Old school blogging never died

The March 2024 Google Search algorithm update has reportedly “set bloggers back 10 years”, leaving a lot of bloggers feeling empty and redundant.

Holding a stack of cash folded in half twice

A lot of people started blogs to make money blogging. I got into blogging because I needed an outlet — both for my thoughts and creativity. I stuck with blogging and have even made money as a blogger, and I think it’s one of the few things I’m good at that I can earn money with.

So I’m kind of in the same-ish boat, except I don’t blog solely to make money. I’ve experienced a lot of new things because I blog, that I wouldn’t have cared to experience if I wasn’t going to blog about it.

When I picture living my life without a blog, where I don’t share my experiences in any kind of way, I feel like something is missing — like being a blogger is a part of me, as a person.

Not everyone understands this, especially those who are bloggers because they want to make money — who go into blogging wondering how they can make more money.

I think that’s what separates me from the bloggers who only blog about blogging or only blog to make money (e.g. building and selling blogs).

I think that’s also why I struggle so much to start blogs to sell. I used to start and sell starter blogs, but I couldn’t escape the mindset of “this blog will be sold, so keep it sellable”.

When I start writing a post, I think,

“How can I enrich someone’s life?”

instead of, “How can this post make me money?”

That’s what separates bloggers from business owners who blog. A blogger can be a business owner, but business owners who blog probably aren’t bloggers at heart.

A “true blogger” is someone who would blog even if money wasn’t in the picture, because it’s such a huge part of them. That kind of passion cannot easily be fabricated for the people who want to blog for money.

Unfortunately, the attempt to do so anyway is the reality of blogging now.

“Old school blogging”

When people talk about “old school blogging”, you might see references to online diaries. I don’t think it’s like that at all.

Clean desk containing laptop and some notebooks; above-angle view of my legs propped on desk

Rather, it’s more lifestyle bloggers sharing about their interests and lives, covering the topics related to that, instead of focusing on having a niche.

It’s befriending other bloggers because you like them, not because you want to “monetize your friends” by turning them into affiliates for your products.

I’ve known Georgie Cooke for at least 15 years and have never met her, yet I feel a strong connection regardless. If Australia didn’t prohibit autistic/disabled immigrants, I’d not have lost the hope of possibly moving there later in life. πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ

“Old school blogging” is blog tag linkups and sharing each other’s posts because you loved the posts and commenting on people’s posts when you have something worth saying.

It’s blogging because you love it and creating a community around your blog, where you’re at the heart and develop a camaraderie with your audience.

You made a choice not to blog that way.

You could have kept on. You made a choice to stop blogging in the kind of way that cultivates a community and bears true power to change the world, in favor of blogging like everyone else in the kind of way that promotes conformity.

New bloggers who haven’t been blogging for as long made the choice to follow the crowd, perpetuate this “right way of blogging” fallacy for quick bucks highly dependent on luck.

Everyone had a choice to make in the matter. A lot of bloggers turned judgmental, criticizing those of us who kept lifestyle/nicheless blogging while propping themselves up because they blogged differently.

Old school blogging tips

I don’t consider old school blogging to be making a comeback per se, but here are some blogging tips for it if you want to engage in it.

1. All roads lead to your blog.

Posit your blog as the central hub/zone/hive/hangout/whatever.

Everything you do points back to your blog — including your newsletter, social media, YouTube.

I find growing a blog much easier and feel I’ve more control over what my audience sees than social media, which feels draining. Instead of trying to grow my Instagram account, I seek to grow my newsletter.

That said, growing my YouTube channel does take some kind of priority, depending on its content. ✨

2. Talk to other bloggers as fellow humans.

Instead of looking at other bloggers as people to “network” with, look at them as humans. Find fellow humans with common interests and chat about those things more than, or in large addition to, blogging.

Why? Because talking to other people about things other than blogging does wonders for your creativity. It gets you thinking about things in a different light, exposes you to new ideas, and broadens your horizons.

Befriending bloggers and non-bloggers are two completely different groups of people. Or, in 2024, perhaps it’s more accurate to say that befriending digital creators and non-creators are two completely different groups of people.

One group of people understands when you have an idea for something or find the perfect photo opportunity. The other group of people tends to find you “over the top” or even “obnoxious” and doesn’t usually comprehend that you live a creative lifestyle fueled by romanticizing the mundane.

3. Infuse what makes you yourself into everything you publish.

I could say “create amazing content”, but that’s only 1/3 of it.

Blogging is 1/3 amazing content, 1/3 promotion and 1/3 appeal (i.e. attraction). All of these things need to be wholeheartedly infused with what makes you you.

This doesn’t mean “figure out what makes you unique and use that to your advantage”. That is vague advice that prevents you from understanding what makes you relatable.

Your combination of life experiences, interests, skills and style collectively make you unique. Figure out what makes you yourself — your glimmers and favorites, things you don’t agree with, etc.

You need to present this kind of you within everything you put out there on the web that screams, “THIS IS [YOUR NAME]!”

Rainbow-checkered Vans shoes on wood vinyl floor, wearing black jeggings

I only wear Vans slip-ons as an everyday shoe. I don’t wear shoes needing to be tied, ever. Posting a photo of me in tying shoes would be uncharacteristic, unless I was making a certain point.

I’ve had people recognize ME, specifically because of my rainbow-checkered Vans slip-ons.

Personal style is an identifying factor, after all.

Having this kind of recognizability is sort of like personal branding, but I think it goes deeper than the superficiality associated with it because it’s more than branding.

It’s presenting you, with all your multitudes, as you are and as you feel comfortable doing, in the open.

Should you characterize yourself?

Usually, a “personal brand” emphasizes the brand as a specific idealized version or character of a person for a specific purpose, as opposed to presenting an actual relatable, messy human being.

That said, some people do find creating a characterized version of themselves to present to the internet helps them create and maintain boundaries in their personal lives.

Existing on the internet as never been something I could separate, so I find characterizing myself like that extremely dissociating.

No-contact relatives failed to comprehend the nuance of what I post online and what I don’t, of the multitudes I possess and the things I keep to myself.

In my experience, people who don’t understand and don’t listen never will understand.

I wouldn’t say I present a “characterized” version of myself to the internet — I think the version of me presented to you on the internet is more akin to my true colors than whatever idealized version people have of me offline.

I’m autistic and have dissociative identity disorder; my brain doesn’t have this off/on for the “different versions of myself” that singlets have — it compartmentalizes different parts of me as is needed to cope/survive/live through specific situations and distributes those parts accordingly.

For me, I think it’s more a question of mask versus unmasking, one alter or another alter — not “Is this the ‘real’ version of Jane or a mere faΓ§ade?”

All in all, old school blogging is about going with the flow and embracing your humanness in connection with other people existing in the world, too. πŸ’–

P.S. Subscribe for nicheless blogging tips from an old school blogger who never quit traditional blogging in the first place πŸ˜πŸ‘‡

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