Wednesday Rambles: Where are the Readers?

I’m coming up on my two year blogoversary next month! I can hardly believe it’s been two years since I started this whole monster. A lot has happened, especially in the past year; I moved from Blogger to WordPress (BEST. DECISION. EVER). I started posting ALMOST every day, joined a bunch of weekly features, updated my blog design, given away a bunch of books, started my own feature, reviewed a host of books, movies, tv shows, anime…and while it’s been lovely and fun, I do find myself wondering, does anyone out there care?

This isn’t a “nobody reads my blog, woe is me” post. I’m just genuinely curious. I follow a group of successful blogs that don’t seem to do much more than I’m doing. But people flock to their posts like moths to a flame. I totally understand that the more followers you have, the more exposure you get, so therefore, you gain more followers. And sure, maybe I just haven’t found the right followers yet, the ones who genuinely want to actually read my blog and aren’t just in it for a follow of their own.

(I recognize that there is a group of you that frequents my page and comments with little to no prompting and I am not talking about you lovely readers; you’re probably the ones that will read this post and reply.)

Successful bloggers out there (those of you with thousands of pageviews a month, tons of readers, and comments on everything). If you see this (which you probably won’t), can you answer a question?

How did you get to where you are today?

Is it simply time? Have you been blogging for so long that it just happened naturally? Or did you feed a magic growing potion to your blog when it was a wee babe that attracted readers and cast a spell over them, forcing them to return day after day?

It probably wasn’t that last one, but you never can be sure.

There are days where it feels like the only way I can get people to read something I post is to go paste my URL all over their blog, which just feels lame, because I don’t want people to think that the only reason I’m there is to advertise. But it appears that if I’m not so self-promoting, no one wants to come visit my corner of the sandbox. And I do a lot. Or I try to. Posting on every social media site I can find. Commenting on blogs following me. Joining weekly features. And just when I feel like I’m making some headway, it all sort of disappears.

And I get it, there’s a ton going on in everyone’s lives, and blogging lives, and we forget about stuff. But I spend HOURS (and I do mean HOURS) daily blogging, and it sometimes feels very much not worth it. I think it’s especially complicated because many readers are just more bloggers, hoping someone will stop by and read their blog. Where are the readers? People who aren’t bloggers, but want to read blogs? Do these people even exist, or have we all become bloggers instead, trading a follow for a follow, rather than sharing interest at no cost?

I guess my biggest question is what is it that draws people to your blogs? What gets the most notice? I’ve heard from many reviewers that their reviews get the fewest page views, which I understand. Why would you go searching through a bunch of blogs to read a review when you can just go somewhere like Good Reads or Amazon and find a bunch of reviews all in one tidy place?

This has been Wednesday Rambles with Jessica. Go about your business. And hopefully that business is commenting on this post with words of wisdom. And your URL. It’s not lame to post it, no matter what I said earlier.

15 comments

  1. Shannon @ The Tale Temptress says:

    Jessica, I definitely feel your pain. I’ve had a lot of the same thoughts myself. I started blogging back in 2011, and I have 257 GFC followers. I’ve seen other blogs that have been up for far less who have twice the followers I do, or even more than that. Yet when I look at their content, I don’t see anything much different than what I do. Except some of these others do giveaways and I don’t.

    I had gotten discouraged myself back in late 2013 and along with some personal reasons, I decided to take a break from blogging. When I came in January this year, I redesigned and renamed, and I made up my mind I was going to do more than I used to do. I was going to b more social, read other blogs more, comment more, and just socialize, get to know other people. This has helped me a bit. Of the 257 I have, 52 of those all came since March. So I’m growing a little. But I still feel like you and wonder where the readers are.

    I am spending quite few hours a day blogging as you are. I don’t think the blogs that have the big followers spend as much time doing this, but I wonder if maybe they did at one time. I’ll be interested in seeing the comments you get on this.

    Shannon @ The Tale Temptress
    Shannon @ The Tale Temptress recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday: Even When You Lie to Me by Jessica AlcottMy Profile

    • Jessica says:

      I would say I’ve gotten more followers, and certainly more consistent comments in the past three months or so, but page views are just dismal lol. And I understand, because I struggle to get to people’s blogs if they don’t leave a link on my page. I started picking at least five blogs from my feed to go and comment on something they’d written that week, because I know how people can get lost in the sea of bloggers. But I’m always curious if it’s maybe something I’m doing or not doing that keeps the growth down?
      Jessica recently posted…Book Review: Grift by Jason MosbergMy Profile

  2. Marsha says:

    I wish I had the answer for you because then I would have it for myself as well. I think that readers are out there and I believe there are many lurkers who may read but never let us know they’ve been visiting. Just my own thoughts based on traffic numbers. It’s hard to believe when the stats say 27 people viewed the site one day and only see one comment. Hopefully they found what they needed and will return one day.

    I have had blogs for over 5 years, so I’m not new to the concept. My review blog is really new in the sense of paying attention to it daily now instead of once in a while. I love what I do and what I read, and maybe that is the answer – for me.

    About a month ago, with your exact thoughts in my own mind I made the decision to do this for my love of books. I no longer beat myself up over my numbers, I don’t toss books across the room because they are the ones I can afford not the ones I want. I simply do what I do for my own enjoyment. If the people show up, if the blog becomes popular, if I finally get those long sought after best selling ARCs that would be amazing. But now I do my blogging for my own enjoyment and that alone has made a tremendous shift in my mood and mindset.

    I know that’s not the answer you were looking for – and I wish with all my heart I had those words of wisdom for both of us. But it is how I blog now and should the rest come, I’ll still blog for myself first.

    I wish you nothing but the best. I visit and read and enjoy my time here – I hope that fact helps some.

    Marsha @ Keeper Bookshelf
    Marsha recently posted…Do You Twitter Your Reviews?My Profile

    • Jessica says:

      Thanks! Yeah, I’m definitely in it for enjoyment as well, I’m just really curious how the big blogs got so big, and what sorts of things the rest of us peasants can do to try to get there 🙂 I’m glad you’ve made that positive change! Sometimes I do find myself reading a book that I’m just hating and thinking, well, I have to read this because of the blog, and then I smack myself and say “DNF THAT SUCKER” since no one is paying me for this and it’s all my own time. When I came to that conclusion a few months ago, I started feeling much better about everything. I can’t even tell you how many books recently (especially self-pub review requests) I’ve just said, I’m sorry, this is terrible and no, I will not force myself through the agony of continuing this. Before I would trudge through miserably because I felt I had some duty to finish them.
      Jessica recently posted…Book Review: Grift by Jason MosbergMy Profile

      • Shannon @ The Tale Temptress says:

        Marsha, very good points. We do need to remember why we started our blogs… and it wasn’t for followers. It was because we love to read and we love to talk about what we read. Good positive attitude to have.

        Jessica, I used to NEVER DNF a book. I was just like you and felt obligated to go through with it even though I did’n’t like it and was struggling through it. This year, I’ve gotten a lot more assertive on this and will DNF if I need to. It’s taken a lot of pressure off me.
        Shannon @ The Tale Temptress recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday: Even When You Lie to Me by Jessica AlcottMy Profile

  3. Julianne - Outlandish Lit says:

    I feel aaallllll of these feelings. And it totally seems like my only readers are bloggers. Or, at least, those are going to be the only ones commenting, so you can’t actually tell who else is reading. It’s very frustrating! I feel like my follower numbers are not representative of the quality and quantity of work I do, but if I think about it I’m just going to get discouraged.
    I know I’m not like a huge success story, but I have been trying some things to get non-blogger readers that might interest you! I’ve started sharing links from my blog very occasionally on my personal facebook (I only just came out as a book blogger this month). I also ordered business cards with my url and I leave them places in public. I also tuck one into library books I really liked as a way of saying “if you liked this book, you might like my blog! and if you don’t want to check out my blog, here’s a free little bookmark!” There’s no way to track the success of this unless those people reach out, but it’s worth a shot!
    Julianne – Outlandish Lit recently posted…Grapes of Trash: Dating & The ApocalypseMy Profile

  4. Sharon says:

    Oh yes I completely understand where you’re coming from. I’ve also been blogging for 2 years now and I also don’t understand why some of these blogs are huge either and not only that, their content isn’t that good a lot of the time and they also don’t get a lot of comment and or they don’t respond to them.
    You can do everything right so it seems but at the end of the day I just think it comes down to luck. Blog for love and I think we’ll enjoy it more than putting pressure on ourselves.
    I also like the business card idea that Julianne has mentioned. I might give that a try too.
    Great post Jessica.
    Sharon recently posted…Cloak of Shadows by CK Dawn – ReviewMy Profile

  5. Mark says:

    How did the big blogs get so big? Luck. Right place right time. Word of mouth. Any or all of the above.

    There are so many book bloggers out there it is hard to be noticed these days. Not saying it isn’t possible, just that it’s hard.

    I’m afraid I don’t have a magic formula for you either. I just keep plucking away doing the best I can and try to keep my expectations low for the comments and hits.

    I will point out that some of the blogs with huge followers make being a follower a requirement for entering giveaways or extra entries for giveaways. I know I’ve started following some blogs for that reason and that reason only. And then I don’t go back. So that’s not necessarily the best indication of how big a blog’s followers really are.
    Mark recently posted…Book Review: The Fantastic Family Whipple by Matthew WardMy Profile

  6. Jen says:

    My friend and I have just been discussing this issue. I tend to read only book blogs (and some makeup blogs) – but I do need to start commenting more. Maybe if we support each other, we can help each other’s blogs grow. I try to promote my friend’s blogs on my FB page and Twitter. And I get way more followers on FB/Twitter/Goodreads than I get on Bloglovin’, Networked Blogs, etc.

    As for the huge blogs with thousands and thousands of followers – sadly, I think some of them have sold out. I don’t trust their reviews anymore because all I ever see from them is 5 star reviews. And if you are willing to give everything 5 stars, you get more books from publishers, authors, etc. I have kept my reviews honest to date, and some authors flat out do not like to see anything below a 4 star review so they will not favorite/retweet/share any posts that have a 3 star review (even though I consider a 3 star a good read). But whatever. I’m not in this for the money so I’m not going to give those false ratings.
    Jen recently posted…New Release and Review! Devil On Your Back by Max HenryMy Profile

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