2018: The year in review

Happy new year, blog friends. As 2018 winds to a close, I’m taking a look back on some of my blog highlights from the past year.

This is probably going to be a pretty short post because the blog was collecting cobwebs for much of the year whilst I was busy doing real-life stuff: school, work, remodeling our bathroom, planning for our son’s wedding in June, etc.

My son and daughter-in-law with my two grandkitties

Here’s a picture of my son and daughter-in-law and my two new grandkitties. Aren’t they just the most adorable couple? The humans are kinda cute, too.

Anyhoo, in between all the schooling and working and wedding planning and such, I squeezed in a little time for the blog. The biggest thing I did was update my site and move it to WordPress over the summer. Even though it didn’t result in any new content, setting up the new site and re-formatting all the old posts was a huge time suck.

Then right after I finished the update, I took a class in digital design and learned the right way to build a website. Next time I attempt an undertaking like this, I should probably take the class first, before I blindly plow ahead and try to figure things out on the fly.

My favorite posts

As for posts in 2018, my personal favorites were …

White chalk-painted wicker wreath with newspaper chicks and flowers

… my newspaper chicks wreath, which I wrote about in April.

Black and white chalk-painted address sign by Wisconsin Magpie

… the home address sign that I painted in March.

Turkey assemblage made from metal and aluminum kitchenware and garden trowel feet

… the two turkeybots I created (with a little help from my husband) before Thanksgiving, including one I made from a bundt pan and a vintage juicer

Turkey bot assemblage made of thrift-store junk

… and one I made from an old funnel, apple slicer and coffee basket.

bathroom with white wood walls, subway-tiled shower stall and red accents

I was also kind of partial to the posts I wrote about our new, improved downstairs bathroom.

Your favorite post

Hands-down my readers’ favorite post of 2018 was the one about my woven rope wreath.

Sisal rope woven wreath

Technically, the post was published in December of 2017, but I’m counting it among this year’s offerings because it was literally my most-viewed post every single day in 2018.

Photos from that post have been shared thousands of times on Pinterest, and based almost entirely on that one wreath, Pinterest has become by far my biggest referrer (where most of my blog traffic comes from).

Screen shot of wisconsinmagpie.com Pinterest pins showing pictures of woven sisal rope wreath

I’ve had a few posts that have captured a bigger-than-average audience before, but this one blew them all away — and has actually made it fun to read my blog analytics.

Every time I notice a bump in pageviews, I put on my Sherlock Holmes hat and investigate. Usually what I discover is that that my rope wreath post got shared by a bigger blog or website. In the last couple weeks, for example, the post was shared by a Canadian lumberyard, an Arizona blogger and a digital design magazine, and I’ve been getting referral traffic from all three. (And if any of those publishers are reading this now, thank you!)

I’ve also gotten a ton of emails from random people asking questions about the wreath. Apparently my directions lacked a few key details, like how much rope it took, what size of rope I used and how big my wreath frame was. For the record, the answers are 50-ish feet, 1/4-inch and 12 inches, and, for the millionth time, here’s a link to the rope I used.

Next time, I’ll try to give better directions up front, although I don’t mind getting questions. Up ’til now, this blog has mostly been a one-way communication tool, and I have to say it’s nice to hear from actual readers, even if they’re taking me to task for giving half-baked instructions.

In other fun/frightening news

In other blog-related news, I made my first-ever IGTV video this year. It didn’t exactly break the internet with the number of views, but it was fun/frightening to try something new.

I’m not sure how serious I am about getting into IGTV, as filming myself is waaay outside of my comfort zone, as you can probably tell by my not-quite-Oscar-worthy on-camera performance. But as somebody who was a print newspaper designer for too many years, the fear of getting left behind (again) is a strong motivator to adapt to new media.

makeshift studio set up in the basement with lights, tripod and table

For Christmas this year, my newlywed son, who is also a filmmaker, set up a little photo/video studio for me in my basement. It’s very simple, but it’s got lights in all the right places and an actual tripod for my phone/camera to sit on, so my signature move of shooting with one wobbly hand whilst I attempt to demonstrate something with my slightly-less-wobbly other hand may be a thing of the past.

New year, new goals

As for the year ahead, I look forward to lots of collecting, crafting and creating and hopefully a few more videos (with fewer wobbles in them).

In a perfect world, I’d resolve to create a post a week or some such specific number — because if there’s one thing I’ve learned in all the marketing classes I’ve been taking lately it’s that goals should be SMART (Significant, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic and Time-based). But, the reality is, I blog for fun, not profit, so I sneak in blogging time when I can, and committing to a specific number of posts per week or per month is just not going to happen. Some days I have free time. Some days I don’t.

I do really love having a home on the interwebs, though, so I’m definitely going to keep at it as time allows.

If you want to see what’s next, follow me on social media or sign up to get my posts emailed to you. And if you’ve got any questions or comments, leave them below. I really do love to hear from readers, especially when they’re not yelling at me for screwing something up.

Leave a Reply