Last year, I posted my first ever Annual Report, and the response was amazing! I am constantly surprised by the number of folks who want a behind-the-scenes look at what it means to be a professional blogger.
In general, I keep most of my blogging business talk off the blog itself (you folks are here for the food, not dull droning on about how the sausage is made), but I do think it’s important for me to step outside of the kitchen once a year and shed some light on what’s going on behind the curtains. I like to consider you guys my shareholders and this our annual shareholder meeting. I owe everything I am and everything I can do to each and every one of you, and me reporting back to you an annual rundown of the business is the least I can do to stay transparent.
I’m going to divide this report into two parts—the stats, info, and things I learned over the course of 2016 and then my hopes, wishes, dreams, and goals moving forward. Let’s dig in!
The 2016 Rundown
Before I dig into the actual numbers from this year, I feel like I need to give you a little bit of background about a philosophy shift I’ve had—I abandoned worrying about (or, honestly, even keeping track of) numbers like pageviews or Facebook likes or comments or any of those other things that us bloggers like to tie to our self-worth.
I used to live and die by my blog pageviews numbers. Like, I’d keep the live view of Google Analytics (if you don’t run a website, you might not know that Google Analytics has a screen where you can literally see how many people are on your site at a time, and it updates in real time) open on another screen while I was working. I’d wake up in the morning, and the first thing I’d do, before even putting my glasses on, would be to grab my phone and open the Analytics app to see how many pageviews I got overnight.
This mindset isn’t unfounded or unusual in bloggers. A lot of a website’s success is tied to how many eyeballs see it. And, from a goal-setter perspective, it’s a clear indicator of growth. Pageviews up? You’re probably doing something right. Pageviews down? Maybe not so much. It’s also directly tied to your income when you run ads. The difference between 3,000 people coming to my blog in a day and 30,000 is hundreds of dollars.
After working really hard to grow, grow, grow the number of people seeing my work, by the end of 2015, I had reached a place where I felt like my traffic was consistently good, so I went cold turkey off of my pageviews obsession. I didn’t even log into Google Analytics for months at a time. This is really my first time deeply analyzing my numbers for 2016—so we’re in this one together!