Looking Back and Looking Ahead: A Year in Review and 2019 Goals

What a great year 2018 was for us! Join us as we look back at our first year blogging, offer some advice, and look forward toward our 2019 goals.

Can you believe we are a week in 2019? Every year, I sit and wonder, where has the time gone?

With the bells of the new year still ringing in my ear, I always begin to ponder what I did with the old.  A year is made of millions of moments (literally 31,536,000 seconds in a regular year). Did I make each moment count?

Of course not, I wasted plenty of time watching Amazon Prime or scrolling through Instagram and Twitter.

But all in all, it’s been a good year. Let’s review.

This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, read our Disclosures.

Rachael surrounded by books

Pingel Sisters – A Year in Review

Last year on New Year’s eve, Jaclyn and I bought the domain name pingelsisters.com. We wanted to help “savvy millennial women lead better lives.” Thus, our topics were life, work, travel and books.

After a few months of learning everything we could about blogging, we launched in March 2018 – to 7K monthly views. Well over half the views were specifically to our post, Read This Not That.

You would think we would have realized sooner that we were destined to be a book blog, but no. It took months before we finally realized our book posts brought in almost all of our page views. That is, except Rachael’s post on visiting Monument Valley with kids, which does extremely well in search engines.

Last summer, we needed to rethink. We were overwhelmed by posting twice a week, and we knew things needed to change. We mostly dropped everything while we planned and schemed. An eye-opening presentation on SEO by Atlanta Traveler 365, was the answer we were looking for. Suddenly, we grasped the true importance of SEO, and saw a path forward to organize our blog schedule.

By September, we were back. We rebranded ourselves into a book blog, and have not looked back since. We took all of our Pinterest knowledge and put it to work. The results have been spectacular. Over 2.3 million monthly views on Pinterest by the end of the year.

Along the way, we were lucky enough to get in on the ground floor of Pinterest communities. Our Pinterest community, All the Books, is one of the top 5 largest featured communities on Pinterest.



Rachael holding a gigantic stack of books

2018 By the Numbers

We haven’t published any blog stats since we wrote our Advice for New Bloggers after our 1st month blogging. I guess it’s time for that to change.

Social Media Following

Pinterest – 2.3 million monthly viewers, 173.1K monthly engaged, 2,448 followers, 2,706 people in our Pinterest community, All the Books
Instagram – 945 followers
Twitter1,786 followers
Facebook – 117 followers
Email List -324 subscribers

Our Advice:

Pinterest is King. Learn how to setup your Pinterest account the right way, and then figure out a winning Pinterest strategy. You can either research like crazy, or just go buy a course, like Ell Duclos’s Pinterest with Ell. Once you have a strategy down, go and buy a subscription to the Pinterest scheduler Tailwind. Use our Tailwind affiliate link to get 1 month free.

Instagram is a gigantic pain. We loved Hilary Rushford’s free webinar intro to her full Instagram with Intention course. It really changed up our Instagram strategy, and we imagine the full class would be mind-blowing. Even with just what we learned in the free webinar, we are hoping that it will help us rock our Instagram in 2019.

1 Year Totals

Page Views: 79,995
Sessions: 62,560
Organic Search: 2,501

Our last 30 days have been spectacular. Between our 2019 Reading Challenge and the Best Books of 2018, our viewership has spiked. Last month only we had over 30K page views. Even better, our SEO strategy is paying off, and we had over 1K page views from organic search traffic.

Our Advice:

Learn all about SEO. Watch 365 Atlanta Traveler’s presentation on advanced SEO strategies. Organize your whole site structure around SEO. Fill a notebook with keywords, and plan your posts around them. Research LSIs to pepper throughout your post when you write. Use Google Trends to find out when those keywords were trending last year, and schedule your posts a few weeks before the peak. It can take some time, but it will pay off in the long run.

Top 5 Posts

1. Don’t Buy the Hype: Read This Not That – Our list of which bestsellers were worth the hype, and which weren’t, as had lasting powers. Published 9 months ago, we still get hundreds of view every month.

2. Reading Challenge 2019: A Book A Week with the Pingel Sisters – Our 2019 reading challenge went viral on Pinterest, with over 1 million impressions. We’re excited to see what books everyone chooses to read this year.

3. Best Books 2018: This Month’s Most Popular New Releases – We had fun creating this post about the best books of the year.

4. 43 Short Classics You Actually Have Time to Read – This post surprised us. You knew that people were interested in classics. Or maybe just in short classics.

5. 19 Gripping Books You Can’t Put Down Once You Begin – Who doesn’t love reading a book you can’t put down. Check out our list of gripping tales that will keep you up way past your bedtime.



planner with 2019 theme: read with intention

Our 2019 Goals

Looking forward to the new year, we’ve decided to embrace some goals for ourselves. Though we know it’s not all about the numbers, having specific goals for ourselves gives us an idea on how well we are doing.

Theme

Before we set our 2019 goals, Jaclyn and I wanted to really get a vision to direct all our efforts this year. While almost every year we seem to say we want to read more, this year, we also want to read deeper. That’s why our 2019 theme will be

READ WITH INTENTION

To us, reading with intention can mean a number of things. It encompasses expanding your reading selection with the 2019 reading challenge. It means reading deeper, and really focusing on themes and messages the author is trying to convey. Also, reading with intention shapes our book club discussion to go beyond I liked the book or I didn’t like the book.

Every book we read, even the terrible ones, have something to teach you. This year, we encourage you to search for one nugget of wisdom to take away with every book you read. We talk about filling our lives with intention, so why not do the same with your reading.

We talk about filling our lives with intention, so why not do the same with your reading. #readwithintentionClick To Tweet

Social Media

1. Instagram – Use the strategies we’ve learned and quadruple our Instagram following. Mostly, we need to spend the time to engage with others and actually post regularly to Instagram stories.

2. Facebook – Time to stop ignoring Facebook. We get more referrals from Facebook than from Instagram or Twitter combined, but we honestly aren’t sure how.

3. Twitter – We need to figure out what we want to do with Twitter. We’ve tried a few different strategies, but none have been sustainable. For now, we’ll just keep having fun interacting with others.

4. Pinterest – In 2019, we want to start to write up more blog posts with Pinterest advice. With the right strategy, anyone can grow their Pinterest account to 1 million monthly views.

5. Goodreads – We set up a Goodreads account for the blog, but haven’t touched it. Hopefully this year, we will but a little effort into it.

Blog Goals

1. Book Club – We are so excited to start our book club this year. Our biggest focus this year will be to grow our book club and build a community of readers. We want to read a bit deeper into the text. That’s why our 2018 motto for Instagram is #readwithintention.

2. Scheduling – First off, we want to get posts scheduled 3 months ahead of time. We are tired of working to the last minute to get a post out, just to have to turn around and do it all over again.

3. Page Views – We would love to hit 100K page views in one month in 2019. Is it realistic? No idea. But we are planning to aim high.

4. SEO – We plan to dig a little deeper into our SEO strategy by creating more landing pages and trying more advanced strategies. We also want to guest post more and increase our Domain Authority to 30.

5. Advertising – Hopefully, once we hit our $100 minimum earnings from Google Adsense, we will have the numbers to move up to a higher paying advertising company.

6. Income – We earned a little bit of money in 2018, but we would need to earn more to cover our 2019 expenses. Hopefully we can start earning an actual income with the blog. Our goal: Be able to afford an annual girls trip for the two of us.

Reading Goals

1. Reading Challenge – Our reading challenge has gone viral. In 2019, we are going to do our best to help readers complete their challenge. We’ll share what we are reading along with plenty of book suggestions for each category.

2. Goodreads Challenge – I was only expecting to read 52 books last year, but was able to fit 86 books into my 2018 reading list. This year, my goal is to-read at least 104.

With a little luck and a lot of hard work, we are hoping to make 2019 an amazing year for our blog. Thanks so much to all our loyal readers who have followed us along on this journey. We can’t begin to tell you how thankful we are.

What goals have you set for yourself in 2019?

2019 Blog Theme: Read with Intention // What a great year 2018 was for us! Join us as we look back at our first year blogging, offer some advice, and look forward toward our 2019 goals.

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21 Comments

  • Reply Sarah's Book Shelves January 7, 2019 at 7:51 pm

    I love all this behind the scenes info! Y’all rock it on Pinterest and that’s where I first discovered you. Pinterest is my biggest social media traffic driver by far….but organic search is my overall #1 traffic driver. I love talking with other book bloggers who are actually trying to make money, etc….so reach out to me anytime to brainstorm! As of this past year, I do make a profit on my blog…and have tried so many different ways to earn money..and learned a lot.
    Love your 100K pageviews goal – aggressive!

    • Reply Rachael January 7, 2019 at 9:04 pm

      I will so take you up on your offer. I’ve been super curious about how podcasts work, and you are the perfect person to ask!

  • Reply Amanda McGill January 8, 2019 at 9:34 am

    Wow this is awesome! Thanks for sharing your story and your insights!

  • Reply Nikki @ Saturday Nite Reader January 8, 2019 at 9:58 am

    I need to figure out this Pinterest thing stat!!!

  • Reply Whispering Stories January 8, 2019 at 10:01 am

    You had a great year, and what a load of books, wow. I’m useless with Instagram. I told myself I was going to post one image a day in 2019. Think I’ve posted 2 or 3. I can’t motivate myself to have to get everything out, sort out the lighting, take a decent picture and then load it. Good luck with your 2019 goals.

    • Reply Rachael January 8, 2019 at 10:29 am

      Actually we’ve found posting only 2-3 times a week in Instagram is way better for us than once a day. It gives us time to think out what to share, and to spend time engaging with others. Now we just need to get better at posting Instagram stories.

  • Reply Christina January 8, 2019 at 10:31 am

    This is such a great post! I love seeing how you set everything up and are being so successful. I’m marking this one for future inspiration! Happy 2019!!

  • Reply DJ Sakata January 8, 2019 at 11:44 am

    wow – you guys are dynamos! Congrats!

  • Reply Kate @ Bitch Bookshelf January 8, 2019 at 1:50 pm

    Thanks for the advice. I launched my site “just for fun” last year, but this year I would like to get better at promoting my posts so I can score more monthly views and affiliate clicks so my site starts to pay the bills rather than being a bill! 😉

  • Reply Rachel @ Never Enough Novels January 8, 2019 at 7:03 pm

    I get almost no traffic from organic searches so that’s something I’m hoping to learn more about this year. Thanks for sharing the SEO presentation you found helpful. I’m still waffling back and forth on whether or not to purchase a Tailwind subscription too! Most of my traffic comes from Pinterest thanks to a few posts so it might be worthwhile…

    • Reply Rachel @ Never Enough Novels January 11, 2019 at 3:31 pm

      Just noticed your $15 off referral credit for Tailwind so I decided to go for it and got a year’s subscription. Now comes the fun part of figuring out how to use it to it’s full potential haha… Any tips let me know!

      • Reply Rachael January 11, 2019 at 11:59 pm

        I’m writing an article about Tailwind and one about Pinterest for next week. I’d be glad to send you some tips.

  • Reply Katiria Rodriguez January 8, 2019 at 8:28 pm

    Great post, I wish you more sucess and luck on your blog. Thank you so much for sharing your awesome post.

  • Reply Floryie January 8, 2019 at 9:09 pm

    Congrats guys and you have given lots to think on. I have never taken my blogging seriously. Maybe it’s time for me to get into “marketing” properly this year..

  • Reply Melanie January 8, 2019 at 9:30 pm

    Congrats on those amazing stats! You have accomplished so much!

  • Reply Veronica @The Burgeoning Bookshelf January 9, 2019 at 4:49 am

    Congratulations girls. Well deserved success from lots of hard work. Wishing big things for you in 2019.

  • Reply Melissa's fandom world January 9, 2019 at 6:38 am

    Wow, your stats are amazing!! Those Pinterest stats: insaaaaane!!!!
    I really need to use Pinterest more I think haha.

    Hope your 2019 is going to be at least as good as 2018 was for you guys, good luck!

  • Reply jennifer gaarder January 9, 2019 at 11:09 am

    You know, I finally broke down and got a planner as well. I had to. Winging it just didn’t work for me.

  • Reply CJ | A WELL-READ TART January 9, 2019 at 7:25 pm

    I love all these goals, and your 2018 stats are really inspiring!! I just had to Google what an LSI is, lol. I purchased the Pinterest class (now I just need to find the time to “take it”), and I think I’ll watch that Advanced SEO presentation you talked about. I get 5-7 hits based on search results each day, and I was feeling pretty proud of that…until now, LOL. (Just kidding. Kinda. You know how it is!) I try to “master” one element of blogging each month, so January will be for Pinterest (again), and February will be for SEO world dominance. 😉 The Instagram demo sounds good, too. I still love Insta and I’m starting to see that I’m reaching wider and wider groups and getting more likes/click throughs (though not necessarily more followers. Sigh.). Thank you so much for sharing what’s worked for you and where you think it’s good for others to focus on. This post was so helpful!

    • Reply Rachael January 9, 2019 at 7:43 pm

      I learned about LSIs in that SEO presentation I shared and it was shocking. Something so simply that I never would have thought of by myself. Remember, SEO is a long game. It can takes months to see your results, but they will come if you do it right.

  • Reply Nicola January 14, 2019 at 1:51 pm

    This was a great read. I love reading other people’s blog goals as well as the stats they currently have. I don’t like instagram and I don’t even have facebook anymore but maybe this year I will start focussing on them. You’ve inspired me!

    Nicola
    http://nicshealthylife.co.uk

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