Blog-iversary 2

At the start of this week, I celebrated our second farm-iversary. Today it’s all about the blog-iversary. (In case you want to compare, last year’s blog-iversary included a stats post and a goals post).

Two was the theme for my second year of blogging, as the number of people visiting the blog more than doubled–a 132% increase, to be precise.

Total, monthly and daily blog views

Last year, I said my goal was to attract more readers, and I was hoping that I might get to 100 views per day. I did it, averaging 107 views per day. For the past few months, I’ve had a gradual increase as you can see below, and now the blog has around 100 visitors per day. Thank you all for visiting.Monthly blog viewsLike last year, visitors came from all over the world. However, there was one change. In year one most of my visitors were my fellow Canadians. This year the majority of you are American.

Blog views by country

Here are the top 10 countries and the number of visitors from each. Interestingly, the same countries are in the top 9 from year one to year two, and they’re in roughly the same order. The only change is at number 10 where South Africa replaced the Philippines.

  1. United States — 19,694
  2. Canada — 14,817
  3. United Kingdom — 1,247
  4. Australia — 599
  5. Germany — 349
  6. Switzerland — 155
  7. France — 155
  8. India — 142
  9. New Zealand — 133
  10. South Africa — 99

In year two, I was able to stick to my three posts per week schedule and published a total of 154 posts.

Last year’s most read post about the bridesmaid dress I sewed for my sister’s wedding reigned at the top for a year. At the end of July, it was overtaken by my post about how to make a wood countertop. The countertop post continues to get the most views every day. The bridesmaid dress has slid back to number four. Rounding out the top three most viewed posts are How to stain and waterproof a wood countertop and Not so fab freebie, the post about our uncomfortable wing chair.

The wing chair post has surprised me. This post is the first time I professed my love for Ikea’s Strandmon wing chair. It’s not the post where we actually buy the chair or where I actually talk about Strandmon in any detail. Apparently, a lot of people are interested in Strandmon. I published this post at the start of September, so it rocketed to the top very quickly.

Here are the top 10 posts of the past year and of all time and the number of views for each:

Posted 2013-14:

  1. How to make a wood countertop — 6,056
  2. How to stain and waterproof a wood countertop — 1,728
  3. Not so fab freebie — 1,723
  4. Birthday wish come true — 530
  5. Celebration — 517
  6. How to match seams across an invisible zipper — 324
  7. Lakeside Living Home Tour — 129
  8. How to build simple closet shelves — 127
  9. What once was lost now is found — 124
  10. DIY fail… sorta — 109

All-time:

  1. How to make a wood countertop — 6,056
  2. How to stain and waterproof a wood countertop — 1,728
  3. Not so fab freebie — 1,723
  4. Change of pace — 1,120
  5. The reveal… aka how to strip wallpaper — 845
  6. How to install a pot light — 619
  7. Birthday wish come true — 530
  8. Celebration — 517
  9. How to use preglued veneer edging — 346
  10. How to match seams across an invisible zipper — 324

Searches for wood countertops and and wing chairs are by far the top search terms and bring a lot of people to the site every day. But there are also lots of you who are regular visitors every week. Your loyalty means so much to me. Thank you for reading.

I have to give a special shout out to Jan Elizabeth, Sarah In Illinois, Margaret, Lindsay of ThatMutt.com and Dave & Sharynne Wilder of Dockwood Furniture for their frequent comments.

Top commenters' gravatarsJan Elizabeth stumbled across my blog in the fall, and she proceeded to read the entire archives and comment on pretty much every post in the span of about a week. Sarah has been reading since nearly the beginning. Margaret and I got to meet at BlogPodium in September. It was really neat to talk with someone whom I had previously known only from online. Lindsay’s dog blog is one of my daily reads. Dave and Sharynne always have great suggestions, and their blog is full of their own really inspiring handmade furniture.

I have to give another shout out to Danica of Country Chic Renovator and Diane of West Lake Musings. Back in August, they both guest posted while I took a week’s vacation. This was my first time having guest posters, and I really appreciated Danica’s and Diane’s willingness to share their stories. In case you missed them, here are the links for Danica’s post and Diane’s.

Blogging is such a network. I am frequently amazed by the connections I’ve made online. I’d like to do a better job at connecting with other bloggers. I read a post recently about content curation versus content creation–meaning featuring content from other sources versus writing my own original content. Original content has always been really, really important to me. However, I think that I could add some more variety to my blog and encourage other writers by collaborating more with other bloggers.

I did broaden my blogging network this year through a few events. A year ago, I speculated that I was considering attending a blogging conference to learn some new skills and make some new connections. Well, I made this speculation a reality. In fact, in keeping with my second year theme of two, I participated in two conferences: Word Camp and BlogPodium.

I am attending Blog Podium

These events were very inspiring and motivating. I don’t think I necessarily took full advantage of the networking aspect of the conferences, but I did make a lot of connections that are still with me today. I definitely learned a lot, and I’m so glad that I decided to go to the conferences.

One of the really simple lessons that I learned was to write headlines as though I am writing tweets. Writing post titles is something that I struggle with and probably my least favourite part of blogging. Thinking of titles as tweets has been pretty helpful, although I still turn to Matt every so often and say, “Any ideas for a title for a post about…?” He’s totally my secret writing weapon.

In last year’s blog-iversary post, I wrote “The biggest thing I’d like to do over the next year is decide where I want to go with this blog over the longer haul.” Today, two years in, I’m less worried about this.

Sure, I like the idea of spending my days at home, hanging out with Baxter, receiving tools and building supplies from sponsors, writing and DIYing as much as I want. However, blogging professionally is not the same as the blogging I’m doing now.

I love that my stats increased this year and that there are lots of you out there who like what I write. However, more than that, I like blogging for myself.

Since realizing that, I’ve been worrying less that I’m not active on every single social media channel out there and  that I’m not aggressively courting more readers so that I can attract sponsors. Jen at Rambling Renovators and Kit at DIY Diva posted about some of their feelings on this topic earlier this year, and a lot of what they said really resonated with me.

So while this year I’m all about goals for getting work done around the house, I’m not going to make any blogging goals as I head into year three of this online adventure.

I hope that you will tag along as the adventure continues. I’ve said it a couple of times already, but I’ll say it again: thank you. Thank you for reading and for being part of our projects, part of our farm, part of our lives.

I do appreciate your feedback, so if you have any suggestions of what you’d like to see more of (or less of) on the blog, please feel free to share.

18 thoughts on “Blog-iversary 2

  1. Thanks for the shout out Julia. Congrats on the stats. I can see you are very much a goal oriented kinda gal. Go for IT!
    I am putting my self out there by saying I will only go to BlogPodium if I get some of my goals from last years event done!

  2. Congratulations on your fabulous statistics! And thanks so much for your “appreciation.” Interesting to see that your readers, as is the case with so many blogs, go for the “how-to” stuff – something we definitely don’t do. But Dockwood is really just a sort of fun version of a “showcase,” not a true blog in the sense we’ve gradually come to understand. We wish you the best of luck for your Year 3 – we’ll be following you!

  3. What a great summary of your two years! I always enjoy connecting on Monday, Wednesday and Friday even though we do not live that far apart. Well done Julia. Keep those great blogs and activities coming.

    Auntie Anne

  4. Thank you also for the mention! I think I have mentioned before that I would love to have my own diy/gardening blog because I enjoy reading other’s so much. I love networking with people from so many different locations doing the same kind of hobbies that I do. However, my boyfriend is not happy about the prospect of our life being broadcast for other’s to see. He is a much more private person and I completely respect that. So I will just have to visit my “blog friends” and network through their comments.

    it is so great that you completed your goals! Good luck meeting your next goals!

  5. Congrats! Our blog-iversaries are almost at the same time (I just celebrated my 1st).
    It’s such a great feeling to have regular readers and readers from all over the world.
    I’m very glad to have met you last year at BlogPodium and have you in my blog community circle.
    Congrats again and keep up the good work on your blog! 🙂

  6. Oh, thank you for the shout out! 😀 I’ve had such fun following along on your adventures. I’m very impressed at the way you set the goal of three posts per week and then met it. I did a couple of posts on my new-ish blog, then all hell broke loose in my personal life and I let it drift. I think I need to set some goals like you did, in a way that keeps me honest. So I’ll hereby make a plan to do one post a week. You can hold me to that! 🙂
    Congratulations on all the bloggy success. You deserve it! Please extend congratulations to your secret writing weapon. His discerning presence is often felt (in an amiable kind of way of course!) on your blog. It’s nice to see people so sympatico. Looking forward to the next year of adventures. Cheers!

  7. Oh wow, that was so nice of you to mention me! That made my day! I really enjoy visiting your blog. It makes me dream of moving to the country some day. Congrats on your blog’s success, and have a nice weekend.

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