Why the World Needs {Smaller Bloggers}

Today I wanted to share with you a bit of my journey as a smaller blogger. You see, just ‘cause I’m sharing my two cents from the platform of Allume doesn’t mean I’m big and famous. Fact is, I have a small but loyal band of followers (last time I did a giveaway I had just seven—count ‘em—seven entrants!). My struggles with growth, insecurities over stats, and craving for significance have been a very real battle. But the peace and joy the Lord has replaced that with are real, as well, and that is why I’m meeting you here.

Lily of the Valley

I started blogging in 2007, for that classic reason—to share little bits of my life with distant family and friends. My only readers were people I already knew—I had hardly a thought toward growth. I loved the kudos and affirmation I received when I posted something clever. This whole blogging thing was great for the ego. Then I began to see the broader scope and potential of a blog. You mean I could make money? I confess, my motivations for blogging more intentionally were almost entirely selfish and mercenary.

I began putting hours of time into creating tutorials, wrapping my mind around the concept of SEO optimization, and signing up as an affiliate for a few companies I loved. I learned that guest posting was a great way to gain new readers, so I tried that, and became a regular contributor to a larger blog. I followed other women bloggers who were where I wanted to be, and that’s how I ended up at the second Relevant Conference (now Allume Social).

Here, for the first time, I heard the phrases, “Blogging for One” and “Upside-down Blogging”. I met bloggers face to face, heard their passions, and saw just how big this blogging thing had the potential to be—and it had nothing to do with numbers.

I came home determined to blog for God, not for numbers, popularity, or fame. My readers immediately noticed a difference in my content, one even candidly informing me, “It’s like you no longer have an agenda behind everything you write.”

My numbers didn’t grow significantly after my writing changed, but the depth of my relationship with my readers did. I was learning to embrace my impact. I also learned to take my online presence seriously, continuing to learn to skills as well as setting boundaries to keep my blog in its proper place in my life.

But I still struggled at times with how small my blog was. It was tempting to look at posts with zero comments and wonder why I was even trying. But then a funny thing happened. I started hearing from readers who had read my entire blog (how embarrassing!) and readers who were asking to meet in real life. My readers were seeking a deeper, more personal relationship with me – they were seeking fellowship and community. I began to see how even my small blog could have big impact if I was willing to go deep, instead of wide.

That’s when I remembered witnessing a beautiful woman at Relevant weeping as she expressed her grief that she could not answer all the emails she received from her wide readership. I suddenly caught the vision of a solution to her sorrow. What if there was a blogger in every town and every corner of the blogosphere willing to use her blog to reach out and build community within an arm’s reach of each needy mom, lonely single, or hurting heart?

And that is why the world needs smaller bloggers. Because the world needs more bloggers—big and small—whose vision goes beyond the numbers and reaches for hearts. Women who take the time to build relationship with their readers so they can love each other well. Women willing to light up their corner of the blogosphere with the love of Christ. These women will change the world. (<–Tweet this!)

(I have so enjoyed my time with you here on the Allume blog, but after a rather busy online season due to promoting my ebook, I need some time off. I’m going back to just writing on my own little blog now, and I welcome ya’ll to come visit if you’re so inclined. Have a great summer and I’ll see you at Allume!)

  • Amanda Friddle

    Thank you for this reminder! I am just beginning to see the awesome impact of being small. This admittedly type-a girl wants to chill out on the trying to grow and just get to know the readers I do have. xo Amanda at http://www.the-cadence.com

    • http://twitter.com/TrinaHolden Trina Holden

       Oh, yeah – I’m with you on the type-A stuff! But once we gain vision for depth over width, I think we can get just as excited. :)

  • http://memyselfandmercy.blogspot.com/ Mary Bonner

    This is a great reminder Trina.  I love how you are so transparent and honest.  Thank you!  See you at Allume!!


    • http://twitter.com/TrinaHolden Trina Holden

       Hugs! See you soon!

  • http://twitter.com/LittleWriterMom Lisa Littlewood

    Wow, this really spoke to me this morning…I was just asking my husband yesterday, “Is this worth it? The time, the energy? Why do I keep doing this?” After reading your post my heart was prompted to seek more deeply God’s guidance for my blog…who may HE want me to reach, what does HE want me to say? Trying to create some sort of “big” blog seems overwhelming…trying to just BE the woman in my corner of the world trying to reach some other women in my corner of the world seems completely doable. Thanks for the encouragement. 

    I’ll definitely stop by to visit at your blog this summer! 

    • http://twitter.com/TrinaHolden Trina Holden

       Oh, I know, Lisa! The ‘Big Blog’ goal has given me many sleepless nights. But you are on the right track, seeking God for His what and why and who. Thanks for joining me on this journey!

  • Anonymous

    I enjoyed this post, I am there with you. As I am creating a new blog for myself to launch later this year and abandoning an old one, I wonder what the next season of blogging, sharing, writing will look like. It is good to hear words of wisdom in this. I am going to check out your blog, from one small blogger to another.

    • http://twitter.com/TrinaHolden Trina Holden

      love your screen name–rolls off the tongue… :) Would love to have you drop by!

  • http://twitter.com/graceappears Elizabeth Marshall

    Thank you, this is so beautiful. I am inspired. So much to sink the teeth into today. Your story is full of encouragement, so I am that today because of you. Encouraged. What a great story of your blogging history you have chosen to share. You know you could have kept that all to yourself and we would have missed the blessing. You have done that too today. Blessed.  

    • http://twitter.com/TrinaHolden Trina Holden

       Elizabeth, thank you for affirming my effort to ‘get real’ with ya’ll. God put these words on my heart and it’s a blessing to hear they are bearing fruit.

  • http://staceydaze.blogspot.com/ Stacey

    Thank you for everything you have shared here and this post in paticular. This is where my heart is called, but I stray sometimes searching for an elusive pot of gold. THIS is the pot I want, and what it is filled with is cherished and irreplaceable.

    • http://twitter.com/TrinaHolden Trina Holden

       Stacey – Yes, yes, and amen, sister! Cherished and irreplaceable. I’m gonna remember those words.
      (and thanks for coming by and saying hi on my blog!)

  • Jane R.

    Trina, You have hit the HEART and PURPOSE of blogging!!  This is what is missing in our culture and the community of Christ, relationship!  This message needs to be spread far and wide.  You have gained one more follower on your blog today, me.

    • http://twitter.com/TrinaHolden Trina Holden

       Hi, Jane! Delighted to meet you. Thank you for your encouragement!

  • http://overcomingloneliness.com Jody Watkins

    I love your line “embrace your impact.” When you think about blogging in the physical sense, yes numbers do mean everything BUT the numbers are worthless in light of eternity. If you look at Blogging from a spiritual perspective, truly numbers are meaningless because our ministry, be it to 8 or 8,000, is a ministry to the souls and spirits of eternity bound people. No value can be placed on a life! If my blog ministers to a single person, encouraging them in their walk, helping them find freedom, healing, endurance,….. that is eternal impact and that is precious. 

    I have felt the Lord asking me if I am willing to be a small piece in His grand plan rather than being the center of mine own. His holds a guarantee of fruit and reward while mine doesn’t.

    Blessing to you and thank your for the spot on encouragement!

    • http://twitter.com/TrinaHolden Trina Holden

      “willing to be a small piece in His grand plan rather than being the center of mine own.” <–love this. What a beautiful place He has brought you to. Thank you for inspiring ME!

  • Rosann

    Thank you for this.  It was just what I needed to read today.  By the way, I bought your book but haven’t had a chance to read it yet.  I put it on my Kindle and have 2 others in front of it.  Every time I see it, I get excited though.  :-)  I’m looking forward to reading it. 


    • http://twitter.com/TrinaHolden Trina Holden

       Rosann, Thanks! I’m excited, too! 😉

  • http://www.abranchinthevine.com/ Jan

    Thank you, Trina. I needed that!  I’m new and older, so my stats aren’t great.  But I seek to honor the Lord and encourage God’s people…trusting by HIS grace that that’s happening!  Blessings!

    • http://twitter.com/TrinaHolden Trina Holden

       Jan, I’m praying He’ll give you a glimpse into the beautiful fruit your obedience is producing.

  • Sharon O

    Thank you for this, I am a small blogger and sometimes it is hard but other times it is good, the hardest part of blogging for me recently was opening my blog up from private setting to public. That is real exposure and it has been a hard change for me. I have a few more readers which are even in my local area. God doesn’t want me to worry about the blog and it’s security he only wants me to share ‘from my heart’ and share the word with others in whatever form that may be.

    • http://twitter.com/TrinaHolden Trina Holden

       Oh, Sharon– local readers=So much fun! You will have an opportunity to serve and build community beyond the screen! Let God guide you and you won’t need to listen to fear. Blessings in your new venture!

  • http://www.servingjoyfully.com/ Crystal

    Thanks so much for sharing your heart in this!  I really would assume that as a guest contributer for allume that your blog would be “bigger”…One thing that I try to remember is this:  “Whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance…”  (Colossians 3:23).  I’m actually working on a post about this topic right now.  Because it’s so easy to get discouraged and thing it doesn’t matter if x number of people aren’t viewing my blog.  But I still need to give it my absolute best because I’m really doing it for God, and if he chooses me and my blog to help only one person ever, I believe that would be worth it in His eyes…He is the one, after all, who would leave the 99 to go looking after that one lost sheep, and rejoice upon finding it :)

    • http://twitter.com/TrinaHolden Trina Holden

       Looking forward to you post, Crystal. We can’t have enough reminders to serve God rather than our own ambitions with our blogs. Will you tweet it with the #allume hashtag when it’s done so we can all enjoy it?

      • http://www.servingjoyfully.com/ Crystal

        Trina, I don’t even have a twitter account! But, I’ve been thinking about trying to figure it all out, and if I do, I will certainly do that :)

        • http://trinaholden.com Trina Holden

          Oh, Crystal – I know, it took me months to try out twitter. Have you see the Better Blogs group on FB? These gals are helping a lot of us figure out our way around twitter…http://www.facebook.com/groups/349325988465964/

  • http://www.susanstilwell.com Susan Rinehart Stilwell

    Amen, Trina! Thanks for putting all those blogging thoughts/fears/issues into words. You’re right on the money, and making a right decision to pull away for a time.

    Hugs from VA,

    • http://twitter.com/TrinaHolden Trina Holden

       I’m gonna miss you all! Your comments have filled this place with grace and been so encouraging toward my efforts here. Thank you, Susan!

  • http://shellywildman.net/ Shelly Wildman

    You have said perfectly everything I have felt over the years. But lately God has given me a peace that I am exactly where He wants me to be–teaching, primarily, and blogging when I can. Oh, and there’s also that bit about being a mom to my girls. :) Through my “lesser-known” outreach, I have made some fantastic friends, and that has been really wonderful and fulfilling to me. Thanks for affirming that for me today.

    • http://twitter.com/TrinaHolden Trina Holden

       You make a great point, Shelly -reminding us of the fantastic friends and wonderful fulfillment we can find when we’re willing to invest in our own corner of the world. And, oh, yes, with our children, too! (I have 3 munchkins!)

  • http://www.womenlivingwell-courtney.blogspot.com womenlivingwell

    Amen!! This little light of mine – I’m gonna let it shine!!!  Keep on shining sister!  We DO need each other – we need your stories, your personality, your connection with people that no one else can reach! 
    Partners in Christ!

    • http://twitter.com/TrinaHolden Trina Holden

       Yeah, Courtney! You totally inspire me.

  • Amanda Mianecki

    Thanks for this, Trina. It is so easy to get swept up in the push to grow and sign up for all the programs to improve writing, etc. I want to improve my writing, but (at least during my kids’ [home]schooling year) blogging twice a week is what works. I try to make that count. I love your encouragement because I really want my writing to be whatever God wants it to be.

    • http://twitter.com/TrinaHolden Trina Holden

       Oh, Amanda – I get it. I have to remind myself so often of what Sally Clarkson said at the last Allume to us writers “Your children are the best book you will ever write.” He has plans for your writing, dear. Beautiful plans. Trust His timing!

  • Misty Griffin

    Oh I am SO going to miss seeing your posts…I have felt everything you described today…I sometimes wonder WHY when I have only 24 readers one day..*sigh*..but then God always reminds me that I didn’t start this because of ME…I started it for Him…thanks for the encouragement!  

    • http://twitter.com/TrinaHolden Trina Holden

       You’re so welcome, Misty. Thank you for being real, too. :)

  • http://sewcarolinaknits.blogspot.com/ Carolina

    Thank you for this!  I too have worried about numbers, stats, followers, et.  I realized that in real life I’m the type of person who likes to be with a small group of friends, and getting to know people one on one. rather than being in a large group where you can get lost in the crowd…so why would I want a large following on my blog?  

    • http://twitter.com/TrinaHolden Trina Holden

       Carolina – precisely! There’s such joy in going deep, one-on-one.

  • http://denisejhughes.com/ Denise J. Hughes

    When I first started blogging in 2009, it was just to have a place to write. I didn’t know the first thing about numbers or stats. In hindsight, I think this was a blessing. When I started “meeting” some amazing people, I was so blessed by connecting with the many like-minded writers out there. There are truly some wonderful people in this blog-o-sphere. But I strive to always remember why I started blogging in the first place. To write. To share my life and encourage others through words. And, above all, to glorify Him. That is my heart’s desire.

    Love this post.

    • http://twitter.com/TrinaHolden Trina Holden

       “Yeah” for keeping the main thing the main thing, Denise!

  • Anonymous

    Love this, Trina. I just love it. Thank you for this encouraging perspective.

    • http://twitter.com/TrinaHolden Trina Holden

       You’re so welcome, Krissie!

  • http://twitter.com/LaurenWLutz Lauren Lutz

    I think this quote has been attributed to Mother Teresa –
    “We can
    only small things with
    great love.”

    I’m thanking God for your heart being open to his wisdom and your willingness to share it.

    • http://twitter.com/TrinaHolden Trina Holden

       Lauren – I’m grateful, too. God really has been the author of all that is happening here at Allume, I have been blessed to play a small part.

  • http://www.joleneengle.org/ Jolene @ The Alabaster Jar

    Wonderful Trina.  Thanks for sharing this!
    Keeping our perspective in why and what we do.
    Bottom line:  Why are we blogging in the first place?  If it is for the Lord then the number of followers shouldn’t matter because our hearts should fixed on Him and building His kingdom rather than our own.

    • http://twitter.com/TrinaHolden Trina Holden

       Jolene – you’ve nailed it, sister!

  • http://twitter.com/havefaith90 Anna Radchenko

    This is great!  Having a small blog, myself, I sometimes wonder about not having that many readers.  However, I really desire to have that community, encouragement, and fellowship that you mentioned.  I know God will use my blog as He sees fit.  It will reach exactly how many people and exactly who He wants it to exactly when it’s supposed to happen!  Praise GOD that He is in control. :)  In the meantime, I’ll just keep writing, and whoever He leads to read what I write, may the Lord bless them greatly through it. 

    • http://twitter.com/TrinaHolden Trina Holden

       Anna – I just want to encourage you – you are on the right track toward that community and fellowship if you keep to the goal you beautifully expressed here.

  • http://www.lovingourjourney.com/ Michy lovingourjourney

    This is wonderful!!!  As a new and small blogger, I’ve been amazed at connections I’ve made already with other Christian women.  This is my therapeutic addiction-blogging-and I honestly feel like a NEW ME because of blogging. I prayed to God as I made my final decision to “agree” to start my blog, and He has given me this world of prayer, fellowship, and comfort that I have so needed in my life.  I cried at my first comment and jump to see who I’ve connected with each time I log on.  To hear your story of having no agenda…as God is with us at heart…is just a refreshing blessing.  Thank you so much for sharing!!

    • http://twitter.com/TrinaHolden Trina Holden

       Michy – I loved hearing how God has blessed you through the act of blogging. It has changed my life and added so much goodness, as well! Praise God.

  • http://diannaauton.com/ Dianna Auton

    Thank you so much. I needed to hear this today and it has actually put me at peace with my own little blog. :) 

    • http://twitter.com/TrinaHolden Trina Holden

       ahh, peace is lovely. yeah! :)

      • http://diannaauton.com/ Dianna Auton

        Most definitely. 

  • http://purplecowsandrootbeerfloats.blogspot.com/ kathi bailey

    after months and months of being on the verge of deleting my blog, i decided not to, and to just write. sure, i’m linking, commenting, trying new things … but keeping the constant REAL in all of it. if i link, it’s because i support what that blog stands for. if i comment, it’s because i’ve been inspired or touched. if i try something new, i’m sorry :)

    i want to grow, yes. but, like you said … deep, not wide. a small community of friends, please (i’m a busy stay-at-home, homeschooling mom. i love being able to jump on my phone, chat with a friend for 2 minutes, then grade a spelling test. it just feels better. … and, i think being a military wife, away from family and friends, makes me want that community even more.)

    i’ve learned so much from you Trina, in just the few short weeks i’ve been reading. thank you.

    and, i won’t miss you … because i will follow you right to your not-so-small small blog :)


    • http://twitter.com/TrinaHolden Trina Holden

       Kathi, you make a great point – a blog can definitely help with that craving for community and fellowship. It as been that for me, for sure.
      Looking forward to connecting with you further. :)

  • Anonymous

    Oh Trina, you are going out with a bang.  This is wonderful.  A few things you said really spoke to me tonight. I am often overwhelmed by the responses I get, as few as they are.  I just want to reach out and hug everyone who leaves a comment, especially those who are hurting. I do hope you’ll come back.  I’ve enjoyed this series!

    • http://trinaholden.com Trina Holden

      Oh, thank you for your sweet words. This opportunity was a real treat for me! I do hope we can keep in touch.

    • http://twitter.com/TrinaHolden Trina Holden

       Oh, MTereasa, thank you for your kind words. It has been such an absolute delight connecting with you all here. I love your heart for your readers–it’s an inspiration!

  • Becky Daye

    Thank you for this great post, Trina!  Can’t wait to meet you!!! (Maybe before Allume?  I’m in Rochester and I hear that you aren’t too far away… :) )

    • http://trinaholden.com Trina Holden

      Yeah! Another Upstate Blogger! It feels like we are few and far between. We shall definitely have to connect! :)

    • http://twitter.com/TrinaHolden Trina Holden

      Becky – Hooray! Another Upstate Blogger! I find we are few and far between. Looking forward to connecting with you!

  • http://readysetsimplify.com/ Ready. Set. Simplify.

    I just wanted to say that I really appreciated this today. I was struggling with feeling discouraged, and I think I need to change my thinking going back to my “why.” Thanks for the encouragement and for getting me thinking. 

    • http://trinaholden.com Trina Holden

      You are so welcome. Glad my story can help! :)

    • http://twitter.com/TrinaHolden Trina Holden

       You’re so welcome, Elizabeth!

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  • http://newequus.wordpress.com/ Mindy Bowman

    Thanks for the words of encouragement Trina. I didn’t get a chance to read this yesterday and this is totally what I blogged about today…the path I’m supposed to take. I know I am heading down the right one because He’s giving me all this stuff that is right where I’m at and right when it’s needed, but’s it’s just sort of blurry and bumpy at the moment. Ah…should have been at the front of the patience line so I could get a full dose and not at the end to get the drippings! LOL Enjoy your rest! :)

    • http://trinaholden.com Trina Holden

      Mindy, I visited your blog and loved your humor. I’m glad your committed to continue in faithfulness. That’s where He meets us!

    • http://twitter.com/TrinaHolden Trina Holden

       Mindy, I visited your blog and loved your humor. I think you’re on the right path, too. :)

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  • http://Wwwmyspareoom.blogspot.com/ Raewyn83

    Thank you so much, Trina!! What a beautiful post – and such perfect timing! I’ve been turning this matter over in my heart recently. I’ve gotten caught up in checking blog stats and getting excited with each new follower I get….and I don’t want that to be the motivation behind my blogging. I’ve read Sally Clarkson’s blog, I Take Joy, (and her lovely daughter Sarah’s) for years and discovered Sarah Mae and Allume through her. When I started following Sarah Mae on Twitter, I was floored because she tweets encouragement/links of other beautiful souls, etc. It really opened my eyes to the community of bloggers out there who WANT a personal relationship with each other. You – and all of those ladies – are a fabulous inspiration. I wish I could come see y’all at Allume Conference in the fall!

    Much love,

    P.S. I have some wonderful friendships with some amazing girls + women I’ve never met in real life. God is so good…I want to blog for Him and Him alone!

    • http://trinaholden.com Trina Holden

      Grace, I’m so glad you have experienced the love and support of the blogging community! That’s what it’s all about. :) It sounds like your heart is in a beautiful place – keep blogging for Him!

  • http://www.apeacefulcrib.com/ latoya

    I absolutely love this post!  It is so encouraging!  Thank you for sharing.