Happy New Year’s Eve! I’ve tried writing this post’s intro over and over again, and I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s really no way to start an end-of-year blog post without using at least one cliché phrase (such as “I can’t believe the year is already over!” or “What a year it’s been!”). No matter how many times I think these phrases, I will try to keep them to a minimum today… Anyway, I always love sharing these yearly recap posts to reflect on everything I accomplished in the last 12 months (and everything I did not, to learn what I could do differently next year). So without further ado, here are some milestones I reached this year, a few reflections, and most importantly, the award-style blog post that has become a New Year’s Eve tradition here at Graceful Rags. Peace out, 2021!
First up: my blogging accomplishments. While my numbers didn’t increase quite as drastically this year as they did in 2020, I still feel so proud after compiling a list of my blogging accomplishments for 2021. I published 133 blog posts, including all 52 weekly recaps. The unique visitors to my website increased by 63.5% and my website views increased by 64.3% compared to last year. I also gained 222 new Instagram followers.
Most excitingly, I worked on a lot of really cool collaborations this year. I completed three product reviews through Octoly and three campaigns through Campus Trendsetters. I started my linkup (which admittedly has been very hit-or-miss, but at least I started it). I collaborated with my first photographer in April and completed five independent brand deals, including my first fashion collaboration and my first paid collaboration. This is a huge deal for me because all previous sponsorships have been through third-party programs like Campus Trendsetters that are designed to connect bloggers with brands. Instead, this year, five companies reached out to *me* directly and asked to work with my blog. How cool is that?! I also published an interview and was asked to present my blog during my university’s first Entrepreneurship Week. I even received my first truly gifted product in August after a brand I love read one of my posts and asked to send me their product as a thank you for my support (!!!).
In January, my first blog post of the year was sharing both my personal and blogging goals for 2021. I’m very excited to say that I completed almost all of them! For bucket list items, I visited Craters of the Moon, sang in a karaoke bar, fell asleep under the stars, went to a hot springs in the winter, saw a drive-in movie, donated blood for the first time, and hiked a 14,000 ft. mountain. The only two items I did not complete were swimming in the Great Salt Lake (I did try, but the road there turned out to be closed) and eating Rocky Mountain Oysters.
The blogging goals that I accomplished were pitching to my first brand, starting a linkup, redesigning my website, and landing my first brand deal. I did not hit 2,000 Instagram followers, but I admittedly gave up on this goal by May (I go through phases where I either care about Instagram a lot or despise it entirely). I also did not reach 20,000 visitors this year, but I was only shy by 2,000. Finally—and I knew this was an impossible goal—I wanted to make back all the money I’ve invested into blogging over the years. While that did not happen, I was only a little short of breaking even when factoring in all the free product I have received and the small amount of money I have made through Graceful Rags. I am still pretty darn happy with that! I hardly ever feel proud about my blog and get discouraged with it all the time, but these end-of-year posts always remind me that I should be proud of myself more often.
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Now, let’s move onto the awards ceremony…
For those who are new to my awards-style yearly recap posts, there are two categories with three “awards” in each. The first category is the Followers’ Choice Awards, which include Most Viewed Post, Most Commented Post, and Most Liked Post. As the names suggest, these winners are determined by all of you, my followers, based on which posts you engaged with most throughout the year. The second category of awards is the Blogger’s Choice Awards, where I get to choose my favorite three blog posts based on favorite photos, favorite writing, and favorite outfit. Let the awards ceremony begin!
Most Viewed Post Award
The nominees for Most Viewed Post are…
Nordstrom Trunk Club Try-On and Review
Six Ways to Wear Houndstooth Pants
I am more than a little surprised by this year’s round-up of nominees for Most Viewed Post. My post about Nordstrom Trunk Club was interesting, but the photos were less than inspired—just a bunch of pics of me trying on different pieces in my grandparents’ front yard. I imagine this post gained so much traction solely from search engine hits, as people would Google reviews for Nordstrom Trunk Club.
Given that Proud Member of the IBTC is one of my top blog posts of all time, I didn’t find it too surprising that another boob-related post, Braless Fashion: Yay or Nay?, made it to the top of this year’s lineup. I can only imagine it is for the wrong reasons… perhaps no more boob posts for 2022.
Six Ways to Wear Houndstooth Pants was another shocker because I wrote this post very last-minute, and it consisted of a round-up of photos that had already been used in previous blog posts. Usually recycled posts such as these perform poorly, so it’s interesting that this post continues to do well several months after its publication.
Now, for the moment you’ve all been waiting for, the Most Viewed Post of 2021 goes to…
Braless Fashion: Yay or Nay? with 1,319 views!
This post had over 300 views more than the runner up, Six Ways to Wear Houndstooth Pants, which in turn had more than double the views of the third place post, Nordstrom Trunk Club Try-On and Review. Congrats to the winner.
Most Commented Post Award
There are four nominees for this award due to a two-way tie for third place. With that said, the nominees for the post with the greatest number of comments are…
Stepping Back in Time with the Thrifty Six
Secondhand Suits with the Thrifty Six
And now, the Most Commented Post of 2021 goes to…
Secondhand Suits with the Thrifty Six with 39 comments!
I have noticed that my Thrifty Six posts get a a lot more traction than my usual blog posts in all categories, due to the increased exposure of being featured on five additional blogs. I’ve been loving doing this collaboration and am looking forward to what themes are chosen in 2022!
Most Liked Post Award
The nominees for this award include…
When Style Inspiration Strikes
Exploring Great Sand Dunes National Park
The award for Most Liked Post in 2021 goes to…
When (Style) Inspiration Strikes with 17 likes!
I never know what determines likes in the WordPress app, but I suspect this post received more likes than usual due to the car photos. I’ve noticed that travel posts and other non-fashion related topics tend to draw more likes than simple fashion posts do.
Annnnnd now it’s time for me to share MY favorite blog posts of the year! I love doing this yearly recap because it gives me a chance to scroll back through all the content I created over the past 12 months, including the good, the bad, and the full-on unflattering. First up is the award for Favorite Photos!
Favorite Photos Award
I have always had a really hard time with taking blog photos, and as I’ve started to practice more and more editing techniques, I have become increasingly picky and anxious about imperfect pics. Thankfully, I still found a handful of winning posts in 2021 and actually had a hard time narrowing down my top three favorites. The nominees for Favorite Photos are…
I loved the drama and pastel colors of my magazine cover blog post, but the sunrise glow and colorful painted rocks in the second post were hard to beat, as was the sassiness of the Jet Noire photos. So which post will win?? The award goes to…
I kind of expected myself to choose the colorful rock photos from Seven Magic Mountains, but these Jet Noire photos hold a special place in my heart, since they were my first fashion-related collaboration (plus, the lighting was just perfect, with no editing necessary).
Favorite Writing Award
My favorite part about blogging—and the part I have always been best at—is the writing. I had a lot of fun this year exploring a variety of unique topics on the blog, including a few travel posts, some writing that is critical of the fashion industry, and posts that explore the intersection of style and important topics like the environment. This year’s nominees for the Favorite Writing Award are…
A Few Simple Tips to Make Your Wardrobe More Sustainable
And the award goes to…
While I loved writing all three of these blog posts and am very proud of them, my Unpopular Fashion Opinions post stood out to me. So many people reached out and told me how much they loved this post and how they agreed with several of the items I listed.
Favorite Outfit Award
Last, but not least, is the Favorite Outfit Award. While I don’t absolutely love all of my outfits, I usually won’t post a look unless I at least really like it, so it’s always difficult to choose a winner for this category. This year’s nominees are…
And the award goes to… drumroll please…
I absolutely love this romper and have worn it so many times this year for dates or drinks with friends. It paired so well with these yellow sandals and a bold lip, and I loved the pretty pink trees as a backdrop for the outfit. A winner, for sure!
I hope you enjoyed my annual “award show” blog post, and I would love to hear your opinions below on your favorite outfit or post that I shared this year. Thank you SO much for all of your support in 2021. Slowly but surely, my blogging dreams are coming true, and I couldn’t have done it without all of you (rhyme not intended). Have a happy and safe new year!
Miles of smiles,
2 comments on “2021 Recap: And the Award Goes To…”
Happy New Year! May the coming year be full of grand adventures and opportunities. Aiva 🙂
Thank you so much Aiva! Same to you and yours. <3