It can be confusing starting a blog, especially when you have a million different bloggers telling you need to share your post here and join this Pinterest group there.
The project can seem huge to tackle, believe me, I know.
Let me help you by crossing one thing off your list: Bloglovin’.
In fact, let’s take that part of the list, rip it off, and ceremoniously burn it someplace. Am I a little bitter about Bloglovin’? Maybe. But I don’t think this particular vendetta is undeserved.
Let’s Start at the Beginning
I started An Introvert Talks back in 2016, though I didn’t dive into self-hosting my blog until 2018. Before self-hosting, my number of views didn’t concern me much. But now that I was all in, it was time to start seriously researching how I could expand my audience.
I had read several blog posts in which bloggers recommended Bloglovin’ as a great way to drive new viewers to your blog. For those of you not familiar with Bloglovin’, it’s a feed reader that allows you to subscribe to your favorite blogs’ RSS feeds. As a blogger, you can claim your website on Bloglovin’. In doing so, you can see your followers and keep track of what posts are being viewed the most through Bloglovin’.
I was able to claim my site and get my account set up with relative ease. No problems there! As a few weeks passed, I began to see an annoying pattern on the site as I attempted to grow my base of followers…
Why You Should Skip Bloglovin’
The Social Myth of Bloglovin’
It’s easy to assume that when you start an account on Bloglovin’, you will be able to connect with lots of other bloggers in the same niche. In fact, I’d seen other bloggers perpetuate this myth. Unfortunately, this simply isn’t true.
Bloglovin’ isn’t a social media platform. People don’t use it to engage with others, but rather to sort and keep track of content.
Pinterest is another platform that might seem like a form of social media. While at first glance that might seem to be the case, it’s actually a search engine. If you look at the “Community” tab on Pinterest accounts with large followings, you can see that typically they follow fewer than 200 accounts. Pinterest is not a platform on which bloggers engage with others. They are there simply to post their content and drive viewers to their blogs.
If you find accounts on Bloglovin’ to follow, be prepared for them to not follow you back. Bloggers use Bloglovin’ to BE FOLLOWED, not vice versa.
So what does this mean for new bloggers?
Most bloggers touting Bloglovin’ as a fantastic way to build a community fail to mention how incredibly difficult it is to break into the platform. A blogger with hundreds of thousands of followers is not going to follow you back if you follow them. Let’s just be straight about that; it’s not going to happen. If you do happen to find some blogs with a small amount of followers, there’s no guarantee you’ll get a follow back from them.
Even if you do try to meaningfully engage, odds are your growth will be incredibly slow. In my opinion, there so many other platforms (Instagram is a huge one) on which you can engage with others that will result in greater payback.
At least three times out of four, the followers you acquire won’t even be real, which brings me to my next point…
Russian Sex Bots Will Be the Bane of Your Bloglovin’ Existence
When I first started using Bloglovin’, I would get excited when I saw I had gained a new follower. Upon taking a closer look at these “followers”, however, my excitement turned to dismay.
The username would usually be something generic like “Joe” or simply “Bloglover”. When you went to the account page, you would see the bios of these accounts would be filled with invitations to other sites for sex-related content.
These sex bots are not an every once in a while occurrence, oh no. They will most likely make up a solid 1/2 to 3/4 of your follower base on Bloglovin’. Take the follower count of any blog, and divide it by half to get a more realistic representation of its Bloglovin’ following.
What’s incredibly strange to me is that Bloglovin’ still, after all these years, hasn’t provided a way for bloggers to block/delete these accounts from their followers. It seems like a massive issue that should have been addressed a long time ago, especially considering the INSANE prevalence of sex bots on the site. I think that this reason alone is enough to turn bloggers off of using Bloglovin’. After being on Bloglovin’ for three months, I had two real followers and twelve bots. Obviously, I was not impressed.
More Effective Ways to Engage & Grow Your Audience
Personally, I prefer to use the WordPress feed. It’s easy to pop over to the Reader while on WordPress, and I’m able to leave comments on the actual blog. I’ve had much greater success engaging with other bloggers this way!
I know not everyone has a WordPress-powered blog, so another effective way to meet and engage with other bloggers is through Instagram. This one is fairly obvious and has undoubtedly been repeated many times. But given the fact that it is a form of social media, you’ll see that other users are much more apt to engage with you and follow you. If you’re new to blogging, it’s a fantastic way to build an audience that trusts you.
You Can Do Better Than Bloglovin’
Bloglovin’ does still have its uses, especially for people who aren’t bloggers that just want to keep track of their favorite blogs.
But for new bloggers, Bloglovin’ is a massive time waste. People can still add your blog and follow it through Bloglovin’ without you having to create an account. It’s not worth the investment of your time to create an account, only to have it sit and collect bots. It’s frustrating and virtually pointless for new bloggers, especially when there are so many better options.
Learn from my mistakes and skip Bloglovin’!
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