2020. We stayed home. We tinted our own eyebrows and did at-home facials. And we waxed our own bikini lines. We binged every available new TV series, we zoomed, a lot, and we read a lot. (My books page was my most highly trafficked page.) Our worlds got a lot smaller (at times a lot scarier). We laughed. We cried. And we wore tie-dye everything. We learned how to make bread. We drank too much wine. And we got into TikTok for about two weeks. We channeled our frustrations into our skincare routines. We did our at-home workouts. Some of us did our day jobs while also becoming teachers. We walked, we called home, we really missed hugs. We walked some more. Weeks stretched into months. We aren’t so sure we remember April or May. Here in New York, outdoor dining provided a bright spot. But now it’s cold again.
What a year. It certainly was an interesting one. On a personal level it’s a bit painful to go back and look at previous posts (and podcast episode) about goals and intentions for the year. On the professional side, it wasn’t so bad. As an introvert who loves skincare and reading, I guess you could say my “brand” was made for staying home.
I write this post every year, to share with you the top-performing products and blog posts from the year. I hope it’s interesting. And of course, most importantly, because I don’t say it enough: THANK YOU. For reading and commenting here, following along on Instagram, liking and commenting on my posts, and of course – hanging out in the facebook group which is my actual favorite place on the Internet these days. YOU have been the biggest bright spot in my 2020, and I am so grateful for that.
2020 in Review
2020 BY THE NUMBERS:
- 364 posts published
- 8,945 blog comments (+7% vs. last year)
- Blog traffic was up 36%!
From a numbers perspective, it was actually a very good year. The blog turned ten and my blog traffic was up 36% vs 2019. In 2019, my traffic grew 80% and was genuinely uncertain if my blog traffic could continue to grow or if I’d hit a ceiling. But it kept growing and I am so proud of that. (So again, thank youuu for coming here!)
HOW YOU FOUND ME:
- Direct (direct traffic is when someone types in your website name)
- WordPress App
- CNN (so random but they did an article about the ice roller and linked to me).
MOST POPULAR POSTS OF 2020
This was a more personal post that I wrote a few months into quarantine when I was really struggling. I was finally starting to feel a little more “normal” and shared some tips for how I started to feel more like myself again.
It’s funny as I didn’t really love this brand but the review was SO highly requested, I think a lot of people really love it/are searching for it.
My holy grail face cream! I wrote this post a few years ago when I first started using it, but I share it constantly as this is the one beauty product I can’t live without.
You were very into the DIY skincare this year! And for good reason – this mask is inexpensive to make, with great results. Perfect since we’re spending so much more time at home!
This is an older post that I keep updated, but it remains one of my top posts as it’s one of the things I get asked about most. (We’ve also put this info in the beauty hub!)
This one was deeply personal. It was hard to share but I’m so glad I did. It also ended up being my most commented on post of 2020. The comments are even better than the actual blog post… I love love love reading through them and am (once again) so grateful for this community.
This was a popular post last year, too! I updated it a little bit to keep it current, but it’s definitely an evergreen post and I’m so glad it’s helpful.
Blogging is so strange and it cracks me up what ends up resonating. I threw this post together on a whim as I loooove my sister’s salad dressing recipe and thought it might benefit others – But I had no idea how popular it would be!
My ice roller is such a game changer and THE number one affordable thing you can do for your skin (besides SPF of course haha). It’s so good for minimizing inflammation and puffiness.
This blanket is the BEST and has definitely been a quarantine favorite (I had meant to include it in my top products for 2020 but accidentally left it out). I also think a lot of you have read this post and bought the blanket since we aren’t going to the sauna these days!!!
TOP PRODUCTS OF 2020 IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER:
We were all tinting our own eyebrows in quarantine (read this post for my tutorial) and I fully plan on doing it til the end of time as it’s just so easy and inexpensive.
The best face cream ever. A big splurge but my holy grail, most favorite skincare product of all time.
The best face mask for ultra glowy skin. I haven’t written a longer review of it but it’s the best and is probably my all time favorite mask.
This is the next best thing to Dr. Bader, at a much better price. In fact, I did a full review right this way!
My favorite body lotion. I wrote a longer review of it.
These are the little shelves I have up in my bathroom. They are the best (and no, they don’t fall down – I’ve had mine up for a few years now!)
A perennial favorite and as I mentioned above, one of the best inexpensive things you can do for your skin. It’s wild how effective it is!
Another holy grail beauty fav. In fact, I use this a few times a week to keep my skin smooth and bright!
Favorite favorite candle. I always stock up during Sephora’s sale.
This is just the best little pullover. The gold snaps, the slimmer fit, the longer length… it’s so PERFECT. Definitely an important part of my quarantine uniform.
I love this pan so freaking much. It makes cleanup an absolute breeze. I gave my parents one too and they love it as well. For more on this, read my full review of the Our Place Always Pan!
A best buy from quarantine for sure. These are the greatest. So cozy. I’m pretty much always wearing them!
I love these sneakers and have gotten my mom and my sister obsessed as well. I have (from over the years) four pairs – the tan, grey, navy, and white.
I got really in to keeping eucalyptus in my shower to keep it smelling amazing. I wrote more about it in this post and love how easy it is to order on Etsy.
I bought these for my nephews and me (I wore a boys XL) and had no idea how popular they would be! My sister liked them so much that I got her one too. As a general rule, everyone went nuts for them. I also think it was only $15, too.
The best hair brush – you can read more about it here!
My favorite sunglasses. In fact, I wear these constantly and no longer buy expensive sunglasses. It’s just not worth it.
Just a good quarantine basic, and I love the longer length!
I love these jeans so much. The fit is so perfect and that HEM!
The best faux leather leggings. My uniform these days (when I get dressed, HA) is these leggings and a sweater tunic.
I’m adding a revenue section to the post this year for the first time as I think there are a lot of questions about how bloggers make money. I am not comfortable sharing actual dollar amounts, but percentages are interesting. I also have shared pie charts like this before during instagram story Q&A’s so am doing it for year end, here!
One thing that happened this year is that my affiliate revenue grew quite a bit.
Sponsorships are still of course very important but for the first time ever, I earned more from affiliates than I did from sponsorships.
If you’re not familiar with the term “affiliate revenue,” that’s the links on my blog. Most (not all!) of the links on my blog are affiliate links, so if you make a purchase from something I share here I will often earn a percentage of sales. Think of it like a finders fee. It isn’t much (usually around 10%), but it adds up and is a very significant (currently the biggest) part of my income. I think the big driver here is that I used to not do really any Instagram swipe-up links (I do not personally shop from Instagram swipe-ups; I like being on a computer!) And I still don’t like to do tooooo many as I feel like I’m being annoying, but I’ve noticed a big difference in my income from adding in a few here and there.
I didn’t break sponsored content out between the blog and Instagram but it’s about 60% instagram, 40% blog. This was the first year for me that Instagram was more “important,” (at least financially) than the blog. I use quotation marks here as the blog will always be my first priority as it’s the one thing I own in full. But it’s interesting how things have changed a bit. And while the podcast isn’t a big revenue driver it’s something I enjoy doing, and I know that a lot of you found my blog and Instagram from the podcast.
I also broke down my affiliate income, which I thought was interesting to look at.
The big four platforms that I use for affiliate revenue are Shopstyle, Rewardstyle, Rakuten, and Share-a-Sale. Shopstyle is my primary network but not every brand uses them so I use the other platforms too. But I also work with some smaller platforms and like to monitor those separately. And of course, Amazon and Equilibria.
Earlier in the year you may remember that I pivoted from Amazon to Bookshop.org for all of my book recs. This was a decision that was not great for business and revenue but something I feel good about personally: independent booksellers are struggling more than ever and I really like Bookshop’s mission of supporting them. To date, they’ve raised over $10mm for independent book stores! So anyway, books are a big part of my content but not something I make much money from. A whopping .3% of affiliate revenue, ha! The other Amazon bit is from non-book things: my Amazon roundups, affiliate revenue from The Drop, etc.!
That about sums this year’s review up! I’d love for you to share what you’d like to see more of in 2021, if you have any content requests!