I published my first blog post, 4 whole years ago today! Every year at this time I do an annual ‘bloggerversary’ post where I look back at the last year, what I’ve achieved and talk a little about what my plans for the next year are. So here we go…
Highlights of my fourth year
- This year we got to work with some brands we are genuinely big fans of, we worked with IKEA twice and will be working with them again in the next couple of weeks. That’s down to you lot being so great and engaging with the content so well. Those likes, comments and shares all mean brands come back to us again and it keeps this little blog in business!
- I got to blog/vlog for some great festivals! This year we blogged Y Not Festival and vlogged Just So Festival (shame it chucked it down for both of them) and I repped a great campaign called Shout Up (that encourages venues/events to have a zero tolerance policy against sexual harrassment) at This is Tomorrow Festival.
- We got to do a couple of really fun press trips which is such a privilege. We blogged a mini-break to the Northumberland coast which was so beautiful. We also spent a weekend blogging for Landal Sandybrook in the Peak District which was the most I’ve relaxed in a long time.
- I wrote my first political (with a big P) post about what the main parties were offering in the election and you lot shared the shit out of it and it went low key ‘viral’
- I loved the heartfelt responses I got about blogging about weaning my daughter at 4.5 years.
- Friends often joke about Papa Ginge and I that the Metro Centre is our second home. We stan it hard. So getting to work with Intu MetroCentre on Instagram was a big deal for us and we had a fab day.
- One of the best parts about blogging for me is all the cool people you get to know along the way and become friends with. For this reason, I enjoyed going to the Blog On blogging conference in May and catching up with family blogger colleagues I usually just get to talk to online. Also, in January a group of us North East bloggers who have become tight had a belated Christmas catch up at Ramside Hall where we had a fun evening and brilliant spa day. Ramside is a dream and I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to get there. I can’t wait to return again. Big thanks to Sam from North East Family Fun for arranging that for us.
- I was really proud to be part of the LNER track record campaign celebrating the North East with Edith Bowman. I love campaigns where I get to brag about how amazing the North East is because I genuinely believe we are so lucky to live here.
- I got to take part in a Mumsnet Facebook live for Scottish Widows again who I’ve worked with several times now around the topic of women and pensions which is so important. I also got to present a video about the top 5 Christmas films as voted by Mumsnetters while I was there which pushed me out of my comfort zone!
- My Facebook group the Nomipalony Freehouse became a really nice space for women to chat and support each other with some great chat about what we are reading and watching on TV.
- I broke 5000 followers on Instagram and my Instagram Stories now regularly get over 1000 views.
- I have now published 290 posts on this blog. The blog has had more than 272,000 page views.
- We have posted 100 YouTube videos and our channel has had 420,036 views.
Low points of my 4th year
I like to keep things balanced on here and it hasn’t all been plain sailing. I feel like this year has been the hardest for me which is ironic as Lena started school in September so I’ve had some more time.
I think because of Brexit hitting the number of jobs/income I’ve been getting, its been hard not to internalise that the reason that’s happening is because I’m not ‘good enough’.
In the blogging community, you constantly see other blogger’s campaigns and successes and in a lot of cases, these might be jobs you also pitched for and lost out to them on. You really need to have a thick skin or it can affect your self-esteem. It’s hard not to see others seemingly crushing it and not think, why am I not doing better.
As a result, I think my motivation wavered a little and I haven’t been as productive and focussed as I could have been. I’ve found myself distracted and context switching a lot. I’m feeling myself turning a corner lately so I aim to get back on track going forward.
Also this year, with the election and me posting more political posts I found myself in a position where I felt I was constantly defending my opinions online which frankly is exhausting. It came to a head at Christmas and I actually took a break from social media entirely for 2-3 days which really helped.
This year I’ll be trying to work on a healthier blog work/life balance and more conscious consumption of social media. It’s easier said than done when it’s kind of your job though! There is no 9-5, it’s a 24/7 gig.
Progress against objectives in 2019
I will put what I said I would do last year in italics and then whether I met it or not afterwards…
- Go full time self-employed freelance! This is the big one for me this year: So I didn’t achieve this. Brexit uncertainty hit the blogging community hard and lots of bloggers, myself included, found 2019 much less profitable than 2018. This remains a goal for me going forward.
- Increase and diversify income – I will need to do this to achieve going full time freelance. I hope to take on some copywriting clients and social media management: I haven’t done this yet either. I had some meetings to investigate copywriting as an option but I think these would be something I would pursue if I went freelance, I currently don’t have the time to commit to more than just my blogging workload.
- Increase social media followings and engagement – the higher these are, the more I am paid which helps me go full-time freelance: These have continued to grow, slowly but surely. Would I like these numbers to be higher, sure but this year I’ve been working on engagement and I feel confident that I have some real relationships with my followers, especially on Instagram. Many of them feel like real friends. I get so much out of chatting to you all. The downside of this is I get upset if I say something that upsets people and criticism can hurt sometimes!
- Increase page views via search engine optimisation and posts that will do well on Pinterest: I have increased page views but only a little. This will be my main focus this year. I’ve been spending background time on writing for SEO and working on older posts to help with this.
- Build email database and develop a good newsletter that has value to my followers: I haven’t done this but it’s on my list again this year. I have the plans in my head of what I want to do, I just need to find the time to do it.
- Ensure I don’t lose my personal posts from the heart as the brand work increases. Maintain my authenticity, trustworthiness and relatability. Continue to turn down work that doesn’t sit with my values: I’ve definitely done this one.
- Support some worthwhile charitable causes: I have done this. I want to do some more of this in 2020 and perhaps be an ambassador for a worthwhile local charity.
- Reduce time spent mindlessly scrolling on my phone – be focussed and strategic on social media, create more than I consume. This will help me have a better work-life balance too: I’ve still not got a great balance here but am trying some new techniques to help and even took a few days off social media entirely over Christmas. This is a big focus for me in 2020.
- Collaborate with one new person a month: I did not do this and am frankly shaking my head at me setting myself this as an aim. It’s far too high!
- Capture my last 7 months with Lena before she starts school: I did this.
Looking back at these objectives I realise I set myself too many goals and they aren’t realistic. With that in mind…
Blogging goals for 2020
- Increase page views to 25k sessions a month. This is so I can get onto Mediavine (blog ad service) and start making more passive income.
- Publish some articles in the ‘mainstream’ press – I just want to try out some journalistic style writing to see if its a viable way of diversifying my income.
- Increase Instagram followers to 10k so I can get swipe up and increase my page views and affiliate marketing income.
- Increase income and then go full-time freelance.
- Do a few press trips.
So a huge thank you to all of you for supporting me for 4 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 if 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 comment if there is anything you’d like to see from me this year. Politics? Feminism? Recipes? Fitness? Motherhood? Music? All of it? What do you enjoy reading the most?
Here’s to year 5 together!
Disclaimer: This post includes references to some brands I have received remuneration from working with in 2019. For my full disclosure policy please see my about page.