1 year blogiversary! | how my blog has changed, and a few things I’ve learned along the way

It’s Friday, and today, my book blog, turns one year old! I wanted to do something fun for it, so I decided to write a little about how my blog has changed, a few things that I’ve learned about blogging, and that’s about it! I can’t believe that it’s been an entire year, and I’m so happy with where I’ve gotten to with my blog. According to WordPress, over the past 12 months, I’ve written 185 blog posts, about all sorts of topics, my blog has had 6,609 views, and 170 people has followed my blog.

But that isn’t what makes me the most happy; because those are really just numbers. I’ve made so many friends, and I’ve discovered a whole new community of other people who love books.

So, without further ado, here is my story of my blog!

Once upon a time, 366 days ago, I pressed publish on my very first blog post. It was titled ‘All About Me’, and went like this:

I thought that before I started posting about books, I might write a little about myself and why I’ve decided to start this blog.

My name is Aria, and I love reading and writing. I like telling people about the books I read, and I thought that writing reviews would be a good way to share my opinion.

I hope that people will read my blog, and be inspired to read the books that I write about and even write their own reviews. 

I hope that you enjoyed this post and that you continue to keep reading!

as you can see, it wasn’t very long, and didn’t actually say a lot about me

You see, a few months, or maybe even a year earlier my dad had suggested I start a book blog. But writing book reviews? I did not want to do that. I thought that it would be boring, and I honestly just wanted to keep reading.

I’m not exactly sure what changed my mind. Maybe it was the book series I read about a girl who starts a sewing blog, or that I really, really, really wanted to talk about books as possible. So I made a WordPress account and put what I thought was quite a lot of effort into creating a site that made sense.

And honestly, although the blog was pretty boring and the first few posts weren’t all that impressive, it probably was a lot of work. I mean, WordPress isn’t the easiest thing, especially for someone for whom their experience of computers outside of school was mostly library desktops and learning Spanish on duolingo.

My second post, was ‘Welcome to Book Nook Bits’, and wasn’t much longer. Actually, it was quite a bit shorter.

Hi. Welcome to Book Nook Bits. My name is Aria, and on Book Nook Bits I’m going to be sharing my opinions on books I’ve read, and giving recommendations on books to read.

Thanks for visiting my blog!

I had an image in there, but I think I deleted it out of my media library when I was worried I was running out of space in the free WordPress plan. (I actually wasn’t; I just misread some things, although that happened much later.)

My third post was a little better, however. It was my very first book review, and it was my thoughts on The Wednesday Wars, by Gary D. Schmitd.

I very highly recommend this book. It is one of my favorites, and is really well written.

Wednesday Wars is a novel that covers a lot of different topics. It was written as a young adult novel, but I think that adults will enjoy it and appreciate it just as much. There are many funny parts, but even though it is an overall hilarious book, it also takes place during 1967 and 1968, and the Vietnam War is a big part of the story. Holling Hoodhood, who is the main character of this book is stuck with his teacher, Mrs. Baker, when the Catholic half of the class goes to catechism, and the Jewish half goes to Hebrew school on Wednesday afternoons. Holling is the only Presbyterian in his class, so he stays with Mrs. Baker, an arrangement that neither of them are very happy about.

Overall, Wednesday Wars is an amazing book, and if you like reading historical fiction, or reading at all, you should check it out.

I’m going also just point out that copying and pasting my first three posts is still shorter than most posts that I write nowadays. But I continued on what some might call book reviews, and wrote some more of those. And I gradually moved on to other types of posts as well. Not for a while though.

But I was still missing on something important on book blogging. Something that I think is the most amazing thing about book blogging. The community.

You see, I didn’t start my blog after having read lots of others. I didn’t realize how many book blogs there are. There are so many book blogs that I love reading, and I discover new ones every day. But I didn’t know about them. Bloghopping was a term that I didn’t know, because well, I wasn’t reading blogs that were talking about it.

But somehow, either by magic, pure luck, or that thing called the WordPress reader, people began to discover my blog. And that sounds dramatic, and although it was only a few people, maybe three or four, it felt like the most wonderful thing in the world.

And when people began to discover my blog, leaving a like or even a comment, I would look at their blog. And I discovered book blogs. Not many, but a few. From those few book blogs, I discovered more, and more, and more blogs. And I eventually began to see that book blogging wasn’t all about writing book reviews.

Book blogging, and being a part of the book community is about sharing your love of books with others, and talking about your favorite books with others, and ranting about books to others. Everyone here is so amazing and friendly, and helpful.

Book blogging is so much fun, and it got so much more fun when I discovered the community that I unknowingly dove right into when I decided to start a book blog.

Towards the end of September, about a month after I started my blog, I did a book tag. That was amazing that someone would have thought of my blog. A few days later, I participated in my very first weekly meme, a WWW Wednesday. WWW Wednesdays are actually the posts that I have participated in the most consistently, with almost 40 of them.

But there was still something about my blog that I was missing. I hadn’t really put much effort into my blog’s design, you see. I got my wordpress account, and a day later I published my first blog post. I was using the image below as my header, and if I remember right I was using the Stow theme.

The blog’s color theme was mostly oranges and reds, which honestly aren’t even my favorite colors. So, a few months later, I changed things up.

This time, I went with colors and designs that I actually liked, and I kept that for a while. But I got tired of it eventually, and so about six months ago I decided to go with the design that I’m using today! I do like it, and I don’t think I’m going to change it up anytime soon.

But as my blog’s design and the posts that I wrote were changing, so was how I was interacting with other bloggers. I was reading more blogs, I was commenting on more blogs, and my mental list of books I wanted to read was constantly growing.

So I got Goodreads. And although it took me quite a long time to figure it out, I eventually did. At the beginning of the year, on January 1st I set my reading goal, and I’ve more or less kept track of the books I read.

And I began to sort my books, and was able to look at the different types of books that I read. I noticed that my reading habits were really changing.

But I was still seeing other bloggers talking about things that didn’t make any sense. How were you ‘behind on tags’. I’d only ever done two or three. (I didn’t know how hard it is to actually keep up with that!) People had review policies where they talked about how they wouldn’t be able to accept all review requests, and bloggers mentioned that they were behind on reading ARCs.

I didn’t understand any of this, but one fine day, sometime this spring, I got a review request. And although to someone who gets them every day, that might not seem like the most amazing thing ever to happen, let me tell you that to have someone want you to review their book, it’s so amazing!.

And now, even though I’ve received multiple review copies, it still makes me so happy!

A few months ago, I think sometime in June, my blog got one hundred followers. That was incredible, and I couldn’t believe that that many people were interested in my posts.

So, my blog has changed and evolved quite a bit over the past year. And I couldn’t be happier with all of the friends I’ve made, the conversations I’ve had, and the books that I’ve been able to read.

And although I’m probably not even that qualified to, I thought I’d share a few things that I’ve learned about book blogging and from book blogging.

1 Blogging is a hobby, and it should be fun. Blogging should never be stressful, and you shouldn’t put pressure on yourself to post every day, or to spend hours and hours working. Your blog should make you happy, and you should be happy when your blogging.

2 Stats aren’t everything. It can be cool to look at them, and definitely can be satisfying, but you should not check them too much. It can make you really stressed out, and blogging is not supposed to be stressful. It’s supposed to be fun! Also, sometimes the stats in WordPress don’t make any sense. Tell me how a blog is supposed to have had 5 views that day and 8 visitors.

3 Book blogging isn’t all about reviews. Something that I didn’t know when I started blogging was that book reviews aren’t everything. Other types of bookish posts like lists, reading updates, or book tags can be so much fun to write and to read! It is also completely fine if you want to branch out into other categories!! Blogging is a hobby, and there’s no rule book of things that you have to do. Every blog is valid and amazing, and it’s going to be more fun to write if it’s making you happy.

4 Don’t be scared to comment on blogs, even if they seem big. I was terrified of commenting on what I thought was a ‘big’ book blog, but nothing bad is going to happen. Everyone in this community is so nice, and would love to chat with you!

5 And last, but definitely not at all least, is that the friends that you make in the blogging community are everything. That is something that I didn’t know when I started out, but that now I won’t ever take for granted. I’ve had so many wonderful conversations about books with so many of you, it’s amazing.

The community here is so welcoming and friendly, and I love all of you so much! So many of you have inspired me to try knew things with my blog, have been so supportive, and have been so kind.

Rukky; your blog was the first that I ever read, and you were the first blogger that I ever interacted with. You left a comment welcoming me to the blogging community on my very first post, and that one comment was one that introduced me to the fact that there even was a community out there. Your blog has been a huge inspiration to mine, and I’ve had so many amazing conversations with you about books, blogging, and historical fiction.

Jane; your blog was among the first that I read, and you were also one of the first bloggers that I talked with. The number of times we’ve ended up talking about the Penderwicks is astonishing, but it’s always fun to find another fan of a series you love!

Beck; I don’t remember exactly when or how I found your blog, but I always love reading your posts so much! Your writing is so hilarious, and your monthly book recs are always amazing. I also love chatting with you in the comments; you are always leave such thoughtful comments!

Marie; not only do you write incredible posts, you are also so engaged in the community! When I started blogging, I spend hours reading your posts. Your discussions about blogging taught me so much about the community, and blogging. I was so nervous to comment on one of your posts, but I’m so glad I did that one time because you responded with such a nice reply! I have added many books to my TBR from your posts, and I am so glad that I have been able to talk with you through comments.

Kay; I discovered your blog a few months ago, and I’ve loved it so much! Your Percy Jackson posts are so fun to read, and your blogging voice is overall hilarious. You also leave so many thoughtful comments on so many posts, and I see you all around the blogosphere.

And to everyone else who I’ve talked with; you are all so amazing, and I am so grateful that I’ve gotten to know each and every one of you! I’m so excited to keep discovering knew blogs and getting to know more bloggers!

But there is still a lot that I don’t know about blogging, and I’m so excited to keep learning more and more!

I also wanted to do something fun to celebrate this! I’ve seen this on a couple blogs where bloggers react to assumptions about them, and I though that it could be fun, and also a way for all of you to get to know me a little better! I have a google form below, and if that doesn’t show up you can fill it out right here if you want! Or, if it’s easier you can leave them in the comments!

In a few weeks, I’m going to do a post reacting to them, and I’ll see how that goes!

How long have you been blogging? What are some of your assumptions about me? Chat with me in the comments below!

28 thoughts on “1 year blogiversary! | how my blog has changed, and a few things I’ve learned along the way

  1. I’m late so happy one year and one month to your blog!!! Lovely post.

    This is the first of your posts I found and I really want to thank you for it, it’s really heartening to hear your reflections and thank you for the advice about not paying too much attention to the stats and also venturing to more than book reviews! I just started mine a little more than a week ago so this is super encouraging to see how your blog and you have grown!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. AH HAPPY BLOGOVERSARY ARIA! This is so, so incredible and I’m so happy you started blogging and have had such a great time doing so 🥰 and aww thank you so, so much for mentioning me, this means so much🥺🥺 I love your advice here, too! I was terrified of commenting on blogs when I first started and I’m so, so glad I did. I had some wonderful conversations and made some incredible friends, too!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. CONGRATULATIONS!!!! One year is such an important mark, I was overly excited to reach my anniversary! And you are completely right, blogging is a hobby, you shouldn’t worry about stats and everything else – it took me a while to wrap that around my head!!! And I LOVE OUR CONVOS!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Happy anniversary! Book blogging isn’t my niche, but I do enjoy scrolling through them to get new book recommendations, especially on less-famous titles since book bloggers read so damn much. Wishing you many more anniversaries to come!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Happy blogiversary Aria! 🥳🥳🎉 I can relate to so many of the points you made in this post, especially the one about interacting with the community. I was also initially hesitant about commenting and starting conversations with my fellow bloggers. But ever since I started interacting more, my blogging experience has become even more enjoyable! Thank you for this post Aria! 💛

    Liked by 1 person

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