I started blogging in September 2010 as a recovery tool. I had my son, nicknamed Jax, in August 2009, and I experienced postpartum depression and anxiety later that year. It took me many months of therapy and introspection—and then a few months of blogging—to overcome PPD & PPA. Blogging through that experience has helped me tremendously, in part thanks to the community of women (many of whom are also bloggers) I met through my blog. If you ladies are reading this post, THANK YOU.
It’s a year and a few months later now, and I’ve been considering the future direction of this blog. In other words, should I continue here, now that I rarely write about depression and anxiety? Should I start over elsewhere, with a new blog and a new direction? Have I said everything I’ve wanted to say at this point? Is there still more to be gained through blogging?
I’m pretty sure the answer to that last one is YES. I’m pretty sure
I’m going to I need to continue writing. And I have some of you (Kim, Casey, Catherine) to thank for my renewed sense of purpose with this blog. You’re right—our words matter. Not only to each other, but to ourselves.
Read this, from Catherine of Her Bad Mother, to understand where I’m coming from:
The love, the hugs, the prayers, the good wishes, all of the things that come from the community when we cry out to it: these are precious, these are invaluable, these are necessary. But they are not what we are looking for – or, not the only things that we are looking for, not the only things that I was looking for – when we proclaim our tragedies, our hurts. We proclaim because we are storytellers, because storytelling has a saving power, because telling stories – telling our stories, telling our most difficult stories – saves us, or, at least, keeps us afloat.
With all of that swimming around in my head, now seems like a good time to conduct my blogging review for 2011. Better late than never!
Note: These data are based on a combination of reports such as Google Analytics, WordPress.com, WordPress.org, and so on because I moved in March from WordPress.com to WordPress.org—probably the best thing I’ve done for my blog yet. So I’d like to thank (and highly recommend) Japster, Inc., for helping with that move.
In 2011, this blog was viewed approximately 29,000 times. That statistic is a little inflated from what is the norm for my blog because in early January, I wrote a post called “So You Wanna Blog, Huh?” that was featured on WordPress.com’s Freshly Pressed page, garnering James & Jax over 10,000 views in one weekend. As a newbie, I was shocked and ecstatic. On January 8, that post landed my blog 3,921 views—my busiest day in 2011, although the day before and day after were also pretty busy. The second most widely read post I created in 2011 was How to Do the Heimlich Maneuver on Kids, posted on June 15th and resulting in 304 views. Most months, this blog generates roughly 1600-1700 views.
I love seeing where you’re all coming from. And I don’t mean just cities, states, and countries, but which websites are leading you here, where you’re clicking from, how long you stay, which pages you read, and where you go after you leave here. I’m a bit of a stats nerd, so having a decent stats plug-in is a necessity for me & a fun way to pass the time—as long as I don’t obsess over the stats. And we all know we are guilty of that from time to time!
I wrote 262 new posts last year. My most prolific month was November, during which I once again participated in NaBloPoMo and wrote 31 posts—one per day! Not sure I’ll be doing that again, because who needs the pressure! My worst month was September—I blame my vacation for that. I didn’t write much, and I sure didn’t read and comment much on your blogs while I was away (sorry).
In 2011, I tried a few new things. I guest posted on some of my favorite blogs and hosted a few guest bloggers myself here. I held a few giveaways–and who doesn’t love those! I received recognition from someone I deeply admire & respect for her work in the field of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. I tried my hand at hosting my own bloghop (which lasted a few months until I gave up).
On to my favorite part of the review—the search terms that landed people here. According to WordPress.org, visitors searched mostly for james and jax, james and jax blog, bepe, chica sprout, and james & jax. My personal favorite search terms from throughout the year include: “dear sleep where are you” (we all know why that would have led a reader here!), “toddler always pulling my hand,” “a man is driving a bike” (what??), “air ticket birthday gift,” “anemia makes me weepy,” “being a working mom is damn hard” (you got that right!), “being tired makes me emotional,” “cobain rocking chair” (again, what??), “does tlc ‘baby story’ ever have bad ending?,” “hi i’m heather armstrong and i’m trying to be controversial and relevant” (wow, drama queen googler!), “i wanna huh, i wanna huh, i wanna huh, i wanna huh, i wanna really,” “sleep whatever did to piss you off,” and “why do i feel other moms are so perfect & pulled together.” Wow, right? One can sure read a lot into motherhood through some of those terms!
With all of these data about James & Jax in 2011, I came up with a few blogging resolutions for another successful year on the interwebs. This year, I’m attending my first big blogging conference, BlogHer ’12, with some of my closest friends. I’m excited about what I will learn there, and who I will meet face to face! I aim to implement what I learn to grow my blog. I’ve been toying with the idea of joining the SITS Girls on their 30-day challenge to build a better blog this year. Another goal for this year is to post more recipes and book reviews (because cooking/eating and reading are my two favorite things to do, after playing with Jax). Still another goal is to try to not fall behind in my Google Reader, making sure to comment on your blogs & spread the love! I’ve been a bit of a lurker lately. Finally, a perpetual goal of most bloggers, including me, is to care less about the stats and remain authentic as I write more for myself and less for an audience.
Thanks for reading, today & in 2011! If you did a year-end review for your blog, please post the link to it in the comments below! I’d love to see how you did this year!