a year. At first I didn’t really know what I was doing and what for. Then I decided to record my thoughts, so that people could have a better idea how an autistic person thinks. At the time I could even post several times a day; which did make sense to me and I still think it was good for that time.

    However, during that time of reflection on myself I managed to realise things that haven’t been discovered by autism researchers yet 😛 I think now I pretty much realised everything I needed to know; I may have one or two posts to add about it.

    And it seems to me like if I continue describing my thoughts like that the entire time, it will become boring and repetitive, so possibly I need to focus on something different. Don’t know what that would be yet. Maybe an external world? I’d probably post much less now. But I’m OK with that.

  2. I am impressed by how you keep and have kept track of your blogging stats. I rarely look at them.
    My one goal as I may have mentioned before is to post something every day. I am happy with that as my outcome. Interactions oddly enough has not changed over time….Although, now that I mention it, the short stories tend to receive more comments than my other posts…not sure why.

      1. Yes, very true the WordPress poetry community, vibrant, enriching and inspiring. Thank you for your lovely words on the stories…I am glad you enjoy them. I enjoy writing them!

  3. I wouldn’t say my blog has changed, but I did notice a big drop in readership, and your right mental health bloggers seem to disappear constantly. I miss the interaction, but am always happy when I do get comments. I write daily multiple times a day sometimes. My blog is like my diary. xoxo

  4. I think I did the math yesterday and realized from the time I started my blog, I am very irregular in my posting! I had a long dry spell where I was working a lot and focused mainly on visual arts. I have traded in my visual art time for writing time, so I am keeping up with my blog more often and focusing on my personal journey as a woman with bipolar disorder. I really like the way you have categories that you write about on certain days of the week, I like the structure and look forward to reading them.

  5. I definitely notice the ebbs and flows in traffic as well. It’s definitely been quieter lately, but I’m hoping it’s just a temporary lull. I still try writing at least 5-6 times a week, I think it’s important for both me and for the community like feel I want my blog to have.
    It’s definitely easier to follow bloggers that post with a certain regularity, and I do try to maintain a relationship with other bloggers through their blogs. I agree, people have definitely been positive less frequently.

  6. I’ve definitely massively dropped off posting due to lurching from crisis to crisis. Despite relative stability now at last, I will most likely have to start a new WordPress blog afresh thanks to unsafe people, ugh.

    I’ve definitely noticed less people posting, and I definitely miss community here.

  7. I’ve also noticed the fall in mental health blogging, and I think autism blogging dropped even before that (pre-pandemic). I’m getting as many or more comments on my blog, though. I think comments on my blog come mostly for half a dozen or so individuals, not all of them bloggers, so less affected by WP trends.

    My blogging has changed a lot over the years, mainly when I’ve started new blogs. My first blog (on Livejournal) was a general “Everything I’m interested in” blog, which turned out not to be good for attracting readers, unsurprisingly. I separated the Judaism part from the rest on a second blog (on Blogger), but a while after that I stopped blogging totally for eighteen months or so. Then I restarted blogging, here on WordPress, about my mental health experiences, but with an explicit Jewish emphasis. That turned into more of an autism blog as I became more aware that I was on the spectrum. I do throw other stuff in sometimes too, usually if I need to vent. I had a dedicated Doctor Who blog for a while too, but I didn’t do much with it and lost it when I stopped paying for it.

      1. I don’t know. I think generally there has been a shift from blogs to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram over the years, but I haven’t investigated those sites to see if there are big autism communities there.

  8. I love that you used reference point multiples instead of putting your traffic numbers. It’s so easy to want to compare ourselves to each other and get discouraged when we see other people’s traffic.

  9. My biggest change with my blog was when I ditched WordPress and went to Blogger to continue with my journey there.

    I don’t look at stats regular, but when I have, I notice when I have tweeted my posts, then readership seems to be influenced by that.

    Since leaving WordPress, I have less people that leave comments on my blog at Blogger, compared to when I was on WordPress, even though I still visit their WordPress blog.
    My regulars are you and Caz, followed by Renard and blogger at Windsor Waffle.
    Very rare visits from other WordPress bloggers and others who I thought would comment, not at all, which I have recently decided with one not to bother reading or leaving comment at their blog and another I will visit rare times.

    There are less people I think that blog now. Many don’t blog that I followed on WordPress and just stopped. When a blog has gone quiet 6 months or more with no mention as to why they have stopped, I stop following.

    I write less on my blog than I used to. I like to sim at least three posts a month, but known to write more than thid the odd months. But not to the extent as I used to.

    A lot of people from WordPress were looking at posts at my WordPress blog. I would have huge unexpected spikes at times to say it had been quiet for some time and to say I Iink my WordPress profile to my current blog on Blogger, ever since I started it.
    Strangely, new people would sign up to follow my WP blog, even though I made it clear it ended and where I now write.
    I removed the follow buttons off blog, but that didn’t stop the odd one signing up to follow. So in the end and because the time felt right, I deleted all posts but the last one I written.

    1. I only read your blog and one other on Blogger. I’m curious if more people will end up shifting over there with the changes WordPress has made to its pricing scheme, or perhaps more people will simply stop blogging.

      1. I feel there are a lot of personal bloggers on WordPress. Some who pay extra to get rid of adverts and those like myself who had free ones. I can’t help but wonder just how this will affect WordPress. But if it does, then those happiness engineers brought it upon themselves.

  10. Oh my! R.O.E. is all over the place. I had direction when I started in 2017-2019 and then I plummeted. I didn’t disappear completely but it appears that my traffic did. I am not as bothered by this as I would have been in the beginning. I do try to keep within my categories when I post but my space has gone from purposeful to clearly lacking in the helpful sense. Basically I blog for myself. It’s therapeutic. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed watching your blog evolve. Your dedication, interaction, and organization are admirable not to mention the information you share!

  11. I haven’t kept track of my stats, though I know my readership went from nil to lots when I began doing the official daily prompt. Then when I hosted 3 Things, visits zoomed way up, as did likes, but not comments. I hosed everything in April 2021 and began fresh.

    Now my content ranges from poetry to flash fiction to rants and essays ~ though those are carefully written and not impulsive blurts as I used to do. I also have quit hosting prompts as I find them annoying to keep track of. I am grateful to those who still host them however. My audience has plunged by 2/3 and I don’t care as comments have remained relatively stable. That’s the important part to me ~ engagement.

  12. I’ve never really considered your place a mental health blog per se. I stumbled upon it probably for a mental health tag, but stayed because of the high quality posts, and because you have a type of honesty about yourself and other aspects of life that I really appreciate.

    For my own blog, I struggle sometimes to stick to a topic. So I guess my blog is just about stuff I love.

    Traffic fluctuates all the time. Currently it seems to go up a bit again… I don’t understand it at all. I decided to follow your advice and simply write what I feel is best.

    1. A blog about stuff you love is a great way to go! While I think the content of a blog is probably what new readers initially notice, once someone is a regular reader, the person behind the writing is as much of a draw as the particular topics they’re writing about.

  13. I liked how you mentioned once you manage your blog like Wikipedia: continuously updating and evolving.

    People change and as a result I am conscious of what I want to focus on shifts around. I have a sense of wanting to write somewhat similar posts as when I began to “be loyal” to the people who first started reading. Yet I can see people often stay for the community, which is so much nicer than just a follower count.

    1. I tend to think that after following someone for a while, people are reading as much for the person as for the content, and a lot of them will probably keep reading even if the blog changes focus.

  14. So interesting! My blog started out as a way to have fun and interact with others. I had some time for that when I started my blog. Now life has gotten a lot more busy! I still want to be active on my blog though, and I’m working on posting more often! Lol. I’m also trying to work out the direction I want to take more blog too. It really started out as an inspirational blog and then morphed into a little bit of mental health blog over time too, but I’m still working on what exactly I want the focus of my blog to be. I definitely want to continue writing about my mental health journey! We’ll see! One part of your post that really caught my attention is about writing posts that have staying power, and I’m not sure how to do that for my blog! Lol. That’s something I would really love to figure out, because I would love to have posts on my blog that are still relevant no matter how much time has passed!

    1. It surprises me sometimes which posts continue to get visitors and which don’t. For the most part, it seems to be posts that combine a personal element with more general ideas/tips/information that do best in the longer term.

  15. 🙂 I started “Renard’s World” immediately after I deleted my blog on Blogger (That was back in 2018).

    Like you, I used to publish content on my blog daily in 2018.

    Today, I have settled for blogging weekly.

    I do publish an extra blog post or two if feel the sudden urge to share something with my viewers.

    2018 was the best year for views because I used to heavily promote my blog on social media. When I deleted my Facebook and Twitter accounts, the number of views began to drop. Despite the deletion of those services, people still shared the links to my blog posts on them.

    At the moment, I only focus on Pinterest to promote my blog.

    Later on, I invited guest bloggers to feature their work on my blog; I halted the guest blogging project during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    After the global pandemic ended, I restarted the guest blogging project. The only person who contributed a guest post after the guest blogging project was restarted was Dolly Aizenman (she specializes in recipes). So, guest blogging has become a rare occurrence on my blog.

    In regards to topics, they have remained the same except for the introduction of movie reviews.

    In spite of the minor changes, my blog continues to do well and the number of followers continues to grow daily.

    1. I also stick to Pinterest to promote my blog. I get viewers from Facebook surprisingly regularly give that I don’t have a Facebook account.

      That’s great that your blog continues to grow!

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