While She Naps marks its 9.5 year anniversary this month. This blog has endured all these years, through all my life changes and business changes, because at its heart it is a space where I’m free to explore whatever interests me most. It’s become integral to my creative life. It’s changed as I’ve changed, but it’s also been a constant and for that I’m incredibly lucky.
Each year on a blog is different. There were years heavy with kids crafts and gardening, years spent learning to sew, years when every post was about a new bird, and, more recently, years spent building a business.
This year has been an especially productive and interesting one, I think. I published 166 blog posts in 2014. That’s slightly more than three per week. I just looked through all of them and several stand out for me.
First and foremost, the most important thing I did this year was to put a stop to what I felt was sexist behavior on the part of Alex Veronelli, the Product Manager and Public Relations Specialist of Aurifil Threads. As a direct result of my post, Aurifil scrubbed all evidence of the offending tweets, Facebook updates, and Instagram posts. Alex issued a public apology and has dramatically changed the way he behaves online for the better. This post caused enormous public debate within the sewing community and I took a lot of personal criticism for it. It was hard, but I stand by it and I’m thankful that Aurifil listened and has made significant changes in the way that they portray women in their marketing and publicity.
Next was my most popular post this year: An Inside Look at What Fabric Designers Earn. This post was important to me on two fronts. First, real financial information on this topic did not exist publicly before I published this post so I feel that it contributed significantly to a broader understanding of how the sewing industry currently functions. And second, in order to write this post the six fabric designers I spoke with had to trust that I would protect their identity and write about this topic in an evenhanded way. I feel like I achieved both of those goals and was able to share what they told me while still showing respect for each of them as a professional.
Related to that post, I wanted to share this screenshot with you. These are my most popular blog posts of all time. (This is not entirely accurate because the statistics only began recording in May when I moved my blog to WordPress from Typepad, but still it does include all 1,349 of my blog posts.)What I think is most interesting to note here is the mix between free patterns and investigative pieces. Free patterns are three of the top five most popular posts and seven of the top ten. Free wins for sure. But there are three posts in the top ten that do not consist of a free pattern. For me this proves that if you have a well-researched article on a topic that’s highly relevant to people in your niche you can attract the same level of interest as a free pattern. Hooray.
And one further thought about the fabric designers post. After reading a draft, one of the designers I spoke to said, “I can bet this will be the most shared, linked and talked about article in this industry.” She was right. On an average day my blog gets between 2,500-5,000 pageviews. Here’s what the stats looked like on the day I published the post, and on the day after.
That’s the most visits my blog has ever had and is the closest anything I’ve ever written has come to “going viral.”
Those were my two heavy hitters, but in order to arrive at post topics that have the level of impact that these two posts had you have to write dozens of other posts, week in and week out. Those other ones are just as important, if not more so. They show that you’re reliable and trustworthy, they help you connect one by one with readers of all kinds, and they help you sort through what you’re seeing so that you can compose new, original ideas.
My favorites of the regular posts this year include:
- How Social Media Can Humanize Your Brand: A Case Study of McCall’s (in which I discovered McCall’s fictional online persona, Meg Carter)
- Should You Write Sponsored Posts on Your Craft Blog? (in which I turned down a $300 Micheal’s gift card because it would have required me to write a boring post about their new store layout)
- Where Do Bloggers Fit Among Established Sewing and Crafting Institutions (in which I realized that CHA and Quilts, Inc. are dealing with bloggers in very different ways)
Among the posts that got the most engagement this year were my quarterly income reports with an average of 50 comments on each. Publishing these numbers was a bit risky, especially in the 2nd Quarter when revenue was down, but I’m so glad I did it. I’ve gotten dozens of emails from readers saying that these reports were what finally gave them the courage to start a creative business. That’s fantastic. Someone had to say the numbers out loud and I’m glad I was brave enough to do it.
As I learn more about the crafts industry as a whole, all sorts of new article topics occur to me. There’s a lot more to explore!
Thank you so much for reading and participating in the conversation here this year. I’m truly grateful.
I think that’s so awesome that Aurifil changed their ways (even if they were somewhat defensive, if I remember correctly). Do you find that your favorites matched up with the most popular according to traffic? and/or comments? Just curious! My posts are usually more project/tutorial based but I am surprised by a few that I loved/was proud of vs. what consistently got attention/shared/visited.
Sometimes my favorites do align with the popular favorites, but often the things I think are the coolest and most crazy or fascinating are not the things anyone else really cares about. Those are the things I talk to my husband about constantly. Often they don’t ever make it onto the blog, or if they do they’re just sorta buried inside another post. Free patterns are the top posts all the time and I truly don’t get too excited about them. They’re nice marketing pieces, but they don’t get me fired up, and yet they are the things that everyone shares.
Abby, I love your blog and the mix between business and crafts. My business is not in the craft industry ( that’s my hobby) but many of your business posts are applicable to other businesses and as a business major I find it interesting.
Personally, my favorite post was about Jewish themed fabric. :).
I hope you had a nice Chanukah.
Thank you so much for reading, Annette! We had a very nice Chanukah.
Carol g says
Thanks for the look back at alex veronelli. I hadn’t realized he responded on FB. Sad that most of the commenters didn’t seem to get it. I can’t imagine that if we treated our clients/vendors/consultants that way that we’d be in business long. And thanks for the tip on the Wellesley greenhouse. Funny, I drive by it every day!
wow, interesting new years post!! (although i’d love to see your favorite outfit of the year too, like the last blog in my feed 😉 I just read the 3rd quarter report and found it fascinating. It made me think that you could probably combine your two ‘careers’ of teaching and this blog in a form of a college course or seminar. just thought I’d throw that out there if you were thinking of diversifying!
I’m afraid my favorite outfit would be a disappointment (I sorta live in jeans and a sweater).