Friday, 19 August 2016

Five Years Blogging ~ What I've Learnt

Five years ago I tentatively clicked the Publish button on my first post to Threading My Way. Uppermost in my mind were three questions...
  • Will anyone read my blog?
  • Do I want to put myself out there?
  • Will I measure up?
Today I thought I'd share my thoughts on the ride so far - what I've learnt and how blogging has changed over those years.

What I've learnt in five years of blogging ~ Threading My Way

When I started blogging in 2011, the sewing / crafting blogging community was warm and welcoming. It was a large and flourishing group of people sharing similar interests and attitudes.

We were by no means in the first wave of blogging. In 1999, there were just 23 blogs on the Internet. Within seven years, this number had grown to 50 million. (Source: A Brief History of Blogging) According to Wikipedia, there were over 156 million blogs in existence by the time I began blogging in 2011. Who knows how many there are now.

I had no particular goals in mind when I added blogging to my list of hobbies. I was missing the technology side of the job I had retired from, as well as the daily interaction with colleagues who had become good friends, and I was also enjoying sewing again after a long break. Combining the former and the latter seemed like a good option, and I've never regretted that decision. It's been a fun learning curve for me, and I have 'met' many other like minded souls along the way.

I quickly realised I didn't just want to talk to myself. The whole point of having a blog was interaction, well, for me anyway, and that meant people commenting on my posts. Link parties were the way to go. Sewing / crafting bloggers were a friendly bunch. There was lots of time spent visiting each other's blogs and leaving comments.

It didn't take long to build up friendships with like minded bloggers. When one of their posts popped up in the RSS feed, we'd visit and take the time to comment. 

Leaf prints & embroidery - artwork done by my daughter in Pre-school

The numerous comments encouraged me and reinforced the desire to blog.

It's much harder to write a post that attracts a lot of comments now. That doesn't mean people don't read it, like it or find the content relevant. I keep hearing the words time poor and no time to leave comments. Ha! Sorry, but I believe that in many cases (in first world countries), that's a choice - a choice to spend a lot of time doing other things that are enjoyable, such as social media. Maybe I'll devote a whole post to my thoughts on being time poor one day.

When I began blogging, Facebook and Twitter had been around for several years. Pinterest was only in its infancy and although Instagram started at a similar time to Pinterest, it didn't really take off till it was acquired by Facebook a little later on. As these social media sites grew, bloggers realised the potential for growing their audiences, and that meant time away from their blogs.

Social media sites attracted an audience of readers, many of whom had never read blogs. However, gaining followers via social media, also meant the loss of comments from some followers who used to comment under a blog post. Now they could leave a comment or a like under a social media post, without having actually read the post.

And for those who are on several social media platforms, this means dividing the time spent commenting between both blogs and all platforms. (This is not being time poor - RANT over. I do need to write a post to get it out of my system, don't I).

This goes for large blogs, too. I actually think lots of smaller blogs have been able to keep more commenters than many larger blogs.

Retro Flower Power Pillow ~ made for a challenge

In the first couple of years blogging, I entered challenges to both build up my sewing skills and to meet new bloggers. They were fun challenges, with lots of interaction between the participants along the way. The only prizes were blog buttons, and I proudly displayed the couple I earned. 

At the time I enjoyed the challenges, as it pushed me way out of my comfort zone, most notably interacting with others and putting myself out there, with the chance of publicly failing. I work well under pressure and quite often found myself sewing at the eleventh hour.

However, the longer I've been blogging, the less I feel the need to prove myself and I'm no longer drawn to challenges like I initially was.

Now-a-days, I think challenges are more competitive, with more of an emphasis on prizes and perhaps less interaction between the participants sharing progress photos.

Wedding Dress Refashion

Another way of attracting readers to my blog, was to post teaser posts to blogs such as the Refashion Co-op. An added benefit was finding other bloggers who also enjoyed turning pre-loved clothes into new garments. After a couple of years contributing to blog co-ops, I lost enthusiasm, mainly because I no longer enjoyed the monthly deadline, and once it became a chore, I opted out. My blog was also to a point where page views were coming from other sources.

Even though I much prefer to publish my posts on Threading My Way, I have, over the years, written posts for other bloggers whom I knew and who were at a similar stage in blogging as me. I took it as a huge compliment when they invited me to guest post on their blogs and I still value the experience it gave me. I wrote all those posts with the same enthusiasm as if I were writing for my own blog. And, I later published them here on Threading My Way - here's one I wrote on different types of seams

I've also written both paid and unpaid posts for large blogs and companies - with the content published on their sites. Initially I very much enjoyed the kudos, but now that I've shown I measured up, the novelty has worn off. I may do more in the future, but writing for my own blog is where I get the most satisfaction.

Denim Fabric Basket Tutorial

If you Google it, you'll find lots of references showing how to make your posts popular - good content, great photos, etc, etc. But what I've learnt is that a lot of it comes down to luck. 

My denim fabric baskets tutorial is by far my most popular post. It's been Pinned 99,808 times and has had 270,883 page views. I'll take credit for the tutorial being detailed and well written, but it's no different to my other tutorials in that respect. There's one cutesy photo, but the lighting and background are abysmal, so not good photos. I was simply in the right place, at the right time, with an idea that appealed to some large sites that featured it. From there it's snowballed - it just keeps keeping on. The more it's in the spotlight, the more it gets seen, the more it gets featured, and so on and so on.

Fabric Basket with Drawstring Top Tutorial

My fabric basket with a drawstring top tutorial has done exceptionally well in recent times. The tutorial was sewn up by a blogger with a much larger following than me. And her photography is brilliant. Who does, or does not make up your tutorials is totally out of your control. Again, luck comes into play.

Blogging has become more competitive as bloggers have realised they can make money. Sure, when I began blogging there were bloggers making money, but, in the main, they were large blogs that had been around for a while - hobby bloggers who attracted large followings and then monetised their blogs. There has been a shift from blogging as a hobby to blogging as a way of making money.

Stories of bloggers making serious money have attracted people who begin blogs purely to make money. Don't get me wrong - I'm not criticising the new bloggers out to make money, but the motivation behind starting a blog will, in most cases, affect the tone and focus of the blog. Here's a paraphrased comment I read in a Facebook blogging group - I want to start a blog to make money. What do you think would be a good topic for the blog? It wasn't an isolated comment, either.

I read several blogs where the desire to make money is a driving force. These people have a skill for combining their genuine interest in sewing, and a wish to make a living from their blogs. They are, in my opinion, few and far between. More often than not, the desire to make money becomes the over-riding factor influencing the direction of the blog.

There are degrees of monetisation, with hobby blogs at one end and blogs whose sole aim is to make money at the other.

I believe it is the monetisation of blogs that has changed the overall environment from warm, welcoming and accepting, to one that is now more competitive. Of course, this is a huge generalisation.  For those of you who aim to make a living from blogging, please don't take this as criticism. How can I disapprove of monetisation when I myself have ads in my sidebar? I'm just highlighting the changes over the years as I see them. If I read and comment on your blog, then I obviously like the way you do things.

Silk Screen Printed Quilt ~ Threading My Way
Silk Screen Printed Quilt

In recent years I have heard larger bloggers tell others what they should or should not do - complaining about smaller bloggers blogging for free fabric, etc, as the hobby bloggers spoil it for those trying to make money. Sorry larger bloggers, it's a free economy, working on supply and demand. Just because you've made some money and feel you'd like to continue, doesn't mean hobby bloggers can't treat it as a hobby. There's no guaranteed income in blogging.

Drawstring Shoulder Bag Tutorial
Drawstring Shoulder Bag Tutorial ~ bag made with fabric given to me by a company

With the advent of Pinterest, and the realisation that a good pin can drive traffic, there's been an increase in the tendency for show without substance. How many times have you clicked on a pin, only to be sorely disappointed at what it led to? One quick glance is all it takes to tell me that particular blog is of no interest to me, but there are more such blogs around. And that's no different to the real world - advertisements, reality TV shows, people just plain showing off.

35+ Pillowcase Tutorials
Pillowcase Tutorials

I hear that in some circles, becoming an influencer is now what passionate bloggers strive to achieve. I have to confess that when I first heard bloggers referred to as influencers, I really thought they were up themselves. The reality is that it's the people who are following them who are allowing and causing this to happen and consequently, the influential bloggers themselves are taking advantage of the monetary rewards to be gained by being viewed in such a light.

Blogging is no different to the real world - success and popularity attract a lot of people. I'm not sure why - maybe because they like to read about how the rich and famous spend their lives or maybe it's dreaming they will one day be living the same dream, in this case, becoming a blogger making a lot of money.

Outfit inspired by the book, The Paper Bag Princess ~ Threading My Way
The Paper Bag Princess

Another thing I've learnt is that it's not necessarily talent and skill that gives you opportunities, such as having a line of fabric or a book published. Not that I've tried - this is purely by observation. Many do have obvious talent, but they are now chosen for their large followings as well. Others have just as much, sometimes more talent, but without the followers forget it.  The large followings result in the bloggers effectively advertising the products for the manufacturer, resulting in more sales.

In a former life, I had a couple of books for teachers published - Fun With Books and Learning Through Literature.  It was the publisher's job to sell the books, not mine, and payments to me reflected that. I wonder if sewists with published books receive a greater percentage of the profits today.

Wine Bottle Gift Bag Tutorial ~ Threading My Way
Denim Wine Bottle Gift Bag

Blogging emulates the school playground in its social groupings...
  • popular group
  • those who wish to be popular and feed on every word the popular group says
  • the not so popular group
  • the group in between popular and not so popular, who seem to be able to relate to both groups

I'm comfortable with my position within this world. For me, blogging is first and foremost a hobby. To that end, I sew what I like and blog when I feel so inclined, even though at times there is self imposed pressure. I'm not aiming to be a big, popular blog, so that gives me the freedom to make items that are not necessarily mainstream or up to the minute. For you, my readers, that means variety. 

The world is changing at an ever increasing pace, and with that comes the certainty that blogging will continue to evolve. It won't be around forever, but for the time being, I'm pleased it is.

I would love to hear your thoughts on the changes that you have seen in the blog world.

... Pam


42 comments:

  1. These are wonderful observations! I have noticed a lot of changes in the blogging world as well. I think what I love the most is the ability to connect with people all over the world. I consider bloggers like you to be my friends. My kids like to see my analytics map to see where people are visiting from. (It is a great geography lesson!) I also love to be able to inspire others to create, as others have done for me. Thank you for all of the work that you put into your blog. I read and appreciate it.

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  2. Pam! This was so good to read. Whenever I add anything to your links and you feature me, I feel like you are an old friend who is reaching out to me. My blog has ebbed and flowed over the past few years and was trying to resurface lately. With your help (as an influencer) my readership has grown. Most of my readers were on Pinterest, so I read up on that. What a waste of time! I read that I needed a red checkmark. I researched and researched on how to do this. I even needed to upgrade my platform, only to find out that it did not work and Pinterest has suspended this for ordinary people. I feel like your thoughts here have freed me from this rat race that I really do not want to enter. I will continue to do what I like. Thank you!!!!

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  3. What a great post. As a new blogger, I like hearing the opinions of those that have continued their blog for some time. I had a small goal when starting my blog and that was to connect with like minded people all over the world. My quilting tribe if you will. :) In just a few months, I have made some pretty amazing friends that I would not have encountered if we weren't both bloggers. I get great satisfaction in sharing my interests and learning about others as well.

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  4. First-Happy 5 year blogiversary. I don't have a blog, but I sure enjoyed reading your post today. I love reading blogs to see what is happening in other places and seeing what others are making. I get lots of ideas and learn about new things. I feel like I have learned so much from everyone. Thank you for sharing your projects and time with us.

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  5. Happy 5 years! I didn't realize it, but we came online with blogging about the same time. :) Your observations are so much of what I was thinking as well. From time to time I feel that self-imposed pressure. That was partly why I thought I would stop and actually did! Then I realized that whether anyone visits my blog or not, I shouldn't loose perspective on why I enjoy it. It's a great little record and journal of my creativity and I have picked up a few friends along the way which makes me so very happy. My pictures aren't all that great and no matter how good I get at sewing, I still have things that get tossed in the trash. LOL It is humbling and keeps it real.

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  6. Congrats on a successful 5 years. I remember when you first started. I think your continous Linkys have been a great idea.

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  7. Congratulations on your anniversary. I would have to agree with much of what you said in your post. I have been blogging for almost a year and started with the goal of sharing the things that interest me with other people who might be interested. I follow a lot of big name sewing, refashioning and up cycling blogs and I have found that there is definitely a school yard mentality with some of the people that I have been exposed to. I don't want to monetize my blog, I just want to do it because it brings me joy and I get to share things that interest me. But I do feel like I am in competition, unintentionally, with the big bloggers for followers. I do get joy when someone decides to comment on my blog, visit it or even follow it, but that's not the main reason I do it. I feel like there is a glass ceiling that you just can't get through if you don't monetize or heavily publicize your blog. What's with that? I thought when I first started that it would be a lovely community of like minded people, and for the most part it has been that way, but there is a small portion that people where the money is the motivation rather than the community. I have been lucky enough to meet and continue to communicate with some super people through my blog and I wouldn't trade that for anything. But it would be nice to have access or exposure to more people who might find my blog interesting and I could meet more great people. Sorry for the rambling. I loved your post, it reminded me why I started my blog in the first place and reinforced my love for doing it. Cheers, Michele

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    1. Thanks so much for adding your thoughts to the discussion, Michele - not rambling at all. It definitely is much harder to gain comments on a post, now. Can I make a suggestion? I noticed that your blog is not linked to your profile, just the Refashion Co-op. If you link your own blog, it will make it easier for others to visit your own blog. ...Just a thought.

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  8. You sound very healthy, Pam, and that truly means something when one is involved with/in the online community. I had never really heard of the term "time poor" and I do agree, it's a matter of choice in deciding what we have or don't have time for in our lives.

    Your reference to blog badges intrigued me... because I have been contemplating a specific one for some time now. If they were once a big deal and now not so much, maybe it's time to revive them.

    Thanks for a good read!

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  9. Hello. I agree with the school year analogy. In relation to blogging I have noticed this very thing within months of starting blogging. However, my aim is to get back writing. I had done some research well before I started and I set myself some guidelines: Write because I want to; Write about what interests me and NOT anybody else; Have fun writing and photographing; publish to my hearts content (once a week).
    I am doing some writing courses to move towards a different career path, which is towards retirement. I want to write and have fun writing books. If they succeed..yahoo, if they don't...too bad so sad. But I will continue to write and have fun learning this craft.
    Those who are popular in schools, in movie stardom, in life in general carry their peer and audience expectations. I don't need it. I don't want it. I prefer my little space on earth to do what I enjoy.
    I didn't have the hesitation of pushing the publish button, but of becoming involved in this whole new technological world.
    My family is my first love. However, even my family never had time to read long blogs, so I shortened them, interspersed with pictures. Then I set up a Facebook page apart from my personal FB. The concerning thing about most blogs is that want you to sign in or log in (more passwords & information).
    I have found that my family and FB friends press like and maybe short comment. I am growing a thick skin and will not take offence. I am the same with FB, but with blogs I have chosen to only comment on 1-2 blogs well. The different social media like Instagram, FB, Pinterest are immediate. But if something matters to me at that point in time I will delve further. If someone takes the time to comment I will comment back and/or like their comment. Anyway, enough waffling from me.
    Also Thank you for commenting on my Kangaroo story. Cheers Maria.
    P.S I love how clever you are with your sewing. It is not my forte. One thing I do is survival cooking, which means nothing flash but nutritional.

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    1. Good point about famous people often carrying the expectations of others. I have enough trouble living up to my own expectations. I'm with you re family reading blogs. If I opened my blog just to my family, there'd be next to no comments, if any at all. Thanks for adding your thoughts to the discussion, Maria. Have fun writing and blogging.

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  10. So interesting to read Pam and I found myself nodding throughout! Things have changed lots over the years of blogging, but I kind of like the challenge of figuring out what the latest trend is and trying to fit into it. I love blogging but I know to keep putting the amount of time and effort into it that I do I need to make it pay. I've tried various methods of monetising my blog but my whole blog focus is about DIY, upcycling and using what you've got, so promoting products for people to buy doesn't really fit with that. In the end I'm down to Google ads. People can choose whether to click on them or not, and if people feel they are intrusive and don't visit my blog because of that (and I've had people comment and say that) then that's just tough. I try to provide as much value as I can on my blog and help and encourage others, making a (very small) amount of money in return by displaying ads isn't too much to ask!). I agree too that getting 'seen' and 'featured' etc is luck to a huge extent. Yes pretty pictures and great content and the right keywords will help, but all it takes is the right person to see it at the right time and share and traffic and pageviews can soar.
    I've found that the best thing I can do with blogging, is do what I love, share that with those that are interested and keep on trying to find a way to make my millions doing what I love without selling my soul!! One day I'll get there - and when I do I will share how and encourage everyone else to do the same too!! :) :)

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    1. I'm the same as you Jill. I write about frugal living and cooking cheap, frugal meals. I hardly want to get people to buy things unnecessarily. As for photos, I know mine aren't the best but you can't eat a photo. If people are wanting a quick and easy meal, they'll look for them. If they like looking at food porn, well that's their choice. You and Pam have become great online blogging friends over the years! Anne xx

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  11. Congratulations on your blogging anniversary! 5 years is an amazing achievement!

    Kez | acaciasdreams.com

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  12. Pam, good article.I love reading posts from the bloggers I follow, but I don't leave comments like I should because words don't come to me as they do others. I have my list that I check everyday and have been doing this for years.I agree with you that a lot of bloggers only write to make money. I love to read the posts that share ideas and hints or a moment of their time from their life and don't try and get me to buy from their shop or pull me to their site to up the impressions numbers.You have a great blog and I hope that you continue and know there are folks like me that really enjoy what you write about but find it so very hard to put our words together to tell you. Happy 5th anniversary, but also thank you for 5 years of good reads.

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    1. Ruby, don't ever feel you should leave a comment. I'm really pleased, however, that you decided to leave one on this post. I can see from my stats that there are lots of people who read Threading My Way without commenting, and that's just fine. Thanks so much for your kind, and articulate words. Made my day reading your comment - a huge compliment.

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  13. Very thought provoking, Pam, thank you for posting this. I have been blogging only 2-1/2 years, and I concentrate on things I enjoy. I don't limit my posts to just one area as I am interested in many things and want my blog to reflect that. I get irritated with blogs that are so focused on making money, with animated and moving ads, and little actual content, just click bait. I do link up here and there but I don't make a weekly practice of it. I agree about having a conversation, and make an effort to comment on most of the blogs I visit. It amazes me when other bloggers won't do the same, although I understand if you have 200 comments you cannot respond individually to all of those. One blogger I follow and comment on regularly recently responded to my comment via email. When I emailed back gave her a link to something on my blog she said that she had read it, and follows my blog but doesn't comment. She said it was too hard to comment with her tablet, yet, comments are important to her. I thought that was paradoxical. Needless to say, I don't comment on her blog anymore. Sad.

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  14. Love this post! Very thoughtful and totally true. I am not a big commenter but that doesn't mean I don't read, enjoy, pin, and sew your tutorials! You are a rockstar blogger in my world!! : )

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    1. What a lovely comment to leave, Pam must be rightly flattered!

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  15. I do enjoy reading blogs, hobby type and professional money driven ones too. There is quite a lot that resonates true for me as well in your observations. It's amazing how quickly things can turn from feeling supportive and encouraging to overly marketed and purely commercial. I enjoy linky parties and jump on the bandwagon plenty but the attitude of "what's in it for me" vibe can leave a bad taste. Looking forward to your rant post on time poor.

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  16. I love this post! I'm in the not very popular group who blogs just because I love to to talk and share what I'm doing! Since I have a real job, I don't get to blog as much as I would like to. I don't waste my time on blogs that it is obvious they are just trying to make money and not because they are passionate about what they are doing. I love your blog because it is real!

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  17. I just got back onto my blog feed after not really paying attention for three years and saw this post. I think it is very interesting how things have changed since I stopped actively blogging. I liked blogging with the writing and the community, but I got tired of "courting followers" and feeling like I had to keep posting, and doing the challenges just so people would come to my blog. I was just too busy otherwise to keep up with all that. So your article really hit home!

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  18. We have really similar view points and experiences. I still really enjoy blogging, but tend to steer away from anything chore-like regardless of potential traffic or money. If I can make money doing what I want then that's great. If not then I just don't worry too much about it. I don't really let pressure and competition bother me much these days.

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  19. oh Pam! I enjoyed reading this so much. I have been blogging since 2008, none of my nowadays blogs (yes, got more than one) are as old as that first one I closed.This past year I've felt like this is all just about making money and giveaways and that has drawn me to care less and less about blogs. I actually unfollowed a large number of them in a recent past and even some more recently. I read and like more, and comment less. Sometimes we want to read it all, experience it all, and that is overwhelming, is lost time and I've come to think hard about it. I have two small children, I don't want them to remember me as the mom who was always busy online. I thought about making money with my blog long ago, but I am glad I didn't, I am so happy I still do it JUST because I enjoy doing it. It's sad no one comments as much, because the interaction IS the most important, but I am glad I made friends, with real connections and DO comment often.
    I know I've been commenting less here too... so sorry! But I am still following and enjoying your posts.

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    1. I can so relate to wanting to experience it all, and then becoming overwhelmed - very easy to do with SO much information online. Don't ever feel you have to leave comments. I'm glad you did today, though. Thanks for adding your thoughts to the discussion.

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    2. I just realised you might not know who I am because I've made my profile private and changed my username, but I guess you'll get there if I mention something like "refashion month" ;)

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  20. I am not a blogger but sure do enjoy reading all the different ones that I follow. I have been introduced to fabric lines that I would never of heard of if it wasn't for a blog. I have been introduced to wonderful, reputable online shops that I can safely order from. Reading blog brings such enjoyment and I surely enjoy reading yours.

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    1. Oh, Mary, I have bought so much fabric after seeing it made up into beautiful items online. It's always good to be able to read of others' experiences with online shops, so we know they are reputable before we put our order in. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

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  21. I loved this post. I find that readers try to push you to make a blog that they want. Which I have found disturbing. but like you I do my own thing!! Lots of what you said rang bells with me and some made me laugh.
    I am very with your feeling about blogging. I love your blog and have followed you since you started. Keep up doing what you love doing.

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  22. Hi Pam, Congrats on your five years of blogging and inspiring your blogger friends!!
    It took time to read your post and like you, I also started blogging to connect with like minded people. Till date, I haven't done monetisation of my blog and I never intend to. I knew it won't get me even 1% of what I used to earn while working full time. I did not have friends who shared same interest and I wanted more people to see and enjoy my work than just my family members. Blogging helped me reach many people and I learnt new things from my fellow blogger friends, there was a side effect of huge stashing though. I have seen big blogs with nice pics but actually their creation wasn't challenging. Such things helped me improvise on photography techniques but I decided not to go mad about it. A little bit of presentation skill is always good to learn. Once I had reached 100 followers, I dint really bothered much and joined as and when I liked blogs or suggested by blogger friends. I like your link party mainly because it is like a library of tutorials and there is no competition. I am a down to earth person and people like me will understand the importance of knowledge you have shared with us right from basic to expert level. I always take the good things that I feel might help me in my creativity and don't enter into competition with others. That's the best way to stay calm.

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  23. Happy anniversary Pam! I agree with everything you say. You're one of the first people I met when I started blogging and I'm so grateful for our online friendship. I feel like I live in two worlds. My real world and my virtual world. I love hosting the Thriving on Thursdays party because I know I get to catch up with you. I love seeing all your beautiful projects you make and you always inspire me. I may never get around to making them but the though is always there. "Oh, Pam made that. I'll go check out her tutorial."

    I look back at some of my earlier posts and they all have 8 to 10 comments on them. You're right. Commenting on blogs is no longer the done thing. To be honest, I don't read blogs like I used to. Before I started blogging, that's all I did was read them and comment on them. Now that I'm blogging too, I follow people I like on social media and when I see a post I like, I'll read it.

    You're so right about the numbers with the bigger bloggers. If only big companies knew about the relationship we have with the people who do follow us. I don't write things to influence people but write what I think about things. They're entirely my opinion but if someone else can relate or make use out of something I've written, then that's all I worry about.

    A great post and a wonderful 'virtual' friendship with you Pam after all these years. I do, however, love catching up with my online friends in real life so maybe one of these days we might be able to do that.

    All the best, Anne xx

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  24. Congratulations on your 5 year blogaversary Pam, I am looking forward to reading your posts for another 5 years!
    Like many of your commenters I started blogging to connect with like-minded individuals as I was living in Eastern Europe at the time and feeling isolated from fellow stitchers. That is still the reason that I continue to blog even although we are now back in the UK and I can meet up with fellow stitchers regularly. I too have noticed a decrease in the number of comments left on any given post, which is a shame given that the links with other bloggers is my main reason for posting.
    In the beginning I followed several blogs with large numbers of followers but found that the number of sponsored posts and increasing emphasis on pushing sponsor products was a complete turn off, so I no longer follow any such blogs. I think that there still is a significant, and possibly almost silent, number of bloggers who share your thoughts and perhaps it is time for us to reassert the positive aspects of blogging for our own personal enjoyment as opposed to being a means to create an income :)

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  25. Great post, Pam! I share the same thoughts...I feel like you have written what have been on my mind, but of course much more well-written way than I could ever describe my feelings ;) And you have made me realize I have had my blog for 5 years too!
    I only read craft/sewing related blogs, and sure noticed the changes. These days I feel like I am being fed advertisement after advertisement, and they are all praising whatever they are selling. I would love to read more real opinions, especially when I am reading blogs. People are commenting less, and link parties have become link-and-go. But your parties are still attracting those who actually interested in others posts! I see traffic to my blog from your parties, and being featured on your blog have always meant great deal to me. Happy Anniversary! :)

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  26. Interesting to read as I'm just in the beginning of my hopefully long blogging "career". I have found out that there still is warm and welcoming atmosphere for a new blogger like me at least most of the time. Before I started I read loads of articles how to start a blog, how to make it successful, how to monetize it and all the fancy stories about making thousands of euros just after couple months blogging. Luckily I have been working on sales and I know that not all sales speeches tell the whole truth so I read them, picked couple hints, and then forgot the rest. I wanted to have a blog that I can be proud of and I didn't want my family to suffer from it. I have read how you should use 40 hours per week for blogging to make it successful, how to use 20 hours for writing, 20 hours for social media etc. But with a diy blog that's not really an option, I have to make the things first that I blog about! So I forgot those "rules" too thinking that I will do it the way it suits me and see where it goes, I'm not in a hurry. The main thing in my life is family, the second is my blog and in the blog the most important thing is to show people new ideas where they can upcycle their textiles. It is a topic I could talk for hours with anyone who would like to listen so blogging about it is very easy. I would like to make money with it, simply because then I can make it my full time job and getting paid for something you like to do is probably one of the best things in the world and having a job at home would mean easier school days for kids as there would always be an adult at home when they come from school. My eldest is now in preschool so I have one year before she starts the school and can't be in daycare anymore. However, I will be very picky how to make money and it most certainly won't be advertising products and companies I don't like. If it means less income, then it does but I think it is more important to have a good blog that others enjoy reading that just getting as money out of it as possible. :)

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  27. Congrats on your 5 year anniversary Pam. I have so enjoyed reading your thoughts - you are a wise woman indeed!
    You have been so helpful to me over the years, a real virtual friend. Here's to the next 5 years - may they be everything you want them to be :-)

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  28. Five years is a lot of blogging. Congratulations! I have to agree with your comments. I blog just once a week. On the rare occasion, once a fortnight. For a while I tried blogging twice a week, but found my real life started to disappear and my life ended up being in front of a computer screen. I am in awe of those who blog every day. I don't know how they find the time. I've too many other interesting things to do. I blog because I like to write and sew and communicate with others. I don't want a full time job. Just a hobby that keeps me happy. I'm so glad I found your blog this year and thank you so much for sharing some of my sewing madness.

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    1. Very happy to share sewing madness with you, Libby!!!

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  29. Well done on 5 years Pam! So many blogs seem to give up after a couple. Like you I'm constantly bemused by what gets popular on Pinterest and why! Sometimes I really do think it's luck of the draw on who does the first few repins as to whether it takes off or flops! I too prefer writing up what random things I happen to be making rather than what I think everyone will want. Being just like everyone else just gets you lost in the crowd. Some of my best google traffic is for my most un-mainstream tutorials! Looking forward to seeing what you've got in store for the next 5 years! x

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  30. This is literally the very first comment I have ever made outside of Facebook. 🙂 You certainly have an incredible gift of sharing information and knowledge. Congratulations on all of your success!! May it continue for many many years to come!
    I’ve been wanting a lifestyle change in my life for at least 2+ years and I’ve been dreaming of starting a small farm, becoming more self sufficient, and using that to start my own business. Primarily open a mini fiber mill and becoming a fiber artist…to start. I’m learning a lot of new skills by reading other homestead blogs and trying different things on my own. I’ve been thinking of starting my own blog in the last few months because I’d like to share my journey of all the new things I’m learning and talk about my thoughts and starting from scratch. The only problem I have is that I have so MANY interests, it’s hard for me to pick just one. I’m passionate about animals, fiber arts, DIY, gardening, photography, homesteading, fitness, dating etc. and honestly that’s not even half of the list. What would your recommendation be regarding a main focus for a blog that would have many varied interests? In your opinion, what would be the best approach for incorporating everything into one tagline?
    Thanks again for all you do!

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    1. I feel honoured that you have chosen Threading My Way as the first place to leave a non-Facebook comment. If your journey starting a farm includes several interests, include them all, or least the ones you are passionate about. There's varying opinions as to how specialised a blog should be. Personally, I think your style of writing is more important. If one interest is more important than the others, you can always write more often about that. Your passion and enthusiasm will come through in your writing. Others would disagree with me and say that it's better to only write on one topic. Sometimes you have to give it a go before you can gauge the reaction. I'm not so good on tag lines...

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  31. Happy 5 years! I agree with a lot of what you said-I think that one of the side effects of Pinterest is that people flit from page to page and don't develop relationships as often. It's definitely a struggle to balance between monetization and staying true to initial goals/intents :)

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