Wow, I've been blogging for two years! Happy blogiversary Our Seaside Baby! It actually feels like I've been blogging for years in some ways yet still so new in other ways. I feel like I was just writing about my experiences after blogging for six months. Last year, I wrote about my one year blogiversary and another year later I feel like I really 'get it'. Blogging is so varied and such a learning curve, I think I'll always be trying out new things and have loved this journey so far.
I've said before that blogging has opened up so many doors that I didn't think were possible. On the downside blogging is hugely time-consuming but the freedom to write about and express myself in any way I want outweighs that for me. The big change on my blog in the past year is it's now geared a lot more towards travel. It's funny because I've always travelled a lot and have lived abroad twice. I've written about my travel experiences in different outlets/magazines pre-blogging yet it didn't occur to me to start a travel blog. This blog has always centred around my little boy and I've written about different things including day trips but there were times when I started to feel a bit unmotivated and wondered where this blog was going. My word of motivation for 2016 was change and that included in blogging terms too. I'll always say that's one of the great things about blogging, you can write about whatever subject you choose and if/when you feel uninspired or bored you can always change direction or give your blog a makeover! ;-)
At the beginning of the year I decided to take the #take12trips challenge which motivated me to travel and plan more trips! It can be difficult being a single parent and parent in general but I don't think it necessarily has to limit you. I think anyone can travel and it doesn't have to be expensive or to far-flung destinations, sometimes you just have to be creative. In the UK, we've been on lots of local trips to Devil's Dyke, Lewes, Dorset, Mersea Island, London and spent many days at the seaside. Internationally, we've been to Amsterdam and our best and biggest trip to India! Last year I was feeling pretty stuck and travel has opened doors for me again in the sense that I always come back refreshed, relaxed and inspired and confident to try new things. At the beginning of this year I also started my travel linky My Favourite Trip and so glad I did because it inspired me to go travelling again and filled me with so much wanderlust and amazement at all those who have the enthusiasm to travel and see the world, often with small children.
Recently I bought a Pipdig template (Aquae design) for my blog and am really pleased with the grid system on the homepage. My blog was looking a bit hectic before with all the plugins and I wanted some type of gallery system. It's my first ever template and I really like it. I feel a lot more relaxed looking at my own blog now and in turn that has made me more motivated to write!
Last year I did a little record of my stats so thought I'd do the same again, something nice to look back on (plus I'm a bit of a geeky stats person).
- Number of blog posts in past year: 128 (last year 144)
- Number of page views in past year: 119, 769 (last year 80, 749)
- Total number of page views: 200, 518. I reached the 200K mark just yesterday!
- Rankings: The highest rankings I've reached this year have been number 47 in Trips100 and 424 in Tots100
- Klout score: 62
- My five most popular posts in the last year have been:
- Summer Holiday Ideas in the UK
- Travelling with Kids: The #Take12Trips Challenge
- Memories of Venice
- Ten Tips for Travelling on a Budget
- A Day Out in Lewes, Sussex
- My social media followers are now 12,000. Last year I had 3670 followers on twitter, today I have 7340, nearly exactly double - how spooky!
- Conferences I've attended: I gave Britmums Live a miss this year but did attend Blogfest and Workfest.
- Blogging events: Apart from the conferences I haven't been to many blogging events but have met up with lots of bloggers (see below).
- Bloggers I've met: It was lovely finally meeting Jade from Captured by Jade when she came to Brighton with her family including her little boy who's a few months younger than my son. She was also one of my first proper blog readers so it was lovely to meet her finally. I've seen some of the local Brighton bloggers including travel blogger Maria from One Tiny Leap as well as Australian blogger Evie from Mumpack Travel who happened to be visiting Hove on her round the world trip!
- Brands I've worked with: So many this past year with many new travel brands.
MY BLOGGING HIGHLIGHTS
- Working with so many fantastic travel/baby brands such as Cygnett Hotels Group, Graco, Bumbleride, Amsterdam Tourist Board and many more.
- Writing about my travel experiences.
- Starting My Favourite Trip Linky and being sponsored by Truprint.
- Being nominated for a Mad Blog Award in the Family Travel category. I never ask anyone who I know personally to vote for me so being nominated means a lot!
- Finally installing a new template on my blog.
- Feeling more confident in where I want this blog to go. I've turned down a lot of paid work because it wasn't right for my blog. For a brief period I had google adsense but I felt it just made my blog look tacky so got rid of it.
- Saying yes to all the great opportunities and combining travelling with brand collaborations!
- Making a living from blogging. I go back and forth on this one and one of the things that put me off was oversharing. Putting my whole personal life online is not for me but now that I've directed my blog more towards travel I would love to make a proper living from blogging.
- Being more disciplined with my time! I work on a freelance basis around childcare and co-parenting and don't have much spare time. It's very easy to get sucked into time wasting activities such as Facebook so I'm trying to be more disciplined & organised this year. I just bought a new organiser!
- As always, I have so many ideas in my head and many blog posts I still need to write. I still haven't written properly about working in a refugee camp so that is a priority. I would also like to be more involved in charity work though blogging.
- I'd like to meet more bloggers and continue to be inspired by so many wonderful blogs out there. I've been thinking about bloggers recently, so many are doers, incredibly organised, multi-taskers and so influential! It's a pleasure to be part of this incredibly community.