I started an Instagram account for my sons around November 2016. I posted a few pictures, but at a very slow pace. Never for a moment did I think I’d be writing about how my blog did in it’s first year. And when I say it’s first year, I actually mean it’s first six months since it only went live on the 21st of June 2017.
I started following a few other mommy bloggers and brands on Instagram, and the next thing my following grew from zero to a thousand. Eventually I started sharing more and more pictures on the boys Instagram account and it was inevitable that an actual blog was to follow. I did a short web design course two years prior, so I was determined to create the site myself. And then I finally got onto it and my blog went live on the 21st of June 2017. I didn’t know a thing about WordPress but I learned as I went along. The most exciting part was when I finally figured out that I could view the amount of traffic going onto my blog. This only happened two months later, but it was so exciting to see how many people were reading my articles.
All the free things I receive for blogging
Nothing is free. Everything comes at a cost. When a brand sends me a product, it means that I need to get creative and think of how I’m going to take pictures of the product, what I’m going to talk about, what will encourage my followers to engage on the post on Instagram or on the blog, what will drive readers to copy the link and share it on their social media timeline, what will entice readers to reader further, and ultimately how I can get my readers to buy the product that I’m endorsing.
Then there’s the time I spend putting it all together, the amount of data I use which I personally pay for, the cost to host my website, etc. People say, “oh but you get alot of freebies”. No dear, a freebie is when the giver expects nothing in return. It’s when I don’t have to sacrifice half of my day trying to take a clear shot of my busy and unstoppable toddler. And then sit for long periods of time, trying to find the perfect pictures to share with my followers. I could be painting my toenails, styling my hair, maybe even getting some much needed sleep, or most importantly, making memories with my kids. Again, I cannot stress this enough, nothing is free.
How my blog did in it’s first year – the highlights of 2017
Initially everyone reading my articles, was coming from the article links I had shared via Facebook and Instagram which directed people straight to my blog. I then researched and researched some more and a little more, about SEO. After setting up the SEO for my website, I started seeing organic traffic. That means people would search for a particular topic and google recommends my website. I started off getting 1 or 2 organic searches per week. Then 1 or 2 per day. Currently, organic traffic is my main source of traffic on the blog. How awesome is that?
I think the weirdest part was when I started receiving emails from PR companies and Brands. To this very minute, whenever I receive an email from a brand, I strangely ask myself, why on earth would they want to work with me, are they for real? But then I think about all the hard work I put into this blog, and conclude that my hard work and efforts are paying off.
My most popular article has had 2625 views (increases everyday) of which 92% of it’s views have been through organic searches via google. It was published on the 29th of August 2017. To my delight, my blog was featured in the lifestyle section of the Sunday Argus in November 2017. To my absolute surprise, I was invited to 3 events by PR companies within the first 4 months of my blog going live.
Liam & Cole – The Blog has collaborated with over 20 brands, some big and some small, within the first 6 months of the blog going live. Through blogging, I’ve personally been able to brush up on my creativity, fall in love with photography, sharpen my social media skills, and learn to effectively establish and sell my brand to others.
Blog goals for 2018
I’m constantly working on being the first website listed on google when anyone searches for a “south african mom blogger”. I am currently on page 3, which may sound awful but I still consider that an achievement since the blog has only been around for 6 months. The blog also looks forward to collaborating with many more brands within the next 6 months.
I’d also like to be awarded with the runner up position in the 2017 South African Blog Awards. Today is the last day to vote, so you can vote for my blog by clicking here. It’s a simple 3 step process. Furthermore, I aim to create rich, meaningful and relevant content on both Social media and the blog for both my followers and brands.
And last, but not least, I would like to say thank you for every single, like, click, share, comment, email and whatsapp messages. To the brands who so willingly and with open arms took a leap of faith in my blog and collaborated with us, even though it’s still brand spanking new, THANK YOU. Another massive THANK YOU to the those who have shared my articles. To those who constantly read my articles, watch my crazy instastories, THANK YOU. And to all my fellow bloggers who helped my along the way with encouragement and advise, I say THANK YOU! For every vote, THANK YOU. Biggest shout out to my hubby and kids, because without them, I’d have no stories to tell and certainly no pictures to share. SO a MASSIVE thank you to Hubby, Liam and Cole.