The Blogging Hierarchy

I remember clearly when I started blogging. I’d been reading other parenting blogs during my pregnancy with LP and those haze filled newborn days. They kept me awake during night feeds, reassured me on the tough days and supported me when I needed it.

I followed so many bloggers on Twitter and when we started weaning LP I thought I’d like to document it, first foods, baby led weaning and then everything else that came after.

I spent the next 10 months writing, publishing and carrying on with life. I wasn’t a blogger – I was someone with a blog. But then one day I realised that there was so much more to blogging, a community, conferences and a whole world that I hadn’t known about.

I went self hosted, Redhead Babyled was born and I decided to take blogging more seriously. I didn’t just want to be someone with a blog, I wanted to be a blogger. I wanted people to read what I wrote, I wanted people to know I had a blog and I wanted it to be something I was proud of.

That was the start of my love affair with blogging. I went self hosted nearly three years ago and since then my blog has grown, my social media has grown and I have carved a place for myself in the blogging community – somewhere I am so proud to be.

But I remember my first Britmums Live conference where I saw all these big bloggers around and I was in awe of them. They were like celebrities to me and I put them on this pedestal. I didn’t talk to many of them, I was too nervous, I felt inferior and I didn’t want them to waste their time talking to little me.

The following year was much the same although I forced myself to go and speak to these people that I looked up to, respected and whose blogs I loved to read. I said a quick hello to a few, smiled at a few from afar and said congratulations to ones that won awards. But, in my head, they were still at the top of this theoretical hierarchy, and I was somewhere further down.

Then this year’s Britmums Live came round and I realised something had changed. I realised that I could speak to everyone – all those big bloggers – and it was just like talking to anyone else. They were just the same as me.

I realised, and had a bit of a epiphany, that as a new blogger I had made this hierarchy in my head. A pecking order of bloggers, making the ones I love into celebrities of the blogging world. No-one else had put them there, it was me. I adored their blogs, saw their chart positions and the wonderful opportunities they experienced, I saw their beautiful families and perfect photos and I made them into something they weren’t.

I looked back to last year’s Britmums where some bloggers had called me a big blogger and others had tweeted me after to say they were too nervous to say hello. It had made me feel a little taken aback, a little awkward and a little out of my comfort zone. To me, I wasn’t a big blogger, I was just me, doing what I have always done, writing a blog that I love and making the most of being part of the blogging community, commenting on blogs, chatting on social media and, well, being a blogger.

I said to close friends how I didn’t like being a big blogger. It wasn’t something I had expected or asked for and I was still just me.

I realised that most bloggers, at some point or another, create this hierarchy. They think that other bloggers are better than them – or even beneath them at times – and that some bloggers wouldn’t want to talk to them, wouldn’t know who they were or would make them feel awkward.

This year I spoke to so many bloggers – bloggers who had been to Britmums for the first time, bloggers who had been to every Britmums since it started, bloggers who took the time to come up and say hello to me and bloggers who I had spoken to for so long across social media. I spoke to literally hundreds of people and made sure I took time to speak to as many people as possible, not sticking to one group of people and trying to mingle as much as possible.

For me, the hierarchy has been dissolved. We are all bloggers, blogging. Regardless of charts, stats or anything else we are all united in this love of being able to share our voice, share our photos and be a community.

There may well be a blogging hierarchy. There may well be bloggers all the way from the top to the bottom. But this hierarchy is in your own head and nowhere else. Don’t let it stop you saying hello, getting to know people and making friends in this pretty incredible community of ours.

The Blogging Hierarchy

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47 Comments

  1. July 2, 2016 / 7:47 am

    Donna you are most definitely a ‘big blogger’, but you are also the friendliest one that I can think of. I hope one day I can meet you in the ‘real world’ because I’m sure you will be just as lovely as you are through my computer screen xx

  2. July 2, 2016 / 7:55 am

    Oh I nodded along reading this… it’s a funny old community sometimes isn’t it? And I think because the online world moves so fast, we all still feel like newbies in so many ways. I still go to conferences and events and get a bit starstruck by some people, and then get taken aback when people say things about feeling like that about me, because I’m just me and really not very exciting.
    It’s amazing where blogging can lead and the opportunities it grants us, but at the same time we’re all doing it for the love of it, and we’re all just normal people. x

    • July 2, 2016 / 8:10 am

      Yes, exactly. We are all just normal people – lovely and normal 🙂 x

  3. July 2, 2016 / 8:27 am

    Great post, and yes I agree you are a big blogger although all achieved through hard work.
    I haven’t been to an event but I definitely think I would get a little starstruck by some bloggers – which I know is a little ridiculous!

    I guess it’s just like being the new kid in school in awe of the popular ones! Xx

  4. July 2, 2016 / 8:31 am

    Great post. It’s so good to let newer bloggers know that you’re so approachable and that being a ‘big’ blogger hasn’t gone to your head 😉
    Nat.x

  5. July 2, 2016 / 8:55 am

    This is a great post. It’s true that we are all the same as each other really. Mostly just parents trying to juggle everything as best as we can. Your blog is amazing though and in terms of blogging you definitely are big and there is no shame in that 🙂 If I spot you at the next conference (BlogON?) I will most definitely come and say hello. x

  6. July 2, 2016 / 10:09 am

    Who are you? 😉

    Love this. It definitely puts it right as I had similar thought processes in talking to people. Admittedly have been worried about talking to you for well over a year!! But it was in my head and since doing so months ago I know I had nothing to worry about. It is scary as a new blogger. Also loved your description of blogging. I’ve had 2 blogs for 7 years but only been a blogger for 2 of them!

    I do think that there is a hierarchy in some of the big bloggers minds….especially when they discuss “being on top” and not chatting to younger bloggers but on the whole most are like you and just “normal” people ????

  7. July 2, 2016 / 10:15 am

    The first time I went to BML I too was too scared to speak to anyone and hid behind a fellow blogger, having only been blogging a few months then no one knew who I was and just smiled or said oh yes I follow on twitter or something. We are all normal people just blogging our way through but we all seem to do the heirarchy thing! Even now 3 yrs on I am still small in the blogging world and shy away from the ‘big bloggers’.

  8. July 2, 2016 / 11:18 am

    Spot on! Hopefully everyone is nice to everyone and we can all learn a few tricks from each other. But blogs are all about individuality so as long as we all keep enjoying doing it then that’s the important thing!

  9. Mini travellers
    July 2, 2016 / 11:54 am

    Totally agree with this post and many bloggers people regard as big bloggers are still just as shy as anyone else in big groups and wouldn’t stop to talk to people not because they are snooty or full of themselves, just because they are shy too.

  10. July 2, 2016 / 11:56 am

    Well said Donna, personally I’ll talk to anyone and the whole ‘tribe’ and supposed hierarchy is one of the phew things I dislike about blogging.

    Yes I have blogger friends who I’m especially close to including you, but that doesn’t mean I have to segregate myself from the rest of the blogging world or call us a tribe and make others feel left out or sad they don’t have a tribe.

    Tribe is my least favourite word… and I judge others according to how they behave and treat others not according to how popular their blog is or how big their ‘gang’ is.

    Stevie xx

  11. July 2, 2016 / 12:33 pm

    A fabulous Post Donna. Last year i met one of my blogging idols ..She is amazing.. i was in awe. This year she came to me and said the same thing and i thought it was hilarious. We are all in it together and I agree with the sentiments of this fabulous post!

  12. July 2, 2016 / 12:48 pm

    I absolutely love this Donna. I have always had this blogger hierarchy in my head too, for 5 years I’ve been “someone with a blog” and only in the last year I’ve had the confidence to say “I’m a blogger”. In my eyes you are a *big blogger* but you are so lovely and actually it’s your Facebook group that has helped my confidence recently x

  13. July 2, 2016 / 1:09 pm

    So true that any sort of hierarchy is made up in our heads. Also totally understandable that a big group of people can be intimidating to try and join in with, even if you recognise most of them – they seem happy and involved in their chatter, and you aren’t sure if they WANT to be interrupted. I’ve always made an effort to mix in and out of groups as much as possible at blog events, in order to seem as welcoming as possible and to talk to as many people as possible.

  14. July 2, 2016 / 1:09 pm

    I think the wake up moment for me was when I was talking to someone and named some folk I had placed in the ‘big blogger’ pile and they hadn’t even heard of them. It was then I realised that everyone has their own list of who is big and in turn that makes no one bigger than anyone else. We’re all just people at the end of the day. Some of us are confident enough to approach people, some of us (ahem me) aren’t. I find comfort in recognisable faces and people I know will talk back. It takes me a lot of courage to speak to someone new and if I get a blank response, it just puts be back to square one. My motto is, if someone speaks to you…it doesn’t matter who you think you are…be polite and friendly. Great post D….glad you took the time to write it xx

  15. July 2, 2016 / 1:15 pm

    Lovely piece. I would agree with this. I would class you as a ‘big blogger’ too and myself as a ‘little blogger’ but this is certainly food for thought!

  16. July 2, 2016 / 1:51 pm

    Awww. That is nice. And very true. I remember being terrified meeting some of those people I saw as celebrities, and being really stuck for words. This year I just wanted to talk to everyone.
    I started around the same time as you I think, and I reached exactly the same conclusion this year. But you do have to question, is it partly because we feel after all these years we climbed that hierarchy and finally feel we deserve the title ‘blogger’.

  17. July 2, 2016 / 1:54 pm

    Love this. So true. I think it’s just natural for us all to create a bit of a hierarchy in our heads but I know that when I’ve gone up to speak to ‘big’ bloggers in the past, they’ve all been super nice and friendly.

  18. July 2, 2016 / 2:16 pm

    I love this post, made me feel less nervous about meeting people at BlogOn in September x

  19. July 2, 2016 / 2:19 pm

    Totally agree Donna, I’ve been blogging for four years and still get intimidated by big bloggers but I know most of it is in my head, I’m sure they get just as nervous as others but it nice to see them being friendly to newer bloggers. I love seeing any bloggers with a smile on their face happy to talk and you find some great new blogs that way. In fact, at last years blog on I met Esther Inside Out & About and Mary The Hearty Life who were so lovely and I have been reading their blogs ever since! It’s nice to be nice wherever you land in the blogging hierarchy! xx

  20. July 2, 2016 / 2:29 pm

    Great post, it’s honestly so spot on. There should be no hierarchy, we all blog in our own way and enjoy different style of blogs, some more than others. Everyone has different tastes and it’s the same in the blogging world haha 🙂 xx

  21. July 2, 2016 / 2:51 pm

    I was really scared at my first blog Confrence but realised in didn’t need to be scared. Everyone big blog or small blog was super friendly and now I have a view we are all equal and approachable and find it much easier to speak to people.

  22. July 2, 2016 / 2:56 pm

    I love this post, but you are the big blogger we are all in awe of, I have yet to go to one of these events, but know I would feel like you used too x

  23. July 2, 2016 / 3:01 pm

    I got SO starstruck last year – and was very nervous! But this year I was more confident and spoke to far many more bloggers than I did last year, so I don’t feel that way anymore. Great post and agreed – we’re all just doing our thing and being friendly is so important xx

  24. July 2, 2016 / 3:54 pm

    I don’t like any form of hierarchy and whether that is in the blogging world or the corporate world, I look past it. I get nervous and anxious at events, but that is down to my personality and the worry that no one will want to talk to me and nothing to do with them and what ‘position’ they may have. If I think that someone will be friendly then I will take a deep breath and approach them and I would say that most of the times they are. Sadly there are always people that aren’t. Brilliant post and so pleased you wrote it x

  25. July 2, 2016 / 5:26 pm

    So interesting! I felt really intimidated last year too! And it’s because in my head I was fan girli g the big bloggers. Like last year when I met Grace from Eats Amazing I was really pathetic and “ooooh it’s yooooh!” Much to her bemusement I think! This year I didn’t feel like that about anyone. Just felt like we were al, there doing our thing. Love that you’ve articulated it so well. 🙂

  26. July 2, 2016 / 5:39 pm

    Brilliant post! I can’t believe how nervous I was to say “hello” to several bloggers last year at a conference. Love reading comments above too. I often feel completely “invisible” in the blogging world and would love if someone made a point of meeting me at a conference. I love meeting new people.

  27. July 2, 2016 / 6:26 pm

    Love this so much. I think we are all guilty of doing it and I certainly was very nervous last year. Not so much this year because I am too pregnant to care haha but I too had a couple of people say they were nervous to say hello and honestly if they could see me say on my sofa like a slob when I blog they wouldn’t think I was any different to them. It’s like motherhood though, and maybe it is just a woman thing I dunno, but I find myself feeling nervous about chatting to other mums. But why? We are all doing our thing, to the best we can. Was glad we managed to chat this year and hopefully everyone will read this and realise that we are all equal. xx

  28. July 2, 2016 / 7:05 pm

    Thank you for this! This year was my first Britmums Live and like your first time, I had no idea what it entailed nor how massive the community was. I came away wishing I’d spoken to more people. Next time, I’ll practice what I preach and banish those shoulds in my head! Thanks Donna ???? Xx
    Ps I’d love to know more about your self-hosting – did you find that directly played a part in the growth of your blog following, or because it coincided with you taking it more seriously?

    • July 2, 2016 / 7:19 pm

      I think really it was just psychological – so my turning point rather than being self hosted being a magic ingredient. But, I do think having your own URL helps to make you think of your blog as more yours, your own brand etc x

  29. July 2, 2016 / 7:33 pm

    Another great post and one that has made me feel a little better. I am most definitely a person with a blog and have written for years mainly as an outlet and record for myself. But since having a baby I’ve been flirting with this whole mum-blogger thing. I don’t aspire to be a pro like you, but would love to gain more readers. As I’ve started putting myself out there I have definitely been intimidated by pro-bloggers such as yourself though and built a hierarchy in my mind.

    Credit where credit is due – you all work hard and deserve the recognition. But I do need to stop myself from getting involved just because I don’t think I am worthy! Thanks for making us all feel welcome 🙂

  30. July 2, 2016 / 8:36 pm

    definitely this, I remember how i felt seeing the ‘big bloggers’ at my first conference and how nervous I felt and how certain no-one would ever know who I was and the shock the next year when someone would approach me and know my name. I don’t think I will ever feel like a ‘big blogger’ but I am definitely a blogger and not just someone with a blog

  31. July 2, 2016 / 9:07 pm

    I am so guilty of thinking of this blogging hierarchy… I get a bit star struck if I see a “big blogger,” but in my experience, bloggers are generally really lovely, friendly people, and really happy to tweet or to give advice. That said, I guess there are some super bloggers who are in a different league all together.

  32. July 2, 2016 / 9:43 pm

    Oh Donna thank you for this! I’ve written and posted online for years as part of my day job as a therapist but only launched my family blog in March. I’ve connected on Facebook/Instagram with all the ‘big bloggers’ (including you!) and then when I went to Blogtacular this year I was too shy/introvert to talk to pretty much anyone. Then Lucy from Capture by Lucy walked in – I was totally starstruck but she recognised me, gave me the biggest hug and I instantly felt so much better! We chatted about our kids and working with brands and I realised that although I see her (and so many others) as a sort of celebrity in the blogging world but actually we’re all the same – just sharing a little piece of our own worlds with the rest of the world. I hope we get to meet in person one day 🙂

    • July 2, 2016 / 9:46 pm

      You too Chloe! Lucy is one of the loveliest people in the blog world but I only managed to wave at her last year. This year she was like an old friend. Such a genuinely lovely person x

  33. July 2, 2016 / 10:00 pm

    You are so right! I know the hierarchy is all in my head and we are all bloggers but then I think to myself there is you and a whole lot of other bloggers that are the “big bloggers”! Way better than I ever will be. I must keep telling myself the hierarchy doesn’t matter. We’re all the same x

  34. July 3, 2016 / 7:01 am

    Oh this is bang on – I suppose with any skill you try your hand at there’s an element of needing to know that you’ve made it, and part of that comes from benchmarking against others. Not necessarily how it should be, but common in any field where lots of people are doing a similar thing. I love the idea of doing away with the hierarchy and having a one tier structure where the “big” ones are just as approachable and accessible as the “newbies”. I’m a newbie and I’ve chatted so some “big” ones (in my eyes) recently and I cannot believe they’d want to bother with me – must get over this mindset as it’s utterly constructed by me! Great post.

  35. July 3, 2016 / 7:43 am

    I so wish I could have have made it to BML! I have to admit I do sees bit of a hierarchy but maybe it’s in my head, and I can be quite nervous of approaching new people. I do see you as a bigger blogger, but you are very friendly and approachable too 🙂 x

  36. July 3, 2016 / 4:21 pm

    This post is all kinds of brilliant! It honestly hits the nail on the head for me – I know I definitely look at other bloggers and think of them as ‘big’ bloggers and would be totally intimidated to speak to them and I have to admit, I’ve been too nervous to go to any blogging events yet (although at under a year of blogging I still definitely feel like a newbie!) But at approaching a year of blogging, I think I still feel in many ways just like a newbie still – and I think that’s probably a feeling that always stays with you! I don’t look at newer bloggers and think ‘oh, newbie’, so why would they look at me like that? In my experience, I’ve felt so supported by so many ‘bigger’ bloggers that I really want to help out other people who are just starting out – and I’d like to think that it’s like that for everyone. Fabulous post!

  37. July 3, 2016 / 9:44 pm

    I love this post Donna. For many years, I had an imaginary hierarchy of bloggers in my head. I guess it’s all down to confidence and I didn’t feel like my blog was good enough and was very much at the bottom of the pile. But having met the top bloggers (in my imaginary hierarchy) at conferences and events over the last couple of years, they’re actually just the same as me, doing what they love and blogging their way through it xx

  38. July 3, 2016 / 9:48 pm

    I think its only natural that we form a kind of hierarchy in our head, and I was really pleased that I met you at Blog On. The first year I went to Blog On I was in awe of some people and was to frightened to say hello. Maybe it comes with confidence as I would now stop and say hello to people who I wanted to meet, whether they were big, little or in the middle. Great post Donna x

  39. July 7, 2016 / 7:10 am

    I love this post so much because I remember my first BritMums and overcoming my nerves and introducing myself to loads of people and lots said oh I don’t know you and that was the end of the conversation! But I think the more you talk to people, meet people the better! And try not to care whether people “know” you or not! There are terrible cliques within the community but there are also amazingly supportive people out there too. I think it’s so easy to feel like the community is a hundred bloggers you hear about all the time but really it’s 10,000 plus! There room for everyone to be a success. Just do your own thing. Great post lady xxx

  40. September 29, 2017 / 11:57 pm

    Wish I had read this before Blog On! Totally nailed how I felt attending there for the first time.

  41. October 1, 2017 / 2:24 pm

    Just seen this after selling my ticket to go to britmums this year because I’m pregnant and thought I’d be too tired. (I was right!) but I found at BlogOn in May I felt like this. I saw one of my favourite bloggers but was too scared to say hi. I’ve tried interacting on social media with a few of the ‘big’ bloggers who were there but I have to say some seemed a bit cliquey and in their own little groups so I didn’t want to impose and also felt they’d be like “who are you?!” But you’re right we’re all just bloggers doing what we love. I hope next year I feel more confident if I go to any conferences x

  42. August 9, 2018 / 8:26 pm

    What a nice, reassuring post. I think at this stage I would feel totally intimidated at these conferences so this was lovely to read!

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