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.
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.
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…
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.
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,