Wednesday, 7 October 2015

5 Lessons I've Learnt Through 2 Years of Blogging

I've been blogging officially now for over 2 years, (Oct. 2013) and last year, when I celebrated my first year, I talked a little about my achievements and the people who impacted and supported me throughout the experience. I knew I wanted to somehow share and celebrate this special event with you, after all, I did talk about how you should celebrate your blogging milestones, it'd be wrong of me not to, but for the longest time, inspiration failed me. What could I say that hadn't already been said, either by me, or by others celebrating their own milestones? Should I thank everyone again and risk sounding repetitive, or should I just let the occasion go by? After much soul searching, I knew I wanted to share some lessons I've learnt, lessons you may not have seen previously from other bloggers, and of course, share a few snazzy statistics.

Don't Be Afraid of Changing Your Blog, Even in Big Ways

When I celebrated my first year of blogging, I was blogging on Book Badger, and within that time, I've dipped my toe into co-blogging on Beautiful Bookish Butterflies, and made the transition back into a one man band here at Nellie and Co, and those were some HUGE changes. I've had 3 blog names, 3 different designs and completely changed the kind of content I publish - all of which are scary prospects. Changing your blog name is probably one of the biggest fears in the blogging community, but if the name you have just isn't working for you, why stick with it? Same goes for blogging on your own; if you really feel that co-blogging is the right route for you (bare in mind, it's not as easy as having less responsibilities and content, you still have to work hard) then take the leap, don't feel swallowed whole by a blog you no longer love. Chances are, if you don't love your blog, it shows, and others won't either.

Don't be intimidated by the big changes that all bloggers consider at least once. Switch up your content slowly if you're unhappy with what you're posting, change your name and re-brand if you really want a fresh start, and if need be, start up somewhere else like I did with Nellie and Co. and blog how you want to. The big changes are only as scary as you let them be.

Co-Blogging is Not Easy, And You Shouldn't Think It Is

I talked in detail about my co-blogging story with Stacie when I first opened Nellie and Co. and dived into what co-blogging is like in comparison to blogging alone, but I still stand by what I said then - co-blogging is not an easy out for people struggling to stay inspired or keep up quality content. If you're not feeling blogging, don't do it, don't put pressure on somebody else to pull you out from your rut, and don't think that co-blogging is going to be a walk in part.

Yes, some co-blogging partnerships appear to work perfectly together; they're always in contact with one another, bouncing ideas of each other and just seem to have the whole co-blogging thing down-pat, but not every co-blogging relationship is like that. I would never want to put anybody off the idea, as I personally learnt a lot about myself and what I want in my blogging future because of co-blogging, just don't go in expecting easy-peasy, you could be disappointed.

Post Content You Want To Read - No Likey, No Clicky

Take a look at your most recent content; would you read it elsewhere if a blog you followed published it instead? This is a question I ask myself with almost every posts I write - if I wouldn't read this, why should I be expecting anybody else to? You have to love the content you're putting out there, and if it's not something that you would consciously click to read, then you've got a problem.

Don't publish half-hearted content; trust me, your followers and subscribers can see the attempt for what it is, an attempt, and probably won't think once about reading your post, let alone twice, whereas if you skipped the squiffy post and spent the time working on a bigger, better post with higher quality and actual worth to your readers, not only will you feel proud of what you've written, but so will others. When Mamma said quality over quantity, she meant it.

If you wouldn't read your own content, why should anyone else? Mamma said quality over quantity, and she meant it!

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What All the 'Cool Kids' Are Doing Isn't Always Better

Way back when, (when dinosaurs roamed the earth) I briefly talked about blog memes and how I felt like they were absolutely everywhere. I don't find that the case as much these days (whether that's because the blogs I've followed have changed with time, or other bloggers just thought enough was enough, who knows) but it's definitely something that still appeals to new bloggers to gain new following, and seriously, if that's what you want to do, then go for it, it's your blog, I'm not going to stop you, but what makes you different from all the other blogs out there if that's all you're doing?

Sure, the high volume of comments and views looks and feels super nice, but to me, they're not real comments, or real views. When I go to visit a blog, I don't go with an ulterior motive to gain a follow back, or a visit in return, I visit because the content is great, or the post interests me, or the blogger in question is someone I trust and have a strong relationship with, and this is what gets you a loyal following, rather than a large following.

Creating content you love and that benefits your readership is only half of the story, the other half is to equate yourself with quality, with unique, one of a kind content, and with a give, give, give attitude. Sure, blog memes might get your a surge in visitors, but I would much rather somebody actually bought from my shop, than walked in, and straight back out.

Sometimes, Less Really Is More

This is partially an extension of the previous point, but also applies to almost everything in blogging. Posting less content but making sure what you do post is amazing and of top notch quality is always, always better than just filling in the time with something on the boring side. Having an all singing, all dancing design is great, but putting functionality, simplicity and ease on the eye before big, bright and beautiful is usually the better route to go.

Let's be honest, nobody really liked my yellow monstrosity that was on Book Badger before I saw the design light and put simple, clean lines and usability before standing out. If people can use and read your blog without getting eyesore, whether it'll win design of the year doesn't matter. Even considering how you market yourself and not just your blog, how you sound through your posts, what you talk about on social media and how you come across - being a loudmouth might get you heard, but you might not be liked for it.

How Book Badger Grew Into Nellie and Co.

Now, because I've had two big blog moves, my statistics are a little more complicated than they probably could and should have been, but alas, thanks to Google Analytics and my many many spreadsheets that help me organise everything, including a sheet dedicated to reading and blogging statistics, I have been able to put together a good view of how Book Badger became Nellie and Co, with a great transition of Beautiful Bookish Butterflies in between. Lets see..

*Book Badger statistics are from Blogger rather than Google Analytics.

Book Badger

BBB (6 months)

Nellie and Co.


Blog Posts: 441
Book Reviews: 74
Comments: 3,711
Bloglovin' Followers: 213
Pageviews: 58,400*
Blog Posts: 85
Book Reviews: 40
Comments: 3,337
Bloglovin' Followers: 136
Pageviews: 11,230
Blog Posts: 35
Book Reviews: 6
Comments: 485
Bloglovin' Followers: 176
Pageviews: 7,496

2 Years and 15 Of Your Favourite Posts

I want to thank you, the viewers, for everything

Whether you pop by every now and then to catch a post or two, regularly visit to catch up on what you've missed, or check in every day to make my day, you encourage me and motivate me to produce better content. You push me to my limits with your expectations, you surprise me with your time and attentiveness in your comments and you make the whole experience, no matter squiffy it may get, absolutely wonderful, and for that, I don't think I could thank you all enough.

There are of course special thank you's that go out to people;
  • Thank you to Stacie for letting me fly the co-blogging coop
  • Thank you to Charnel for still being as supportive as always
  • Thank you to Cait for loving so much of what I say and do
  • Thank you to Stephanie for giving the best advice possible
  • Thank you to Ashley for helping increase my confidence

- and thank you to everyone who's taken time to visit and comment, especially those on Nellie and Co.

I Can't Wait to See What The Next Year Brings

Now that Nellie and Co. has finished finding it's feet in the blogging community, I can't wait to work hard and produce a brilliant future for Nellie. I've never been happier to blog, and I feel as though I've found exactly where I'm meant to be right now, and while the future may bring bigger and scarier changes, or different and unique content, Nellie and Co. will continue to be your very own resource tool for blogging and design, and throwing in a few book and film reviews from time to time too, just to shake things up a little. Huge thank you to those who have been here from the start and supported me in my complicated blogging adventure, and those who continue to find joy and entertainment on Nellie and Co. - it means an awful lot to me.

How Long Have You Been Blogging For?

Check Out Some of My Personal Favourite Posts:

How To Revamp A Blog Without a Redesign

How I Create My Blogs' Graphics | Part One..

4 Ways Your Blog Can Benefit Your Résumé/CV

It's Natural For You and Your Blog To Change With..

5 Things People Who Hate Writing Reviews Can..


  1. Oh shucks. You're welcome! And you've come a long way with tons of great content. That's definitely to be celebrated and applauded. I think I'm in my 11th year of blogging now... Wait. I went to the Wayback Machine and plugged in my old blog address. I've been blogging for 12 years now! I posted my first post on Oct 17, 2003. Whoa. I suddenly feel very old. :) I should write an anniversary post too! Lol.

    1. N'aw, thank you! I do feel as though my content has improved the longer I've been blogging (you'd hope so anyway) so it's wonderful to hear. 12 years is a super long time, and I imagine a lot has changed in that time, and that you've achieved a lot, I will be checking out your post too! :)

  2. Happy blogoversary! I love reading about book blogging journeys and your is definitely an inspiring one, Amanda! Many more years of blogging to come!

    1. Thank you Hazel! I feel as though I've changed A LOT since I started and made a lot of changes, but they've been so worth it. I agree, many more years :D

  3. Congratulations! I didn't realise Nellie and Co was so young... I think it's great how you're blog(s) have evolved over time! Here's to many more years of blogging! :)

    1. Thanks Harvey! Yeah, Nellie and Co. is only around 3 months old, but I've been blogging regularly for 2 years, so it's still in the early stages right now. I can't wait for more blogging to come! :)

  4. I agree about the "cool kids" thing. When I first started, I joined a meme for every day of the week to get myself out there. It worked well enough but I eventually moved down to just one that I genuinely enjoy - top ten tuesday. It's fun to write lists and scour Goodreads for books and read other people's posts.

    1. I was much the same. It's a great way to get yourself started and noticed, but I couldn't imagine keeping up with it now. I also take part in Top Ten Tuesday sometimes, especially on the great topics, it can be really fun! :)

  5. These are some great tips, especially "post what you want to read" and "less is more." Thanks for sharing! And happy blogoversary! :) I've been blogging for about 3 1/2 years on the same blog, but it's morphed a bit over time.

    1. Thanks Serena! They're two big things that make a difference on blogging for sure :)

  6. Congratulations on two years of blogging!! That's such an amazing milestone and you've learned so much.

    That first one about big changes is always a good reminder. Change can be super scary because you don't know what the effects might be, but it can also be the best thing you've ever done for your blog.

    1. Thanks Ashley! You're so right, making that change might just be the best thing you've ever done! :)

  7. Congratulations on your two years of blogging! Changes can be scary, but I think they are sometimes necessarily too :) It's definitely important to remember that you don't have to do what everyone else does; and that it's important you post content that you would love to read too. I think blogging is mostly about yourself and that YOU feel confident about your blog - and that you stand behind everything you post :)

    1. Thanks Mel! Being able to say 'this post is mine and I stand by everything I said' is super important, and I definitely feel that way about my own. I post what I want, and what pleases me, nothing else :)

  8. Congrats! I subscribed right as you made the transition back here, so I don't know Book Badger much. I have been blogging since 2009. It is awesome to look back and see how far you have come. Thanks for sharing your journey. And many more....

    1. Thanks Karen! It's been quite a journey, and I can't wait for more! :)

  9. oMG HAPPY BLOGVERSARY!!! I can't actually believe you've only blogged for 2 years, omg, because you are such a professional blogger. And I loooove how you've changed and rebranded what you do. I mean, I DID love Book Badger and BBB too, so pfft, I think maybe you are just an excellent writer no matter what. ;) But I absolutely entirely agree that it's okay to change things up!! I see bloggers being unhappy with their style/names and yet they don't change it. I don't understand whyyyy. If one isn't excited about their own blog, then motivation is going to dry up, right?! ANYWAY. Can't wait to read much much more from Nellie & Co! <3 KEEP UP YOUR EXTREME FABULOUSNESS.

    1. Me? Professional? BAH, you're too kind, I don't feel professional at all, I still feel like a baby at blogging! I couldn't agree more though, if you're not in love with what you're doing, then you're doing it wrong! :)

  10. Happy Blogoversary!!! I feel like you've been blogging so much longer than two years. So awesome!! <3 I love this post. It's great to see how others feel about blogging in general. I have a different view on memes though, which is totally fine! One of my very favorite posts is Top Ten Tuesday. The topics are SO MUCH FUN and Becca and I love being creative with a lot of the topics. We really enjoy that weekly meme, and we get a lot of blogger interaction with. it. We also really enjoy Waiting on Wednesday, since we find a lot of new releases that way. But I can see why others don't enjoy those as much, and to each their own. That's the great thing about blogging... our blogs are OURS and we can post whatever we want! I love your blog. <3 Keep up the awesome posting!! :)

    1. So right Lisa, our blogs are what we make them, and it's all down to what we like to do on those blogs. If you love memes, go for it, there's never anything wrong with that whatsoever! :) Thanks though, two years feelings like nothing, but I've learnt and done so much, it's amazing!

  11. HAPPY BLOGOVERSARY AMANDA!!!! I am so happy for you and here's to more successful years! I love all the tips, especially the "cool kids" one, which I think a lot of people have to understand nowadays!:)

    1. Thanks Mishma! With the tips, I tried to not make them too personal, but it all comes down to what you want, you don't have to do memes, and it's the remembering that you don't have to that matters :)

  12. Happy happy blogoversary Amanda! It's amazing that you've come so far in such a short time and I am so happy for your success! You've learnt some important lessons, and sometimes it only takes experience to learn them (I know for me I'm often afraid of making big changes to the blog, because I've been with the same design etc. for so long).

    1. Thanks Jeann! I think the big changes are as scary as you make them, and if you settle on a redesign, you'll find it's easier to do, same with the title, once you've gone 'yes, that is what I want' it's easy to do. Maybe one you'll make big changes, maybe Happy Indulgence will be as is for a long time still, whatever you prefer! :D