Blogger Confession: Is this Business or Personal?

Posted December 17, 2012 by Felicia S in Blogger Confession / 38 Comments


Purchased from iStockphoto

Blogger Confession:

I am going to admit upfront that this post comes after reading some things going around the book blogsphere lately. These posts and tweets have been about what should or should not be posted on book blogs.  This particular type of subject has always irked me because there is plenty of room for all of us: the promoters, the reviewers, the talkers, and the meme enthusiast.

  • Will we all have the same readership? No!
  • Is there any way to please everyone? No!
  • Should you quit doing something because someone told you that they were tired of it? NO!

The first question you should ask yourself when starting any new blogging venture is whether it is “personal” or “business”.  I am not saying it can’t be both but you need to have an idea of whether you are trying to grow into something that can make you money or if you are happy with the rewards of making new friends.  Just having a vision will help you decide on subject, approach, and long-term plans.   Having a vision will also help you to determine what type of people you need in your tribe (those people who provide a warm safe place where you feel like you can totally be yourself). These people are key in keeping your vision on track!

For me, this book blog falls squarely in the personal side of blogging space.  I don’t see this blog growing to be something else because it is just something I do for personal enjoyment.  I like having a place where I can talk about books, things on my mind, and things I am looking forward too.  I couldn’t care less if people think I post too much, post to many reviews, not enough discussion, or to many memes.  This blog is for me!  It doesn’t mean that I don’t care about my readership. It means that by having this vision in place, it allows me to set personal expectations and have a vision for the blog.  By having a vision, my readership knows what they are getting when they come here. Just because it is personal doesn’t mean that you can’t have vision, it just means it is different from if you wanted to grow and expand into the money-making realm.

I am thrilled that I have excellent blogging friends (aka my tribe) that can have discussions, disagreements, and debates.  I love that my blogging friends are from all circles of websphere (book bloggers, fitness bloggers, food bloggers, mommy bloggers).  I love that we stick together, get each other, and support each other.  More importantly, I love that each of the ones I call friends are extremely supportive of others!  They would never make people feel bad for the content they post (unless stolen–whole other subject for another day) or the way they choose to blog.  That is just not their way!  Oh they will give you advice and tell you how they do things.  They don’t ever expect people to do it like they do but they like to share their knowledge of what they discover.  These are the best people in the world and I wouldn’t trade them for anything. These are the sort of people you should seek out to have in your tribe.

I am a huge believer in learning.  I have attended blogging boot camps, SEO classes, adult continuing ed marketing fun classes, and several conferences on blogging.  None of these make me an expert on anything but they do help me understand some of what is going on in the blogsphere around me.

If you are choosing to make your blog a business here are 3 quick pieces of advice that I have picked up at each of these conferences:

  1. Have a vision that you can create a road map from.  It is important to know where you would like to be so that you can get there.
  2. Look at your current content and the stats behind it.  The posts that get the most hits should be the type of posts that you create at least monthly (weekly if you are a consistent blogger).  These are not always your best posts or most original. For whatever reason, these are the posts that draw people to your blog.  Only you know what those are so see if you can create road map to launching those posts into something that will get people to other parts of your site.
  3. Get out of your comfort zone and your part of the blogsphere!  Your blog is only going to grow if you are willing to go outside your neighborhood.

I am going to be specific to our community on this one.  Did anyone notice who won the goodreads bloggers awards last year?  Be honest, how many of you even knew who those bloggers were?  Here they are in case you forgot: Insatiable Booksluts, Sophisticated Dorkiness, Nerdy Book Club, and Writer Beware.  Do you want to know what all these have in common?  Their readership is not just other book bloggers.  They have readers from all over the place and strive to keep their content geared towards the type of readers they want to have.  Pleasing other book bloggers (if business is your aim) should never be your primary concern.  You should be catering to a readership that you can keep coming back for your content.  You do not have to do a single review on your blog if your readership is coming for promotion.  You do need to figure out what your readership is and create a business plan to attract (and expand) from that.

I love the book blogging community but sometimes we get very tunnel visioned.  We forget that there is a whole world of readers outside our walls and those are the readers that you need to reach if you are aiming to grow your blog for a business.  Don’t neglect your core community but strive to bring in people from the outside.

Just remember to ask yourself whether this is business or personal?  Either answer should give you piece of mind and help you on the way to creating a vision.  Don’t let someone else tell you what is right or wrong for your blog (unless they are a trusted confidant or business partner).  Do what you think is best for the type of readership you want to attract.

REMEMBER there is room for all of us 🙂


Felicia S
Follow Me

What are your thoughts?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

38 responses to “Blogger Confession: Is this Business or Personal?

  1. Felicia!! This post was awesome and the exact shot in the arm I needed for 2013. I’ve been doing some thinking on my unplanned holiday hiatus and this helped focus that. You are such an awesome blogger and person!

  2. I’m late per usual. I know what you are talking about because when I read “it.” It rubbed me the wrong way and I thought it was just me. I think sometimes bloggers can be judgmental and hard about other bloggers. Especially if a blogger has been blogging for a long time. I bet some of it doesn’t even have to do with readership. Sometimes life happens and people don’t want to abandon their followers but they don’t have reviews because they don’t have time to read. This is exactly what happened to me when I was studying for the bar. I didn’t want my blog to have nothing but that’s just my personal preference. People posts different types of posts for different reasons. Not all readers and audiences are alike.

    For me, my blog is a personal one. But I’d like to think it can be used as a resource for others now and in the future whether or not I’m still blogging. I want it to be helpful to others in some way.

  3. Jennifer

    I love this post! Very well said…. for instance, I do not like blogging tips post where they basically admonish bloggers for “ugly” layouts, or having things a certain way. I understand guidance in that sense, but some take it too far. If I don’t like a blog, I just simply don’t go there….ever. (It takes me a long time to get to some to comment, so no one should take that to mean I don’t like their blogs…if I’ve commented there, I like it).
    Lee said to me, “it would be great if you could parlay this into a money-making thing.” But I don’t want to do that. Then it would be a J-O-B. I already have one of those (and I like what I do there). The blog is strictly for fun, and I occasionally get free books out of it. That’s win enough for me.

    PS: love this new holiday look!

  4. I totally agree with you…my blog is definitely more on the personal side. There was a time or two when I wanted to gear it more towards the professional sphere of things, but then I realized that I enjoyed it much more as a personal hobby. But like you said, that decision is up to each individual! It’s good to have a handle on which road you’re going to take though!

  5. aurian

    Happy holliday Felicia! Where are you?
    And what a great post, thank you. I definitely have a personal bookreviewblog. I do like interviewing some authors, and I have tried some blogtours, but those are not for me.
    I recently was asked by some publisher to participate in promoting their authors. I would receive a 5 dollar giftcard to Amazon for every post I did for them. Of course I would like to buy more books, but I really do not want to promote books I have not read, post interviews I did not ask or make the questions for, or post reviews I had not written myself. It is my blog, and my opinion on all the books I read. So it would be easy money, but I just don’t want to sell my blog for that.

  6. You’re so fabulous. And so right. Your blog is your own, do what you wanna do (except lie, cheat or steal. Those are not good plans.). I’m with most of your commenters–I blog for personal reasons. I enjoy talking about books, chatting with fellow bloggers and raving about awesome authors and series.

    I read that post about all the book blasts and cover reveals and, while I wasn’t overly impressed in the way it was presented, I can understand the frustration. However, to me, that means you need a change. Get out there and explore other blogs, find the ones who satisfy your needs and wants. *shrugs* Gotta do what you’ve gotta do, right?

    • I understood her frustration too because I have ran into the same thing when watching TV. A series I loved went off the rails and I wanted to rant/rave. However, it wasn’t up to me to tell them to change, I had to find something else to watch. It was more of the tone that was off-putting to me. She clearly wasn’t talking about me but I know people who do those posts. I just kind of got all mama bear LOL

      • Yeah, even though maybe she didn’t intend it to read that way, I read a tone in there, too, and felt the same way and totally get the mama bear instinct. Ooh, and I hate when my fave TV show(s) go off the rails and I have to abandon them! I just want to rant at the writers to get it together and bring it back to its former awesome.

  7. Woo Hoo! You go girl and I’m in total agreement. It’s my blog and I’ll write as bad as I wanna! 😉 For me it’s a personal blog but do a tiny bit of business on it. The business part to me is trying to get as many people to know about a book I agree to help advertise. Other than that.. totally personal. The book blasts and other things I help promote are more in helping other bloggers out.

  8. I fall on the side of the fence that does not like blogs that use their space as billboards. I don’t want to see cover reveals, book blitzes and book blasts, I want reviews. I can go anywhere to see advertisements I need to know how the book was for the blogger/reader. I love your blog because you refrain from this stuff as do I. My blog will not feature books that I don’t read. I am more about quality.

    • I would also bet that your blog reader doesn’t have a lot of the blogs in it or that you weeded them out pretty quickly 🙂 You strike me as the efficient type LOL However, you probably wouldn’t tell someone that they shouldn’t post that stuff. You would simply move on to reading another blog. This is why I *heart* you because you are more the positive type!

      • I have to say I agree with both sides of the fence. And you both hit the nail on the head here. But for me, what I’ve noticed is that blogs I used to go to for years have started falling into the “repetition” pile. So my feed reader is getting full of “those kind of posts” but they weren’t there even a year ago. What I see is that bloggers do get “generic” material from some publishers and authors, and these type of “tours” are going on longer and longer – and more frequent. They just weren’t out there a few years ago. I think the pressure to reach a larger audience has diminished the quality of what is presented – not necessary from the blogger, but they can only work with what they are given. Because of this, I have started to steer clear of sponsored tours, and try to just do my own thing.

        • Felicia S. (

          As a person who follows a large number of blogs, it does seem repetitious. However, we aren’t who the publishers are trying to reach. They are trying to reach a broader audience that only reads maybe 1 or 2 book blogs (if any) and hope by putting together these tours they hope to hit the google jackpot. Is it something I want to read? No. However, I don’t think it is my place to tell someone that they shouldn’t post that content on their blogs. Specifically if it is bringing in new traffic to their site. I don’t follow a lot of blogs that do tours, so I am more playing devil’s advocate. I clean out my blog reader regularly if I see someone is getting away from why I followed them in the first place. However, I have no idea what outside traffic these posts bring to these people’s sites. If it is helping to get outside readers (aka not other book bloggers) and that is what they want, then it is simple for me to unfollow and let them do their thing.

          Now the only reason I can see people having a huge problem with it is if they think it is taking away from how publishers are dealing with other book bloggers. I don’t work with publishers and very few authors so I don’t know if there is an impact there.

          • I agree with everything you’ve said. I am a reader first and foremost and a blogger secondary. As a reader, I find these posts becoming too common place among the blogs I have been following – and you are right, I have already stopped reading some of them as often as I used to.

            I have no problem how different people run their sites. I have chosen to do less blog tours and promo because that’s the site I want to run. I am not going to tell anyone else to do the same, but if asked I’ll tell my opinion. I agree that different bloggers run their blogs for different reasons, and having blog promo sites are equally important to those that are not. Personally, I have found that the promo material doesn’t up my readership at all, and since I don’t really care for it, I just don’t do it. But clearly it must work for others, or we wouldn’t see such an increase in the number of posts like that.

            This is what I love so much about our diverse blogging community… sharing of ideas and thoughts. As long as we are all respectful of each other, it’s a great discussion forum. You my friend have always been the epitome of such behavior. Thank you! 🙂 Merry Christmas and Happy belated birthday!

  9. Great post! I definitely needed to be reminded of this – I’ve seen lots of those “You MUST do this” type posts recently too, and it kinda had me bummed out. I am most definitely a personal blogger. I don’t have the drive or motivation to turn blogging into something I do as a business. But I definitely care a lot about my blog, and seeing some of those posts that told me I was “doing it wrong” really sucked! If only everyone in the blogging world thought like you do!

    • Honey you are fantastic and as long as your happy, keep doing what you are doing. There is no wrong way to blog unless it is causing you to break out in hives LOL. If that is the case, change what you are doing right now!

      I am seriously a firm believer in that the best blogging comes out of doing what makes you happy. It doesn’t mean that you can just wing it but it does mean that enjoyment should come from it.

  10. Well said Felicia! I agree completely, there is room for all types of bloggers, and people should do whatever makes them happy. My blog is definitely personal in nature (not in content though), and while I definitely strive to grow my readership and make new contacts and connections, the goal for me is not to make money, but simply to build something I’m proud of. I want people to want to visit the blog, and to me, that is the mark of success, not money earned. Do I think there is anything at all wrong with wanting your blog to make you money? Not in the least. It’s just not my personal goal, and like you so eloquently stated, everyone has their own ideas on what they want to achieve with their blogs. As it should be:)

    • I totally get what you are saying. My goal is to make this the best blog I can (short of it giving me sleepless nights or hives) and make it something I can be proud of. That is my reward too! Actually I think my best reward has been the friends and community of people that I have met. The rest is just gravy!


  11. Amen sista!!!! You nailed it to the wall! I agree whole heartedly with everything you said! Why ARE there people telling other bloggers what should be on their sites and what shouldn’t. I totally missed those tweets (like I miss everything) because this is a hobby for me!

    Why do people listen to them? Obviously, ONE person’s opinion is only ONE follower. If they don’t like your site, they won’t come. So what?!?! You can’t please everyone. That’s only one person in a sea of followers. Are you in it just to please people or to please yourself?

    Me, I’m in it to please myself, entertain a few people, write b/c I like to write, and play on a website b/c I geek-off on techie computer stuff (I like seeing what I made work). Mostly, though, I LOVE books, I want to find more, and I want to talk books non-stop. I’ve got all the best peeps around to play with as it is!!!

    I had no idea this was an issue but you really made sense of it all – brilliant, again!

    • I didn’t know the source of where it started till last night. I thought it was just general grumblings (mostly in the YA area) but overall it just hit me wrong. I don’t even like the slightest hint of trying to make people feel bad for choosing to post content that they want to (as long as said content is not stolen or hateful in nature).

      Now don’t get me wrong! I believe that the source person has every right to not like certain posts, quit following bloggers because that is what they post, and even do a post saying that they miss when their reader was full of things they like. I didn’t even know that it had spawned from a blog post until yesterday. That is their right. I just didn’t like the overall tone of the post/comments in general.

      That being said, I always believe that what is good for one is a positive for us all. So if someone is getting thrill and enjoyment and maybe even payment out of their blog then kudos to them. 🙂

  12. You have me wondering what you saw around Blogland.

    Awesome post with awesome advice.

    I’ve been trying to think of cool new posts and things I can do to make things more personal. I think my readers love when I get personal.

    GREAT advice about gearing outside of book blog land.

    • Just some general people posting about how much they hated a certain trend in book blogs. It wasn’t a big deal in general but it did rub me the wrong way. I have several friends that do the type of posts they were talking about so I get very “protective” and “mama bear” of my friends 🙂

      I love when my friends blogs get personal! I love learning more about the person behind the blog!

  13. I agree, great post. Ya know, I haven’t heard of the bloggers who won the Goodreads awards, but I’ll be checking them out! I was thinking the other day how there are sooo many other book bloggers out there with their own circle of friends. I guess it’s good to venture out and explore, meet new friends, too. 🙂

    My blog is personal, and that’s how I like it. I went the promotional route for a while, but it just wasn’t for me. I felt disconnected because all my time was spent setting up promo posts with an occasional review thrown in. No time to blog hop and chat with friends left me feeling sad. You’re absolutely right – bloggers should have a vision of what they want and do what makes them happiest!

    • I imagine that the promo route is harder than people think it is. I am sure that some people think it is as simple as slapping up a post and going with it. I know it isn’t that easy.

      I have 2 or 3 friends that run promotional blogs. They work 4 times harder than I do on my blog. I hope they make money off of it because that many hours should come with rewards 🙂

      I couldn’t do it LOL 🙂

  14. I love this post, Felicia. I agree with it ALL. I also think that there’s nothing that says we can’t CHANGE, either. If you’re not happy with your blog or what you’re seeing in your tribe, make a change. Do what you feel needs to be done.

      • Felicia

        I actually had a friend who started as a lifestyle blogger and slowly transitioned over to a runner(ing) blogger. She uses her blog as a platform and reaches many people 🙂 it is pretty darn awesome.

  15. Spot on cupcake my blog is something I do because I love sharing books, I do not track stats or worry what others thing. While I personally prefer blogs with more reviews then other content, I also follow blogs that share the exact opposite, because they keep it fresh and I adore them as fellow book lovers.

    • Felicia

      I do it for that reason too. I made a deal with myself that it ever started ruining my love of books I would walk away immediatly!

  16. Well said, Felicia. Amanda and I have discussed this at length before. Just because something works for one person (or blog) doesn’t mean it’s a catch-all that will work for everyone. Bloggers need to explore the options out there (whether it’s between Blogger/WP, what type of content works for them, how to stay organized to keep their blogs in tip-top shape, etc) and see what works for them.

    • Felicia

      Yeppers! You guys give great advice but it never comes across as “this is the way to do it”. It comes across as “this is the way I do it and want to share”. I just wish more people would approach advice in that manner.

  17. Great post 🙂 My blog is personal, and reviews all over it 😉 I wish I could write posts like these though. Something smart every week, or every other week. But hey, maybe that is just not me then

    • Felicia

      This is my smart used up for the next 6 months LOL 🙂 I love your blog and I know what I am getting when I go there. I think that is all that is important. I *heart* you 🙂