My blog is one year old!
One whole year, wow. I’m incredibly proud of this little blog of mine. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about blogging, is that it’s a lot of work! A one year anniversary is a real achievement, like learning the piano, most people give up. But this isn’t a piano, it’s more like a baby. And the nursing days are over. It’s time to learn how to stand and walk all on its own. This is when you really start to see its personality, and where I start to feel the pressure. Here’s a little look back over the year and my goals for the future.
My Blog in Numbers
I’ve written 72 blog posts – that’s roughly 1 post every 5 days. Received 12,764 total views and 7,816 unique visitors. My social media following is 7,087 combined – where 69% is from Instagram, 14% Facebook, 13% Twitter and 3% Bloglovin. It was visited from 108 countries around the world, showing how truly global the reach of the internet is. My DA is 19, PA 30, and I’m ranked #258 in the Trips100 Top UK Travel Blogs.
What, Why and Who
I started MISS PORTMANTEAU as a place to share and develop my passion for writing, food and travel. Hoping to someday, somehow, make a new career out of it.
Writing: I’ve always been a writer, in different ways. Ever since I could read and write, I was doodling poems and short stories in pink scented diaries (the ones with the little lock). When I was 7, I wrote a 12-page story called the Flying Blackboard and won a prestigious poetry prize aged 12. In my teens, I mostly wrote diary entries, love letters, MSN conversations and text messages. During high school and university, I wrote hundreds of essays and finally, as a young adult I researched and wrote articles for a private intelligence company. And so the older I became, the further away I got from writing for fun, about fiction and the things I love. This blog has been my starting point in getting back on track.
Food: Growing up I was forbidden to eat pizza, pasta or cheeseburgers. No no my parents weren’t hitlers, I was allergic to dairy and eggs. So I ate soya instead, until one day, when I was 11 or 12, I was retested and they discovered that I was no longer allergic to dairy, but in fact allergic to soya! Gah! As well as a strange long list of new food allergies I could not bring myself to accept. We did a trial, where I was the only kid bringing in a hot lunch to school every day, as if I needed a reason to be different. Yet still my skin itched. After a few more years, I decided I’d had enough, and that I was going to eat whatever the hell I want. I entered Narnia. I tried my first cheeseburger and was so mindblown I scoffed down 4 in a row. I spent all my monthly allowance on food, taught myself to cook… and never looked back.
Travel: This is where I got my blog name inspiration from. I am a portmanteau. It can mean two things, a large traveling case or two words joined into one (hangry, brunch, etc). I’m half Norwegian, half Portuguese, born somewhere between the two and raised around the world. That’s 6 countries, 10 schools, at least 25 flats and houses and hundreds of planes back and forth with a very confused notion of what and where is home. Third culture kids, I later discover is the group I belong to. And when I stopped moving, having now lived in the UK for the past 11 years, I continued to travel. This travel thing, it’s a part of me now. When my alarm clock goes off before a flight I don’t think twice, I throw off the covers and I’m up immediately. On any other day, I press snooze a dozen times and loathe to open my eyes.
Top 10 Most Read Posts:
- Noel in Athens
- How I Became a Barry’s Bootcamp Hell Week Survivor
- An Open Letter to New Delhi, the Most Polluted Place on the Planet
- Exclusive: Mykonos Villa in Agios Ioannis
- Interview: The Collyer Twins
- What to Pack for Mykonos
- The Christmas Gift Edit
- The Only Mykonos Guide You Need
- Bougain Villa Mykonos Summer House
- Interview: Anastasia | Love From Cyprus
Highlights and Lessons
Most Popular Posts: The most popular posts are very clearly the ones that were shared the most on social media. Both Noel (a popular bar-restaurant in Athens) and Barry’s Bootcamp (the gym) shared my post to thousands of their followers, which proved a highly successful tactic in driving traffic towards my blog from early on. More recently, a famous Indian cricket player with 6 million followers retweeted my post about New Delhi smog, which is now the third most read post despite being just a week old.
Most Popular Category: Travel emerged as the most popular category, with readers finding my posts on Mykonos particularly useful. Lifestyle is the second most popular, with food close behind, as readers were very interested in my young entrepreneur’s interview series. It’s also encouraging to see several more recent blog posts, such as Sleep Like a King in a Portuguese Pousada and Halloween Like Hollywood, already in the Top 15. Overall, I need to balance better how I cover these three categories, as the haphazard approach won’t work for much longer!
Least Popular Posts: Christmas Move Time, I Heart Broad City and All-Time Favourite Movies from Asia are among the least read. While I wanted to include movies and entertainment under my lifestyle category, I rushed these posts and didn’t deliver a strong message. If I want these posts to work, I’ll have to do better than simply say hey, check out these shows/movies I love.
Least Popular Category: My recipes were the least popular category, which is why I stopped doing them. I think it’s because this category is really over-saturated. There’s so much competition, with readers preferring recipe vlogs over blogs. And apparently not that many people are too keen on Smoked Mackerel! I will nonetheless consider the occasional post under this category just for fun since I love cooking, but it’s definitely not a future focus area.
Biggest Achievement: Almost no blog is an overnight success. I’m really just proud of sticking with it and seeing my personal growth over the year. From improvements in my writing and photography to learning about what I want this blog to be. I think I can say that I’m slowly getting better at it, which is starting to show in my readership and engagement stats.
Biggest Challenge: Managing the tech side of things, web hosting, optimisation, themes, image compression, etc, has been the most challenging part since it takes time away from writing, and costs money. There is so much information out there, but of varying quality, so who do you trust? Also tough is competing with other bloggers, who have whole production teams behind them. Of course, the idea is to get a team of my own someday.
Goals for Year Two
Define blog brand and strategy
Reach 20k following and DA of 30+
Post sponsorship and affiliate links
Moving forward, I know I have to better define my blog, my brand, and my audience. Year 1 was always going to be the experimental phase, while year 2 will focus on defining a strategy to take me towards monetisation. Every blogger says monetisation is a more realistic goal at the end of year 2, or year 3. This seems about right. I know that if I was a brand, I’d also go with the blog that’s at least 2-3 years old and not the one that’s a few months ripe and who knows.
I’m not gonna lie, blogging is hard, especially in multiple categories! I’ve also been treating it more like a hobby, an outlet, a school, rather than a business. So far I’ve gotten away with posting once a week on a day of my choosing because my audience is still small. But in the coming months, you’ll see me start to post twice weekly on fixed days because in the world of blogging, consistency is everything. I’m also now 3k shy of the magic 10k needed where I can start to count myself as a micro-influencer and start knocking on some doors. It’s time to step up my game!
Last but not least, thank you to each and every one of you for all your love and support! For taking the time out of your busy lives to read my posts. For every click, like, share, comment, subscribe and follow! These things may seem trivial, but they are literally the things that bring me one step closer to making this dream a reality.
And please don’t be shy, connect with me, DM me on social media, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or use the comments below. I want to hear from you! I want to hear about what you like, don’t like, would like to see more of… Just don’t be a stranger.
XO Miss Portmanteau