Gwennan Rees

Blogger and Illustrator

Twenty Something Meltdown Is Two!

Twenty Something Meltdown Is Two!

Thanks to  Melberry  for the top quality card. 

Thanks to Melberry for the top quality card. 

My blogs second official birthday cropped up on me very quickly and uhm, actually passed me by. It was in fact yesterday that this little blog turned 2 and I celebrated by erm.....forgetting. I feel like I should always do my 'in case you didn't know' bit in these posts but whilst I did publish a handful of posts in 2015 it was January 25th 2016 that I bought my blog domain, spent ages designing it and branding my social media channels and putting my focus into a blog, not just an extension of my illustration work which is what it was before. Therefore I class this as my 'proper' blog beginnings and thus we're somehow only 2 years in? Seems like a life time. 

This time last year I wrote a 'my first year in numbers' blog post which I really enjoyed looking back on so I decided it was the most appropriate way to celebrate it this year as well. This also falls at a pretty great time for me too. I have been really busy in January and blogging has taken somewhat of a back seat and I haven't really missed it? Normally when I can't blog because I'm busy I am itching to get back at it but this month I just haven't been. Instead I've been publishing content when I want and not bothering when I know I'm forcing myself and the content won't be good anyway. 

This sounds like a weird thing to be saying is a 'great' time for me to have a blog birthday but because I have been so unmotivated this past month whilst I've been busy (and also January slump amiright?) looking back over all my achievements in the past 365 days has hopefully given me the kick up the bum I need to take into February. 


I am forever wanting to tweak and change things on my blog (as highlighted in my latest post) but this year I only had one big redesign. In August when I was away on holiday for a little bit I took my blog offline and I had a big ol' makeover. I wanted my blog to be more like a website with a home page so I changed my theme in a bigggg way and I haven't looked back. I do still miss the layout I used to have where I had an Instagram grid style layout to the blog but until Squarespace gives me that and a landing page here we are. 


In 2016-2017 I apparently posted 313 blog posts in 365 days so this is a bit of a drop but not exactly shabby is it? I changed the way I schedule my content this year and decided to post less which reflected not only my own busy life but also that of my readership. It seemed like my posts weren't being seen so much because I was constantly replacing it with new content and so by only blogging 3 or 4 times a week, not 6 or 7 I spaced out my posts and my readers were able to digest them one at a time. Still something I plan to continue in 2018. 


I was determined to create a 12 days of Christmas series in 2017 and I'm glad I pulled it off. I started working on it way back in November and had great expectations of getting it all scheduled and ready to roll but I managed to schedule 3 posts and then just wrote the rest all the night before they were due to go live. I still managed it though at the busiest times of the year and I was really happy with the posts I put out there. Who knows, maybe it'll come back bigger and better next Christmas too. 


Steph has long been one of my biggest cheerleaders since she was a guest blogger with me in the summer of 2016 and this year I managed to wangle my way onto her blog not once, but twice. She did a banging UK travel series in the summer which saw some of my favourite bloggers share recommendations of their hometowns or places they loved and I wrote about Cardiff. And then if that wasn't enough she asked me back to take part in my second Christmas series with her where bloggers answered a bunch of questions set by Steph all about their traditions and memories. 


I have now been hosting advertisers on the blog since November 2016 and in the last year I filled all 72 slots with ease. I was going to count how many advertisers I had but I had so many repeat advertisers I lost count! I can't believe how quickly my advertising slots filled up and if anything else they're only flying off the shelves quicker this year (I have slots booked up in December....) It's a pleasure to host advertisers and I am thrilled everyone enjoys it so much to keep coming back! Special shout out to Ellen, Hailey, Megan and Bethany for being some of the longest standing advertisers! 


Somehow when I looked back and realised it was 25 it doesn't sound like a lot when you consider it's my most popular content? My blog is definitely split into two categories and two types of reader and that's the ones that come back time and time again for all content, and those who only come for the bullet journal content. 25 doesn't sound like a lot to cater for that huge audience but they haven't half produced some good numbers! 


Bit of a biggie wasn't it? I still find it quite surreal that my humble 18 month old blog was shortlisted for the Blogosphere Magazine Awards for Lifestyle Blogger of the Year and I could go on about the feeling all day. I've talked about waking up in a hotel in Devon to messages from the blog squad screaming that I was a finalist and the amount of times my phone ran out of battery from the constant notifications of all you babes on Twitter congratulating me. It never mattered to me that I didn't win (Hannah Rainey did, deffo check her out), to be considered, to be voted for, to be shortlisted by the panel and to see my name in print against the likes of Vix Meldrew, Hannah Gale and Grace Victory was more than enough. 


And the majority of them an ongoing campaign with Talking Tables. I had some really great opportunities fall my way in 2017 which gave me the chance to treat my family and friends to the spoils of working with brands as a blogger. I got to take my Mum to Jamie's Italian for breakfast on Saturday morning in June and I got to take my boyfriend, brother and future sister in law to our second escape rooms hosted by Escape Reality Cardiff. Undoubtedly my favourite brand opportunity was of course a bigggg collaboration between me and my blog pals and Talking Tables to decorate our Air B&B and throw Mel a surprise birthday party back in September. I did actually get a fair few more opportunities that never came into anything, be it through knowing my worth or a collab falling apart because all the other participants used do follow links......not that I'm bitter. Here' hoping 2018 will bring the chance to work with even more great people. 

£370.00 REVENUE:

So it's not going to pay my car insurance in full but damn I ain't complaining when I added it all up. This blog has always been a semi hobby semi something I want to pursue but ultimately pushing it to that next level payment wise has always taken a back seat so it's nice to know it made me nearly 400 quid on the side without me really trying. Obviously I always appreciate the fact my advertisers pay to be with me and that generates a steady stream of cash but I do work for that money when I'm promoting them so maybe 2018 will be the year I actually sit down and create some kind of strategy to get more of my income from this humble website on some corner of the internet. 


It seems like a lifetime ago that Sarirah organised an Instagram walk but it was in fact last April. I LOVED our Instagram walk, I loved Richmond, I loved seeing the girls, I loved all the photos I took and I rode the wave of motivation for ages. We left promising to do it again, we even had a map planned out of places we wanted to visit and then life gets in the way and we didn't do it and I think we should plan one immediately for 2018. 


We might not have managed a second Instagram walk but we DID manage a bloggers weekend away. The squad and I went to Hampshire to stay in the most Instagrammable Air B&B ever and we had the cutest weekend away. I've written about it countless times so I won't bore you to death again but safe to say it was one of the best memories of the past 365 days. 

337,251 PAGEVIEWS:

I mean, it speaks for itself doesn't it? It's not a bad count for a second year of blogging and it's 56,000 odd more than 2016-2017 so improvement is improvement. 


I LOVE finding out where people are reading my blog from and there's countless places that only have 1 reader but finding out over 3000 people viewed my blog from Mexico was a lil bit of fun. 

6484 TWEETS: 

Which sounds reasonably impressive but is half, HALF of what I tweeted the year before. 


So sure I stuck to an editing theme but looking at my Instagram over the last year it's plain to see I worked my way through a fair old number of colour themes. There was the sparkles from the new year, the pink and yellow from last Spring, the green of June, the blue of July and August, the pastels from September, the burnt oranges of Autumn and the dark tones and reds for Christmas 2017. I try to keep it consistent but hey, at least it's seasonal huh? 


This shocked me. From January 2017 to now I had over 11,000 referrals from this humble blog to my Etsy store which I wasn't expecting at all. I always struggle to see how my blog is translating into sales and whether it's worth pushing my Etsy store more along with this blog and maybs from these stats I will. 


Aside from bullet journals my most popular content has always been topical, and particularly political. In 2016 it was the Brexit referendum, in 2017 it was the unexpected snap general election. It's nice to see that my impartial guide to the general election was so well received because fuck me I worked hard to get all the information out there and I think it was a really important topic. 


* Sings 3 best friends from The Hangover* I won't get cringey again, I said enough in my open letter to them last week but safe to say they've been the very best thing to come out of another year with an online platform. 

And there we have it - Twenty Something Meltdown is a cheeky two years old and all that's left to say, as with all birthdays, is thanks for coming, hope you enjoyed the party and I hope to see you all again this time next year! 
















Twenty Reasons Why January Wasn't All That Bad.

Twenty Reasons Why January Wasn't All That Bad.

5 Easy Ways To Update Your Blog.

5 Easy Ways To Update Your Blog.