Blogging // What Didn’t Work

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You might remember this post about the things I’ve done on my blogging path that have really helped to up my game and grow Lovely Indeed. Well, there are also a few things that I’ve tried along the way that were dismal failures. Things that I was really excited about, or thought would get a great response, or bring lots of traffic, and that just… didn’t.

Well, it’s just as important to learn from our failures as it is from our successes, right? So in that spirit, here’s a (totally incomplete) lists of things I’ve tried that were barely even blips on the radar.

Blogging More. There was a long span (I think close to a year!) where I was trying to blog more than once a day. The second post was usually a photo I liked, or a color palette, or something similar. But really, I didn’t have enough time to do it and so it wasn’t quality. I couldn’t keep up with it. Not to mention, the numbers didn’t lie — my readership stayed the same whether I posted the extra blog or not. And when I stopped double posts, my numbers didn’t suffer at all. In fact, they slowly and steadily increased.

More Social Media. I used to go on these frenzies where I would tweet or post to Facebook bunches of times every day, thinking that I needed to be more present there to reach my readers. Again, looking back at that practice, I now realize that quantity does not equal quality. It wasn’t gaining me any followers or readers, and truthfully I find overposting on social media somewhat offputting now. Each person finds their own sweet spot and I totally respect that. But now I go by a simple rule: Do I have something interesting to say? If so, then I say it. Maybe I have two interesting things to say one day and twenty the next. So be it.

Giveaways. My first year, around the holidays I organized a month of giveaways of some pretty cool swag. I loved doing it, but it didn’t change a thing. Readers did not come from far and wide to enter my giveaways. The people entering were the small number of readers that I already had on my blog. Granted, if I had been giving away a car or a trip or something crazy, it could have been a different story. But for me, giveaways are not and have never been a traffic driver. They’re just something fun that I enjoy doing for readers.

Guest Posts (with a caveat). Last time, I mentioned becoming a contributor as something that really paved the way for Lovely Indeed to become what it is today. And I stand by that. But what it didn’t do was bring much traffic to my blog. I remember being kind of bummed about that — I wanted a magical answer to getting more readers and I thought that would be it. People would see that I wrote a post and BOOM they’d come hang out on my blog. I hate to break it to ya, but that’s not how it goes. Guest posting and contributing is awesome, and I love to do it. I still contribute to a few places because I enjoy it and because it can be a source of income as well. It’s also how I made some great connections and got to know some of my best blogger buds. But a magical flowing river of traffic it ain’t.

Being Complacent. Not reaching out and grabbing what I wanted was maybe my biggest mistake. Because if you don’t reach for that big shiny thing in your path, someone else will! And there are a million ways to reach out and grab it — by being present for your readers in the form of comments and prompt emails, by sticking your neck out for a project that seems scary, by trying new things (and maybe failing), and on and on. If something’s not working, try something new. Eventually, one of them will work.

Who else out there has some knowledge for us about what didn’t work? Let’s talk shop — and make some lemons into lemonade. xoxo


24 comments

  1. Jenna on said:

    I made each of these “mistakes” in my own space as well and they each taught me something about myself, other people, writing, and blogging.

  2. Grace on said:

    This is a great list for an amateur blogger like me! I love your blog and so appreciate the writing and topics you post! Thanks for sharing! :)

    http://sometimesgracefully.com

  3. Brooke on said:

    This is a great post! I’ve made several of these mistakes myself! There can be a lot of excitement and hype as a new blogger that you jump on board with at the start in hopes of driving traffic. In the end it’s good content and as you say quality vs quantity that wins out. Unless blogging is a full time job social media can be overwhelming and impossible to keep up with. These days I stick to instagram and the blog, that’s it.

  4. Marlene on said:

    Thanks for sharing this list! It’s so good to remember that mistakes happen to everyone, and that they don’t have to stop us in our tracks. AND that even you big awesome bloggers started out somewhere. :)

  5. Ceci Bean on said:

    Thanks for sharing this info. I have often assumed I’d bring in more traffic if I did a lot of these things, so it’s a good reminder to focus on content.

  6. Excellent post indeed! I think the biggest point here, which I had begun to discover myself, is the bit about quality over quantity. This really hit me when I realized that some of my favorite blogs only posted every few days and I hadn’t even noticed! I was just so excited to see a new post of their’s on my feed because it was GOOD STUFF. I started applying that to my own blogging system, skipping filler posts of shared images etc. and just posting good solid original material and it has made me so much happier. I hope my readers feel the same way. Thanks for sharing this! An excellent reminder.

  7. Thanks for sharing. I too feel like I have to be “everywhere” on social media, but I get so little reaction from it. I’m slowly making an impact, and that’s ok. There was a great post on Levo League today (http://www.levoleague.com/articles/skills/remastering-the-art-of-practicing-patience) about how the best things in life don’t come from Amazon Prime. Being patient and doing quality over quantity will return good things back to you! Good luck with your new goals!

  8. Great post Chels! I totally have made all of these mistakes, and learned from them! I definitely agree about the guest posting/contributor “myth” that it will drive traffic. I think another mistake I made with my very first site design is that I tried to do TOO much. I had a huge guide of vendors and party supplies broken down into a bazillion different categories and it was just too much clicking for people. Shortening it to a one page list of faves was much more successful! Sometimes less is more! =)

    • chelsea on said:

      Oooh, definitely a good tip. Thanks for sharing, Kell. xo

  9. I love this! As a new blogger, these kind of insights are extremely helpful. Thank you for posting this!

    xx
    youngmildandfree.wordpress.com

  10. Jennifer on said:

    Honest post. I think your last point resonated with me the most. You gotta try new things to continue to grow! It’s my first time here—I think I’ll add Lovely Indeed to my Bloglovin’ list!

    • chelsea on said:

      Glad you found it, Jennifer! Thanks for commenting, hope to see you around more!

  11. Annabel on said:

    Thanks for the handy tips! I’m just starting out on my blog, so these are nice tips – and some good reinforcements about what I already thought I knew!

  12. This post really spoke to me — I feel you on pretty much all of these points (especially complacency!), and reading about your “failures” is actually super inspiring because I see LI as nothing but a success… Keep being awesome! xx

    • chelsea on said:

      What a sweet comment — thanks so much!

  13. J. on said:

    So helpful to read, particularly when most of the advice directed to new bloggers these days is to “be everywhere” all of the time on social media.

  14. Thanks for these tips. We rarely hear about what NOT to do, so I really appreciate it. I’ve been told it’s best to blog at least 3x/week for traffic and constant exposure. The most I’ve done is twice/week and even that was pushing it. Personally, I’m comfortable with the once/week and making it solid content. One thing I’d like to mention is getting to know other bloggers is a really big boost. They will send traffic to your site if they think it’s valuable, re-tweet etc. I can’t say enough about the support of fellow bloggers and how much it has meant to me. I found your blog from Melissa’s post on BlogHer. I will add you to my Bloglovin’ list :)

    • chelsea on said:

      A great point, Lisa! Building a network of bloggers that you love and trust and share is so important, too. So glad you made your way over here! Thanks for reading. :)

  15. Gail on said:

    Thank you so much for sharing this information. I know i Hear blog more, blog more, but I feel you write about what is important to you.

  16. dre on said:

    Love this!! I totally struggle w/ staying on top of all the social media… so hearing its not really as big of a deal as everyone makes it out to be is encouraging!

  17. Jo W on said:

    Thank you for saving this newbie so much time and struggle!

  18. Melissa on said:

    Thank you so much for sharing your insight. There’s so much value in the ‘what’s worked’ and ‘what hasn’t worked.’ Your blog is an inspiration!

  19. Grace Miel on said:

    I’m pretty new to blogging and have been reading all of the “to do” posts. I found your guest post caveat particularly illuminating!

  20. Ellie on said:

    Like everyone else i agree that this is an awesome post! All of the points that you listed have actually been on my mind lately, so it’s great to read it from somebody who’s so experienced. Even until now I thought social media was that big of a deal since all experts seem to talk about it, but I guess sometimes it helps. just not all the time!!

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