The highs and lows from a year of blogging

It has been a whole year since I sat down with my tablet, on yet another lonely afternoon while Leo was sleeping away the hours, and set up this very blog. Little did I know back then where I would be in a years time. I had no idea that something that was just meant to fill the hour or two in the afternoon while Leo had his nap would become such a big part of my life.

From the moment I hit publish on my first ever post, I caught the blogging bug. I love having a place to document Leo’s little life and all the things we do as a family. My blog has been a great way for me to seek parenting advice as well as vent and offload when Leo has been going through yet another difficult phase or something has been getting me down

I have learnt so so much in my first year of blogging. There is a lot more to running a blog than just writing posts and I feel like I am learning new things all the time. Although my blog is now a whole year old, I still feel like a newbie sometimes. I may still feel like I am finding my feet in this busy area of the world wide web but I am enjoying being a blogger more than I could ever have imagined. 
To commemorate my virtual baby Naptime Natter’s first year in the blogosphere but to also show bloggers just starting out what it is really like in the early days, here are my highs and lows from one year of blogging..
The highs
People not only reading but also commenting on my posts. 
Finding a space to grow and nurture my love for writing.
Creating posts full of happy memories I can share with Leo when he is older.
Receiving supportive comments from lovely readers when I have been going through difficult times.
Having people comment on my posts saying they know exactly how I feel and thanking me for showing them they are not alone.
Never receiving a negative/hurtful comment on any of my posts (so far!).
I am passionate about women receiving honest advice and support about breastfeeding and my open letter to new breastfeeding mums has had lots of comments and is the most read post on my blog.
Bagging my first ever sponsored post in November and earning my first bit of cash from blogging.
Having a place to store all my family photos but also have the days out written up alongside them, never to be forgotten.
Interacting with lots of lovely bloggers on Twitter.
Discovering and reading lots of other blogs and finding out more about the wonderful people who write them.
Having lots of people agree with my opinions on breastfeeding in baby changing facilities. 
Developing basic HTML knowledge and other techy stuff I couldn’t do before.
Being given a reason to explore and try to improve my photography skills.
Having my content shared by others on Twitter/Facebook etc.
The lows (because nothing is perfect)
Having to blog using my phone/tablet for the first 6 months of blogging as I didn’t have a laptop.
My blogger account is missing some vital bit of code so I am unable to use shareaholic, add pinnable image code or feature recommended reading at the bottom of my posts (this is so frustrating).
Struggling with low page views in the early days.
Blogger envy – it’s a real thing.
Feeling like no one really ‘got me’ for a while.
Wondering why everyone else was getting sponsored posts and I wasn’t.
Very slow growth of Twitter followers.
Finding it difficult to find the time get everything done.
The never ending blog to do list.
PR companies contacting me and offering me work only to ignore me when I emailed them back.
Spending a long time on a post and it receiving no comments.
Seeing newer bloggers than me getting amazing stats/opportunities and wondering what I was doing wrong.
Having to take all my photos on my phone as my camera is broken.
Not being able to afford to go self hosted.
Being restricted by the many limitations of a blogger blog.
Feeling like I haven’t found my ‘tribe’ yet.
Reaching out for blogging help/advice on Twitter and no one replied.
Regretting my choice of blog name.

And some more highs (because you should always end on a positive note)
Being a featured blogger on pretty much all of the linkies I join in with.
Having brands approach me and offer me sponsored work.
Trespass asking me to review something for them.
Putting myself out there and asking brands if they want to collaborate.
Reaching over 1000 followers on Twitter.
Co hosting one of my favourite linkies with one of my favourite bloggers.
Receiving really positive feedback on my first ever vlog.
Writing monthly Leo updates for us to look back on as he grows.
Seeing the same people coming back and reading my new posts every week.
The moment I realised blogging is supposed to be fun and started paying less attention to my stats.
Nearly making my husband cry when he read this post about us moving away from Swansea (he’s a tough nut to crack as well!).
Feeling like I have finally found a hobby I love and might actually be good at.
Realising I am by no means the only parent out there who finds this whole raising a child thing difficult. For every shiny advert of a mum changing her baby’s nappy with ease there is a #pblogger writing about the time their baby ran off mid change, fell off the changing table or ate it’s own poo. 
The best thing about blogging is reading other parents real life stories and discovering you are not the only one who is winging it, not even close.

Plans for year 2…
* I would love to be able to find some spare cash and go self hosted, I am not sure how much longer I can keep dealing with all the problems Blogger keeps throwing at me.
* Continue to try and grow my Twitter/Instagram/Pinterest following.
* Keep reaching out to brands and hopefully get some more sponsored posts/reviews lined up.
* Rename my blog and have a bit of a blog rebrand/make over.
* If going self hosted is still not likely then invest in a Blogger theme.
* Start up a mailing list and create a weekly newsletter.
* Keep coming up with interesting content but don’t be afraid to write posts just for me as well.
* Vlog more often and try and grown my confidence as well as YouTube subscribers.
* Keep interacting and chatting to other bloggers.
* Grow some balls and go to a blogging conference.
Wow, this post turned out to be an epically long one! Well, it has been an eventful first year and I didn’t want to miss anything out. 
I just want to say thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read, share and comment on my blog over this past year. It really means so much to me that people read my posts and seem to be interested in what I have to say. I really appreciate everything you readers do for me and if it weren’t for you reading my posts  I would just be a crazy person sat writing to myself, so thank you :).
Have you recently had a blog birthday too? How did you find your first year of blogging? Maybe you are new to this, how are you finding your blogging experience so far? I would love to know. 
This post is linked to..

My Random Musings

Cuddle Fairy

Diary of an Imperfect Mum: Family Fun Linky
A Cornish Mum

Pink Pear Bear

Reflections From Me
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69 Comments

  1. Life Love and Dirty Dishes
    April 1, 2016 / 7:47 am

    Well done for all you have achieved in your first year. It is very addictive isn't it! Going self hosted gives you so much more freedom. Mine only costs me Β£2.99 a month and it's worth every penny. If I can help in any way please let me know. The to-do list never gets any shorter though! #TheList

  2. April 1, 2016 / 6:48 am

    Nuff respect for blogging without a laptop! Thats commitment! #TheList

  3. April 1, 2016 / 7:47 am

    I'm always intrigued about this blogger envy thing as I don't THINK I've come up against it – or maybe I have and didn't notice! What does it involve? Does something awful happen?! Happy birthday too! #thelist

  4. Georgina Whitehead
    April 1, 2016 / 9:40 am

    Wow what an amazing year you and your blog has had πŸ™‚ as a new blogger this is the perfect post to read as i'm still finding my feet, thanks for sharing and I wish you all the luck wit your goals. I'll go find you on twitter etc… #TheList

  5. April 1, 2016 / 11:14 am

    Congratulations on your first year! I'm approaching my 2 year blogging anniversary but still feel like a newbie sometimes, theres just so much to learn isn't there! #picknmix

  6. April 1, 2016 / 12:59 pm

    Happy blogaversary! Sounds like you've had a great year. Good luck for year 2 #thelist

  7. Tracey S
    April 1, 2016 / 5:01 pm

    Happy first bloggy birthday, you have achieved so much already! I started blogging over 3 years ago and have still not made it to a blogging conference! Maybe this year πŸ™‚

  8. The Pramshed
    April 1, 2016 / 7:33 pm

    Happy 1 year blog birthday, you have done so much in your first year, and I can't believe you did 6 months blogging without a laptop. I don't think my blog would have continued without one, my first post was published on my ipad. I agree with you that the blogging community is fantastic and so supportive, and I love having comments on my blog posts too, it shows that other bloggers are interested. You're sponsorship is fab, I'm a little envious. Claire x #PickNMix

  9. April 1, 2016 / 7:16 pm

    Thanks! It was hard work, was so happy when I fit the money together and bought a laptop xx

  10. April 1, 2016 / 7:33 pm

    Ha, nothing awful happens. For me it's been when I've come across a beautiful looking/successful blog and got a few jealousy pangs that mine isn't as good. I try not to compare too much though xx

  11. April 1, 2016 / 8:13 pm

    Happy Blog Birthday! I can relate to this, as I had my blog birthday last month and have some similar points to you. Like you, I haven't yet had the guts to go self hosted and it's something I'm still mulling over. I also get blog envy when I see a super stylish cool blog! But like you, think it's a great hobby to keep up with writing. I think you've done really well in your first year and should be proud! #TheList x

  12. April 2, 2016 / 7:43 am

    Thank you, yep it really is addictive..who knew?!Oh really,that's so cheap.Who do you use?I read that you have to pay for so many years up front & that's what has been putting me off.Aww thank you Claire, really appreciate that xx

  13. April 2, 2016 / 7:44 am

    Thank you!You'll get the hang of it but I think blogging is just one of those things where you are always going to be learning new things xx

  14. April 2, 2016 / 7:45 am

    Thank you!Yep, there's so much more to blogging than I ever realised. Well done for nearly making it to 2 years xx

  15. April 2, 2016 / 7:45 am

    Thank you πŸ™‚ xx

  16. April 2, 2016 / 7:47 am

    Thank you. Ahh glad I'm not the only one!Feels like every blogger goes to Britmums or blog fest! Maybe one day we'll be there too πŸ™‚ xx

  17. April 2, 2016 / 7:50 am

    It was hard work blogging without a laptop, just typing and copying and pasting code was so slow!Once I got my laptop o felt like all the blogging possibilities were endless, so much easier now. Yup, the blogging community is amazing, really friendly and supportive.xx

  18. April 2, 2016 / 7:52 am

    Aww thank you!Yes, those really stylish blogs make me turn a bit green with envy too sometimes, I think that's ok though. Going self hosted seems like such hard work, I just don't know if I'm ready for that yet either. Let me know how you get on if you do decide to make the move πŸ™‚ xx

  19. Life Love and Dirty Dishes
    April 2, 2016 / 9:20 am

    I use TSO. I went self hosted about a year ago and I never had to pay anything upfront. I won't lie, the process itself was quite time consuming, mainly down to me not having a clue what I was doing, but I learnt loads and I haven't had any problems since.

  20. April 2, 2016 / 9:32 am

    Oh thank you, I will have a look at them then. I think I can just cope who 2.99 a month haha. Yes I have heard from lots of people it's quite a difficult process, not looking forward to that bit xx

  21. April 2, 2016 / 9:44 pm

    This is such a great list – mine definitely looked very similar at one year! Blogger envy is definitely a real thing, especially as you say when bloggers are newer. But in the end I realised that comparing yourself won't get you anywhere and you have to stick to what you're good at and write about topics you enjoy. I love supporting other bloggers I admire and taking inspiration from them. Sounds like you've had some frustrations with Blogger. I haven't had those on WordPress and would highly recommend. And I love your blog name!! #KCACOLS x

  22. Mommy's Little Princesses
    April 2, 2016 / 10:46 pm

    Sounds like its been a very eventful first year and you have coped just perfectly with it all from the sounds of it! I have to admit i actually prefer to blog from my phone. Here's to many more wonderful years of blogging. Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next Sunday. xx

  23. April 2, 2016 / 9:57 pm

    What a lovely, honest post. I can relate to almost all of it (not the Swansea post, but the poo eating baby thing – um, yes!) Self hosting is really not that expensive – I think I pay roughly the same as Claire from LL&DD. I hope you have a fantastic second year. I'm enjoying my first and you're so right about the finding other people who are going through the same stuff. PS I am going to BML this year ON MY OWN if you fancy meeting?! x #KCACOLS

  24. April 2, 2016 / 10:37 pm

    Congrats for making it to a year and having a brilliant blog and still loving it. I'm just at my 2 year blog birthday and still loving it. Like you, I have highs and lows of bogging, but also (I think ) like you, the highs definitely outweigh the lows. I noticed you mentioned your blog name as a low??? I think it s brilliant name.
    I hope you have many more great blogging years.
    Amanda. #kcacols

  25. Nicole Salama
    April 3, 2016 / 1:11 am

    Congrats on all of your achievements! You've done an amazing job so far – sponsored posts, all of these comments, twitter followers etc. Good luck with accomplishing your next set of goals. #KCACOLS

    Nicole | The Professional Mom Project

  26. April 3, 2016 / 12:35 am

    congratulations on a year in blogging, there is so much to learn and you have done so well. I'm sure it was easier wheni started, the blogging world was much smaller for one thing. #KCACOLS

  27. April 3, 2016 / 11:03 am

    You have done amazing! And really showed dedication for having to blog on your phone. Have a great year blogging with lots of new exciting adventures coming your way πŸ™‚ #KCACOLS

  28. Kat Candyfloss
    April 3, 2016 / 12:53 pm

    Happy blog birthday! What a great year it seems to have been for you! With anything there's always some lows but it seems like you've done some great things since starting! Things it took me a lot longer than a year to find out about! #kcacols

  29. April 3, 2016 / 12:51 pm

    I haven't been doing this much longer than you, but I've found the highs and lows continue. Try not to get too down when the numbers do, they can be erratic. Congrats on one year #KCACOLS

  30. April 3, 2016 / 3:06 pm

    Fab post hun and happy blog birthday! Lovely reading everything you've experienced – of course the lows are horrible but it makes the highs even more worthwhile xx #KCACOLS

  31. Saffy Mumzilla
    April 3, 2016 / 4:06 pm

    If you want some tips on twitter growth drop me a line – it's essentially what I used to do for work! πŸ™‚ #KCACOLS

  32. Rachel Bustin
    April 3, 2016 / 5:05 pm

    Well done on your first birthday! I have just had mine as well. I love blogging as well. I started mine last March after I had a horrible miscarrige and wanted to take my mind off things. 1 year later I am now the proud mummy of an 8 week old baby girl. xx

    #KCACOLS

  33. April 3, 2016 / 5:05 pm

    It sounds like it's been a really busy year! I'm so with you on the to do list and the lack of time, there just aren't enough hours in the day to get it all done. I did think about going self-hosted but a) I'm a massive cheapskate, and b) I quite like the basic blogger layout – it reminds me of my misspent youth blogging on LiveJournal. πŸ˜€ x #KCACOLS

  34. April 3, 2016 / 5:34 pm

    Congrats on year 1 and I agree with a lot of your comments. I'm new having started in November 2015 I can't wait for my first sponsored post bit find approaching PR companies a daunting prospect fingers crossed it happens soon though. #kcacols lifeinthemumslane

  35. April 3, 2016 / 5:34 pm

    Congrats on year 1 and I agree with a lot of your comments. I'm new having started in November 2015 I can't wait for my first sponsored post bit find approaching PR companies a daunting prospect fingers crossed it happens soon though. #kcacols lifeinthemumslane

  36. April 3, 2016 / 6:47 pm

    Congratulations on the first year! You're doing great, all those lows come with the highs so keep at it! #KCACOLS

  37. April 3, 2016 / 6:58 pm

    I genuinely love blogging, I have been blogging for nearly 4 years in total ,but only 12 months on my current blog. Its a great community, and I still haven't had the balls to go to a big conference!!
    #KCACOLS

  38. April 3, 2016 / 8:16 pm

    Wow blogging for 6 months on your phone/tablet – amazing. Happy anniversary, sounds like you've had a brilliant year and lots to look forward to for your second x #KCACOLS

  39. Dot Makes 4
    April 4, 2016 / 8:19 am

    Congratulations on your first year! I can relate to a lot of the highs and lows! Good luck with your goals for years 2! I'm sure you'll reach them and more πŸ™‚

    Laura xx
    #KCACOLS

  40. April 4, 2016 / 7:36 am

    I can relate to lots of these highs and lows – keep going and keep up the good work! #AnythingGoes

  41. Fran Jones
    April 4, 2016 / 8:46 am

    Great post and something I can definitely relate to. Some days I wonder why I bother but then I enjoy venting and sharing and have met some lovely bloggers along the way. You're doing great! #mg

  42. April 4, 2016 / 12:16 pm

    Happy Blogiversary to you! I am coming up on my one year this summer, so there were so many things listed here in your highs and lows that i can relate to! Best wishes for your next year! First time here, visiting from #mc.

  43. April 4, 2016 / 12:31 pm

    My blog just turned 1 in February and so many of the things you have included in your lists here are similar to my experiences too. I think the most important thing I learned was to write for myself and not get too caught up in the stats. I was a little surprised to hear you regret your blog name, I love it
    Thanks for linking up to #AnythingGoes
    Debbie

  44. Reimer Ruby
    April 4, 2016 / 3:20 pm

    Happy 1st birthday Naptime Natter! I find it amazing how you managed to blog using the tablet, I have tried it when I newly started and I struggled so I ended up buying a laptop, but well done you for doing wonderfully well with it. Good luck to more years of blogging… #AnythingGoes

  45. April 4, 2016 / 3:13 pm

    Congrats on your one year of blogging! Happy Blogiversary as they say! I have had most of these same highs and lows. My worst one has been not receiving any comments on a post after I've published but it's getting better. Popping over from #mg

  46. April 4, 2016 / 5:11 pm

    Congratulations! It's such a learning curve, isn't it? I'm hopeless with tech-stuff too, so that's always the challenging bit for me as well. I used wordpress from the start and just figured out self-hosting. It was a week of being off-line and stressed but I do think it was actually worth the struggle in the long-run. Good luck with your second year! Visiting from #mg

  47. Yvonne
    April 4, 2016 / 7:22 pm

    Very much agree, blogger envy is a real thing! What a great list, good luck for the next year #AnythingGoes

  48. April 4, 2016 / 9:14 pm

    Congratulations on your 1st birthday. It is very addictive although I've cut down a lot recently, I wish I could get the balance right. Hope you get to go self-hosted, bloggers always seem to talk very positively about it, apart from the techie transfer bits.

  49. April 4, 2016 / 10:09 pm

    Happy birthday! Newbie blogger here and so many of your lows resonate with me! Your highs are amazing too, this gives me something to hold on to! #AnythingGoes

  50. April 5, 2016 / 1:08 am

    As a newbie blogger you have no idea how much this post means to me! It is so good to know the things I am feeling aren't crazy, and just this once I'm normal! Keep up the great work! #KCACOLS

  51. Savannah Noe
    April 5, 2016 / 3:18 am

    Oh wow, I tried writing a blog post on my iPad, out of pure laziness, one time and got so frustrated that I got up and grabbed the laptop! Major kudos to you for sticking with it, even on the tablet! It's so cool to see how far you've come in a year, who knows where this blog will be next spring! <3 #anythinggoes

  52. April 5, 2016 / 4:27 am

    I still feel like newbie as I am learning so much still, I have been blogging for around 18 months now. It is so addictive!! My fav things have been having creative outlet, getting holidays from blogging and meeting other wonderful bloggers who inspire me, make me laugh and have become friends. Thanks for linking up #mg

  53. April 5, 2016 / 5:47 am

    Congratulations! These sorts of posts are good ways to assess your blog and a list of your successes can keep you going during lulls.

    I know your pain of crafting something amazing only to get no bites. Sometimes it's a matter of using linkies to give them another chance or link back to them in your newer posts to tempt people to click to find more.

    Good luck!

    #mg

  54. Sarah Howe
    April 5, 2016 / 6:54 am

    Love reading these sorts of posts! You have had a busy year despite worrying about blogger and your laptop. I didn't go self hosted until almost a year and only pay 3 a month on Tso so not bad? Obviously don't your money situation etc. I did recently pay 40 for a theme but so easy to sort out myself. I wouldn't worry about tribes and stats. I find I have people I chat too and a few close blogger friends but maybe not a tribe. Stats go up and down and I often think it's time you spend on social media, following people, chatting that gets u noticed! Hard when you have a little one lol. Good luck for ur next year xx #twinklytuesday

  55. April 5, 2016 / 6:30 am

    This is a really interesting read. I've been blogging for 3 months now, but struggle to get time to write the posts as I seem to spend all my time with technical issues! The latest thing I'm struggling with not enough storage on my devices for my photos, it takes hours just to sort the photos out for one post! I'll keep at it though as its my new passion x #KCACOLS

  56. April 5, 2016 / 8:40 am

    Congrats on a year of blogging! I agree that it can be a lot of hard work and it's tough to find time to do it all, but I feel like it's worth it to have a creative outlet and 'meet' some lovely people who are going through a lot of the same things as I am. I've found the blogger community to be really supportive and a great source of advice. Good luck for year two! #TwinklyTuesday

  57. April 5, 2016 / 11:30 am

    There are definitely highs and lows in blogging. I experience a range of them every month. The community is great, the amount of work required sucks but I keep doing it!

  58. Suzi T
    April 5, 2016 / 1:31 pm

    Congrats on your first year. Your list gave me a few ideas so thanks x

  59. April 5, 2016 / 12:31 pm

    Blogging without a laptop you deserve a medal! My blogs only 6 months old and sometimes I get the why am I bothering lol but I'm addicted! #twinklytuesday

  60. April 5, 2016 / 2:45 pm

    Wow, you've achieved loads in just a year! I hope to achieve somewhere near that much but its a big ask! Well done you. Your last comment made me smile…I don't think you need to grow a pair, I think that you sound pretty ballsy already!:)

    mainy myrealfairy

    #KCACOLS

  61. Emma Dowey
    April 5, 2016 / 7:55 pm

    i can echo a lot of what you wrote! i started in september but more from a hobby pov. it sounds like you've achieved loads and you should be proud. not i just have more blogger envy haha ! #twinklytuesday

  62. Lisa
    April 6, 2016 / 8:17 am

    Isn't it wonderful to look back and reflect on the journey you've been on during your first year of blogging! I really enjoyed reading your post and I'd like to ask you a question; I'm an Australian blogger about to embark on a new venture teaching mums how to blog. It's my aim to light the blogging fire in them! With this in mind, what would you say is the most important piece of advice you personally would give to someone just starting out? I can't wait to read your answer! #mg

  63. Katy F
    April 6, 2016 / 7:36 pm

    Blogging is constantly full of highs and lows isn't it? I am almost 2 years in now and it is always a rollercoaster ride! #TheList

  64. April 6, 2016 / 7:44 pm

    Sounds like a wonderful first year; good luck in your second year.

  65. You Baby Me Mummy
    April 7, 2016 / 7:57 am

    Congratulations on your first year! I love reading how blogging has changed peoples lives. It certainly has changed mine! Thanks for linking up to #TheList x

  66. April 7, 2016 / 7:46 am

    So many good things in your first year, happy blogiversary. It's a whirlwind isn't it. I think I only pay a couple of quid a month for my hosting with TSO so it's not too bad. Thanks for linking to #PickNMix

  67. A Cornish Mum Blog
    April 7, 2016 / 8:04 pm

    A belated happy blog birthday πŸ™‚ the time flies doesn't it?! As for the blog tribe bit seriously don;t worry… I don;t do tribes I'm just nice to everyone and have made lots of good friends. I don;t want to be in one little group excluding others, that's not what I'd ever want. Well done on all you've achieved in the last year πŸ™‚

    Stevie x

  68. Sons, Sand & Sauvignon
    April 8, 2016 / 7:11 pm

    Congratulations on reaching your first year lovely! What a fab list, I am coming up to a year and can relate to so many of the things you have written here! Good luck for your next year hun! Thank you so much for linking up to #KCACOLS Hope you come back again next Sunday xx

  69. Baby Isabella
    April 11, 2016 / 6:35 pm

    We do everything on our phones too! Crazy isn't it!?! A fine line blogging for a hobby and it taking over full-time – it's addictive! Congrats on your 1 year Bloganniversary xx We love your blog name btw xx #TwinklyTuesday