Recovering the Lost Art of Old-Fashioned Blogging

Let’s bring back old-fashioned blogging! It may have changed a lot in the past decade, but blogging isn’t dead. It’s just time to revive it a little. Old-school, unpretentious blogs are the answer.Let's bring back old-fashioned blogging in 2019! It may have changed a lot in the past decade, but blogging isn't dead. It's just time to revive it a little. Old-school, unpretentious blogs are the answer. #blogging

It’s tradition. I always do a yearly wrap up/look ahead in January, where I list my top blog posts, discuss upcoming ideas, and reflect on the state of blogging (in my own corner and in the larger bogging world). That’s what you’ll find today. But since I have more I want to say about the state of blogging this time around, I decided to include this in my “Lost Arts” series.

The practice of keeping a blog won’t apply to everyone, but if you’re seeing this then you’re at least a blog reader, so I think you’ll still find it interesting.

I never considered myself a blogging veteran. But now I’m eight years in, much has changed in the blogging world and suddenly I find myself reminiscing about the “olden days.”

Remember old-fashioned blogging?

This is what blogging looked like when I began reading blogs in 2010, and when I started my own in 2011…

In the good ‘ole days of blogging, people read blogs the way they did a favourite print magazine. We savoured them–enjoyed them–rather than just skimming for a quick tip before bouncing off.

We took time to comment on blog posts, too. Or if we were “lurkers” (loyal readers, although not chiming in), we’d still read the comments to see other perspectives and insights.

We subscribed to blog newsletters or added them to our feed readers. Back then, most bloggers didn’t even have a Facebook page, much less an Instagram account!

Blogging back then was genuine, non-salesy, thought-provoking, down-to-earth, artful if sometimes unpolished.

And then blogging grew up

Blogging has changed tremendously over the last six years or so, and I think much of that is due to the rise of social media. We bloggers signed up for social media accounts on all the big platforms. The theory is that this would bring new readers back to our sites, and keep old readers informed of when new posts went live. Social media was also supposed to help us build community with our readers.

Social media did deliver these things, for awhile. But it also brought with it a hustle mentality that turned blogging into a rat race. You see, you had to learn how to effectively use each of the social media platforms…different strategies for each one. And then each platform was constantly changing its algorithms, so you had to relearn everything if you wanted results.

Bloggers began to spend more time trying to crack the social media code and less time simply writing good blog posts.

Social media isn’t the only thing that muddied the waters of blogging, however. There was also a pressure to look highly professional so that our products would sell. (Oh yeah, you also had to create products! And not just one thing, but a new eBook or eCourse or workbook every year, ideally.) It was expensive, and kind of exhausting.

Blogging gurus told us to do a million more things: record webinars, start “movements,” re-brand, hire a team, build empires and lead tribes, and jump on the “next big thing” (and there was always a new next big new).

Blogging got smarter and more sophisticated. Unfortunately, in all that industry growth many good bloggers have burned out, and many would-be bloggers have been too disoriented to start.

Tired of the hustle and rat race of social media? Let's dust off our feed readers and get back to old-school, old-fashioned blogging!

The renaissance of the old-school blog

The good news for those of us who miss the way blogging used to be is that there are actually a lot of us who feel this way! I knew readers wanted more old-fashioned blogs (you said so in previous surveys I’ve done), but this past year I’ve been encouraged to see that many bloggers are embracing old-fashioned, too.

A few weeks ago I stumbled across this post on the positive impact of blogs. I enjoyed Tsh Oxenreider’s question Do you still read blogs? and reading all the answers people gave in the comments. Earlier in the year I read and loved the way Sallie Borrink put it in this post: “Blogs are cozy in a way that Facebook can absolutely never be.” And Caroline Rose Kraft summed up what I’d come to realise myself, that “I don’t count my readers and I’m learning I’m more into being faithful to my craft than seeking big breaks.”

This is just a sampling. There are SO MANY great bloggers who are cultivating simpler, unglitzy spaces on the internet. Next week, I plan to share a (growing) list of some of my favourite old-school blogs to show you what I mean–and give you more lovely reading material to enjoy with your afternoon tea.

How I’m keeping Richly Rooted an old-fashioned blog

I’ve always been a little “behind the times” on this blog, partly because I’m leery of bandwagons (and change), and partly because I’m just contrary. Being a slow adapter to the trends has had its benefits, though. It’s given me a chance to be an observer–to hone in on what’s important to me and what I want for this blog. It helped me define my Green Gables philosophy a few years ago.

I have a lot of unspoken policies for my site here, but I thought now might be a good time to mention them, for those of you who have read this far(: Here they are:

  • Answer every comment and reader email. Granted, sometimes it takes me a week or more to get back to you! I set up an email notification system on my comment form so you can see the replies when they come through.
  • Keep Facebook posting minimal so I can focus on writing and “housekeeping” around my blog.
  • Write blog posts that are on the lengthy side, rather than dashing a piece out just to have something published.
  • Take my own pictures for each post (I don’t do this on my other blog, for various reasons. But I’ve always done it here as part of the aesthetic.)
  • Send out personable email newsletters with interesting content, not just sales pitches. I do sometimes mention products in my newsletters, but I won’t do sales “campaigns” where I send out a series of emails about the same sale, if that makes sense!
  • Don’t see or position myself as an “influencer,” tribe leader, guru, whatever. My goal is to be a hostess, inviting guests into my virtual home.
  • Don’t let my content be dictated by sponsors. This means I won’t write a contrived post just for the sponsor money. The partnership has to resonate and be authentic…and that’s why I don’t have many sponsored posts around here!
  • Don’t do videos or podcasting. It’s just not my cup of tea…either to create or to consume. I prefer to write and read!
  • Keep the overhead low. There’s a ton of things you *could* spend money on to improve your online business: team members, software, recording equipment, plugins, memberships, consultants. I choose to keep my business nimble, as Amy Lynn Andrews says.

I’ve made subtle changes to this site over the years to keep it in line with my goals. I moved my social media buttons to the blog footer since my focus is this site, not the social media channels. I made the archives easier to browse and enjoy by creating a categorized Table of Contents. My category pages are easier to thumb through, too, like a photo album, and blog posts have a larger font to make for better reading.

A word to old-fashioned bloggers

If you want to maintain the old-school approach to blogging (even if your own blog is new), let me encourage you to be a blog reader, first. Don’t be forever tweaking your site and checking your to-do list. Enjoy getting lost down blog rabbit trails the way you used to…reading and browsing and finding good food for thought.

You can also encourage your blogging colleagues with a quick email or message. Build community with each other! Define what your values are for your own blog, what you will and won’t do, what tone you’re trying to cultivate, what you want your readers to gain and experience from your site. Then stick true to those.

In online blogging groups or at conferences, don’t be a complainer. There will always be talk about fluctuating traffic or income or algorithms, but these conversations are born of the “rat race” mentality and are rarely productive! Keep in mind that while you think your traffic or income is dismal, someone else may be very grateful for those levels! Appreciate what you have and take each blogging season gracefully.

A word to blog readers

Keep on reading blogs! Subscribe via email or Feedly, which are more reliable than social media for keeping track of new posts. You can support old-fashioned blogs by leaving comments on posts, by telling bloggers what you like about their work. Spread the word about the blogs you enjoy. For old-school bloggers who are trying to do more writing, less social media, word-of-mouth from our readers is HUGE! I’d rather you tell someone about my blogs than rely on fickle Facebook to show my posts in their newsfeed.

And if you’re a blog reader who wants to start their own blog, go for it! It isn’t too late. There will always be space on the internet for another good, old-fashioned blog.

This post is part of my “lost arts” series, where I pick an old-fashioned habit to discuss and talk about why we should blend it back into our modern-day lives. Here are the other posts in this series (I’ll be adding more in the coming months!):

Recovering the Lost Art of Dressing Up

Recovering the Lost Art of Porch Sitting

Recovering the Lost Art of Cooking from Scratch

Recovering the Lost Art of Taking a Bath

Recovering the Lost Art of Analog Living

Recovering the Lost Art of Solitude

Recovering the Lost Art of Writing Letters

And here’s my post on 5 Old-Fashioned Habits That Are Due for a Comeback


  1. Great minds think alike! I’m working on another post about old-fashioned blogging. I truly think there is a movement afoot. I’ve already made some significant changes to the way I’m blogging in 2019 and I look forward to reading the other links you shared. I have some to share as well that I think you’ll appreciate.

    I started blogging in 2005 and another big difference that you didn’t mention is that fact that bloggers linked generously in the beginning. We were eager to share good things that we found online. Bloggers have become so obsessed with bounce rates and keeping people on their sites for ad revenue that they tend not to share unless they are doing a round-up post (which is basically there to drive traffic from social media).

    The other day I went down a rabbit hole and spent a few hours reading a new-to-me blog backwards from the beginning. It was lovely and so relaxing.


    1. I can’t wait to read your post! I always appreciate hearing your thoughts on this subject and its satellite issues!

      You are so right about the decline in linking these days. It is a pity. I’m always grateful to bloggers that send me on to other good reading material; it makes me come back to that first blogger more often, because I know they vet posts and share good ones! We bloggers can take more power away from social media if we link to each other generously.

  2. I have been blogging for 12 years and I am so old fashioned, it’s not even funny. No facebook, no social media, no ads, just plain ol’ me. I would prefer an ad free, chatty, home-cozy-comfy blog anyday over those flashy, annoying blogs.

    1. Twelve years? That is amazing! I wish I had been blogging that long. I just looked at your blog, and it looks like the kind of place I’d like to get lost in for awhile(:

      My post was too long to discuss ads and other ways people use blogs to make money. I do have lots of thoughts on that topic. On the one hand, I love that there are blogs that are “non profit,” so to speak. But I also don’t fault anyone for using their writing/pictures/skills, etc to make income. Personally, there is an ad threshold for me where I think things look too crowded, and I keep my own ads well below that! And there is a threshold where I don’t want to be sold to, even if it is good stuff. I suppose each blogger has to find their sweet spot and strive to keep money-making endeavours in line with their vision for their site and in line with their readers’ comfort level. Ads and affiliate links on my blog are a huge blessing because they’re allowing my family to get out of student loan debt and allowing me to stay home with my boys–and it doesn’t cost my readers a cent to see an ad while they read my writing.

      Anyway, just some thoughts. Thank you for your comment, and for your own lovely home on the internet!

  3. Just a short comment to keep doing what you are doing. I thoroughly enjoy it and the Lost Art series! I do not blog, but enjoy the ones that feel “real” and like talking to a friend. I do not watch podcasts and could care less about giveaways. It’s the connection with like-minded others I am looking for. Thanks for all you do!

  4. I love your blog! I am always eager to open an email update from you because I know it will not only be interesting but also beneficial and not just a big flashy sales pitch for some ebook. Thank you!

  5. Your blog is currently the only one I read because your longer posts are actually helpful and encouraging, unlike the short list of bullet points on more “modern” blogs. I feel like I am talking with a friend when I read your posts instead of reading a self-help magazine. I am looking forward to your list of blog suggestions because I trust your opinion! Keep up the good work 🙂

    1. It takes me a long time to write posts, but I try to make them all thorough and something I’d want to read myself! Hearing feedback like you’ve just given makes the long writing worth it!

  6. Good post Elsie, I also like old fashioned blogs! I like Facebook but don’t use Twitter at all, or Instagram much, and I prefer blog posts. I’ve sgned up to quite a few newsletters over the past few years, but then been disappointed because the bloggers seem to have stopped doing written posts and instead just do videos or podcasts. I like watching a shorter video sometimes but I prefer to read blogs (like you). 🙂 I take in information better that way.

    I also appreciate that you reply to the blog comments (and when others do too, although I undestand some people might not have time. I sometimes get comments on my blogs (I have more than one on different subjects) and always try to reply. Athough I don’t have a huge readership, which makes it easier! lol. I like the style of Richly Rooted and enjoy reading the posts. 🙂


    1. I need to get better about replying SOONER! I try to do comments once per week, but sometimes I loose track of weeks! They just seem to fly right off the calendar(;

  7. Yes to old fashioned blogging! I have a few bloggers that I absolutely love, but their sites have gotten so gimmicky. They’re always promoting this or that, there are ads everywhere, and they’re always popping on video chats or selling a video course or exclusive content. I just want to read what they have to write! I absolutely love your old fashion blog posts, and you do such a good job of hiding your business that I don’t mind at all clicking through your links!

    Speaking of which, I have absolutely loved the Homemakers Friend planner you introduced me to a few years ago. I tried a different one, but it just didn’t work, so in one of the other blockers sent out a link for a coupon code, I clicked through and bought it. Then the next day you sent out your link, and I wished I had waited an extra day so I could support you! I really, truly do appreciate the old fashionedness.

    1. Haha, yes, I know what you mean about well-loved blogs getting gimmicky! Honestly, it is so hard for us bloggers not to get sucked in to that way of doing business. You see what everyone else around you is doing and they seem to be making more money than you, so you listen to All The Advice and next you know the thing your readers loved about you is growing dim. I sympathize with bloggers who are trying to grow their businesses and make money for their families. Yet I just can’t get on board with all the things you “have” to do to make it big. I’m very content with the slow way I’ve built my blogs, and okay with lower earnings in exchange for keeping this place full of life.

      Thank you so much for your comment, and I’m glad you enjoy the planner, too! Sue made some nice little updates to this year’s addition, didn’t she?

  8. Elsie, well said! I’ve been blogging for 9 years come February, and I’ve stayed with the weekly posting schedule I started with. No rat race for me! I figure I don’t have time to post more than that, and nobody else has time to read more than that. I’ve seen blogs that don’t even have dates on the posts, but I like that you have stuck with that as I have (why not?!). I’m still not on Facebook or Instagram. Blogging is quite enough for me.

    1. That’s why I love your blog–it is so familiar and homey and calm! I certainly don’t have time to post more than once per week either. I think it’s a bit annoying not to see dates somewhere on posts, whether that’s in the URL or at least at the top of the post! I think people took them out for SEO purposes. But I like having that point of reference, personally.

  9. Wow, such a good post and I have so many thoughts about this too! Although I’ve only been blogging myself for a few years, I’ve been a big blog reader for probably about 10 years now. And I agree that being a blog reader really colors how I look at my own blog and what I want the experience to be like for readers. As someone who has an entrepreneurial mindset myself, I also do not mind at all when people are doing it as a career or to make money. But it does really matter how they do it, as to whether I trust their opinions on things or their recommendations. A lot of what I try to do on my own blog, in a way stems from things I observe that I don’t want to repeat that I see others doing. And also why sponsored things are very rare, that I would do. It would truly have to be for something I can stand behind. As for social media, I agree that it is all so overwhelming and can take the joy right out of blogging. I made a decision recently to narrow my focus and do just a few things well, and take on other challenges as it is possible. For me right now the focus is my blog, and writing content. For socials, I am focusing on Instagram and Pinterest as a search engine and for traffic. I actually am interested in video occasionally, but I’ve decided I shouldn’t have my fingers in too many pies yet! 🙂 I think readers can see right through things that are not authentic, and I strive to never take that for granted! I can tell you have the same type of mindset! 🙂

    1. Exactly–I think readers can see through it when we’re not being authentic. And I agree, I have a little mental list of things I *don’t* want to do that I see happening elsewhere! That is smart to keep a narrow focus, and then widen as you are able. Besides content writing, I’m focusing on Pinterest, Facebook group for my other blog, and my email newsletters. I think you could do a good job for video. That’s one of those things that I thought I “had” to do, but then when I did a breakout session on video at the Haven conference I realised it WASN’T for me!

  10. I love reading old fashioned blogs! I love getting your emails about a new post, and I will save it up until I have time to thoroughly read it, not just skim.

    I do use Pinterest to find blogs/articles I would enjoy reading, although I have found Pinterest to be less helpful over the past couple of years than it used to be. I like to think of Pinterest as a sort of magazine I don’t have to pay for…I can type in a category and then browse through articles, just like a physical magazine, but cheaper and more portable.

    1. Pinterest reminds me of a magazine, too. I do enjoy saving up some good reads there to check out at my leisure. Thank you for reading my posts!

  11. Oh my goodness. I just about teared up reading this. You summed up so many feelings I’ve had bubbling under the service. Blogging has become so overwhelming, glitzy, and confusing that I’ve all but stopped posting. Thank you for inspiring me to return to my roots (no pun intended) and start writing again.

    1. Oh good, Bethany! I’m happy you haven’t stopped posting. I’m sorry to say that after having my baby I dropped off reading your blog (just forgot to check it), so I’m really glad you left this comment to remind me to stop by again! I like your site re-do. Please keep posting and being an old-fashioned blogger!

  12. Thank you for sharing your perspective. I’ve been blogging for 12 years. So much has changed–some for good and some for bad. Social media has brought new readers to my blog that I may not have been able to reach. However, it has also made blogging into a world of sales and superficial writing that has no value for some.

    I am working so hard to begin blogging and writing the way I wrote when I started. Reflective with no frills is my style.

    You have a new reader in me. Thank you.

    1. Twelve years is a very long time in blog years, indeed. Social media has certainly done us some good. But I’m glad that a number of us bloggers and readers are becoming more cognizant of its downsides. It’s definitely time for us to figure out which parts are healthy for us and which parts are just distracting or taking us in a direction we don’t want to go! Are you starting a new blog? Leave me a link, if you like!

  13. Thanks for your perspective, and for the links to other blogs and bloggers who are trying to focus more on readership and less on conversion. I’ve recently revamped my business website to include a blog, and it’s a slow, lonely process in these early days. Most of my online connections are through Twitter and LinkedIn, and trying to get followers to even visit the website is a challenge. For now, I’m focused on writing about topics related to my business and creative writing pursuits — and creating what I hope will evolve into a useful trove of free content. The other pages on my site can speak to my professional services, and I’m not currently looking to monetize the site in any way. (Since I *am* a copywriter, I feel a lot of pressure to create and sell guides, e-books, etc. And I may yet. But, for now, I just want to *connect* with people. What a crazy, old-fashioned idea, right?)

    1. I hope things have gone well for you this summer! You’re right, it’s such a slow and steady process to build readership and connections. It’s almost like we as a culture need to RE-LEARN how to connect in ways that aren’t mediated through the big social media companies. I hope it will become easier and more people will swing back to old-fashioned blogging and commenting…perhaps it will, if social media keeps messing with people’s data and getting tangled up in things they shouldn’t be!

  14. Hi,
    I just wanted to say I just stumbled across this post and I think its great that are keeping “old fashioned” vibe on your blog. I went searching on the internet for blogs that still looked like yours and had a some difficulties in finding one. I think it would so much fun if this made a come back: a place to share thoughts and be able to talk to people! Thank you for keeping this the way it is!


  15. I have been wandering toward simplicity and taking an analog approach to life for the past few months, and I am so pleased to have stumbled upon your Lost Art series! Such wonderful thoughts, and a great reminder. Cheers to good old fashioned blogging!

    1. I am so late in replying, but thank you so much for your kind comment, Megan! I’m so glad you are enjoying the series, and glad to meet another “old-fashioned” blogger!

  16. I have to decline your recommendation to read a lot of blogs because it’s so hard to find good blogs to read!
    It’s always refreshing to read about other people promoting old school blogging. I despise modern salesy fashion magazine blogs, they are just boring and uninteresting to me. I’m interested in people, I want to read real life stories, experiences, etc.
    I’ve been blogging on and off for many years, mostly “off” because of these things, modern blogging has left me uninspired. But since about Christmas I’m on it again and this time I really enjoy it. I couldn’t care less about social media but use Twitter to try to find likeminded people (it has only worked for my whiskey blog so far).
    I really wish there were still more personal blogs out there but I found a “clique” on that is quite straightforward and just…nice.
    I know this is an old post but I just couldn’t shut up! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    1. Hi Susanne! I read and appreciated your comment when you wrote it back in March, and I should’ve replied right away! Shortly after, I fell into an unintentional blogging break due to life circumstances. So hopefully my blogging will be “on” again soon! Good luck with yours!

  17. Hi Elsie! I’ve really enjoyed this post and I’m so glad I found you. When I first began blogging in 2012 I was a stay-at-home-homeschooling mom of 5. My posts focused on faith, family, and homemaking. and I really enjoyed blogging. I didn’t even have FB back then. After going to a blogging conference or two I learned that I was “doing it all wrong” so I changed. Little by little I lost the fun I felt at the beginning. I’m an empty nester now and my husband and I have a counseling/coaching business together.

    I miss the way I used to blog and I think my readers do, too. I rarely write anymore on the blog but I want to get back to it. I loved sharing my own photos even though they weren’t professional and just sharing bits of my life and what I’m learning.

    Thank you for this post. I’m inspired to begin again!

    I’m also in Alabama–Jacksonville–NE part of the state.

    I look forward to reading more of your posts!

    1. Stacy, thank you so much for this comment, even though I never got back to you! It’s been a difficult summer. Interesting how the blogging landscape has changed, isn’t it? Blogging “generations” are so quick, so we’ve been through several even since ’12! I wonder if our paths ever crossed at a conference? Did you ever go to Allume? That was my first blogging conference (although I’ve only been to a couple since then anyway!) If you pick up blogging again drop me a comment or email me…I’d love to read!

  18. Great post. I’ve been waxing nostalgic about blogging recently… as social media feels less about connections and more about competition. I kept blogs about a few different creative ventures, dating back to 2007. The two things that have changed the blogging scene the most are: 1. the ads and income on ‘personal’ blogs (it was originally an ad-free landscape in legitimate old school blogging times) and 2. the concept that blogging is an extension of business marketing (they are really just websites that have hijacked the word ‘blog’ and changed the definition). I suppose old school blogging is somewhat lost… but I’d love to see a comeback. Oh, but of course, the cost to run a free, no-ads blog is ridiculous. Sure there’s Blogger,, etc, but you don’t own your images once they are live, and sites can disappear so easily. Business has pretty much forced us over to social media for a free platform.

    1. You know a blogging generation previous to mine…I started blogging in 2011, and had only been a blog reader for a year or so before that. I bet things had already changed by then, but they really took off around 2013 or so. I remember all the bloggers were collecting social media platforms, and learning how to play those platforms really kicked things up a few notches. I always intended to make money with my blogs so I could develop a job I could do from home, but I totally respect people who desire to read ad-free blogs, too, or to write that kind!

  19. I had wondered if old school blogging had gone the way of the dodo… so refreshing to have read your post.

    Its been such a long time since I’ve read one that the difference is like night and day!

    I am probably a blog failure waiting to happen but in 2023 with the rise of chat gpt, i am starting my own old school Health and Wellness Blog.

    No Facebook.

    No other social media.

    Possibly Youtube. But old school Youtube.

    I appreciate your fresh, less polished, authentic content. Glad I found it and so looking forward to reaching your Lost Art series.

    In fact, Ive added your blog to my homescreen so I don’t misplace it 🙂

    1. Hello Twyla! You probably won’t see this as this is a very belated reply! But first, thank you for your kind comments! After taking a break from this site due to “other life stuff,” I’m planning on reviving it soon, so hopefully there will be more to come!

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