5 lessons I have learnt in one year of blogging.

Oldhouseintheshires is one! I have been blogging for a whole year and I can’t believe that has gone so quickly!

In this first year of blogging I have learnt:

1.Bloggers need to be present on Social Media

I’m really enjoying blogging as I enjoy writing and creating. I don’t particularly enjoy the promotion you need to do on social media as it can be a chore; especially as I’m also working. I wasn’t on Twitter, Instagram or Stumbleupon before I started blogging so I’m proud of how these have grown; especially Twitter. I hated Twitter to start with but in 5 months I have over 2000 followers! I like to think these are people who genuinely want to interact with me. I’m not so sure about Instagram……I have only about 700 followers but these numbers tend to really fluctuate and I don’t seem to get the same genuine followers as I’ve found on Twitter. I now just use it for fun but perhaps I’m missing something here so hope to be more present on Instagram during this coming year! It may be something to do with the hashtags I use? I’m on Pinterest too but haven’t been promoting this perhaps as much as I could. In the past 3 months I have been using StumbleUpon quite a bit and really like it. It now brings me quite a lot of traffic to my site each week which is great!

2. Bloggers need to interact with people.

You may expect blogging to be lonely but I have found it to be the opposite! Bloggers are mostly really friendly and open to interact with you. I enjoy the general banter on Twitter and join in with a gardening group on a Monday night which is fun. I also enjoy reading and sharing posts from the Stumble Pod I’m in and the Linkies I join each week. There are loads of link parties to join and if you are not sure I wrote a post on some of them

3. Bloggers need to write interesting content

I know this sounds obvious but some of the posts I read are very boring….”I did this and then I did this…” These are mind numbing to read! Readers want to be engaged with the content, not hear about what you did in minute detail. I have found my most read posts are those that have a twist to the usual or are from my own point of view.
Sometimes a site I have previously loved suddenly starts to review stuff ALL the time. I understand some bloggers are trying to make a living by reviewing products but as a reader, I would like to see a mixture. I get bored easily maybe but then I guess others do too? I also think you need decent photos in your posts and these can really make a difference to the look of your blog. I use unsplash….I would be interested to hear what other bloggers use?

4. Bloggers need to know how to work the technical stuff.

I find the technical stuff tricky it has to be said! I don’t really understand coding or SEO so I have just upgraded to the WordPress business and they do all of that for me! A few months ago I tried to go self hosted, failed and almost lost all my blog so I have just admitted defeat and am letting someone else do it for me! I’m blogging as a hobby and work as a teacher so I don’t have time for the technical stuff. I need a technical PA and someone to hold my hand; WordPress does that for me. I have just added the free Yoast SEO plug in though so I am playing about with these things too.

5. I love Stats!

I enjoy looking at my Stats on my blog….haha. I enjoy seeing the numbers coming to my blog increasing so throughout the year, my aim has been to increase numbers each month. Apart from a blip in March, I have managed to increase views and visitors each month. In November I had over 4500 visitors to my blog. That may be low compared to others but I’m thrilled with that! I have now had over 28,000 readers to my blog over the year. For a hobby blogger without a real niche, that’s ok! I also got my first bout of emails from people wanting to put stuff on my blog this month. I’ve been offered reviews, adverts and articles but I’m not sure yet. I’m a bit protective of the blog!

My blogging goals for the year ahead.

I just want to carry on enjoying blogging! At the moment, I am very happy just writing and pushing the publish button! I would like to be more present on Instagram and I think I need to take a look at Pinterest again. We are in the process of trying to get planning permission and then extending the old house (which is a listed building) so that is going to take up much of my spare time. I would like to work with companies that may like reviews in exchange for home goods and services. Then there’s the teens and the job as a teacher.
I would love to know what you think of my site and how you think I can improve it. Do you enjoy reading my posts? Which are your favourites and why.
I’m ready to expand this blog even more and am open to offers for paid work. I had my first paid review this month so that was exciting!
Do you need a fabulous blog to promote your products and services?
We are about to embark of a large, oak framed kitchen and bathroom extension to the old house once we receive our listed planning consent. Do you want to join us on this journey making an old house fit for modern living?
Perhaps other bloggers could share with me their blogging know how?
Thanks for reading. Xx

5 lessons I’ve learnt in one year of blogging. Oldhouseintheshires. #blogging

My Random Musings

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Twin Mummy and Daddy
Mission Mindfulness
Monday Stumble Linky
3 Little Buttons
You Baby Me Mummy



  • Yours is a really lovely blog and I am unsurprised you are as successful as you are (and you are, believe me). Tweeting is too tiring for me but maybe. I should give it another go … I had a huge following some years ago and then closed the account. Now I have about 2 followers because I never DO anything Twitty. I guess I should understand what the groups are and see if I can join in a bit. Pinterest would surely suit your profile very well indeed and I think Instagram too. But here’s the thing – we can only do so much and unless you are seriously wanting to monétise I think maybe it gets a little much, non? I’m a dreadful blogger really I am – so erratic but I am about to engage in a 90-day habit changing exercise to try and get some continuity into my blogging. And that will probably mean pulling back from FaceBook which I do far too much of. Anyhow – there is really good advice here. I enjoyed it and have nodded my head til my neck aches! Xx

    • Oh how I love your comments Osyth! You are a very good ‘blogging’ friend my dear and I love how you are so positive. I do have a Pinterest account but its mainly school and house stuff. I do love Twitter at the moment, but like you say, its all about balance. Anyway, I am off for coffee with a friend, then off to work. Have a lovely rest of the day. xx

      • That makes me very happy …. I do believe that we need to say the good things. Coffee with a friend/work … très équilibré ma belle amie! Xx. PS: Here is a public holiday ‘le Fête des Morts’ so the city is peaceful and full of relaxed people bearing enormous chrysanthemum plants to take to those that have passed before in the graveyards. It is a lovely tradition and very much a family day. The cimetières will be full of vibrant colour for the next few weeks and I do think it is a lovely celebration of the circle of life xx

        • Oh that sounds lovely. I went to see my good friend, Sheree. Xx

          • It is and I hope you and Sheree had a gorgeous time! ☕️ ☕️ xx

  • I admit to cheating a little, when it comes to my blog, I write the content, but my son does all the technical stuff for me, my brain is recovering from a stroke, so I have a good excuse #mudpiefriday@_karendennis

    • That’s great that your son helps you. I honestly am hopeless!!

  • Hi, Sophie. Congratulations on your first year of blogging! You have done very well. I know many, including me, would be very happy with your stats. I agree with you about presence on Social Media, though find allocating necessary time difficult. In my early days of blogging I was very involved in conversations on Twitter but that time is now curtailed by time I must devote to work. I have started doing more on Facebook but haven’t done much on Pinterest, Instagram or LinkedIn. I spend more time reading and commenting on blogs and keep a record of whose blog I comment on and who comments on mine to ensure conversations go both ways. I think that is important. This is the interaction you talk about.
    Content is important too. I blog about education. My eponymous blog is more general and I join in a flash fiction prompt there once a week. The readilearn blog is specifically early childhood education in the first three years of school. I hope it’s varied enough to interest my target audience. I use unsplash sometimes too for pics, and also find Pixabay very good. I have a few other sources of images I have purchased and also have many illustrations made for me.
    I was tied to my stats in my early days of blogging but am not so concerned with them now. I prefer the conversations and the relationships that are developed rather than anonymous traffic. Whether that’s the right thing or not, I’m not sure, but it makes me less anxious about it anyway.
    I do everything myself for my NorahColvin blog, but have tech support for my readilearn website when I need it. It takes time to learn it all and make it what it should be.
    I wish you well in your second year and success in achieving your goals.
    Best wishes,

    • Oh hello lovely. Do ask me. I will always help if I can. X

  • Happy one year in blogging, yay! I’ve been a silent reader of this blog and I’m just happy for you! May I kindly note though, the photo below this post still has an “Add Text” in it. Anyway, keep blogging and entertaining us! 🌻

    • Hello Gwen! Thank you firstly for being a reader! I’m glad you like the blog. Secondly, doh! Thanks for pointing out that mistake. Xx

  • Happy first birthday! And so pleased you are so successful in your first year, I think you cover so many subjects so well, always a joy to read your pieces, funny enough have found the same thing with twitter and Instagram, just come across StumbleUpon this week so just signed up so can’t comment on how good it is for me.
    Please keep up the great writing

    • Thank you so much Thomas! I’m loving blogging although fitting it around working can sometimes be tricky. You will live StumbleUpon! In fact I will Stumble some of your posts. Also I sometimes join the Stumbleupon linky over at hooks and dragons on a Monday. I’d be interested if u see a rise in traffic. I certainly have. X

    • I’ve been to work today. Stumbled a post this am and it’s had 49 views. I have done nuffink!!

  • Congratulations on all you’ve achieved in a year! You’re so right about content, especially about blogs which become just review sites. I like a blog with soul.

  • Congratulations you have built a great blog in a year. I am still procrastinating over Instagram. I am quite a technophobe… 🌼

    • Thank you Brigid. Me too! I do like a bit of Twitter but that’s about it!! Xx

  • Wow! Go you Sophie! You have done tremendously well in a year. I would love to have that many readers to my blog and I can see why you have. You are consistent, you write fabulous stuff and your website is clear and straightforward. Am interested to know why being self hosted didn’t work out? I went SH last month and although I miss the helping hand oh of wordpress, am really enjoying the freedom. I’m rubbish at social media. I really don’t enjoy it but you’re right, it’s crucial in order to grow your blog. I think I’m signed up for stumble but I have no idea what it is. Is it just a sharing platform?
    Gosh, this is turning into a post all on its own! Keep up the great work my lovely x

    • Thank you Liz! Yes, I just don’t know what happened with the self hosting thing….maybe something to shelf for another time when I’ve got more time. You can download the StumbleUpon ap and then start reading. Basically it allows you to read other stumbled articles, posts etc. You can tune into your own interests which makes it great. Honestly, I have had 65 views today just from there. It’s easy peasy!
      Thanks for the comments. I really appreciate it. I’m very much looking forward to reading about your adventures!

  • You have done extremely well for having blogged only one year. Congratulations! I enjoy all your posts, but I haven’t followed you long enough to pick a favorite topic.

    • Thank you Anne for your kind comments. X

  • Happy blogging birthday. For me right now the biggest problem with blogging is finding the time to write my own and read others! All the best with the next year of blogging 🙂

  • I’m a new blogger as well and reading all your wonderful achievements in your first year is amazing. All the best for your 2nd year of blogging xx

    • Thank you Victoria! I’m really enjoying it. Xx

  • Congratulations and Happy Birthday 🙂 I’m so impressed at the amount of content you write and how you keep your blog so fresh and interesting xxx

    • Ah thank you lovely. I sometimes wonder if I should have one niche but I have many!

  • Happy Birthday!! I love the writing side of blogging, but not all the social media promotion behind it!! I love IG for it tells our story in pictures well, but struggle with the fickleness of followers and it fluctuates so much. Twitter seems more stable, but I can’t seem to drum up much enthusiasm on there!! 🙂

    • It’s certainly tricky! I started following a few people at a time to see if they followed me back and added like that over a few months. The genuine ones tend to Stay. X

  • In three years I have learned nothing about getting a zillion followers, going viral, or making tons of money, but I can say that the only way to get better as a writer is to read a lot and to, well, write. I’m over 300 posts in and can say that the difference between what I write now and when I started is striking. Enjoy it, take pride in your work, and remember why you do it. #thatfridaylinky

    • I agree Jeremy. My first posts were ok but I feel more confident now in my writing and I think my readers enjoy my posts. Knowing why you blog is important too. Thanks for commenting lovely 😊

  • Congratulations! I started blogging a few years back, but stopped and then picked it back up again recently. It’s definitely a lot of trial and error. I’ll have to check out StumbleUpon. Thanks for your post and happy blogging.

  • Congrats and Mazel Tov, friend! What a lovely thing to celebrate. I love stopping over at your place! Keep on keepin’ on! #thesatsesh xoxo

  • Happy blog anniversary and here is to many more to come. I think one of the most important factors as a blogger is to have a drive and learning not to compare (easier said then done). Also, really important lesson. I have learnt is to step away and have a breather now and again, you can get so bogged down in it all! X #thesatsesh

    • That’s true! Thanks for the advice. X

  • Great tips and totally right Thank you for linking to #ThatFridayLinky Please come back next week

  • I love your blog 🙂 well done on being 1! Agree completely with all these points. I’ve only been going 3 months and find it’s very hard work, but still enjoyable

    • Ah thank you Stuart. I’m sure you are more technical than me though! Keep going. X

  • I always read posts like this from behind my hands lol! I’m truly thrilled that you’re doing so well, but I’m also truly jealous! I’ve been blogging 18 months and have had nothing like your success. Admittedly I don’t join loads of linkies (I find it too stressful having to keep up with it all) and I don’t follow a ton of blogs (I don’t have the time or energy to read them all). I am constantly trying to self-promote but I’m a tad jaded with Twitter, Pinterest does absolutely nothing for my blog and IG annoys me with all the perfect pictures of children and food! I’m enjoying FB and am slowly gathering a following there. I’m now off to check out StumbleUpon, so thanks for the tip, and here’s to the next year xx

  • I can’t look at my stats, they make me crazy. I then agonize over why a post didn’t get enough love. #DreamTeam

    • Ahh poor post! LOL I know what you mean but I love STATS!!

  • I’m very happy for you and I celebrate with you – congrats! Yes, boring blogs are a waste of energy and yours is definitely not in that category!

    • Bless you Zaleina! And what a lovely name. 😍

  • Happy birthday and thank you for your wonderful insights …i’m still very new to blogging and have already come to a bit of a standstill with my blog as I have too many balls in the air right now! i’ll get back on track soon and in the meantime, i love reading your posts. All the best for year 2 x

    • Thank you so much! I know what you mean…I am juggling full time work and blogging at the moment but I am enjoying it! You’ll get back to it soon I’m sure. x

  • I LOVE reading your blog. As you’ve said before I think we come from similar standpoints so I find your posts reassuring and informative. I love your posts on primary school aged children and how to help them (from your teacher perspective) as your advice helps me with my eldest. You also write from the heart which I love too and I think we feel very similarly about our shared profession…. You’ve done so well in a year and with your job too – I don’t use stumbleupon even though I think I registered for it ages ago and really need to explore this further. Same with Pintrest. Give Instagram a chance – it’s my fave platform now after initially hating it and resisting it for ages tho it is notoriously difficult to get/keep followers! #thesatsesh xx

    • Ah thanks Hayley! Yes I agree that we are very similar (although I’m possibly 10 years older!!) I also love your blog for its positivity. Join the StumbleUpoin linky over at Hooks and Dragons as it’s wirth it I promise! Xx

  • WIshing you a sincere Mazel Tov from #Monday Stumble this time! You are so right about this community! It is really open, encouraging, vulnerable and authentic! Hard to do when we really don’t face to face – but it works. It’s by far my most favored part of the internet! xoxo

  • Happy blog birthday! I can’t believe it’s only been a year. You are doing amazingly, and I can only see you going from strength to strength in the future. You’ve learnt some great stuff along your journey, and I love that you have seen how social blogging is ( that’s my fav bit). Thank you for joining us for the #DreamTeam xx

    • Thank you for having me Annette! You were one of the first blogs I read and you have always been so kind. X

  • Happy Blogiversary. There certainly is a lot to blogging isn’t there?! I use Canva to help me with my photos. Coombe Mill recently wrote a post on SEO that looks rather helpful. As for reviews and the like it’s your blog so it’s understandable to be protective of it and I think a good mix is great. #DreamTeam

    • Thank you for your kind comment. I will definitely check out Coombe Mill’s post. X😍

  • Your blog site is beautiful and this post has really inspired me. I’m a new blogger and learning new things every day, having just set up Twitter and Instagram accounts. Now off to research StumbleUpon, something else to fry my brain!

    • Oh that’s so kind Jane! Yes, there is so much to learn for sure but keep chipping away and you will get there! Do pop back if you want to ask anything and I will try to help you. x

  • Happy blogoversary! Your stats are fantastic for your first year, way better than mine. I find twitter the easiest social media channel to get involved with and actually feel like I’m connecting with people too, and the stumble pod is a pretty fantastic group 😊. I feel like I’ve been stuck on the review treadmill a lot this past month or so and have more lined up as we approach Christmas and I have to say it is slowly sucking the life out of my blog and my love of writing. It is paying for Christmas though so i can’t complain too much and I’m sticking with it for now then making big changes in the new year!

    • Ah bless you for your kind reply, Alana! The stumble pod has made a huge difference to my stats. I just don’t have time to really put all my energies into blogging at the moment so it ticks along. Your reviews are great and you should be proud that you are making money from your blog! I’ve only just had my first review and I would love more but one step at a time! Can’t wait to see your new changes in the new year. Take care. Xxx

  • Congratulations on reaching one year, I’ve just reached one month! I hope my blog becomes as successful as yours!

    • Ah that’s so kind Jane! I love blogging and Im sure you will love it too. Do ask if you ever need any help although the tech side is still tricky for me at times!

  • Thanks for this 🙏🏻 I really enjoyed reading your blog. I have only been blogging for a month and am still figuring things out. I am glad that you are doing so well one year in. Congrats 🎉

    • Oh thank you! Do ask me any question and I will try to help. X

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