Okay so I’m totally copying Kayla on this, but I love the idea of being able to look back on recap posts like this and see how far I’ve come with my blog! Like Kayla, I don’t recommend that bloggers obsess over analytics and numbers 24/7, because there are so many factors that contribute to growth and falls on a day-to-day basis that really don’t mean anything. I do think it’s great to keep track of monthly and yearly numbers though, along with what growth efforts you made during those periods, to see what works and what doesn’t.
To start off, here are my most popular posts of the year!
Most Popular Posts Of 2016
1. 12 College Dorm Room Must Haves
I actually wrote this post as an extension of what used to be my most popular post (a college shopping list), and it ended up becoming more popular than the original!
2. The Ultimate College Shopping List
I wrote this post about three years ago, but it didn’t start gaining traffic until a year later. Since then it’s consistently been a top post of mine, and currently has over 50k pins. Pinterest-friendly pictures are everything! I’ve made at least 10 different graphics for this post alone, and I’m confident that’s a major reason this post is so popular considering there are hundreds of other college shopping lists out there.
3. My College Dorm Room Tour
Seeing a theme here? Pinterest was also the main reason this post got popular, because pictures of dorm rooms seem to do incredibly well.
4. A Beginner’s Guide To Starting A Studyblr
This one was a total shock to me. After starting my own studyblr last year, I realized there wasn’t really an organized blog post out there with good information on starting one. There were tons of posts throughout Tumblr, but these were often hard to find or weren’t very extensive.
I decided to experiment a little and fill in that gap to see what might happen. The post quickly took off, and is now the #2 result of a Google search for “studyblr”, right below the actual Tumblr tag! This made me realize that the key to creating a viral, or at least fairly popular, post is to find a question that isn’t really being answered well, and answer it yourself. For me, that was, “how do I start a studyblr?”.
5. How To Stay Healthy In College
This last post got significantly less views than the top four, but I’m still super happy it’s up there. I want to start blogging more about health in college, so knowing my audience enjoys that kind of post is definitely a confidence booster!
2016 Blog + Social Stats
I started JessicaSlaughter.co at the very beginning of 2016, so all the blog stats from 2015 are taken from my previous blog (TheBloggingBrew)!
Posts Published: 66 (+18 from 2015)
Number of Sponsored Blog Post: 6 (+3 from 2015)
Number of Pageviews: 888,347 (+495,070 from 2015)
Number of Unique Visitors: 461,022 (+202,567 from 2015)
Twitter Followers: 697 (+147 from 2015)
Facebook Likes: 195 (+195 from 2015)
Instagram Followers: 851 (+601 from 2015)
Pinterest Followers: 11,296 (+8,896 from 2015)
Bloglovin’ Followers: 1,262 (+1,262 from 2015)
Tumblr Followers: 1,758 (+1,758 from 2015)
What I Learned
2016 was full of experimenting with new topics, designs, social platforms, and everything in between. The whole purpose behind changing my blog’s name from The Blogging Brew to my own name was to allow my blog to grow with me, and make it easier to branch out into new blogging territory. I’d say the first lesson I learned was that not having a super focused niche is totally okay! I blog about everything from college life to blogging tips, and the people who want to read about each topic seem to find them just fine without getting turned away by the other posts.
Another big lesson was that income inconsistency is just part of the blogging life, and there’s no reason to freak out about the fluctuation month to month. There are just way too many factors that play into my monthly income, like what time of year it is or whether a profitable post blew up on Pinterest. I went from making $9 in all of March to over $3,000 in August, and back down to just a few hundred towards the end of the year.
That fluctuation also taught me that my readers are by far the most active during the summer, which makes sense considering that’s when college students generally have the most free time. I noticed a lot of my college blogger friends getting disappointed about their low numbers come September, which I honestly did too, but seeing this same drop across so many similar blogs made it obvious that it’s not anything we’re doing wrong!
Finally, I learned that taking blogging breaks is totally okay and even beneficial for my blog. There were several months when I went at least three weeks without posting, but when I finally had time to write, I was so much more motivated and inspired to create great content. I keep a master list of post ideas, so during these breaks I would just fill that list up with ideas I wanted to try but was too lazy to write at the time. Almost all of my best posts come right after these long breaks, so I really need to stop feeling guilty when I haven’t had a post up in a while!
Starting a new blog in a totally new niche was a nerve-wracking but exciting experience, and I’m so thankful for all my readers that supported me through such a big switch! Like I said in my 2016 Year In Review, one of my goals this year is to be more open and connected with my readers, so if you’re interested in connecting, you should definitely hit me up or just follow along on any of these platforms:
Oh, and if you’re interested in keeping up with me offline, I just opened up my Snapchat for readers to follow!