It was 8pm on a Monday evening (well, yesterday, in fact), and I was trawling through my blog archives, going back to my first year of blogging in 2011. Gosh, it was embarrassing to look at; my posts were filled with emojis, with cringey language like “lawls” instead of lol, and were sometimes no longer than a paragraph. My photos were awful (as were the blog watermarks that were plastered over them) but I was excited to be on this little corner of the internet, and it was evident in my writing. With a twang I realised that I really, really missed those carefree days where I wasn’t serious about blogging. Over the years my blog posts – although mostly cheerful – have become more carefully planned and filled with relevant jargon in order to be noticed in the online world. But back then I really didn’t care about my reach or engagement.
So what happened? Why did blogging become so serious?
top: forever21 / skirt: missguided / boots: boohoo / bag: marks + spencer / accessories: ma*rs + new look
So why did blogging become so serious?
Because we want our posts to be noticed
Bloggers spend time and care on every post in the hopes that it would connect with their readers, and be shared across social media channels and be filled with comments. And that is done through endlessly promoting said blog post through daily tweets, Facebook comment threads, Pinterest boards, the almighty Instagram, and email lists. It is tiring work and I often have to dedicate a few hours a week just doing this. Back when I first started the post ended when the words did and I didn’t have to think more of it. It was just nice knowing that it was there to look back on when I needed to.
Comments are harder to come by
My happiness is sometimes determined by how many comments I receive on a post, because if it doesn’t get comments, that means it’s not good, right? I’ve been seeing more and more bloggers speaking up about commenting outside of comment pods and threads, and it’s a rarity for a person who isn’t a blogger to comment. So we all jump into those comment threads and do ‘comment swaps’ in the hopes that we’d get a decent comment on return, but I can’t count the amount of times I’ve had people say things like ‘nice outfit!’ on a post that was incredibly personal and raw but I just happened to wear a nice dress in the photos. I try to combat this thinking with “at least it’s a comment” which meant that, even if they skimmed the whole thing, at least they landed on your page (which is kinda sad to think about really).
related post: maybe you’re just not good enough (but that’s okay)
Photoshoots, photoshoots, photoshoots
Outfit photos taken in a full-length mirror just don’t cut it anymore, and even as I write this I’m already planning my next “photoshoot” with my hubby (which is basically travelling to a nearby town that has pretty walls and gardens). Hell, even this very blog post is filled with photos we took on my day out in Birmingham. The last time I took a outfit shot in the mirror was probably around 2016-2017, and I haven’t seen one from another blogger in way longer than that. This is mainly due to Instagram as better photos mean better engagement, and all of the major Instagram accounts have beautifully crafted photos taken by a professional photographer. This has seeped into the blogging world, and so each photo is carefully deliberated on a few weeks prior than taken on a whim.
Blogging is now a business
All of the above is linked to this very thing; blogging is no longer just a hobby, but can be a full-time job. That means that people are paid to write content which they obviously want to share, gain comments, and schedule photoshoots for because that’s how they get noticed. It’s very hard work and so it’s inevitable that people will be pretty serious about what they’re blogging because of the amount of hours that go into it behind-the-scenes.
A key example of this is the development of wishlists; in 2011 I wrote a circle lens wishlist and it contained just a list of links to a website. That’s it. No context, no introduction… just “my circle lens wishlist” as the title and some links. Nowadays wishlists are beautifully crafted into a collage with links (some affiliated) and a paragraph beneath it, filled with relevant keywords. Most of these links would’ve been carefully planned weeks before, where bloggers would reach out to numerous companies to see if they could strike a deal with them – a mention of their company in a wishlist for a gifted item in return – and to post them at the perfect time when they know their readers would be searching for these kinds of wishlists.
Okay, so what are you trying to say, Lizzie?
It isn’t a bad thing to be serious about blogging, as long as you’re having fun doing it. But do not stress about scheduling photoshoots if you don’t have the time/money or doubting whether you’re writing good content because your blog is your space. What I wanted to express in this post is that I miss the carefree days where we would smash out a blog post and just post it regardless of whether it’s at the correct time or with the perfectly set-up photo. To write things purely because we loved doing it. I want to go back and embrace my posts that I write on a whim regardless of thinking “but is this actually good enough?“, and capture the essence of what got me into blogging in the first place – to document my journey.
What do you think? Why do you think blogging has become so serious?