Happy New Year, friends! I did this last year and found it to be really helpful. It’s good to reflect, take a step back, look at the numbers, and see what worked and didn’t work this year! I spent a lonnnng time pulling all of this together – it was fun to take a look back on the year. As with last year I looked at the overall numbers, how you found me, my top performing posts, and the products you bought the most of. Let’s dive in – I hope this is as interesting for you to read as it was for me to put together!
2017 by the numbers!
- 403 posts published (-11% vs. 2016 you may remember that last year, I said a goal was to publish fewer, but more quality posts).
- 9,089 comments (+6% vs. 2016)
- Blog traffic was up 20%!
Statistically speaking what I am most proud of this year is that I was able to is grow the blog while publishing fewer, more quality posts. I’m also so proud of that +20% number. This blog turns EIGHT this month and I work really hard to keep things fresh and relevant for you. Everywhere you look, people are saying that no one is reading blogs anymore and that they’re only looking at social media/Instagram… that’s simply not true (though I’d love your take on this – feel free to weigh in on the comments). I keep exact traffic numbers confidential but at the beginning of the year I had set a traffic goal and I completely blew that number out of the water.
(If you are curious, the way I grew my traffic this year was as follows – focusing on SEO, listening to you guys and creating more of the content you ask for (blog tips, personal posts, reading lists, the book club page), building up an email newsletter (Fridays are now my best blog traffic day as that is when I send out my newsletter), and leveraging Instagram as a primary way of driving traffic to my blog. More on that later… though… is a longer post about this something you’d be interested in?)
How you found me:
- Mackenzie Horan (thank you, friend!)
- Lemon Stripes (thank you, friend!)
- A Girl and a Glue Gun
The biggest difference here vs. last year is seeing Instagram start to send more of you to my blog vs. last year. In my frustration with Instagram I decided halfway through the year that my #1 strategy for Instagram would be to use it to get you guys over to my blog (as opposed to using LiketoKnowIt, etc.) I still use LTK from time to time if an outfit isn’t on my blog yet, but once I started to see Instagram as a way to get you to my blog, I saw big increases in traffic. Instagram drove more traffic vs. Facebook this year which was exciting to see as Instagram is fully organic whereas I run ads on Facebook. I use the swipe up function pretty regularly and always include a link to my latest post in my bio.
I will also say how grateful I am to Mackenzie and Julia for sending their readers over to me! Besides being dear friends, they are two of my favorite bloggers to follow. If you are a blogger, I can’t recommend starting a weekly links round-up… the three of us do these every week and it’s a great way to help support each other. I’ve always felt very strongly about supporting my fellow blogging pals and it’s nice to see others do the same! Thanks guyyyys!
Most Popular Posts of 2017:
#10 How to Be Single. You guys loved this post, and it was a lot of fun to write. I gave a little tough love here. Bottom line: you don’t actually need a guy, though being in a relationship is great. Live a life that makes you feel fulfilled, do the work on yourself, and the rest will follow. This post ultimately spurred a LOT of ideas that are going to spill over into 2018. The biggest thing is that we all seem to be aching for more community. It started with little email groups I set up and turned into a community page over on Facebook. I am going to be working on adding more community to the site in 2018… stay tuned!
#9 Blogging Tips + Tricks. I’m always getting asked for tips + tricks for starting a blog, and so I put all my best advice in this post. Maybe I will make this a regular/yearly thing as it’s always changing (i.e. this year, I ditched Snapchat, and completely changed my Instagram strategy, etc).
#8 My Holy Grail Beauty Products. This is an older post (from 2015!) but I am so happy it’s still ranking as I still stand behind all of these products – they are FAB! Maybe this year (since it’s been a few years) I will do a revised holy grail products list. Would you be into that?
#7 A Southern Dinner Party With West Elm. I want to say this ranked because the photos + video here were so good, but it was definitely the giveaway element. You guys got really, really into this one – I received more entries here than I did when I gave away $1,000!
#6 Glossier Cloud Paint Review. I was actually shocked to see that this post (from April!) ranked as well as it did. I’m thinking SEO is definitely at play. These blushes are amazing – like water colors for your face. I really, really love them.
#5 How to Make Frosé. Ha! Even though I’m kinda over frosé, this post is still so popular, which is really fun to see! This recipe is really good and easy to make, but if we are being honest I actually prefer my Winter Frosé recipe, which is made with Lambrusco and a little less sweet.
#4 Book Club Page. YAY! This page is my favorite site feature. I am so proud of it and put a lot of work into it – every time I read a book, I add it to the page and classify it so that if you are looking for a particular genre of book, you can easily find it. It made me so, so happy to pull analytics and see how frequently you guys visit it. I’ve added a bigger block to the top of the homepage to further call that out.
#3 An Honest Neulash Review. Jeeeez. This post is from 2015 and ranked in my top 3 posts from the year – it’s totally crazy!!! For long lashes though, nothing is better!
#2 AWAY Luggage Review. This is another story of good SEO, though this post is actually from this year. I love love love my AWAY luggage – it’s been such a game changer as I travel a lot.
#1 DIY Tassel Earrings. I made these earrings for my girlfriends for Valentine’s Day last year and was SHOCKED by how popular this post was. It got picked up by a lot of DIY blogs, Pinterest, etc. and was actually my number one post for the year which makes me think maybe I should try to do more DIYs. I’ve been lazy though… haha!
Top Products of 2017 (in no particular order!)
- Halogen Cashmere Sweater – this is such a good basic, and it’s on major sale. I have it in black, red, and camel.
- Neulash Serum – if you are looking for longer, thicker lashes, this will change your life. Just be patient and be consistent. I wrote an honest review of it here.
- Free People All Mine Sweater – So damn cozy. I bought it last year in cream and black and it sold out by February. Luckily, it’s back in stock.. if you don’t have it, snap it up!
- Tata Harper Face Mask – My all time favorite face mask. Leaves skin soft, glowy, and radiant!
- BP Twist Front Tee – This is the best t-shirt ever! It’s super flattering and comfy, I liked the white one so much that I bought two. What I love about it is the twist front… it pairs so well with high-waisted denim.
- Beachwaver – My obsession. I have talked forever and ever about this product but it makes curling your hair so easy. I’ve gotten all my girlfriends hooked and it’s just the best. For more on how to use it, watch my video tutorial here!
- Topshop Sweater – So comfy and cute (and pairs perfectly with #9!
- J.Crew Factory Wedges – These wedges are the best!!! I have them in nude, black, and black suede. They’re a great price and they are so comfortable. I do a lot of stomping around the city and hate carrying flats/sneakers so I need cute shoes that I can wear to meetings but also run around in… without worrying about ruining an expensive pair of shoes.
- Spanx Faux Leather Leggings – These are just the best. So flattering, long enough, and they look great with a tunic or longer sweater.
- Brass Side Table – This looks so much more expensive than it is – I have two in my living room and they are perfect for cocktails, remotes, books, etc.
- SK-II Facial Treatment Essence – One of my holy grail beauty products. Basically the fountain of youth in a bottle. Read my full review here.
- Something Navy Sweater – This sweater is amazing. It’s so cozy and soft and perfect to throw on with jeans, etc. It was sold out for a while, but it’s back in all sizes and colors. It runs a little big (the small is baggy on me) so size down if you’re uncertain.
- Natori Feathers Bra – The best everyday t-shirt bra. I love this bra!
- Wacoal Red Carpet Strapless Bra – This bra is the BEST strapless bra you will ever put on your body. It won’t fall down, but it’s also pretty comfortable. Serious game changer – I have in black and nude.
- J.Crew Snow Boots – I sprang for these boots on Black Friday and am so glad I did as they are absolutely perfect. Snow boots can be so bulky and big. Of course you can’t wear these when there are several feet of snow on the ground but they’re perfect for everyday winter situations.
- Barefoot Dreams Cardigan – How did I only find out about this cardigan this year? It’s the comfiest thing I own!!!
What you can expect to see in 2017
Wellness! If you read here even semi-regularly, you know that wellness is the #1 priority for Q1. We will still have all the usual regular stuff (fashion, beauty, lifestyle) but my Winter Wellness Challenge is a big priority with weekly challenges, check-ins, and guest posts in between! I’m really excited about this.
More Video. I know that a few of you have mixed opinions on video (and some of you read my blog at work so you can’t watch videos). Youtube is still my smallest platform (which also takes the most energy to grow and create content on!) but I really love it as a) when I travel, it gives me a way to show you vs. tell you about our adventures, and b) I feel like I can really TALK to you guys and show you stuff, especially when it comes to talking honestly about beauty products – and how to apply/use them. I hope you’ll consider subscribing to my channel over there and giving it a chance.
My promise to you though is that on days where I do post a video, I will always have something else on the blog for those of you who aren’t really into video/can’t watch them at work. So if I’m posting a beauty video, I will incorporate it into a text/photos post so that those of you who can’t watch can at least follow along. Deal?
More Personal Posts and Story Telling. You guys love these the most, duh. There are certain things that will just never make the blog (dating specifics, for example) as I have to set some boundaries to a) stay sane and b) protect my friends/family/loved ones. It’s my choice to put myself out there on the Internet, but it’s not really something they’ve signed up for. Still, I love chatting with you guys and talking about what is going on in our lives!
Maybe a Podcast. Still toying with this one, but also trying to figure out how to make it interesting, relevant, and useful! This area is pretty cluttered already so I don’t want to add to that.
More Home Stuff. I am going to have a wallpapering tutorial up this month, and a lot more home stuff. I’m close to finishing the apartment and one of my big goals is to have it photographed by a magazine or a larger website… once that happens I will be able to share a lot more home content!
More Community. I’m still thinking through this, but in 2017 I started a Community Page over on Facebook, where you guys can interact, find like minded friends in your area, and coordinate friend meet-ups. I want to incorporate more of this in 2018… whether through amping up the comments section on the site, adding forums, or maybe some other cool thing that I haven’t even thought of yet (feel free to comment with suggestions if you have any!)
An Updated FAQ Page. This doesn’t sound very exciting at all BUT it is VERY exciting to me. Reason being? The Instagram DM’s are killing me. I love engaging with you guys but do it best from my computer (I LOVE emails + blog comments) where I can sit and type with a regular old keyboard. My eyes aren’t that good, my fingers are fat, and I never feel like I can respond to your DM’s quickly and thoughtfully enough. So, my developers and I are going to build a fun FAQ page for you where I’ll put links/answers to all of your most pressing questions. 😉 My current FAQ page can be found here, for the record!
So, that’s it! I hope all of this is exciting to you. I’m pretty excited over here… 2018 is going to be the year I take better care of myself… and do it with all of you!
But what I really want to know is, what do you want to see!? I’d love to hear it in the comments. I listen… it is so helpful to me to hear what content resonates most with you and why you come here! We touched a lot of this in this post but keep the feedback coming. If this is my “annual report,” you guys are all my “customers” and I want to give you the stuff you want!
Yes, yes, yes! I’d be super interested in more posts about blogging and how you increased your blog traffic! ❤️ I don’t remember how I stumbled across your blog, though. I’m guessing it was either SEO or Bloglovin’! 🙂
Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
Thanks Charmaine 🙂 xx
Congratulations, Grace!! +20% is AMAZING! So very proud of you. I generally love all of your content. You made some brave moves this year with politics and that was great to see. One thing you asked about had to do with more behind the scenes of the blog (SEO, etc.). Those are particularly interesting and relevant to me right now. Keep being authentically yourself! It’s working!! xo
Thanks Bobbi! I did a post about SEO a while back, so if you search the site you should be able to find it! x
I love these yearly reviews – so interesting! I personally really enjoy your Youtube videos and would love to watch even more on your channel. Not going to lie – I love a good first impressions/clothes haul.
P.S. I really think your blog is one of the best and never ceases to brighten my day.
That is so nice of you to say Emily… THANK YOU! And Happy New Year. xo
I love seeing all of this broken out! I definitely love that you use LTK less and link to your blog more. I’m definitely a big proponent of going to the actual blog!
I used to subscribe to your newsletter, but only removed myself as I go to your actual blog so much that it felt like it was just a replication of the week’s content (just my general feedback).
Thank you for being my favourite way to start the day! And for your awesome book recs.
Thank you Crawford!!! Appreciate that feedback! And interesting on the newsletter. I’ve been trying to add additional content there, but at the end of the day I think what it really does is helps remind people who didn’t have a chance to visit to stop by. So if you are already doing that then you don’t really need the newsletter. xo
Ah, congrats on an amazing 2017! This past year was the first year I followed your blog, and I have to say you quickly became a new favorite. I just know that when I come to your site, it’s going to be quality and well-thought out. I do love the longer form posts and also LOVE the book club as I get so many new ideas. (Beauty and skincare categories are also major faves of mine.) Recently, I have noticed a trend of a little bit of “blogger burnout” on the part of the audience. Whereas we were once so impressed by professional photos and staged outfit posts, we now crave connection and openness in addition to all of that (at least, that’s why it seems the more personal posts do really well). I totally understand there has to be a balance, though, as you can’t be expected to put every detail of your life out there! And for what it’s worth, I think you really manage that well of writing more in-depth posts and also sharing what you’re loving/wearing/etc.
As far as blog posts that don’t really resonate with me, however, I will say that things like gift guides and Kelly’s Chic are ones that I skip on my blog reader. Since I tend to do gifts that are really tailored to my friends’ and families’ interests/personalities and since I am trying to be thoughtful with my consumption habits and carbon footprint, they don’t really draw my eye. I would love to see a post with your thoughts on the turnover of clothes and products that are a necessary evil of the blogging industry! And maybe how you are able to keep your home from getting overrun with clothes, packages, testers, etc. There have been some beauty YouTubers recently who have spoken out on wasteful packaging, and I find it really interesting to see how much they are sent each week, what they consider “too much,” and where they donate any excess. Personally, I also love posts about how to save even when part of your job is to buy items and especially how to budget when you are living in an expensive city and not making all that much money.
Whew, that was a novel! But all that’s to say, I’m really excited about your content in 2018 and so happy I discovered your blog last year!
Aw, thank you so much Courtney!!!
I think you are totally right – things got so beautiful and fancy and professional but what initially drew people to blogs was the realness!!!
Appreciate your feedback on what you don’t like as well. I love those ideas too – it gets SO wasteful!!!!
Thanks for taking the time to recap the year – I really was looking forward to this post! Great plan for the videos, I love having captions because I can usually watch videos are work but if they’re on the longer side, I usually am multitasking so can get highlights!
For the West Elm giveaway, yes it drove me to the post but I really did LOVE the photos and video, wished I was there 🙂
I try not to harass bloggers via DM for things so a FAQ page sounds like a great plan and hopefully keep you from carpal tunnel!!
Here’s to 2018!
You’re so welcome Brianna! Thank you for your feedback!!! xx
Congrats on a great year! My two cents on reading blogs vs. social media only: like you, I get tired of being on my phone all the time and therefore still enjoy reading posts on my desktop. Not to mention my desk job is conducive to that…
I’m looking forward to the wellness content, but I’ll always love a good everyday, fun outfit post. 🙂
Thanks for that feedback Nicole! I really hate being on my phone which is not so conducive for this job – HA!
Happy New Years Grace! I have been a long time follower of your blog. I don’t read blogs as faithfully as I used to but always know I can stop in and get caught up, as needed. I think you have one of the easiest sites to navigate and have always enjoyed your beauty posts. YES to an updated HG beauty favorites and I think you do a great job on your videos too. Take care!
Thank you so much for that feedback Bee!!! And happy New Year! xx
I for one love blog content. I still follow lots of them (yours included) on Feedly. I find the mix between the blog and Instagram is perfect. I’ll admit that although I’ve been following for a really long time, early last year I almost bailed because I found the blog boring and uninspiring. I’m so glad now that I stuck around. It’s become fresh, relatable, and fun. Thank you for content that I look forward to reading!
Aw good, I’m really glad to hear that!
BUT – Please tell – what was boring and uninspiring? Don’t hold back – I am always open to feedback as that is my actual nightmare – I always want to keep things fresh and fun! THANK YOU for your honesty, and please feel free to send an email if that is easier/you have the time! xx
So incredibly happy for you! Yayyyyy!
Aw thank you Jenn! You are always so amazing and supportive. xo
Looks like a really successful blogging year! I may need to hop over and read your blogging tips… Instagram is indeed frustrating and hard to gain followers or traffic from it but I do think it’s important, like you said. The posts you wrote this year sound awesome!
I have like 100 blogs that I follow daily…i love the individual voices and i think following real people is so much more meaningful. I no longer subscribe to fashion mags…I get all of my inspiration from blogs! i hope blogs don’t go away…what would i do at lunch?! Congratulations on such a great 2017 Grace 🙂
I’m so happy to hear that Emily!!! Thank you for the kind words 🙂 🙂
Thank you for this, Grace – yours is one of the only blogs I read really regularly and I think it’s because of the variety of content that is all relevant and fun. I loved seeing your 2017 numbers as we (readers) don’t really get to see that side of things. As for content to continue, I love the book roundups, style content, Kelly’s Under 100 posts (girl on a budget over here!) and updates on your new apartment the most, but honestly I’m a fan of the videos, too. As a New Englander I would love to see more local travel content, if you do day trips or even NYC activities as I go down there fairly often. Happy New Year!
Aw thank you Erin, I am so happy to hear that! And noted on travel/NYC content! xx
Congrats on your growth! I remember seeing last year’s post and it just hit me that time passes by so quickly! When it comes to what I want to see I’d love for you to really explain deeply how you use Instagram to grow your blog’s traffic because I really want to do the same but I’m failing at it…
Isn’t it crazy how quickly time flies!!!
Do you have the swipe up feature on Instagram Stories? That’s my #1 in terms of increasing traffic to your site.
I’ve noticed a lot of people moving away from blogging and focusing on Instagram or even youtube, but I honestly love reading blogs. I feel like its more personal and you get to see more pictures. I enjoy the travel and personal post the most. I like following along because I feel like I get to see a part of the world I’ve probably haven’t visited. Keep up the good work!
Also, it annoys me when bloggers use LiketoKnowIt, I don’t want to have download another app to know what brand an item is or where I can buy an item. I just want to know right then and there. Like it can be so easy by just tagging the brand.
I am so happy that you feel that way!! xx
I keep seeing everyone say that they don’t read blogs anymore and that bums me out! I saw on an Instagram Story poll for one of my faves that only 15% of her followers read her blog. I personally love reading my favorite blogs each morning and would never think to follow someone on social if I didn’t really enjoy all of their content. Sometimes I find people through Instagram, but that discovery almost always leads me to searching their site and looking through all of their archives, which is always such a fun thing. I love how you use Instagram Stories to share real/personal moments and live updates, but that would never stop me from visiting your site. Just my two cents, but I really hope this trend doesn’t discourage people from actually writing and posting on their blogs.
I know, same. Honestly I put wayyyyy more effort into my blog than social media and think that the others are starting to do the same! I did that poll on my own blog and 70% of my readers said they still come to the blog so that was reassuring! I think bloggers need to give their readers more than just outfit photos to keep them coming back!
So happy to hear that you still read blogs. I love reading them too!
Very exciting, congrats on a great year! I am still VERY much a blog reader (vs just going to Instagram for content) and several of my favorite blogs have disappeared over the past year, so I really appreciate knowing that I’m going to find a new post every time I click over to The Stripe.
I will say that the one area where I feel like Instagram is a pretty good substitute for blog content is outfit photos. Because if I can see one or two photos of an outfit on Insta, I probably won’t bother clicking on a post about it (unless I get the sense that there is a lot more meat to the post). Who knows what will happen over the coming months, but I kind of feel like people are starting to look at using different platforms for their particular strengths and focusing energy in those directions rather than blanket covering the same content everywhere.
Aw I am so glad to hear that.
I totally agree with you… which is why in outfit posts (so long as I have the time!) I try to offer a little something else… maybe more long form content, musings on how my week is going, and so on and so forth!!!
I think the same thing though – it’s important to have a different plan for each platform (it just takes so much time/energy to do that!)
Thanks for chiming in and have a great night! xo
I love watching your YouTube videos. Especially the one when you reviewed most honestly Madonna’s MDNA skin care line.
You tell it like it is, which is refreshing! Keep up…everything!
That makes me so happy as the beauty ones are my favorite to put together!!
Loved reading this post and so proud of all you accomplished this year! Still always looking to you for inspiration on doing the damn thing + the hustle factor. I also am always sharing your book club page with friends as I think it is SPOT ON.
Aw thank you so much friend!!! You’re the best. Looking forward to a killer 2018. xx
Gold heel details pls!!!!
Really enjoyed this post and congrats on the growth! I love your blog, it’s always fun and refreshing. Personally I love the Weekend Reading, especially the fact that the post comes out on Saturday. So many blogs do Friday round ups and I just love drinking coffee and reading through your links — they are wonderful.
I usually skip the Kelly’s under $100 as I rarely find them valuable/useful and am also trying to cull down on the amount of shopping that I do.
Thanks for being a wonderful place to visit on the web.
Thank you so much Rachel! I am really glad you are enjoying the weekend reading posts; they are one of my favorites to pull together! xx
Congrats on that 20%! Yours and Liz Adams’ blogs are probably the only two blogs I’ve read consistently since I discovered blogs in 2011. I always enjoy your posts and find your “voice” very relatable.
The one random thing I’d be interested to hear more from you about is hair color. I too am a blonde, and I’m always curious about what people are having done in terms of balayage, foils, etc. Maybe a round up of you and your friends’ hair routines as far as cut and color? Ha that might sound soo boring to some people, but I’m always fascinated about that kind of thing.
Aw that makes me so so happy (and Liz’s blog is one of my favorites too… she’s the best!)
Will give hair color a think! Im so boring – I just have Jay (my colorist) paint on a few balayage highlights every so often!
hi there, i started reading your blog at the end of 2016 and all through 2017. i have fallen in love with it for sure! i love it most for beauty products, but I would appreciate a new “holy grail” type beauty products page. The reason is that while i love reading the beauty reviews and trust your opinion, in reality most people don’t get to buy and try out a ton of new products all the time (that stuff is pricey!) so I am always looking for a set of products that will work for the entire season and then can read reviews and try things out when i have the need/extra funds/etc.
Aw thanks. Am definitely going to work on a new holy grail series! Though truthfully, the products are mostly the same!
Would you ever consider tying in a book club element to your community page? Maybe via instagram live or something? I just love your book recs and your opinions on them!
That is a great idea! I will definitely think about it!
I love your blog Grace! I’ve been following you since you were at Bauble Bar and have watched the blog grow, and am so happy for all your success. I’ve followed a lot of the big bloggers, but have dropped off following them over the years, but love how real, consistent and fun you are. I look forward to reading your blog every week. Your #fangirl from Alaska!
Aw thank you so much, that means the world! xo
Grace, love this post and how you shared your most popular posts and items! There were a few I missed so I could go back and read. You totally me inspired to put some more effort into SEO! Necessary! Ps- whenever I need a book rec, I come straight to your page!
Oh good, I am so glad!!! Happy you enjoyed. xo
I loved reading this (even a few days late haha)! Becoming part of The Stripe community has been the BEST and I’m so excited to see what the new year brings for you and the site! xo
Aw thanks Bri! You are the best! xx