Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Goodbye 2015 | Statistics, Achievements and More!

With 2015 fast nearing the end of it's course, and my upcoming break coming even sooner, there is no more perfect time to say goodbye to the year and reflect on my achievements, how far I've come, how I've changed and what's made the experience of 2015 so much better than the last.

The first thing to think about was that I didn't actually make any resolutions or have any goals for 2015. I'm actually rather ashamed of that because I know there are things I would have loved to have achieved this year that I put off for silly reasons, but I did manage to achieve a large number of some things I'm super proud of:

1. I jumped into co-blogging (and jumped back out)

Okay, so my co-blogging experience only lasted 6 months, but those 6 months really taught me a hell of a lot about a) what I want out of blogging, b) what I want to achieve through blogging, c) why I want to blog, and d) what I want to blog about, and without those lessons, Nellie and Co. would not have become what it has, and I would not have become the blogger I am now.

As with everything, I would never put somebody off doing something, but the number one piece of advice I can give when it comes to co-blogging is make sure you're really certain you want to. Co-blogging is handy in that you can share the load and build relationships super well, but it's still demanding and there's a lot more involved in terms of sharing, being able to appreciate others content, making decisions you might not want to make, having to support content you may not want to be associated with - it's not an always an easy road, but it can be fun, exciting and shape you as a person. Be certain, but be open.

Related: My Co-blogging Story and Why I Went Back Solo

2. I created TWO free blog products

I was super excited when I learnt I could create PDF's with Canva because it opened up a whole world of opportunities, especially those concerning freebies for followers, so it's no surprise I ate up the chance created a lot of awesome. The first freebie was a Goal Planner that came as standard with my post on why setting blog goals is super important, and the second freebie was my enormous Blog Planner spanning the whole of 2016, filled with weekly pages, monthly pages, brainstorming and goal pages and works perfectly with the Goal Planner.

Because I wanted to get the Blog Planner out into the world before 2016, (because duh!) I did only release the bare basics of the planner, and leave out some of the page ideas I had for it, so I do plan on creating those and releasing them throughout the year so you can add to your Planner as the year goes on. If you want to get a preview of the Planner, check out this post for some pretty shots.

3. I designed Afterwords for Nitzan

We all know that I'm not a blog designer. Sure, I'm good at winging it, DIY-ing and know my way around a good chunk of code, but actually taking on clients or doing somebody else's design is not something I usually do, a) because of the pressure, and b) because it's hard to fall in love with something that just isn't you. However, working with Nitzan and designing her blog Afterwords was something I'm totally pleased I could do for her, and I'm super excited to see it be a real thing over the next few days. If you want to see a sneak peak of the design board, check out my latest tea and cakes post.

4. I finally found my style, and it feels amazing

It's the same as with anything. You may need to try on a number of dresses before you find the perfect one for you. You might need to look at 50+ houses before you find your forever home. I went through 2 blogs, 5 designs and a lot of learning to get to where I am now with Nellie and Co. but I finally believe I've found the perfect spot, and it's bliss.

I'm always creating and itching to redesign things, and it comes naturally to people with a eye for detail, but I've not had the itch to redesign Nellie and Co. whatsoever since I stated. Sure, I have a few tweaks and slight rejigs coming when I'm on my break, but the style, the layout, the colours, the design I've got, it won't be changing, and that's such a wonderful feeling. I know that, should Nellie and Co. become something different, I have the ability to take it anywhere without limitations - it's one of the reasons I dropped my book blogging label, and I know that I've created a strong brand with help from my cohesive design which just helps bring everything together. It's thrilling to finally find yourself settled, happy, ready to focus on growing, developing and learning even more, and it excites me, it's a freeing feeling.

Although I didn't actually create any blogging goals this year, (which is still terrible, I know) I did however have an umbrella goal which was to simply be a better blogger. Better is obviously a subjective term, and it all comes down to what you want to do, and how you want to improve, but generally, being a better blogger for me meant taking those extra steps to help more people, selflessly and properly, and I've found it's actually much more rewarding than seeing the numbers climb, although I won't lie, that's pretty awesome to see too.

Speaking of numbers, let's take a look at Nellie's 2015 stats*

*between 22 June 2015 (announcement day) to 29th December 2015 (yesterday)

Pageviews: 16,767
Sessions: 7,065
Users: 2,768

Returning Visitors: 61%
New Visitors: 39%

Social Traffic: 41.7%
Referral Traffic: 26.3%
Direct Traffic: 16%
Organic Traffic: 9.7%
Email Traffic: 6%

I tell you something my friend - I'm super duper pleased with those statistics and I genuinely couldn't be happier with what I've achieved. Some say numbers aren't important, but I'm with Harvey who really cares about the numbers because they tell a story. Numbers are the simplest way for me to see whether what I'm doing is right, to see what people enjoy most and what they'd rather not see, and see for myself how they interact with me and my blog. Without the numbers, I'd be going around in circles.

As much as I've really proud of the pageviews, sessions and users, what I find myself focusing most on is my percentage of new visitors and how people are are finding Nellie and Co. To the 39% of the new visitors who found themselves on Nellie, hello and thank you for being here on this awesome journey. Keeping hold of loyal visitors is always important, and blogging wouldn't the be same without the same faces I know and trust and love a million, but seeing my words reach new people, teach new people, it's a lovely, rewarding feeling.

In terms of traffic source, it doesn't surprise me that most of my traffic comes from social media, and specifically Twitter. I'm most active on Twitter, and I'm always promoting content there, so it makes sense logically, however, it's nice to see that there's a lot of love to be shared from other bloggers in terms of referral traffic, proof that referring someone can go a long way in how people find and view other bloggers. I'm really surprised by how much overall Organic traffic I've received, especially when I consider that over 14% of the last three months was Organic, it's great to see how that affects the numbers.

Related: There's Always Time For Tea and Cakes | Christmas Edition!

Top Five Popular Posts
  1. My Co-Blogging Story and Why I Went Back Solo
  2. How I Create My Blog Graphics | Part One: Picmonkey
  3. 7 Reasons I Get Put Off Your Blog (+ First Impressions!)
  4. How I Create My Blog Graphics | Part Two: Canva
  5. Stop Using Blogger Stats - Use Google Analytics Instead

I'm not super surprised by my most popular post for two reasons: a) because it featured a giveaway, and giveaways are usually big in terms of pageviews and interaction, and b) because it was one of my first posts where I talked about co-blogging, and it was viewed quite a bit by new and old followers. I'm really pleased by how well my Picmonkey and Canva Graphics tutorials were received, in fact, I'm pleased with how well both my Creating PDF's and Content Upgrades with Canva tutorial was received too, so that's a big plus. I'd like to say I'm really happy about my third most popular post, but I know a lot of the referrals to that post where through less than positive reactions. It would have been nice to have those numbers be honest in terms of how much people liked it, but looking at the follow up post, I'd say most of those numbers are pretty positive, which is great.

Related: Your Top Ten Favourite Posts of 2015

Top Three Commenters
  1. Cait from Paper Fury (54) comments
  2. Harvey from Bookmarked/Jeann from Happy Indulgence (17) comments
  3. Charnell from Reviews from a Bookworm (16) comments

I definitely get the impression I have a little stalker in Cait, but as much as she, Charnell, Harvey and Jeann are the bloggers featured, every comment is really a wonderful feeling, and I appreciate each one of them. Going from just reading and enjoying a post to commenting a serious mile, and I know there are plenty of fabulous readers that read my posts constantly, but don't comment, and that's more than fine too. Thank you to everyone, and keep up the commenting.

Now that we've done posts, it's time to move onto books!

Now as you all may or may not know, I haven't been reading anywhere near as much as I would have hoped too, both because I had a mini meltdown earlier this year which triggered a HUGE slump, and because my blogs direction changed which changed how I saw reading and how much I did. That doesn't however mean that I didn't read some pretty good, or pretty baaaaad books, so let's take a look at the super awesome books.

Top Five New-To-Me Authors
- authors I want to stalk, steal and snuggle.
  1. Sally Green - Half Bad, Half Wild
  2. Jennifer Lynn Barnes - The Naturals, Killer Instinct
  3. Victoria Aveyard - Red Queen
  4. Sarah Ockler - The Summer of Chasing Mermaids
  5. Maggie Stiefvater - The Raven Boys, The Dream Thieves

Top Five Underrated, Underhyped Books
- books you didn't read, but really should consider.
  1. Flesh and Blood by Simon Cheshire
  2. The Last Leaves Falling by Sarah Benwell
  3. A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston
  4. Bomb by Sarah Mussi
  5. Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne

Top Five Favourite Books
- books that completely rocked my year.
  1. The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
  2. Fire Fall by Bethany Frenette
  3. I Am The Traitor by Allen Zadoff
  4. Portia by Christina Bauer
  5. Bruja by Aileen Erin

It's actually been a really good year in terms of the books I read. There are one or two pretty popular, well known reads up there, but besides those, I really just took a step back and read books I really wanted to, or continued series I knew I already cared for. Series like Alpha Girl and Angelbound excelled themselves this year and will forever go down as favourite series. Flesh and Blood is the only horror that made the list, but it was really so good, I genuinely recommend it to everyone.

Other books that I really wish more people read and talked about like The Last Leaves FallingA Thousand NightsThe Naturals, and Bomb really amazed me and in some cases, had me leaking from my eyes. The top five favourites though, although difficult to compile, truly respect the books that I love dearly, that touched something in me, that had my emotions in pieces and have been in my mind ever since. It's really not been a bad year of reading, despite not reading all that much.

I did keep track of my books much better this year than the year before, despite not reading anywhere near as much, just to see what this year looked like in terms of numbers rather than book covers. Let's take a look.

Basic Stats

Books Read: 54
2015 Releases: 29

Series Started: 15
Series To Continue: 10
Series Finished: 6

Interestingly, I read an awful lot of series, and an awful lot of fantasy novels, with the latter coming in at first place with 17 books read in that genre. Following closely with 14 is contemporary novels, although I can feel myself falling out of love with contemporaries just a little, merely because of their predictability. Tied in third place is paranormal, which isn't a surprise when you look at Alpha Girl and Angelbound, and dystopian, which only surprises me a little. Here's a few of my favourite books from those genres.

Not quite as surprising is how many young adult novels I read. 81% of all the books I read this year where young adult, while childrens and new adults were tied at 5 each. However, out of all the books I read, 32% of them were UKYA, up from 18% last year. Shockingly, only 12 of the 53 books I read this year were books I already owned, 16 less than books I received for review, further highlighting why I want to make time for the books I own and call time on requesting as many review copies. I've also seen my book collection increase from 188, to 228 books, including digital copies, which I admit to being actually quite pleased and surprised by, although finding room for those extra books is proving really rather difficult..

What about the books of next year?

I've already spoken a little about the books I'm really hoping to get to next year, new releases and books I own, and I've already shared my Bookish Wishlist, a few of which I know I've already received off family and friends, but I'm still super excited about quite a few books next year, and paired with next year's book, blog and life goals, I'm really sure I can kick some ass at reading once again. Here's just some of TBR..

2015 has been amazing, bring on 2016!

It's been a year of many firsts for me, my first job, my first pet, my first guest post, and it's been a year of experimenting, changing, creating and developing, and I can honestly say I'm super excited to see where this next year takes me. With my goals in hand, and a lot of motivation, with a holiday and a Sarah Millican show to see, with a job in hand and even more creative endeavours to explore, 2016 should be one of the best in a long time, and I genuinely, honestly cannot wait. For now though, I must go and take a much needed, much deserved break away, but I'll be seeing you on the other side of 2015, with a lot greatness in tow.


  1. Okay, but first of all: YOUR HEADER IMAGE IS SO PRETTYYYY AND RED. Maybe do a photography tutorial post some point in the future? That would be fab.

    You already know how much I love your blog planner and I fully intend to fling it (nicely!) into the face every book blogger looking for a planner. You still read a lot of book despite the slump, so go you! I don't think our reading lists overlapped at ALL, haha, although I am planning to check out the Raven Cycle next year.

    1. I've always considered a post on how I edit my photos, maybe one day? Thank you though Alyssa! I'm still pleased I read so much in the year considering what went on, so thanks great! Good luck this year! :)

  2. You had a great 2015! I wish you all the best in 2016 and beyond!

    1. Thank you Stephanie! I wish you also the best and hope for a successful year for you!

  3. Wow you had such a great year! I hope 2016 is just as good, if not better. I am also SUPER excited for Glass Sword, because the feels really got to me in the last book. Not to mention the Cliff-Hanger that shattered my soul and left me trembling in the dark... Once again I am so happy you made the blog planner! I feel as if it is really going to help me improve my blog and content! HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

    1. Thank you Maya! Glass Sword is going to be great, at least, I hope so, here's to hoping! Happy New Year to you too, and best of luck in 2016! :)

  4. It is so good to read that you feel so happy with this space that you've created - and you SHOULD be proud. You've done a great job with setting this blog up and I love reading all your posts :) Keep up the good work in 2016!

    1. Thank you Mel, the support of readers always pushes me to create awesome content, so thank you! :)

  5. *whistles innocently* Stalker? What stalker? XD Ahem. It's because I signed up for email subscription and when I get a post in my inbox I just automatically read it and comment. XD STALKER STATUS = ACTIVATED.
    But congrats on coming so far and having those nice shiny numbers (I agree...numbers are lovely) and just having so much blogging success. That's amazing. I failed ALL my 2015 goals. I didn't even try. XD It wasn't my most productive year, hehe, although blogging wise I definitely grew a lot. *nods*

    1. I so appreciate that you follow by email though Cait, it means so much! As long as you feel you learnt something, it doesn't matter that you didn't achieve the original goals, new learning curves are just as important. Here's to a great 2016 indeed Cait :)

  6. omg the co-blogging thing. i laughed out loud because it is SO ME. i don't think i'm cut out for co-blogging so i tried it once a few years back and yep. really not for it. i think it's the idea of having to check with other people before doing something. it isn't that i don't want to, it's just another step for me and i'm lazy. however, i love working with people on other things! small projects with bloggers is really fun.

    BOOOOOOKS. i don't do goals for reading because it never works out. i only do a goodreads challenge and let everything take me where it wants to. i'm a free spirit like that XD

    1. I think for me it was sharing the space, or not always loving the content someone else posted, it was hard to accept that people were associating that with me.. such a bad sharer of space. BUT, I learnt a lot, that's what matters to me. Smaller projects can be really fun indeed. I'm only doing the Goodreads challenge too, anything else would be too much, I want to read for the joy of it again, a free spirit like you Nova :)

  7. I am surprised I still managed to be a top commenter! Woop! GO ME! That feels rather impressive as I have basically been absent from my blog, as well as everyone else's for the last two months. But I am back... hopefully. I am trying, and that is what is important. I think the two weeks away from work was needed to sort myself out, get a better handle on my a&d and actually get some posts written.

    You have achieved so much this year!!!! :) It's been cool seeing you go from Book Badger to Beautiful Bookish Butterflies and then to Nellie and Co. You grew so much with each new adventure and really feel like you have found your passion with Nellie and Co. And it really shows in your content. I'm loving it.

    Definitely need to go and check out your planners and things. I could probably really use those myself as a way to get better organised.

    Have a great 2016! Hopefully, if I stick to my goal of being 'back, you'll be seeing a lot more of me on Nellie and Co. I'll have to give Cait a run for her money in the stalking ;)

    1. Putting yourself first is what matters hunny, don't feel bad about leaving. I do feel like Nellie and Co. is the place for me now, like it was all leading to this, so that feels amazing. I hope you have a great 2016 too, don't pressure yourself and be happy, and we have to talk more for sure! :)

  8. Wow, sounds like you had a wonderful 2015, Amanda! And I guess co-blogging is not for everyone. I personally was so scared about the idea of sharing my blog with another person but it actually turned out pretty awesome for me. It's so great that you found your style girl - and I must I ADORE it! All your graphics are seriously AMAZING.

    Here's to a great 2016 <33

    1. Thanks Melanie! I do think YA Midnight Reads works with co-bloggers, so that's an awesome decision you made that paid off well. Thank you so much, so ready for a great 2016! :)