6 years of blogging

It’s been six years since I published my first post on this blog.

Six years.

That’s a pretty insane amount of time. My life has changed tremendously since 2012 and my blog has seen it all!

21 highlights from the blog

  1. This blog got me working and coding with WordPress. I had used WordPress before starting this blog, but Nose Graze helped me push my skills so much further.
  2. In December 2012 I started experimenting with the idea of building a plugin. The idea started out as a simple rating plugin but it eventually became Ultimate Book Blogger.
  3. In February 2013 I launched the Ultimate Book Blogger plugin. This was the start of my own business (though I didn’t know it at the time) and allowed me to fully support myself after graduating university. I thought I’d earn maybe $500 from this plugin, but since 2013 this plugin alone has earned me nearly $50,000.
  4. In April 2013 I changed my blog name from BookNook to Nose Graze.
  5. In May/June 2013 I attended my first BookExpo America. I then attended every year after that. This year (2018) is the first year I’ll be breaking that streak and won’t be attending. It’s kind of sad!
  6. In October 2013 I stressed over what I wanted to be when I grew up. This was shortly after quitting my first official 9-5 job (…after only a week of being there).
  7. In November 2013 I started toying with the idea of starting a hosting business.
  8. In January 2014 I got engaged.
  9. In February 2014 I launched that hosting business. I now have about 150 clients and the business earns about $23,000 per year in profit.
  10. In March 2014 I got married. It was a simple legal ceremony.
  11. In June 2014 I started Couch to 5K.
  12. In July 2014 I graduated university then immediately continued on to Italy where I had my wedding ceremony/celebration.
  13. In July 2014 my husband and I started a campaign to launch a new book site called LitRate. Sadly it didn’t get the funding it needed. We only raised $7,000 of our $16,000 goal. Thank you to the 168 backers who supported the campaign!
  14. In October 2014 my husband and I honeymooned in Egypt.
  15. In December 2014 I launched the Tweak Me v2 theme. This theme has now earned over $27,000 (compared to v1, which earned $10,000, but is now no longer for sale).
  16. In June 2015 I started talking about fitness and how I finished Couch to 5K.
  17. In October 2015 I hosted my first (and only) webinar. I thought I was going to turn it into a thing — I didn’t. It was extremely cool though!
  18. In February 2016 I launched my first e-course. Actually I think I launched one before this but it wasn’t quite as intense and I didn’t find the post when I was going through my archive lol.
  19. In June 2016 I blogged about how I lost 30 pounds and fell in love with fitness.
  20. In November 2016 I started working for Sandhills Development on Restrict Content Pro. In January 2017 this turned into a full time job, and it still is my job today (along with running my business on the side). This definitely wouldn’t have happened if not for this blog!
  21. In September 2017 my husband and I bought our first house. I was also able to build my dream library.

Interesting stats over 6 years

  • I’ve published over 1,300 posts.
  • I’ve received over 30,000 comments.
  • I’ve posted over 400 book reviews.
  • I’ve posted 297 posts about blogging, 228 about books (that weren’t reviews), 51 about business, and 80 about coding.
  • I’ve read over 600 books, over half of which I rated 4 stars or higher. My total average rating is 3.53 stars.

Some thoughts

It’s crazy how much of my life this blog has been though. I’ve literally grown up with it. I started a business, graduated university, got married, got a full time job, and bought a house. I’ve had so many successes and wins. I’ve also had some failures and things I lost interest in.

I enjoyed reading back through my old posts and seeing how much has changed over the years. But it was also quite sad to force myself to see how much my blog has died down over the last two years or so, and that was completely on me. For years I blogged 5-7 days a week, but now it’s more like 1-3 per month. I’ve published over 1,300 posts but of that number, 1,000 of those were published in 2012, 2013, or 2014. Only 339 were published in 2015, 2016, or 2017. That definitely shows you how my posting has slowed down tremendously.

I think there are a three main reasons for my blog slowing down:

  1. I published SO MANY POSTS in my first three years. I’ve posted almost 100 “discussion” posts and nearly 200 “blogging tips” or tutorials. Part of it is that I ran out of things to even talk about. How many more blogging tips are there before you’re just repeating yourself?
  2. I was a little bit of a tool in my first few years of blogging. Well, not really, but kind of. I seriously believed that if you had a blog, you wanted to improve and grow your blog. Period. I applied this to everyone. In the last two years I’ve realized how wrong I was about that. Now I have a blog but I have zero desire to grow it further. I’ll post when I want and I give zero fucks if I gain or lose followers. I think because I’ve stopped caring about growing my blog, I’ve also lost my desire to publish posts on how other people can grow their blogs. I have to care about something in order to post about it. (To clarify: I still think it’s perfectly fine to want to grow your blog. Awesome – go for it! I’ve just personally stopped caring about it.)
  3. In general, I think I’ve moved on from computer stuff a little. Computers used to be my life. I was doing something on the computer seemingly 24/7, whether it be blogging, coding, gaming, or social media. That’s all I did. Now I still blog a tiny bit, and I use social media a little, but when I’m not doing those things, I’m kind of avoiding my computer. Instead I’m reading, weightlifting, walking, playing with the cat, and hopefully in the next few months playing with my future dog. I’m trying to enjoy more life outside the computer.

It’s a little hard to see change like this. There are so many things I loved about my early blogging days. I loved posting blogging tips, participating in Bloggiesta, attending BookExpo America, planning Blogger Con, launching new products, etc. It’s sad to look back on those things and realize I don’t do them anymore. Am I really even still “in” the book blogging community? More like waaaay on the outskirts at best.

But I also love where my life is right now. I may not be blogging very much but I have so many great things going for me. I’m reading a ton, we have a wonderful new house, I love my job with Sandhills Development, I have an amazing home gym and I’m keeping up with weightlifting, we have an adorable new kitten, and we’re hoping to get our first dog sometime around August or September.

I guess after six years, I just want to say thank you. If you’re reading this, I really appreciate it. If you’ve ever purchased one of my products: thank you. You helped me build an amazing business and it wouldn’t have been possible without you.

This blog helped me find an amazing book community, helped me develop my coding/WordPress skills, helped me start my own business, and eventually led to me getting a great full time job where I still have the freedom to work from home (or anywhere in the world). Thank you, thank you, thank you.

If you have a blog right now, then know that it can change your life if you want it to. You can put it on your CV, it can help you get a job, it can become your job. If you’re passionate about it then stick with it and see where it leads you.

I’ll still be blogging for the foreseeable future, but I don’t expect things to go back to the way they were in the 2012-2014 era. I’ll be continuing with my meager 1-3 posts per month and we’ll see how things go. If you stick around with me, that would be wonderful. πŸ™‚ If not, thanks for stopping by and for reading.

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I'm a 27 year old California girl living in England (I fell in love with a Brit!). I like to inject a little #girlpower into the WordPress development community by teaching women how to be coding badasses. more »

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52 comments

    1. Yeah I try to spend a lot of time with my cat but I’m pretty sure she still wants even more attention. πŸ˜€

  1. I was relatively late finding your blog so I loved seeing all the backstory!

    And, I absolutely love your hosting service…my issues with my blog have virtually disappeared since I switched over. I hope that’s not going anywhere πŸ™‚

    1. I’m so glad to hear that Sarah! I definitely plan on keeping my hosting service. πŸ™‚ I’m still working on managing that and maintaining all my products.

  2. That’s such an amazing journey Ashley! Back in 2014 when I started and then shortly after I found your blog, you were immediately someone I looked up to. I read your whole archive of blogging advice posts and it was like an entire guide for me. Your products have certainly made my life easier, so I’d say, thank YOU, and you’ve more than earned slowing down, sitting back, and just enjoying what you’ve built!

  3. Yay congrats! Your blog has been one of my go-to’s for blogging and WordPress tips! Still looking forward to all your posts and updates, even if they’re only 1-3 a month! πŸ™‚

  4. Congratulations on hitting 6 years of blogging! Your list is pretty awesome and you have accomplished so much and hit a lot of milestones in life. It’s pretty remarkable to see that kind of growth. I’ve been following you for maybe two or three years and so I haven’t been there from the beginning, but I really enjoy your content and I’m wishing you may more years in blogging. πŸ™‚

  5. Happy blogoversary Ashley! It’s only normal to change, and I’ve loved seeing you achieve so many beautiful things. You are a powerhouse in our community, so I’m staying. πŸ’›

  6. I’d just like to say that I love reading your blogs even when they are about a subject that I am not even interested in. I have moved away a bit from learning about WordPress, which is how I initially found your blog, but I still love reading your stuff as it is just plain interesting and well written.

  7. Happy Blogiversary! Love everything you’ve done. I don’t know where we’d be without your hosting service. You just keep on keepin’ on, doing what makes you happy.

  8. Having a blog and sticking with it really show you how life changes over time! What was so important can change – and then change back! So glad you’re still around no matter how much or little you post πŸ™‚

  9. What a lovely honest post ! You did your best and inspired others in the way. What else could you do? Revenue does not always follow passion. But with passion comes an enriched life!

  10. It’ll be six years for me in July and I while my journey isn’t at all like yours — because I don’t have the skills you do! — the feelings are the same. I don’t blog near as much as I used to, I actually co-blog now because I COULDN’T maintain a blog on my own. And I could also give zero fucks about growing my blog, something I cared a great deal about at the beginning. LOL! I think in blogging you find “your group”, the people who you just get and connect with and then growing the blog seems pointless. At least for me that’s what happened. I found my people and have some amazing friendships. The blog is just a tool for us to keep talking and sharing really.

    Great post and congrats on everything!!

    1. Early congrats on your six years!

      You make a good point about finding your group. I guess in the beginning you don’t really know people and you don’t know where you fit in, and growing your blog is part of gaining that audience and just figuring out your place in everything. Then if you’re into ARCs there’s probably that motivation to grow your blog. But once you find that place/group, and maybe start requesting fewer ARCs, growth just becomes kind of irrelevant.

  11. Congratulations on six years, Ashley! That’s an amazing run, and you’ve done so many great things during that time! It makes sense that the blog would shift and change as life changes, and I’m glad you’re enjoying where you’re at and all the different things that come with it. Can’t wait to see photos of the dog you get!

    1. Thanks so much Kel. πŸ™‚ I’m so excited about getting a dog! I wish it was happening like TOMORROW but it’ll be more like September-ish. The wait is killing me!

  12. I remember some of these milestones, including your engagement post and it’s great to see you grow, along with this blog. I related a lot to how your sentiments about how life changes and how blogging changes over the years. I don’t really “blog” that much either and I’m okay with it. It’s an outlet for me, as it’s always been, but I care a lot less about growth now.

  13. I can’t remember when I exactly found your blog. I think it was 2014 that I started actively following it after having read some of your blog posts in the months beforehand. Love following along your journey and how you’re blog has evolved.

    Great to hear about your hosting business and plugin! Having multiple income sources is always good. It looks like you’re enjoying doing it as well!

    1. Thank you Colin!

      And yes, multiple income sources is wonderful. I kind of fell into that without planning it and it was definitely the best business move I ever made.

  14. Happy sixth blogoversary, Ashley!
    I think it’s only normal that our blogs / schedules / implications with other blogs change over the course of the year. We change, and we get more or less busy. And like you, I’m also blogging a bit less these days. I still love reading, but I’m a little less fond of actually writing my reviews πŸ˜€ I just want to find the next good book and devour it.
    I’m very sad you’re not going to BookExpo this year, partly because I’m going, and I would have loved to hang out with you!
    Here’s to more years in blogging – but doing it only when you feel like it.

    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews recently posted: Review: Oceanside – Michelle Mankin
    1. Aw shucks – I would have loved to hang out with you at BookExpo too! It definitely feels weird to not be attending…

      And I completely know what you mean about just wanting to find the next book and devour it — that’s exactly the same for me. When I love a book I just want to bask in it; I don’t want to analyze it and review it so much.

  15. It’s so amazing that your blog grew with you! That’s kind of how mine has been. It’s been around for me to buy my own house, get engaged (and end the engagement), start a business, has seen me through all 3 of my jobs I’ve ever had, and now to settle on a real career path (dog grooming) instead of just a job to pay the bills.
    I’ve also drifted away from it in the past few years, like you. And I’m sad about that, but okay with it. I just want you to know that as long as you post I’ll always be around to read them, even if I don’t comment! You were one of the first blogs I ever followed and one of my first blogger friends (remember the Merp Squad?! Ah, the good ole days). I’ve loved watching your blog grow and YOU grow over the years!

    Jessi @ Novel Heartbeat recently posted: Obsidio Book Signing Recap
    1. Gosh, Merp Squad feels like foreeeever ago!

      We’ve both been though such similar milestones with our blogs. It’s pretty awesome. πŸ™‚

      Thanks for sticking around! I still follow your blog as well via email.

  16. Congrats on 6 years! It’s so interesting to see the way your life, your interests and your approach to blogging has changed over the years. I think one of the things I’ve always liked about your blog is how you never put it in a box. It was never “just” a book blog or “only” abut coding. It was about the things that were interesting to you and it connected to other people who find those things interesting. And I am so grateful for your journey because I LOVE TweakMe v2. So much. I can’t imagine ever using another theme again. I’ve learned so much about coding and WordPress from your tips and my blog absolutely wouldn’t be what it is without you. And I appreciate the chance to get to know you a little bit through your blog, your taste in books and how encouraging it was to read about when you got into fitness. Totally belated comment but here’s hoping you enjoy the next 6 years as much as you’ve enjoyed these πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks so much for your kind words Annie. πŸ™‚

      I too have enjoyed my blog just being about everything that encompasses me. Sometimes I struggled with that because the lack of a box made me feel like I didn’t quite fit in. I wasn’t sure I could call myself a “book blogger” because it wasn’t just a book blog. But ultimately it has been the perfect blog for me and I’ve been very happy with it. πŸ™‚

      I’m so glad you’re loving Tweak Me v2!

  17. Wow, 6 years!

    That’s pretty a very long time..

    Though i started around late 2012, i spent most of my years with the Google Blogger Platform and blogging was really something i’d like to do for fun until it grew to passion. And then before i knew it, i delve into the technical aspect

    It’s so interesting reading these facts about you, and oh yes! Am bookmarking this URL right away

  18. Congratulations on all the growth and changes throughout the years. There’s been some wonderful and positive things happen in you life. Good luck in all your future endeavors!

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