2018 Blogging Year in Review

This complete look at a blog as a business highlights statistics, social media accounts and activity, and revenue for 2018. Come see how Lamberts Lately made money last year!

This complete look at a blog as a business highlights statistics, social media accounts and activity, and revenue for 2018.  Come see how Lamberts Lately made money last year!

I absolutely love sitting down to write the post you're about to read! Every year, I look at the good (and not-so-good) things that happened with my little blogging business over the past year. It's incredibly helpful (and fun for nerds like me 😉) to compile all of the stats from the previous year to see what I can do better moving forward.

(You can take a look back at past years here.)

As I mentioned last year, the actual blog is only a small part of the whole Lamberts Lately picture now. Yes, it is kind of the main hub of Lamberts Lately – but I also have an ever-growing email list, a Facebook page and group, several other social media accounts (more on those below), and an entire selection of digital products. I've fine-tuned all of these over the past year to serve our business the best they can…sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't. Let's take a look at how the sausage is made! 🙂

Blog

First and foremost…the blog. Here's what my page view chart (via Google Analytics) looks like for 2018…

It's not the end of the world, but page views did go down this past year. Mostly, I attribute that to an exceptionally good 2017…my Instant Pot posts rolled out that year and caught on like wildfire. They still had a lot of traction in 2018, but not quite as much (because of lots of different factors – changing Facebook group algorithms, age on the posts, etc.)

Here are my previous few years for reference…


I am pleased with the overall upward curve of the visitors over the past few years, in spite of a slight downturn last year. I'm also really happy with the spike you see in traffic for the first quarter of 2018 – it really shows that the work I've put into organization-type posts is paying off!

Email

Next, let's take a look at the second biggest factor in my business – my email list.

This chart is a little deceiving – if you look at January vs. December, it looks like it hasn't grown at all. But, in March, I cleaned out a huge number (almost 10,000) of cold subscribers from my email list. I really wanted to focus on an engaged list this year, rather than just having high numbers. Plus, email lists are expensive for bloggers – even if you're not opening an email, I have to pay for you to be on the list. it saved me almost $700 this year to clean subscribers off of my list who weren't going to open the emails anyway.

I'm so glad I cleaned the list…it immediately improved open and click rates so much! This is something I'm planning on doing again in a couple of months.

You can see 2017 and 2016's email stats below…

2017
2016

Social Media

 
Of all of my business areas, I'd say that social media has seen the most growth in 2018! I made a huge mistake early on of not really nurturing a couple of my blog social media accounts – namely, Instagram and Facebook. I've been working hard on those accounts for a couple of years now, and it's paying off!
 
 
My Instagram is definitely the biggest mover and shaker this year. I started last year with 6,000 followers – I'm currently sitting at 11,200 followers. It's a slow and steady growth that does require work and interaction, but it is working! I've had a couple of sponsored Instagram campaigns and will occasionally post an affiliate link in stories (now that I'm at 10,000 followers), so I've seen some return on this area, but I'm mainly still focusing on growth.
 
 
 
 
Facebook has seen some growth, but most of it's huge expansion was last year (when my Instant Pot posts were really taking off on Facebook). I've gone from 12,400 likes in January 2018 to 13,500 now. I still see a decent amount of traffic from Facebook as well.
 
 

And my favorite account, Pinterest, has seen a good bit of growth this year too. I went from 16,800 followers in January 2018 to 22,700 followers now. More importantly, 67% of my blog traffic came from Pinterest!

As you can see, social media plays a huge role in my blog – I want to keep nurturing these accounts over the next year. I'm also going to be focusing on producing content that gets to the most viewers. You've probably heard before that battling algorithms on social media is the biggest challenge. I'm really focusing on understanding algorithms over the next few months to see how it can work for my platform.

Products

 
Alright, this is probably the area that most of you are interested in – yeah, it's great that you have all these numbers, but what kind of money are you making from it? Let's take a look!
 
 

I added several new products to the Lamberts Lately line-up this year, but the Year of Intent is probably my biggest new addition. This is my comprehensive collection of planner printables that lets you design a planner that suits your needs – and, so far, people has responded wonderfully to it! It's sold over a hundred copies so far (and growing, now that Journey to Clean coordinates with it). I even updated it to include calendars for all of 2019 recently.

 
 
Speaking of Journey to Clean – it continues to be the #1 product in my line-up. The 2018 version sold almost 1,300 copies and spurred a kind of spin-off edition, Journey to Clean Light, that performed really well in my test launch this past summer. It was such a success that I released a full light edition along with the 2019 Journey to Clean this past December. The 2019 edition is currently at about 300 copies sold (with over 100 of those purchasing the light edition as well).
 
 
And, last but certainly not least, let's take a look at my Freezer Meal Boot Camp packs! These sold almost 700 copies last year alone. I also introduced a lifetime membership late in 2018 that allows users unlimited access to all of my boot camp packs, present and future. It performed way beyond my expectations, producing 60 sales so far. I'm planning a few boot camp launches this year, including one (hopefully) later this month!

All said and told, my product revenue saw incredible growth this past year. It saw an increase of 58% from 2017. A lot of hard work went into this increase and I'm so pleased with the result!

 

Overall Revenue

Alright, to sum it up – my overall blog revenue went down (just slightly) from 2017. This includes ads, affiliate links, (a very small number of) sponsored content pieces, and product revenue. (You can see more detail about the ways I make money off of my blog here.) All said and told, I saw about a 6% overall decline. That's pretty much on par with my decline in visitors, so it makes total sense.

I'm not necessarily upset about this. I intentionally decreased sponsored content in 2017 and 2018. I've really been trying to focus on sponsors that fit my niche and will add value to my blog this past year, which meant saying no to a lot of monetization opportunities.

One thing that still does kind of have me stumped is my affiliate revenue, namely in my stocking stuffer posts. My revenue from those (which makes up a decent amount of my overall yearly affiliate revenue) was cut almost in half this year…and I've honestly yet to figure out why. Views were slightly down, but clicks were way, way down this year. I only barely edited the posts from last year (just updated broken and old links), so I'm still working through what happened. Hopefully I'll have something to report soon – I'm trying to figure it out ASAP so my Easter basket posts aren't affected.

If there's one thing I've found over the years, it's that blog revenue sources will constantly change. I try to never get too dependent on one category of revenue with the blog, because before you know it, that area will fall off. Instead, I try to keep my revenue sources as diverse as possible – that's been one of my tricks to keeping this blogging business going as long as it has!

Top Posts

Every year, I love to look back at the top posts of the year. Here's the line-up for 2018!

101 ideas for baby's first Easter basket. These ideas range from ideas for newborn babies to early toddlers, and there are ideas for both boys and girls.
 

10. 101 Ideas for Baby’s First Easter Basket – 34,818 visits in 2018

 
 
9. My Secrets for Cleaning LVP Flooring – 36,627 visits in 2018
 
 This is a great collection of some of the best stocking stuffer ideas for a toddler or preschooler - lots of educational and practical ideas!  Great for 1-5 years old and has ideas for both boys and girls.
 
8. 101 Stocking Stuffers for a Toddler – 37,049 visits in 2018
 
101 Unique Stocking Stuffers for Women...huge list of different gift ideas for a woman, broken into categories (crafter, beauty guru, athlete, etc.). Great resource!
 

7. 101 Unique Stocking Stuffers for Women – 45,506 visits in 2018

 
Instant Pot Freezer Meals || Freezer Meal Boot Camp || Electric Pressure Cooker || Easy Recipes || Simple Dinners || Food || Ground Beef || Chicken || Pork || Pressure Cooking || Printable Freezer Meal Labels
 

6. Mini Instant Pot Freezer Meal Boot Camp – 48,855 visits in 2018

 
 
5. Homemade Instant Pot Cinnamon Rolls – 52,012 visits in 2018
 
 
This is one of the best ideas for a DIY Christmas Tree Topper I've ever seen! She uses a plastic cup as a base...such an inexpensive project!
 

4. My DIY Tree Topper – 63,864 visits in 2018

 
This set of 10 clean instant pot freezer meals is awesome! Includes free printables (including freezer labels and a grocery list) and instructions to prep the meals yourself. Includes chicken and beef recipes for pressure cooking.
 
 
Instant Pot Freezer Meals || Freezer Meal Boot Camp || Electric Pressure Cooker || Easy Recipes || Simple Dinners || Food || Ground Beef || Chicken || Pork || Pressure Cooking || Printable Freezer Meal Labels
 

2. The Original Instant Pot Freezer Meal Boot Camp – 183,732 visits in 2018

 
 
 
There you have it, friends! The good, bad, and the dirty from 2018. Each year has some successes and some failures – 2018 was no different. I'm hoping to learn from those and make 2019 my best year of blogging yet!

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2 Comments

  1. Leslie,

    I honestly have not tried to purchase via your affiliate links. However, I have tried to purchase other blogger’s affiliate links. It will let me add to an Amazon cart, but cannot complete the transaction because it continually disappears. Maybe try checking the vendor or affiliate links?

    Laura

    1. Hmm – definitely something to check into. Thanks for letting me know!