post

Looking Back at the Blog in 2017

As crazy as 2017 was it rounded up to be a huge year for me for growth and discovery. I learned a lot about blogging such as better promotions of my posts and my blog, ways to grow my followers and some ways to work towards monetize my blog. I went from having a blog for a hobby to focusing on starting to build a business from it.

Overall Stats from 2017

28,935 blog views

17,848 blog visitors

509 comments on blog posts

Referral Traffic

This was a lesson for me. When you decide you want to get serious about blogging, you’ll find yourself learning how to read your data. I learned a good a bit about where my blog traffic comes from and also several ways to help grow traffic from social channels.

28.5% of my blog traffic came from Pinterest. It did help that I had a pin go viral (Setting Healthy Boundaries:Simple Tips for a Happy Life) but there were other tips and tricks I picked up along the way to help increase traffic from Pinterest. My followers base grew from 192 followers to 901 followers in 2017.

1.) Join Group Boards – this is an awesome place to share your content with like-minded bloggers

2.) Learn how to create Pinnable images. Canva made this pretty easy using templates they had and I learned to create my own over time.

3.) Participate in Pinterest. Don’t just share your content only. Create boards of interest to you and your goals and mix your content posts in with others. This not only creates a better experience for your followers but it also motivates the folks of the pins that your sharing to return the favor.

StumbleUpon brought 14% of the traffic. This was a completely new channel to me. I had heard of it but had never used StumbleUpon until I came across a mention of it in a Blogging Facebook Group. This is an easy to use yet great driver for traffic.

Facebook brought 11% of the traffic to my blog. This I have seen grow over the year and I predict it will continue to grow in 2018. I have developed plans for more activity on my blog Facebook Page – which grew from 174 page likes to 1,701 during the year. My goal for this coming year is to double that and to drive more traffic to my blog from this page.

In October of 2017, I launched my blog Instagram account. This is a unique platform compared to the others lacking the opportunity for clickable links making it not a huge traffic driver however I believe this is a great opportunity to build followers, engagement and loyalty. I was at 146 followers at the end of the year and am looking to triple that in 2018 through engagement challenges such as my monthly art challenges and more behind the scenes posts.

Twitter only accounted for .3% of the traffic to my blog, which surprised me a little so I’ll be diving more into learning about the way Twitter works this year however I did obtain some great relationships through Twitter including sponsored posts opportunities and my Twitter followers grew from 394 to 861 in 2017.

Engaging with My Readers

My email subscribers grew from 19 at the beginning of the year to 181 subscribers. I didn’t put as much focus into this growth in 2017 as I hope to this coming year but I did find that promoting some giveaways was a great way to build your email list. Giveaways are pretty easy and quick and I was able to use Rafflecopter to set up the forms and manage the entries.

I also launched my Facebook Group ‘Journey to a Life You Love‘ which I have to be honest I fell off track a bit with during the year and it didn’t quite grow like I planned but I held on to who I had mostly and have big plans for it this year!

What’s to Come in 2018?

I’m really excited for this year. I spent some time thinking of what worked and what didn’t work in 2017 and how I wanted to proceed. This year I’ll be focusing a lot more on engaging with my followers and build my social media channels. You can look forward to healthy living posts, challenges and just some random thoughts about what’s happening in life. Let’s get happy and healthy and have fun doing it this year!

post

Year in Review – My Favorite Photos

A photo is so much more than just a photo. It’s a moment captured. Within one photo, so many memories and thoughts are held. 2017 was a tough year and it had several downs and many lessons learned but it also had many wonderful times. Times of strength, times of when love was discovered and joy was born.

This week I took some time to reflect on the year, sifting through photos that were taken throughout the year and just taking some time to sit and be grateful. Grateful for the people that stuck by my side throughout the year, grateful for the adventures I was able to attend and for the challenges I conquered.

My Year in Review: Photo Style

Photo Shoots & Art

Artistically, this was a big year of growth for me. I painted in more color, pushed boundaries and expanded topics, explored with varied mediums, and was in more art shows this year than ever before. I even painted a “party llama” for my best gal’s birthday! Super fun!

The same goes for my photo shoots. New angles, new styles, and new sides of me. Thank you to my photographer Anthony Machcinski, I was able to capture some of my favorite shots and discover a little bit about myself along the way. A little shout out to him – his photos are definitely worth checking out more @PhotosbyChinski on Facebook. Here’s a little sneak of one of my favorite photos from his collection (which I must note, it is so amazing to be able to have artwork next to his in the local art shows – gives me kind of that “look at us, we’re kind of like rock stars” warm and fuzzy feeling).

 

Food & Drink

Let’s just be honest here, food and drink is a pretty important category for every year. This year I really made a point to try new things though (which you’ll get to see a fun list in a later post “New Things I Tried in 2017). I tried new fish, fell in love with charcuterie boards, had champagne on my birthday, ate at a french restaurant, created amazing vegetarian pizzas for meatless Fridays during Lent, and had my first repin of a restaurant meal! It was kind of a fun foodie kind of year.

Adventures & Bucket List Items

I had one big grand adventure this year that I was able to cross off my bucket list – NOLA Trip!!! But I learned this year that it doesn’t have to be grand or far away to be an adventure. Adventures can happen anywhere, including right in your town or backyard! I crossed off touring the Haines Shoe House (yes it’s a house shaped like a shoe – an actual shoe – read more about it here: ‘What’s Up With That Huge Shoe by Route 30?’), I had a fun day being a big kid and eating lots of ice cream at the Turkey Hill Experience, I ran a 10 mile race in June (yeah, yeah, I know I talk about it all the time – but come on, this was a huge feat for me!), did squats by Inner Harbor in Baltimore for a fitness post, yoga in a bunny costume, bet on a horse race…no matter where you are, you can always find an adventure.

Little Moments & More Favorites

Coming home and seeing that your son made your mannequin dab, realizing that your dad’s old truck makes an awesome black and white photo, being rained out of a local charity race to find fun in grabbing grub at the local market, the beautiful flower in the garden you see in the morning that makes your day, Duck Donuts Mommy and Son Breakfast Dates, watching the pups always bantering on who has what, the cranky snapchat picture you send your BFF after a bad day……

 Finding out your dad has a brain tumor and that he’s going to need surgery but going out as a family and having a wonderful day anyways because you know that together you can make it through, the inspiration on your desk, the new puppy to the family, the moment you realize how much your son is like you, the funny things that happen at work, the beautiful sunrise you catch after an early morning gym appointment, the unconditional love from a pet……

The face you make when you know you have to go to the gym, you’re going to go to the gym, but you don’t want to go to the gym. The first time the puppy gets mail, the Subway lunch you’re having at 7:32 in the morning because you’re day started at 4am for Black Friday Shopping, and of course the SnapChat filters that make you feel pretty and laugh every darn time……

Life can have so many beautiful moments, big and small, sometimes silly, sometimes awakening. Celebrate them all, every day, every week, every month, every year. Celebrate you, your life, and everyone in it. <3 Onward to a new year ahead!

2016 In Review

2016 was about finding inspiration and motivation in my life, 2017 will be about making things happen. I put building blocks in place, started gathering my tools for success, started pulling together my tribe – 2016 had its struggles and its sorrows but it has amazingly putting me right where I need to be to enter 2017 and that is such an inspiring feeling. Wonderful things came into play last year (so weird to say that already!) which helped shape me to where I am today, the first day of a beautiful and magical New Year!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recap of some of my adventures:

  • Rode in a bi-plane! – Check out my thoughts on my experience here: The Feeling of Flight
  • Hiked and Biked the beautiful Rail Trail in Marietta
  • Started enjoying craft beers (this sounds like a silly one but I was so anti-beer lol)
  • Made some really awesome friends
  • Had my artwork in three shows – and sold two pieces this year!
  • Learned to find beauty in everything
  • Went to a ComicCon
  • Went to see the Harlem Globetrotters
  • Saw a bunch of great plays
  • Dove back into my blog and am going at it with major serious business
    • Went from 212 monthly views/138 visitors to 2,126 views/1,226 visitors
    • Switched to a web hosting site, which was a much surprised smooth & pleasant switch with Siteground
    • Started exploring sponsorship opportunities and affiliate marketing. I’ve found that ShareaSale has great opportunities.

2016 was about learning to feel things again, to live life fully, go beyond fear and go after what I want to happen in my life. The year taught me how to be strong again, stand on my own, and be true to myself. I learned that I have a story for everything and that I am actually a very interesting person and I have a lot to share with the world.

Top 10 Blog Posts of 2016:

  1.   Tidying Up For A New Year
  2.  Angel of Strength
  3.  My Guilty Pleasure – Shopping For A Cause – Winter 2016 Causebox Review
  4.  A Snowy Holiday Photo Shoot With Anthony Machcinski
  5.  Lazy, Cozy, and Chill Fashion Picks
  6.  How To Use Your Emotions To Heal: Feel It, Relish It, Then Let It Go
  7.  “Dream Within Meditation” Remembered and Reflected Upon
  8.  I Do Not Want To Be Finished…I Want To Be The Mess
  9.  10 Simple Morning Self-Care Routines For A Great Day
  10.  Despite All Odds: Inspiration From Kylie Travers

 I am so excited to continue to grow in 2017, I just know that wonderful things are awaiting me on my path! Thank you to all of my readers, my friends, my mother, and my son for being so amazingly supportive and motivating!

Cheers to a Magical and Marvelous New Year!

This post may contain affiliate links. For more information please reference my disclosure page. All opinions are my own.