A Year of Growth

Categories Blogging, Featured

Hi guys, it’s my birthday week! No, not mine, my blog’s. It officially turns one on Thursday, but every post this week is going to be a part of my birthday celebration. Today I’d like to talk about growth. It’s a word we hear a lot in this community, and it’s usually in a way I can’t stand. We talk about growth in terms of followers or view counts and for me, that’s far too black and white for such a multifaceted job/ hobby/ something in-between.  I will briefly mention numbers, but this post is mainly going to be about all the other forms of growth.  

Growth in numbers 

As I don’t really want to dwell on this, I’m going to get this one out of the way first. Obviously, we all look for growth in numbers. The numbers help us secure opportunities, let us know which content our audience likes etc. I’m not at all saying growth in numbers isn’t important. But in my mind, this post is more about growing in quality, not quantity.  

This message is more for newbies or people who are concerned about lower views. I wasn’t going to discuss numbers at all, but I was looking over my stats as my anniversary approached. For some reason, I decided to go back to the very beginning. Now, I’m truly the least techy person you’ve ever met. I didn’t install Jetpack until I’d been blogging about 6 months and it took me about 10 days to set up my Google Analytics. So, whenever I refer to day one, I really mean somewhere around day 10-12.  

Slow Growth

But when I went back to ‘week one’, I saw I had 38 views that week. In that first week, my first post got a whopping 2 views. I continued to look through my views for the next couple of months, looking at the stats for that post, and none of the numbers were particularly impressive. I know that won’t sound unusual, your first ever post shouldn’t do that well, right?  

Well, I continued to look because I already knew that my first ever post is the second most viewed post on my site. It has a really high Google ranking, despite me knowing nothing about SEO when I posted it and having the worst photos you’ve ever seen. Because of that, the views slowly came in. I get views on that post almost every day (still). But it’s a few at a time.

My point here is that I was growing, and doing well, but it was happening at a pace so slow that I didn’t even realise it was happening. Humble reminder to check back in with myself more often because I’m probably achieving more than I thought. And a message of encouragement for those of you who are newer and still getting 38 views a week, that it’s worth continuing.  

Growth in Photography 

This is a big one for me. I’ve never thought my pictures were that great. It’s something I always struggle with. I don’t think I’ve ever taken a photo and been proud of the finished result. But I’ve realised it’s an area I’ve improved in a lot.  

I’m going to include a photo from my first post and another from a more recent one to show you what I mean.  

I love how I didn’t even manage to edit the fly out of the background…

 

too faced born this way foundation

When I was thinking about this, I realised something. I don’t think I’d ever taken a photo on a proper camera before starting my blog. And I don’t just mean a DSLR, I mean anything other than a phone. I’m not a photo person. I never have been, I don’t really have any holiday photos, I never take photos at family occasions, I hate having my photo taken, so the images I have are few and far between.  

Next time I’m beating myself up because I can’t quite get the right angle or the lighting isn’t great, I’m going to remind myself that it’s actually quite miraculous I was able to figure out how to take a photo in the first place.  

Growth in Content 

A lot of the time when people create content for years and years, people complain that they’ve changed. Sometimes that’s due to more money, sometimes that’s just a content shift. A lot of the time people start these journeys when they’re very young and it’s only natural that content evolves and grows up with them.  

I don’t see any expediential shift in myself in the last year, but I certainly see a shift in my voice. When I started my blog, it was strictly about skincare. I knew I wanted to start posting recipes at some point, but I was nervous to upload my first one, worried about how it was going to be received. That’s quite ironic now I look back.  

My first proper recipe was for these after eight brownies if anyone wants to take a look…

Vegan After Eight Brownies

Growth in Content & Confidence?  

When I look back to being nervous to hit publish on my first ever recipe, I never once imagined I would ever post something talking in great detail about healthcare and ovaries. I definitely didn’t think describing an internal ultrasound would be on my agenda. But that post went down really well, something I’m incredibly grateful for and proud of. I was, understandably, far more nervous posting that than I was a recipe for after eight brownies.  

female health

I don’t know whether the growth in confidence to publish that post comes from a growth in numbers, knowing you have an audience to receive something is slightly less daunting than publishing to the unknown. It could also be a growth in confidence, thinking that people will actually care enough about what I have to say about such a serious matter.  

Growth in Community 

Whatever it is, that post is definitely the one I’m most proud of. And something that makes me really happy about that post is that when I scroll through the comments, I see a lot of now very familiar faces. That post did well, it’s my fifth most viewed this year. It’s never going to be my most viewed. My top three are all foundation reviews that rank highly on Google and are miles ahead of my others. But that post has the most engagement on it. The people who read that one are the same people who are reading this one.  

So, thank you for reading and being a part of my little community of growth.

I’d like you all to eat a huge slice of sugary cake for me this week while I’m still on my sugar ban. Here’s to year two! And come back on Thursday, I’ll be announcing my blog birthday giveaway and sharing my first-year favourites.  

Until next time,  

Sophie 



20 thoughts on “A Year of Growth

  1. Congratulations on 1 year! I love your blog and your content, I can’t wait to see where I am in a year as it’s been slightly slow numbers wise but I’m trying not to look so much now! Looking forward to see what you come out with next xx

  2. congratulations sophie, I always look forward to reading your posts. I have such respect and admiration for you and your blog. I hope this next year continues to bring growth and confidence because you 100% deserve it. sending you all my love xx

    Mich // simplymich.com

  3. This was beautifully written, I’m just going to read the healthcare and ovaries post.

    I agree with the numbers paragraph, too. We all seem to spend so much time on it, I’ve resigned myself to the fact that whilst I need a tonne of followers to get paid work, not having them doesn’t make me any less of a blogger than anyone else.

    xx

  4. Happy Blog Birthday for Thursday Sophie! This is such a lovely way to reflect on the past year. It’s so nice to see that you are not just focused on numbers/stats but in all areas of blogging. I always love reading your posts and I’m forever learning something new whether it’s about skincare or a tasty new recipe. Keep up the great work, looking forward to see what the next year brings for you & your blog! <3 xx

    Bexa | http://www.hellobexa.com

  5. Wow, Sophie, I thought you’d been blogging for a lot longer than a year! I think this is such an interesting post. How amazing that your first ever post has such a high Google ranking, way to go! I’ve never taken a look at my first few posts’ views because I don’t think anyone apart from my husband and me looked at them haha, but I’m curious now. Loved reading this post, here’s to your blogiversary and year two 🙂 xx

    Lisa | http://www.lisasnotebook.com

  6. You just made me want to take a look at very first few posts on my blog and wow it really shows you how staying consistent with things really is the way to go. I started off with about 3 views on one of my posts with majority of my beginner ones around 15-30 views; at that time I don’t even think I knew the blogging community on twitter existed at all! I don’t really care about numbers all that much as well, I just love writing and sharing my thoughts 🙂

    Your caption for your first photo has me laughing hahaha. I feel like with blogging, photography is a gradual process, you learn to see what angles work and that not one photo looks the same when you take multiple shots in the same exact spot.

    I can definitely relate to you with having more of a voice with my content now than before. I feel like I was a bit strict with myself in an English Course type of way. It took me a while to start writing in a way that was ~me~ because I was only ever used to write in an English course for my papers & for creative writing stories so it took me a little while to relax a bit and actually have my own voice 🙂

    Congratulations to blogging for a year!! I think I had too much ice cream in the summer that I should probably also have some sort of sugar ban hahaha!

    Sahara
    http://saharas-dreams.blogspot.com

  7. Happy blog birthday for Thursday! That’s awesome! Congratulations on all you have achieved in a year! Your comment threads have been so helpful in meeting new bloggers and reading new content also! Those after eight brownies look so yummy! Xx

  8. Happy (Early) Blog Birthday! I’m so glad you look at more than just the numbers when talking about your growth in the first year. It’s so hard as a new blogger to ignore the (low) numbers and remember that you’re growing in other ways. Cheers to many more years for your blog!

  9. What a lovely post to look back over your growth! Your improvement in your photography is INCREDIBLE. Seriously! I hate taking blog photos, it’s definitely one of my downfalls. Here’s to another year of incredible growth! xxx

  10. Congratulations on your blog anniversary. I think it’s good to see how you grow and change through time blogging.
    I like back at my early book reviews and cringe sometimes at the bad punctuation and spelling mistakes but I don’t take them down because it reminds me how far I have come.
    I love your recipes they always look so delicious and your photos really do them justice.

    Emma x http://www.bookinggoodread.com

  11. Happy birthday to your blog! I loved reading this and seeing how far you’ve come, your blog is so amazing I’d never have thought you’d been doing it less than a year and your photographs are so good now I wish I could take mine that well! Also after eight brownies sound delicious it’s a shame I’m dieting!

    Jess // foundationsandfairytales.wordpress.com
    xx

  12. I can’t recall exactly when I found you and your blog but I am SO glad I did. I can honestly say I’m so happy to be a follower of yours and that I really genuinely enjoy reading all of your posts. You’ve taught me a lot about what you can do with different ingredients and flavours and that having food restrictions doesn’t have to be boring! Can’t wait to see your continued growth!
    Alice Xx

  13. Well done on 1 Year! It’s really good to look back, I think we are all guilty of not giving ourselves credit with how far we have come! Your photography improvement is really good – it’s something I have also struggled to get my head around..who knew trying to make a flat lay would be so difficult?

    Hayley || hayleyxmartin

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