Responding to My Post "How To Stay Motivated As A Small Blogger" Four Years Later

In the now long gone year of 2017, I published a blog post called "How To Stay Motivated As A Small Blogger". Back then I was incredibly small, tiny, miniature, lucky if I had 200 followers on Twitter, and I still believed in the magic of Instagram. In fact I dare to say, that Instagram had still been bareable in 2017.

For reasons that are probably SEO related, this plucky little post, has gained a lot of traction over the summer. So, I decided to reread it, and see if I'd still give those same tips in 2021.

In fact, here I am writing this with a little more than 900  followers on Twitter. I have no other social media platforms anymore because they weren't worth the hassle. 

Furthermore, this year I made the decision to not monetize my blog, even though I am in a position to do so - a long standing dream of 2017!me. 

However, 2021!me said that I won't add to the constant and gross bombardment of ads and subscription services on the internet just for a few bucks. 

Keeping that in mind, let's see what 2021!Sam has to say about 2017!Susanne. 

2017: "Write for Yourself" 

2021!Sam: YES YES AND YES! 

This is something I still practice until this very day. Even harder than ever before. In fact, the day I decided to not make money from this blog, was also a day when all the restraints fell away. I considered writing about video games, and tv-shows. Then decided against it - except the odd occasion. 

After all this is your blog, you are not paid to do it, and so you can indulge in happily writing about what you fancyfrom the original article

In fact, if I want to shamelessly talk about the Gears of War book series, I damn well will because this is my blog. Thus, untouchable - except in the eyes of the law - and why shouldn't I indulge in that? The readers who are curious about such niche blog topics will find them. The ones who don't? Who cares.

Through this niche's niche writing, I discovered one interesting perk: during 2020, I reviewed all of the Metro series (books, and games - exception Exodus), and I loved it. Suddenly, my review of 2035 ended up on the first page of google. Which is incredible and I had never expected anything like it. I soon came to discover that this happened because hardly anyone else has discussed this novel, let alone as an in-depth review with over 1000 words. 

These days, I'd say, yes, write for yourself and dig into your favourite niche as hard as you can.

2017: "Make Your Blog Your Space: 

2021!Sam: Agree on that one. 

This point mostly discusses the usage of blog themes and designs. It has to be a theme that is suited and that you like. You should like the colour display and so on. Even in 2017, I already knew that this takes quite a lot of work. In fact, since 2017, I must have changed my theme about 2 times until I settled on megamesh by oddthemes. 

that photo is so old, it features my old laptop and childhood bedroom

The work isn't even done there. I still tweak the theme, reorder certain settings, add a widget there, lose another here, sort the menu and maybe the slider at the top needs format number #1 again. In fact, I only dared to buy this theme when I was absolutely sure that I wouldn't change it a year later. This gave me more freedom to play around with it. I have kept it ever since! 

Sadly, looking for the right theme does not only mean "looks pretty to me" anymore. It has to be practical and not only you have to find your way around it. Then there is the ever illusive SEO, which I have no active idea about aside from some tips, which is vital. Especially for me, because I get far more traffic through searches than through social media. 

2017: "Share on Social Media" 

2021!Sam: nope

In 2017, I wrote that of course "you want people to read what you write" which is of course true. I also mentioned that for me Twitter is the easiest route - which is still true. Twitter is the only blog related social media account that survived because it comes naturally to me. 

However, you don't have to share your stuff on social media and grow a huge Instagram accounts with hardly any clicks to your blog. This can be extremely draining when nothing happens to your account and followers number. Some people, obviously, manage to reach the stage of "I don't care" but most of us, let's be honest, ... don't. 

I am not even sure where social media is going these days but it seems towards video format and short clips. This is simply something I am not comfortable with, so I don't even try to use it. Sometimes, it is even more rewarding, if you share the link with a couple of equals on discord. Then let SEO and search engines do the rest of the work. 

In the end, in 2021, I would say, you can share your work if you want to but never ever feel pressured to, or let it become a motivational factor to grow numbers. Don't even dare to think any less of your writing because nobody interacted with the twitter post yet. 

2017: "Find Fellow Bloggers" 

2021!Sam: mixed

Several usages of stock images later, I have to admit that my opinion on this is mixed. 

In the original post, I only mentioned that basically, you can nick some of their promo tactics, gain a few tips, and inspiration. 

This is not a bad thought, but it barely scratches the surface of "fellow bloggers". There are posts which "everyone" does and they are just great fun i.g. Spotify wrapped posts in December. 

However, being part of the bigger blog community comes with a lot of other daunting aspects. There are bloggers who dropped out because they couldn't stay on top of the trends and hashtag problematic discussion happening. Feeling especially cynic, I'd say that going into those social justice discussions creates a lot of clout but they are freaking exhausting. You simply can't stay on top of every news, trend, twitter drama etc ... 

Recently, I read an article, which told me that if you follow others bloggers and they follow you, you essentially prompt your work to your competition. Which is correct. You are mutuals with 500 bloggers all of which are your mutuals because they also want to boost their numbers - it is a sad truth, but it is one nevertheless. 

If you’re a beauty blogger, you follow other beauty bloggers, right? And if you’re a writer, you follow other writers. You’re TOLD to do this by experts. [...] Guess who’s probably not going to click on your affiliate links and buy your blogging products, or even read your blog posts?"Do You Really Need Social Media To Be A Successful Blogger?" written by Kim Lochery on

However, there can also be magic in community if it really is built as such. If there are people who you can talk to and joke with. People who all read the same book as you, and now you scream together. In fact, the blogger group I was a part of during the "Celestial Creatures" blog tour was the best I have ever been in. We'd talk about the book, sometimes ask around if anyone had experience with X etc. 

There is also magic in joining a small promotional blog share and honestly clicking on the articles that sound interesting to you. Not just comment on other people's posts because they might or promised to return a comment. 

2017: "Write Regularly"

2021!Sam: big NO 

The part of me that says "if you want to get better at something, you have to do it regularly" wants to say yes, and they'd be right in doing so. You can't expect to get better at something without working on it. 

However, the bigger part of me knows that the answer is no. Please only write when you can, and when you really feel like it. The itching feeling of "post, post, where, what, yes, write, write, write" and all of the sudden you are going to have a post thrice as long as the original. Why? Because you wanted to write it. 

Furthermore, it reduces stress by a lot. The world is stressful and painful enough, the last thing you need during any type of crisis is the nagging thought "but I haven't reviewed any books in a while." There are more important priorities. In the great picture that is life, blogging does take a lower one. So no, you don't have to write blog posts regularly. You can, sure, I am not going to stop you but if it feels more draining than fun ... take a break. 

Especially in my case, the mindset of: "Even if you think nobody is going to read it, write, write, write! You need to get a routine." would probably do more harm than good these days. So I have to say, that the advice I branded as "the most important" in 2017 is shit. 

the late Sir Cat (2001 - 2020) approved this post

In the end, I have to say, that 2017!me wasn't wrong about all things. Blogging was very important to me these days. Now, life has changed with up and downs and I have a different and more clear view on what blogging means to me. It isn't always easy but I love doing it. All while remembering that it is a hobby and as such not the highest priority I have in my life.

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