5 Years into Blogging – Reflections, Achievements & Future Directions

Hey, myBeautyCravings just turned 5 today. I still remember how I was sitting in a cafe located near my ex-workplace and brainstorming the name for this website. How time flies! 5 years may sound short, but hey, it’s one-third of my working life. :)

Today, I thought it’s a good time to share some current thoughts (struggles & dilemmas) and round up what we have done and achieved thus far.

Was it a worthwhile journey? Will I continue to run this as a full-time job? What’s the future directions?

We are 5 - Anniversary

 


Thoughts & Reflections – 5 Years of Blogging at myBeautyCravings

Some of you may have read how I took the plunge and started full-time blogging since more than a year ago. I’ve shared in the post how much work is required for one to not just blog, but to grow it like a business. And how 63% of bloggers earn less than $100 per month (see statistics).

Now that I’m in my 5th year of blogging (and dedicating full-time resources to it), I’ve managed to join the top 13% earners, i.e. those earning more than $1,000 per month. Sounds like a great achievement? Sadly, it’s still a far cry as compared to what I used to earn as a full-time employee. And not forgetting that I now work twice as many hours (90 hours per week).

Passion vs Reality: How many succeed as entrepreneurs in Singapore?

Passion is what kept me going. However, there were many points in time when uncertainty struck me. The sense of insecurity is real especially in Singapore, which if you didn’t know, is the most expensive city in the world.

Although I’m not struggling to survive, the fact that the savings isn’t growing can push one into extreme frugality. And living like that for an extensive period can be disheartening when you do not know when or if a breakthrough would materialize.

Recently, I’ve even contemplated whether I should just kill this dream and lead an easier and stable lifestyle. By that, I don’t mean that I would quit blogging. Judging at how much work is involved to grow a blog, I know I would have to give up or put a brake on growth strategies should I get a full-time job. Also, I would likely be posting less frequently.

The Reality: Generous with Freebies, but not Bread & Butter

Blogging is a tough environment, at least for low-mid tier bloggers, because many companies are generous with freebies, but not monetary compensation. Also, too many hobby bloggers are willing to blog for free in exchange for gifts. And this may make us – professional bloggers – appear mercenary even though we put in long hours to produce a quality and high-ranking post.

Therefore, can this environment (especially in Asian context) support full-time blogging? Should I become a hobby blogger instead? Can “hobby” quality still stand a high chance of ranking on first page of Google Search, like 80% of my articles do?

Or perhaps, I’m just not good enough to deserve a full-time pay even though I work day, night and weekend? Maybe I’m not sharing enough interesting bits of my personal life (I never do except for the travel bits! :)). Maybe I haven’t provided enough value to my readers? Maybe I didn’t start blogging earlier enough. Maybe this is the reality of blogging?

entrepreneur life cycle

I have not made a decision, but these have been my recent thoughts. An entrepreneur faces a lot of down cycles as you can see from the chart above. I may be sitting on one of the lowest points right now.

Will I get out of it soon? Well, we’ll know in a while. :)

Enough of the emotional release. Let’s talk about something a little more positive and stock-take what myBeautyCravings has achieved thus far.

 


Milestones Achieved after 5 Years of Blogging

1. Website Ranking: Top 2k in Singapore

I’m happy to share that myBeautyCravings has just broken the 3k mark in terms of Singapore Website Ranking. We are now the Top 2k website in Singapore.

Globally, we rank Top 300k which I’m quite happy with, though I want to see it break the 200k soon. It’s not going to be easy, but aiming high can never go wrong.

Alexa Website Ranking for mybeautycravings (July 2019)
Website ranking as of July 2019

2. Verified SEO Score

https://smallseotools.com/We have a verified SEO score of A, which means we know what we are doing to get our articles to rank high on Google Search. In fact, 80% of our articles are on Google’s first page.

Being well-versed in producing SEO-optimized article is one thing, creating unique content that adds value to readers is another.

 

Google has always been intelligent in recognizing contents that answer readers’ questions, quickly and effortlessly. We are glad that this aligns with our mission:

Our mission: “We want to be the one that answers your questions and be your final stop when you are looking for an answer.”

SEO Score mybeautycravings - July 2019
Verified SEO score of myBeautyCravings (July 2019)

3. 150,000 Combined Monthly Viewers

myBeautyCravings currently attracts 40,000 monthly blog viewers. Thank you to Google for recognizing the work we put behind every post and placing 80% of our posts on the first page of Google Search.

Pageviews as of July 2019
Daily pageviews on myBeautyCravings as of July 2019 (Source: Google Analytics)

Our P-interest account also draws a good 110,000 monthly unique viewers. Some of my readers told me they got to know my blog through P-interest. So I think it was a right decision for me to spend a bulk of my resources there.

Pinterest Monthly Views (July 2019)
Pinterest Views (as of July 2019)

4. Number of Email Subscribers

I only started growing my email subscribers a year ago. I’m glad to see that the effort has produced good results. Within a year, our email subscribers have grown over 1,500 (adds 200 subscribers every month).

I have also hit the upper limit of the free account (which limits the number of emails I can send per month to 10,000). Therefore, if you are a subscriber, you may see me reducing my email to you to once a week. This will be temporary. I will be paying for the email service soon.

Email subscribers mybeautycravings
Our email subscribers as of July 2019

5. Number of Social Media Followers

Social media followers count is the weakest link here – only 2000+. First of all, I don’t buy followers or join Instagram or Facebook Pods even though that could have given me a head-start. Friends have questioned me for being stubborn. To them, it’s a normal marketing tactic to get me on a level playing field.

Well, I guess everyone has their own belief. I like my followers to be following me or liking my posts because they are genuinely engaged and not because they are obliged to. This would be fair to advertisers too.

Coming from a business background, I certainly would not be happy paying for numbers that originated from people who are unlikely to be using my products.

It may be a tougher journey doing it the “organic” and “pure” way, but I know such a behavior would not get penalized one day, be it by Google, Instagram or my conscience.

Why have I not been able to grow my followers organically? 

Search me. :) Maybe I’m not interesting enough. Maybe I don’t show enough of my photos on instagram. Maybe I don’t trade skin for viewership. Maybe I only share about two main topics (beauty & travel) and not the rest? Maybe I don’t show you how my partner, mother or best friends look like. :)

Birthday celebration with mom
My mom!
Helmet Diving Boracay
My man!

Well, but I’m still thankful that my email subscribers are flowing in in good numbers and it’s a great (even better) consolation. In fact, I’ve intentionally shifted my social media follow buttons to inconspicuous places because I want people to focus on “subscribing”. Having access to email addresses has been recognized as being more important than being under the whim and fancy of Facebook/Instagram’s algorithm changes.

This doesn’t mean I won’t grow my social media followers. I’ll just give them the necessary (sustainable) resources required to maintain them.

 


myBeautyCravings Updates

1. We are “mBC True Media”

In March this year (2019), we registered ourselves as an official business in Singapore and are officially known as mBC True Media.

One day, I hope to convert mBC True Media to a private limited company. We’ll have to wait for the business and income to stabilize as a Pte Ltd incurs a lot more costs, administration and accounting/financial regulations.

ACRA Business Profile myBeautyCravings
myBeautyCravings Business Registration in Singapore

2. We have a Brand New Homepage 

It took me years to come up with a magazine-style homepage than one that looks like a typical blog. Having a static website has all along been the idea even before this website was launched. I just couldn’t figure out how to do it, or lack the technical inclination and time.

Finally, I forced myself to do it! And yes, the new static page was born in June 2019. Yay!!!

Now, I have acquired the skills and resources to tweak the homepage or any part of the website and this gives me lots of creativity space and opportunity to further grow my website and business. I just need more time. :)

Revamped Homepage (mybeautycravings) - July 2019
A static homepage finally for myBeautyCravings (June 2019)

3. New Pages to Show You Great Stuff

I’ve created a few new pages in 2019 to make it easier for you to focus on the good stuff.

You may have seen our “What I buy from Amazon” link on our homepage. This page shows you stuff I buy from Amazon that are significantly cheaper than what you can find in Singapore, and probably elsewhere. I find Amazon to be a good place to source for cheap and authentic stuff from internationally-known brands.

Amazon Buy what mybeautycravings
Things that are cheaper on Amazon

There are other pages in the pipeline which I will create or redesign to make it easier for you to navigate around. Stay tuned for more enhancements. Did I tell you I’m a part-time website developer now? I’m jack of all trades over here at myBeautyCravings.com.

4. Current Blog Series on myBeautyCravings

Here are the blog series that we have right now:

30-Day Challenge: This is a new series that I came up with, with the first being Slim & Fit Challenge. Why 30 Days? A new habit takes some time to form, so a 30-Day Challenge would be good to condition and motivate ourselves towards adapting to the new habit.

I have readers telling me how they were motivated to stay healthy, slim and fit after reading my post. This makes me happy because it’s always good to know how you are able to help others improve their lives when you are improving yours. :)

I’ll come up with more 30-Day Challenges soon. Connect with me if you like to be updated and motivated to embark on more positive habits.

Beauty Empties: I started this series to record beauty stuff I’ve managed to empty. As you probably know, it’s not easy to fully use up a beauty product. Very often, we have more than a dozen lipsticks, eye shadows, moisturizers etc sitting around at any given time. Therefore, if we are able to empty a beauty purchase, it is often because the product is good.

This series aims to give readers ideas on what to pick up during their next shopping spree.

Beauty Trash: As its name suggests, beauty trash are things that get thrown before they are used up. It’s either the products are not suitable or they are outright lousy. This series can signal for readers to consider carefully because buying the mentioned products.

5. A Faster Website

As highlighted in this post, we have upgraded our hosting server to give you a faster browsing experience.

It’s now 6 times more expensive than what it costs when we first started out. But I think it’s worth it if it can improve your experience here at myBeautyCravings.

6. We Rejected Higher-Paying Advertising Network to Stay True to You

Do you see the ad banners on our websites? Well, they are from Google Adsense and originate from legitimate sources.

We have been invited by a few higher-paying advertising networks to place their ads on our websites. I thought I should let you know that I’ve rejected them because their ads may expose you to questionable products and services.

I’ve personally vetted through some of the ads and am not comfortable with them, e.g. a product that can help you slim down in a few weeks without you doing anything, except spending money and eating those stuff.  Or a cream that can make you 10 years younger in one month.

Even though this website has been set out as a business, I do care about your well-being more than money. I believe in “Doing the right thing!”. Let this be another of my motto in addition to “Honest Reviews”! :)

 


Best-Performing Blog Articles 2019

We’ve published over 90 articles in the last one year (2018/2019). The following are the best-performing posts in terms of page views.

Naturally, those published earlier in the year would have an advantage of clocking up more pageviews. But note that the best-performing posts are not necessary the oldest posts.

Most Popular Travel Articles (Published in 2018/2019)

Most Popular Beauty Articles (Published in 2018/2019)

 


Quick Goals for myBeautyCravings

I want to give myBeautyCravings a few high-level quick goals. Target achievement date is by our next Anniversary (July 2020). :)

  • Top 200K Global Website Ranking
  • 70k Pageviews Per Month
  • 4,000 Email Subscribers
  • Earn enough to outsource some work
  • Launch a second website

 


Thank You for your Support!

It’s been a tough but enjoyable journey blogging here at myBeautyCravings.com. I like to thank you for your support because without you reading this blog, we would not have achieved the milestones.

I look forward to the day when my blog can produce a stable source of “bread and butter”, that justifies why it was right for me to leave my stable and well-paying job. And I’ll continue to look for opportunity of growth so as to continue providing value here to you on a full-time basis.

Before I leave, I like to once again thank my supportive readers (you know who you are). Those who have shared my posts, liked my social media posts and given my pages social proof by commenting, thank you very much! You’re amazing!

And last but not least, if you have anything that you like to see more of in the year ahead, please feel free to let me know and I’ll see how I can work it into the content. Thank you for your company! :)

Cheers,

Nicole Lee

Founder & Editor of myBeautyCravings.com

 

Special Section Dedicated to My Supportive Readers

Thank you to all my readers who support this blog (and my social media). I may not be able to list down every comments here, but please know that I am appreciative to everyone who took the trouble to leave a note of thanks and encouragement! I’m looking forward to spending my 6th Blogiversary with you! 

Reader Comments 2019

Reader Comment 2019 - Daphne

Reader Comments - Sandra

Readers Comments Collage

I’m hiding the names and photos of these instagram readers because these are private messages, and I don’t have permission to share them publicly.

If you are reading this and are okay to share your face/name, let me know. I guard everyone’s privacy just like how I guard mine. :)

Reader Comments 2019
Thank you, Mr C (Instagram Reader)

 

Reader Comments 2019
Thank you, Ms A (Instagram Reader)

 

Reader Comments 2019
Thank you, Ms M (Instagram Reader)

 

Reader Comments 2019
Thank you, Ms C (Instagram Reader)

5 Year Blogging Anniversary

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2 thoughts on “5 Years into Blogging – Reflections, Achievements & Future Directions”

  1. Hey Nicole! What a great achievement it is for your blog to hit 5 years! Congrats and thanks for sharing everything (or at least the key points, it’s okay not to share about your private life or family :p) about your journey so far and of cos, as a fellow blogger – I can totally relate to so many points! Mainly, I really applaud that you’re chose to do this full time and well, I’m pretty sure your efforts will pay off! Keep it going!(:

    1. Hey, Daphne. Thanks for dropping by and your kind words and support. I know you would understand because I read that you work till late nights all the time too! :) Actually, I’m trying to sleep before 2am too – am going to try to kickstart this today (again)..hehe (Said it too many times).

      I’m not sure if it’s silly to jump into this full-time. I just know that it’s hard to get out after having dedicated so much time and effort. You know right? It’s like a baby. You don’t want it to die after feeding it for so many months/years. :P

      If one day, I have a breakthrough, there are people that I will remember, you being one of them. :) Yah…but not sure whether that day will come or not lah. You also jiayou in what you are pursuing. It’s really interesting taking a daily peak into your life. Thanks for sharing almost everything! :)

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