Happy New Year to you all. It’s perhaps a little late to be writing this but it’s the first proper new post of the year so it seemed like the right thing to say.
I start the year, as I so often do, in reflective mood. Wither blogs as they say? I’m constantly seeing polls on Instagram (clearly a self-selecting audience) of people saying they don’t read them anymore, that they would prefer to have all their information filtered through the short sharp swipe of the Instagram story.
That may be the case for that audience, but my numbers tell a different story. Yes the blog numbers are much smaller than those on Instagram, but the engagement is perhaps higher. Last year there were almost 2 million hits to the blog and some 750,000 visitors. Incidentally that’s the same number as the year before but with more page views suggesting people are reading more or staying longer. And let’s not forget I dropped a post from four to five halfway through the year.
And while we’re on the numbers, I published 221 posts last year (down from a completely unsustainable high of 459 in 2012 – the year I launched).
So on the face of it, blogs – at least this one – are alive and kicking. While Instagram, and don’t get me wrong I still love it, is facing increasing backlash and fury from people who are frustrated that their pictures aren’t visible, which means their engagement is low and, there is growing dissent against the increasing facebookisation (new word – made it up) of this once-adored platform.
I think there may be a shift this year as some are already threatening to leave Instagram and others will return to blogging. It is, after all, your own space on the internet that you own and control and, unlike the ‘gram, it is also more searchable for the information you are looking for.
So, no, I won’t be abandoning the blog for the grid. Dumping the words for the pictures as it were.
Having said that, what is the plan for the blog this year? Well, I will continue at four posts a week plus the Wednesday Ad Break as that seems to work for us all. For those who aren’t aware of the system – there won’t always be a Wednesday post but if there is it will be a sponsored one. The other four will not be paid for or sponsored. That way you know what you are getting. Having said that, I do always choose with care who I work with and try hard to create interesting content with, and for, that brand by styling and shooting my own images and creating a proper story around the shoot so that it’s not just a straightforward puff piece. So while you won’t see a piece on Furniture Village (for example) you will see pieces on Danish design companies, brands I have bought from and used in my own home, and other companies which may be new to us both, but which I have investigated and decided are a good fit with the brand that is Mad About The House.
Put simply, this means that those of you who refuse to read sponsored, or paid for content, can swerve on a Wednesday, those of you who like a daily post can, mostly, have one and at least everyone knows what they are getting.
That’s the manifesto bit. For the other four posts I shall continue with 10 Beautiful Rooms although I plan to reduce that to eight for the foreseeable future – I have a book to write by 31 March and need to claw back a little more time for that. The Househunter will also remain as it has its fans and I still love poking around other people’s houses. The other two posts will be a mix of content.
When I started the blog, I launched a series called 365 Objects of Design – it was a way to make myself blog every day and not give up and get disheartened when no-one was reading it. As I mentioned earlier I published 459 posts that year – for some 6,500 visitors, which is somedays how many hits I may get in a single day.
But times have changed and it no longer feels right to suggest that you spend money on something every day. So the blog has evolved to include more how to guides which led, in turn, to the book Mad About The House.
Now there are only so many how to guides one can run without being repetitive (or pre-empting the new book, which comes out in 2020) so this year there will be one weekly post that is loosely shopping related – showing you things about making over a single room, or the best pieces that fit a trend, or just five of the best armchairs – that sort of thing. Sometimes it might also just one one amazing thing that I have found that I think you might like to see, and perhaps even buy – we not going to abandon shopping altogether.
The last post will be a mixed bag of things from news and events to features and design-related anniversaries – both String and Bauhaus this year for example -as well as posts to back up the podcast every two weeks. I’m going to launch an interview series as well. Based, very loosely, on the famous Proust questionnaire – a series of questions designed to elicit information about a personality – this will be called My Interior World and will, hopefully, give us an insight into both a person’s headspace and living space. Interviewees won’t just be interior design experts, although that will form part of it – we like to glean a few free tips don’t we? I’m very excited about this series and can’t wait to launch it. But I only had the idea last night so I will need a few weeks to set it up!
And there, in a nutshell, is the blog for 2019. I hope you will subscribe and read, comment and like. Last year was insanely busy – a little like being on an endless rollercoaster and while I wouldn’t swap it for the world, I hope to free up a little more time this year to blog in more depth, keep on top of my inbox, as well as write the book and support two teenage boys with their public exams in the summer.
And in case you were wondering, today’s images and links are all related to household decluttering, tidying, arranging and sorting. All useful things for January and perfect for any of you who haven’t had to go back to work yet but are definitely convinced that this year will be the one that you definitely, absolutely, probably, will almost certainly, maybe get on top of the Monica cupboard/room once and for all.