This week I published the last post I’ll ever write for ShoeperWoman.com – which, for those of you just joining us, is the last of many different blogs I’ve owned and run over the course of the last decade. (In addition to this one, obviously.)
I was going to say here that the decision to quit was a hard one, but the fact is, it was and it wasn’t. I mean, I started ShoeperWoman in 2009, and, for many years, it was the biggest – and most profitable – of all of my sites. It was the site that paid my mortgage for a good few years: the site I spent evenings and weekends working on, because it was so important to keep it updated, keep people coming back to it, keep it making money. It was a huge part of my life, in other words: and, as well as earning me an income, it also helped me connect with other shoe/fashion lovers, many of whom I still consider friends to this day.
A couple of years ago, though, things changed. The blogosphere changed. The way people consume content changed. Instagram changed. And, I guess, most of all, I changed.
When I started ShoeperWoman, it was purely a shoe blog: one where I’d post photos of shoes I liked, along with a little blurb about where to buy them, and what to wear with them. On the internet of 2009, you could get away with stuff like that. Now, though? We have Instagram and Pinterest for that kind of thing, thanks. These days, people aren’t really looking to blogs for shopping recommendations – and I don’t blame them. Earlier this year, I realised I’d pretty much stopped reading blogs that only publish wish list/gift guide type content – and even the ones that just post outfit photos, if I’m perfectly honest. And it’s not that I’m not interested in outfit photos, either: nope, I’m still fascinated by what people wear, and what they buy – it’s just that I can get that information on Instagram now. I prefer to get that information on Instagram, actually: and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one.
There’s a saying in the blogging world that you should write the blog you’d like to read yourself, and I think that’s pretty sound advice. What I realised a couple of years ago was that I didn’t really want to write – or, indeed, read – posts about a single pair of shoes, or why I decided to wear that skirt with this top. That’s absolutely not intended to be a criticism of anyone who DOES write that type of content, by the way: and it’s not even to say that I’ll never do it again myself. But it’s not really the direction I want to move in any more, because it’s just not something that interests me much.
But I had a shoe blog.
One that pretty much relied on me finding shoes to show people, and then coming up with something to say about them.
And, honestly, it had started to feel like a real chore.
By this point, of course, I’d already realised that niche blogging just wasn’t for me. I mean, I really wish it WAS: I have a sneaking suspicion that this blog (and definitely my Instagram account) would be a lot more successful if I could just pick a topic and stick to it – if I wasn’t writing about parenting one day, and microblading the next. But, having said that, I know for sure that the blog wouldn’t continue to exist if I tried to stick to just one topic: it’s just not me, and it never will be. I’ve learned the hard way that no matter how fascinating a particular topic is to me NOW, it doesn’t necessarily follow that it’ll still be fascinating to me five years from now: or that I’ll be able to continue coming up with new things to say about it, even if it is. The main reason this blog has lasted for as long as it has, after all – and the reason I’ll NEVER give it up – is the fact that I write about whatever the hell I want here: for better or for worse.
But ShoeperWoman was a shoe blog. Shoes were the reason people started reading it, and shoes were what they expected to see on it. So, I continued to write about shoes for as long as I possibly could, and then, when it became obvious to me that, actually, people WEREN’T really looking for a entire blog about shoes any more, I switched tactic, and tried to expand the site to include fashion and lifestyle topics, too. Honestly, though, it was still a struggle: partly because I was now basically writing about the same topics I cover here at Forever Amber, but also because the other blogging lesson I’ve learned the hard way is that there just aren’t enough hours in the day for one person to run two blogs. Or, not if the one person is ME, anyway. I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who run multiple blogs without breaking a sweat, but, for me, it was a case of constantly spreading myself too thin, and always feeling that I wasn’t doing justice to either site, because there just wasn’t time.
And, when Max was born, I realised there was never going to BE time, either.
I think a lot of us have a tendency to go through life always thinking that there’ll someday be more time for everything. I know I do. But, one of the hardest things about becoming a parent for me has been coming to the realisation that there just isn’t going to be more time – not for a very LONG time, anyway. I mean, he’ll go to nursery, of course, and then to school, and, when that happens, I guess Terry I will be able to claw back some of the time that’s currently being sucked into the endless routine of changing nappies and rebuilding the stacking cup tower that Max has just knocked down for the 165th time that day. But there will never be as much time as there was before he was born: not until he’s much, much older. So, I’ve had to accept that I’m probably not going to finish the second draft of my book any time soon, for instance. And I’m not going to be able to continue running two websites, either. It’s just not possible right now.
So, last week I wrote my final post for ShoeperWoman.com, before handing the site over to a new owner, who I hope will be able to give it the time and attention it deserves.
I have very mixed feelings about it.
On the one hand, I know the decision was the right one – it being the ONLY one I could really have made under the circumstances.
On the other hand, though, it’s hard to spend almost a decade working on something – to build it up from nothing, and invest years and years of your life into it, only to one day give it up. It feels a bit like failing, to be honest, even although I know it isn’t, really. The fact is, I built a site that was successful for 9 entire years: that’s longer than any traditional job I’ve ever had. If I’d started a “real” job back in 2009, it’s reasonable to assume that I might well have moved on from it by now: people do, after all. But giving up on a job I created myself feels a bit different, somehow: which is why I felt quite sad as I hit “publish” on that last-ever post this week, and suddenly found myself with just one blog to my name – this one – for the first time ever.
While having all of my eggs in just the one blogging basket – er, so to speak – might sound a little bit risky, though, I have absolutely no doubt that it’s the right decision for me. This blog, you see, is much more than just a job to me. And sure, right now it is ALSO my job – and my ONLY job, at that – but I’ve always said that, even if it stopped making money tomorrow, I’d still keep writing it. Maybe not at the same frequency, or in quite the same way, obviously, but I started this site because I loved writing, and wanted a place to be able to document my life, and absolutely nothing has changed about that. I don’t think it ever will.
So, it may be the end of my career as a shoe blogger: but it’s definitely not the end of my blogging career. And you never know: with just one site to focus on now, it might even be just the start of a whole new blogging era…