Last week, I attended the Blissdom Conference, which was a welcome distraction from fretting over the state of my cervix and upcoming surgery, but also got me thinking about the state of my blog and where I want to take it next.
There is an incredible amount of pressure in the publishing world, and by extension the blogging world, to prove your value. And what publishers and sponsors typically want to see are numbers: evidence that you can and do drive large amounts of traffic to your site.
As Pinterest changes the landscape of the blogging world, as Google+ becomes more relevant even though people don’t seem sure how to use it, as old technologies disappear and need to be replaced with new tools to keep connecting with readers, it’s easy, as a blogger, to fall into a trap of chasing pageviews even when some of the suggested practices (writing shorter, fluffier posts so that I can pump out several per day! controversial headlines! pulling hot SEO phrases out of the news!) don’t really seem in line with what this place is about.
Add in the outside freelance and consulting work I do to round out my income, and it’s easy to feel like I’m spinning my wheels, not sure where to go next. If I write more posts, will my traffic go up? Do I need more controversy? A better layout? Do I need to take better photos? More photos? More photos of my kids? More photos of my dogs?
You get the picture. Blogging never stops changing, and it’s hard not to feel like you’re always a little bit behind.
Publishing this blog is a big part of my paid work as a writer, and as such I want to do it well. That means not just helping or entertaining my existing readers, but also bringing new people in and encouraging them to hang around longer once they’re here.
But sometimes, I think, I’ve taken my most loyal readers a little bit for granted. It’s very easy, in the quick-moving world of blogs, to worry more about pleasing the people who haven’t found your blog yet than to concentrate on rewarding and acknowledging the people who’ve been reading all along.
When I posted about my cervical cancer diagnosis last Monday, I was so touched by the heartfelt comments from so many of you – several of whom are long-term readers who had never commented before! – and the pledges you made to take care of your health. Slowly, a little at a time, I’ve been trying to respond to every single comment. It may take weeks! But I’m committed.
Your outpouring of support was an important reminder that I’m not just throwing my words out into a void and that I have more to think about than putting together the perfect combination of SEO keywords and “pinnable” images.
I owe you all more than that.
Over the next few weeks, there will be some big changes here at The Happiest Mom. We are expanding, with the hope of becoming more inclusive of moms at every stage. While moms – their needs, hopes, and challenges – will still be our primary focus, we also want to start including more family- and home-oriented content. I’m confident that you’ll love it.
But I’m also feeling more committed than ever to maintain the sense of community, thoughtfulness and caring that makes this a special place. And more convicted than ever to making sure all of you understand how much I appreciate the fact that you’re here.
I guess I just wanted to take this opportunity to say “thank you” – and to let you know that my dedication to nurturing this space has never been stronger. Every time you click over and read, leave a comment, engage with one of our sponsors, send me an email or share a post via social media, you’re helping us create an amazingly supportive, kind, and helpful environment. I appreciate it so much, and I’m making a commitment to keep letting you all know.
Thank you! So very much.