This week (specifically Tuesday) marks an entire year since I first started my blog! I can’t believe how quickly it’s gone, and it definitely doesn’t feel like Pages, Places, & Plates has now been around for 365 days. I thought I’d take a little look at the past year to celebrate what I’ve achieved and set some new goals for the next 12 months.
My Progress So Far
I’m going to start with the numbers, because I love a bit of a number crunch and it’s such a great way to see where I’ve come on paper. I wasn’t really sure what my expectations were for my first year as I was so new to blogging, but I definitely beat them which I’m so proud about!
Since starting my blog I’ve written a grand total of 137 posts – that’s a lot considering I work full-time! They consist of the following categories:
- 36 book reviews
- 12 eatery reviews
- 15 experience/event reviews
- 17 product/service reviews
- 3 recipe reviews
- 18 travel reviews
- 4 articles/informative posts
- 25 miscellaneous posts
I’ve also contributed guest posts – 19 published in total – and definitely have no plans to stop this as I’ve loved contributing to other sites.
Overall I’ve received 14k views, 8k visitors, 686 blog followers, and the top five countries that have visited my site are the UK, the US, Canada, Kenya, and India.
Social media has also been a massive part of my blogging journey, and something I’ve had to learn a lot about in a short space of time. I’ve focused on four main platforms to develop audiences and direct traffic to my blog, which are Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. Here’s where I’m at:
- Twitter – 6030 followers
- Instagram – 1578 followers
- Facebook – 182 followers
- Pinterest – 25k monthly viewers
Twitter is easily my favourite platform, with such an amazing blogging community and great methods to connect with one’s audience. I’ve met some truly amazing people on there and using it doesn’t feel like work. I’m not quite there yet with the others, but I’m enjoying the different ways each platform can be utilised.
Blogging as a source of income?
Well, I’ll be completely honest here and say that blogging so far has certainly not covered all of my outgoings (thank god I’ve got my job, right?), however I have made income from it which I really didn’t expect. I’ve made £62.18 in total and reviewed over £650 worth of items that have been gifted to me, which is certainly better than nothing!
The other stuff
Aside from numbers, I’ve also achieved some more important things this year – mainly to do with my confidence and getting out of my comfort zone. Here are a few:
- I regularly spoke on live radio
- I improved my photography skills (particularly with food)
- I read 43 books in one year, hitting my Goodreads target
- I became more confident in myself, being able to upload selfies and videos
- I learnt how to say no professionally and developed my assertiveness
If I’m honest, the majority of my blogging journey has been a highlight and I’ve really enjoyed being a blogger so far. I have to be a bit more specific about it though, so here are a few main highlights that I can think of:
- Being able to join such a vibrant and supportive community of bloggers online who are in it together, rather than rivalling each other (something you don’t see much in a lot of industries).
- Having the opportunity to collaborate with some fantastic brands, from new and established authors to inspiring companies all over the world – my most exciting one is an international press trip coming up in March and I can’t wait!
- Being able to improve my skill set – as trite as that sounds, I’m an avid learner so have been really grateful to improve a whole variety of skills (writing being the main one) whilst also learning so many new things.
- Developing a new hobby which I love and am passionate about (even with the work it takes!).
What I’ve Learnt
This section could honestly go on for ever! Blogging is a constantly evolving filed with a wildly varied set of skills required to be successful, so to say that I’ve learnt a lot is really an understatement! Here are the top ten things I’ve learnt (in no particular order):
- Blogging is a hell of a lot of work – even when it’s not your full-time job, it will feel as though it is most of the time!
- You don’t just need to be good at writing to be a blogger – having knowledge in SEO, website design, social media, marketing, networking, photography, graphic design, photo and video editing, admin, and IT also really helps.
- You have to seek out opportunities as a blogger, and not the other way around.
- Blogging is not a “get rich quick” scheme – the bloggers I have seen that do it full-time have invested a crazy amount of time and money into making that happen.
- You may not like yourself in photos, but if you’re using social media to promote yourself and your business then you will very quickly come to realise your face isn’t all that bad. 😊
- Like with many industries, there are lots of people out there trying to take advantage of bloggers, and you don’t have to accept every opportunity – it’s far better to only work with reputable, trustworthy brands who aren’t using you for cheap labour.
- Organisation is key to blogging, and without it my blog would be an absolute train wreck!
- Blogging can lead onto so many other income streams – books, courses, and one-to-one services, to name a few.
- If you make an error in a post then it’s not the end of the world, and there’s no shame in updating your posts as your writing improves. Going over old posts has been a massive confidence boost for me as I’ve really seen such a difference in my quality of work.
- And finally, you don’t have to have a degree or be a professional writer in order to create a successful blog… As long as you’re determined, committed, and willing to learn and improve then you can totally get somewhere with it.
Plans For Next Year
You might have noticed through reading my posts this year that I love a good goal, and having a set of targets to work towards really helps me to achieve (it’s why I always have a daily to do list – even on weekends!). There is so much I want to achieve with Pages, Places, & Plates, but here are a few key goals to really focus on:
- Finally go self-hosted and invest in a set of tools to maximise my efficiency with my blog
- Increase my amount of sponsored posts and other sponsored brand collaborations
- Set up at least a couple of new passive income streams relating to my blog
- Start my pursuit into email marketing and create a selection of freebies to offer alongside this
- Have a successful press trip abroad and secure another international collaboration at some point this year
- Use my knowledge gained from blogging and social media marketing to set up my own proofreading and writing services, which will supplement my existing freelancing work
So there we go! There are so many other little things I want to achieve, but those are my main big ones, and I’m going to do whatever I can this year to hit them (whilst also taking care of myself, of course). I honestly have no regrets over starting a blog – it’s hard at points, sometimes exasperatingly so, but I absolutely love it and I’ve finally found something I can see myself doing as a career. I invisage lots of changes ahead during 2020, but hopefully most of them will be for the better and, this time next year, I’ll have ticked off every one of those goals and more. Only 365 days and we’ll find out!
How long have you been blogging for? What has surprised you most about your journey? Let me know in the comments below, and don’t forget to like and pin!
24 thoughts on “What I’ve Learnt From My First Year Of Blogging”
Yay the comment box is here! Haha Firstly, CONGRATS on a year! It is insane to see how much you have grown and created during that time. (You will have to share your tips on how!) Wishing you the best for year 2 of Pages, Places &Plates and your new business!!
Thank youuu! I’m sure I will share at some point – I wrote a how-to blogging guest post recently and I really want to add that sort of content to my own blog!
Congrats on your achievements! I am sure this new year in blogging will bring new great things for you. Great job!
Congratulations!! It was also my blog anniversary this week (8th for me). I am excited to continue to watch you and your blog grow.
The Sacred Space AP
Oh wow, congratulations! I bet you’ve learnt so much in that space of time, and seen so many changes!
Happy one year birthday to your blog! Mine is coming up at the end of March and I can’t wait to reflect on how amazing it’s been with a blog post like this one. All the best in your second year blogging!
Thank you! Is that your first year of blogging, too?
Wow, I’m so impressed! I work full-time and often evenings as well as a teacher and so I’ve struggled to keep a consistent schedule but seeing what you’ve achieved really inspires me to get organised and try to achieve something similar this year!
That’s really good to hear! If I’m honest, it was Google Calendar that helped me get super organised as it’s so visual – easy to plan two posts a week and to make sure that each month is varied over my niches.
You’ve done amazingly in your first year of blogging! I wish I had achieved even an 8th of all of this in my first year! It’s only gonna get better so here’s to an amazingly successful 2020 for you! x
Aw thank you 🙂
That’s an AMAZING first year! I also feel like this can be a full-time job when we do it part-time LOL it’s A LOT OF WORK!
Here’s to more amazing years and great content!
What a lovely, reflective post!
Okay, wow. I’ve been blogging for 4 years and you’re ahead of me in pretty much every single stat and measurement possible. You’re absolutely killing it, although I do feel ashamed of myself for being so lazy and unproductive now haha! What an amazing first year you’ve had, and it will only get better! x
Go you and power to you. Glad I was able to help with some of it. Hopefully when I grow up I’ll be as popular as you are. I’ve been blogging for quite a few years now, both business blogging & copywriting. I’m looking forward to earning from it again too in the coming months.
Much love. ♡
Thank you! I’m really excited about getting some passive income going – fully planned out the structure of my first non-fic ebook last night and have started writing it, too. Lots of plans ahead for both of us, it seems!
Congrats on your first full year of blogging! You’ve accomplished so much. It makes me excited to see where I’m at after a year. 😀
Thank you! I bet you’ll see loads of progress (and possibly things you didn’t even expect)