The Adventure Starts Here: 2015 Blogger Year In Review | Things I Learned in 2015

Friday, December 11, 2015

2015 Blogger Year In Review | Things I Learned in 2015

December is such a busy time of year.  Not only are we celebrating Christmas all month long, but it's an obvious time to reflect on the past year.  Not only am I reflecting on my personal life, I have also been reflecting on the year according to the blog.  That's why I am so excited to be co-hosting this 2015 Blogger Year in Review linkup!  I am really looking forward to sharing some great blogging moments from the past year!  Last week I shared some of my most popular (and my favorite) posts.  This week I'm sharing a few blog related things I've learned this year.  And I will finish the series by sharing some of my favorite bloggers and posts I think are worth reading.  I hope you enjoy and link up with us as well!

One - Photography

This first thing I've worked on a lot this past year, is my photography!  I got a Nikon D5100 for Christmas 2011.  At first I just shot in Auto or at most Aperture mode.  Then in the beginning of 2013, I took an online course to learn how to shoot in manual.  While this helped tremendously, I spent this past year focusing on my style, using better lighting, and being more selective with the photos I share.  While I had noticed my improvement, I was thrilled when other bloggers and readers noticed and commented on it as well.  And while a blog isn't just about photos, they do play a very important role.  A beautiful photo will help bring in more traffic when shared on Instagram and Pinterest.  I feel like getting better at photography is a never ending goal for me and it is something I want to continue working on in 2016.  I actually just upgraded to the D5500 and am hoping to get a new lens under the tree :)

 All photos by Kristen Boylan Photography

Two - Planning

In 2014, I made a personal goal to start blogging on a more regular basis.  In 2013, I basically just posted weekly updates about Noah and then occasionally posted about larger family activities/holidays.  In 2013, I posted a total of 181 times and jumped to 261 posts in 2014!   While I always had lots of blog post ideas, I had trouble finding the time to write posts last minute.  I would lose track of the month and end up with only a few posts a week.  Now, I plan out my posts well in advance.  I look at the calendar on my Mac and add in blog posts as all day events... that way they show up at the top of the day/column and is hard to ignore.  First I fill up all the weekly posts I do, like weekend recaps and five on friday.  Around holidays I like to plan out a few craft posts as well as some gift guides or fashion ideas.  I also see what family activities we have planned that I want to devote an entire post to.  I usually have a few unplanned days and I leave them empty for last minute ideas or in case I need to move things around for a sponsored post or linkup that I'm co-hosting.  On the weekend, I go through the week's posts I have planned and try to write as many posts that can be done ahead of time.  That way I have time to do any of those last minute posts during the week.  I make a list of photos that need to be taken and get all my links set up.  I've found this has really help me blog on a regular basis without going crazy each night!

Three - Building Relationships

Not only do I love blogging, but I also love reading other blogs.  Even when I was only posting occasionally, I was an avid blog reader.  I personally use the Bloglovin app to read all my blogs and follow quite a few!  I used to just read them, but I've been making a real effort to comment on the posts I really enjoy.  I know that I love getting comments on my posts, so I figure why not express the thoughts I have and maybe make someone's day by getting another comment :)  I've also found that by commenting on other blogs, it has increased traffic and the amount of comments on my own blog.  I have found that most of my comments are from the same people each and every day.  When you keep seeing comments from the same name, you naturally form a relationship with them.  And since I make sure to reply to all my comments, it has been an easy way to start having some back and forth conversations with my readers and other bloggers.  I love the relationships I've made so far!  This little blogging world can be such a wonderful place when you surround yourself with some really amazing people!  Through these relationships, I've been able to co-host linkups, do some guest posts, as well as get some great blogging advice!

Four - Variety

When I started the blog, it was simply a way to share my wedding planning process.  Then it turned into a personal scrapbook where I documented holidays and the larger events in our life.  When I got pregnant, I started the weekly bumpdates which turned into weekly updates about Noah.  But in 2014, when I started blogging 5 days a week, I obviously had to add some variety to my posts.  My only criteria for what I blog about is that it must be something I am interested in.  Thankfully, I have lots of interests.  I still blog mostly about our family adventures, but I also like sharing posts about decor, organizing, food, photography, and kid crafts, to name a few.  I've been trying to make sure that each week/month has a mix of posts so that it's not just all about any one topic.  I also find it interesting to look back and see what topics were reader favorites.  Last week's post was very informative for me and based on the numbers and reader comments, I will definitely be scheduling more craft posts in 2016.

Five - Be Genuine

Just a few months ago I started getting a few sponsored posts.  I'll be honest, getting paid to blog is pretty cool!  I really never thought I'd get to that point or level.  And while I actually enjoy doing those posts (and getting paid for them), I want to make sure I stay genuine and don't "sell out".  This is a lesson that I'm still learning tons about.  I'm slowly learning how to best monetize my blog while keeping the integrity of the original blog.   I make sure I only do sponsored posts on things that actually fit in with my family friendly feeling and will not endorse anything that I don't have any interest in!  I hope to continue to grow the blog in 2016, so I think this will be a lesson I will have to constantly work on :)

Do you have any blog tips/advice to share with me?  I'm always eager to learn :)  

I'm also linking up with The Farmer's Wife and September Farm for "Oh Hey Friday" and with A. Liz Adventures for "Five on Friday"!


  1. These are some great tips!! Something I have really struggled with this year is finding the "me time" to write posts. I have so many great ideas yet just can't find the extra minutes. I feel like I'm slowly getting back on the horse. I hope in 2016, I'm able to get back on the 5 times a week horse! I miss blogging (and the relationships) so dearly! I am certainly going to implement some of your tricks!

  2. Enjoyed reading this and getting to know you better. Thanks for hosting. It is always good to go back and see where we have come and how we are going to go in the future.

  3. I'm really loving this series, you guys! I love looking back at how far you've come and all the goals you've set and reached! You've really upped your photography game lately and it definitely shows! Love your blog!

  4. Your planning tips are great! I love reading your blog on the regular. Keep up the good work!!

  5. YES!!! I agree with all of these. I'm trying to work on my photography too. I only have my phone and probably won't be getting a camera anytime soon because realistically, I don't think I would use it. The phone is just so much more convenient for me. BUT that doesn't mean my pictures can't get better. I want to start using natural light more often when I can and hopefully that helps. I also agree with you on the forming relationships and the not selling out. If I'm being honest, I've started skipping some people's posts that all they do these days are sponsored posts. There comes a point where no matter how creative you are, we can tell it's sponsored and I'm just not interested. I've really been thinking about this a lot lately and plan to change some things in 2016 to make sure I'm staying true to myself.
    LOVE the pictures you shared of you!!

  6. i've been focusing a lot on photography a lot lately too. i still have a long way to go, but i know better pictures will help with everything. making the time to take good pictures is a challenge.

  7. I live by my blogging calendar! Im not sure why it took me 2 years to get on that but Im never going back now! Photography is something Im focusing on next year :)


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