On Breaking the Rules of Blogging and Why Some Bloggers Annoy Me

by Erika Torres

bloggingWhen I first started blogging, almost seven years ago (!), there were a lot of “rules” to blogging I learned quickly.

Write as frequently as possible. Leave comments on every person’s blog who comments on your blog. Have pictures. People like pictures.

There were some rules that I didn’t entirely agree with, but wanting to be a good blogger, I did them anyway.

And then blogging suddenly became about SEO, and getting hits, and having more page views, and increasing your advertising, and making money….

And I lost sight of the idea that the reason I started a blog in the first place was simply to write. Write about whatever I was going through in that moment.

Long ago, I gave up at looking at my analytics. At one point, it was an addiction, but these days, it just doesn’t matter.

I also no longer schedule my posts weeks in advance, and contrary to popular blogging dogma, I don’t have an editorial calendar *gasp*.

Because frankly, I’m really bored at reading those 7 Tips for Making More Money or How to Pay Down Debt posts. If I’m reading someone’s blog, I’m reading it to read their personal story. I want to read how you make more money, how you’ve paid down debt, not some article that was probably written better on Yahoo Finance anyway.

If I need advice on retirement savings, I’m going to go to an expert, not a blogger. Can I get an “amen”?

And how about we all come down our soap box while we’re at it too?

You know what I’m talking about…those posts where we’re all, “you are doing it wrong. Do it my way” or “This is why you’re still broke—it’s because you’re spending too much money on coffee…it has nothing to do with the fact that you only make $8 an hour…”

I admit, I’ve fallen victim to committing some of these blogger faux pas (Damn you, SEO!)

It used to be that if I didn’t have anything to write about, I forced myself to come up with something. These days? Ain’t nobody got time fo dat.

I am not pointing out any one person in particular. For the most part, I love all the blogs I follow and comment on. But every now and then I run across a post that has me rolling my eyes and clicking the little ‘x’ on the top right.

Let’s commiserate together. What things do bloggers do that annoy you? Heck, I know I annoy people all the time. Just ask my husband ; ) 

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Taylor October 3, 2014 - 4:26 pm

OMG you’ve hit the nail on the head with this. I’m in a spot right now where I’m trying to follow the rules and when I wasn’t before I felt like I was connecting more with my readers. I’m trying to get back to that. Thanks for validating what I’ve been feeling!

Heidi Schmidt October 3, 2014 - 6:48 am

Love this! Not to mention bloggers have life too and I’m tired of fitness bloggers blogging about a disappointing race or “i’m so slow” when they ran an 8 min/mile. I know I shouldn’t but i have to wonder what they think of the 10-12 min/mile runners. that’s akin to me to fat talk. Really? You got out there and ran 26.2 miles or 13.1 miles – maybe you didn’t reach your goal but calling yourself slow? That’s like saying “I’m so fat” after eating a hearty salad.

I’m not necessarily fond of the “5 things to do differently with your blog to get more traffic!” posts. I read blogs to be inspired and to make connections. I loathe things like being too preachy and too many sponsored posts. I’ve unsubscribed from many bloggers who post too much sponsored crap.

But your blog I adore 🙂 I’ve been a long time reader and I love your story and that you’re so open with your readers 🙂 Thank YOU for your transparency and honesty 🙂

Sanibel October 2, 2014 - 8:40 am

I think we have all been caught up in making that mistake from time to time. I know I have. It is much easier and much more enjoyable when you write for yourself. I will admit it was hard to start the new blog and lose so many followers but that isn’t what it is about. Good for you for remaining true to yourself.

One Frugal Girl October 1, 2014 - 5:33 pm

Loved this post! After years of blogging I definitely find myself going through spurts where I have lots of things to say and long dry periods where I don’t. There is no sense in forcing yourself to blog if you aren’t in the mood. I stopped paying attention to that need as well. It means I write much less frequently and seem to have far fewer page hits, but at the end of the day I’m perfectly fine with that. I won’t make as much money from blogging but I didn’t start my blog to make money and in my case I wasn’t making a whole lot of money anyway 🙂

mylifeiguess@gmail.com September 29, 2014 - 1:05 pm

Last summer when I decided to re-focus my blog (a.k.a. have more than just my 2 friends read it), I tried to follow ALL of the rules and ALL of the “tips to be a successful blogger”, and I kinda hated it. The posts that I wrote back then were so forced and completely read that way… they were not informative, they were not well written, they were not “me”. And guess what, they were NOT popular posts, either. Thankfully I smartened up and now I just write 🙂

holly@clubthrifty.com September 24, 2014 - 6:29 am

Oh boy, there are about a million things that bug me! My #1 pet peeve is when people are delusional about their importance and act like we’re all hanging on their every word. I try to keep my mouth shut….most of the time!

LBC Teacher September 23, 2014 - 9:05 pm

Pet Peeves:
*When a blogger I like sells their domain and it’s suddenly just paid product placements. Especially when they do it with no warning.
*Sponsored posts that don’t ring true/interesting. If it seems like the blogger took the sponsored post because it’s really of interest to them or a product they’ve used/tried I don’t mind, but often they are just a blatant advertisement.

Michelle September 23, 2014 - 7:17 pm

Oh girl, I gave up on that editorial calendar a LONG time ago! Ha! I just hate having to write something scheduled in advance. To be honest, I sit down at write my posts at 10pm the night before and I publish them without a second thought of what’s coming up and what isn’t. It’s seriously whatever is going on with my life or what is on my mind.

I’m all about the personal story. If it didn’t happen to me or someone very close to me, I have no reason to write about it. I don’t understand how people can call a blog a blog when it is just advice and tips. It’s a website. You have a website that you post frequently on. Ugh. 🙂

Michelle September 23, 2014 - 4:36 pm

I don’t like it when bloggers pick on other bloggers instead of encouraging them. I was picked on about a year ago by a blogger who uses pretty snarky (read-really mean) humor. I actually wasn’t shredded as much in that post as other people had been by this person. I was left thinking “why would you spend over a 1,000 words to cut someone down who is trying to improve their life?” Luckily, I have a pretty thick skin.

Money Beagle September 23, 2014 - 11:16 am

I always try to insert my personal experiences and such into my posts. I think one thing that annoys me the most is when bloggers don’t respond to comments or comment on other blogs. Bloggers who don’t reply to comments on their own sites are just preaching, and those who don’t comment on other blogs seem to be missing the point of how blogging is also a community type activity.

Kayla @ Red Debted Stepchild September 23, 2014 - 9:51 am

When I started my blog I had no idea people even made money by blogging. Now I’ve jumped into that game a bit, but I still try to stay true to my roots on my blog by putting in plenty of my own journey and mistakes too.

reddebtedstepchild@gmail.com September 23, 2014 - 9:50 am

When I started my blog I had no idea people even made money by blogging. Now I’ve jumped into that game a bit, but I still try to stay true to my roots on my blog by putting in plenty of my own journey and mistakes too.

tammigirl September 23, 2014 - 9:20 am

I am with you! I love to hear what people are doing, what they did that worked, and what failed. I love the hilarious stories and the heartwarming. It’s so fun to have someone share their epiphany with me/us. But all the ways to ‘drive traffic’ are not why I started my blog, either. I just started to document my travels, which quickly fell to the wayside in 2007 when someone wanted me to do a giveaway. I did some, and honestly, it kind of ruined it for me. Because then all I cared about (way too much) was which ones selected me – and which ones didn’t. Then I got kind of funky and didn’t feel like doing it anymore. Weird, because when I started it was for me. Not even so much sharing with the world, but keeping a diary of sorts. One which couldn’t be lost/damaged, etc. I keep telling myself I need to get back to that, but it only sort of happens.

Cece @Pink Sunshine September 23, 2014 - 8:40 am

What? You don’t have an editorial calender? Like, oh my gosh!! I totally feel you on this post. The list buzzfeed like posts are apparently really popular and pinable and clickable so people keep doing them. Forget about actually writing. It’s all about lists and I agree it’s very annoying. I hate those how to posts that basically say things that I already know. Things I think EVERYONE already knows. Like, really? I think they know it too but it gets a post up that may garner clicks and traffic which is the only thing it’s about these days. I miss the old blogging world. There are some good changes that have happened but blogs are turning into magazines and if I want to read a magazine I’ll subscribe to Glamour. In fact, I do.

Lindsay September 23, 2014 - 8:28 am

Loved this! I totally get where you are coming from with this post. Writing about my life, or about certain topics from my perspective has been something I’ve been struggling with lately. It’s so true though – those are the types of posts I want to read on other’s blogs, not impersonal vague lists of things that I can find a million other places. I’m trying to think more each time I hit post if I would actually want to read what I just wrote. And lately, unfortunately sometimes my answer has been “no.” But hey, blogs are a work in progress, right?! 🙂

Shannon September 23, 2014 - 6:49 am

I have just recently found your blog and love it for the exact reasons that I don’t find it’s like the cookie cutter typical blog! I’m with you, I don’t care about how many readers I have, or how many page views. Hell, no one even asks me to promote their crap because I’m not big enough AND I DON’T CARE because in the end, that’s not what I got in to blogging for. It was for me and I hope I don’t lose that desire.

Sara September 23, 2014 - 6:39 am

Very true! I’ve tried blogs before that just crumbled under the weight of the “rules.” So I started a new one, and in this one I just write whatever I feel like writing about. If you can reach one person being you- well that’s worth a lot more than reaching 100 people being robotic!

Little House September 23, 2014 - 6:39 am

I also tried following those “blogger” rules for a few years (about 3) and finally just became exhausted trying to keep up. The funny thing is that as soon as I had a “I’ll post when I’m good and ready” attitude, my traffic more than doubled! Maybe it was just a coincidence.

Hmd September 23, 2014 - 5:45 am

I honestly been reading your blog because it is about your personal experience and that make it really inspiring to read! So keep it real girl!

newlywedsonabudget September 23, 2014 - 8:53 am

Thank you so much!! What kind words

Debt and the Girl September 23, 2014 - 4:52 am

I don’t look at stats either. Sometimes I will entertain some attempt to get better at SEO but I don’t really have time for that. I just write now. I don’t write as often but I write what I want. People can do whatever they want. Its just not my style.

newlywedsonabudget September 23, 2014 - 8:52 am

Agreed! Let’s all agree that we can all blog however we want and stop with this “blogging rules” nonsense that forces us to be non-creative…

Stevie September 22, 2014 - 10:43 pm

I definitely tried to follow some of those rules for blogging as well, but it became exhausting! The main reason I started blogging was for the community aspect of it. I loved the friendships I developed (both online and off) and the extra perks I got here and there were an added bonus.

I haven’t posted to my blog in about a year. Sometimes I really miss blogging and I still read/follow many of my favorite blogs (yours included!), but most of the time I’m just living my life which isn’t all that interesting 🙂

newlywedsonabudget September 23, 2014 - 8:51 am

I feel that I am following in your footsteps! We aren’t exactly newlyweds anymore, and our budget has increase a ton since we started blogging…not much to write about these days so there are long stretches without posts, but I refuse to blog just to blog. These days, it’s whenever lightning strikes. But I still love following all the blogs on my reader!

Tennille September 22, 2014 - 6:53 pm

I’m sure that I a guilty of several of the things you mention. As a new blogger I’m struggling to find my vice and many of my posts come across as what I have termed “school report”. I haven’t quite figured out he to share my story, as honestly who things being a stay at home mom with two kids is all that exciting. So when I discover new things that I find interesting I try to pass them along.

newlywedsonabudget September 23, 2014 - 8:49 am

Hey–one of my favorite must-read blogs is from a SAHM of two kids!! Check out http://www.itsadoglickbabyworld.com/

If you’re still working on finding your voice, then you’re on the right path. The point is to write about what YOU like and what inspires you and to not let anyone’s opinion (including mine!) cloud your writing. There are too many “rules” in blogging that just plain ole suck.

Kirsten September 22, 2014 - 6:18 pm

A few days ago, I started a post meant for tomorrow. As I worked on it today, I couldn’t find my “voice”. The topic was interesting to me and it’s something I’d like to pass along to folks, but I realized it’s not my story. I have nothing personal to add to it – i would be better off just tweeting out a link to the article that had inspired my intended post. But… I probably would have stayed up tonight, churning away on the post – until I read this 🙂

newlywedsonabudget September 23, 2014 - 8:47 am

I think sometimes you can definitely comment on stories you read that speak to you. I guess my point with this post is that there are no rules to blogging. While I don’t personally prefer posts about 19 ways to save money, some people do and heck, they even enjoy writing that way. It’s all about doing what you want and not caring what other people think–including me! Write what inspires you.

Erin @ Journey to Saving September 22, 2014 - 5:47 pm

I hear you. I enjoy reading the more personal stories from others as well. The generic blanket posts are pretty boring, and I tend to pass them by. I appreciate it when other bloggers put their own spin on things, because then it’s not just reading the same content over and over again.

Mrs PoP September 22, 2014 - 5:44 pm

haha, I get where you’re coming from but I don’t let it annoy me. I figure people start blogging for one reason and keep doing it sometimes for a completely different reason. We’re more like you these days, writing when we have something to say and not writing when we don’t. I don’t fault the bloggers that post 19 ways to save money with your toothbrush, or the ones that not-so-subtly include paid links that make a sentence read really oddly, but I probably don’t click through and read or comment on those posts either.

newlywedsonabudget September 23, 2014 - 8:45 am

Perhaps annoy wasn’t the right word. I do just simply ignore those posts though…might even incite an eye roll or two, but for the most part I think people should blog how they prefer, and if they like to write about how to save money with your toothbrush, then more power to them (I just won’t be reading…) : )

Christine September 22, 2014 - 5:33 pm

I love these posts from you! I’ve been struggling with some of the things you mentioned lately and it’s led me not to blog much at all because I was scared of doing it wrong. :/ But I need to just let it go and write about whatever the hell I want. 😀

newlywedsonabudget September 23, 2014 - 8:43 am

Exactly! There is no right or wrong way to blog. And heck, if you enjoy writing those “7 tips on saving money” posts, then go ahead! Ignore everyone’s opinion, including my own, and just write what you enjoy. THAT is what blogging should be about : D


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