On the 8th November 2011, I welcomed the world into my little space on the web – The Purple Pumpkin Blog! That means, today I celebrate my 3rd Blogiversary!
I started this blog with a view to sharing my party planning ideas, as it’s something I love to do, but over the years, that evolved into a more general lifestyle blog covering lots of different things!
For my 2nd blogiversary (I completely missed my 1st!) I wrote about the evolution of my blog, including screenshots of the design changes over the months and years, and I thought I’d continue that as a celebration of how far things have come!
Back on it’s first day, I was just called “The Purple Pumpkin”, using Way Back Machine I was able to find the earliest version of my blog from February of 2012 – things were a little different, I focused mainly on parties that I threw at home for family and friends, and my strapline was “Where parties are planned“, but I soon realised that I wasn’t going to be able to keep that up!
I had already been sharing recipes and crafts associated with said parties, so it felt quite natural to carry on doing that, and I came up with a new strapline of “Cook, Craft, Create” with cook and craft being the obvious ones, and create covering everything else – photography, creating memories with my family and travelling.
I started a series on my blog called Crafty October, which meant I got to blog all the ideas I had for Halloween! It was during this month that I noticed a marked improvement in my photography and blog presentation, and felt more confident with myself as a blogger. I also had my first foray into working with brands, and I’ve not looked back since!
I somehow discovered a blogger network called BritMums, and found myself shortlisted for a a Brilliance in Blogging Award, so I revamped my blog completely, designed a logo and officially called myself The Purple Pumpkin Blog, and added connect to my strapline, since all of a sudden, I felt connected! I didn’t get through to the finals, but just being shortlisted was good enough for me! I went to BritMums Live, met lots of lovely bloggers and suddenly didn’t feel so alone in the blogging world.
I also discovered another blogging network, and joined Tots100, a ranking system of parent bloggers. Whilst I don’t blog exclusively about parenting, I am a mother, and have been for [nearly] 16 years! My son does make an appearance on my blog every now and then, as does my role of being an aunt and Godmother to my 2 year old niece. Back in November 2013 I was ranked at number 252 – just outside the 250 mark. I was elated as it felt like a real accomplishment that I was doing the right things as far as marketing my blog was concerned. Today I sit at number 11! That is exciting, yet pressurising at the same time – I have to work hard to stay up there!
Since my blog is ever evolving, I had another redesign in the summer of 2013 and it stayed like that for a while. I started sharing my Project 365 photography daily, and I starting writing about our family holidays (notably to Walt Disney World!) I debated with myself back then to move blogging platforms, from Blogger to WordPress, but I decided against it.
After some feedback, I reduced the size of the header and another little redesign happened a few months later. I also entered my blog into the 1st National UK Blog Awards.
Now into 2014, where another blog revamp happened. I also completely overhauled the way I organised and indexed posts on my blog – by now I had written over 1400 posts (eep!!) and I was starting to get lost with everything, so I needed a system. It was at this point that I seriously started thinking (again) about a blogging platform move, but it felt like such a mission to take the plunge that I just buried my head in the sand for a while!
In April hubs and I went to the National UK Blog Awards – The Purple Pumpkin Blog was a finalist in the lifestyle category. I didn’t win, but being a finalist was a great achievement in itself, and I was proud, even though there was a bit of a cock up at the ceremony!
I did have a moment of self-doubt and a loss of identity. I realised that I blogged about so many things, that I just didn’t fit into any category, and I tweeted this:
I’m a woman with many interests, ideas and talents, so pigeonholing myself wasn’t going to work. I realise that because I’m all over the place with what I blog about, I’ll never really fit in anywhere, and hey, that’s fine – I’ve always blogged because I LOVE to write and share my ideas. I’ve always said to other bloggers, blog because you LOVE to, not because you HAVE to.
After going back to BritMums Live for a second year, I finally took the plunge and moved all of my precious blog to WordPress. It wasn’t as scary a task as I thought – and I’m so glad that I finally did it. It’s not to say I didn’t like Blogger – I felt sad to leave such a fab platform, but it just wasn’t able to give me the easy organisation and plugins that WordPress can give me!
Believe it or not, I’m still having to go back through posts, of which I now have 2400 of (double eep!) to fix formatting problems and other bits and bobs. It’s a slow task as I’m increasingly busy with my blog, but I will eventually get there!
Speaking of posts, let me share a few with you now – stuff gets buried into the archives pretty quickly, so here are the top 3 things that get clicked on!
I have made a few little tweaks here and there, but at the moment (she says, but don’t bank on it!) I’m happy with the way my blog is presented, if you look on my blog today, it looks like this:
When I started The Purple Pumpkin Blog back in 2011, it was a way for me to keep creative and do something when my work as a website designer (I’m self-employed) hit slow periods (usually the last three months of the year for me), but I also hoped that one day I would earn money as a blogger. My friends and family used to ask me “how are you going to do that?!” and my reply back then was “I have no clue, but I will!”
I’m pretty elated to say that blogging has become my main source of income, and it has brought so many fantastic and exciting opportunities for me and for my family too. It can be hard work sometimes, but, because I genuinely love to blog, it never feels like it’s hard work. I know that sentence just doesn’t make sense, but I know what I mean!
Over the past year I’ve seen my number of visitors more than double and I’ve seen my bounce rate go waaaaay down (which means people are staying around a little long on my blog). Knowing that people out there read my blog means the whole world to me.