So another year has come and is almost gone, and what a year 2016 it was!
It was an impressive year in terms of audience reach, engagement and interaction, however this year was also the most 'relentless' when I factor the amount of time, energy and resources it took to grow the blog, manage the day-to-day site operations and the challenges it threw at us from trying to achieve financial sustainability through to personal crises such as my mid-year public meltdown.
Nevertheless, despite the emotional rollercoaster that almost seemed to give the Dreamworld catastrophe a run for its money, we've had some epic 'wins' this year.
Here's what we accomplished in 2016:
- we hired four employees including an admin officer to help manage the growing email inbox and demands for quality photography, particularly for our social accounts such as Instagram,
- we added another talented wordsmith to our core team of contract writers to help with consistency of publishing,
- developed an editorial calendar to help streamline the publishing process,
- put systems in place to deal with increasing social media demands, including responding to Instagram emails and social media comments,
- created a Patreon page to encourage readers to make a pledge to reduce our reliance on advertising dollars and help fund the growing operational costs,
- began publishing Transparency Reports as part of our commitment to ethics and blog transparency,
- reached just over 13,000 followers on Instagram compared with 6,000 this time last year,
- have been able to grow our email subscribers from 481 at the end of 2015 to over 2,900, and
- hit an all-time high for traffic, close to 17,000 website visitors this month.
What others have said about us.
It's always nice when you get wonderful feedback and words of encouragement and support. Here's what some people had to say about Eco Warrior Princess - and myself - this year:
"She’s a good example of a blogger who is fully dedicated to promoting sustainable fashion and living an eco-friendly lifestyle. The blog is perfect for those of you who are searching for some serious advice on how to live a more sustainable lifestyle." - Wild Tussah, Top 7 Sustainable Fashion Blogs to Follow
"I know that every time I open my email from Eco Warrior Princess, I know it's going to be an interesting topic. She's not your typical blogger. She sincerely asks questions because she genuinely wants to know what her readers think. Every topic is something I ask myself and wonder if others feel the same way. She genuinely has a way with words. She may be the voice for those who care about sustainability in our generation." - Olivia Shapiro, One of a Kind Sustainability, 5 Sustainable Fashion Bloggers Who Are Killing It Right Now, Or Should I Say Saving It?
"About a year ago, you posted a blog about my brand Pink Pink. Since then your website consistently refers visitors to mine, even still. There must have been some great keywords in that blog! Anyway, I just wanted to say thank you." - Tarah Frow, Pink Punk Active, Instagram direct message
The reality check.
Duality exists in life. There is no 'good' without the 'bad'. No yin without its yang. No highs without the lows. This year was no different.
Aside from the financial challenges that tend to plague almost all young online businesses and blogs, the other huge obstacle I've had to deal with are internet trolls, the people who tend not to have anything positive to contribute, who are close-minded and who try to distract me from the green cause by sucking up the little available time I have by throwing nonsensical irrational arguments and criticisms at my online doorstep.
Where there is a couple of trolls, more will soon follow. As I plan for another big year of sustainability communication, I have to remember:
The more we expose ourselves to the world, the more vulnerable we allow ourselves to be, the more we have the courage to share ideas and opinions that may be confronting or unpopular to the status quo, the more we will be attacked, challenged and shamed.
This is the reality that one must accept when trying to do important work or work that matters. The road less travelled was never intended to be easy, but at least it's guaranteed to be interesting when you meet a cyber troll.
Most Popular Posts of 2016
From trolls to triumphs. Here are the articles that received the most 'visits':
- 9 Sustainable Sleepwear Brands for Your Ethical Wardrobe
- 10 Australian Ethical Activewear Brands You'll Want to Get Behind
- The Ultimate Guide to Ethical & Eco-Friendly Lingerie Brands
- 8 Ethical Shoe Brands for the Conscious Consumer
- 60 Great Quotes About Sustainability, Green Living & Our Environment
- 12 Australian Ethical Fashion Brands You Can Shop For Online
- 11 Eco-Friendly Sunglasses for the Sustainably-Minded Fashionista
- How Fast Fashion Destroyed the Capsule Wardrobe, and What You Can Do To Reclaim It
- Cheap But Definitely Not Nasty: 10 Affordable Ethical & Sustainable Fashion Brands
- Free Online Ethical Fashion Course: How to Build a Sustainable Fashion Business
- How I Really Feel About Having Babies
- Why There's No Such Thing As Ethical Leather
Favourite Looks of 2016
So as we say our final goodbyes to the massive year that was, I want you to reflect on your year.
What were the accomplishments you were most proud of in 2016? What challenges did you face? What were some of your learning lessons? Was there an Eco Warrior Princess post that really resonated with you this year? And most importantly, how did you go with greening your life?
Want to know how 2016 differed from our previous year? Read our 2015 end of year wrap here.