2 Mar 2013

1 Year Blogiversary

Holy Moly, I made it a whole year!  I seriously had no idea when I sat down to write my first post a year ago that I would end up here.  Honestly, I didn't know if I would have enough to say for even 10 blog posts, and here I am at post #155.  Apparently I had a lot on my mind!

Delving into this world of blogging has been such a crazy, cool, terrifying, humbling, all consuming, self-reflecting, rewarding experience.  It's hard to sum it all up really.  This has been one of the most challenging things that I have done....challenging in a good way.

I'll be honest.  I have inwardly struggled with the blog.  What I didn't expect when I started this journey is how much I would start comparing myself to others.  Of course we always compare, but blogging seems to amplify it all.  Is my blog design good enough?  Are my pictures bright enough? Am I posting enough?  Am I being too honest?  Not honest enough?  Should I show pictures of my family? Who's going to care about this?  How did they make their project look so much nicer than mine?  How can she have 4000 followers and I have 4?

I could go on and on, but you get the picture.

It's hard.  Really hard to not get caught up in it all.  It's hard to find your own voice in a sea of blogs.  Or to find your own originality in a Pinterest world.  It's hard to stay true, and to believe that what you are doing is good enough.

It took me a good 8 or 9 months to finally just toss it all out the window and just ignore everyone else and do what I want here.  After all, this is my own little slice of the cyber world, so I can do what I want.  And if you are a blogger, I know you have heard it again and again, but it's true....when you just let it go and be yourself...the traffic comes.

No, it won't come quickly (which was hard for me to deal with since I have zippo for patience), but over time, you will develop an audience, and it will be an audience that truly cares what you are writing about.  An audience that takes the time to not only comment, but comment with integrity.

Ya, I totally check my stats every day, and get a little excited every time I see a spike, or I get a new Facebook fan, or someone actually talks to me on Twitter, but I think I am slowly (verrrrrry slowly) starting to care less about that stuff.  The less I care about it, the less I feel the weight of it all and I can just write when I feel like writing - not because I've only posted once and I need to get fresh content posted in fear of losing my whole audience.

I thought when I started this blog that I had a blog obsession, well whoa nelly.....that obsession exploded.  I discovered Google Reader and now I don't even want to admit how many blogs I read on a daily basis.  I check out all the regular blogs I read every morning over coffee....and I love it.   There are such amazing women (and maybe an odd man??) out there who are so inspiring and make me push myself harder each day.  They are encouraging, they challenge me, they make me want to grow.  There's also a huge number of hilarious bloggers out there who can make me laugh even on a bad day, which is a gift in itself.

Blogging really is a community.  Aside from all of the comparison that I mentioned above, there is also a huge amount of support.  You really just have to reach out and get it.  It took me a while to get over myself and realize that it's ok to ask for help.  It's ok to email someone and ask what they think or ask for a suggestion.  Most bloggers answer my questions (even the big guys).  Other bloggers know what it takes and what a huge sea of crazy waves blogging can be and that sometimes you just need a life raft (even if it's a little yellow dingy) to hang on to.

Would we have completed as many things in our house over the course of this year without this blog? Probably not.  The blog makes me want to finish things.  I want to finish so that I can show you (even if it was just 3 of you reading at one point).   Mr. Swell has heard one too many times that I want to get a project done so that I can post about it and then link it up.  I get so excited that I can't wait to talk to you all about it.

So, since this is an anniversary and all, I thought it might be fun to share some stats.  I promise there will be very little math involved.
  • As of this month, my average monthly page views is right around 12,000.  There are a lot of people out there who don't want to reveal their page views, but I'm all for it.  It's not about the number of followers, subscribers, etc. - to me it's about pageviews (and I'm proud of them!). Those are the people who are visiting my site and actually reading.  Just to give you a bit of perspective.  In June my average was 3,000. Thanks to some success on Pinterest and Craftgawker, as well as some features by other bloggers, my pageviews have increased quite a bit just over the past 3 months.  Also, just as a side note....if you read my posts in your email or in a reader such as Google Reader, it doesn't count as a page view.  In order to count as a page view (and therefore count towards my stats) you do need to click through to the main site.  Just in case you are inclined to help me increase page views.  Just sayin'. :)  
  • 89% of visitors are from the United States.
  • My most popular post of all time is How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets.  (I can thank Pinterest for that one!).  Next in line is our farmhouse table and our living room reveal (although the Emerald Dresser is only a couple hundred page views behind the living room). 
  • People end up here from some very random searches on Google! Some of the best ones have been: animals swearing, hiding behind a curtain, crazy woman with a dog, demon witch, her dirty little heart.  Dirty little heart? Huh? Seriously....someone typed those search terms into Google and ended up clicking through to here.  Makes me laugh.
  • Outside of Google, my top referrers are Craftgawker and then Pinterest.  (The Line a Day Journal took off on Craftgawker, which is almost the sole reason for it being top referrer).
Lastly, thank you to each and every one of you who keep reading.  I know some of you lurk in the background, staying quiet but reading each and every word, and I so appreciate it.  Others of you comment your little hearts out and I love seeing your comments pop up in my email because I know they will be heartfelt and genuine.  So thank you for continuing to show me the love whether you have been here through all 150+ posts or this is the first post of mine that you are reading.

I think the next 365 days are going to be interesting for our little family and will hopefully provide lots of scenarios for new challenges and new content.

In case you are wondering why there are random cake photos throughout this post...well, it's because I made myself a cake to celebrate of course!  I've made this recipe a few times now and it's quickly becoming my favorite.  The cake recipe is here and the icing is here.

Also, be sure to come back on Tuesday because in celebration of turning 1, I have a fantastic giveaway lined up.  It's a good one.  It's definitely one that I'd like to win!

I'll leave this open ended.  If there are any questions that you'd like to ask, I'd be happy to answer them.  You can leave a comment or shoot me an email.  If you are a new blogger who would just like to chat or are curious about stats, blogging tips, etc don't hesitate to ask.  Any other stats that you want to know?  I'm an open book!  (on all things blogging anyway...)


  1. Hello! I found your blog through the pinterest challenge and thought it was so fantastic that I started following you on twitter. Meanwhile, I launched my blog exactly 7 days ago and found this post really inspiring. I have a background in research, so I check my stats wayyyy too frequently for the first month. And I think a little bit of competitiveness is seeping in...I get very excited for a new facebook follower, etc. I am going somewhere with this, I promise...when I read that you had 10,000 page view readers after only a year...well that felt hopeful. Thank you for your honesty and for your willingness to share. I only wish I had questions for you -- I think I have like 10 million in my own head-- but I think my philosophy right now is: build it and they will come and you'll figure out what you're building as you go.

    And all this to say... congratulations!!! The blog you've built is a great read and I look forward to reading many more. Happy Birthday!!!

    1. Stacey,
      Thank you so much for the comment. I actually started following your blog too....I fell in love with the design! It's really hard to not check stats. Sometimes I tell myself that I am going to go the whole weekend or the week and not check, but I honestly never make it. I think the trick is just not getting bummed out if it's a bad stat day - it doesn't really mean anything about your quality of content. Feel free to email whenever you have a question - I'm more than happy to help. There's A LOT to learn and you can get totally sucked up in it. I found it really helpful to find bloggers that I liked and then see if they have a blogging board on pinterest and then totally stalk them - there are many great articles out there about growing your blog, etc.

    2. Kelly,

      Thanks so much for following my blog! That is such a compliment!

      I actually told myself this morning I wasn't going to check stats until Friday, and well, yeah, that lasted about an hour. I think I just can't help it! Oh well. I think you make a good point about not letting them bum me out. I also think I want to be careful to write posts I like before letting the stats dictate what I write about most frequently.

      I love when I come across across a "how to" blog article! I store them all in evernote (do you use that?)..but I think Pinterest might be a better idea. I think I like how Pinterest organizes better.

      Have you written any "how to blog" blogs? If so, I'd love to read them!

      And...thank you so much for the offer to help! I just may take you up on that. But think I'll get my feet wet with another week first...

      Happy happy happy blog birthday!! And again, major congratulations! It's an amazing achievement!

      Stacey :)

    3. I know in my own experience, if I didn't write what I liked then it sucks all the fun out of it. Sometimes sponsored articles are a necessity just to cover costs, but I find them a challenge to write if it's not something you would normally write about. so yes, staying true to yourself and your voice is key.
      I haven't written any 'how to blog' type posts yet. Maybe I should....but to be honest I feel that i am still learning so much.
      I wish you all the luck in your blog adventure. Just remember to let it overtake the 'real' people in your life :)

  2. Congrats, Kelly!! It's so much fun, isn't it, and I love the motivation!! I can relate to much of what you said, I giggled about telling your husband you need to finish so you can link up, can't tell you how many times that's happened at my house and my family ate frozen pizza! :) And the comparisons, ugh...the nature of the beast, love your attitude. I'm more mindful when it starts happening now, and try to re-focus before gets to me. Wishing you another great year ahead!

  3. I recently started reading your blog and enjoy it very much. That cake is making me hungry. Cheers to you!

    1. The cake is so delicious....sorry I couldn't share :)
      Thanks for your lovely comment!

  4. WOOHOO!!!!! happy blogiversary! :) so happy to have met you!

  5. Happy Birthday! I 'discovered' the blog world about 3 weeks ago and to tell you the truth, I kinda went crazy. Somewhere along the way I found yours and I remember spending a lot of time going back through ALL of your posts. I was drawn in by your courage to just jump in and try new things. I also loved that you were adamant about making your home your own, trends be damned. I am thoroughly entertained by your humor and honesty. Great Job! I'm currently unemployed and have too much free time to read too many blogs. That will change but you are definitely a 'keeper'.

    1. What a nice comment Joann - thank you so much! Yes, blogs are sort of like black holes....you can spend days just reading all of the great content out there. Look forward to having you along for the ride in the year to come!

  6. Congrats on your blogiversary #1 :-) Blogging really does give you the incentive you need to get projects done - especially if you promise your readers you're going to do something!

    It's hard to not get caught up in the numbers game - how many followers, how many comments, how many page hits.... I've been blogging for over four years, and I've accepted the fact that I'm never going to be a big or popular blog. Which actually takes a lot of pressure off, because now I just focus on what I want to write about and not what I think I need to blog about to keep up with everyone else.

  7. Again - happy blogi-birthday. I always enjoy my stops here to see what you finished and what is going on at ASPTD.

    I remember how I first found you, it was on Hometalk and you had posted your subwaytile backsplash. Which I love - and ha ha, ours is STILL in the box in the laundry room.

    And the rest is history!

    P.s. - That cake looks amazing, seriously, you have no idea how deep my obsession for cake runs, LOL!

    1. Thanks so much Erica!

      There's nothing wrong with taking your time contemplating tiling :) Just tell people that you are still trying to decide which way to lay them!

      You MUST try that cake. If you love cake I bet you will really love this one. I was always sort of ho-hum on chocolate cake (it's usually dry) until i found this recipe. Anyone I have ever served it to always asks for the recipe. It's so fudgy and dense.

      I so appreciate your always-thoughtful comments!

  8. Aw yay congratulations! I'm so happy for you!! I never check my stats but I'm pretty sure I get like, three page views a month! LOL =]

    1. Thank you! I can almost guarantee you that you get more than 3!

  9. ummm, those are some crazy searches....I didn't know animals could swear! Congrats Kelly!!!

  10. Happy blogiversary!! You are KILLING it. I agree with everything you said: once you let go and let your blog be "you," that's what people respond to. Especially when you have personality by the barrel-full like you do. I follow bloggers because I like THEM. The cool projects are just a bonus. I know you're going to have an amazing year 2 and I can't wait to watch it unfold!

    1. You are too kind! Seriously...that means so much coming from you. Thank you!


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