Little Fish in a Big Pond: Understanding, Accepting and Learning to Love Your Small Blog

by | Aug 27, 2010 | Social Media for Authors

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Some tips and tricks from the BlogHer ’10 session with Nora Leibowitz,; Catherine Holecko,; and Celeste Lindell,

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There are many benefits to having a small blog, including feeling less pressure to achieve certain goals and the ability to do pretty much whatever you want – whenever you want. This session focused on discussing the issues small bloggers face and providing some tips for bloggers who might want to expand their reach.

There are many reasons bloggers blog:

* Practice writing

* Update family and friends

* Share interests

* Enjoy their art

* Build an audience

* Change the world

Blog design
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And the truth is, it’s a lot of work to grow your blog, get readers and comments. That first comment is addictive; many bloggers then think they should have more. That means time and work: Typically bloggers use a combination of Twitter, commenting on other blogs, guest posts and a variety of other tactics such as Facebook and other social media sites to increase their readership.

With the millions of blogs out there, it can be difficult to get that growth even if you do apply the recommended tactics… and is that what you really want or need in the first place? Blogging is supposed to be fun, but it’s less fun when bloggers fall into the mental trap of worrying about what they need to do to be bigger. All bloggers have to decide what their goals are and how much work they’re willing to put in to meet those goals.

Having a small circle of readers and commenters allows small bloggers to know their audience personally, and for many, that’s a big plus.

Additional advantages to having a small blog include:

* Blogging when you can or want to – take vacation, enjoy your family, just take time off, it’s OK

* Not following or reading blog stats – no stress from trying to keep up with anyone else

* Not caring about fame or money – no sponsors to pitch, no pitches to clog your email

* You can write for yourself – write what you want without worrying about offending sponsors or even readers

Bloggers should think about why they began their blogs in the first place, and if their blog is for them, and they’ve got some readers, then it’s meaningful. Consider the concept of “an audience of one,” and decide who it’s for.

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In addition, smaller bloggers usually don’t deal with some of the problems that the larger blogs do, such as anonymous negative comments. However, each panelist talked about that one post that got a lot of traffic for them and included some negative comments – for Nora it was an open letter she wrote to The Gap about skinny jeans for toddlers that continues to receive negative comments today. It just goes to show that you can write something, post it, and it will take on a life of its own regardless of the size of your blog.

There’s no magic to growing your blog – the blogosphere does have millions of blogs so there’s a big crowd to compete with for attention – but essentially using social media such as Facebook and Twitter to share your blog posts, commenting on other blogs, holding contests and having guest bloggers can help make your blog stand apart. These activities do require a time commitment and to work, have to become a regular part of your blogging. It’s a personal choice for each blogger whether that time is worthwhile.

Life Cycle of a Blog Post
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Still, small bloggers admit that all of them have faced the feeling that they should be doing more, writing posts that generate comments, checking their stats and so forth. At some point each blogger will have to figure out how to let those feelings go if they want to make peace with their small blog. Celeste probably summed it up best: “I ignore my stats for the same reason I don’t have a scale in my house. It is a drug.”

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