My blog’s first birthday!

It’s my blog’s first birthday! I’ve been tapping away on my laptop for one whole year.  I’ve written posts over sharing my family life, doing a bit of ranting and occasionally posting things that are vaguely helpful!

Blog birthday image

A new challenge
When I set up my blog last year I was in a bit of a rut. I needing a new challenge and it seemed like blogging was something that I could squeeze in around looking after my kiddos and working.  Little did I know how much time was involved in running a blog.  There have been some total highs.  The highlights being posts that have really resonated with people.  I’ve had some very heartfelt comments that have made my day.  I feel amazing when people tell me my post inspired them to do something or go somewhere that I had recommended. There have also been some lows.  These mainly involve me getting very frustrated and confused with the technical aspects of running a blog.  It is also quite disheartening when I’ve spent a long time writing a post that has totally bombed.

In love with writing
I’ve always loved writing and my blog gives me the opportunity to write consistently and regularly, slowly perfecting my writing style. I’m having fun playing with new ideas and experimenting with different types of post.

There is way more to running a blog than writing good blog posts (taking and editing pictures, promoting your work and trying to maximise it’s chance of being found in a google search, working on your site stats). There is pretty much an endless list of things that you can do!  I sometimes feel like I don’t have enough time to make my blog the best that it can be but I just do what I can when I can.

Blogging buddies
The best discovery I’ve had since starting twins make five is the brilliant blogging community. I’ve found it to be way more collaborative then competitive.  I’ve had tonnes of help and advice over the past year. I’ve made some great buddies through my blog.  People who started as online friends who have crossed over into being proper mates that I have met in real life!

The other highlights of my first year as a blogger were the two blog conferences that I attended (Blogfest 2015 and BML 2016). I heard some inspiring speakers at both of these events and had a chance to meet lots of other bloggers and friends too.

Inspirational reading
I am constantly inspired and informed by reading other peoples blogs. I’ve read posts that have made me cry, made me think and made me splut out my coffee laughing. I’ve tried out lots of things that I have seen in other peoples how to posts.

Things I’ve learnt
I love how my blog constantly challenges me to learn new things and I love that it is constantly throwing up new things to get to grips with.

How to run a website
None of the technical stuff comes easily to me. I’m slowly getting my head around running a WordPress Website. My blog looked really rough and ready when I first started out. There are still a lot of things I want to do to refine the design but it’s come a long way.

Graphic design
I use an online graphic design programme called Canva to try and am slowly getting better at making pretty images for my blog. I’ve got a lot still to learn and I’m enjoying the process.

Twitter
Twitter was a total mystery to me before I started my blog. I’m gobsmacked that my blog now has 1800 twitter followers. I had no idea of twitter etiquette in the early days.  I committed every twitter faux par going!

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Okay I’m still a bit of an SEO novice but I feel like I have got to grips with the basic ideas of making your website show up in peoples search results. I wrote a review of Zootropolis that is read by people every day by people who find it via a search engine.

How to edit video
I’m having so much fun with this at the moment making videos that I call “Our day in 60 seconds.” They are such a nice snap shot of our families days and I know I will love looking back on them when my kids are older. I’ve just been loading them on my blogs Facebook page at the moment but I’m thinking of how I can make videos more of a feature on the blog.

My year in page views
Checking my blog stats is a bit of an obsession. Although the stats are not all important it is great when a post gets loads of views when it is first published.

Here is a round up of my blog’s year in numbers

Number of posts published: 131 (not including this one!)
Total number of comments: 1249

Top 3 most viewed posts (I’m not surprised that these are all posts relating to twins)

1. What not to say to parents of twins (I wrote this in about 20 minutes while cooking dinner for the kids so I’m really surprised that it was such a hit!)

2. Identical twins and how to tell them apart

3. How to prepare for twins

My favourites
The posts I’m most proud of are not the ones that have been most read but the ones that meant the most to me, it’s really hard to choose but these are my 3 favourite posts:

1. The kindness of strangers

2. Body image lessons for my daughter

3. Why my children have visited a secure mental health facility

My husband bought my blog a birthday cake so I’ll be having that with some wine this evening in celebration.  My first year of blogging has gone so fast – I’m excited to see what the second year has in store!

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