By the time we all get to a certain age, chances are that somewhere along the line our lives have taken a detour away from the path we had hoped for. This happens to young people too for sure…just not as often. When that detour happens, and you are going down a road not traveled, it’s very scary. Doubts creep in and there are even moments of panic. This has actually happened to me over the past few months so I wanted to share how I’ve coped. Some days the coping mechanism doesn’t work, but other days I can see the light at the end of the road.
Before I begin I want to make sure you know that I am not sharing all this for sympathy…or to hear myself whine. I’m truly not. I’m sharing because you all are my friends…and even if only one person benefits from this post it will be worth it. We all have so much in common and I knew that if I am going through this, some of you must be going through something similar. I’m not an expert…at anything. I have, however, lived a life and learned a few things along the way. Just like all of you.
Here’s my story…
My blog is almost 6 years old. In the blogging world, that makes me a teenager so it’s no wonder I am having coping issues! Anyway, a few months ago, Pinterest changed their way of showing pins. The process is called an algorithm, which is just a big word for “who sees what.” They are now showing you (in your feed) what they “think” you want to see. For bloggers like me, who depended on Pinterest for their majority of pageviews, things took a rapid nose dive. My pageviews have consistently dropped until now, in July, my traffic is half what it was in July 2015. What does this mean for me? Well for one thing it means a drastic cut in income. The money I make from the ads on my site directly depends on the number of pageviews I receive. If I put that aside, the bigger issue is a feeling of failure.
I feel as though I’ve let everyone down and am going backwards. I didn’t put all my eggs in one basket so to speak, but I did depend on the Pinterest traffic. I have email subscribers and I have followers on social media. I diligently post on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram…but all those avenues combined don’t come close to getting me the traffic I once received from Pinterest. Other bloggers are saying that Pinterest will come back around…that this is just a slump. I’m afraid I don’t agree. I believe the gravy train has parked and I am at the end of that journey.
(Side note: Please continue to pin all your favorite blogs. If we all band together maybe things will improve.)
So…where does that leave me and what did I do? Let’s talk about what I did and then we’ll discuss where I am now.
The first thing I did, several weeks ago, was to step back and breathe. I stopped obsessing about stats and tried to forget they were even there. I worked outside, spent time with my family, and basically gave myself time to regroup. This didn’t last for as long as I would have liked, but I had enough time to calm down and be able to think clearly.
Make A List of the Positives
During my step back time, I focused on the glass half full instead of the glass half empty. Here is my list of personal positives:
- I have my health.
- I have a loving, supportive family.
- I have a roof over my head and plenty to eat.
- I have a circle of friends that is priceless.
Now my professional positives:
- I am a self-employed writer and photographer.
- As a result of my blog and a recommendation from a friend, I am a content creator for eBay.
- I have an extremely kind and loyal readership.
- I have perhaps made a difference in other people’s lives.
Listing these positives was really helpful. I almost felt ashamed for feeling so low about things…but at the end of the day, everyone has a story. My story was not going as I had planned and I wasn’t exactly sure what to do. Should I stop blogging? Should I get a different job? I’m several years away from retirement so I couldn’t see myself doing nothing. My kids don’t live nearby and I have no grandchildren. What in the world would I do?
Make a Plan
Step 1: Tell someone.
It was at this point that I decided I needed a plan. I had not told anyone what was happening and the first step in my plan was to tell my husband. He was very supportive but true to form, wasn’t too concerned. He assured me that I didn’t have to worry about money…which I already knew but it was nice to hear it from him. I told my kids and a few friends outside the blogging world. They were very encouraging as well. This made me feel like the secret was out…and I wasn’t hiding something anymore. I didn’t realize how much “the secret” had been weighing on me.
Step 2: Get some help.
One of the things that was very hard to admit was that I needed help. Once I did that, I could move ahead. I looked at my finances and set aside some money for a couple of blogging courses. I could not think of a better investment than myself. I have no interest in blog conventions but the courses I purchased have helped a great deal.
Step 3: Ask for advice.
I am very blessed to have a few good friends in the blogging community. They have been so kind. A couple of them are going through the same thing which has been helpful. Misery truly does love company! I asked for advice and my friends were very open and shared some of their strategies. It gave me something to think about and I was able to decide what steps to take and what I thought would work for me.
Step 4: Action
I am now working behind the scenes every day to grow my readership without the help of Pinterest. I am still pinning, but the honest truth is that it’s not doing any good. I’m making a plan to grow my email subscriber list. That’s the one thing that all the blogging courses agree on. Real readers have so much more value than the drive-by visits from Pinterest. I have a few other things in the works too and will be sharing those soon.
I still have days where I wonder what I’m doing…but they are getting fewer and easier to handle. The steps I’ve taken towards saving my blog have been small so far, but I feel myself gaining momentum. I may never get back to where I was a year ago, but in my mind I have decided that’s OK. The most important thing for all of us to remember is not to give up until the last ditch effort has failed. I am not even close to my last ditch so I’ll be around for a while!
I’ve said this many times before but this is the perfect opportunity to say it again. You all, my readers and friends, are the heart and soul of this blog. When I am brainstorming for new post ideas, the first thing I ask myself is “what will my readers think?” I am grateful and thankful for each one of you. I want to continue to make this a happy and encouraging place for you to visit. Yes, I will be using affiliate links and I will ask you to click over to eBay. (I heartily thank you for every single click!) I hope you understand and don’t mind too much.
I’ll close with my wish for us all…that we find peace and happiness anyway we can. Life is a journey for sure. Let’s enjoy it together.