6 Month Blog Progress

My blog is six months old now, so I thought it might be a good time for a blog progress report.

I want to go over the last six months and see Β how my blog has grown,Β what I have learned,Β and what I can do over the next six months.

I started my blog at the beginning of January 2017, six months ago.

While my blog is far from what I would like it to be, I think I have made some blog progress.

First I should talk about the creation of my blog.

I started my blog at the end of writing my Master’s thesis in January. I realized that I have done a bit of traveling in my 30 years on this planet, and I’m living in Japan now.

There were lots of things I could write about.

So I hopped over to WordPress.com and started a free blog. It was opening the doors of a whole new world, since I knew quite literally nothing about blogging.

Choosing a niche

My first few posts weren’t about anything special. I didn’t know I was supposed (yes, I know there are no rules) to find a niche, so they are a bit random.

I decided on a travel blog, highlighting the fact that I live in Japan. However, I don’t want to be limited to travel within Japan, so I include world travel.

Sharing my posts

It was really scary to share my first post. I didn’t want to share it on Facebook with people I knew in person – it was too embarrassing. There wasn’t any other way to get people to read my blog though.

So, share it I did. Otherwise I wouldn’t make any blog progress.

I shared a few early posts on Facebook but soon realized a lot people didn’t seem interested. And I didn’t want to spam them. So I hunted around on the WordPress Reader, following people and subsequently was followed.

I was surprised to find out how supportive the blogging community is. On the WordPress Reader, at least. Outside of that, I feel that everyone is greedy for likes and follows. WordPress Reader generally nice and friendly.

Shout out to my friends on the Reader! You know who you are.

To self-host or not self-host?

Around February, I started thinking about going self-hosted. I hummed and hawed for a long time, debating whether or not I should, and was afraid of losing the Reader. Also losing my entire blog.

At the beginning of April, I finally did go self-hosted. I paid for a year at SiteGround and bought a theme. Then I had some fun designing my blog and sort of figuring out how the internet works.

However, after going self-hosted, less new people started following me. They still were, but a lot slower than before.

This has been a bit of a downer, but I can still find new blogs on the Reader.

Impressions on blogging so far

I feel like I have become part of a blogging community. There are a few people who always comment on each other’s posts, and I really like that.

It’s nice to see that people are reading the weird things I write and then commenting below.

There is a lot of upkeep when you decide to go self-hosted (security, backups, plugins, etc.). But I am happy to have the freedom and control to do whatever I want on my blog.

laptop

Now let’s get into the blog progress numbers.

Page views

Six months ago: 0

Now: 660 in June

I think this is still quite low, and I feel vulnerable to admit it. It’s only 22 views a day. I can’t imagine how other people get tens or hundreds of thousands of views a month. My itty bitty blog is so itty bitty.

—————————————————————————————————————————–

Followers and email subscribers

Six months ago: 0

Now: WordPress followers 261, email subscribers 10

Four of these are me, one is my husband. How sad is that. This seems low to me too. I haven’t figured out how to get more email subscribers.

You wanna sign up for my mailing list?

—————————————————————————————————————————–

Instagram

Six months ago: 0

Now: 451

I didn’t have an Instagram account before starting my blog.

Instagram is probably the most annoying platform of all. I noticed right away that people will follow you and then unfollow you. Sometimes on the same day, or a week later.

I made my own rule: I don’t follow anyone who is following less than half of the number of people who are following them. They will most likely unfollow you anyway.

I don’t usually unfollow someone who is following me, but if someone unfollows first me I have no qualms about unfollowing them right back.

But Instagram is full of pretty pictures, so it’s hard to completely hate it.

—————————————————————————————————————————–

Twitter

Six months ago: 0

Now: 689

The follow/unfollow seems to happen to a lesser extent here. Twitter is a bit boring for me though. And I don’t like how things get pushed down your feed never to be seen again.

Also, nobody ever comes to my blog from there.

—————————————————————————————————————————–

Facebook

Six months ago: 0

Now: 18

Another shamefully small number. I’m leaving this one to see how many people just like/follow naturally.

I don’t do like-for-like. I would rather have people like it who are genuinely interested in my blog.

—————————————————————————————————————————–

Pinterest

Six months ago: 0

Now: 1 (who I think is not even active)

I’d never used Pinterest before blogging. Basically I’m still at 0 here.

I’d been pretty much ignoring this platform until very recently. I think I might like it the best though because it’s essentially a search engine. But it uses images.

Not sure how to get people to follow my profile though…

—————————————————————————————————————————–

I really am learning a lot about blogging, and I think I am making some small blog progress. Too much to be able to write everything in a single post.

And I’m still figuring things out.

I’m enjoying having a blog though. I try to write a post three times a week. For about a month I was only doing twice a week, but it was less fun for me, so I went back to three times.

Right now I have a few weeks of posts ready or nearly ready to post. This is helpful for when I’m busy to write or just can’t find anything to write about.

I’m happy to have received a few blog awards. And also done a couple interviews.

I added Google Adsense to my blog for about three days. It was ugly, so I took it off. I don’t really like the message it sends either.

Goals for my blog?

I don’t know what kind of goals I should make. Maybe double the numbers that I have now? If I could get the above numbers in six months, it seems logical that I should be able to do the same in another six months, no?

The thing is, I can’t always dedicate all my time to it. Pretty sure that goes for everyone.

I want people to read my blog though, and I enjoy writing posts. Though I should probably make them more interesting or helpful.

I hesitate to make any real goals in the case that I don’t meet them. I want blogging to continue to be fun. Not become a chore. Maybe I’ll just see what happens. I don’t like to set myself up for disappointment.

Still, I want to try and find a way that I can make a few moneys on my blog. heeeeee.

Anyway, that is some of my blog progress that I’ve made in the last six months.

I’ve learned a lot (a little?) about blogging, SEO, web design, social media, and the like. But there is still a lot more that I need/want to learn.

I’ve also shared some of my painfully low numbers with you. And I hope you have enjoyed my first blogging progress report. If things go well, perhaps I’ll do this again in six months.

If things go poorly, maybe I won’t.

What kind of tips do you have that have helped your own blog progress? Something that has personally worked for you. If you don’t mind sharing, let me know in the comment section below.

If you’ve been following my blog for a few months or only a couple days, thanks for sticking around. I hope you will enjoy reading more of my posts.

Pin it!

Blog Progress Months 1-6

Author

After Teaching English in Korea and Japan for three years, Jennifer decided to go back to school. She studied Japanese, finished her Master's Degree, and is currently working on a PhD. This blog was born as a way for her to write about her adventures around the world, trips within Japan, and life in Japan as foreigner married to a Japanese man.

44 Comments

  1. These are good numbers Jennifer, well done! I totally understand what you mean by getting less vies/comments since moving to self-hosted. I ran out of storage space and was forced by WP to move to the Business plan since WP took the option for individual storage space upgrades away. Since moving to this plan, my daily visit numbers have gone way down, regardless of still being hosted at WP.com. I have full access to plugins and theme installs. The numbers are slowly returning, meaning my many regular visitors. So, we’ve had similar experiences.

    • Yes, it does sound similar. I didn’t realize a business plan was similar to self-hosting. I looked at your site – did you know you can still add a WP follow button for people to add to their Reader? I think my views are slowly coming back too.

      • Good Lord Jennifer, I’ve had several chat sessions with WP Engineers directly after the switch. It’s been a pain in the bum! Never heard of a Reader button, likely because I have never used it. I prefer the actual website, it just looks better and has more functions if I recall correctly. The Business plan seems just the same as self-hosted to me. It’s been a long time since I self-hosted though. How do you add that Reader button??

  2. Jen, may I say, do not bother about the numbers much? They will come and go. I am not a number hog – maybe it is not a good thing if I want to make money off it. I have 820-odd followers till date and I know it should go higher but what is ‘should’ in the world of blogging. I do not even follow everyone back – I follow the ones whose blogs I would like to read and those who I would want to know. Maybe I should go and unfollow those who do not bother to visit my blog? I don’t know. Have not got around to it because that would take away time from doing other things. Plus when you are blogging, does it not feel like you are pressed for time?

    I do not have any tips as such because you are a pro blogger and you know the blogging world inside out, but just enjoy this journey. I am chuffed to follow your blog and get to know you slowly. It is surprising but I feel more connected to my blogging friends than to some of my friends on fb who could not be bothered about my blog! It is an odd odd thing but there it is. xx

    • I totally agree with you! Most of my closest friends and family don’t bother to read my blog. “Too busy” is the ever present excuse. I actually enjoy the interaction with strangers who like my stuff and read my stuff. Sometimes it’s about the quality rather than the quantity of followers that matters.

    • I don’t follow everyone either, on my blog and social media account too. Only the ones that are interesting. And I periodically unfollow blogs/accounts that are inactive or turn out to be not what I thought. I would like my numbers to grow, but it is not causing me to lose sleep or anything. Blogging itself takes up a lot of my time…especially when I have lots of school work to do. Funny how that happens πŸ˜‰ I am also very happy to get to know you through your blog. It fun making all these new cyber friends πŸ˜€

      • Hmm there are so many ways then of doing it. What about guest posts for fellow bloggers? That is an excellent way of totting up the numbers and meeting new bloggers too. Blogging is a tough act to balance but yeah the rewards are worth it πŸ™‚ Hope you are having a lovely week. xx

        • I might try guest posting, someday, when I’m ready. I am having a busy week. I have two presentations for school, but blogging is more fun!! I hope you are having a lovely week too.

  3. Thank you for sharing your insights Jennie. We are a year ahead of you blog age wise but feel the pain of numbers like you mention. And you itty bitty blog is 3x the size of our blog at 6 months. We wish we could post more often but just creating one post takes so much time & effort. And Instagram sucks for all the reasons you mention, we don’t understand how some accounts have 15.6K followers and what not with average pictures.

    1 tip that we were going to share on our 2 year anniversary but will share with you know anyway is we get some meaningful traffic from Facebook now and we grew that population from sharing pictures on country specific photo sharing groups. Just doing that has gotten us to 1.1K FB followers but most people engage with just the Scotland pictures so it is a hit & miss.

    • People buy followers and like, don’t they. I find that too a bit shady. As for the follow/unfollow, for a while I was blocking people but that was a lot of work. I might start doing it again though so they don’t unfollow me twice. I did not know about the FB photo sharing groups. I will look into that. Thank you for the tip!

  4. Know how you feel. I’m thinking of creating a website in my niche area, and a portfolio. Have many ideas from reading everyone’s blogs on Pinterest. I have just followed you by the way πŸ™‚ Shelley

    • I use pintrest but mostly for everything other than my blog. It’s one of the platforms that i haven’t yet taken a liking to. I keep thinking about it so maybe it’s time!

      • I created pages through WordPress, so they are seperate articles to post on Pinterest- and they perform much better. Often people get more traffic diverted to their blog from Pinterest! πŸ˜„Cheers

    • Thanks for the Pinterest follow. It turns out there are a lot of interesting ideas on Pinterest. I didn’t know this. Good luck with your next website.

  5. I really enjoyed this post. I started my blog about the same time as you (give or take a week or so) and I’ve had many ups and downs. Sometimes I can’t bother and that is when the new followers don’t appear and people don’t read anything. I think you’ve done remarkably well and your progress and should be proud of that accomplishment. I’m not that hung up on numbers and if it makes you feel better, my follower count isn’t that impressive, but I’ve “met” some really interesting people along the way and I enjoy connecting with them over common interests.

    • Thanks for your kind words. I also really enjoy meeting other bloggers with common interests. Sharing experiences and learning from each other.

  6. I enjoyed reading about your first months. I think you’ve done remarkably well. Accomplished lots in a short time. I agree with so much you say and I’m amazed you’re doing three posts a week. I do one and it’s often difficult to do. So, I hope you’ll feel good about your beginning and look forward to what comes next. BTW, I have many Facebook followers perhaps due to work in the school system as a counselor, church, being a youth leader for many years, kids’ friends and their parents, people from the kids activities, a huge extended family and many writer friends who like me don’t mind reading a wide range of things. I am so much older, I suppose we build up people over time on social media like Facebook. The more activities and organizations a person is involved in, I think that makes a difference. Good luck.

    • I do feel good about the first six months of my blog. I have learned a lot and look forward to learning even more. The exciting world of blogging!

  7. Hey, congrats for blogging for six months. And I enjoy reading your progress report and your blog. Keep blogging 😊

  8. Yes, it’s a strange business this blogging thing. I often feel a bit conflicted about it. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t bothered about anyone reading what I blog – after all, why blog at all then, but (and I’ve also only been blogging regularly for about 7 months – and don’t have nearly half as many followers as you)- I’m beginning to let go of that a bit. I just want to write. I love that I feel I’ve really connected with a handful of people. That makes it worthwhile. I’m also computer and social media illiterate, and one day I might get around to learning more about this stuff – but it takes time from what I really want to do – write and take better photographs. So, I’m just going to keep plugging away at what I want to do, and see what happens. I love reading your blog – your personality really shines through. And good luck with the presentations by the way.

    • When I was still toying with the idea of starting a blog, i thought it wouldn’t matter if anyone read my posts. But I quickly realized that it does matter, and I do want people to read my blog. I’m also new to the technical part and the social media area. TBH, social media is a bit of a hassle most of the time. However, I always like to learn new things, so I’m having fun learning how to navigate the scenes behind a webpage. Writing blog posts is fun too – though I think I need to work on my creative writing. Also thanks for you compliment. I didn’t know I had a personality πŸ˜‰

  9. Congratulations on that many followers in 6 months! You can be very proud of that! It is great to hear about the progress of someone else on the same blogging journey (though my blog is two years old). But I can totally relate to everything you say about readership, numbers etc! I decided quite early on to continue my blog for the passion, rather than the numbers. Time will tell on whether the blog will go somewhere significantly, but as long as you are enjoying the journey and are happy with what you’re creating, that is the most important thing πŸ™‚ I look forward to following your adventures!

  10. Thank you for sharing your progress report! Since I’m new to this blogging thing (only 2.5 months in) it’s very interesting to read how your first 6 months have gone. I agree, there has been so much to learn!! And it is quite time-consuming. It’s true Instagram can be quite annoying with all the following/unfollowing going on! It can be so fake. But I do appreciate finding other like-minded, real people that share the same love of travel as us and enjoy following their blogs and posts on Instagram πŸ™‚ And I’m with you on the Pinterest thing as well, I’m not very into it and don’t really get it, but I’m trying to keep up with it since I know it can be a great source for traffic.

    All the best for your next 6 months and I look forward to reading your next progress report! πŸ™‚ Keep at it and I’m sure you will see results!

    • Thanks for reading. You’re right, there really is a lot to learn about blogging and the internet. I’m starting to have second thoughts about Instagram all together. Good luck with your blog too πŸ™‚

  11. Hi Jennifer, this was a great post to read. It tells me about pains of fellow new-ish bloggers. I restarted blogging proper about 3 months back, and my followers have not even reached 50. So I think your numbers are really good for your first 6 months. So, well done πŸ™‚ I agree with you on Instagram. It is a place hungry for just likes. I post pictures which mean something to me, and I doubt anyone even bothers to read. Lol. I am struggling to grow the numbers, but then I haven’t been as regular as you in posting. I am probably posting once a week or sometimes even once in three weeks which is just terrible pace. Blogging is indeed a good place to meet like minded souls – takes lots of hit and trial – but its worth the effort. Thanks again for posting this, has been very helpful. Good luck

    • Hey, thanks for your comment and understanding the struggles of being new bloggers. I’m glad you found it helpful. It can be difficult at times, but it’s a lot of fun πŸ™‚ Good luck with everything! Let’s see where this blogging journey takes us.

Leave a reply!