Happy anniversary to my blog! It’s my blogiversary! This is my one year of blogging post. Before beginning this journey, I had no idea about blogging. I vaguely knew it was a thing, but didn’t know what it entailed or that blogs can become businesses. While I’ve learned a lot about blogging (and my life) in this last year, there are still a few things with which I’m not quite as satisfied as I would like to be. Let me take you on an overview of my one year of blogging. This blogiversary post is divided into four main sections: the story of my blog, some numbers, a yearly review, and goals I have for this year. I’m going to be open and a bit vulnerable in this post. I’m also not looking for any kind of sympathy with this post while I give my blog a cold hard look at itself on its blogiversary.
First a short backstory to my blog
I started my blog at the beginning of 2017 when I had
some a lot of downtime after writing my master’s thesis. A blog seemed like a fun way to entertain myself and keep myself busy while I shared my travel stories and past adventures. I started with a free blog on WordPress.com, and discovered a whole community of bloggers. To those of you who found my blog from the beginning and have stuck around – thank you so much for reading and commenting.
Prior to starting my blog, the image I had of a blog was an online personal diary. Something for yourself and maybe a few close friends to read. I don’t really know what I was expecting, but I guess that’s what happens when you start a blog on a whim with no plans. Almost immediately after starting my blog, I realized I wanted it to be more than a hobby. I wanted it to make money, and be a way that I can take control of my life and income.
I would be lying if I said it hasn’t been a struggle. In fact its a struggle everyday to figure out what I’m doing. And it’s painful to see how slowly things are progressing sometimes. By the time of this one year blogiversary, my blog is focused on iPhone travel photography and travel in Japan. You can read more in my new Start Here page. I have yet to figure out the magic formula that allows some blogs to take off while other stay behind in the dust. I just know I don’t want to be left behind in the dust.
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Some numbers on my blogiversary
Obvisouly, I started this blog a year ago with zero everything. No followers, no subscribers, and no social media accounts. Six months ago, I wrote another blog post about my six-month progress. I’ll use those numbers as a point of comparison for my stats right now after one full year of blogging.
RSS followers and email subscribers
Six months ago: 261 + 10
Now: 322 + I don’t want to say
Thoughts: Since moving from WordPress.com to a self-hosted blog, my RSS subscribers has mostly stalled. Still, I’m thankful for those of you who find me in your reader and click over to my site. Building an email list has been a challenge, and I don’t know why. I feel like I’m doing everything right, but people aren’t handing over their email addresses. Which makes me think that my blog must suck, and that’s a tough pill to swallow. And I’d be lying if I said it didn’t hurt when someone unsubscribed… A couple weeks ago I did sign up for a monthly blog membership called Pursuit HQ with Melyssa Griffin. Her blog, lifestyle, work ethic, and life she has built are super inspirational, and I’ve been gobbling up the things on her blog for the last few months.
Six months ago: 451
Thoughts: I still have mixed feelings about Instagram, though mostly I don’t like it. The whole follow/unfollow things still irritates me. In my last blog progress report, I mentioned that I have no qualms about unfollowing people who unfollow me first. That still holds true. However, I don’t follow people with the intention to unfollow them. I know I should let it go, but argh! With all the follows and unfollows, my account has been stagnant at around 870 followers for the longest time.
Six months ago: 689
Thoughts: My Twitter account has grown a lot, but not a lot of people come to my blog from there, so I’m not sure how wonderful that is. As with all the other social media accounts, the number of followers doesn’t mean much if nobody comes to my blog. Which is why I’m more concerned with email subscribers.
Six months ago: 18
Thoughts: At the time of my one year blogiversary it’s still a slow crawl here. I’ve begged a small number of my friends and family to like my page, and about half of them have done it. I don’t know what to do with my Facebook page right now, and I keep reading that it’s hard to get organic likes on Facebook now since they changed their algorithm some time ago. I should probably give this some more attention this year. We shall see.
Six months ago: 1
Thoughts: Pinterest has been the best place for growth in my one year of blogging. Six months ago, on my half-year blogiversary, I had one inactive follower, but it has grown a lot since then. Most of this growth has happened since September when I really started putting some attention into my Pinterest account. Now, Pinterest is my greatest source of traffic everyday. It brings in more traffic than Google or any other source. But my traffic to email subscriber conversion rate is still almost nonexistent.
>> You can read my full six month blogiversary progress report here.
Overall thoughts: Some of you will tell me I don’t need to not get caught up in numbers and followers and that it’s more important that I just have fun. I will politely disagree. I don’t want my blog to be just a hobby or a personal online diary where I write about my day or my weekend. That won’t be fun for me. Instead, I want it to be useful and provide value to people. Things that don’t lose relevancy after a week. I want it to be a community where people come to learn things and get valuable information that will help them with something. Like taking iPhone travel photos, for example, which you can learn in my 5-day email course. (shameless self-promotion)
Blogiversary: Review after one year of blogging
2017 has been a bit of a rollercoaster of a year for me and my blog. There have been times I’ve been really happy with my blog and things I’m doing, and other times where I feel so disappointed and unsatisfied with the way things are progressing.
The biggest thing that I’ve been struggling in my one year of blogging with has been growing my email list. I know this is important if I want to sell anything this year. But I can’t figure out how to get things off the ground. I’ve put opt-in forms in different places around my blog. I’ve made content upgrades and advertise them in my sidebar and inside my posts. And I’ve made a free resource library where I can put all those content upgrades in one place. And biggest of all, I made a free email course on how to take better iPhone travel photos. I put a lot of work into it too and thought it would be a hit, but things are still puttering along.
On a more positive note…
One year of blogging has opened my eyes to a whole new world. I had never considered the idea of making money/a living/a career online. But it really appeals to me. See, I’m the type of person who doesn’t want to work in a company. I don’t want to wake up early, go to an office, work for a boss and company, come home in the evening, then do it all again every day for the rest of my life. I want to be independent and work for myself. I’ve always been like this, and as such I’ve always dreaded the idea of what I just described. Starting a blog has made me realize that it is possible to be your own boss. This has been huge motivation for me to keep on keeping on even when my blog is not progressing as quickly as I would like.
I find that I don’t struggle with writer’s block very often, which is nice. Instead, I sometimes struggle with paralysis because I have to many things I want to do. Sometimes I just have so many ideas, I don’t know where to start and which to do first. But this is probably a better problem than having no ideas. It can be hard to decide where to focus my attention and time though.
How about money? Yes, I’ve put money into my blog. I’ve invested in a few things like hosting, a theme, a couple plugins, email service provider, and a social scheduler to name a few. I’m not going to tell you how much $$$ I’ve put in, but know that I haven’t made anything back.
Blogiversary goals for 2018
I have a vision for my blog.
Around my six-month blogiversary I realized that if I want to turn my blog into something that makes money, I need to treat it like a business. Let me be clear – I didn’t take any business classes in school. I come from an entrepreneurial family, although as a kid I didn’t help out much in a business aspect other than putting numbers into a spreadsheet. Still, having entrepreneurial role models has rubbed off on me, and I think I have the same “don’t quit” personality and perseverance as my father. At least I like to think so.
I’ve seen this quote floating around the internet: “Build your own dreams, or someone else will hire you to build theirs.” I don’t know who said it, as I’ve seen it cited with different authors. This quote speaks to me. I want to build my own dream.
So what is my dream? I’m not ready to share the details, but I already have a lot of things tentatively planned. But first I need to build a larger email list of people who trust my opinion and find value in what I write and do. And I’ve already said, building an email list is where I keep getting stuck. If you’re not sure who I am or what I do, check out my Start Here and About pages.
I’m also in school right now, so it’s not like I have a job to quit when things start picking up. It’s also good because having a blog is a nice break from school stuff when my brain starts to hurt. There are two more years left in my degree, and I don’t want to drop out. So I’ll keep blogging alongside my PhD. Because I’m not a quitter, and I wouldn’t be happy with myself if I dropped out of school.
Final thoughts on my one year blogiversary
In 2017 I ventured into the world of blogging for the first time. I came with no expectations and no plans, and quickly realized I wanted more. The last year has been an incredible learning experience, both for my blog and for myself. I have made a few important personal discoveries in the last year and learned so many things about the internet.
Another thing I struggle with is indecision. It takes me a long time to make decisions that I feel good about. When I make decisions on impulse or too quickly (like when I change the colours of my blog ) I tend not to be satisfied and prone to change things again. I know this is not good practice, and it’s something I need to work on. However when I do come to a decision slowly and with careful thought, I can be confident that I will stick with it. I can also be quite impatient – when I want something, I want it now.
I’m posting my blogiversary report on New Year’s day out of coincidence and not anything symbolic. Like I said, I started my blog this time last year because I was bored. It just happened to coincide with the beginning of the year. As such, my yearly reflection and regular blogging schedule happens to fall on the new year as well. I’m not the person to make New Year’s resolutions, and this post is not a resolution post. And yes, I do feel the need to clarify that.
>> You can read my absolute first blog post here.
Final, final thoughts on one year of blogging blogiversary
I have big dreams for my blog and spotty plans on how to get there. I will not say “I hope this thing will happen” because I do not believe great things comes to those who hope. Hope must be met with action and effort to become a reality. Otherwise hope remain something unattainable. It is wishful thinking. (Kinda like how I don’t have a travel bucket list)
Instead, I will end this post with an expression that has stuck with me since my snowboarding days: Go big, or go home.
I don’t want to go home. (I mean this figuratively.)
Leave a comment below and let me know where you in your blogging journey. What have been your greatest achievements and biggest struggles?