What a great year 2018 was for us! Join us as we look back at our first year blogging, offer some advice, and look forward to our 2019 goals.
Can you believe we are a week into 2019? Every year, I sit and wonder, where has the time gone?
With the bells of the new year still ringing in my ear, I always begin to ponder what I did with the old. A year is made of millions of moments (literally 31,536,000 seconds in a regular year). Did I make each moment count?
Of course not, I wasted plenty of time watching Amazon Prime or scrolling through Instagram and Twitter.
But all in all, it’s been a good year. Let’s review.
Pingel Sisters – A Year in Review
Last year on New Year’s eve, my sister Jaclyn and I bought the domain name pingelsisters.com. We wanted to help “savvy millennial women lead better lives.” Thus, our topics were life, work, travel, and books.
After a few months of learning everything we could about blogging, we launched in March 2018 – to 7K monthly views. Well over half the views were specifically to our post, Read This Not That.
You would think we would have realized sooner that we were destined to be a book blog, but no.
It took months before we finally realized our book posts brought in almost all of our page views. That is, except Rachael’s post on visiting Monument Valley with kids, which does extremely well in search engines.
Last summer, we needed to rethink. We were overwhelmed by posting twice a week, and we knew things needed to change.
We mostly dropped everything while we planned and schemed. An eye-opening presentation on SEO by Atlanta Traveler 365 was the answer we were looking for.
Suddenly, we grasped the true importance of SEO and saw a path forward to organize our blog schedule.
By September, we were back. We rebranded ourselves into a book blog, and have not looked back since.
We took all of our Pinterest knowledge and put it to work. The results have been spectacular. Over 2.3 million monthly views on Pinterest by the end of the year.
2018 By the Numbers
Social Media Following
Pinterest – 2.3 million monthly viewers, 173.1K monthly engaged, 2,448 followers
Instagram – 945 followers
Twitter -1,786 followers
Facebook – 117 followers
Email List – 324 subscribers
Pinterest is King. Learn how to setup your Pinterest account the right way, and then figure out a winning Pinterest strategy.
You can either research like crazy, or just go buy a course, like Ell Duclos’s Pinterest with Ell.
Once you have a strategy down, go and buy a subscription to the Pinterest scheduler Tailwind. Use our Tailwind affiliate link to get 1 month free.
Instagram is a gigantic pain. We loved Hilary Rushford’s free webinar intro to her full Instagram with Intention course. It changed up our Instagram strategy, and we imagine the full class would be mind-blowing.
Even with just what we learned in the free webinar, we are hoping that it will help us rock our Instagram in 2019.
1 Year Totals
Page Views: 79,995
Organic Search: 2,501
Our last 30 days have been spectacular. Between our 2019 Reading Challenge and the Best Books of 2018, our viewership has spiked.
Last month alone we had over 30K page views. Even better, our SEO strategy is paying off, and we had over 1K page views from organic search traffic.
Learn all about SEO. Watch 365 Atlanta Traveler’s presentation on advanced SEO strategies.
Organize your whole site structure around SEO. Fill a notebook with keywords, and plan your posts around them. Research LSIs to pepper throughout your post when you write.
Use Google Trends to find out when those keywords were trending last year, and schedule your posts a few weeks before the peak.
It can take some time, but it will pay off in the long run.
Top 5 Posts
1. Don’t Buy the Hype: Read This Not That – Our list of which bestsellers were worth the hype, and which weren’t, has had lasting powers. Published 9 months ago, we still get hundreds of views every month.
2. Reading Challenge 2019: A Book A Week with Me – Our 2019 Reading Challenge went viral on Pinterest, with over 1 million impressions. We’re excited to see what books everyone chooses to read this year.
3. Best Books 2018: This Month’s Most Popular New Releases – We had fun creating this post about the best books of the year.
4. 43 Short Classics You Actually Have Time to Read – This post surprised us. Who knew that people were interested in classics. Or maybe just in short classics.
5. 19 Gripping Books You Can’t Put Down Once You Begin – Who doesn’t love reading a book you can’t put down. Check out our list of gripping tales that will keep you up way past your bedtime.
Our 2019 Goals
Looking forward to the new year, we’ve decided to embrace some goals for ourselves. Though we know it’s not all about the numbers, having specific goals for ourselves gives us an idea of how well we are doing.
Before we set our 2019 goals, Jaclyn and I wanted to get a vision to direct all our efforts this year.
While almost every year we seem to say we want to read more, this year, we also want to read deeper.
That’s why our 2019 theme will be:
READ WITH INTENTION
To us, reading with intention can mean different things. It encompasses expanding your reading selection with the 2019 Reading Challenge.
It means reading deeper and focusing on themes and messages the author is trying to convey.
Also, reading with intention shapes our book club discussion to go beyond I liked the book or I didn’t like the book.
Every book you read, even the terrible ones, have something to teach you. This year, we encourage you to search for one nugget of wisdom to take away with every book you read.
We talk about filling our lives with intention, so why not do the same with your reading.
1. Instagram – Use the strategies we’ve learned and quadruple our Instagram following. Mostly, we need to spend the time to engage with others and post regularly to Instagram stories.
2. Facebook – Time to stop ignoring Facebook. We get more referrals from Facebook than from Instagram or Twitter combined, but we honestly aren’t sure how.
3. Twitter – We need to figure out what we want to do with Twitter. We’ve tried a few different strategies, but none have been sustainable. For now, we’ll just keep having fun interacting with others.
4. Pinterest – In 2019, we want to start to write up more blog posts with Pinterest advice. With the right strategy, anyone can grow their Pinterest account to 1 million monthly views.
5. Goodreads – We set up a Goodreads account for the blog, but haven’t touched it. Hopefully this year, we will but a little effort into it.
1. Book Club – We are so excited to start our book club this year. Our biggest focus this year will be to grow our book club and build a community of readers. We want to read a bit deeper into the text. That’s why our 2018 motto for Instagram is #readwithintention.
2. Scheduling – First off, we want to get posts scheduled 3 months ahead of time. We are tired of working to the last minute to get a post out, just to have to turn around and do it all over again.
3. Page Views – We would love to hit 100K page views in one month in 2019. Is it realistic? No idea. But we are planning to aim high.
4. SEO – We plan to dig a little deeper into our SEO strategy by creating more landing pages and trying more advanced strategies. We also want to guest post more and increase our Domain Authority to 30.
5. Advertising – Hopefully, once we hit our $100 minimum earnings from Google Adsense, we will have the numbers to move up to a higher paying advertising company.
6. Income – We earned a little bit of money in 2018, but we would need to earn more to cover our 2019 expenses. Hopefully, we can start earning an actual income with the blog. Our goal: Be able to afford an annual girls trip for the two of us.
1. Reading Challenge – Our reading challenge has gone viral. In 2019, we are going to do our best to help readers complete their challenge. We’ll share what we are reading along with plenty of book suggestions for each category.
2. Goodreads Challenge – I was only expecting to read 52 books last year, but was able to fit 86 books into my 2018 reading list. This year, my goal is to read at least 104.
With a little luck and a lot of hard work, we are hoping to make 2019 an amazing year for our blog.
Thanks so much to all our loyal readers who have followed us along on this journey. We can’t begin to tell you how thankful we are.
What goals have you set for yourself in 2019?