Wednesday, December 30, 2015

2015: A Year in Review

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As 2015 is quickly coming to a close, so is my first year of being a blogger. It's so crazy to me to think that a year ago to the very moment I was beginning to gather my ideas and thoughts and thinking, "I really want to start a blog". It all stemmed from a few things: wanting something new in my life that was important to me, missing being super active on Tumblr, and even seeing some blogging friends (from my big Tumblr days) upgrading to blogs like these. I start looking around at other blogs and trying to work my way into the blogging world and as 2015 rolled around, I found myself brainstorming blog names and trying to make all of the big decisions that up and coming bloggers have to make.

In New York, we had a ridiculously cold and snowy winter so in the first two weeks of January that blog planning was in full swing for me, I had an endless number of snow days that I sat in front of the fire place with my laptop, fuzzy socks and hot chocolate for hours on end doing everything I could to get ready for my anticipated launch day - January 12th. Thanks to my mom's help, I had come up with my blog's name and then came all of the hard parts that took much more than I ever expected (I seriously LOL at myself looking back at how naive I was about all of this!)

Once I made my first ever banner, picked one of Blogger's free themes and made some sidebar titles, I put up my semi-customized theme that I had spent days working on, on January 11th and then on January 12th, I posted Daily Dose of Design's very first blog post! It was just an introduction post, but I was so proud to have had it up and running.

The next thing I asked myself was - where's all my views? I mean, I just posted an introduction post so why aren't random people finding my blog, reading my post and welcoming me?! It's kind of hard to believe just how naive I was...

My First Year as a Blogger

Clearly, 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:

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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 Learned

I'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 Stats

This 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.
Pinterest Analytics: September, 2015
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Clearly, my numbers from Pinterest were very low and I wasn't seeing much engagement/traffic from Pinterest but that was simply because I wasn't using it to its full extent. I was part of one (maybe 2) group boards and wasn't focused on pinning "pinnable" images in the least. At the time, I thought that number was great. That was until about mid-October when I started seeing six digit numbers...

Pinterest Anayltics: December, 2015
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Talk about a big jump!! That low dip you see is from Christmas - numbers were much lower than normal - which was obviously expected. All of these big numbers translate into traffic to my blog; it's safe to say that Pinterest is amazing!

Top Posts of 2015

Another 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.

This first year of blogging has been amazing beyond words - I can't thank everyone who reads my blog enough for making it all possible. I often say it, but the best part about blogging is that it never ends and there's always something to be done. Blogging is a constant learning process and there is always something to work on and to be improved on. I am SO looking forward to all that is to come in 2016 and beyond! I have plans for some big things to happen in 2016 and with all of my AMAZING readers, I know it isn't long until I achieve my goals and more! Cheers to a happy, healthy and even more amazing 2016 : )




  1. i just found you through Show your Blog Love and I like your blog I will continue to follow it, thanks for sharing!

  2. Love seeing your perspective on your first year. I just started blogging in October (incorrectly installing Google Analytics as well), and sometimes the growing process is frustrating!

  3. Great article. One of the keys to blogging success is having something for reders to look forward to. you can only have that if you're posting on the regular.

  4. Wow! Sounds like you learned so much in your first year! I'm still a newbie and I feel like I learn something new everyday!

  5. This is so awesome!! I started blogging this past April and it has been a hell of a ride! I also was way to optimistic when I started. Which I think can be a good thing too! You really are an inspiration for all of us starting out! Can't wait to see what you bring to us in 2016!

  6. Great I am glad you are doing wonderful you inspire me thanks for sharing .

  7. WOW you are definitely doing something right! My first year I think I got 50 views maybe every three months LOL. Sounds like you were the right track keep up the good work.

  8. Congratulation on your fist year of blogging! I admire you for being so detailed in this post. I plan on coming back to review your top posts. Nice to meet btw :)

    xoxo Gema

  9. Wow! What a fantastic metric summary of your blogging year! You are amazing! I should do the same because when you measure your achievements it makes you make smarter goals for the following year!

  10. Awesome job on your growth on your blog! Try and double that for the year 2016! You can do it!

  11. You did amazing !!!! yay i am on my 1st year to and loving it growing rapidly

  12. It looks like you had a great year! Good luck in the new year! Go get 'em!

  13. Wow, you have done amazingly well! I need to learn from you! (I've been blogging for 6 years, and still don't have it right!) Have a wonderful 2016!

  14. This is really fantastic! It is exciting when your hard work pays off!

  15. I am so proud of you and how hard you have worked this past year to grow your blog! Your hard work has sure paid off! I am so thankful to have you in my life! Can't wait to see what 2016 has in store for you!

  16. It definitely isn't easy at the beginning, but once you realize what tools to use, that's when the improvement begins. It's so much fun to be a blogger. Congratulations on your first year!

  17. I just started blogging this year too..I learn something new every day! Congrats on your first year! Happy New Year!!

  18. Congrats on your first year of blogging. This is indeed a great post for me to come back to before I start my blog. I am going to start my blog in 2016 come hell or high water. Thanks for sharing your experiences and hope you have an amazing 2016 with your baby. :D

  19. this reminds how i started before and somehow now that im starting again in a new country its sounds very hard, my whole blogging life was so active in Malaysia that I have so much that i can't handle it anymore sometimes but thankful for all the belssings, Goodluck with all the bloggin!

  20. It's amazing the growth you've already seen! Keep up the hard work lady!!

  21. What an amazing first year you have had! It is amazing how much work being a blogger is isn't it. But so so worth it. x

  22. Awesome growth in your first year of blogging! This inspires and motivates me! Thanks for sharing :))

    Rosalyn xOx |

  23. Congrats on your blog growth! I love to see the changes and differences in just a year!

  24. So glad to know that your first year of blogging has been amazing. Our 2015 has been amazing as well. Here's to an amazing 2016 for you! Happy New Year!

  25. Wow, you have had an amazing first year of blogging! The growth of your blog and social media is a true testimony to all of your hard work and effort! Hope you have an amazing 2016!

  26. My analytics never look as good as I'd like so I don't look, lol. Blogging is hard work but it's fun work. Just like you said. :)

  27. Your social media stats are SO impressive! I had a bit of a plateau this year so I really need to up my game next year!

  28. Congrats on such amazing stats! Your blog is divine :)


  29. What an awesome achievement! Congratulations! You are a definite example of hard work paying off. Wishing you more success in 2016 and beyond!

  30. Happy New Year! You've had an amazing 2015 and may 2016 bring you more abundance in everything. :)

  31. Congrats on the growth of your Blog! I think we all wrongly assumed that keeping up a Blog was easy before we started! Good luck in the future!

  32. Wow, your blog has completely exploded! That is sooooo cool! I learned pretty early on how much work it is too. Oh man, is it ever. Happy New Year!

  33. Congrats!!!!! Blogging takes forever to figure out what your readers actually want, once you figure out, bingo!

  34. I was right there with you when it came to being naive when starting my blog. I thought it was going to be so easy...yeah it's def not. But as you said it's completely worth it. One thing I need to get better at is posting consistently. I've done pretty bad with that over the last few months, so this is a new year. I am determined to become a better blogger and improve my blog. I can't wait to see what your blog has in store for this year!

  35. Great job! I remember my first year blogging and feeling a lot of the things you mentioned. It's a huge learning curve - what you think it will be to what it actually is, and one you have to learn fast!

  36. This is inspiring. I know that you have to be consistent and frequent in blogging. I am hoping to do just that this year. Thanks for the motivating post, I'm working on a post as we speak!