Three Years of Blogging.
Today Bedlam and Daisies turns three. Can you believe it?! It is still hard to believe that this moment marks three years of blogging.
I thought that today, I’d share some reflections about the journey…of the blog…and of myself.
I’ll also share a few technical aspects of blogging that I’ve slowly picked up along the way. If you are newer in your journey, they might save you from some of the headaches that I’ve experienced.
And I’ll share some blog and blog-related statistics.
I’ll delve into sharing the reason for my choice for my word of the year, which I shared in my post on Going Vegan is:
And lastly, my thoughts about the blog as it moves into its 4th year.
A Word of Thanks.
Before we dive into all that, I just want to take a moment to offer my gratitude to all of you who take moments out of your day to read my words.
This is what immediately pops into my mind when I think about my last year of blogging. 525,600 minutes. I’m sure that has nothing to do with the fact that Rent is on its 20th Anniversary Tour. Just Kidding. I’m sure you’re familiar with the lyrics, but here is a snippet anyway.
Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure, measure a year?
I’ve been a sunset chaser, so perhaps that is how I measure a year.
Mostly, I think I measure it in moments.
The moment that was the catalyst for our move from Florida to Virginia.
In the life of this blog, that moment was where I decided to write my very first post.
The moments that symbolize the slow release of motherhood.
Little moments that teach me about contentment.
Moments of Growth.
This year there have been moments of growth, little bits at a time and huge leaps in a space.
For much of my third year of blogging, I was completing my “this is 40” year of challenges, which I blogged about each month. I embraced many aspects of being 40 and grew more confident in the person that is “me”.
I watched my oldest child, my firstborn son, walk across the stage and graduate from high school.
Miss Sunshine and I spent three weeks back in our hometown of Naples, Florida. My conversations on the blog while there were mostly seaside chats.
Then I returned to Florida, but on the other coast, in Stuart, Florida, with my oldest and his friend. This is where we lived before we moved to Virginia and we spent a few weeks there.
I grew from all these journeys.
Each required something of me.
A new facet to my being.
Moments of struggles. Moments of confusion. Moments of joy.
I had some hard moments of motherhood this year. Moments that consumed every portion of my being. Moments that threatened to engulf me and hold me below the waves. Moments that are not shared in this space because there are sacred bonds of trust held in place by respecting the boundaries of which my stories flow into other’s stories.
But when I look back over my blogging over the past year, I see those moments when I stepped away and blogged less. Or those moments when all I had was a photo to share.
Because I didn’t want to lose the connections that I’d built through blogging.
So I showed up.
And sometimes just showing up is a moment of growth.
Stepping Into Bigger Growth.
I have always hoped that my words or my photographs or some combination of both might be seen by many.
I wanted it to happen through the magic of the universe.
Kind of like, “if you write it, they will come”.
And I’m still open to that.
But, perhaps, I could be doing more.
I let fear of failure many times hold me back.
In October, my husband retired. It wasn’t our original plan, but it became the best choice for our family. And if you are new here, my husband is 16 years older than me, so this isn’t an extremely early retirement. He has always been a supporter of my endeavors, but his new availability to take on many of the tasks I manage in running our household gave me time to devote to the blog.
You may have noticed I revamped the blog’s layout.
I began to choose some companies that I felt comfortable promoting and dipped my toe into affiliate marketing to help cover my blog operating costs.
I fought past my fear of judgment (and it was a hard fight) and began to put my photography up for sale.
It’s a slow process, but taking the first step is always the hardest.
Part of growth is looking at far you’ve come.
I actually created this photo quote back in 2016 when I was just beginning to learn how it was done. I have it framed and it sits upon a chest in the entry of my home.
So… I thought I’d share some Bedlam and Daisies statistics.
Bedlam & Daisies Numbers in the Past Year.
As of my writing, which won’t include all of the 8th’s statistics, here are some of Bedlam & Daisies numbers from January 9, 2018-January 8, 2019.
- Posts written: 139
- Number of words: 94,661
- Number of visitors: 14,316
- Number of views: 24,547
Bedlam & Daisies Numbers For Three Years of Blogging.
- Post written: 434
- Number of words: 288, 539
- Number of visitors: 31,500
- Number of views: 58,430
I don’t often share my statistics.
Because every time I search for posts about how to generate traffic (i.e.-get people to read the 288,539 words you’ve crafted into tales. not to mention all the photos taken, edited and curated into said posts of words), it’s usually bloggers getting more views in a month than I get in a year. Which makes me question what I’m doing wrong, if I should continue…and a whole host of other questions that lead to ramping up my issues with fear of failure instead of diminishing them.
So even though I haven’t managed to get the blog to the place I’d like it to be, I have learned a few blogging tips that I can pass on.
Some of the links below may be affiliate links. This means that I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you if you should choose to purchase something through them.
I knew nothing. zero. nada. zip. about the technical aspects of blogging when I started.
I started out with a free WordPress site. However, I did pay to have my domain name. I did not keep my photos in another location because I didn’t even know that was possible. I think some people use flickr or another service and embed them into their posts (but don’t quote me on that).
You’ll notice that many of my posts are photo heavy, so I upgraded my WordPress.com plan.
And right now they are running a special January 14th-20th. During those dates, you can click on the banner above or the link above and below and you can get 20% off of the plan price by entering the code DISCOUNT20.
Finally, at the end of 2017, I decided that to move the blog forward I needed to upgrade to the WordPress.com business plan.
I had finally heard enough about SEO (search engine optimization) that I wanted to to be able to add the Yoast plug-in to begin working on my SEO.
I spent a lot of time going back over some of the older posts that I hoped to promote, fixing the SEO in hopes that Google might find them someday.
I didn’t want to self-host because I wasn’t prepared for that level of “under the hood” knowledge. With the business plan, I have access to the Happiness Engineers who can help me with issues that arise.
In fact, I just spoke to them this morning about the fact that my website wasn’t displaying properly on mobile. You could still read it, but the font was wrong and the photos weren’t displaying. It was very uninviting. It’s been on my list of issues to deal with, and boom, just like that, they figured it out and fixed it for me.
You may have also heard many bloggers rave about Pinterest sending them all their traffic. So I converted my Pinterest account to a business account and got into the habit of pinning my posts to Pinterest.
But there are also so many hours in a day and when I heard about Tailwind, I hopped over there and started scheduling my pins.
Tailwind is a scheduling tool for Pinterest. It helps you see when your Pinterest followers are most active on Pinterest and set up a calendar based on the best pinning times. Again, if nobody is seeing it, then you are just spending hours working and getting zero results.
Tailwind has Tribes that you can join and you can share your pins there as well. They feel similar to Pinterest group boards, except that the pin doesn’t go out to all their Pinterest followers unless they choose to share your pin.
But it’s a great way to find content that you Pinterest followers might like as well as the opportunity to share your content. They also have insights that let you see whether or not your pin is doing well.
My monthly Pinterest viewers at the beginning of 2018 was around 120k per month. As of today, it’s 839.4k. It actually got up to over 940k when the pin that I once again shared in yesterday’s post caught some pinners interest. I attribute much of this growth to being able to consistently pin by using Tailwind.
I’m still working on figuring out the best style of pins to get better conversion. Obviously, my numbers show that it’s still a work in progress. However, of all of my 2018 referrals from Pinterest, over half came since I began implementing the new strategies in October.
I also added Grammarly to my arsenal of blogging improvements. I mentioned that in edition 67 of Friday Faves. Grammarly is a grammar checker, spell-checker and plagiarism detector. I can make my way around the English language pretty well, but sometimes things slip past me. And sometimes…well, we are all human.
I moved my email list to MailChimp so that in the future I can add newsletters or sweet surprises for those who have signed up for the email list. You can do that in the sidebar! Or at the bottom of the site!
I admit, there’s still some tweaking that can be done because I had to use a different plug-in for the pop-up (which is where I want to share the deets of any future sweet surprises) due to Mailchimp not supporting pop-ups on WordPress.com sites. I like the pop-up, but there are some behind the scenes issues that may not make it most conducive to my set-up in the long run.
I noticed that last year, I spent much less time taking photographs. Photography was my first place of love and growth after my move. It kept me from crawling into the abyss my first winters in Virginia. It made me happy and lifted my spirits. And then I became too critical of my work. It didn’t meet my expectations or compare to the works of others. I took fewer photos, but I missed it. And so upon my reflections, I’ve decided to seek the happiness it brought me once again. That was the inspiration behind today’s Instagram post.
All that brings me to my word for 2019.
I have planted and planted.
I have nurtured. tended. cultivated the space.
And now it is time.
To progress. To thrive. To flourish.
If you stuck it out and read all the way, thanks again for joining me on this journey!
Let your light shine!