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!