Yesterday we were talking about how benchmarking your blog and your performance against those of others only goes so far to give ou an idea of “how your blog’s going.” As I said then, looking at others—other people, other blogs—even subconsciously for an indication of where you and your blog sit isn’t usually very helpful.
I said then that today I’d give you some examples of areas where I think my blogging’s doing okay—things that have less to do with stats and revenues than they do with how blogging fits into my life. Here are a few of those things.
Those who follow me on Twitter or Google Plus know that my wife and I had our third child in 2011. Suddenly, we had three children aged 5 and under in the house, which is also where I work. We bloggers don’t really get nice benefits like paid parental leave, so the arrival of our third son was definitely going to be a challenge.
I had built a close team in the months before my son’s birth, and while that took some of the pressure off, at the same time, it added different responsibilities to the mix. Even though I had a lot of help with my blogs, I couldn’t just drop everything when my new son arrived home.
As you’ll know if you’re a parent, you can never quite tell how a new baby will change the household dynamic. Life is unpredictable, and as bloggers, our incomes rely solely on our motivation and ability to keep pushing, day in, day out. Also I was very fortunate in that my new son is a pretty good sleeper and into a routine quickly, and my two older sons adore him.
But the comparatively smooth addition of a new person to my family was, in part, supported by my blogging. My flexible schedule, and the freedom to plan events so that I could keep the period when the new baby was due clear of product launches and other commitments, allowed me to be fully involved at this really important time for my family. That makes me feel pretty good about my blogging, and the way it works to support the other goals and things I value in my life.
Working with others
Expanding the team I work with has also been a great experience in a number of ways. As I mentioned above, it helped me manage work when my new son arrived, but there are other aspects that are working well too.
Firstly, I enjoy working with my team members. Anyone who’s ever partnered up with someone, or even hired a team member, will know that these things don’t always work out. But in this case, my blogging has necessitated that I team up with some good people who really work well together, and that’s been both enjoyable and satisfying in itself.
By working together, we’ve also been able to create more opportunities for others—other bloggers, photographers, and so on—through events like the ProBlogger Training Day, which was much bigger, and more helpful and valuable this year, as a direct result of team work.
In effect, my blogging has let me do more with, and for, great people—so in that regard, too, I think my blog’s doing okay.
A better understanding
Recently I ran the ProBlogger Census. This project gave me and my team a great insight into where you, our readers, are at with your blogs, where you need help, and what interests you. It sounds simple enough, and running a reader survey isn’t rocket science, but the quality and depth of the responses we received was extremely valuable.
This research really let me get a clearer picture of the people I’m here to serve (that’s you!). It gave me ideas, inspiration, motivation, and energy—four things every blogger needs, and some of the things I live for as a creative type of person. It also highlighted some areas that I could do better which has already allowed me to make some changes (and prepare for and plan others) that are of benefit to my audience. It’s empowering to be able to help others in a productive way, and to engage with them personally about that exchange.
Again, this experience made me feel like my blogging’s going well not just in and of itself, but in terms of its role within my life and the potential it’s giving to me and others.
As I hope you can see, none of these examples relates to any other blog, or involves any sort of “benchmarking.” While comparisons can have their place, when you’re looking at how your blog’s doing, why not focus more heavily on these kinds of personal aspects? After all, they’re the ones that will keep your passion for blogging—and life—alive in the long term.