blogging

December Favorites – the Highs and Lows of 2016!

* This post may contain a few affiliate links.

December Favorites - smiling notes

You guys!! 2016 is over!! How did you celebrate the holidays? Did ya’all eat like there’s no tomorrow? I think I must have eaten so much that I must have like doubled my weight.

As far as blogging is concerned, 2016 was indeed a great year. I switched to self-hosting via Bluehost – something that I wanted to for a looong time.

My Goal for 2016 was to increase traffic to my blog, increase my social media presence and finally start earning some money from my blog! I mean, when you put in your time and energy into it, it’s only fair that you get paid for it. I applied to a few ad networks as well as blogger networks. I also did sponsored posts for the first time ever through Linqia and Social Fabric!

For my December Favorites, I’m basically sharing everything that I have loved in 2016 in terms of blogging –

What helped me to achieve my blogging goals?

Pinterest and Stumbleupon have been a great source of traffic for me this year. I attended a couple of awesome webinars as well as did a few email courses that taught me how to improve my blog.

Pinterest Group Boards can really help to boost your traffic. Initially, I was part of just 5 or 6 Pinterest Group boards, but now I’m a part of almost 25-30 Group boards. While I got invited to join a few of them, for the rest, I searched Pinterest group boards in my niche (i.e. Food and travel) and sent a message to the owner of the board requesting to be a part of their group board. 

Webinars and Courses I loved –

In 2016, I took a couple of amazing Webinars and courses from awesome bloggers around the globe. Like I said, I wanted to focus on increasing my email list as well as traffic.

  • Penney Fox’s Facebook group and webinars are great when it comes to showing you how to improve your Pinterest presence.
  • Alison Marshall’s various webinars on How to grow your email list, how to improve your blog etc. have also helped me to gain a better insight on how to manage my blog.
  • Saira from Mom Resource has an excellent twitter course that has helped to increase my twitter presence. She gives a lot of tips that are easy to follow and how you can make every tweet count!
  • International Bloggers Association (IBA) has been a great resource when it comes to improving your blog content and social media presence.
  • I have also benefited a lot from a few Facebook groups. They are not just about promoting your content but also about learning more from other bloggers – what their goals are, how they achieve their goals, what challenges they have faced and how they overcame them.
  • I also started co-hosting a weekly link up party – the Family Joy Blog Link-up party (which I’m sure ya’ll must be aware of if you follow my blog lol) It has definitely helped to increase my network.

Related: What I Learned in my First Year of Blogging

How to Start a Blog in 5 Super Simple Steps!

What didn’t work?

I signed up on Shareasale – which is an affiliate program for various retailers but haven’t really worked hard towards it. That’s why the income from Shareasale has been negligible. But I have read many bloggers have benefitted a lot.

I also experimented with a couple of ad networks (still experimenting) and finally decided to let go of Swoop and Infolinks as I figured they weren’t working for me as of now. You don’t want to stick to an ad network and give your precious blog space just to earn a few cents. Currently, I’m happy with Gourmet Ads and I’m planning to stick with them.

Final Thoughts on Blogging

I’ve always said that blogging is an ongoing learning process. If you are serious about your blog, there are tons of blogging resources out there. However, not all blogging strategies might work for you. What might work for some, may not work for you. But that does not mean you should give up hope. I firmly believe in trying everything until you find what works for you.

Great Content and being consistent is key. It may take a little while, but if you are passionate about what you do, I’m sure you will reach your goal!  Let’s end 2016 on a strong note and hope that 2017 is amazing!

Here are my top 10 Blog posts of 2016 that were loved and shared the most! Thank you so much for being a part of everything that I have done this past year! I love my blog fam!!

No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls

no bake chocolate peanut butter balls

Healthy Avocado Chicken Lettuce Wraps

 

Healthy Avocado Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Candy Corn Fruit Parfaits

 

Candy Corn Fruit Parfaits

How to Have Stress-Free Holidays with Oven Ready Turkey + 2 Easy Side Dishes!

How to have stress-free holidays with oven Ready Turkey and 2 Easy Side Dishes

DIY Easy Push Pin World Map Wall Art

DIY Push Pin World Map Wall Art

Healthy Apple Pie Oat Pancakes

Healthy Apple Pie Oat Pancakes

3-Ingredient No-Bake Peanut Butter Oat Bars

No Bake Peanut Butter Oat Bars

12 Free and Fun Things to do in Fall

Free and Fun Things to do during Fall

Easy Stovetop Granola

homemade granola

Easy-Cheesy Hasselback Chicken

hasselback chicken

Were you able to achieve your 2016 goals? What helped you to achieve them? I would love to hear from you!

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XOXO

Smiling Notes

 

 

20 Comments

  • Reply

    Erika Kind

    December 30, 2016

    It is true, we all have different purposes or ideas what we want to share. Also we are not feeling the same about everything. So we all need to find our own blogging way which makes each blog so special and unique. It is part of the blogger’s personality. You are a great blogger, so supportive and a kind, Shamira! Have a Happy New Year!

    • Reply

      smilingnotes

      December 30, 2016

      You are right, Erika. And you too are an awesome and wonderful blogger with a very kind heart. Your posts are truly inspiring and I always look forward to them. Have a Happy and healthy New Year!!

      • Reply

        Erika Kind

        December 30, 2016

        We are having such a great community. We all inspire each other which makes the blogging experience so much more beautiful😊Enjoy the celebration tomorrow and all good things for you and your loved ones💖

        • Reply

          smilingnotes

          December 30, 2016

          Indeed! The blogging fam is truly supportive and inspirational. Have a wonderful time my dear 💕😘

          • Erika Kind

            December 31, 2016

            Thank you, you too 😘💖

  • Reply

    Lifestylebites3

    December 31, 2016

    What a fantastic year you had! And also, wishing you a wonderful new year

  • Reply

    Tanja

    January 1, 2017

    happy 2017!

  • Reply

    Nihar Pradhan

    January 1, 2017

    Beautiful written and presented…wishing you a wonderful year ahead 2017 and lots of joy with your lovely food for thought posts…
    Let your thoughts take your food to new heights…

    Keep writing such spread of thoughts and keep smiling…
    😀

    • Reply

      smilingnotes

      January 2, 2017

      Thanks a lot for your wishes and your inspiring words, Nihar. Wish you a very happy and successful 2017 too!!

  • Reply

    artistbybeauty

    January 4, 2017

    Wonderful post 🙂 🙂 Noted some great tips from you dear <3 <3 The no-bake chocolate peanut butter balls look so yummy. I wish you a successful 2017 x x

    • Reply

      smilingnotes

      January 4, 2017

      Glad you liked my post, my dear. Thanks a lot! Wish you a happy new year!

  • Reply

    youthfoodblog

    January 7, 2017

    Wonderful collections! Happy New Year!

  • Reply

    Happy 2017!

    Can’t wait to see what you have for us in this coming year 🙂

    -Wendy

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