Mildly Depressing Information About WordPress Blogging – Part 1

Almost from the day I began this blog I had my suspicions about the integrity of the likes/follows my blog was getting, but last Thanksgiving was definitely the turning point. I’m sure that like many of you, I couldn’t help but notice that my posts often got a “like” plus “follow” by another blogger within moments of publishing my newest post. Blinded by the promise of fortune and fame, I would check out the culprit’s blog and see if I thought they were a discerning reader or a machine. More often than not, I allowed myself to believe they were a discerning reader and that their “like” meant that I had published something valuable.

Then came last Thanksgiving. I had been blogging fairly regularly for about one and a half years, and beginning in early 2014 it seemed that this blog was finally gaining some traction with “readers”. Letting myself succumb to the holiday spirit, I decided to write a post “thanking” all the “likers” that, in part, motivated me to keep writing. Of particular note was one particular blogger. She had tens of thousands of followers (30K+ as of today) and yet was liking my blog posts regularly. It felt so good to see that she was reading and liking my writing. I really wanted to throw some blog-love her way (and others) and so I began my thankful post with her name. Surely she would notice this, I thought. I named some thirteen other bloggers (see the post here) before moving to the names of real people that I knew were reading nearly every post–friends and family.

Guess what happened?

Not a single one of those bloggers “liked” the post.

I mentioned this to my sister and she said, “Maybe they don’t like being called out?” Maybe. But no. It soon became clear that the reason they didn’t like my post was it was Thanksgiving–a holiday. And unlike me, they didn’t get on their laptop that day. They didn’t go to their WordPress Reader and click “like” on some dude’s post in an effort to gain a follower.

Another example of this disingenuous tactic was a blogger that has since disappeared. He jumped from 1200 to 4000+ followers in no time. Yet he took the time to read (so I thought) and “like” my posts day after day after day. But I would never “follow” his blog. I’d “like” some of his posts, but it’s like I didn’t want to give him the satisfaction of following his blog, so I didn’t. Finally he wore me down. So I clicked “follow”.

Guess what happened?

You got it. No more “likes” from him.

But it looked so cool that these blogs had thousands and thousands of followers. I wanted my blog to be that cool. It wasn’t. I had been writing for a year and a half. I had published about 300 well-written, engaging, strongly/uniquely-voiced posts and had around 400 followers heading into last December. Remember, I quit my job and was determined to write two books and keep blogging Monday-Friday at this point in time. I also decided while I wasn’t working that I would use the time to gain as many followers as I could by whatever methods were available. (“If you ain’t cheatin’, you ain’t tryin'” as we said in the Air Force.) Being a doggedly determined guy who still held onto a fool’s hope that blog-followers would eventually become book-buyers, I gained 1400 followers between mid-December and late January (six weeks).

Tomorrow I will share how I did it so that you can too, not that you’ll want to. Tomorrow, I will also demonstrate unequivocally why you should learn to honestly stop caring about likes/follows. Tomorrow, I will unapologetically pull back the WordPress curtain.

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26 comments

  1. ~Michelle Cook

    This is so sad. If it’s any consolation, I read your book like I promised and left a review on Amazon. And honestly, that was the first book that I had read in months! Don’t give up on everyone, some of us really do care about what you’re writing. I know I do! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Josh Wrenn

    Keep in mind also that many times, posts from people you do follow suddenly stop showing up in your reader, and if you don’t go track them down, you might miss a lot. I am lucky to have some of my favorite bloggers comment on some recent posts. I thought they hadn’t posted in a long while but on the hunch that if they were reading they might be posting, I checked, and sure enough, they had been posting all along.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. dianasschwenk

    Not everyone that follows me reads my posts. And I don’t read every post written by the 200+ posts I follow. It’s not humanly possible. But I do try to read at least one post per week of those people I follow. I also don’t follow every blog that follows me. Confessions of a Canadian Blogger – that would be a great book! 😉
    Diana xo

    Liked by 3 people

  4. insanitybytes22

    Likes and follows are fickle indeed. I try to make comments as much as I can, but sometimes all I give is a like, kind of like writing my name on the wall, “I was here.” Unfortunately all I have to offer is a bit of encouragement.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. noelleg44

    I am looking forward to your next post! I’ve been very slowly accumulating followers – it’s taken three years to get to 200+. I am still rather puzzled by how this all works and more importantly, if it works in terms of selling books. However, I have met some wonderful people through blogging and that is what I really like about it!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. married2arod

    Reblogged this on Romance Done Write and commented:
    There are so many posts out there about increasing traffic and wanting the following that some power bloggers have scooped up in such a short time. What I love about this is seeing an honest but non-negative admittance of frustration about blogging. Now I’m kind of curious what part 2 is going to say 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. robakers

    A real like from a real person. By the way, when I “get a new follower” I check out their site and if they have something to sale, have over 1000 followers or don’t seem like a real person. I don’t chose to follow them back. However, if their views are different than mine, I will still follow them. Just because I don’t like their views or choices doesn’t mean I shouldn’t like them.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. mzrubyred

    Hi thanks for dropping by … I am not computer generated I’m absolutely real … I blog for the enjoyment & appreciate if even one person reads, but like life, people can be fickle & wierd at times. I try to read as many other peoples blogs as I can but I fail miserably a lot of the time. Keep blogging! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. cynthiamvoss

    I agree that there is sometimes some weird behavior by some people in terms of likes and follows. Does your total number of followers include people who have unfollowed you? Because WP doesn’t seem to send out notices when someone unfollows, so the numbers are probably off.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. bettylouise31

    I do read the posts I like. I havebeen for about a year now and noticed that likes and comments varied. I would like to more blogs but time doesn’t allow. I find I have more followers than follow me.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Anokatony

    The best advice for bloggers I’ve seen is Elizabeth Harrower’s advice to writers:
    “I was interested in the work, not who was equaling whom. You compete with the intractable, not with your fellow toilers. Compete with the difficulty.”

    Liked by 1 person

  12. queenofe

    Pete, I don’t have time to read every post but the ones I do show that you are an incredibly gifted writer. It’s hard….I’m lazy and haven’t posted once since my New Years resolution. Keep up the good (hard) work.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Pingback: Why Did You Pay Me? | Captain's Log

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