A Year Gone By – Thoughts on Blogging and Social Media

A fellow blogger from Finland, Snow from Snow Melts Somewhere, wrote an excellent and thorough post on blogging, social media and what kinds of things you can take into account when aiming to raise your blogs statistics – views and visitors. I started writing a reply to her post and noticed that even though I know nothing about SEO’s and SEM’s, I suddenly had a lot to say on the matter. Not necessarily anything more than some random ramblings but enough for a blog post of my own. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the subject too!

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I’ve now been blogging since November 2015, so it’s been almost a year! I did have a blog a long time ago for two years which concentrated on books. But one day, writing the book reviews started feeling like another chore in addition to everything else, so I lost motivation. So that was that. Last Fall I had some extra time on my hands and decided to start again which was a great decision, as I’ve enjoyed it immensely.

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What I love about blogging is being able to write and naturally having the chance to connect with other individuals from around the world. I wish I had more time to read everyone’s blogs.

Someone once said that you shouldn’t write your blog for other bloggers. Why not I ask of you? Personally I don’t mind who reads my blog, as long as someone does, LOL! I appreciate every single follow out there and I love to read everyone’s comments – readers are part of the motivation to continue – the most important one at that.

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When I began, I was very obsessed with numbers. I wanted to grow my statistics – to be truthful – I  was hoping of getting to the point where I could commercialize my blog. Now that some time has passed, that silly idea has gone with the wind.

I don’t want to offend anyone but I actually find myself annoyed with blogs that have become market-places for all kinds of products, be it oatmeal, moisturizer, hotels, or even chicken to name a few!! Yes, blogs have on a large scale taken over the magazine market (I cannot even remember when I last bought a magazine!) and thus I understand that advertisments have to be moved somewhere. I like to read hotel and restaurant reviews but I wish they weren’t paid for, as it does bring a small doubt into my mind about the authenticisty of the review. You’re bound to love a hotel if you get it free (or cheaper) or at least emphasize the aspects you liked even if there were things there you did not agree with. Each to it’s own – I’m not saying it’s wrong to commercialize your blog but it’s something I have thought about and come to the conclusion that I don’t want to do that. I have a day job and blogging is my hobby.

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Now one hot potato is Blogger versus WordPress. I’ve tried both. I think Blogger is awful to be frank! I find WordPress much easier and versatile. Saying that, I have had quite many problems with my WordPress reader lately, for example photos take ages to download and also writing posts has been difficult, as saving drafts has been impossible for some reason. I’m not sure if this is due to my internet connection but it’s really slowing me down! I have also understood that bloggers who use Blogger get much more followers.

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For commercial blogs, social media is extremely important. I too am on the social media bandwagon even though my blog is purely for fun. I love social media but not all aspects of it.

I have Facebook for personal use, for my blog and I even have a personal work profile! My blog profile is basically just to offer a platform to follow my blog and I mainly just publish posts via that. Facebook is very annoying in this aspect – it might hide the post from followers’ news feeds and in the end the posts get very little clicks via Facebook. Facebook keeps telling me to advertise my posts but having tried that, I cannot recommend it. The likes you get, etc. are not from real people, as none of them ever read the posts they liked. Otherwise I think Facebook is an easy way to stay in touch with friends from all over the world.

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I simply love Instagram. I have been on for years but I’ve only had a public profile since I started blogging. Before, I was very vary of my privacy and didn’t want everyone to see my photos or find out more about me. These days I don’t give a hoot! If someone is interested in the food I photograph or random photos of Finland or our sailboat, then that’s fine.

One thing I cannot stand are the IG spammers – have you noticed this? People who follow you and then when you don’t follow them back, they click unfollow. Please – I would rather have people following me who are actually interested in my content than just getting a new follower. It’s frustrating. One day I have 210 followers and the next 200!!!! AAARGH! So growing my following on IG is not really happening as I do not click follow unless I am really interested in following the feed represented to me. I also want to keep my feed manageable, as I don’t have extra hours in the day for liking photos and scrolling through the feed.

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Twitter.. Now Twitter is very difficult for me to grasp for some reason. I have an account where I publish my posts but I never tweet anything else. I also started a work account for Twitter when I saw people tweeting interesting tweets at a conference which were reflected onto a whitescreen for everyone to see. It would be great publicity but I have a feeling that I would have to tweet 24/7 and have interesting content to share, so it seems like a huge effort. I think Twitter is something I may never master.

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My daughter first introduced me to Snapchat (mrssuvi). I love it! But I simply don’t have enough time to Snap all the time. I don’t have many followers either. Only a handful of my friends are on Snapchat. It’s a good way to stay in touch with what my daughter is doing though. You might think this is weird but she’s 20 which means that mommy doesn’t know her every move any longer!

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I was at the Helsinki Travel Fair last year and there was panel there about social media. That was the place where I learnt what Periscope really is. People seemed to be very interested in it but it didn’t sound like fun to me. So that’s something I know nothing about really and I don’t really care to learn either.

How about the genre of a blog? At first I thought I would write a travel blog but this blog has not turned out to be just a travel blog. I like how a friend put it – she said that my blog is a feel-good blog. That sounded great to me, although I might have more followers if the genre was more clear…

These photos are from the Alvar Aalto Museum in Jyväskylä and the last three are scenes I saw whilst walking there. I am actually sitting on one of the stools he designed as I’m writing this!

What are your thoughts on all of this? Have you tried Blogger or is WordPress more your thing? Are you looking into commercializing your blog? If you are – why? Are you a fan of social media? I would love it if you had some time to share your views in the comments below.

xx

39 thoughts on “A Year Gone By – Thoughts on Blogging and Social Media

  1. A very lovely write about blogging and social media, and I agree with all that you shared. I’ve said it before that I enjoy reading your blog, it is a feel-good blog, indeed.😊
    As you might have noticed, I’m not regular with posting nor reading all the blogs I follow and enjoy, here. Lack of time is one important issue, and also because this a personal blog and I don’t want blogging to feel like a chore, there’s no fun in that. Another reason, I’ve got a second blog and Instagram feed which are dedicated to my writing/poetry. I spend a lot of time there.

    I always wanted to keep these two blogs separately because, well I wanted to keep the personal just that. But to borrow from you, “These days I don’t give a hoot! ” and I’ve been thinking of sharing the other blog link for bloggers and readers interested to connect with me there. So, a big thank you to you; a blog post is due from my side. Lastly, happy belated blog anniversary, and I’m happy to hear that you won’t be commercializing your blog anytime soon.✨👌🏽✨

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your comment! I have to say that I too have been too busy to be a regular blog reader or even a writer this Fall. Hopefully things will slow down after Christmas. Your poetry blog sounds interesting – do share – I would love to take a look 🙂 xx

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  2. Hi Suvi, congrats on your 1st blogging anniversary! I self-hosted my blog in June this year after hosting with WP for 2.5 years. Back then, I didn’t care about SEO and statistics but now that I’m self-hosting, those analytics are important to me. Having said that, I try not to let that rule my life, or rather rule my content because I still believe in writing what I believe in and what I want to share to my readers. I’m disappointed to see that many blogs look like a bunch of listicles nowadays. Nothing beats reading actual travel experiences and narrations, hope the brands and the industry appreciate that. Anyway, hope you continue to travel and to share your experiences with us! 🙂

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  3. Just wanted to say that I’ve enjoyed reading your blog and look forward to another year of it. Hopefully you’ll stick with WP – I’m a little biased as I work there!

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  4. Everything you say is what I always think about my blog and blogging in general. At first, I wanted to attract more and more followers (here and on Instagram), but like you, I was really reluctant to follow back someone who was not at all interesting to me. Too much to wade through! I see these blogs with 20,000 followers and I wonder how that can even be real?! I have made my peace with loving my blog for me and my loyal group of followers. Even if those numbers tick up slowly but surely, I’m happier knowing my community is for real. I love WP and the kind of readers I’ve found here. Happy anniversary to your blog!

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    1. So great to read your thoughts, it’s seems there’s quite a bunch of us with the same kind of attitude towards blogging. I do wonder about those blogs with so many followers, I guess some could be bought but I’m not sure if you can do that on WP..

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  5. Congrats on your blog’s first ‘birthday’! I always enjoy reading your posts, even though I might not have time to comment on all of them 🙂 I prefer WordPress because there’s such a supportive community here. Blogger feels more impersonal to me. It’s nice to have a blog though, to look back at things that you’ve done over the past year or more. Sort of like an online diary that you can share with the world.
    Here’s to more lovely posts from you, looking forward to them! 🙂

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  6. This was a very interesting read! I’m fairly new to blogging (at least consistently), and doing a master’s on the side I find that I never have time to post about things I like in detail (let alone keep up blog-related social media!), and rather end up rushing my content just to keep up with my post-a-week schedule. This week I just gave up altogether due to the sheer amount of work. Do you have any experience/tips with this at all?

    Happy blog-versary by the way! Yours was one of the first blogs I happened to come across and I’m very happy about that 🙂

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    1. Hi Esther! I thought I’d replied to your comment but it does not seem so :O Thank you for taking time to read my blog! I know how you feel very well. I try not to stress about posting as I can have such busy weeks that it’s impossible. What helped me in the past was writing several posts on one go – at one time I had over ten posts scheduled!! Unfortunately not any more. As I took some time off work I was able to concentrate better and obviously I had lots more time then! Now I just try to go with the flow – if I have time, I post, if not – then I will just leave it till another time.. Also, I have several drafts going on at one time, so sometimes it doesn’t take much effort to finish one and thus manage to post at least one post a week! 🙂

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  7. Hi, Suvi! I really appreciate your post. I’ve been thinking about all these questions for a while too, and wondering what would be the best thing to do. Shall I continue on WP or switch? Shall I focus on attracting readers, and if yes, why and how? And so on and so forth. My first blog was on Squarespace. I really loved their designs, and it was very easy to use, but still somehow it feels like there are less people using it and it’s harder to discover posts from that platform. I’ll keep an eye on them, but for now WP is quite good for me. Having followers is always good. It was especially important for me at the beginning, when I was just starting. It’s very comforting to know that someone found my post interesting or if it made someone think about something in a different way. Right now, I don’t mind that I don’t have thousands of follower. It’s important for me that those that are reading are really interested in what I say. Sometimes I encounter followers who are just pressing likes without reading or follow without reading or leave some strange comments. But it’s part of the experience, and I still feel quite happy doing what I do. I think you shouldn’t worry too much on whether your blog and your stories fall within some definite category. You are very engaging writer and I’m always waiting to read your blogpost on Friday morning on the way to work to hear how you have been the previous week 🙂 I share your love for Helsinki, and it’s nice to see the city through your eyes and spot something I haven’t noticed before. Keep blogging and we’ll keep reading 🙂

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    1. Thank you Elena for your reflective reply ❤ I've never heard of Squarespace, I'll have to check it out. Sounds like you are having fun with blogging, keep it that way! So lovely to hear that you have been looking forward to my Weekly Favourites, I will continue with it again next week 🙂 Happy Sunday!! xx

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  8. I have been blogging about my travels for the past 2+ year. Just like you, I started it thinking of commercialization but now I just blog for fun. I guess it will serve as a reminder of my past life when I’m old… haha! I also started it cos I wanted to learn more about digital marketing and I thinking trying out actively would be better than reading about it. Did I learn anything? Yes and no. Driving traffic to the blog using social media hasn’t been that successful. I don’t get hundreds of viewers and if I get 10+ views a day, it’s already a good day 🙂 But it’s been a wonderful experience connecting with other bloggers like you. Keep blogging!

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    1. Heheh yes you are right, we can look back at our blogs later and think – wow, did I really do that?! 😊 They always say that social media is supposed to up your visitors but maybe it’s only after the point that you have thousands of followers.. Have a great weekend Edwin and keep up the good work with blogging 😀

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  9. Thanks for mentioning me and happy to have inspired this post! I love talking about blogging so I really enjoyed reading your thoughts! Blog-talk doesn’t really go down well with non-bloggers, they’re just not interested in hearing about it! 😉 Happy blog anniversary, I was actually just wondering how long you’ve been blogging, since I read about your break, I guess I read your mind about this anniversary! I’ve really enjoyed your posts, hope you keep on blogging! As for commenting this post, where to start? So many things I’d like to say, this comment’s already quite long! 😀 First of all, why not write a post for bloggers if most of your readers are bloggers? That’s the case with my blog, anyway. Target your audience and if it’s bloggers then…what’s wrong with that? I don’t want to go commercial, either. I recently received an offer which was quite tempting but couldn’t bring myself to do it. I just can’t, can’t, can’t write a post that goes “Three best things to eat in Spain!” or “Five things you should know before you board a plane”! It’s just not me. (SEO-wise, they say that lists are a good way to go because readers like them, they like knowing how long the post will be in advance. But I try to give my readers a bit more credit than that!) And adding sponsored content is just so tacky, uhhh. You can see it a mile away. Come on! I really don’t get people who read that stuff. The funny thing is, lots of time when I tell a non-blogger that I blog, they seem to think I’m unsuccessful because I’m not a commercial pro blogger!!! That’s so funny to me. My definition of success os something quite different than getting free make-up or a free hotel night… But we all have our own goals and standards, and that’s fine! 🙂 Thanks, Suvi for this interesting post! 😉

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    1. Thank YOU Snow for your great reply! And inspiring this post too 😀 Sounds like we are on the same page when it comes to blogging. Haha – I know what you mean when you say that people think you are unsuccessful if you don’t get freebies for your blog 😛 But, like you said, everyone has their own goals. I guess my goal is just to connect with other people and that in itself is enough. Have a great weekend!! xx

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  10. Its been so nice interacting with you and other WP bloggers over the last year. I derive as much pleasure from writing my posts as interacting with my readers / followers, the comments bringing the blog to life for me. I only have a personal FB account and have not told most of my FB friends about my blog as I would hate to think that I was boasting about my travels! I’m not on Instagram either but have had a Twitter feed for a few weeks now where my blog posts are automatically linked. I’m unimpressed with Twitter though, receiving dozens of automated messages from people who have no intention of reading my blog and only wanting to promote their own! I’ve not used another blog platform so can’t comment on that and my niche is purely travel though I do enjoy more general blogs such as yours. I’m happy to have received so many followers and made some lovely on line friends but like you, I prefer genuine followers rather than thousands of people who don’t give a hoot. Here’s to your next year of blogging Suvi – happy first anniversary! M.

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    1. LMT: So true about Twitter! Frankly I don’t get it, and I don’t use it. Tiresome to scroll through all content. I do think many people who get my blog on FB just “like” without reading. I need to start a new blog related to a book I am writing so I must promote, but I want to keep blogging just for fun, too. I think FB is best used for keeping up with far-flung friends.

      Suvi, thanks for starting an interesting discussion.

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      1. Thank you so much for your interesting feedback 🙂 It’s sad if people hit like without reading 😦 I’m excited to hear about your book. What will it be about?

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    2. Oh yes, you too must have a blog anniversary coming up or has it already been? I do love to read about your travels and can’t wait till you come back to Finland 🙂 Heheh, unimpressed with Twitter – that really sums it up quite beautifully! And yes, you are right – the comments make the blog come to life 🙂 Have a great weekend M xx

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  11. Yeah, a feel-good blog!! Telling you, to have a blog which can be called that is priceless, the rest doesn’t matter.

    My blog can neither be compartmentalized, and that’s just the way it’s supposed to be. I wish to surprise, to raise eyebrows – just like when I’m speaking. Not that I’m outrageous, just all over the place.

    As for social media, I’ve been on FB for about a year and a half (and I agree how badly it connects with WP – my WP posts hardly get any notice there), and on Twitter for about two weeks (it’s helping that many of WP bloggers are there as well). The rest is either family-only or non-existent.

    I’ve never thought of going pro-blog, and I don’t like ad posts as a rule – but some bloggers are smart and tongue-in-cheek and can combine both, truthfulness and payability.

    I’ve been enjoying the way you do it, and I think by doing it your way you get exactly the followers that you appreciate (apart from all those spamming non-entities). And I’d believe you have been around here for much longer than one year! Happy upcoming anniversary!

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    1. Ooh thank you dear for your thoughtful comment! I’m loving all the comments this post is getting ❤ You are right, I think hearing that my blog is a feel-good blog is the biggest compliment ever! Hehe, the person who said this has seen me raving and ranting – my life's not always just dancing on roses but I'd rather focus on the positives on this blog 😛

      It seems to me that Facebook is based on the fact that if you want people to see your posts, you must pay. But then – when you do pay, no-one can vouch for the fact that those "people" clicking like are actually real. Wishing you a great weekend!

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  12. What a thought provoking post! I have had many of the same thoughts as you and have gone back and forth abut what I want my blog to really be. I love using Instagram as a compliment to my blog, although I don’t find I get a lot of blog traffic from there. I also tweet my blog posts to Twitter. I am not a constant tweeter though so many times my twitter feed is just links to my instagram and blog haha! I enjoy blogging but have at times struggled to make sure I only post things I think connect to my blogs theme- travel, and how that connects to teaching. I have also had lots of issues with WordPress as a platform and am considering switching to something else. So much to think of! Thank you for sharing your thoughts, I love you feel good blog!!

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    1. Thanks Katy for your lovely comment, it’s great to hear your thoughts ❤ I have actually had problems commenting on your blog posts, I don't know where the problem is but that's one reason I haven't been an avid commenter 😦 The blog traffic I get from Instagram is really minimal too, maybe it's better for commercial blogs, who knows. If you do find a better platform – let me know! Happy weekend xx

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  13. I started my blog having no idea what a blog was all about. I found it exciting when people started following me. I knew nothing of statistics and still don’t really understand how it works. I get the same number of hits with 5,000 followers as I did with 1,000. I don’t understand why people bother to sign up if they are never going to read my blog.
    I don’t like Blogspot ( is that the same as Blogger?). I find it difficult to leave comments, so I don’t bother.
    I agree with you about the paid reviews. You are hardly going to write something bad when you have been paid.
    My blog is mostly about travel, but it is really about anything that interests me.
    The most fun part is meeting lots of new people. I also find writing the blog has made me more observant.
    I like your blog because you talk about lovely Helsinki. I will be back there next week on my way back to Australia.

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    1. So true Debra – what’s the point of signing up if they are not going to read your blog afterwards?! But maybe they sign up because they think you will follow them back? A mystery for sure.. Thank you so much for commenting and sharing your thoughts. It’s so rainy and dark over here, I wish you’d been able to be here two weeks ago – we had perfect Autumn weather. Now darkness is engulfing us again 😛 Enjoy your stopover and have a great weekend! 🙂

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  14. I can relate to every point you have made here. I started blogging back in 2007 on blogger and was so frustrated with the outcome I deleted the blog after years of writing 😛 but WordPress is definitely better. I too have been thinking of getting my blog onto a self hosted platform but somehow I the futility of talking on the virtual space demotivates me. The same goes for social media platforms.

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    1. Thank you Jutismita for reading and commenting! I so agree – WordPress blogs look so much better than Blogger. I guess a self hosted platform would be the best, but I don’t have time to study how to go about it at the moment! 😦 Have a great weekend xx

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  15. Great to hear about your experiences Suvi, I totally hear you. Even though I work in marketing and know how important it is for companies to do collab with bloggers, in my personal life I feel very irritated with lots of commercial content and at times some of them are of very poor quality and purely paid content without any real touch and feel.

    With my blog I have gone social on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and I must say that it takes a lot of effort to stay active in all channels, but on the other hand I do enjoy very much.

    If you or anyone else is familiar with Blogger I would be happy to hear more, too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So fun to hear the thoughts of someone who works in marketing themselves! 💕 True, keeping up with all the platforms takes a lot of time but I guess the way to go about is not to stress if you don’t feel like posting any content. I assume Blogger and Blogspot are the same, I did use it for two years and found it quite awful. Maybe it has evolved in these years but I find commenting on these blogs and absolute nightmare. Especially since I have many Google accounts and it seems that I’m always logged in the wrong one 😌 Happy weekend!

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  16. hi MrsSuvi! I thought this was a nice read 🙂
    Incidentally we have a similar social media “life” (except I only maintain my personal FB page & the blog’s – haven’t had the mental energy to create a work suitable FB page, i simply limit clicking accept when a work buddy pings me)
    As for your view on the whole Advertisement and commercialization business, I do agree with you; there is a fine line between authentic writing & “oh great free food!” I’m pretty sure that in the long run the real content stands out – but yet again we are also just celebrating our 1st Bday at http://www.hungryinhelsinki.com 🙂

    Happy Bloversary to you!

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    1. Happy 1st Blogversary Hungry in Helsinki 😊 A year goes by fast doesn’t it!! I see some bloggers who manage to have an original feel to their blog even though they do ad posts but even sometimes they blunder and you notice they are promoting something just to pay the bills. That makes it difficult for readers to know what’s really authentic out there 🤔 This topic is very thought provoking I see!

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