Recently I found myself in a swanky restaurant in London with some fabulous people, most of whom I’d never met before. We were joined by one thing – we were all finalists in the UK Blog Awards this year in the dating category. Along with myself were BumblingDad, Alice, highly commended winner Lucy and the overall winner Eve Greenow.
To meet them in person was wonderful; there was no official awards event this year sadly, so we decided to dress up and sort one out for ourselves and I’m glad we did. Blogging is a lonely hobby at the best of times, and even more so when you’re blogging about dating. Dating bloggers spend their time thinking about relationships, dating and love and putting together posts which try to explain those thoughts and share those experiences, however painful they are.
It seems that sadness, pain and failure are the things that people want to read about, certainly if my own stats are anything to go by. My most read posts by far are those which deal with how my relationship ended when I caught my ex having an affair (I got 27% of my total 2018 visits on the one day it was posted), followed by the time I ended up naked in a hotel lobby. Lucy’s excellent blog is so loved in part because it is brutally honest and raw and is discussing tough tales, albeit in an often hilarious way. Many other blogs are the same – it’s easier to write about things going wrong, and people read it far more than when things go right.
Don’t get me wrong, we all root for good things to happen to our blogging heroes. We want those who give us so much joy to get joy for themselves, but are also aware in the back of our minds that if this happens then it’ll be bittersweet as there’s a good chance the writing stops. In some respects, dating is the same as golf in that the ultimate aim is to do as little of it as possible before finding success. Only those of us who don’t find love are in positions to talk about our ongoing quest for it.
In many ways, writing about dating is a lot like dating itself. Too many blogs follow the same way as the relationships they look to describe: there is an initial burst of enthusiasm when the mind is alight at all the possibilities ahead. Content flows as new things are experienced, until sooner or later something changes. It becomes a little harder to find things to say, the silences are longer and old ground is rehashed. Before you know it there’s nothing but resentment and bitterness, followed by everything shutting down for good, leaving only those too foolish or stubborn to give up to plod along week after week.
The dating blogging community is also, from my perspective at least, a little strange. Unlike some other corners of the blogging world, there isn’t too much in the way of coordinated mutual support or cooperation between many bloggers. There are definitely exceptions, but there are no blog-clubs, link parties or any of the other things that other bloggers use to boost traffic to each other’s sites and help the community thrive. Admittedly a degree of this is self-serving and traffic for traffic’s sake, but it does two things well.
Firstly, it spreads the word more widely and may lead to a blog being found by someone who needs it. If it helps even one person feel less alone then it’s definitely worth doing. Secondly, it can lead to these blogs being in a better position to carry advertising, bringing in a few pounds a month at least and making it financially sustainable to maintain over the long term. Blogs aren’t free, after all!
My plea here is twofold. Firstly, to other bloggers. Have a look at your last dozen or so posts. How many times have you linked to another blog, or mentioned them in any way? How many times have you taken something that someone else has written and built upon it in some way? Links really matter, and I’m not just talking about simply having a blogroll. Start linking to other blogs. Start retweeting when bloggers post new content (be sure to use #datingblog as well). Help other bloggers and be helped in return.
And my plea to readers is get involved! Bloggers need encouragement more than anything; we certainly don’t do it for the fame or the money! If you read something you enjoy, leave a comment on the blog, send a tweet or drop us a line and let us know. Knowing even one person enjoyed our efforts means the world and can make the difference between a blogger putting fingers to keyboard with renewed vigour and them calling it a day, closing their blog down for good.
As more and more bloggers give up and move to other platforms or channels such as Instagram and vlogging, or give up and stop writing entirely, it’s super important to support those who remain. Everything you can do helps, whether you’re a blogger or not, so do what you can. You’ll miss us when we’re all gone, after all!