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Today is my one year blog anniversary for Alpine Lifestyle and Performance (ALP). One year ago today I published my first blog post – Welcome to ALP. So in celebration of learning, growing and generally not giving up, I have outlined what I have learnt over the past 12 months. I am summarising, warts and all with an honest account of what I have mastered, earned and achieved.
This is me, one year ago sitting down to write my first ever blog post! My youngest daughter was 10 months old and wouldn’t nap anywhere but on me at the time. So, I made the most of her nap times to launch ALP!
When I decided to start ALP, I had no idea of how to build a website. The terminology was (and still is to some extent) a foreign language. I had no idea how to edit, add content or promote my work. The learning curve that I started out on was huge and it seemed that other start up blogs were learning at a much faster rate than me!
There are so many successful blogs out there and sometimes it feels like a very saturated market. I am still a long way from being able to count ALP as what I personally class as a successful blog. However, I am proud of what I have achieved over the past year.
My top 5 blogs
I have written 21 blogs in the past 12 months (22 including this one!). Unfortunately, I have not achieved my goal of writing a blog each week, however I have realised that this is not realistic for me. I have two young girls and I also work clinically and there are just not enough hours in the day. However, I am pretty happy with almost two blogs a month; especially as many of them are technical and can take hours and hours to write. I spend a lot of time making sure my performance blogs contain a sound evidence base with the most up to date research available.
So, according to google analytics, my five most popular blogs are:
1. Are you out of control?
2. 10 Reasons living in the mountains is awesome
3. Are you struggling to pass your Eurotest?
4. 7 of the best ways to reflect on yourself
5. 10 family friendly summer activities in and around Morzine
Interestingly to me, it appears that my lifestyle blogs are more popular than my performance blogs. I was not expecting this as my areas of expertise are physiotherapy and alpine sports. It will be interesting to see if this trend continues.
Google analytics is great. For those of you that don’t have experience with blogging, google analytics records all sorts of statistics for you. This includes information such as how many visitors (traffic) you get to your website, how they found you (google search, social media or directly etc) and reader demographics. So for example, I can tell you that 34 % of my readers fall into the 25 – 34 years age category, whereas only 16% fall into the 35 – 44 years which is where I expected more of my readers to be. Perhaps I expected this because it is the age category that I fall into and I guess I expected like minded readers to be of a similar age? However, I want ALP to appeal to a wide range of ages without limits so it will be interesting to see the trend over the next 12 months.
46 % of my readers are female and 54 % male. Most of my readers are based in France and the UK, with the United States just slightly behind them followed by other countries around the globe such as the Philippines, Australia and Canada. Its great to see that people all over the world are finding my blog.
My current average active users are 178 people a month. I would like this to be over 1000. Is this realistic? Who knows but there is no reason not to aim high? I just need to put a little more work in!
For my one year blog anniversary I am writing an honest review and I will make no exceptions with my finances. I have made £24.40 in the last 12 months! I have made this through Amazon affiliates. This means that I earn a (very small) commission through anyone who buys products that I recommend or enters amazon.co.uk via my website. However, I have not received this money yet. I have to earn £25 before Amazon will grant it, but my first £25 should be perfectly timed for Christmas. It is important for me to stress that I will not recommend a product or service that I don’t like or don’t believe in. All opinions are my own with my genuine thoughts and feelings.
Unfortunately, my earnings of £24.40 mean that I am running at a loss. The cost of hosting a website and paying for a domain name are definitely more than £25 and I also purchased a blogging resources course to get me up and running. However, I was not expecting to make any money this first year and I am honestly delighted that I will soon have £25 to spend!
I have my website hosted through Site Ground who I would highly recommend for anyone starting out in the blogging world. They were very patient with me during the set up period and provide a great assistance service.
Many bloggers that write a post for their one year blog anniversary claim to have made thousands of pounds, sometimes on a monthly basis. They also have thousands of monthly viewers and their success has rocketed in just twelve months. It is very hard not to compare myself with these extremely successful bloggers. The guys and gals behind these blogs are generally doing an awesome job but very often it is their full time occupation and / or they find the time to write and publish multiple blogs each week. For me, ALP is a hobby that I hope to grow and develop over the next few years.
ALP is not primarily about making money, although I would be lying if I said this wasn’t part of the long time motivation behind it. However, I know that it is definitely not a way to get rich quick and that building and maintaining a blog is a labour of love (sometimes more labour than love!). For me, ALP is a creative outlet and a personal challenge.
Where do I start? I began this journey with such limited knowledge. I had to teach myself how to use WordPress, figure out web hosting and how blogging works! Blogging is so much more than just content creation. I think that this was something that I had not properly taken into consideration in the early days.
I have no problem at all coming up with new blog topics. The challenge for me lies in networking and promoting my work. Outside the blogging world, people have no idea of the time and effort that goes into the process. Learning more about social media, Pinterest and tech stuff is continual work in progress. It is going to be years before I have it all figured out! By then the Internet will probably have been replaced with a new mega cyber invention!
I get quite nervous when I press ‘publish’ on a blog post. I am always concerned about peoples opinions and what they think of what I write! In fact, writing my one year blog anniversary post has been particularly challenging because every other blog that I have read on the same topic is celebrating huge successes in terms of traffic and popularity. However, I am celebrating the fact that I took a leap of faith into the unknown and that I have enjoyed a year of learning and development.
Bloggers are on the whole a very friendly and supportive community. Everyone is on their own journey with their own reasons for writing. However, I know that I need to increase my interaction with the blogging community in order to continue to learn from others and to enhance my self-development.
Plans and goals
The main aim I have is to keep learning and providing content that is useful and informative. If I can continue to write around two blogs a month I will be happy, although a blog per week would be amazing. However, I would like to at least triple my traffic over the next twelve months. I therefore need to learn how to better promote my blog.
In terms of content, I will be publishing more performance blogs in the lead up to the winter season. These will cover ski specific topics that will hopefully be of interest to anyone that enjoys winter sports. In the lifestyle section, I plan to write more about alpine activities (summer and winter). I would also like to start reviews on topics such as camping in France.
Having written this piece for my one year blog anniversary, I now plan to write an annual blog review. It will help me evaluate and evolve because I never remember anything unless its written down!
So I am not setting myself very specific goals and I think many bloggers would say that this is something that I would benefit from doing. While ALP is a hobby I do not want to put extra pressure on myself. I would rather continue to enjoy the process stress free. While my children are so young, my day to day goals involve keeping them clean, fed and dressed (although who needs clothes according to my youngest!). This is a challenge enough at the moment.
Is there anything that you would like me to write about? I’d love to hear from you and I really do value your feedback.
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Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to share ALP with you!