First of all, this is, after almost nine years of blogging on Paper Seedlings, my 1,000th post.
With that milestone, I wanted to make this post something a little different and more special, maybe more thought provoking. Of course, I am going to feature a card and talk about that because that is the purpose of Paper Seedlings. But, I also wanted to discuss (hopefully you will join in to make it a discussion!) something that has been heavy on my mind for quite some time now.
This card is another one that, through the use of Stampin' Up!'s lovely Designer Series Paper, a creator is able to make a stunning card with minimal effort.
I stamped in Memento Tuxedo Black ink one of the flowers from the Four Seasons Floral stamp set. I used Light Misty Moonlight and Light Just Jade Stampin' Blends to color it in. I then fussy cut the flower.
Cutting a label using one of the dies from the Ornate Dies set, I created a nice panel on which to adhere the flower.
Unfortunately, the DSP I'd chosen to use for the card was very very busy, and the flower panel blended in too much. So I mounted the white label onto a piece of Misty Moonlight cardstock and fussy cut a small border all around it. That was just enough to delineate my focal point from the busy flowers surrounding it.
For the sentiment, I cut a cheery "hello" from the Misty Moonlight cardstock, surrounded by white and added it to the bottom of the DSP. This panel was mounted to a Misty Moonlight card base.
There! My card is done. And I am happy with it.
When I started Paper Seedlings back in 2012, blogs were all the rage, with some bloggers having been blogging much longer than that even. My original intent, from which I have never deviated in all these years, was to share my love of papercrafting and Stampin' Up! products with my readers. I also had high hopes of gaining new customers.While that hasn't happened, with the exception of two readers who subscribed to Paper Pumpkin for awhile, I still persevered.
Looking back to my humble beginnings, on September 5, 2012, that weird little first post had 213 views. Nowadays I need to be happy with 213 views.
Looking back to a post from September 27, 2012, Autumn Splendor Emboss Resist, that post had a whopping 17.618 views!! Yes, almost 18,000 views. And it was shared and shared. Several of my posts over the years have achieved views that numbered in the thousands. That happened quite often.
On May 3, 2013, I did achieve more than 18,000 views. 18,221 to be exact! Thrilling! But wait! On August 20, 2013, my White Wedding post was checked out by 31,953 readers! From about this time into 2017, I felt my blog was being seen by lots of people. And I was happy.
Starting in 2017, my blog readership seems to have gone into something of a decline with post views running in the 400-600 range, with a few forays into the 1000+ range, on a regular basis. That trend continued until later in 2019 when viewership dropped into the 200-400 range regularly.
Then something happened long about the beginning of the Pandemic. Huh. Until the present time, when I am lucky to see a post exceed 100 views, view numbers have been disappointing..
What is this all about? I know my work hasn't declined. In fact, I know I am steadily improving and bringing my readers lots of good creative paper ideas.
My daughter and her husband tell me that blogs are not where it's at anymore. It seems everyone is enamored with Instagram Stories, podcasts, newsletters (isn't that basically what a blog is??). I know blogs are folding all over blogland. But why?
Another thing that has fallen off, and the food I need to keep my blog somewhat alive, is Link Parties. I know to host and run a Link Party for any length of time is expensive and very time consuming. But, there are those who persist with this service. In fact, I link up to one party that is nearing 600 weeks of her Link Party!
On occasion, I run across someone's list of Link Parties they "attend", and I am so excited to check them out, thinking I can maybe find new ones to keep me going. However, disappointingly, lots of these bloggers do not keep their list of Link Parties up-to-date, with lots of them showing the last Link Party happening several years ago!
If you are interested in linking up in this manner, be sure to click on the "I Link Up To . . . " button on the top of my blog. I am faithful about keeping my listing super up-to-date. If it's listed, it is an active Link Party.
And now, Blogger is removing their Feedburner widget, which allows potential readers to sign up for email updates of their favorite blogs. Nice.
One more thing: So many bloggers are very successful with their videos on sites such as YouTube. I have very bad arthritis in my hands and they are sort of cripply looking. Ew! I am so self-conscious about it. I know viewers would just focus on the awful hands. I also am not comfortable demonstrating this way. So that is not a possibility for me.
After hearing all this yummering (a word from my childhood, meaning complaining and/or venting), I would really like to hear from you. Whether a blogger yourself and trying to contend with my same problems, a reader who has maybe become bored or has moved on to other interests, someone who is just interested in the dilemmas modern day bloggers face on a day to day basis, I know you all have something to say. And we would all love to hear it.
I feel I have so much to contribute to anyone who is following a papercrafting journey. As a Stampin' Up! demonstrator, we are encouraged to share what we love. And that's my favorite thing to do. Staying creative is, as I say in my blog intro, my life blood. It's all that keeps me alive. Seriously. But no one is happy to feel they are communicating in a near void.
As I am going through my Link Parties each day, I try to check out sites that are also linking up, leaving comments when I am moved to do so. Likewise, when I receive a comment on my blog, I am religious with giving a response. So, I try to be a genuinely interested blogger.
There are days when I feel under-viewed (?) and that it just doesn't make any sense to keep up the effort of blogging twice a week. My husband and daughter just keep telling me that it's worth it even if I just do it for myself and because I love it. Is that really enough?
I'm truly curious to find out if any other bloggers are experiencing qualms such as I described. If so, are you able to just move on and continue as you've always been? Have you found any solutions to these dilemmas of modern day blogging? Or is this form of communication truly on its way out? And, if you believe it is, what is a good alternative?
I often do feel tempted to give up on Stampin' Up! and my creative pastimes. But then I ask myself, what else would I have that means anything to me? I NEED this creative outlet!
I love your beautiful CAS card and also enjoy ready your blog even tho I don't get to each and every time. When Spring & Summer rolls around I spend most of my time working outside instead of being on the computer.ReplyDelete
Hang in there my dear as there will be better days ahead.
God Bless and keep up the good work and enjoy what you do best.
Today Is A Good Day To Have A Good Day so enjoy it and embrace it.
Thank you, dear Colleen, for your precious comment! I will hold it close.Delete
I blog, at this time, to join in challenges. It's practically my only reason for blogging at this point. That being said, I have been clinically depressed for over a month and have not participated in any challenges, so there's nothing to post. I have exactly 12 followers, 1 being my wife and another being myself, I think! I have to figure out how to apply mail chimp to my blog so other people can sign up if they want to, but with my depression, I'm having to put that on hold until I feel better.ReplyDelete
I enjoy your blog and have followed for quite awhile. I'm interested in what is happening SU!-wise, so I look for that. I also enjoy your other hand-drawn art that you show every once in awhile. You are really quite good!
I don't comment every time I pass through, but I might have to change that so you don't feel like you're posting into a vacuum! Just know that I never pass up a time to see what you're up to. Best wishes in the future!
First of all, I hope you gradually become more yourself and are able to begin to enjoy life again. I've been on antidepressants since the 80s, so I know how it is to live with less than a full cup. Virtual hugs to you.Delete
Thank you for your heartfelt thoughts about my blog and the troubles I outlined in my most recent post. I know I am not alone in these dilemmas, so I was hoping to start a discussion on trying to solve some of the problems together.
Because my blogging endeavor and the creativity it entails are so important to me in keeping me at least somewhat sane, I know I will continue to keep my blog going. Otherwise, as I said in my post, I feel like I wouldn't have anything worthwhile to keep me occupied in this life. I just wanted some sort of answers as to what has been happening to the blogging/link party world. One of those conundrums of life.
Continue to take care of yourself so you can get back to enjoying those challenges again! OK?
I have definitely seen my pageviews and subscribers numbers either dropping or holding steady (that seems to depend solely on the week and who knows what!). I know so many people are all about Twitch, Insta, and all those other social media/ video things but I realized that nothing else appeals to me other than blogging. I don't watch the videos or listen to podcasts either; I like reading and writing. I've debated about quitting a time or two but I really do enjoy blogging and keeping a record of recipes, crafts, family memories and trips, etc. So I figure until I no longer enjoy it I'll keep at it even if I only have a few faithful readers leaving messages that make me smile.ReplyDelete
I too have found that, sadly, many link party lists are not kept up to date either (I think I am actually guilty of this though I do try to update it whenever I think of it). I have found that on link parties held through Inlnkz (which most of them are) if you click on the little blue words that say by InLinkz right near the top of the first few posts linked up you can go right to the Inlinkz site and if you click on Directory it will give you a list of current parties and you can even search for parties to join based on category. Maybe that will help?!
As always you have made a beautiful card and I am pinning it to my card inspiration board.
Dearest Joanne, As always I love your comments and you make me smile. Thank you!Delete
As I was reading your comment on this post, I must admit I checked out what you suggested on InInkz and discovered a world of link parties, which I will go back to explore when I have more time. Thank you for the resource.
I also spent a bit of time of your delightful blog. Wanting to subscribe to it, I ccannot find how to do so. Oh no! Maybe you can help me with that?
You mentioned that you have a difficult time keeping track of the link parties you'd linked up to? What I do to alleviate that situation is simple (maybe too simple?) and it could possibly help you. I know I couldn't survive without my seven pages of cheat sheets. If you click on my I Link Up To . . . on the top of my blog, what I have in hard copy is almost the same thing. In Word, I typed up a sheet for each of the seven day, listing the link to the party as well as what the party is called. Each day I follow that list religiously, writing down the name of the party as I link up to it in a little notebook specifically for that purpose. On each date of the notebook I also add the names of the posts I'd linked up. Kind of a weird system, but it definiately works for me. When a Link Party is discontinued or I am lucky enough to find a new one, I update both my hard copy as well as the list on my blog so everything stays up to date for both me and my readers should they be interested in becoming involved with the world of Link Parties.
Like you, I will continue my blogging journey, simply because I enjoy it and I've made the commitment to it. In my post I was just questioning the reasoning behind all the changes that seem to have occurred in the last years. Very frustrating.
I thank you for your consistent comments and kindnesses you've shown me. It's because of people like you that I find blogging worthwhile.
My blog does have a pop up box for subscribers to sign up... but I noticed when I just went to it myself it's not popping up. I'll have to try to figure out where it went! I am not very tech-savvy though so it might take some time. LOL.Delete
I think so many people are moving away from reading blogs and going to watching videos or listening to podcasts (neither of which I do as I am a reader and writer first and foremost). Funny enough my son and I were just talking about this today as he has a friend trying to make a career out of Twitch videos (and I had no idea what Twitch was).
Joanne, I'm with you: I have no idea what Twitch is. It seems everyone is somehow trying to utilize some aspect of social media. It seems the whole scene is saturated.Delete
Good luck with your subscriber sign-up box. So frustrating, all of it, isn't it?
Linda, Ive enjoyed reading your blog through the last few years and have always enjoyed the link parties, too. Like you, I'm not into Instgram and the other social media stuff around. I just really enjoy reading blogs of all kinds, especially about stamping. Keep on keepin' on!!!ReplyDelete
Thank you so much, Marty, for your upbeat and encouraging comment! I will keep on keepin' on!Delete
Hi Linda, first of all your daughter and husband are right, keep doing it if you love it, and second of all, I think you might want to consider doing exactly as you've been doing, but finding another place to share, like instagram. I finally started 2 accounts in February and I find that folks are much more engaged there and supporting one another than in the blog world, consider it! I do my instagram accounts from my computer, if you prefer the large screen. all the best to you, change is exciting!ReplyDelete
Hi Sara, Thank you for your kind and thoughtful comment. I have been on Instagram for years. I have also posted many times my cards with the link to my blog. It seems that every time I posted a card, I lost a LOT of followers. Now, that I am exclusively showing my daily drawings, when they are good enough to share, my following on IG has been fairly steady. After reading your comment, I debated whether I should start a second IG account for my blog posts only. But, I truly do think that it would go back to the old days when people did not respond at all to cardmaking. Maybe that's what the problem is with my blog itself. Maybe people as a whole just aren't as interested in this form of creativity as they had been in past. Oh well. I will just stick to what I am comfortable with and be happy and content. Once again, thanks for the response. You are very thoughtful.Delete
Congrats on the milestone of 1000 posts!ReplyDelete
I can tell you 100% that your work is really gorgeous, and inspiring. With all the things that has happened recently, starting blogs was one of those things, and so now there is an influx, which could be where your traffic is going. Also, right now is always the down time for blogs, so it's not unusual for traffic to be way done through August. My biggest blog referral is Pinterest with my second being Facebook groups, but directories (like FaveCrafts) and link parties help for sure. SEO is another big thing. Perhaps revisiting old posts, and updating them will help, and then you can promote them all over again.
It is true that Instagram and Tik Tok are stealing the spotlight these days. I know folks are even selling directly through Instagram, and don't even need a shop platform. I like being able to share my progress of projects, and get more personal with makers through Instagram, that I may not do within a blog post. I also do this in newsletters, and beyond that, you can share affiliate links too.
I have noticed link up parties are starting to thin a bit. Google never liked them, and in fact, has penalized some bloggers for hosting them. I heard from a friend recently that for those using Blogger, they've changed their spam filters and bots are now flagging link up parties as spam and malware, and some host blogs have been completed deleted! That is so scary. I hope things get resolved there so bloggers are afraid to host them because I LOVE attending them. I have a current list at the top of my blog under "Linking Up To..." I visit all of these parties on a weekly basis, and update as I can. I am about to update again with some more changes.
I didn't know feedburner is being removed. That stinks! If you aren't interested in getting a newsletter service, I would recommend pushing BlogLovin for subscribers.
I can tell you as someone who quit her job last year to focus on blogging full time, this down time is really hard on me too, and sometimes makes me feel like it's not worth it, but in my case, crocheting brings me so much joy and is therapeutic, that I continue to blog about it (plus fourth quarter really raises my spirits!). I love the feedback I see from makers who love to see my projects, and enjoy my free patterns and pattern reviews. Kind words from makers are so encouraging.
I'm sure I missed somethings, but I hope I helped a little bit. Your work is really beautiful, and I love to see your new projects! Feel free to reach out any time if you like!
Oh Alexandra! Ii don't even know how to begin to thank you for the very thoughtful and insightful comment you wrote.Delete
But, first of all, thank you for commenting on my 1000th post -- I feel a real sense of accomplishment with that! -- and for reassuring me that my work is worthwhile to others. That means a lot. It helps to give me affirmation.
I have the FaveCrafts site open on my computer. I will check that out more when I have time. Just for kicks, I checkeed on my stats to find that most of my traffic comes from Google, then Pinterest. SEO I just don't understand. I even took a semester-long course through our Technical College to try to work on my blog. Everything in social media changes so often, I can't keep my head wrapped around the changes and stay up-to-date. Same with SEO. Right over my head.
It's funny. You mentioned the good stuff of Instagram. Whenever I happen to pop one of my more attractive cards into my IG feed, I get very few likes and lose a lot of followers. I seem to do better when focusing on my daily drawings, even though Papercrafting is my first love and reveals more of what I am all about. So, Instagram remains a constant struggle.
I wish crocheting was of interest to me. Last year I tried to make a simple dishcloth. I threw the weird little piece away. I envy your crochet talents.
Anyway, thank you for all the thought and time you devoted to the comment on my blog post! I hope others read it and can benefit from it as much as I am sure to.
Take care. You are truly a treasure!
Wow. Your post is chock-full of thought-provoking notions. I agree that blogging is just not what it used to be. In other words, blogs are not the hot ticket item they once were. Social media has been and will continue to be all the rage. Trust me, I have teenagers and young adults so I know:) I started blogging 12 years ago and knew nothing about any of it. I taught myself and did it because I loved doing it (I was an English major in college and love to write.) You should do it for you! It's a creative outlet which is good for us mentally and I don't know about you but I've made some great blog friends over the years. They're good for the soul. Don't fret about the followers -- I used to and finally stopped comparing myself with other blogs. My audience has grown slowly but steadily each year. So I continue for me and my sanity (as a stay at home mom!) Your work is beautiful and you are very talented so you need to keep sharing what you know. Thanks for keeping those blog party lists up to date:) Oh, and I moved over to Mailchimp from Feedburner around 5 years ago and if I can do it anyone can. Thanks for sharing at Vintage Charm I always love to see your creations. xo KathleenReplyDelete
First of all, Kathleen, thank you ever to much for your wonderful comment to this blog post that is so dear to my heart! This conundrum as been heavy on my mind for quite some time now. And then, when they decided to discontinue Feedburner, it came to the forefront stronger than ever. I decided to see what others out there had to say on the subject.Delete
When I started my blog in 2012, you're right, blogging was THE thing to do. I felt like I was diving into a very crowded sea. But it seemed to take off a bit, at least in a small way. Enough to keep me content. Lately, however, the blog/link party scene seems to have undergone quite the change. And since I am comfortable with my blogging and would like to continue with it, I was sure there were lots of other bloggers out there feeling the same way I am. So I was hoping I could start a conversation about it all. Thanks to people like you, I (we?) am getting lots of worthwhile feedback. I just hope others take the time to read it all as well.
I have ALMOST come to the point where I don't obsess quite so much about followers, views and comments. Almost. It's still a big part of my daily worries. Grrr. I know that's not healthy. But, I have come to terms with the fact that I won't see success in my earliest hopes, that of gaining new customers. I realize at long last that that is never going to happen. But, I do love my blogging. I have made a commitment to it and myself. And I fully expect to continue -- just for me, if nothing else. It is a great creative outlet that I need ever so much.
You mentioned Mailchimp. I have their site opened on my computer and fully intend to check them out. I know that may be the route I am meant to take. Not being very computer and technology savvy, I always have trouble with things like that. I am not good with change of any kind.
Thank you for the compliment on my work. That really means a lot to me. I also love it when you comment on my blog posts. I appreciate that so much -- obviously! I need that periodic affirmation.
I love the information you've imparted in your comment. Thank you once again. You are a dear and I cherish all you bring to my blog life, as well as the opportunity to link up at your Vintage Charm party.
Take care and stay well.
Congrats Linda on 1000 posts - that is an amazing achievement - one of many that you should be incredibly proud of! :-)ReplyDelete
I love your beautiful card. Congrats also for being one of our featured guests at this week's Inspire Me Monday Party at Create With Joy! Week 488
I would like to share my thoughts on the rest of your post when I have more time to do so. BTW did you get my response to the beautiful heartfelt letter you sent me awhile back? I wasn't sure if it went through...
Thanks so much for the congrats and the feature! Yes, I did receive your answer. Thank you! I look forward to your further comments on this post.Delete
Congratulations on your 1000 post. Also thank you for sharing on the Classy Flamingos Blog Hop, you've been PINKED! I have found blogging to be like a roller coaster throughout the years. When traffic seems to fizzle out and I'm not sure why it then makes a turn around. I've always read and have been encouraged to be yourself and never give up, it will happen. I enjoy your blog and your creativity. Hang in there.ReplyDelete
I am so thrilled to have been PINKED! Thank you! Yes, roller coaster is a good description of blogging. Really of life in general, if you think about it. I will definitely stick with it. It can just be so frustrating at times. But, I love to use my blog as the excuse to continue to be creative. I need that dose of creativity so badly each day. I am so gratified that you enjoy my blog. Thank you so much!Delete
Linda, I hear you! I'm a fairly new blogger 2 1/2 years and am struggling to stay in the game. I started a link party to help me grow, and would suggest going to Inlinkz where you can view all the parties. I'm going to suggest Pinterest, as well, and adding 10 of your posts a day, while pinning 4 or 5 other peoples posts. This will help drive people to your blog. Caution, just don't pin the same pin to the same board. They will penalize you!ReplyDelete
I've yet to really get into instagram but most bloggers will tell you that it doesn't grow your blog. One more thing is a video (another thing I need to do) You can show a video of the supplies and the finished project on your site. People really seem to like this.
I'm not sure about your SEO knowledge, its a vast subject, but keywords, and post titles are very important. Google reads/scans your post, and rates it on key words, title, the outline, whether you use headers and bullet points to break up the post. They also like at least 600 words per post.
One more thing is to sign up with Adsense. You can make a small amount of money and this may raise your spirts up!
Let me know if there's anything I suggested that you need clarification on.
Hope this helps.
P.S. thanks for adding your pretty card to the FWF link party!
Thank you so much for your wonderful thoughts and insights! You mentioned SEO and wondered about my knowledge of it. Zilch. Those things go straight over my head. ZOOM! Gone. I know Google likes a minimum of 600 words per post. But I worry that, if I have too much to say, my readers will get bored. I'm on Instagram, but every time I post something about my paper obsession, I lose followers. Not good. Also, I wasn't aware of the way Pinterest works, i.e., posting to one board twice and getting penalized. I try to post a personal thing to Pinterest each day, but add way more of other people's work than my own. Keywords? Zoom! Over the head. I've taken courses on SEO, keywords, etc. Kind of a frustrating joke on someone so technically unsavvy as me. I have thought at times about Adsense, but worry that Stampin' Up! might not like that. I suppose I should check with them. They have all sorts of compliance expectations. You have given me lots of good suggestions. And I truly appreciate them. Thanks for letting me link up each week to your FWF party! I really count on link parties! Take care and stay well.Delete
Oh Linda. I don't know what to say that anyone else hasn't already. Your posts are wonderful and so are your cards you share each week. I would miss them if you stopped sharing them. You are also not the only one who is struggling with page views and the constant pressure to be on every single social media channel. I have yet to tackle videos and just can't get excited about it either. Where is blogging headed? I am not sure but I do know that I am not closing down anytime soon. I hope you continue to stick around as well.ReplyDelete
Donna, thank you so much for your encouraging words. I'm so glad to discover that you aren't planning on closing down anytime soon. I too will continue to make cards and share them on my blog. I feel so gratified that you and others do actually enjoy seeing them. And occasionally tell me so. That affirmation is always so good. We bloggers have to stick together and make blogland a good place to be! Hang in there.Delete