They say change is inevitable. For spoonies change is rapid and a fact of our every day life. Of course sometimes we get stuck in a rut for a long time before we find something that works. I guess since I’m a spoonie blogger, my blog is no different! After years of slow traffic, our growth is finally picking up some real steam. As of the first week in May, the Zebra Pit has already topped our views and visits from 2018!
We actually accomplished in less than 5 months what we did the whole of last year. Incredible! And our numbers just keep growing month after month:
A Cautionary Tale
As you can see from our stats, I made a lot of mistakes starting out. I just didn’t take the time to learn about blogging and had so few spoons to dedicate to anything when I first began. One of my biggest mistakes was changing our branding and URL in September of 2017 without doing redirects. We were just one year old at this point and it took several months to recover. We also hit a bit of a drop when I had my heart problems in November of last year, which contributed to and exacerbated some of the mental health issues I hadn’t been dealing with.
Of course none of these mistakes top staying on the free plan for way too long. We paid for our first plan in December of last year and I bought a business plan this last month, thanks to the generous donations made by our lovely Friends of the Zebra Pit. It can be hard for spoonies to get the funds they need for blogging and I am no exception.
There’s something to be said for prioritizing your business, but I had no idea I was going to attempt making a business of my blog until late last year and things quickly got derailed by some major health problems. Besides, I’ve never been in this for the money, but it’s impossible to operate without a budget of some kind, so I’ve become dedicated to finding revenue streams that will boost the Zebra Pit’s ability to serve spoonies and will hopefully also give us the ability to pay our writers and editors.
Turning it Around
Let’s not wallow in past mistakes, but discuss some of the things that have gone right:
- We’ve successfully built up followers on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest and they’re still growing everyday.
- We’ve built our monthly views up to an average of 135K-140K on Pinterest.
- We’ve (re)learned a great deal about graphic design and photo editing and are putting a lot more work into our aesthetic (and we’ll be switching to a magazine style soon, as our ultimate goal is to become a magazine style website).
- We’ve joined bloggers networks and spend time interacting with others with similar goals.
- We’ve been educating ourselves on the world of blogging and websites and how other’s have achieved success.
- We held our first fundraiser, which was a small, but meaningful success.
- We’re pursuing small business funding so we can expand our reach and implement some of our goals and have started the Friends of the Zebra Pit giving program.
- We’re bringing others on staff to help carry the load and bring fresh perspectives to what we’re trying to accomplish.
- We’re expanding into spoonie art and culture in addition to our already popular health and wellness topics.
- We’re part of multiple affiliate programs and constantly seeking valid health and wellness tools to help better the lives of our readers.
We’re finally on the right path and we have a great deal to celebrate. We’re inviting in new voices, like the amazing Ms. Pamela Jessen who has written a few articles for us now and has joined the staff as a regular contributor. I couldn’t be more thrilled to have her and I’m so glad I’m not longer the lone voice of the Zebra Pit. We’re all still working as volunteers, but we’re dedicated to what we do here and we’re not going anywhere. We’re so thrilled to have Pamela on staff. In order to recognize the contributions of our all volunteer staff, I recently created a staff page which links to bios for each of our regular contributors and includes some of our most loved posts. I have a couple of touch ups to make on it as of yet, but I welcome you to get to know our staff.
Won’t you take a moment to welcome them and thank them with me? They are our hardworking volunteers and we couldn’t be doing this without them!
Our Zebra Pit group moderators, Hallie Sullivan and Mandy Metherall Barnett accepted their roles less than a month ago, but they’re doing a great job of getting up to speed and keeping us moving. They’ll be helping to bring more content, ensure the safety of group members and taking care of all the behind the scenes stuff that it takes to keep a group healthy. Amazingly, our group has doubled in size since the end of March and we’re always happy to take more members. More members means more conversations and more people to learn from.
In fact, all of our social media seems to be exploding, most especially Facebook, and Pinterest. Here is some of our growth over the first half of the year.
|Pinterest Monthly Views||64k||137k||53%|
I’m proudest of all that this growth has been largely organic.
While it’s clear we have a long way to go before we’re running with the bulls, it seems growth is inevitable. In no small part, that’s due to our Pinterest activity. I only started our Pinterest channel last summer and didn’t even quite have it all figured out until early this year. The changes I’ve been making definitely equal growth! On the flip side, while I set up Facebook not long after twitter, it’s been a very slow grower, but things finally seem to be moving in the right direction all the way around.
All of the changes we are making may mean a lot, but they would be absolutely nothing without our supporters! Each and every person who visits the site, likes one of our social media channels, shares one of our posts or refers to a friend to us is the real secret behind our success.
Of course I would be remiss if I didn’t mention some of our biggest and best supporters of all, our Friends of the Zebra Pit! Take a moment to visit their new home on the web and learn about them:
If you’re a blogger who wants more exposure or an artist looking for a place to be seen, why not give the Zebra Pit a try? We’re looking for submissions about health and wellness, any kind of writing on chronic illness or any kind of creative work by people with chronic illness, disability or mental health challenges. For more information, please visit our submission guidelines and submit your work or a proposal of what you’d like to do: https://zebrapit.com/submissions/