THE BLOG
01/21/2016 02:46 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Five Blog Trends That Need to Die in 2016

When you're a blogger, everything you do, think or feel becomes consideration for a blog post. Make a great dinner? Share the recipe. Do a cool craft with your kid? Share it. Have an opinion on the latest hot topic? Write about it. When you're a blogger, creativity is expected to be at an all-time high. You're constantly thinking of ways to keep your readers engaged, entertained and wanting to come back for more.

As a blogger, I'm pretty much up for trying anything to keep my little space interesting as long as it fits my niche and style. Catch words to pay attention to here - almost anything. While I consider myself to be open-minded and willing to experiment with new ideas, I've come across a few blogging trends, five to be exact, that in my opinion, need to die. Like, yesterday.

2016-01-21-1453340135-520457-PRACTICE1.jpg

Excessive sponsorship posts. Part of the reason you're blogging is to make money and truly, I get it. I too blog to make money and get some really great swag but when every post you publish is sponsored or pimping out a product, it gets old really quick. It also calls into question what you really believe in and stand behind because if you're promoting anything and everything, you really have no brand loyalty which goes against sponsorships all-together and in my opinion, significantly lowers your credibility.

If you're going to run sponsors on your blog, keep it real and be selective in who you choose to back and promote because I will tell you this: nothing will turn your readers, and other companies, off more than a blogger who is obviously out for nothing more than a dollar and a little attention.

Facebook follow for follow. I will admit that when I came onto the blogging scene, I joined these follow threads like no one's business. At the time, I thought it was a no-brainer in growing my blog and my audience.

I couldn't have been more wrong.

Yes, I got a bump in numbers and readers for a while but eventually, it all declined. It declined because the people I followed for a follow really weren't my niche audience. They could have cared less about my parenting woes of the moment or my thoughts and opinions on vaccines so they peaced out. I can't say that I blame them because I also had zero interest in reading about their latest fashion finds or how to wear this season's belt and lipstick with the perfect outfit, so I dropped them as well.

I learned that in order for me to genuinely grow and maintain my audience, I have to appeal to the right readers. I would rather my blog grow at a slow and steady organic rate resulting in long-term readers than to hype up and then fizzle out to die. I want the people reading Shiraz to be here because they want to be, not necessarily because they were forced to be. Slow and steady wins the race.

Coordinated Instagram follows. If you're a blogger who's a regular user of Instagram, you can expect to see it happen every week - Friday Follows. Before I get into this much more, let me wholly admit that this trend may only annoy me. I'm fully willing to admit that I may be the only one whose nose wrinkles up seeing these in my IG feed but I'm willing to bet I'm not.

The idea behind these Friday follows is to promote other IG accounts and to give the impression that, "Oh hey! I randomly picked four other bloggers to promote on my feed because I genuinely love the content they put out!" when in all actuality it reads, "Oh hey! Someone posted in a Facebook follow for follow thread that I'm in that they would love to boost their IG numbers, so who is interested in doing a Friday follow? Ten of us? Twenty of us? Let me know!"

Ugh.

Every time I see one of these Friday follows on my IG feed, I scroll right on past as I'm rolling my eyes. Why? Because it's anything BUT genuine and real for one of two reasons:

1. It's the same bloggers promoting the same people/friends every week and
2. Most of the Friday follows I see come from people who gathered together in a Facebook follow for follow group and have zero clue who they are promoting. Some of these people have never even read a single world on the person's blog they are promoting.

How ridiculous is that?

This all goes back to the premise behind the Facebook follow for follow threads. Yes, you may have a temporary increase in numbers but long-term, you will lose more than half of those who followed you because they truly aren't in to what you're about.

Picture perfect Instagram feeds. While I can appreciate a pretty picture, I miss the days when Instagram was just that - Instant. You took a picture and boom! You posted it. There was none of this "Let me get out my light kit, editing software and backdrops" for one single picture nonsense and while yes, your choreographed pictures and snapshots look like perfection, they're missing a very important element: the real factor.

When I'm scrolling through my IG feed, nine times out of ten I'm going to 'like' or comment on a picture that is real {in the moment, not choreographed} long before I notice or give attention to a picture that has clearly been edited, photo shopped and corrected every way from here to Sunday. Many people will argue this point by saying that a beautiful picture grabs the eye and attention first and foremost but I disagree. I will always like the real take on a person's life far faster than the choreographed version. People want to be able to relate to you. They want to know that you have flaws and imperfections and aren't afraid to be real with your readers and audience.

Instagram is meant to be just that - a picture in an instant. In as much as we love to see your perfectly polished snapshots, we want to see the real you. How about showing us sometime?

You're always promoting the same people and blogs. One word: YAWN. I know in the blogging world, we tend to gravitate towards those we feel the most connected to or to those with whom we've built friendships but really - boring! Show us someone new. Share a post or a blogger that is new to you that you enjoy reading. Go outside of your cliché and comfort zone for a hot second and expand your horizons. Part of the reason to blog is to make connections and meet other bloggers from all walks of life. Really, it's okay. Go beyond yourself and your core group of friends and look at all the beauty before you. You just might find someone new that you enjoy reading. I know I have.

What trends do you see in the blogging world that you wish would just die?