Hey there-hope y’all had a great weekend! I’m thankful to have enjoyed some much-needed rest & relaxation following a super busy week! This week is very special because it officially marks two years of Palmettos & Pineapples! My blog’s actual birthday is tomorrow, February 18, but I wanted to go ahead and publish my second anniversary post today for the sake of maintaining a consistent posting schedule. So, in honor of Palmettos & Pineapples turning two, today I’m taking a look back at the past year of blogging.
Photo by Reveling Spaces
Year Two Blogging Accomplishments
Lately, I’ve tended to get discouraged when I feel like my blog isn’t where I would like it to be. However, when I look back at everything I have accomplished in the past year, it renews my perspective. And what better time to reflect on these achievements than the birthday week of Palmettos & Pineapples! Here’s a few noteworthy accomplishments from year two:
Started generating income
Although my blog is still a long way from being in any substantial money on a monthly basis, I have still made great strides in monetizing my blog over the past year. One year ago, I had received $0 from blogging. In the past twelve months, I have been fortunate to make a decent chunk of change through affiliate sales on my blog. In addition, my affiliate sales I made around Black Friday and Cyber Monday will be closing in the near future. This means I will receive my paycheck from those. The substantial influx of affiliate sales I made during the weeks surrounding Cyber Week 2019 really blew me away. They were a tangible reminder of the blog growth I’ve achieved.
Even though it’s not making a significant profit at this point, this income helps me offset some of the expenses involved in maintaining a blog. To everyone who has ever purchased anything from any of the affiliate links in my blog, THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart. Words can’t express how much this support means to me.
Sidenote: Back in January a woman in a Lilly Pulitzer Facebook group made a rude comment when someone shared a post that a blogger I look up to had written about the After Party Sale. She basically rolled her eyes and said she doesn’t want to buy through rewardStyle links. Of course, no one is obligated to purchase through bloggers’ links. However, this woman’s attitude really made me upset on behalf of all smaller bloggers out there. Most bloggers aren’t using their affiliate income to buy luxury SUVs, $2000 handbags, million dollar homes, or extravagant vacations. Rather, we use our affiliate income to offset costs of running a free blog, as well as to bring in some side income that will stretch our monthly budgets further. Also, it doesn’t cost people anything extra to shop through bloggers’ links. I wish that everyone could have an attitude of women supporting women!
Anyways, to those of you who do support me and other smaller bloggers, it means the world to us!
Partnerships with brands.
Although I haven’t done any major paid collaborations with brands at this point, I have had the chance to partner with a few noteworthy brands during year two of blogging. Last spring, Jack Rogers reached out to me about becoming an official brand ambassador. This was super exciting, because I had been wearing Jack Rogers sandals as a spring/summer wardrobe staple for years. As a brand ambassador, I received a Jack Rogers gift card and affiliate income.
I’ve also had the pleasure to work with DaySpring (a Christian card, gift, and home decor company) last spring to promote their Candace Cameron Bure line. When they reached out to me, this was a natural fit because of DaySpring’s mission to help women live their faith, as well as my love for Full House. Although Candace stars in many Hallmark Christmas movies now, she became a household name during her years playing DJ Tanner on Full House. I love that Candace Cameron Bure uses her platform as well-known actress to be a light for Christ. Therefore, it was an honor to help DaySpring promote the special t-shirts and aprons she designed for them. You can read more about this collaboration here and here. In addition, I continue to be on DaySpring’s PR list, and they periodically send me various goodies.
Finally, I had the chance to promote Lauren James’ new Sweet Tee line last summer. Since I had been wearing Lauren James’ preppy pocket tees with adorable Southern designs for years, this was also a great fit. They sent me the cutest “One in a Melon” watermelon tee, and I can’t wait to wear it again this summer!
Increased Blog Traffic
My monthly blog page views are on average, twice as high as they were a year ago. There have even been some spikes in blog traffic where the increased monthly page views have been even higher. Having a handful of blog posts that appear near top of search engine results has helped bring additional views to my blog.
More Notes from Year Two of Blogging
Here’s a few more thoughts and themes that emerge as I reflect on the past year of blogging:
Expanding Content into Clean Beauty
This past year I also branched out by incorporating clean beauty into my blog content. It’s a privilege to be part of Beautycounter’s movement to get safer products in the hands of everyone. I’m thankful to have the opportunity to encourage and empower others to make better choices with respect to the personal care products they use.
I know there’s a lot of negative stereotypes about direct sales/MLM companies. Some people may have even unfollowed me after I became a Beautycounter consultant and started sharing Beautycounter content. But for those of you who have continued to follow along, regardless of whether you have bought anything Beautycounter, thank you so much for continuing to support me as I’ve added this additional venture to my blog. The need for more regulation in the personal care industry needs attention. Therefore, I am proud to continue to share this message. I’ve also enjoyed sharing my other favorite clean beauty brands with y’all.
Decreased Emphasis on Instagram
The changes to the Instagram algorithm have definitely impacted my blogging journey over the past year. Not only has my following remained stagnant, but I’m probably getting one-half to one-third of the engagement that I got on posts this time last year. Rather than letting this get me down, I’ve made a conscious decision during the past year not to get so worked up over Instagram. Sure, it’s frustrating when I create content that barely any of my followers see. But at the same time, I remember that my blog is the platform that I truly own. In addition, it’s the platform that most of my blogging income comes through as well. So if my blog readership is growing, I shouldn’t be too bummed about Instagram.
Also, I know that I’m not alone, because other bloggers are experiencing same issues with Instagram. Finally, leaving all Instagram engagement pods was one of the best decisions I made during year two of blogging. I may not get as many likes and comments, but I know all of them are 100% authentic. To read more of my thoughts on Instagram, check out this post.
Making Smarter Business Decisions
I realize that you have to spend money to make money when you’re an entrepreneur, but I realize that I need to be wise about how I invest money into my blog. So this past year, I’ve cut back on certain expenses.
For instance, as much as I love doing professional lifestyle shoots, I’ve done them much less frequently during the second year of blogging. While I think it was helpful to do multiple professional shoots during my first year of blogging to build a library of images, it’s not essential to making money as a blogger. Thus, I’ve actually only shot once with a professional photographer during my second year of blogging. Most of my blog income has come through posts that I’ve optimized for search engine traffic, not posts that have an excess of professional images. I definitely hope to do some more professional shoots later this year. However, I’m holding off until I bring in some more blogging income.
Furthermore, I’ve reevaluated some of the blogging membership services I’m part of. I’m cutting out those that aren’t giving me significant return on investment. There’s one blogger group that I believe was helpful for me to network and make connections in my first year of blogging. However, this past year I haven’t utilized it enough to justify the annual membership fee. Therefore, I won’t renew in a couple months. Also, there was another blogger resource group I recently canceled my membership to. Although the monthly cost wasn’t very high, I simply didn’t have the time to use the resources it offered, and monthly costs do add up over a year.
Re-Evaluating My Schedule
One of the biggest changes I’ve experienced in the past year of blogging is a busier personal schedule. When I started this blog two years ago, I had church small group once a week. Even one year ago, the only weekly activity I had to balance with blogging and a full-time job was BSF (Bible Study Fellowship). However, five months ago I added a church small group, plus monthly meetings with a mentor, to weekly BSF meetings. In addition, I feel like I’ve had more miscellaneous events on weeknights and weekends in recent months.
As a result, I’ve had to reassess and be honest with myself about how much time I have to devote to my blog. Last summer, even before my schedule got busier, I realized I was putting too much stress on myself to perform with blogging. So I decided to scale back from three posts a week to two posts a week. Currently, I’m at the point where I might potentially scale back to just one new blog post a week unless I get to the point where I have posts written and scheduled well in advance. As much as I love blogging and want to grow my blog into a profitable side hustle, I’ve realized I can’t do so at the expense of my in-person relationships and community.
Of course I believe all my blog posts are worthwhile and add value, otherwise I wouldn’t write them. However, there are a handful of posts I wrote during year two that I particularly enjoyed writing and sharing:
- Dear Heartbroken Girl
- Life Lessons I Learned from Swimming
- Easter 2019: What I Wore
- Navigating Grief and Loss
- Debunking Six Myths about Therapy
- Why I Am in Therapy Indefinitely
- An Open Letter in Defense of Childless Millennials at Disney
- What My Cat Taught Me about Life and Love
- Styling Fall Essentials at For Garden’s Sake Durham
- Apple Picking in the NC Mountains
- Advent Reflections: Hope in the Waiting
- A Decade in Review: 2010-2019
- Words of Wisdom from Dabo Swinney
I’ve always identified as a lifestyle blogger, as opposed to strictly a fashion blogger. But as I review blog posts I’ve written in the past year, I’m reminded that as much as I enjoy sharing styling inspiration and fashion finds with y’all, I feel that my lifestyle wisdom and inspiration posts are the most meaningful and impactful for me to write and share.
Looking Ahead to Year Three
I’m so thankful to still be committed to blogging two years later. Even though I’ve had to re-evaluate and may not post as frequently, I’m still proud to consistently create content for y’all. I’m excited to see what the Lord has in store for year three of blogging. Here’s just a few goals I have for myself over the next year of Palmettos & Pineapples:
Grow an e-newsletter.
I know I’ve talked about creating a Palmettos & Pineapples e-newsletter for months. Year 3 seems like a great time to pull the trigger! You can sign-up for my e-newsletter here.
Grow a Facebook Community.
While I’ve been able to connect with followers on Instagram, the algorithm and competition can make it difficult to build true community. So, I want to celebrate the start of a new year of blogging with launching a Facebook community. You can request to join the Palmettos & Pineapples Facebook Community here.
Utilize Pinterest to it’s fullest potential.
I’ve honestly neglected Pinterest over the past year. There’s still a handful of posts that get decent traffic from when I used to pin regularly, so I really want to get back into it.
Keep things in perspective and don’t be so focused on the income side of blogging that I lose the joy of creating content.
Although I do aspire to grow my blog into a profitable side hustle, I need to continually check myself and remember that I don’t just blog for money. Stressing about making a profit detracts from the joy of exercising my creative muscles. In addition, I have to remember that profit and readership isn’t the only measure of a successful blog. If God is using my words to make an eternal impact on even one person, that is the ultimate success.
Photo by Reveling Spaces
Thank you so much for reading this post, and for supporting Palmettos & Pineapples over the past two years! It means so much whenever someone reaches out to me to let me know how much they enjoy following my blog, or what a particular post meant to them. Words of affirmation are one of my love languages, and such comments are a sweet reminder that my hard work on this blog is worth it.
Also, in honor of two years of blogging I’m giving away a few of my favorite things: a Starbucks gift card, Vineyard Vines whale sticker, Primally Pure lip balm, and Beautycounter charcoal mask & body wash samples. You can enter the giveaway on this Instagram post.
Is there a particular blog post you’ve especially loved reading over the past year? Let me know in the comments! Also, if you enjoy reading my blog and know someone else who would like it to, it would mean a lot if you shared with them.
Hope y’all have a lovely week!