Gwennan Rees

Blogger and Illustrator

My First Year Of Blogging: In Numbers

My First Year Of Blogging: In Numbers

A year of regularly blogging and actually making an effort to maintain a site and a brand has flown by and I'm not surprised at the messages I'm getting like "really?? Only a year??" It's gone hideously quickly. 

I barely remember what I used to do before blogging, probably scroll through social media even more absentmindedly than I do now. 

Blogging is a weird half hobby half job because I am quite literally paid to write sometimes yet the rest of the time I'm typing away at my own thing writing my own opinions and thoughts. It's a hobby, a job, therapeutic and time consuming but I'd find it really hard to stop now. After a few days away the itch to get back typing at the laptop is real. Not so much the scheduling tweets but hey, when do I even do that any more anyway. 

I think in the midst of setting goals, knowing you're close to your next social media milestone, constantly battling the Insta algorithm, it's easy to forget what we've achieved. I am so close to 3K on Twitter (find me over here cos I'd love to hit it by the end of the month) and every day I'm obsessively checking to see if I've hit it. But I rarely stop to think how mad it is that nearly THREE THOUSAND people are interested in what I say. 

Instagram is my worst nemesis at the moment as I'm sure it is everyone else's and I try 20389824672864 things to get my following up to the illusive 1K. Yet I never appreciate that over NINE HUNDRED people like what I post. 

So with that in mind I thought I'd take a look back on my first year of blogging to see in numbers just how much I've made of it. 


I blogged originally under Gwennan Rees Illustration on Wordpress, moved to self hosted Wordpress for all of about an hour last January, realised I hated it, cancelled it before it had even fully gone through and moved to Squarespace where I am happily sat now. 


I bought this domain in January last year and as it renews this week I am reminded yet again wtf am I going to do if this blog is still live when I'm thirty. 


I'm not one to stick with a look forever. I'm one of those people who reconfigured their bedroom as a child every year to make it feel like a new room without decorating it. From the design I started with last January I quickly moved onto a sleeker snazzier design in April/May (I think) and then tweaked it ever so slightly for it's birthday launch yesterday. 


Yup in 365 days I didn't do too badly did I? Only missing 51 days of the year (essentially 1 a week) isn't the worst way to build a site and a following and I'm pretty bloody proud of myself for that one. 


Collaborating with guest bloggers is one of my favourite things about blogging because I like to shout about blogs I read, people I love and actually, it takes the pressure of blogging all day errrday when someone does the writing for you. I really like the ritual of setting up a guest blog and having something different, something I wouldn't normally write about on my site. I don't offer guest blogging at the moment because I can't work out how it fits in with my advertising packages like some people paying to be promoted by me vs people doing guest blogs for free but I'll definitely be hosting more if I go away next summer again. 


I've been lucky enough to be asked to take part in a few collabs on other sites and I thiiiink it's 3 (Alisha Ockenden, Steph's World & The Study Room) but if I forgot someone I wrote for months and months ago I am ever so sorry! Plz still love me. 


Offering ad packages from last November is one of the best things I've done for this blog. Not only does it make me a bit of dollah (like why pretend we aren't trying to monetize our sites) but it means I have 6 gals every month on my sidebar that I genuinely love. Like honestly so far they've all been internet friends already or have been someone I haven't known before and therefore ended up being someone I read all the time. I pride myself in stalking my advertisers when they sign up with me (we'll call it research ok) so I end up finding new loves or falling more in love with the oldies. 

*Ok so Hailey has been with me since the start and there's been a few repeat customers but you catch my drift don't cha?


Not 8 different brands you'll note cos Talking Tables have been the life and soul of my blog the past year and have provided me with about half my brand work. I've also worked with Yorkshire Linen, Hammam Havlu, Escape Reality Cardiff, London Graphic Centre and about 39278462874627465237452 different people for #BloggerPitP. 

£177.00 EARNINGS:

I only started making money from my blog in October and it's by no means making me millions but the fact it's making me something at all is still a bit of a novelty. I know money when it comes to blogging is a bit of aa contentious issue (something I want to write about) but personally I think we SHOULD be earning from the hard work we put in. And I am even more strongly opinionated about the fact we SHOULD be talking about how much we're earning too because lord knows bloggers get trapped into shitty deals with shitty companies and we need to discuss our cash flow else how are we supposed to bench mark our rates?


This year I managed not only to attend a bloggers event but I co hosted it as well. #BloggerPitP (that's Blogger Picnic In The Park to you and I) in case you've missed it was a bloggers picnic held in Hyde Park in August by me, Sarah, Mel, Hannah, Nina & Effi and it was bloody glorious. The weather just about held out, we had the most ridiculous amount of food, our guests were amazing and the brands we secured were ace. It was 100% the highlight of my first blogging year. 


I wouldn't want to put a number on this because the blogging community and the people I've met online and in real life are utter gems. People say the blogging community is really supportive and ya know what - it's not. Soz but it's not. It's as bitchy and cliquey as any, let's face it, female dominated groups BUT if you find YOUR people it's as supportive as it comes. There's drama, there's fights, there's indirects and there's unfollowing but once you find your group of friends it's fabulous and wonderful and I want to give a mahooosive shout out to all of the people I chat to regularly, don't chat to enough anymore and of course my Whatsapp picnic gang cos they're friends IRL as well as URL. 

280,447 PAGEVIEWS:

That's how many pageviews I had on my blog throughout the whole year. 25.01.2016 - 25.01.2017. The success of my blog has been the most surprising thing to me. I didn't know what determined a successful blog when I started, what kind of level people were on, hell I didn't even know how to find out my stats but when I did do some research and started learning how to run my site properly I have been a bit overwhelmed and hella proud that people enjoy how I write. 


The one thing that surprises me when I go searching on my Google Analytics is the places my blog is getting hits from. Sure my top two are, probably like most, my UK and US readership but my third is Canada and my fourth is France. The places my blog is being read or reposted is insane if you are my one reader in Rwanda - I love you. 


See what I mean about being awfully close to the next milestone and forgetting to appreciate just how many people follow you? I was so hot on Twitter when I first started blogging, I was allllll over the chats, I was gaining 500 followers every few weeks and that's where I made all my friendships. Now it's less scheduled tweets and less chats because it always takes the back seat when I'm busy and I wonder why my following doesn't grow as quick. 


I don't even want to think about how much time that means I've spent on the app. 


If I built up a following of another 909 followers in the next year with the damn algorithm I'd be thrilled. Instagram is undoubtedly my favourite and most hated social media platform at the same time and whilst I am appreciative (when I remember to be) of the fact over 900 people want to see what I'm up to, ultimately I just want my feed to be like Robowecop or Hannah Gale or Little Miss Katy


Pinterest is my top referral when it comes to my blog and the platform my following grows on quickest (except when lol I deleted a board and halved my following overnight and now have to go from scratch again). Bullet Journaling has long been the most successful topic on my blog and my free printables went down a storm whipping up a cool 25K average repins on EACH of the prints. 


Like I just mentioned, anything bullet journal goes down a storm on my blog because of Pinterest, in fact the most popular posts are ALL of my bujo work before anything else. But the one that clocks in as the most viewed post after all the journaling is the post I wrote on the EU Referendum: In or Out? I'm thrilled this was my most read post because I did a LOT of research into it, was super passionate about it and was keen to make it as impartial as possible and fact full only. I like to know people read it and I got a really good response at the time and I hope it helped people, even if not to come to a decision but helped to make them more informed. 


My blog has had it's first official birthday and not one but two posts to celebrate it (and a couple of HB tweets too). I'm excited to look back on this post on it's 2nd birthday and read how far I've gone in another year - and maybe next time I'll make a cake too. 















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