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Why My Blog’s Doing Okay: 3 Unexpected Answers

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.

Balancing baby

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.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Johanna says:

    I agree. It’s all too easy to focus on the business strategies of blogging as a measure of success, and forget the human element.

    Blogging helped me establish myself in a new country. It gave me not only a platform for my freelance writing but also imbued me with confidence and purpose.

    As my children are now grown up, the ‘school gate’ was not an immediate way to make new friends anymore, but blogging was – although the means of making those new relationships has been quite different. Perhaps the ‘blogging gate’ would be an appropriate turn of phrase. And I’ve made some lovely new friends all around Australia – some of whom I met at the ProBlogger conference in Melbourne :)

    Thanks Darren, for being part of the human side of blogging. You’ve inspired and helped me on my journey too.

  2. Wow! I need to go through your archives and do a bit of studying. I’m new to blogging online and am loving every minute of interacting with my readers to help them to live a healthy life. I just need to figure out to reach them all. Thanks! :)

  3. Hi Darren,

    Congrats on the new addition to your family! As a teenager about to come into the adult world, I know I want to build a family like I have with the team that surrounds me when I work on a blog post or a new client ask me to work on one of their projects. It always helps when someone is surrounding and supporting your every step – whether it be your blog, business or personal life.

  4. Carlos Ramos says:

    The title said it: Unexpected! I really never thought of blogging success in terms of relations with others and how it fit in my life.
    Is easy to miss out the most important things in life. Thanks for the advice!
    And Congratulations for the new member in your family :).

  5. Thanks for the post. A good advice for me. Anyway, congrats to you for new member.

  6. Sonal Pandey says:

    I have to juggle blogging with taking care of my 2 year old son. With a highly active toddler around the house, it is not always easy.

    Your post is a nice reminder to look at the big picture. And where blogging fits in. Looking at it that way, I think I’m doing okay, too. :)

  7. Hi Darren,

    I’m finding the same thing.

    Focus on intangibles and you open up opportunities, you see other areas where your blog is doing well. I noted an increase in page views and search engine recently, but I also have seen how writing to a clearer, more targeted audience allows me to enjoy more of my travels.

    I left state-side in May. Now I am living in Thailand. By focusing my energies on 1 niche I am able to pull back from the laptop, getting more accomplished in less time. Effective action. Can’t be measured in numbers, always, because the simple freedoms I am afforded by staying relevant are far greater than the money I make, or the readers I attract.

    It’s cool too, as the freedom I am experiencing helps me lighten up, attract more prospering ideas, which lead to greater clarity, and more blogging success. I pull back a ton more and generate even more effective ideas. Amazing how the line of thinking keeps feeding itself, helping me prosper in less time, and I help more people interested in specifically what I have to offer.

    Thanks for sharing Darren!

    Ryan

  8. mephet says:

    This was a wonderful post to read, and the answers were certainly a little on the unexpected side! :) I’m happily surprised to hear that blogging can have such benefits on one’s life.

  9. Joshgun says:

    Darren I read you blog post and I think about my baby that is on the way…I think our baby will inspire us to become much more creative in respect to time management and resource management…thanks a lot for your contribution! As a blogger from Azerbaijan I need it the most…

  10. Hi Darren, Congratulations on the new addition to your family. I can identify almost completely with most of what you wrote; Our son was born in 2011 and I had 2 children 2 and under in the house. This came at a time when I was just learning to build a passive income – most of my income comes from ghostwriting (I was writing when I went into labour and the day after I had my son). Like you said, I didn’t have the luxury of a maternity leave.

    A few months later and things are really different. Now I get to actually help people and even though I still do a lot of freelance writing and ghost-writing, I only pick projects I’m excited about. I’m slowly building my business and my blog is a central part of that.

    Being a part of this community at Problogger.net has been a constant source of ideas, inspiration, motivation and energy. Thank you.

  11. Been there, done that. I have had my own business several times over my career, and until I started my current one, I got real comfortable with doing okay. Too comfortable.

  12. Congrats Darren, I’m expecting my first next month, looking forward to it, but also concerned about dropping everything for a few weeks, I’ve been working hard for the past month to get things ready to limit what I’ll need to do during the first few weeks.

  13. Gabe Serra says:

    absolutely right. i sometimes get caught up with too many external things- thanks for reminding me of what’s really there.

  14. I agree that nothing we do is in a vacuum – everything we do and are connects. We blog from home, and also homeschool our daughter (now 9). It’s a lifestyle where it is all an interconnected whole. Travel? Yes. Writing? Yes. Research? Yes. And while it isn’t easy, it is very rewarding. You’re so right – having a team around you can help maintain focus on the business side. I’m very grateful for our team of editors, to expand the reach and breadth of our site.

    Great post.

  15. Congratulations on your new little addition Darren! Last month I too welcomed my 3rd baby boy into our family — So now it’s us 4 men, and mommy; luckily for her we have a mother-in-law apartment in our home where my mom lives, which gives her another woman to conspire with.

    For me, I have found it to be very difficult to find a happy medium between hanging out with my 2 older boys, spending time with my wife, and bonding with my new son. And with my blog/forum averaging about 50,000 visitors per month, I can’t afford to slack off, especially when it literally produces 3/4 of my total income.

    However, reading this post helps me quite a bit. So as always Darren, thank you for continuing to inspire me to be a better blogger.

    Take care -

    Brian Connole
    HCG Diet 411

  16. Congratulations with the new addition to the family! My son was born in 2011, too, and until then I used to have lots of projects and to work on them on my own. Now things have changed! As my time at the computer is now limited (I am the main caregiver, and it is either being with baby or at the computer… baby at the computer = keys pressed randomly or torn out of the keyboard), I am doing my best to maximise my productivity. And we started to cooperate with another stay-at-home mum (a friend from highschool), and this already has made a lot of difference. We are looking forward to years of collaboration, and we are going to learn what we can from the materials that you share so generously.

    Thank you,
    Daria

  17. You’re so right — it really is important to focus on more personal aspects of your own life when trying to determine your blog’s progress, or success, however you choose to define those things.
    I know I sometimes get caught up in “comparison-itis,” where I compare myself to others who are already wildly successful in the niche I blog in, which just creates unnecessary stress and anxiety.
    It’s much better to compare yourself to where you used to be, and within the context of everything else you have going on in your life presently. And when I do that, I feel way more at peace with my blogging “success.” : )
    To those of you who are parents and making all these strides, you have my total admiration and respect, I don’t know how you manage it all!

  18. Taline says:

    Great inspirational post Darren! And congratualtions on the new addition! I have a 14 month old and I have found it to be a challenge to juggle it all. You definitely show me that it is possible.

    I only wish I could go back in time and do more prior to the baby. I often ask myself what the heck did I do with my down time back then? Well, maybe I simply lacked the drive and now that I have my son, I have all the motivation I need just by looking at him and realizing I want to be home with him every day and not on my days off.

    It has allowed me to focus on my passive income streams, however challenging they may be.

  19. Darren Rowse says:

    thanks all for the congrats and wise comments – really appreciate it!!!