My 6 year bloggerversary

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Happy 6 years today to Nomipalony! It was 6 years ago on this day that I published my first blog post. Every year since I’ve written a ‘bloggerversary’ post to celebrate making it another year in this strange industry and reflect on the year just gone. It’s a cathartic process for me that helps me take stock and plan for what I want going forward.

Highlights of my 6th year blogging

  • With 2 months to go in this financial year income is up 19.32% on the 2020/21 financial year. However, given that last year ended up on a 58% decrease on the year before, it still hasn’t been a great year for the business financially. Still I’ll take the wins where I can get them.
  • As there hasn’t been as many branded campaigns to work on so I’ve focussed a lot on trying to improve search engine optimisation on old posts of mine and despite publishing a lot less new content, blog views were up 11.11%. I had hoped it would be more than that but progress is progress.
  • I finally got rid of the corrupt and not secure Pipdig blog template and resdesigned and relaunched my website. This was a big project that took a fair amount of time and I’m proud of how it came out in the end.
  • I split out my Instagram account into a second niche health and fitness Instagram account. So overall I Iost some followers on my main Instagram but I am now growing the second account which is more focussed and currently stands at 513 followers with good engagement.
  • A high point was doing a review of The Seaburn Inn for the Inn Collection Group. A brand we had worked with once in the past and hope to again in the future. We love doing review trips.
  • We got to work with Preston Park again covering their Behind the Seams exhibition for a second time. We love Preston Park and have worked with them several times and it’s always a joy to help show them off as they are truly a local treasure.
  • We worked with Go Smarter, Go Active to promote our local South Shields beach walking route
  • I built on my camping content and it went down a storm. As did my Autumn, Halloween and Christmas content. I enjoy working on my seasonal posts.
  • I reviewed a pelvic floor dysfunction rehabilition programme for my followers who have had children. Raising awareness about functional core and postnatal care is a passion of mine.
  • Enraged by all the violence against women.
  • I wrote 20 actions men can take to be better allies to women which was one of my most shared posts of the year.
  • I blogged Lena turning 6, Arlo turning 10 and my mam’s 60th birthday
  • I really enjoyed hosting an Instagram live with political hero Laura Pidcock this year! She will be featuring on the blog soon as well which I’m looking forward to.
  • I covered Lindisfarne Festival on my Instagram and it was so good to get back to a festival! I hope I get to cover some festivals again this year.
  • On Instagram we did a great campaign promoting Newcastle with NE1 and the Tyne and Wear Metro, worked with Ramside Spa, collaborated with Start-Rite on their back to school vegan shoes campaign, helped promote a lovely app called Kitche that helps reduce food waste and collaborated with local brand Get Smarta promoting some of their free small business training courses.
  • And I’ve chronicled life in a pandemic, first tattoos, lost first teeth, first glasses, first pets and much much more!

Lowpoints of my 6th year blogging

2021 was the second year of the global Covid 19 pandemic so it’s been another challenging year to be self-employed. As I mentioned above, whilst earnings improved on the first year of the pandemic they have still been down enough for me to question whether it is still worth it regularly. My current conclusion is *just*.

It has been hard to be consistent with my business. The first few months of last year we saw schools closed again so we were back to homeschooling and even once they were back it seemed like they were out of school more than in as cases surged. Right now I’m just getting back to work as we actually recover from covid.

Instagram is arguably my strongest platform but I’m about 30 followers down on where I was in 2020 (as I mentioned though this is partly from splitting off my account). I love stories but stories don’t grow your account so I get great engagement from my actual followers but rarely gain new ones.

I think a few things happened that have impacted my Instagram account – firstly was starting to use captions on stories. Whilst is the right thing to do, it has reduced the spontaneity of my stories and sometimes I won’t post things that I used to in the moment as I don’t also have time to caption. Instagram launching auto-captioning has helped with this a little but thanks to my Geordie accent still requires a fair bit of editing.

The pandemic has meant I’m home a lot with not much new to post or not feeling in the mood to because I’m feeling low. I’m extroverted and need to be around people to feel energised so that’s affected my content. Also, people have been really grumpy during the pandemic (understandably) and there is a lot more criticism whenever cases spike which makes me self censor a lot more than I would have previously.

The platform has changed lately and it feels like if you want to grow you have to post embarrassing reels of you dancing and pointing at things or pretending to say something to an audio track and it’s just not my cup of tea. Just like how last year I needed to shake up my Facebook. This year I need to shake up my Instagram! Video is clearly the key but I need to think about how to make that work in a way that feels right for me.

My attitudes on social media as a whole continue to change. There is so much I love about social media but I’m all too aware of how addictive the platforms are. I continue to question the best ways to navigate using the platforms in healthy ways when you are using them as a source of income. Balancing screen time versus income is a real challenge.

Also views as an anti-capitalist are often at odds with earning an income through advertising however I balance this as best I can by partnering with more ethical brands because my priority it to be able to work flexibly around my kids which this allows me to do!

So I think overall I’m at a point where I’m questioning whether all of this still serves me. At the moment I think it does but it’s something I’m evaluating on an ongoing basis. Nothing is permanent and the only thing guaranteed in life is that change will come whether you like it or not. We have to see if I can adapt to that change or whether I move onto something else entirely!

Progress against goals in 2021

  • Take a step back and figure out how I want to move forward more mindfully. How has Covid changed what I want from my life? I feel like I have been more mindful with how I choose to go forward and have made some changes however I’m still figuring out a clear plan of where I go next.
  • Be even more selective about the branded projects that I do. By removing the goal of going full-time freelance, I can be even more discerning about the page projects I take on. I’m sure you will have noticed that I’ve been even more selective on who I’ve worked with this year. If something doesn’t feel like an immediate yes then I say no which is a liberating way to work.
  • Spend more time working on the SEO of old posts to improve page views (even if this means less new content). This has been a big focus and something I achieved with an 11% increase in views.
  • Investigate freelance journalism further to see whether I enjoy that and try to get some articles published on other sites once the kids are back in school. Writing is the bit of blogging I like the most, rather than the advertising side. I have spent a fair amount of time doing this – observing and learning. Following editors and educational accounts. I have pitched a few articles so far but not many as I have learned that for the most part, what I can earn through doing a sponsored post for a brand, far outweighs what I can earn from being paid to write a non sponsored post for another publication. In addition, most the content I want to write, I want to write for my own site. My time is limited with still having another part time job and the kids. I’ve not discounted this though and it’s something I’m still slowly observing and considering and if I was made redundant in my other job I would consider persuing to make a portfolio income alongside blogging.
  • Set timers for social media and admin 3-4 times a day and largely stick to that so I don’t get distracted and context switch constantly. Be more strategic about social media growth instead of just pissing about on them! I’ve got much better at setting boundaries on social media. I take sundays off social media altogether now which has been insightful – even just in showing me how much I pick up my phone as habit. I’ve decreased my screentime BUT I haven’t been strategic about social media growth and do still absent mindedly scroll, particularly on Instagram and Twitter so I need to address that.
  • Figure out a new direction to take my Facebook page in because what used to work over there isn’t working anymore. I reviewed Facebook and it turned out the feminist articles I was sharing weren’t performing well so I stopped sharing those and instead have switched to more fun memes which is working much better and the page has had a (very small) growth this year.
  • Spend some more time on activism. What’s the point of having a platform if you aren’t trying to do something worthwhile with it? I have done this and continue to do this.
  • Develop my mailing list and start doing regular emails to it. I didn’t do this but have plans to!

Goals for 2022

  • Continue to only say yes to things that feel like and immediate yes and bring me joy. Be ruthless in which brand partnerships I work on. Don’t take on too much.
  • Reduce the amount of time I spend working and work smarter and more strategically. Only work until 8pm on an evening. I would proviously work until at least 9pm on an evening or later. I’m going to scale that back most the time. Continue to stay off socials entirely on Sundays. Focus!
  • Be more strategic on Instagram in particular and use Planoly to schedule some content in advance.
  • Stop letting perfectionism prevent me from actually just getting stuff done.
  • Start mailing my mailing list again.
  • Explore diversification of income streams.

Thank you for 6 years

I want to finish with a huge thank you to all of you for supporting me for 6 whole years. For listening to my ramblings and being interested in what I’ve got to say. I’m so incredibly grateful and don’t take it for granted – I still try to reply to every comment you lot make on the blog or my social media. Interacting with you all is my favourite part of this whole blogging malarky!

Keep telling me what you want to see and read from me and I’ll keep doing my best to bring you stuff that’s helpful and makes you smile or laugh!

Let me know in the comments if there is anything you’d like to see from me this year. Let me know what your opinions are on what direction I should take going forward!

Here’s to year 7 together! Whatever that ends up looking like!

Previous ‘bloggerversary’ posts:

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