Happy 4th Birthday

I’ve been writing my blog now for four years exactly, and it has slowly become more a part of me at each step of the way. Rather like a journal, it allows me to look back over some of my favourite places and memories from that time, and know that they are stored somewhere I can return to. It has allowed me to keep friends and family up to date with what I’ve been doing if I’ve been away travelling, or just because we don’t see each other as much. It has prompted opportunities for discussion and helped me find a space to continue writing and improving my photography.

A lot of bloggers that I follow have said that the four year mark is an important one. This is where they start to become established, and are acknowledged for their experience. It might be that this is the point where they’ve made the transition to start taking paid work, or the even bigger transition to becoming a full-time blogger and influencer. When I started out, I didn’t know where this blog was headed but to some extent I hoped this would be me. I’d love to earn a living from writing – if I could do it with travel thrown in, even better.

Not really designed to be an influencer…

At points last year it looked like I was making moves in the right direction. I branded my blog, I went on my first press trip, I attended The Blogger’s Retreat, I rewrote posts with SEO in mind, I produced Pinterest graphics, and I saw the traffic to my site increase. I started to put more hard work in, and as everyone promised, started to see it pay off. However, I also realised that I wasn’t enjoying it anymore. I had ideas for other blogs/websites that I wanted to develop rather than focusing on what I was already doing, I became sick of hearing how to improve everything, and I resented the amount of time I was putting in to something that, in the grand scheme of things, still didn’t feel very successful. It was disappointing, and I got myself stuck in a bit of a rut.

Life started to get in the way. I was moving home, had no free weekends, and before I knew it I wasn’t really writing anything. In a way, this was the best thing that could have happened. Not only did it not matter to anyone else that I wasn’t posting as regularly, it stopped mattering as much to me. And just like that, I got control of my blog back. I’d much rather post less frequently about the things that I’ve found particularly interesting or enjoyed, than get out a post that ticks all the boxes every week because I feel I have to. My traffic has decreased, I’m writing less regularly, I can’t be bothered to produce Pinterest graphics for every post, but I’m enjoying blogging again which is much more important to me.

In my blog birthday posts I usually try and share some of the posts that have ‘performed’ the best, but this time I also want to share some that have meant a bit more to me.

Most viewed post in the last year: A Complete Itinerary for a week in North Wales closely followed by my Surprise Weekend with WowTrip.

I was really proud of the photos I took for this post: Visiting Waterfall Country.

I really enjoyed reminiscing about some of my favourite children’s book when I wrote a post for World Book Day this year – judging by the comments this got on social media, it seemed like other people enjoyed it too!

My post on disappointing places to visit sparked a really interesting Twitter conversation – and was a useful reminder that we shouldn’t always just write about what we enjoy.

I had a wonderful weekend in Bakewell last year. I usually come home from somewhere enthusing about a trip, but this is a place that I’d recommend to anyone to visit.

My post on Dark Tourism was quite different to anything I’d written before, but I’m hoping has given me the confidence to now start writing some more essay-style thought pieces on here.

If you a regular reader of the blog, thanks for your support and I hope that you continue to enjoy it. If you’ve stumbled across me by accident, thanks for reading and I hope you come back!

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