My First Year as a BloggerClearly, I was way too optimistic and actually believed that blogging was easy at first. I will be the first to tell you - it isn't, but it sure is worth it! When beginning my blog I truly never realized the hard work that goes into blogging and just how much time you put into your blog once it becomes like a baby to you. After coming to this realization (pretty quickly might I add) I have seen such growth in myself and in my blog overall. There is not even a comparison from where I was in January to where I am today.
Apparently Google Analytics agrees with me too:
One of my first blogging mistakes: not installing Google Analytics from the start! That's why you're seeing a previous period of June through July. Originally I installed analytics in May, come to find that I installed it wrong by the time July rolled around #typical. This shows June-July's stats versus October-November's stats. A 1,447% increase in page views? Yes, please!
While I still have a long way to go, it sort of amazes me how much I've accomplished on my blog in just under a year. I've been able to work with brands that I never dreamed of working with like Vera Bradley and have created many friendships with bloggers, like Chantal from Painted Teacup. At first, I didn't realize how much blogging could change my life but it really has and I'm so grateful for that!
What I've LearnedI'm going to do a much more in depth post on what I've learned because that in itself is more than I could begin to describe here! However I've learned so much both about myself and about blogging in general. When I began, I never knew that Pinterest would be my biggest source of traffic or that there were a ton of insanely helpful Facebook blogging groups that would become like little communities in themselves.
At first, I thought you had to instantly become a big time blogger or you'd fail miserably. I also never realized how successful you could be if you put the work into it - seems like a given - but I never saw blogging as something that worked that way. Going self-hosted, becoming consistent, becoming a better writer and learning how to gain and maintain readership are some of the biggest things I've learned and what I like to think have been some of my biggest accomplishments so far.
Social Media and Blog StatsThis is my area of most growth and improvement and something I've been working on since I launched Daily Dose of Design. I've been on social media for a while, so it's obvious the importance of translating a social following into blog traffic. Doing so isn't always easy, but as you grow a following it becomes somewhat easier with the right promotional tools.
Instagram: 1000% increase (started April 29, 2015)
Facebook: 1000% increase (started January 20, 2015)
Twitter: 366.6% increase (began using my account for blogging July 1, 2015)
Pinterest: 968.9% increase (began using my account for blogging March 10, 2015)
As I showed above, my blog's page view count increased 1,447.88% in the matter of 5 months. When I began in January, I averaged maybe 50 views a day - and that was once I began joining a couple of Facebook groups. Growing your blog takes time and most importantly, patience, something I've learned over the past year to have a lot more of! Blog's don't instantly grow overnight; they take time, a lot of time. But the hours each day that I spend working on my blog are the best and what I love most about each day. I find myself thinking about my blog all day long - whether it be a post idea, something I have to get done or a new design element I might want to add, your blog is always going to be growing and working as long as you're putting the time and effort into it.
Toward the end of August, I began reading at least 10 different articles and posts per day on blogging, how to grow and things to do and not do. There was one main constant: blog more consistently and more frequently. I knew it would be a big jump but it was also something I knew I had to do if I wanted to see my numbers go up. I hadn't really been posting consistently, but had been posting about 3 times a week. I started to plan out posts and by the end of September, I was posting nearly every day and about 4-5 times a week. Ever since then, that's what I've been doing! Granted, there have been weeks that life got in the way and I ended up only posting 3 times, but overall it's been a consistent pattern and let me tell you - it works.
Blogging so much more frequently has no doubt caused the huge spike(s) in my numbers and at first I thought, "isn't this going to be hard? I'm going to run out of things to say!" but I haven't! Making an editorial calendar to follow each month has helped more than anything in this too.
Now besides posting so much more frequently and consistently, I mentioned that Pinterest has been my main source of traffic.
Top Posts of 2015Another thing that no one has told you about blogging is that the posts that do the best are always the ones that you least expect and vice versa. There's really no method to this madness - but it definitely is crazy! I had a couple of posts do WAY better than I ever had expected and some posts that didn't do nearly as good as I expected them to also. Here's my top 11 posts from the year:
1. 10 Things to do Every Sunday for a Productive Week
2. 20 Places to Travel to in Your 20's
3. How To Grow an Instagram Following
4. 8 Tips for Curling Your Hair + Nume Wands
5. Holiday Gift Guide: Stocking Stuffers
6. The Ultimate New York City Travel Guide
7. Magic Cookie Bars
8. Beauty Tips and Products that I Love and Live By
9. My Bathroom Makeover: Before and After
10. The Staple Pieces Everyone Should Have in Their Closet
11. Apps that Make the Blogging Life Easier
My 10 Things to do Every Sunday for a Productive Week post is by far my best performing post - the majority of that traffic coming from Pinterest! I share this post every Sunday and it always brings in a ton of views. I get a lot of views on this post not just on Sundays but every other day of the week too.