On the whole I try to avoid blogging about blogging – I find it terribly self-indulgent, and I don’t think it’s the kind of thing my loyal readers are interested in reading. However on this, the last day of 2011, I hope you will permit me a little bit of self-indulgence as I take the time to reflect on all the things I have done this year, how far my blog has come, and what I’m looking forward to in 2012.
I don’t measure success purely in statistics, but I do keep an eye on them as they give some indication as to how my blog is progressing. And because I’m slightly anal I must confess to keeping a little Excel spreadsheet that keeps track of my stats month-on-month, as I like to see them grow. In January of this year I welcomed 542 visitors to this blog during the month, and my visitor numbers have grown steadily throughout the year resulting in around 4600 visits in December (4,571 at the time of writing, but there’s still a few hours of the month left!). Many of the more experienced bloggers say that once you see an average of 100 visits per day, that is when opportunities start presenting themselves more. I first achieved that milestone in October (and I think winning the MAD blog award at the end of September contributed to this!), and I am now starting to see more PR opportunities coming through. So my message to any newer bloggers reading this is keep on doing what you’re doing – if you keep producing great content then your readers will grow and you too will become more prominent.
The Tots100 index and I have had a very up and down relationship over the course of the year, but given that there are now about 2,500 parenting blogs being ranked each month, I am really proud of having been in the top 100 for 5 months of the year. And I am over the moon proud of being ranked at number 32 in their top 100 blogs of 2011. I still feel like very much the newcomer into the world of parent blogging, so to be listed up alongside some of my favourite more-established blogger friends is just amazing!
There are so many parenting blogs in existence in the UK now (BritMums has approximately 3,000 members now I believe) that it is always a thrill when this one gets singled out in any way, so I was really chuffed to discover that I was in the social media agency Spreading Jam’s list of the hottest blogs to watch in 2012.
Success isn’t just about the stats though, and what I enjoy the most about blogging is the opportunities it brings me, especially in terms of trips and events. I attended two blogging conferences in 2011 – CyberMummy and BlogCamp Manchester, and I’m looking forward to attending even more in 2012 with my tickets for CybHer and BritMums Live already purchased, and my name on the list to be informed as soon as BlogCamp UK tickets are available. In addition I’ve got my first speaking engagement in 2012 – if you attend BritMums Live in June you can hear me talking about one of my specialist subjects – getting started with video blogging. I am excited and terrified about this in about equal measures!
I’ve really enjoyed working with my husband John (also known as the geekdaddy) to produce superior quality videos this year. For those that don’t know him, he’s been producing free photography tutorial videos for several years now over at PhotoWalkthrough.com. He brought his video production and editing skills to my willingness to stand in front of the camera and ramble about stuff, and the result was geekmummy.tv. My most recent venture in the space is my app of the week segment, which has taken a short break over Christmas, but will be back with avengeance in 2012! Our work in the space has led to a new business opportunity for John as well, and his fledgling video production company has been engaged to produce event videos for both the Baby Show and the MAD Blog Awards.
Whilst we’re on the subject of videos, I have made guest videos for both the Tots100 and BritMums blogs this year, so if you want to know more about how the tots100 index works, or how to get started with video blogging, those are the places to go!
I have to say though, despite all the stats, rankings and accolades, I only really have one measure of success. As long as at least one person reads and enjoys my blog, that’s all I need. I am so lucky that so many of my family and friends read and comment on this blog, and I am especially grateful to my Mum who reads every post. Her favourite post from 2011 was the great video games debate between me and the lovely Nickie from Typecast, and she told me she found the comments as interesting as the post itself, so thank you everyone who participated in that.
I feel very much that I have done a lot of finding my own personal style in 2011, and I’m really looking forward to the opportunities that 2012 may bring. I already have a few things planned, and who knows what else may arise!
Thank you so much for reading my blog this year. However you measure it, it’s been an amazingly successful year, and I wish you all a VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Image credit: Idea go / FreeDigitalPhotos.net