Do you look back at your blogging year in review? I've actually been doing just that over the past few weeks. As I check on things and have started making my plans for 2016, I have been jotting down some information and numbers so I can make sure I am continuing to move in the right direction providing what my readers want and like as well as the direction I want to take my blog.
My most popular post in both 2015 and of all time.
The only post I've created that has actually gone in what some would call viral (but I don't call it that for some reason.). Still received at times weekly/daily page views that outdo most my current posts. Its a post I wrote back in 2011 when I first started blogging and had no clue what blogging really was about or what I was doing.
Funny thing about this post, it only has 138 words and 3 pictures, and it only has that many words because about a year and a half ago I went in and added about a hundred words to see if it would pick up even more traffic since it was already getting. It worked, and why I haven't added to it , fixed it up more, etc... is beyond me. (Maybe a must do for 2016, LOL.)
The post is called Royal Blue Wedding. If you want a laugh, check it out and I bet you will be like, HOW can this post still get a few hundred page views each week and sometimes more than that?
Yup, go figure. Actually I think I know why it does so well, but I will keep that secret, LOL
What have I learned about blogging this year?
#1 Sometimes the posts I create and think will do the best, rarely are. But the ones I am skeptical on or the ones I don't think will do as well, quite often are the ones that seem to get the most page views.
#2 No matter what, it's best to always stay true to yourself, and do not try to be something you are not.
#3 Posts with more than one image, (good quality) do much better than posts with one or no images.
#4 You never know where blogging may take you. I never would have imagined in January that I would be asked to get paid to teach community blogging classes. I never would have guessed that some of my most popular posts, are teaching about blogging basics. I also never would have expected so many locals and twitter followers as well as people who read my blog would send me emails throughout the year asking me if I had a book out about blogging, and if not if I would create one. (FYI: I don't...yet:)
#5 Friendships in the blogging world are the BEST part about it. I know a lot of people blog to journal for themselves and that is totally fine. But if you are blogging to share and connect these online friendships you make with other bloggers can at times just totally make your day!
My most popular posts I created and published in 2015.
I was only going to list 10, but I had 4 posts that tied in page views so we are going to go with the TOP CONTENT 12 MOST VIEWED POSTS.
(I will admit my giveaway posts and blog hop posts have received thousands more page views than any of the below. But thousands of people come to a blog to enter a giveaway only, it doesn't always mean they return. Which is the only reason I am not including those on this list.
However for those wondering where they would fit in, if I did include them my entire top 10 would all be Giveaway posts, and Blog Hop sign up posts.)
#1 - You Can Be a Friendly Blog Stalker Too
#2 - How to Grow Your Social Media Influence
#3 - What Becoming a Runner Does To You
#4 - What Every Runner Should Know
#5 - How to Add Mileage and Become a Distance Runner
#6 - How to Bring an Old Post to New Life
#7 - Funny Questions Runners Ask
#8 - How To Make Sure You Don't Ruin a Race For Others
#9 - How Comments Help Grow Your Blog
#10 - Hiking Catherine Pass
#11 - Who is Runaway Bridal Planner and Do I Really Want to Know Her?
#12 - How to Bring an Old Post to New Life
If your wondering, the only ones I predicted would do well on the above list are #1, #2 & #8. The rest were all a surprise that they did so well. Although I did spend a considerable higher amount of time to polish up #11 so I hoped it would do well. That one is pretty new, so it may have time still to work it's way up a little more on the list.
My favorite post I created this year.
By far was the one I wrote a few weeks ago called Who is Runaway Bridal Planner and Do I Really Want to Know Her?
I spent a few weeks creating that post little by little. In fact I am considering making it my new About Me Page. It took so long because I formulated all of my favorite quotes into some of my favorite pictures I have taken from my travels. Additionally, I opened up and introduced the real me, more than I ever have before. In return putting it out there who I am and what I am like, with my true personality, sarcasm and all. By far the most I have exposed myself, and at the same time the most fun I have had creating a post ever. If you haven't checked it out, and you want to know why I am the way I am or who I am, check it out!
I had a few goals this year, and some worked, some didn't get done or completely finished. But that is the beauty of blogging goals, they can always be a work in progress.
#1 - Goal, build social media influence following to over 10,000.
How did I do? I made it, I have just a little shy of 11,000 right now. It's been hard work, but a fun goal to work on too.
#2 - Host a Grow Your Blog Hop.
How did I do? Well I hosted my first one back in February and all things considered it went pretty well and those who participated fully still email me letting me know how much it helped them and how because of it they have been able to maintain it even after. I hosted a 2nd and 3rd one Oct/Nov and in my opinion those went even better as far as participation. However, because they were shorter (Only 2 weeks vs. the 1 month the first one was.) I asked around and it looks like the retention isn't quite as much as the first time I did it. Basically attributed to the shorter time, less time to get to know bloggers and establish actual relationships with them. But overall, I have been given great feedback and several bloggers who participated told me the hops have been some of the best things they have done this year for their blog. So ya, that makes me happy to hear because lets face it, they are a lot of work on my part. But worth it, if others appreciate it!
#3 Post at least 3 times each week, excluding summer vacation and Holiday weeks.
How did I do? Pretty well, all the way up until the end of November early December when I got sick, and hurt my back and didn't have it in me to keep it up more than once a week. But life happens so I am going to overall consider this a success!
#4 Maintain a monthly blog income each month of the year.
How did I do? Very well, I averaged between $150-$875 each month. December is still going, and I won't have my final numbers for the year for a couple more weeks. But December might end up being my highest month since May, so this is excellent news. Happy New Year to Me!
#5 Build my blog tribe, the blogs I follow on a daily/weekly basis.
How did I do, I have to admit I follow some amazing bloggers. They really do create some great content, inspire me with their lives and I thoroughly look forward to reading their posts and seeing the new things they come up with and reading about their achievements. I enjoy watching us all grow together, even if we may all have different goals and different ways to grow our blogs.
Truth is, I read more blogs than I actually comment on. (Some blogs there is just no point in commenting because they could careless, but if I like what they write I still come back for more.)
When I started the year, I had a great group I followed. But life happens and about half the wonderful people I followed decided life needed to take precedence and they quit blogging. I don't blame them a bit, I totally understand. I would choose life over blogging too, if it comes to it.
This year I was always on look out for great new blogs to follow. I used my own hops to reach out and find new bloggers. I don't like to follow blogs that are exactly the same as the next, I am just as versatile in what I like in reading blogs as I am with adventure in my own life. New bloggers, Experienced Bloggers I enjoy both. I run my blog alone, so obviously I only have so much time to spend daily visiting other bloggers, so yes I do look for quality, difference, great interesting inspirational fun people and bloggers who enjoy interaction.
So yes, it's been a successful year, I follow some amazing people who I like to call a blog tribe of sorts, and they don't need to be mentioned all by name because they know who they are because I leave comments (sometimes way too lengthy, LOL) on a constant basis, and I seriously enjoy having them in my life. If 2016 becomes my running year again, I can't tell you how much I look forward to meeting up with some of them at different races around the country!
#6 - Go self hosted.
Ya, this didn't happen. A couple of reasons, but lack of time was the biggest factor. I am going to push this goal to next year. On the plus side, I did switch to the Disqus comment system and it has made a world of difference on blog comment interaction and my blogs SEO. It may not be the most perfect comment system, but for those on blogger like me who want to monetize their blogs it really is one of the best choices
#7 - Do less paid reviews on products I may not use again.
In 2013-2014 I would do paid reviews for products that at the time I thought were great. But in retrospect, they weren't things I was using before and after I used them I found I didn't try to use many of them again. Oh sure a few were fabulous, ones I use(d) and still do. Those are the only types of posts I wanted to do reviews on this year, and have to say I did succeed in this. I won't lie, it was hard turning down some easy money on what are likely great products. But this year I wanted to build a higher creditability with my audience and I couldn't do that if I kept on the track I was in previous years.
#8 - Create better images to go with my posts
I struggled with this earlier this year, I just hadn't found the best way to create images. Let's face it, images take additional time to create, and sometimes as much time as writing a post. But they can be worth more than the post when done correctly.
My images may not be the best out there, but if you compare the past 3 months to my past I think you would notice a 80% improvement rate! I took a few online classes to gain a better education on this subject and they are paying off. I do think I will continue to get better at this. What do you think, have you noticed a difference on my blog on this?
So, this is probably a bit too long of a post. But it really is fun to look back and see what has gone on with the blog and what goals have been made, which ones didn't.
Before I end this nearly a novel of a post, let me share:
My current goals set for 2016
I do have several, and a few still undecided or in the making. But a few things you can expect next year, as I hope to move forward; going self hosted, start a new inspirational fitness series, work on getting a few weeks to a month of posts created in advance, keep on being true to who I am. Begin a new post format and set out on every bloggers dream attempt to see if I can make a post go viral. (I do believe even if it is chance, it's possible!)
What are some of your blogging goals (if you make them) that you are most proud about?
What is a goal in 2016 you have for your own blog, if you blog.