Friday, 11 May 2018

Why I No Longer Use Blog Charts (And Why I Don't Think Anyone Should)


"OH MY GOD!!! BEST SCORE EVER!!! I'M SO HAPPY! I'VE WORKED SO HARD FOR THIS!" 

>>"Oh wow, well done hun"
>>"SO well deserved babes"
>>"That's amazing. My score drops every month, don't know what I'm doing wrong :("
>>"Mine too hun, feel like just giving up"
>>"No Don't give up, just keep slogging away...you'll get there babes!"

If you're a UK based blogger like me, then no doubt the above will sound very familiar to you.

You only have to take a look at the many blogger groups on Facebook around the middle of each month to see the conversations taking place.

For anyone who is not a part of the blogging scene, you will no doubt have no clue at all what I'm talking about (Which I'll come to in a moment...) so let me just catch you up real quick. There are a number of charts that rank bloggers in order of ... well....who knows what its in order of?!  The general party line is that they're ranked in order of hits per month, follower numbers, and a whole host of other things.

You will go up and down the charts according to how "well" your blog has done that month according to the metrics used by the company in question (and there are more than one of them), and in relation to how other bloggers on the chart have done.

The conversations that this leads to among bloggers are always along the same lines. You will see some people celebrating their success in rising up the charts - feeling it's a well earned reward, and you'll see some people feeling miserable that they've fallen down the charts - something that feels like a kick in the teeth when you've slogged your guts out night after night to turn out good content.

I took part in all of the blog charts for years.

And I have experienced both the highs and the lows.

I have fallen WAY outside the Top 100 in certain charts on months where my blog traffic was triple what it had usually been and sat there scratching my head, wondering just how that could be.

And I have experienced being at the very top of that same chart - ranked number 1, having my #1 status pointed out to me as some sort of badge of honour (only by other bloggers....because honestly, who else even takes any notice of this rubbish?! Nobody, that's who!)

And I can honestly say - it never made sense to me. No matter where I was on the charts, I never understood the ranking system, no matter how hard I tried to.

And once I had hit that coveted number 1 spot, I realised that the truth was...that pot of gold that I assumed must lie at the end of this particular rainbow? The assumption I'd made that reaching the number 1 spot would open up a world of opportunity for me, increase my paid work opps and basically be the answer to all of my prayers? It wasn't real. None of it was true.

Nothing happened. Nothing changed.

It made NO difference whatsoever to anything.

My workload neither increased nor decreased.

My blog views remained much the same.

My followers number bobbed along in much the same way as before.

It had no impact.

When 2018 rolled around, I felt like shaking things up.

I decided to change my approach to running this blog in a few different ways.

I've been doing this blogging thing for 5 years now and I have been moderately successful.

It's led me to some very interesting TV show appearances to discuss topics that are important to me and created some important conversations.

It's led to many print interviews and even the opportunity for me to write for a print magazine myself which was my life's dream come true.

And it's given me the opportunity to earn a substantial amount of money from home - being a stay at home mother to my children and allowing me to home educate them, whilst also earning a very comfortable living for us.

But one thing I didn't feel I had achieved yet was finding a good work/life balance. And that's something I feel is very important.

So I changed some things.

I've tried to ease the pressure I feel to keep up with the Joneses. I've tried to have less phone time. I've tried to prioritise quality of time with the children over quantity.

And the biggest change is that I'm no longer part of any blog ranking charts.

And not only does it feel AMAZING, but it has led me to realise something VERY important...exactly how much and why they were seriously damaging my earning potential!

No longer can a completely foreign factor - which has absolutely no way of measuring the love, dedication and hard work I pour into my blog - judge my worth.

No longer can it pop along and ruin an otherwise good day by announcing that my blog has somehow decreased in value over night.

No longer do I place ANY of my self worth on a frankly meaningless number on a badge which has the primary purpose of giving link juice to the company who run it and their sponsors (because oh yes, have you ever noticed that most of these blog charts use badges which feature the name of a sponsor? That's because you're lining their pockets every time you place one on your blog!)

And no longer do I need to waste any of my time or energy paying any mind to something which truly ceases to matter once you step away from your computer. Because much like so many other things in this blogging world, blog charts are something that only other bloggers hold up in any kind of regard.

That's the thing with blogging - it's so easy to get caught up in the bullshit. To consider people "Bigger bloggers" than you, or consider someone better than you because they have X amount of followers on Instagram. To value yourself based on the number of people who decided to subscribe to your YouTube channel, as though that's the most important thing in the world.

It's easy to forget that none of this is really important - let's face it, being famous on Instagram is the equivalent of being rich in monopoly - it's well and good but once you step away from the game, it doesn't really mean anything.

If you go into your local Asda and declare to the Jill on the desk that you're Number 46 in the Hot 100 Blog Chart...you can bet your bottom dollar that you'll be met with a blank stare. She's highly unlikely to have a bloody clue what you're talking about.

The same goes for pretty much anybody outside of the blogosphere - PR people included I'm afraid - the vast majority of people have simply never heard of these charts, and never will. And even those few PR people that have, are going to be very aware of the fact that they are only as good as ranking the bloggers who choose take part in them.

Because you'll no doubt have noticed that the majority of the biggest and most successful blogs in the country are NOT ranked on these lists. Does that mean that the chart's number 1 blog is a better blog than them? Of course not.
It simply means that charts are not a necessary thing to be a part of. They are not conducive to success. And unless every single blog out there is using them, they are a flawed system.

And here's the main thing I've realised since removing my chart badges....something that all bloggers who want to earn money from their blogs should think carefully about.

Unless you are the Number 1 ranked blog on every chart you are a part of...all you are actually doing by placing that badge on your blog is advertising the fact that there are other bloggers out there who can give a brand more bang for their buck.

Think about it...say for example that you proudly display a badge that states you're number 99 on a blog chart.

Along comes Davy Smith from DigitalDudes PR company and he browses your blog...he checks your about me section, he reads over your content, he checks your DA score...he likes what he sees!

Maybe he'll drop you an email...BUT WAIT!...what's this?!

This blog is ranked number 99 in a blog chart...well then surely that means there are 98 other blogs out there who can get his brand even MORE exposure!! Well why would Davy bother using you now, number 99?! Off he goes to get prices from those 98 other bloggers!

This seems like such a glaringly obvious flaw in the use of blog charts to me now, I'm amazed I didn't see it sooner.

I mean you don't see products in stores advertising a ranking number on their packaging do you? Of course not! Because then you as the customer would go off searching for the number 1 rated product instead!!

Nope, the only time you see any brand mention a ranking of any kind is if they're number 1...otherwise, why would you advertise your competitors?!

And it's the same with blog charts.

Don't believe me? Take a look at this.

Here is a screenshot of my blog earnings for the 3 months prior to me removing my blog chart ranking.



And here is a screenshot of my earnings for the 3 months after.



The numbers, in my opinion, speak for themselves.

I stopped advertising my competitors and up went my earnings.

It's not rocket science, it makes perfect sense. Again, I'm just shocked that I didn't realise this flaw sooner.

So if you want my advice....save yourself the heartache of meaningless blog ranking systems, get back to enjoying the content you create and the connections you make through your blog without allowing it to be judged and ranked based on numbers, stop making money for companies like these by hosting these potentially damaging badges on your blog and start increasing your own earning potential instead.

YOU do not need any blog charts. They are the ones who need you.

They're just hoping you don't figure any of this out for yourself!!

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10 comments

  1. I never thought about it this way. TBH I’ve never got anywork by being in certain charts and I e been wondering lately why I’m in them.. fascinating post xx

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  2. Oh....thought provoking post indeed! It's something I've been thinking about a lot recently. I've left Rise for most of the reasons you stated and I am seriously thinking about the other charts too. I never, ever thought about the fact that we're advertising other blogs that are ranked higher than us!

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  3. This is an excellent post and I’m genuinely thinking of removing myself from the charts now.

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  4. Loved this post! I’ve got ‘charts’ on my blog and never really noticed anything from it but when I took it away for a revamp the work improved but then I never made the connection I put it back. Removing them is definitely something I’m going to do!

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  5. How interesting! Love how honest you are.

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  6. I took mine off ages ago. I'm happy doing my own blogging thing, was unlikely to ever be in the top of anything so why cart a reminder of that everywhere on my site and make myself feel bad. Fair play to everyone who's part of that, works really hard to move up the rankings and thinks it's important though. It just not me and never has been.

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  7. Such an interesting post! It's definitely made me think again...

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  8. There was a time when I was continually checking my ranking on certain sites but realised that this was taking up a lot of my time so have stepped back from doing that. I've still got the badges on my blog but maybe I should consider taking them off after reading this. Great post by the way :)

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  9. I'm so happy to see you write something like this, Hayley. I always feel like so many people focus on the wrong thing while blogging and when you compare yourself to others, it almost ALWAYS has a negative impact on their psyche. Also, sharing your earnings is a nice and transparent touch. I feel like people need to focus on one thing....PROGRESS. We all have different schedules and capabilities, but if you grow month after month with your own blog, you have momentum and that's more powerful than any blog rating out there.

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  10. I'm seriously considering taking myself out of the loop. It's a little bit addictive isn't it? Some months I've worked my arse off and fell down the charts and been close to tears as a result. I've just checked and I've gone up over 200 spaces this month and now I'm undecided what to do!! Arghhhhhhhhhhhhhh

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