A review of 2016 – Empfire

20th December 2016

A review of 2016 - Empfire

A review of 2016 - Empfire

As another year draws to a close it’s time for me to look back at the last 12 months on my blog and reflect.

Ironically, just a week ago I was filled with so much self-doubt that I felt disappointed with my blog. I even expressed my feelings on Twitter.

I had that thought that I think many other bloggers will have had at some point during their time blogging:

“Why am I doing this?”

But you know what? After words of encouragement from some of my online friends, and after looking through my blog archives, I realised that all was not as doom and gloom as I thought it was.

I found posts that I’d published this year that I felt really proud of. I found posts that I had poured my heart and soul into, many of which my readers connected with and that sparked conversations. I found posts that I had completely forgotten about, but that gave me so much joy to read back.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from blogging in 2016 it’s that it really doesn’t matter how many people read my posts. What matters to me is the connection I have with my readers. The conversations, the support, the friendships.

Oh, and the fact I enjoy writing this blog, taking photographs, and just sharing my life with others online. That’s important too!

Anyway, sentimental rambles out the way. Let’s crack on with this review…

My favourite posts from 2016

 My top 10 favourite posts that I wrote and shared on the blog this year are:

  1. Age is just a number
  2. My struggle with reading, writing and spelling
  3. When people disappear from the internet
  4. “You don’t look disabled”
  5. We’ve come so far
  6. Missed opportunities and saying “Yes”
  7. Travel Diary | Bjerkøy & Tønsberg, Norway
  8. Becoming an organ donor
  9. What to expect from a Victoria’s Secret bra fitting
  10. Childhood travel adventures (part 1 & part 2)

Your favourite posts from 2016

These are the top 10 posts published in 2016 based on views:

  1. My favourite planner from Muji
  2. One Line A Day: A Five-Year Memory Book
  3. Writing blog posts that spark conversations
  4. The Weekend Blog | Moving on
  5. My thoughts on blogging…secret blogging
  6. My favourite podcasts to listen to
  7. MCM Comic Con Liverpool 2016
  8. My Instagram Pet Peeves
  9. Meeting Georgie
  10. Trust Flow & Citation Flow

Blogging events and collaborations

This year I went to just one blogging event, which was the Jet2holidays event in Manchester. I just didn’t get invited to that many events this year, and I think I fell out of the Liverpool blogging loop so I only heard about events after they’d taken place.

I don’t feel too disheartened to be honest. Because of my anxiety I find that blogging events can be quite draining, and as I mentioned in my 2015 blog review I’m only really interested in attending blogging events like workshops where I have the opportunity to learn something new.

However, I got to meet up with Anca and Katy for a coffee earlier in the year, and of course I met up with Georgie when she was in Liverpool, so I haven’t been a total socially awkward penguin this year!

In terms of collaborations I think I only worked with two or three brands this year. Again, as I mentioned in my 2016 blog review, I’d been thinking about giving up on working with brands as I’d had more negative experiences that positive ones.

But I didn’t give up, and instead I just became more selective over who I did work with and I’m happy to say that although I only worked with a couple of brands they were all great experiences.

Changes I planned for 2016

Back in January I shared a post about some changes I wanted to bring to the blog in 2016.

One of the main changes I wanted to implement was bringing more of a personal focus back to the blog, and just by looking at the list of favourite posts as well as the most popular posts, this was a great success. Personal posts are by far my favourite write and they always seem to be enjoyed by others.

I also planned on switching my main domain extention to .co.uk but I just didn’t have the time to sort out all the behind the scenes stuff. And to be honest, I’m not really in any rush as I read a post a little while ago about how your domain extension doesn’t actually affect your site rank, which is interesting to know.

I did plan on putting a new theme this year but again, life just got in the way and I didn’t have the time. However, it is built, and will be ready to go live in January but there are just some final tweaks I want to make to it before I reveal it to the world.

So stay tuned for that!

If your a blogger too, what have been your blogging highlights in 2016?

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  1. I’m so glad we met for a coffee, I hope we can do that again next year. I feel the same thing with the events in Liverpool, I find out about a lot of them after it happened.
    It’s a shame you had less than nice collaborations with brands. I think this year was the best one regarding working with brands and it was fab (most of the times).

    I can’t wait to read your posts from next year. xx

    • Holly

      Yes, I would love to meet up again!

      I think there’s some secret club in Liverpool that we aren’t members off and so we don’t know about these events!!

  2. Susanne

    I’m so curious to see your new theme! Did you do it all from scratch?

    My blogging highlight this year has been not blogging.
    But really, the real thing has been this autumn. I took a break from nursing and started working in my husband’s IT business, to set up & maintain websites, and do layout jobs and some photography. Quite soon after I started, we received a young man to the office who would do some kind of trainee period to get some work experience. I was asked to be his mentor-ish (after one month and almost no programming skills LOL) and since we had no idea what his knowledge was, I asked him to do some simpler things with PHP and Javascript, so that we would know what his competence level was.. and very soon I realised that this guy was brilliant, and that he would likely be able to add the functionality I needed to a small, nice, non-Wordpress CMS that I wanted to use. I asked him to check the code and see if he could build a commenting system. And voilà… he built it in a week and a half. With tons of different functions and A LOT better than Disqus and whatnot.
    He also built a brilliant photo gallery script and a WordPress theme with built-in functions (no more unnecessary plugins). Now he’s moved on to the “heavier” stuff, with the web applications the other programmers are working with, and he will soon be hired. And I’m so glad he’s here! It’s the fact that he did the trainee thing and could do work that didn’t have to bring in money right away (since it didn’t cost us anything to have him here) that he could do these things.

    So actually – the most important blogging highlight for me this year has been to have this programmer guy here, and it’s actually only because of his skills and scripts he helped me with, that I’m now blogging again.
    I’m sorry for my rambling and a super long comment… 🙂

    • Holly

      Yes, I did! I’m not a designer though so it probably isn’t that great to look at but it functions so well and no longer have to use the default WordPress mobile theme. Yay!

      That sounds amazing! He must be a pretty talented guy to build a comment system in such a short space of time. I’d love to be able to do that some day!

  3. I might have to pick your inner web designer/technical brains one day over a brew. I managed to see you this year 🙂 Definitely not a socially awkward penguin. Will be exciting to see what changes 2017 bring 🙂 Happy Christmas x

  4. Amy

    Congrats on doing so much this year! I loved your “saying yes” post, it was definitely something that resonated with me. I’ve missed out on things so many times for various reasons, so reading that really helped.

    I’ve never been to any blogger events or met any bloggers in person. Maybe I should make that a goal for this year! I’m so socially awkward though, it would not go well.

    My highlight of the year has been managing to stick with it for the whole year. I used to have 6 month gaps between posts, so it’s great to say that I’ve posted regularly pretty much all year.

    Looking forward to the new theme!

    • Holly

      Thank you! I’m glad you liked that post.

      As I say, I often find blogging events quite draining because of my anxiety. Sometimes they’re fine and I find bloggers who I’ve met before and just tag along with them. But going to an event where I don’t know anyone is terrifying. I’d say give it a go!

  5. Chynna

    Yes! Yes! Yes! I think with all that has happened in 2016, it got me down, which in turn affected my blogging. There were many points during the year where I was like “Why am I doing this?”, as well, and that’s why my blogging was so in and out this year. I’m glad that you got your mojo back, though. Online friends are da best <3

    "What matters to me is the connection I have with my readers" – THIS.

    I also fell out of the London blogging loop. Partly because I was so busy with work, so I couldn't make it to events and so I just stopped getting invited to most of them. Like I was blacklisted or something, LOL. Honestly, not to bothered because some London bloggers can be supper snotty and that makes me uncomfortable :/

    I'm so jealous you got to meet Georgie! She's amazing <3

    Looking forward to your theme 🙂 I guess the one blogging highlight of 2016 are my travel posts, but that's about it realllyyyyyyy! I'm hoping to blog more in 2017, so fingers crossed 😀

    • Holly

      It’s good to hear that others feel the way I’ve been feeling. It’s been a tough year.

      Oh my god, I thought I’d been blacklisted as well! Perhaps events are dying out?

      I totally get what you mean about bloggers who make you feel uncomfortable. I went to a blogging event in Liverpool and this girl became really attached to me. She told me I was her best friend and hugged me when I left. Then she unfollowed me on all social media. I was like “What the f**k?!”. I actually fear going to events in Liverpool because what if she’s there?!!

  6. I love blogging as it allows me to share my thoughts in public in a place other than Facebook. Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to blog much in 2016 due to time constraints. 🙁

    • Holly

      Haha I share nothing on Facebook! My 2016 yearly review thing was just blank!

      Finding time to blog can be so challenging.

  7. LOL AT NUMBER NINE FOR MOST VIEWS!!! I am laughing. 😀 This year has been great for your blog and personally I feel like I have also connected with your blog a little more closely than in previous years. And coming from me, I have also honestly noticed improvement in your writing. I’m not sure how I can detail it, but it’s the same sort of feeling I get when I look at old posts of my own and compare them with posts I write now. More flourished, less “waffling”, you can tell I think about my posts more now than just banging something out. And yeah, I feel the same way about yours.

    I would say go for the .co.uk – I also read and asked advice from others who were more experts in the field, and they said changing my URL to heygeorgie.co wouldn’t make so much a difference as long as I redirected the posts to the right URL. Also, isn’t there just a “.uk” without the “.co” now? 😀

    I don’t have anxiety but I am so introverted that meetups and hangouts can be really draining for me as well. It’s honestly an effort to go to even one meetup a month and for you to have gone to one this year, but met up with other bloggers, is awesome and an achievement regardless. 🙂

    Also I just realised I hadn’t heard of MUJI when I read your post about your planner but I went to the store here last month and got obsessed with their storage boxes!! OMG.

  8. I’m so excited to see more personal blogs in the new year 🙂 Congrats on everything you’ve achieved this year Holly! I love seeing your blog grow!

  9. Elisa

    ah, that phase. we’ve all been there, haven’t we. it’s also one of the many reasons why i kept changing my URL (thankfully, i’m settling down with this down!), my host and even my CMS. i’ve always been fickle when it comes to names and such and i get bored so easily so it’s also another reason to that.

    not gonna lie, as a blogger, i get very happy when people read what i wrote and even commented on it. i don’t always reach out to other bloggers because that makes me really anxious sometimes — i just don’t have the courage and i don’t know why so when someone actually visits my blog, reads my post and took the time to comment, it makes me really happy. i like writing posts for myself because i believe that a blog has to contain genuine posts that the blogger wants to write but sometimes, i do think of posts like “what should i write in order to attract people?” but i won’t let that get in the way of how i want my blog to be and that is to be MY place written by ME and from MY perspective. does that make sense? i’ve always thought people who can make a living out of blogging are so lucky. that kind of success is really fun and interesting for me and it’s a lie if i say i never thought about wanting to reach that goal. BUT that doesn’t mean i’ll write posts for other people. i’ll stick to my integrity and if my blog gets a lot of publicity, then good but if it’s not, it’s fine. because in the end, my blog is my space. like you said, it doesn’t really matter how many people read my blog; for those who have read my blog, i’m deeply grateful because hey, i don’t think i write interesting stuff so for people to actually read my blog… wow amazing haha. in the end, i guess we never stopped blogging because we actually like writing — at least that’s how it is for me. i also like how i get to discover cool blogs and bloggers.

    congrats on the collabs and meet-ups though. i’d never be able to do that since i have such insecurity and anxiety that i think i’m not a worthy “blogger” like other people out there, haha.

    i can’t wait to see the new blog theme! also, changing to .co.uk sounds a lot more professional imo and i like the sound of it! i don’t know why but it just sounds much more…serious and professional and overall awesomely official 😀

    i’m not sure what’s my blogging highlights this year but i guess, if i have to, i start discovering more cool blogs to follow, i start using bloglovin even more and actually taking care of it — as in, follow some blogs, save some useful posts, etc etc. i also post a lot more often and regularly now as opposed to how… bland and uninspired i was before. i just hope i can keep up the blogging schedule even though i know blogger should update and post based on their pace.