A Successful Year of Blogging

After blogging for over a decade, and posting daily for the vast majority of that time, I have some ideas about what constitutes a successful year (or month, or day) of blogging for me. My ideas of success are probably very different from many other bloggers’, but there are certain things I look for to tell me if it’s going well.

My main goal is to have more views in the current month that I did in the previous one. Most of the time this works out pretty well, although I can guarantee you that my views in August will never, ever be greater than those in July, because July is reliably the one month of the year that I get the most visitors to my website, mostly because of this old post. There are other months I don’t meet this goal, too, but I look at general trends, and hope to see some upward movement throughout the year.

In a similar fashion, I look at my stats from year to year. Did I have more views this month than I did in the same month the previous year? Again, I like to see signs of increased blog traffic, even if it’s just by a little bit, because that tells me that people are still interested in what I have to say. And usually, I see similar trends in this category compared to the month-to-month views.

The other number I look at is total number of views per month. My (often unrealistic) goal is 2,000 or more views in a single month. This happens…sometimes. In 2018, for example, I had eight months with 2,000 or more views, which is pretty good, especially compared to 2017, where I only reached that goal half of the months. It’s just another way I can keep tabs on how many people are visiting.

So I looked at those things this year, as I usually do, and for the most part, I was happy with how the statistics played out. But for the first time, 2018 has given me a few other cues that this was a good year for my blog. I was discovered by the St. Charles Convention and Visitors Bureau, and asked to write an article for their new inspiration magazine for actual money, because they liked the way I write. Pinup Girl Clothing sent me a box of Mary Blair print dresses in response to my blogging about their clothes and sharing pictures on my website and other social media platforms. And maybe the biggest sign that this year has been good for my website was a recent one…Pheasant Run Resort hosted our whole family for a fun Christmas getaway, in return for my blogging about our experiences while we were there.

I’ve never been one to try to monetize my blog. I don’t have ads or sponsors or anything like that. But it is nice to have a few tangible signs (more tangible than pure numbers, I guess?) that people are reading my blog, appreciating what I say and how I say it, and want to reward me in some way!

Ten Years of Blogging

Today is my blog’s 10th “birthday.”

10 years ago, Ryan suggested I start blogging. I figured I’d give it a try, but I didn’t write very much at first. I didn’t really think I had anything to say, and I sure didn’t know who would want to read what I wrote!

But 2008 was a very big year for us. We decided to homeschool that year, and then Moose was diagnosed with autism, and he started his own school journey. And I wrote about those things. I still don’t know if I was just trying to sort out my own thoughts and feelings, or if I was hoping to connect with people having similar experiences, or if I thought maybe what I was doing and going through could help other people somehow. But I started writing more and more frequently, and in 2011, I had my first full year of daily blogging, and I never looked back. I have now blogged every day, at least once a day, and sometimes more frequently, for over seven years straight.

There have been times when I have really felt like a successful blogger. Many months, my website has had over 3,000 views, and while I know that doesn’t mean people are really reading what I have to say, it’s still a lot to me. I’ve come to recognize seasonal ebbs and flows of certain posts. I’ve had days where my blog traffic has really spiked. Several things I have written have been viewed thousands of times. I was even recognized in public once as a local homeschool blogger, and I won’t lie…I felt like a celebrity!

There have been other times, though, when I have wondered why I bother. When I can see that people just aren’t reading what I’m writing. Where I’ve put a lot of thought and effort into a post that I think is really interesting and it has fallen flat. When I can’t think of what I want to write about, or can’t find the words for what I do want to say. When we’re busy or there’s illness in the house, and it seems like I just can’t find the time for anything. And of course, worst of all, the moments when I see other bloggers who are somehow able to make money, or even just get gifts of things they like from various companies, and I wonder, what am I doing wrong that no one has even reached out to me like that?

I keep at it, though. Because in the end, it doesn’t really matter to me who is reading what I’m writing, and I’m sure not in this to get some kind of compensation. What matters is that I found my voice, that I know I have something to say, and that I’m putting myself out there, every day, sharing my thoughts and experiences, and making a tiny little corner of the internet mine.

If you’ve ever considered starting a blog, or picking up a long-abandoned blog, I challenge you to give it a shot. There is so much benefit to putting your thoughts down on “paper” and expressing yourself, and even one voice can make a difference!

Some Thoughts on Blogging

As of today, I have blogged every day, at least once a day, for six straight years. In addition, in a little over a year, my little corner of the internet will celebrate its tenth anniversary. Blogging has become a big part of my life, and a big part of who I am.

I like to think of my blog as my happy place. Sure, I occasionally blog about serious things. Sometimes, even hard things. But mostly, I blog about things that bring me joy. My family. Christmas. Architecture. Lego building. Baseball. Church things. Fashion. St. Louis, Fall. Family feasts. History. The Royal Family. Holiday and celebrations of all kinds. Quotes and hymns that comfort me, inspire me, or make me smile. Local festivals. Tea parties. Homeschooling. The Olympics.

If there is something that brings a smile to my face, I’ve probably written about it or shared a photograph of it here. To me, my blog is the equivalent of sitting in a comfy chair on a chilly day, with a warm blanket wrapped around me, while my favorite music or movie is playing. I feel comfortable here. Happy. Peaceful. It’s a place where I can be me.

People blog for all kinds of reasons. I started blogging because Ryan suggested I give it a try. I kept blogging because I love it, because it gives me a place where I can express myself, share my thoughts, and especially share what makes me happy.

A Blog Anniversary

Three years ago today, I started blogging daily, and I haven’t stopped since!

I’ve been blogging for almost six years, now, but it was very sparse at first. I got more serious about it in 2010, though, sharing more ideas for school, more recipes, and more pictures of our daily life, and by the end of that year, I was blogging every day. At the start of every year since, I’ve committed to blogging something, anything, every day. Some days have been easier than others, and some days I have really struggled to find anything to say at all. I’ve really enjoyed it however, and I look forward to coming up with new topics to write about, and new recipes and pictures to share.

Eventually, I’m sure I’ll miss a day. While I have blogged through a lot of events, including sickness, a miscarriage, and the birth of Chickadee, one of these days, something will come up that prevent me from posting. My goal, however, is to keep writing and/or photographing life every day of the coming years!

A New Record

No, I’m not talking about the recent heat-wave that’s moved across the country, or even the amount of rain some areas have had. This is about a blog record.

My blog has had more views this month than it has had in any other month…and July isn’t even over yet!

It’s not a huge deal, but it’s exciting to me, because the previous record pretty much only existed because of one post that got an insane amount of traffic. Now, I did have a post this month that was pretty popular, but it didn’t even come close to reaching the popularity of the other entry. To me, this means that more people are reading my blog daily than they ever have before.

For someone who really likes to write, and likes to hope that people are occasionally reading, and maybe even enjoying, what I’ve written, this is a pretty big accomplishment!

Blogger Brain

Please tell me other people suffer from this!

I’ve discovered that blogging is seeping into other parts of my life. ¬†For example, when I read or hear something that irritates me, I immediately begin creating an argument or response in my mind–in blog format.

When one of my children does something amusing, I immediately try to find the best way to convey their humor in a written format, so that other people can enjoy the moment.

Every book I read is immediately placed into a mental blog review, whether I actually intend to blog about it or not (and, as hard as it is to believe, I read way more books than I actually review).

The worst one–ever since blogging about my children using cute little nicknames for them, I find that I have to really watch myself when scrapbooking, or instead of using their actual names in journaling, I will write their blog nicknames, because I’m so conditioned to do it by now!

Every big, personal train-of-thought I have (I would certainly never call it talking to myself!) is immediately put into a blog format–and I find myself falling into a similar trap because of Twitter–with all of my smaller thoughts, I find myself trying to see if I can get them to fit into 140 characters or less.

This is what technology is doing to me–anyone else?