Blog Exchange | Blog like there is nobody reading

blog exchange

Blog Exchange – thinking outside the niche

 

Without even realising it I’m guessing you filter your content. Even without a niche, I have a long line of topics and areas I’m not willing to cross on the blog. Mostly it involves my three teen girls but there is also the conservative factor.

 

My lack of a thigh gap was attacked rather viciously by trolls recently which once again has me second guessing and over thinking most of my blog posts lately. It can be debilitating and sometimes I think you need to throw caution to the wind, stop the over thinking and just get back to basics. Which means sharing a little part of yourself. Showing some vulnerability.

 

When I first commenced blogging, I had a vision of how I thought things would work and look. It’s a process that I’m constantly reviewing and changing while I find my blogging feet, my voice and the time to actually fit everything in.

 

I’ve always strived to be a little different to the rest both on and off the blog. I’m not sure if that is actually working for me or against me. It’s how I roll, it’s my style and I tend to make it work.

 

You could say, I’ve approached blogging in all the wrong ways. No niche, a name (Mystery Case) that should effectively be a search engine nightmare and a host of other questionable antics. Although along the lines of crazy ideas rather than anything unethical. For the most part, I shy away from blogging workshops and following a set format.

 

I’m not convinced you could call my blogging endeavours a real success but considering there was just a $10 outlay (msmsysterycase.com domain name) in that first year, any success was down to a lot of hard work.

 

Hard work that saw the blog hitting the first page on google within the first month, having brands provide products for giveaways from the get go, hitting 25k page views in that first month, 300k page views just last month and all the opportunities sponsored and otherwise that have come my way since. Without a media kit in sight. True story.

 

The road to success concept on blackboard

 

I share all of that, not for you to compare but to hopefully open your mind that there just might be a different way forward. Success looks different to different people and you really should only be comparing your efforts to your own endeavours. Easier said than done. Especially when you see bloggers rewarded time and again for their efforts which aren’t that much different to your own efforts.

 

But I’m not saying my way is the correct way, far from it. I don’t have a blogging magic wand, there are no workshops or blogging short cuts/products up for sale here. I honestly don’t think in this over saturated blogging world there is a right way to approach things. What worked for bloggers starting out five or more years ago when it was a completely different ball game, isn’t necessarily going to work for you now.

 

I suspect if you start following someone else’s success formula like everyone else seems to be doing, your audience may just switch off altogether. You need that point of difference.

 

Does that really need to include a niche as well? It might make finding your audience and promoting your blog a whole lot easier but I would like to think by thinking outside your niche, if only slightly you are adding more value for your readers.

 

For me, success is not just about the traffic and rankings or joining the biggest blog agency. It’s about building a community, providing great content and having a whole lot of fun. Something I feel (speaking about the great content here), I haven’t had the time to master or perfect and so many others do it so well.

 

I do look back at a lot of blog posts when I first started and cringe. Like most, I do have moments of comparison and find myself thinking why bother. Thankfully they are short-lived and I’ve learnt to tone down my perfectionist ways and hit publish possibly more often than I should. A lesson in itself.

 

My first blog (msmysterycase.com), was basically thrown together with no real thought in a week, after a client practically dared me. They wanted me to do the same for them and having no real experience in building a blog from the ground up, I straight up declined. Stating lack of experience as my reason.

 

mysterycasebranding1

 

The carrot they dangled next and the endless possibilities for adding to my Virtual Assistant work, had me throwing together a quick but rather loose business plan for my own blog together with a photo shoot for branding to enable me to test the blogging waters.

 

mysterycasebranding2

 

It was then a case of revisiting my coding skills from the 90s (possibly overkill with everything so automated and super easy these days) and throwing myself in the deep end over on Blogger.  Although it was more like diving in the deep end fully clothed with my 21kg favourite Jessica Bratich handbag firmly attached to me. Sink or swim.

 

The blog was up and running in two days and I spent the rest of the week looking at the legalities behind blogging and calling for guest bloggers to join me for high tea. I would use my blog as a test platform, so I didn’t set a foot wrong somewhere else.

 

Hitting publish on my first official blog post (here) was a nerve-racking experience and for the life of me, I have no idea why because seriously who in their right mind would want to read anything I’ve written sprang to mind back then. It still does.

 

The fact that over 1000 people actually read that first post and my family knew nothing of the blog or blogging was mind-boggling and I suspect everything to do with the high tea callouts and the interest I’d created via Facebook, not to mention being the new rather mysterious girl on the blogging block here in Perth.

 

 

mysterycasebranding blog now Agent Mystery Case Perth

 

 

I would need to go back through the archives to see just how many actually left a comment on that first post because not all comments made it across when I merged blogs and moved to self hosted WP but it would have only been a handful. Interestingly, I was offered work with both brands mentioned in that first blog post and had some rather impressive local bloggers across all niches join me for one on one high teas over the coming weeks.

 

You could say, I had no real idea of just how much you needed to sell yourself or how important it was to have a handle on the social media spruiking side of things when I first started. An easy enough process you would think for someone who has a PR background from way back in the dark none social media ages but honestly it was more than a mean feat. You are effectively trying to sell yourself and I’m like everyone else here I suspect, in that it’s not my strong point.

 

If I’m honest, I found the whole 80% promotion to 20% content that is recommended so you actually find your audience exhausting when I was promoting myself. It doesn’t leave much time or creative space for actually blogging to my own agenda. Put me in charge of someone else’s social media agenda and I come alive. Go figure.

 

It would be nice to think along the lines ‘build it and they will come’ works for blogging but the truth is, it really doesn’t and putting your heart and sole into a post that no one actually reads can be disheartening.

 

Unless you hold the celebrity draw card, I’m guessing when you are first starting out, your family and friends are your main blog audience. I’m also assuming this means you censor some of what is written. If you are writing for your business blog that’s a whole other ball game.

 

I know for me, my in-laws provide a wealth of blogging material. When they are visiting, I often feel like I’m the poor suffering completely misunderstood wife in an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond. I’m sure I could write my own sitcom including a blog post or three on the in-law shenanigans but regardless of whether or not they actually read my blog (as far as I know they don’t), for my husband’s sake mainly and to keep the peace, I’m just not willing to go there. Why I’ve already said too much!

 

If I had my time over, would I do things differently? Possibly.

 

I still wouldn’t pigeonhole myself with a niche but I would probably delay hitting publish until I had six months worth of content, sitting in my draft folder ready and waiting to go. The problem with sitting on content though, having just deleted 171 draft blog posts, is that your blogging voice and approach changes over time and unless you are blogging to a set agenda for a business or you have a dedicated niche, you risk not publishing at all.

 

I’m still undecided if this is a good or a bad thing. We are talking posts that six months ago I would have been proud to publish, now destined for the bin file 13 because they no longer fit my style or the blog. Posts that might do well and provide inspiration for guest blog posts. Something else to consider.

 

Communicate and Collaborate

 

A big part of my blogging journey has me sharing the social media love I’ve been lucky enough to receive here on AMC, with other bloggers through collaborations.

 

I’m hoping to open that up even further with Blog Exchange through our monthly challenges and other mystery projects. This will include a blog sitting service to help with engagement and keeping your blog alive if you are having time off and relying on scheduling. Nothing spammy or scammy, just bloggers helping bloggers in their time of need.

 

June Challenge | Blog like there’s nobody reading

 

This month’s challenge for Blog Exchange is to blog like there’s nobody reading. Straight from the heart, remove the niches, blog restraints and just write something that holds meaning. This doesn’t mean substandard work because nobody is reading your work. It’s more a case of removing the unspoken blogging lines you’ve created.

 

If you are stuck for a topic, why not start with the story of how you discovered blogging and your journey so far.

 

So this exercise has the maximum benefit, it’s best to approach your writing knowing it isn’t necessarily going to hit your blog. Why it might not be published at all but hopefully it will help you on your journey to finding your authentic blogging voice. It might also provide a glimpse on how you can redefine or open your niche up. Your point of difference.

 

Once your piece is completed, feel free to share a snippet here or on our private Facebook group, where we will look at taking things further but for now I encourage you to blog like nobody is reading.

 

 

 

In the meantime regardless of if you are here to learn or here to mentor please take a moment to introduce yourself and your blog in the comments below and include a link to your blog home page here:

 

 

How long have you been blogging and what aspects of blogging do you struggle with the most? Please take a moment to introduce yourself and your blog.

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Managing Editor of Agent Mystery Case. Follow Raychael aka Mystery Case on her mystery adventures 'casing' people, products and places to bring you her worth casing favourites.
  • Hi I m a french blogger. I try to write in english and struggle a lot at it. Apparently the lovely readers understand what i write about. So that s a good point. I decided to write in english because 1 I love this language 2 that makes me travel from my laptop 3 i wanted my blog to be a place for french food lovers from other countries.
    Now I realize I want to speak about a lot more than food and quickly I saw my interests changing; from recipes to photography to travel…
    I know it s hard for me to find my voice because if I might say a lot in french I lack words and style in english. I love the june challenge and will be part of it with pleasure.
    Xx cathy
    http://peregrinationgourmande.com

    • What an interesting situation to be in Cathy. I see so much potential and opportunity for your blog. Thanks for taking part in this months challenge. I’m really looking forward to casing your blog.

  • Hi Raych
    Love this post! Thanks so much for sharing your bloggy background. I would give my right testicle to get 300,000 hits a month (if I had a right testicle).
    I look forward to meeting everyone!
    This is going to be fun … and supportive … and encouraging … and motivational … like a cheer squad for bloggers.
    Love it!

    • LOL to giving your right testicle. I keep wondering each and every month if I’ve released an x rated tape when I see the page views. The lovely male advocate group that took to my lack of a thigh gap pushed me over the 300k mark last month. It’s usually not that impressive, although not too far off.

  • 300,000! Wowzers! That’s what I call a dream number! Brands and product giveaways from the get go… I kind of think I needed to join the group three years ago! Looking forward to the June challenge and being part of such an awesome virtual cheer squad!

    • I don’t think I would have been confident starting a group back then but kind of wish I had.

  • I’ve been blogging for less than one year and I definitely struggle with the self promotion on social media side. I’m totally non tech and my real life friends are non bloggers, so I’m having to work out everything for myself. Example easily seen by my mistake in somehow losing the photo of myself in my link above! I’ve only just started a Pinterest account and tbh I still don’t fully get Pinterest and I haven’t ventured anywhere near Twitter yet! Anyway I don’t compare myself with others but learn what I can and progress at my own pace!

    I love your blog Raychael. Thank you so much for setting up this initiative!

    • I will fix the photo this end tonight. We might look at Pinterest and all the social media platforms in future challenges. If you have any pressing questions please head to the FB page and just ask. I’m sure someone will be able to share their knowledge or point you in the right direction.

  • Chel Pablo

    Blog like there’s nobody reading – challenge accepted! Actually I used to do that until recently – noone in my family and real life friends knew about my blog for a few months. Until some of my real life friends discovered it. And yeah I guess that’s when I started “filtering”.

    I have had a couple of blogs in the past, my very first one was in blogger too back in 2001, when blogging was unheard of. Unfortunately blogger decided to delete its contents – it would have been a hoot to read that now!

    I adore your blog. I am not surprised you get that many hits! I know when you write something, you put an effort into it. In a sea of over commercialised blogs, yours is a gem.

    • Nothing wrong with filtering, just for this exercise… let’s take the filters off and see what you come up with.

  • Jenni from styling curvy

    I’ve been blogging 7 months and started working with brands via facebook before I had a blog. I had only ever read a handful of posts before I started blogging so had absolutely zero clue about how blogging works. The blog gets nowhere near your views but facebook does pretty well, I have wonderful communities on all my platforms. I never ever censor myself amd just write from the heart…sometimes it alienates other bloggers but I don’t write to please anyone…I just write. I know there’s been sniggering behind my back from some people but that says more about them than me. Thankfully all of my brands aren’t worried about my content either, never have I been told what to do by a brand, I love blogging and am attending two workshops very soon but mainly because I’m so tech challenged snd I’m hoping to pick up some nuggets of wisdom in that department. Some days I wish I knew it all them I remember it’s not a race, not a competition…it’s my journey and if I rush through it then I won’t enjoy it.

    • I love your style of blogging and have wondered if like me your health issues have taken away a big part of the fear factor and we are both at a stage where it’s full steam ahead and we are just getting on with doing our own thing, in our own way, at our own pace? I hear the sniggers and see the collective eye rolls as well. I suppose it comes from not looking the part or following a set format.

      If you have any tech questions please feel free to get in touch.

  • I really enjoyed reading your blogging story! Great challenge. Everyone really does have a different blogging journey, don’t they? Amazing. x

    • Thanks Emily. Everyone really does have a different blogging journey. I can’t wait to see where this particular part of the journey takes me.

  • I love your blogging story Raych and your honesty. I think you’ve done an amazing job and you prove that ingenuity, hard work, resourcefulness, research and going against the common grain are the X factors needed to create a successful blog.

    • Thanks Jo. We really must catch up when you are back from your next trip and talk about featuring you as part of our worth casing bloggers.

  • merliyn

    you are definitely up there in the favourites with me raych!
    I love your work and your gems of life wisdom and wit!
    you think outside of the square and I love it!
    I think your authenticity has proven to be a winner!
    all good! love m:)X

    • I really appreciate your words and your support.

  • I love the idea of a blogging support network – it’s easy to get discouraged – so love this idea of a blog exchange!! I love the idea of my next post – Blog Like Nobody’s Reading – shouldn’t be too much of a stretch – haha!!

    • I’ve been feeling rather discouraged myself lately and just know I’m not the only one. Can’t wait to see your post. You were missed this morning. Hope all is well with your father in-law?

      • To be honest, he looks terrible, but it seems he’s going to be ok. Thanks for asking & im looking forward to the next catch up xx

  • Jess

    Fantastic idea Raych, and really excited to be a part of it on FB and seeing where it leads. Often feel very isolated doing this blogging business so nice to be able to connect with others more. I’ll admit, it’s hard not to be totally jealous of those stats, but trying very hard not to be! I am not in to finding a niche, but I am working on a few things to move my blog in a certain direction, towards my interests and needs right now (vague, I know). I’m looking forward to the challenge of blogging like nobody’s reading (except my mum….she’s always damn reading…)!

    • So excited to have you on board Jess. We really must catch up in person soon so you can tell me more about your blogging direction.

      • Jess

        I only just saw the post on FB about the meet up today. So annoyed as I could have made it!

  • Great idea! Loveing the support and kind words here. I cannot believe the keyboard warriors out there and why they would bother to do this. I initially started blogging as a creative outlet and am now so wrapped up in it it’s all I think about and want to do! I write blog posts in my head whilst I sleep, create instagram captions…I have a feeling you all know what I am talking about 🙂 So happy to be a part of this supportive network xx

    • Yes can relate completely. So happy to have you on board.

  • This is the perfect challenge for me right now. I had a huge cry last night about all the things that are going on that I feel like I cant control and cant talk about and how I wanted to write them all day. Funnily enough the posts I write from the heart that I second guess are the ones that usually get the most interaction on my blog yet I still shy away from it more than I do it.

    • It was never my intention to get so personal on the blog but like you they are some of the more engaged posts. It’s hard to know where to draw the line. Having a supportive group to bounce ideas off before you hit publish might be a great way forward.

  • I’ve been blogging since 2009 and often feel like I’m a beginner, particularly when it comes to stats and I compare myself to others. I get so few readers, I just don’t know what I’m doing wrong. I know my lack of niche (or types of things I DO blog about) probably are of less interest etc…

    • I still feel like a relative newbie myself. I wouldn’t focus too much on the stats, you are producing great content and building up a community. How much time are you spending promoting that content and where are you actually promoting it? Your audience is out there, you just need to help them find you.

  • I so wish it was “build it and they will come”, I found it exhausting in the beginning, running around all of over the net trying to get traffic. Now I am back to writing for fun and for myself. The June challenge is perfect for me.

    • Me too. I sometimes think we would be best outsourcing the social media side of things for ourselves.

  • I’ve been writing online (own websites, fan fiction etc) since 2002. I only discovered the connections in blogging & the Australian blogging community about 3-4 years ago. That’s also the first time I ever had my own domains etc.

    • I think I only discovered blogging 3-4 years ago myself. It was on my wish list to start one, I just needed the right kick up the backside to actually get started.

  • I’ve been blogging for a couple of years but only started taking it seriously in the last year. I really try not to compare but then I read something like this and I cannot help but be disheartened. So much effort goes into blogging, as you all know, and to have no one (or barely anyone) reading it can be crushing sometimes. Most of the time I can let it go and just blog but every so often, like now, when I am trying to get ahead, I just can’t figure out why I can’t be seen or heard. I tend to get a lot of other bloggers reading my stuff, which is great, but I want the general public on there too.

    • Don’t be disheartened and don’t compare. I do think we need to find that audience that isn’t a blogger one because blogging can be time consuming and blog hopping and engaging with other blogs can be the first thing to go when you are time poor.

      I don’t have any magic answers for finding your ideal audience but I’m full of ideas (some of them crazy) and I’m here and more than happy to help.

      Can I ask what your plan of attack for blog promotion looks like? Pop over to the Facebook private group tomorrow or drop me an email and we can bounce some ideas around.

      • Thanks so much – will flick you an email now xx

  • Im a newby to the blogging world and have only been blogging since January this year but writing nearly my whole life. The technology side of blogging and getting it to all work has been a constant headache for me plus the fact I feel like Im not sure if anyone’s reading sometimes. Life is busy but I am so much happier that I have included blogging in my life. Finding an audience that aren’t vitamin sales reps would be great. It’s so disheartening to see you have 30 comments then finding out it is vitamin sales reps, spam or someone who wants you to use their search engine for a price.

    • I hear you about the spam comments. I have a strong filter but the occasional ones do slip through. Best to delete the spam ones and keep focusing on your writing and promoting to find your audience. If you have an tech questions, please drop by the FB group and fire away. I’m sure one of us will have had the same issues and be able to point you in the right direction.

  • Dianne Childs

    Hey, I’m Di from Max The Unicorn! I love how you refuse to fit into one particular niche. When I first started blogging I encountered problems with getting listed on some beauty company sites, because although predominantly a beauty blogger, I also blog about other stuff that takes my fancy from time to time, like movie reviews, restaurants, food and my son’s Birthday parties. I was so disheartened and offended when I was refused a listing because my blog wasn’t ALL beauty content! I really felt like I didn’t fit in. It would be nice to be recognised for the majority of beauty posts I publish without being judged for the non-beauty posts. I still feel like I don’t fit in sometimes! So posts/blogs like yours make me realise it’s not just me; there are other bloggers out there who feel excluded and judged because their content is not solely one thing. Thank you 🙂

    Di from Max The Unicorn

    • I completely hear you and this is a big reason why I wanted to start this initiative and touch base and support bloggers who might go through the same thing. Even with all the gorgeous offers that come my way, I’m overlooked on far too many occasions because of my lack of a niche and I believe not looking the part. It just makes me more determined and inventive to find ways to monetise the blog and go forward that are outside the square.

      I do think a lot of brands are missing the mark and opportunities as well and I’m doing my best to change the way they approach and see bloggers. Small steps.

  • This is a great post Rach, thank-you. Thank you for your honesty and you must be really proud of your success, which is huge. I get disheartened and I do have plans for my blog (as a launch-pad for kids and adult meditation videos and other ideas). I’m in a blog rut right now, have been for a while to be honest, but I think your challenge is still right – blog as though no-one is reading (but promote and think like you want to attract new readers and build community).

    • Building a community is definitely how you should be approaching things. I suppose what I’m really trying to get you to do with this exercise is step away from your blog altogether and just write. The promotion side of things which we all seem to struggle with comes later.

  • My blog is http://www.toiletsarentforturtles.com and it’s a bit all over the place really! When I try to get all organised and serious and write well thought out pieces I think readers will find useful I get rubbish engagement. When I bash out a ridiculous bit of randomness from my sleep-starved brain my stats go wild. So frustrating as I just feel it’s all guesswork and lots of luck!

    • What an interesting name for a blog. It’s interesting looking at what posts your audience engages with the most. Do you get the same amount of traffic for each style of post?

      • Stats are all over the place too! I’m only 6 months in, still trying to find my voice and purpose. I started off just writing funny stories about my kids, but it’s now becoming more parenting, family and lifestyle in general.

        • I think it’s fairly common to reevaluate your blog around the 6 or 12 month mark. Especially if you’ve been blogging on a semi regular basis. I know I did. It was around this time that I did a slight rebrand and made the blog look a tad more professional. No easy feat on blogger but my coding experience helped.

          Do you explain how and why you came to name the blog on your blog? I had a quick look and couldn’t see. Do you think your blog name projects what you blogging direction is about?

          • The blog name was from something I said to my daughter – I link the story in The Story So Far and About Me pages, but obviously not clearly enough if you couldn’t find it!! I quite like the name and think it’s unique and a bit quirky, but need to sort out my direction!

          • I only had time for a quick look. It would be good if you could make connection briefly under your profile pic to tie in with what’s already there.

          • Thank you! Will play around with it 🙂

  • Great post Raychael.
    I’ve just popped over to join your FB group. Lots to think about xx

    • I’ve probably got enough ideas to start a new blog just with the comments and emails that have been flooding in. I love how supportive the blogging community is.

  • So lovely to read your story. You are so right in that success looks different for everyone.
    I started blogging last September and initially planned to only set it to private. It was only going to be for me to document family life etc, but part of the homework in the blogging course I did was to do a fbook page etc so I thought what the hell! Public it is. I never intended to monetise but just seeing where his journey takes me and having a hell of a lot of fun in the meantme connecting with my ‘tribe’. The blogging community is so amazing! Xx

    • The blogging community is really amazing. So pleased you are enjoying blogging. I’m not a huge fan of the word tribe but understand where you are coming from. I’m just loving the connection side of things.

  • So glad to have come across this post of yours. I write over at http://www.thelaneyfiles.com. I enjoy blogging but often find my self-doubt and comparison crippling so that it prevents me writing anything at all. Your words resonate with me.

    • So glad you came across the post Laney. If you haven’t already pop over and join our private FB group. If you are ever feeling self doubt to the point it is crippling you please speak up, either via the group or send me a private message. I’m always here and happy to help. Sadly the thigh gap issues are not the worst side of blogging I’ve experienced. For the most part it’s all been good but the occasional bad experience can really put you off.

  • Great story of your blogging journey. I loved it. I’ve been blogging since Jan 2013. I started because I wanted to get all my family stories written and it evolved from there. At first I treated it like a memoir not a blog. I’ve been disappointed plenty of times but the rewards I’ve gained and the beautiful friendships I’ve developed far outweigh any disappointment. I’d better join your FB group huh!

  • I really enjoyed reading about your blogging journey so far. Thank you for being so honest and generous with your sharing. I started blogging in May of 2014. Initially I hoped that by sharing our stories of life long adversity others struggling to find their own way forward with life may find validation and acknowledgement of their feelings they masked from the world. I’ve secretly always wanted to be a writer and after surviving breast cancer I thought I no longer wished to hush my voice. Just do it and see what happens. I still hesitate come time to press that publish button. Now I’m not sure what I’m doing most days. I recently attended a workshop and struggled to work on an elevator pitch. You know, those one or two sentences that explains what you are doing and why? I guess my main message is that “It’s okay to talk about not being okay” but it’s that and more. Originally I called my blog “Learning to dance in the rain again” after my favourite quote that features on my home page. Because that’s how I felt and still do at times… that after hitting rock bottom I’d forgotten how to dance in the rain of life’s storms and felt like hiding and waiting for them to pass was okay for a bit… so tired. Any way, thank you so much for starting this conversation and for the generosity of your time. May I clarify after we have published the challenge post to we just acknowledge we are playing along with the challenge here? Sorry for the long comment.

    • I struggle with my elevator pitch as well, comes with having my hand in a number of things. I love that quote and I’m looking forward to casing your blog.

      It’s up to you if you publish your post and no need to mention it’s part of Blog Exchange (unless you want to), this is all about you and your blogging journey. Not everyone will write a piece that will fit their current blog demographic. So perhaps once finished pop over and share you thoughts and a snippet of your post on our private FB group. We will then look at what comes next.

      • Thanks so much. This is a wonderfully supportive idea you have come up with. I hope you get just as much out of the collaborations as I believe we will as participants. 🙂 Xx

        • Thanks Sandra. The comments and emails alone have already inspired me into action for future collaborations. It’s easy when you have a dedicated niche to find your community and the support factor, I’m hoping Blog Exchange will provide that and more for people like me that fall through the blogging cracks.

  • sosomom

    I started my blog in January. Now I am on a bit of a blogging hiatus because I wrote a couple spring cleaning posts and now I have to get off my duff and actually do the spring cleaning! I live in a small town, so my husband, my sister, and four friends are the only ones who know I write a blog. I don’t just want my readership to be a bunch of nosy locals! I need something like this to give me a little jump start and get blogging again. I have been focusing on FB posts trying to get engagement up there and haven’t published a new posts in almost a month! I am a horrible photographer and graphic designer, so I still have work to do to make my site look more professional as well. Right now, ‘success’ would be earning enough to cover the cost of starting my site and a few bucks in FB ads.

    • Welcome to the wonderful world of blogging. Focus on the positives and what you can do and ask for help and advice for the rest. Perhaps a blogging spring clean is also in order after six months. It was around this time, on my blogging journey that I took a step back and had a little rethink and rebrand, knowing I wanted to take blogging further.

  • Lysa @ Welcome to My Circus

    Hi Raychael,

    Everything you said above hit home with me as I have always marched to my own drummer so to speak and do in my blogging journey as well. Even though I do not really have a niche either I find myself “censoring” what I write and what I will say and I don’t really know why. The whole reason I started blogging was so that I would have an outlet for my writing again in hopes that I would do just that and start writing again. Well, I’m really not sure how or where I lost sight of wanting to share my story in the hopes that it would help others but I did. I became obsessed with my stats and trying to fit in with all of the Mommy Blogger’s who still had toddlers at home. I just never felt like I fit in at all. My youngest of four is 14 and will be starting high school next year and my oldest is 26 years old with a 5 year old son!

    Needless to say I have recently decided that I need to get back to the whole reason I started I blogging and quit trying to keep up with everyone else. Don’t get me wrong they are all wonderful, kind, and caring women that I adore but I am just in a different place in my life and my blogging journey. Anyway, my whole point is that I’ve been searching every form of social media, bloggers tips and tricks, you name it I’ve probably checked it out to see what I could do to get me back where I want to be. And wouldn’t you know it this is exactly what I’ve so desperately searched for. An actual excuse to be me and just write again. I’m so thankful that Julie from over at Julie in the Making posted about this on Google + and am even more incredibly thankful that you came up with the Blog Like Nobody’s Reading Challenge and shared it with all of us!

    Wishing you a beautiful day!

    Much love,
    Lysa xx

    • I can completely relate and I’m so glad you found this challenge. I think when you start writing for your ideal audience rather than the other way round where you have an audience find you ideal and want to stay and connect with you, your writing can feel eventually start to feel forced.

      It can be hard to get bogged down in the stats and comparison trap and sometimes you need the stats if you are wanting to monetise your blog but I also think sometimes having an authentic voice and being more inventive with how you make money blogging sits better for some of us.

      I also relate with the whole blogging workshops and mentorships going, they all are rather niche and working with brand focused, which is what everyone wants to know more about when taking their blog to the next level. I worry about just how many then walk away blogging to the same format. Losing their point of difference.

  • Lysa @ Welcome to My Circus

    Dang it I forgot to introduce myself as I was so excited about this challenge and blogger get together! LOL

    My name is Lysa and I blog over at Welcome to My Circus where I write about how my life is seriously like a circus but I wouldn’t have it any other way! Well, on most days that is. I have been blogging for a little over a year and a half now and haven’t made a single penny doing so!

    I’ve been on the verge of quitting for a few months now because I am totally and completely burnt out and can’t even remember the last time I really just wrote something. Well, that’s not entirely true I did write and am still writing posts about the month long vacation I was on and the “Thelma & Louise” Road Trip my best friend Becky and I were on for a few weeks!! I’m struggling with trying to find my way back to the whole reason I started blogging to begin with and that was to share my story! Anywho… Iook forward to getting to know all of you!

    Wishing you all a beautiful day!

    Much love,
    Lysa xx

    • Welcome Lysa and thanks for taking the time to introduce yourself. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having a blog that is a hobby but I would argue that if you are feeling burnt out, it has become more work than play and a rethink is in order. I’m hoping this challenge will help.

      I know for me, from the get go, the blog created a lot of work and most of it wasn’t paid work in the early days. I’m also not wanting the blog to be too heavily sponsored, so I’ve been more inventive with how I make my money from blogging. All things I will share as Blog Exchange involves but possibly via the private Facebook group.

    • Lysa, I’ve just had a quick look at your blog. The content looks great but I think it’s lost and too hard to read with the pink on black background and the super white almost too big advertising banners on each blog post snippet. I also struggled to find a contact me link.

      I certainly wouldn’t be giving up blogging. Perhaps a blog makeover, something a bit more simplistic and as easy as a change of theme is in order and a good way forward for you.

      If you are feeling brave, I would love to post a link to your blog in the group and have some of our mentors offer suggestions.

  • Dorothy

    Wow, a 1000 views of your first blog post? I don’t any of my posts have done that well, ever. I’ve been blogging for over 6 years. It started as a diary of my marriage break up, continued as self-therapy and now it’s still mostly self-therapy and opinion. I write about being a sole parent of two boys, whom I love, but don’t enjoy parenting, my struggles with mental illness and sometimes about blogging and travel. Blogging has helped me start my own business as an online success coach and website developer. Mostly, it’s been a way of finding myself, finding new friends and realising I was not alone in all the crap that has happened to me.

    • I would be super keen to touch base with a view to a featuring you down the track. It sounds like you are one of the rare few that has managed to carve a successful online business while having a rather personal blog that may not have worked in your business favour.

      Especially the success coaching, most people only want to hear and see the positives, the success side of things and might have shied away with you sharing your journey and some of the negatives. It’s fantastic that you’ve found a way to remain authentic which has most certainly helped you attract the right audience.

      I know myself I’m one of the rare few that actually switches off when the success coaching looks too perfect and glossy. Almost like a PR exercise.

      So glad to have you on board for Blog Exchange.

      • Dorothy

        Aww, thanks. I did have a play at one stage with merging my personal and business sites, but wasn’t comfortable with that. I don’t hide my personal stuff from potential clients, but I don’t shove it in their faces, either. I’m good at what I do and that’s all they need to know.

        • Yes, I think keeping them separate is most certainly your best approach in the circumstances. Focus on the positives. It’s only if the personal starts negatively impacting the business side of things and you are relying on an income from this, that you would want to reevaluate things.

          I opted to put my health issues (Pieces of me – living with an invisible illness or two) under lock and key here. I still felt like I wanted to share that side of things just not with the general public and I didn’t necessarily have the time or inclination to start a third or fourth blog.

  • Kirsty @ My Home Truths

    Hi, I’m Kirsty. I have two blogs, My Home Truths and Smarter Happier. I started blogging in January 2011 as a new years resolution and haven’t looked back! My Home Truths is my personal blog where I share my life, my parenting fails, my experience as a special needs parent caring for my son with albinism and autism, confessions and our fledgling travel tales. At Smarter Happier my husband and I blog about trying to become a smarter and happier family by looking at ways to make everyday life easier and find a way to follow our dreams. I suppose I’m at a cross roads. I need to make money somehow now I no longer have a day job but my blog is so all over the place that it’s impossible to niche down. After flirting with monetising it, I’ve decided it doesn’t fit right with me so I’m not really going to go further down that road with My Home Truths. I would like to monetise Smarter Happier and I see heaps of potential with the brand but it’s been hard getting things off the ground and I’ve struggled to really get a feel for what we’re are trying to achieve there (again there are too many options – I know I need to niche down). I love writing and blogging so I’m determined to find a way to make it all work but as a relatively experienced blogger I’m challenged by the thought of changing tack, I guess. Looking forward to pouring my heart out for this first challenge!

    • I can easily see you monetising Smarter Happier, it has a lot of potential. I wouldn’t be so concerned with the niche side of things. Perhaps a blog series or two that follows a certain niche to test the waters.

      Having said all that perhaps taking a bit of a step back initially might be in order. You need to put your purely professional and business cap on for Smarter Happier which might mean re-evaluating how you are currently spending your time online, especially with the personal blogging side of things. I’m in much the same boat myself.

      I’m looking forward to seeing what comes from this challenge and I’m always here if you need to bounce ideas around.

  • Great idea!
    I am here to learn 🙂
    I have a blog about life in the beautiful South West region of Western Australia called swlife.com.au and I also work as a Freelance Blogger from time to time.

    Kind regards,

    Jacinta

    • What a gorgeous capture. I haven’t had a chance to do much exploring down your way. We are still relatively newbies to Perth and travel at the moment is sadly few and far between and normally work related. Hoping that will change.

      Thanks for jumping on board Blog Exchange. I’m keen to case your blog and hear more about your Freelance work.

  • It’s really nice learning more about you, Raych. x

    • Thanks, I was only just looking at my to do list which included touching base with you on another blogging matter and your name popped up here. Will be in touch soon.

  • Love this idea Raychael. It is really nice to read your story and to know you have started up a supportive and positive group. I am really struggling with writers block but reading this has helped. Thank you .

    • Thanks Druime, It can be hard to be creative when blogging needs to slot in with everything else you have going on, including your real job. I’ve been at a bit of a cross roads myself on and off with blogging lately. Almost letting some of the negatives turn me off blogging altogether. Instead I’m looking and focusing on the positives, including this group.

  • Great Idea! Thanks for this.
    I started She Writes in October last year. I had been wanting to start a blog for ages but was too scared to take the leap, too worried about finding my niche. In the end I took the jump and have never regretted it. I was diagnosed with Thyroid cancer the October before and this changed my outlook on a lot of things and gave me the confidence to make changes in many areas of my life.
    My blog isn’t huge but I enjoy writing it and hope to keep building it slowly. I have other ideas in my head to work along side the blog and am hoping to bring this to fruition in the next 12 months or so.
    I love the blogging community and have found very supportive online friends in the process of writing my blog. I hope to meet some of them IRL one day too!

    • I hope the thyroid cancer is now behind you Sarah and your blogging plan of attack sounds perfect. I know for me, with ongoing health issues, they have taken the fear factor out of the equation and brought to light just how precarious life is. There’s no time like the present tends to be how I approach things these days but I need to work on finding that balance.

  • What a great account of your blogging history. I always find it fascinating hearing how and why people have built a blog and boyo, you have really built yours up. Although it sounds like you were getting great stats right from that very first post. It’s so great you’re creating such a positive community here. Thanks for that.

    My blog is http://www.knockedupandabroad.com which I imagine when I finish baby raring it might turn into something else that is more applicable to my current life but for now I just don’t have the time to put into all the set up and planning and designing. xx

    • Thanks Vicki. I think it’s great you can have a blog that evolves with you and is relevant to what is going on in your life, especially when you have little ones.

  • Grace

    Great idea, Raych! I think it’s an amazing thing what you’ve done with your blog. And yes, it’s all about community. I added my blog, accidentally pressed wrong image…oops!

    • Thanks Grace. I will fix your image up tonight. Not a problem.

  • Fleur @ Our Urban Box

    I loved reading about how you started blogging! Everyone always has a different reason behind why they blog. Loving your idea on the blog exchange as well!

    My blog is http://www.oururbanbox.com a lifestyle blog about home, life and fabulous finds. Although recently it more about home wares and design and less on life. I don’t peg myself into a niche – I want the freedom to write about what I want when I want. I love what I do, and already it has opened up doors to opportunities I never could imagine. I do struggle with content sometimes and I don’t want to blog too much about my personal life. But despite all that I love it! x

    • I love your blog Fleur. I don’t get over to case it as much as I would like but I’ve hopefully found a way to fit more blog reading in, starting next week.

      I have the same blog struggles and although I originally started out not planning on being so personal they are strangely some of my more engaging posts.

  • AParentingLife

    Love the idea Raychel, I have never really felt like I fit into a niche, even though my blog was called A Parenting Life it really spoke little about parenting

    • Well you are a parent and it is your life. It kind of works. I know Mystery Case confuses a lot of people. Most want to add a tag line and stress the importance of your name and your tag explaining what you do as quickly as possible. Your elevating pitch. I don’t have a pitch. Perhaps that’s where our next challenge will head.

  • jotracey

    I maintain 2 blogs- mainly because the 1st (Jo Tracey.com) is an astrology blog & absolutely niche. I love writing more for andanyways…it started life as being everything that didn’t fit with the astrology blog- a place for the subjects that are close to my heart- writing, travelling and eating. What do I struggle with most? Fear. I delete so many words through fear of what people would think. Yes, ridiculous, I know.

    • Well I can understand why you would want to keep the astrology side of things completely separate. That really is a niche of its own. I’m much the same when it comes to deleting words. I fear I over think far too much. Somethings are better out than in but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are fit for publication. It’s a fine line.

      • jotracey

        it sure is…Having said that, I’ll take a deep breath & take the challenge…sometime this month 😉

        • So pleased to have you on board.

        • Now I need to ask astrology wise, is there something massive going on at the moment and when will it end. Everything seems to be more than a touch askew at the moment.

          • jotracey

            Yeah, Mercury is retrograde- it’s a fancy pants way of saying that anything techno or communication based could inexplicably have issues. The key is to have everything backed up, pencil in appointments , watch who you cc in on emails & stay flexible. It will be over after the weekend.

          • I might need to place myself in hibernation mode till after the weekend. I was ready to throw my laptop out the window today.

  • Been blogging for about three years I think! I should check! I struggle with my time management, which is getting better after listening to Nicole Avery at Perth Problogger. Also fear. Fear of what people think.. Not bad considering I blog a lot about contentment!!

    • Oh I also struggle with exclamation mark overuse!!!!!

    • I struggle with time in general, there are only so many things (like TV) that I’m willing to give up so I can fit more in. I’m always looking for ways to manage my time better.

      Would have loved to have met you at Perth Problogger, I had tickets and plans to attend but life, mainly my little family managed to get in the road.

  • LydiaCLee

    I thought I’d read this, but clearly didn’t (and read a different one?) I’m such a moron at times…

    • You are definitely not a moron and you have a bit on your plate at the moment. There was an introductory post, asking people to sign up to our FB group. This is the first challenge.

  • I am new to blogging so I am just trying to find my feet!

    • Welcome to the wonderful world of blogging. I’m almost three years in and still trying to find my feet.

  • I’ve been blogging for fun for the past (almost) 4 years at http://www.countrylifeexperiment.com. When I began it was to keep friends and family in the loop about our tree change after we moved from Sydney to the family farm where my husband grew up. Over this time my blog has evolved to be more of a country living/lifestyle blog. I write about my new found passions; home made food, home grown produce, and simple country living on a family farm. As a blogger I struggle with time management (I also work full time… and did I mention we have a farm 🙂 ) and the technical side of blogging – though I’m currently working on this. I also struggle with very limited, very expensive data – a side effect of living on the wrong side of the digital divide (we do not have cable broadband here!), which limits my ability to do everything I would like to with my blog.

    • I struggle with the time management side of things too. There are only so many hours in the day and I can only go so long without a certain amount of sleep.

      You certainly sound like you have a lot on your plate. The internet issues would drive me round the bend.

  • writeofthemiddle

    I’m Min from ‘Write of the Middle’. It will be 3 years since I started blogging in September 2012 and I don’t seem to belong to any one blogging niche! I haven’t found my tribe! I blog on topics relevant to the middle-aged, the wellness arena – especially in relation to mindfulness and ways and means of obtaining balance of mind, body & spirit and I indulge in my love of photography. I’m still evolving and trying to find my bloggy feet. I will be taking you up on your June challenge! Woohoo! 🙂

    • I started blogging around the same time Min. So pleased to have you on board.

  • Vanessa Connor

    This is a wonderful idea Raych. I’m sure you know my totally ad-hoc all over the place blog at http://www.nessville.me I was just whining about needing to do something different in my post today, so I decided to post here instead of over-thinking things like I usually do. I have no idea what my blog is about. It’s just me trying to be amusing about nothing much at all and make my very ordinary life sound entertaining. There is a little bit about my challenges bringing up three boys in CHAOS* while being very introverted and having Aspergers. I’d just like to get back into writing and blogging for the fun of it, really.
    *Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome

    • Thanks for jumping on board Vanessa. I suppose it is important to remember that blogging means different things to different people and everyone’s blogging journey looks a little different. I’ve been guilty of over thinking myself this week and almost feel like I might need a week off to regroup.

  • I am Kate. I originally wrote for a few years on my blog ‘My Dear Angel’, which you could say was writing for therapy as I struggled with depression and post natal depression and a whole lot of other things. I now write at ‘From Katie to Kate’, where I write to learn, accept and understand. Each post, a chapter in my story. My journey, from Katie to Kate.

    • Thanks for joining in for our first blog exchange challenge. The post you linked up for I Must Confess, really resonated with me as did your break through post. I’m sharing my health issues for my ‘Blog like there’s nobody reading’ post, which will probably make some sense as to the grieving process I’m going through and why your posts spoke to me on so many levels.

  • Had so much trouble with our previous SEO company we hired, been researching it at home and next time we are probably going to hire temp staff to do it
    Added a share on my Facebook, hope thats okay

  • SEO has never really had a proper home, because the work is technical it is best done by workers who have studied the business and have industry experience, this is not always the case with SEO professionals though
    Do you participate in any forums

  • The SEO business gets a bad reputation from the amount of snake oil salesmen and overseas companies currently set up
    p.s Don’t take advice from the Warrior Forums haha

  • I keep hearing that search engine optimisation is dead or SEO is on its way out, what is your opinion about the future of SEO?
    Do you participate in any discussion boards?

  • Sorry to be a pain but, can you delete my linkup so I can add a”real” photo. Mwah. xx

    • Not a pain but I should be able to fix up from this end.

  • So do things like Twitter and Reddit now count as SEO? I read they do because of the latest algorithm update
    I will definitely be returning, its a nice blog