Very few things in life are sustained. Pretty much everything both inside and outside of ourselves, goes through periods of high stress and activity and moments of calm. For bloggers, this can mean seeing a dip in your page views and a marked slowdown in new followers. If you haven’t done anything obvious to cause the change (i.e. stopped posting or interacting), this can be very demotivating. How do you find the inspiration to keep on posting?
For those that attach a lot of importance to their stats, a drop can be devastating. But even if you are only casually aware of them, it’s still a little depressing to see people lose interest in what you have to offer.
One thing to keep in mind is that not everything is about you!
I don’t mean that to sound snippy. It’s just that most of us will have a tendency to immediately try to see how we can remedy the situation. What we can change to bring readers back or how we can replace those views with new ones. We’ll assume that we did something wrong. We may have written something that turned readers away from our blog or possibly the competition has gotten stiffer and better, and we no longer measure up.
However, there are numerous factors that can affect viewership that have absolutely nothing to do with you. Exams are more or less at the same time for people worldwide which means both students and teachers will have considerably less time to dedicate to browsing blogs during that period. Same can be said for holidays when people might choose to put away their laptops and phones for a week or two.
Tax season is also sapping away time and energy from a lot of people right now, and frivolous anime articles may not be what’s on the forefront of their minds.
Moreover, for quite a few of us, readership consists mainly of other bloggers (kudos to those of you who managed to break out), and as such when people feel the need to set aside their blogs, they often stop visiting other blogs as well. When this happens, we all tend to feel it.
And you can’t blame yourself or your content for these types of slowdowns, these are issues completely out of your control.
And even when it is about you, that’s ok too.
Of course, sometimes life must take precedence. There will be times where you may not be able to, or feel like blogging quite as much. Taking a step back from publishing posts will almost certainly result in a drop in traffic for your site but that’s ok. I’ve noticed that people who are a little more reserved with their publishing tend to get much more attention on individual posts. That’s a nice plus.
The fact that you aren’t dedicating every spare minute to your blog means that you’re doing something else. How’s that for brilliant insight!!? But diversifying your interests and experiences means that you’re going to have more to write about. A richer perspective to share with your readers. Sometimes it’s about quality over quantity.
At this point you may be thinking to yourself: Thanks for the info capt’n obvious but none of this has anything to do with actually dealing with a lull. To which I say: it’s lieutenant but I’m hoping for a promotion!
But once you take a deep breath and realize no one is breaking up with you, a lull can be a good thing. You can use this calmer time to try some new things out. You can form some deeper connections with your readers when you’re not bombarded with too many comments. You can even take some time to explore other blogs and maybe work on some more long-winded projects.
I have mentioned many times that focusing on views/likes shouldn’t be your primary objective. Of course I’m not talking about professional bloggers whose livelihood depends on those views/likes.
The reason I keep repeating this is simple. Somehow, I have managed to trick a few people into believing I know what I’m doing here. As such, I do get asked for advice or blogging help now and then. I have seen a pattern emerge time and time again. A fellow blogger will ask how to make their blog “grow”. I will give him a few pieces of advice that have worked for me but warn them that ultimately it just takes time. They will often get impatient, consider completely upending their blogs, changing their formats, advertising everywhere or start investing a huge amount of time liking as many posts as possible and interacting ver actively with the community.
Sometimes this will work quickly enough for them and they’ll get an influx of new readers and be happy. Other times it won’t generate results and they’ll get discouraged and abandon their blogs all together. It should be noted that even when it does work out, it’s very difficult to keep up. Constantly upping the ante, reinventing yourself or visiting more and more blogs every day is really difficult to do and few of us have that type of time.
When I read those messages, I’m always a bit sad. The bloggers don’t seem to be having fun. They tend to be really hard on themselves. The worst part is that a lot of them started out because they just enjoyed writing and sharing their thoughts but somewhere down the line that got lost in the race to get more followers, more views, more points?
And I get it…
When I see my views dip, or my followers go down, I get an odd, slightly anxious feeling. I take it as a rejection. Despite some of my fellow bloggers’ gross exaggerations, I’m just not a cool kid who doesn’t need your approval. I do. I love it. But in those times, I try to remind myself not only why I started blogging but to go back to when I started.
Yes, I wanted to write. Yes, I wanted to discover other people who had similar interests and share a bit with them on some level. Those things are still true and important to me. I try to remind myself of them. It works more or less if I’m to be perfectly honest.
What does work for me is this: I remind myself that when I started blogging I had ZERO readers. Even just one is up from that! I started a blog with the very real expectation that maybe no one would want to read my thoughts. I was just trying it out, it was part diary really. Somewhere I could keep my own musing for myself and if somebody else got anything out of them, then that’s a bonus.
I try to remember the first time I got a comment. I didn’t even know how to read my stats yet or what the numbers meant in the grand scheme of things, but that comment was tangible. It was someone real, reaching out and starting a conversation. I remember my heart beating in my chest and my palms sweating just a little. I had never been that nervous about starting a conversation in real life. Why was this so special? It was an amazing feeling. And in the end, it’s really all I need.
That one comment to sustain me. To show me that on some level I’ve reached someone. As long as I have that, I’m ok if my latest post wasn’t groundbreaking. I’ll be fine if an essay I’ve poured my heart and mind into gets largely ignored in favor of a review that’s a copy/pasted My Anime List synopsis (I’m not throwing shade – I don’t know anyone that does this, I was just trying to find an example).
I take these slower times as a great excuse to sit back and watch the community around me or have long winded comment chats with anyone willing to put up with me. I go back to writing meandering essays, that might end up being just for me and remind myself of the particular joy I find in that. There’s a certain freedom there.
It’s not a bad thing at all. And I hope those of you who might feel a little discouraged during slow times don’t give up just because of that. As long as *you* find something fun in the blogging experience, some readers will enjoy reading it.