{SQT} Eight Years Of Blogging Love

Today marks EIGHT years since I started my blog. ***E.I.G.H.T. *** I know that doesn’t seem like much to some people out there, but in an era when many websites come and go, eight years is actually like, 56 years on the world wide web (is anyone still calling it that?). Seeing as today’s Quick Takes falls on the exact anniversary of my first post, I thought I would do a stroll down memory lane, and share some information I gleaned from my recent reader survey. Buckle up and hold on- it’s going to be an exciting post PACKED with numbers and facts!!!

Our first family photo on the blog, March 2012.
Addie, 9, Byron 8, Edie 6, Fulton 3, and Teddy 1. Tony and I were 33!
And this is our most recent family photo from Christmas 2019.
Addie, 17, Byron 16, Edie 14, Fulton 11, and Teddy 9. Tony and I are now 41!

I started my blog with the idea that it would be a funny, homeschooling blog. Since it’s inception, I’ve written only 69 dedicated homeschooling posts (though homeschooling comes up in many of my Quick Takes), 233 Quick Takes (if they’re all tagged correctly), 116 Catholic posts, 232 Humor posts, and 62 SMA/ Special Needs posts. This is my 730th post overall. Wowzers!

In 2012, I received 39,929 page views. Back then I was regularly posting two to three times a week, often linking up with Seven Quick Takes at Conversion Diary, and {pretty, happy, funny, real} at Like Mother, Like Daughter. If I got a third post up, it was sometimes a What I Wore Sunday fashion brief.

My first WIWS. Is making a duck face a thing anymore??

In 2016 I held my first reader survey. 136 people responded. My stats at that time were 19,122 page views on the month of the survey, and 222,022 page views for the entire year. 2016 had my second highest amount of page views behind 2015. In 2018, when I held my second reader survey, 213 people responded. My page views were 12,548 for the month of the survey, and 139,419 for the year. In comparison, in 2019 I had 109,604 total page views, and last month I had 7,972 page views. Amazingly enough, 139 people have completed my most recent survey.

There was a time when I would’ve been embarrassed to share my statistics, especially since they’ve gone down since 2015. But since I stopped paying attention to the numbers (I used to keep a spreadsheet to track everything) and focused on just writing for fun, I enjoy blogging more. There have been many times through the years I tried to find my niche! figure out how to monetize more! increase page views! attract new followers! only to make myself unhappy with how little any of it worked. This most recent survey has helped me figure out even more what am I even doing here in this corner of the web. Onto the results!!!

The highlight of reading the results was finding out that now Google Surveys automatically show you the results as pie graphs. No more exporting to Google Sheets and creating the graphs yourself. (Tony can tell you I was legit giddy about this.) So, who reads my blog?

  • women between the ages of 30-50 74%
  • married 86%
  • has kids 84%
  • is Catholic 82%
  • is not a special needs parent 76%
  • have not bought anything from me 81%
  • enjoys funny and/ or random posts about anything 64%
  • does NOT follow me on social media 64%
  • follows my blog via email or a feedreader 63%
  • even split between newsletter subscribers and those that don’t 40% each (The rest didn’t even know I had one.)

There’s nothing too surprising in these numbers, although the number of readers who don’t follow me on social media has gone up from 50% in 2016 and 42% in 2018 to more than half of those who took the survey this time around. Some responded that they had left social media, but I don’t know if that accounts for the change. I think because I am not particularly active on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter I just don’t gain a lot of readers that way. If you’re here, chances are you like to read blogs. While social media has allowed people to build communities on those platforms, I don’t think it’s helped me grow my blog, probably because I don’t post a lot or engage in a lot of conversation on those sites. I’m sure my publisher would love for me to grow my social media followers, however, I don’t necessarily think that would help me gain new, dedicated blog readers, or attract the type of person that wants to buy a book on special needs parenting written by me.

In checking my stats, most people that are referred to my site come through Google search, Martin Family Moments, or Facebook (usually on the days I share my newest post). Everyone else knows I post on Fridays and swings by accordingly. Going forward, I want to continue to post on Fridays, and perhaps one other or two other times a month. My dedicated readers want more blog posts, and I’d rather focus on that then wasting time on social media (for this website anyway). I think my struggle is what content is relevant for blog posts, and which better suits a newsletter (which I’d also like to get back into sending a monthly). But everyone made lots of great suggestions in the survey, and mentioned some real struggles (I’ve been praying for!) and brainstorming solutions for. Now for some fun stuff.

1.I had only two men answer the survey, both over the age of 60, both grandfathers, both readers for a few years. I feel like this is a whole untapped market I need to explore.

2. I had someone ask about Bart and Lisa, the orphans we hosted a few years back. We explored rehosting and adopting them, plus a sibling, in 2018. However, we stopped pursing that option after we learned Lisa had been placed in a foster home in-country, and after realizing that there was a possibility that we could arrive in the country and learn Bart was also no longer available for adoption. Once placed in foster care, the child is no longer available for adoption unless the foster parent agrees. The country’s foreign adoption policy also would’ve required both Tony and I to travel overseas for 6 to 8 weeks, which for us would mean bringing all the kids for the duration. Lastly, the country was becoming less friendly to American adoptions and we risked starting the process and not being able to finish. We did mail one care package to them, but we have no way of knowing if they received it. We still think of them often, and I hope they benefited from their time with us. I have mixed feelings about orphan hosting now.

3. In the 2018 and 2020 surveys, people requested more posts on my love of essential oils. People are also clamoring for more ridiculous fashion posts. Unfortunately, my kids are less eager to snap pictures for me anymore. I have invested in a new phone tripod mount though so we’ll see…

4. In 2018, 9.4% of survey responders were chicken with feathers on their feet. In 2020, 8.6% were one of those hairless cats the Egyptians worshipped. More untapped demographics!

5. Someone wrote they want to be me when they grow up and I wouldn’t recommend that at all.

6. While some people mentioned their seagull like children, or complained about February, others shared very real concerns about their marriage, their faith, or their children. First, a blogger’s reader survey is sort of a weird place to share all that, but, I’m here for you! I noticed a lot of people experiencing spiritual dryness, struggles with teenagers, and exhaustion from balancing it all. I’m not an expect on any of it, but I’ll see what I can come up with, even if it’s just ridiculous advice to make you laugh. And don’t forget, I welcome all emails if you have a question or concern you couldn’t fit on the survey.

7. That’s probably more than you wanted to know but it brought me so much pleasure to read all your answers and write this up. Thanks to everyone who participated! Now it’s your turn to share a post! Pick your favorite graphic!

As usual, my post doesn’t fit into seven actual Quick Takes, but it’s a good starting point if you need some inspiration. Just write something down and link it up below. Be sure to include a link back to this post so your readers can find the rest of the Takes. I look forward to reading your posts!

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  1. It’s so fun to see the flashback photos and learn the survey results! It’s also really, really refreshing to read about you (a “big-time Catholic blogger/writer”) not worrying about blogging statistics. I’ve found so much pressure for even small bloggers and writers to monetize, focus on growing your audience, etc-which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I’ve found isn’t MY thing. So thanks for showing all of us that it is OK to blog random things and have fun while we’re at it 🙂

  2. Super interesting.
    I think one of the first things I watched was you dancing in your kitchen w some frozen meat for dinner (sausage?). It was too funny. I knew I wanted to follow you then. In a non creepy way.

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