How Do You Determine Blogging Success?

POSTED ON March 10, 2018 BY Austine IN Discussion

Alright, folks, moment of honesty here. How many of you have ever labeled another blog/blogger as “big” or “small?”

I’ll admit that I’ve done it. In fact, I did it for years. Not publicly so much as to myself, where I was the small fry book blogger who couldn’t compete with the bigger fish. Not a healthy way to look at things but that’s where I started out and I know I’m not the only one out there who’s thought like that either.

These “big” and “small” labels were denoting the perceived success of those individuals. For me, I saw anyone with roughly twice my follower count as BIG. The people who everyone knew, who seemed to have connections with every publishing house, who were all-around more popular. And here I was, the Little Blogger, who couldn’t play with the big dogs, who wasn’t as popular.

It became a mentality I was most familiar with in high school and college. It made me feel like book blogging was an exclusive club where only the best of the best got in. A numbers game. Because somehow numbers were unbiased (my science side trying to rationalize this stream of thought).

Yet what I ultimately learned was that success is all about perception and how you view your own self-worth. I was basing my success off of the achievement of others and had already set myself up to fail. So another blogger has 5,000 followers on a site. Good for them! That doesn’t mean you’re a failure for only having 500.

[bctt tweet=”Blogging success is determined by YOU, not those around you.” username=”AustineDecker”]

This book community has felt like a round of the Hunger Games lately. Everyone is competing against each other for publisher attention, for followers (as if readers can’t follow multiple people), for the chance to get the next anticipated title. I think that the industry has contributed to this because the guidelines for what they’re looking for from us book promoters aren’t clear, so we aspire to be as good as the “big” bloggers because we don’t have any other baseline to compare to. (Obviously this is a generalization and does not apply to everyone.)

So we come back to that question: What is success as a blogger?

Honestly, I don’t have an answer, at least not one that will fit every blogger’s needs. What I will say is that, to me, blogging success is achieving what YOU set out to do.

You wanted to start a blog and did? You’re a success.

You wanted to write that book review and post it? You’re a success.

You wanted to hit a follower milestone on social media and did? You’re a success.

Whether you’re in it for yourself, your readers, your stats, or even a combination of them all, you determine your own success. Comparing yourself to others will always lead you to failure because you’re too busy looking up or down and not in the mirror.

It’s easy to get caught up in it all, wanting to do well, and what even is “doing well?” Who determines that? I’ve gotten caught up in that same rut, jealous of other bloggers who look like they’re doing better than I am. All that does is make me feel worse about myself and what I’m doing. It can be seriously demotivating.

If you find yourself feeling like that, take a moment and step back from the situation. I’m not going to say to just stop thinking it because it’s never that easy. Ask yourself why you think they’re doing better than you. Make a list.

Now take that list and look to see if anything you included is something you can work on. It’s not a bad thing to want to get better. Rather than use those comparisons you’re making to say “here are all the things you’re doing wrong,” use them to find all the things that you’re doing right and what you can keep working on.

Set yourself reasonable goals and celebrate those successes.

Something I’ve been learning during my student teaching is that sometimes a lesson won’t go how you want it but as long as you got through what you needed to, you hit the marks you set, then it’s a success. It might not be perfect and that’s okay.

There is no such thing as a “big” or “small” blogger. We’ve created these labels based on a perception of success but it doesn’t say anything about who someone is as a blogger. We’re all here doing this thing, talking about what we love.

Be patient.

Support yourself.

Support others.

You’ll get there.

And remember that you’re already doing great just for being here


What does success mean to you?

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19 responses to “How Do You Determine Blogging Success?

  1. Oh I love this !!

    yeah, I did this quite alot .. on anything. however, yes maybe they have a million followers, but how many do really interact with them on a daily basis ? if most of thoses are ghosts (we have no ideas..) isn’t it better to have only a handful but they’re quite active ?

    It’s a success in itself to keep your blog open, to stick through your schedule and post stuff regularly; regardless of if you get traffic on it or not .. you’re doing great !!

  2. Great post, Austine! It can get hard for me when I compare myself to other bloggers, and I know I should stop doing it. Because in all honesty, I have more followers than I ever thought I would, so that is already a success! Even if it wouldn’t seem like a lot to other, it is to me, and I love being able to interact with everyone.

  3. Great post! I think I’m a (mostly) successful blogger. I wish my blog was prettier, and I wish I was a better writer, but I’m doing what I want to do. I enjoy blogging. To me, that means I’m successful.

  4. Kel

    I think you hit the nail on the head. Whether we’re “successful” depends entirely on the goals we’ve set and what we’re trying to achieve. (And we don’t do ourselves any favors by bemoaning things that are out of our control.) Great post, Austine!

  5. Great Post! I recently did this as well. I decided to redesign by blog and been planning this for months gathering everything I wanted and I recently realized that I was trying to design my blog baed on other’s blog I determined that were successful in my eyes. So I took a step back and replanned everything that I wanted for myself and have my own style.

  6. I think I only label my blog as being small, but never someone else blog. I don’t know if they are really big or small? But telling myself I’m small is not something that upset me. ( I’ve always been smaller than everyone anyway. 😂 ) Every little milestone is a success like you say: new blog posts, new followers. It takes time to grow, like an apple tree.

    Thanks for this post full of useful reminder! 😊

  7. I love this post! Blogging community can be very competitive and as a new blogger I often fall into endless despair regarding my stats and reach. It’s hard not to compare but your idea of improving yourself while comparing us great! Thank you so much 🙂

  8. “It made me feel like book blogging was an exclusive club where only the best of the best got in.”

    I feel this way most of the time, which is sad. I started book blogging in Brazil in 2014 and now I’m in the US and started blogging in English and it’s hard… =(

    But like you said, I’ve been focusing on the positives of my blog instead of comparing myself to others.

    Loved this post =) Thank you for this.

  9. Austine! This post is everything I’ve been going through for the last few months. I’m so happy you shared your story and struggles, it’s nice to see I’m not the only one who has had to take a break and reassess the situation. It’s so easy to get caught up in the hype and forget what it is we love to do: read. You’re a success in my book because you’re open and honest about every part of blogging. Thanks for reminding us to remain grounded and doing what we love instead of living up to the hype of others.


  10. I think you made some good points and gave some awesome advice. I think of some blogs as “big blogs” but not necessarily based on comments, more on their awesomeness and implication in the community. Also I think I am more detached regarding my blog because I see it mainly as my hobby and my little corner of the web where I share what I am passionate about.

    And the bookish community is so friendly that I feel included regardless of my small follower count.

  11. Great post. Indeed, I always stress about my follower numbers, but lately, when they’ve started growing and I’ve had to deal with huge numbers of comments? I started wondering whether it’s really what I wanted. Whether I can even deal with it. It’s the friendships that I want, as it turns out. Well, and okay – of course I want some love from the publishers, but as it turns out, maybe they care even less about the followers than we think. Maybe they care more about the promise we show or how dedicated we are. We sometimes forget that the publicists are also people. They’re not a faceless corporation.
    Great post, again 🙂

  12. Hi, this is such a great blog post. I have just gotten back into blogging and was feeling apprehensive because of not getting enough traffic. This post is so inspiring. Thanks a lot!