Y’all! Today is a big day! A big, big, big day! This little bitty blog of ours is officially one year old.
One year ago today, during the biggest snowstorm of last winter, Keri decided to get snowed in with my family and I’m so glad she did! We had previously talked about how we really felt God leading us to blog. So we started praying about doing one together.
That weekend, while the kids frolicked in the snow, we put our heads together, committed to get this thing started, and officially bought the domain name.
This experience in and of itself was kind of comical. I am soooooo not a tech person. At all! I knew nothing about coding. I knew nothing about setting up a website. Shoot! I can’t even work the remote half the time!
We only purchased one year’s worth of hosting (a term I had to google btw). Hosting is kind of like the housing of your website. You can use a free service like WordPress.com or Blogspot.com, but this is like “renting” your website. Technically, WordPress.com or Blogspot.com “owns” your website and they have the right to shut it down at any time for any reason. I’ve heard true horror stories of this happening, and we knew we wanted our own hosting from the very beginning, even though it wasn’t free.
We went with Bluehost and if you are an aspiring blogger, we highly recommend using them! Not only was it super simple and easy to set everything up, but their support service is amazing! We have rarely had to contact them, but the few times we did, they responded in less than 24 hours. AND the domain name, which is usually an additional expense, comes as part of your purchase of the hosting.
When we purchased only one year of hosting, our mentality at first was kind of like, this will be a really fun hobby and an amazing ministry opportunity, but what if we don’t like doing it? Or what if no one reads it? Or what if we can’t keep up?
Wow!! Nothing could be further from the truth! Not only do we love doing what we do, but we know this is exactly where God wants us to be right now. I feel like we’ve finally found our people!
After we set up our basic site, we spent a couple months researching, writing, and building up posts and somewhat of a blogging routine. We wanted to make sure we had a good stockpile of posts under our belt so that people would have more than one thing to read.
In April, we finally hit “publish” and shared our blog with the world. I remember being so scared to take that step! I posted some really vulnerable posts about some things my family had gone through, like this post and this post. Keri also shared about something she was super passionate about here. And it was scary to know that the whole world wide web could read it and judge the things we shared.
Fear is such an ugly little fella’ and he just about got the best of me. I almost let my insecurities cloud my vision.
But I’m so glad we hit publish!! Not only because I feel like we’ve finally found our purpose, but because the Lord is truly using these posts to encourage others in their walk with Him.
Ever so slowly, we eventually started gaining readers. Ten or twenty here. Then a hundred there. Little by little, this community started to grow to tens of thousands of readers. My first thought was “Who are you people?” My second thought was, “No seriously, who ARE you people? And can we please be friends in real life!!” What an amazing community this is becoming and we just love each and every one of you so stinkin’ much!
Once we realized we had been bitten by the blogging bug and we were in this, like really really IN this, we decided to do a complete overhaul of our site. This was another comical experience! Figuring out how to design a site with NO technical experience EVER was enough to make me question my sanity.
Lucky for us, we found Restored 316 themes! All of their themes are beautiful and so functional! Not only are they adorable and easy to navigate, they also have a step by step process for everything you can think of for all of their themes. I’ve only reached out to them about two things, and their response time was so amazing! I had an answer in a few hours, and they were so friendly and helpful!
Sidenote: If you are thinking about blogging, I will say that Restored 316 is a child theme. You would also need a Genesis parent theme. One provides the framework, while the other allows the functionality.
Think of it like this – a parent theme such as Genesis is like the walls of your house, the foundation your blog is built on. A child theme is the drywall and wallpaper and curtains that make it look pretty. The child theme is how you add your colors and designs and pretty fonts. While the child theme is what makes it beautiful, a parent theme is the supporting structure making all that pretty decorating possible. You can’t have one without the other. But once they are installed, that’s the last you think of parent themes and child themes. It’s one and done. Then you make it all pretty and personalized.
That was quite possibly the most techie paragraph I’ve ever written. I almost feel like a computer guru now. Almost.
But no, I still can’t work the remote.
I would be lying if I said this year has been all gravy and we’ve had zero setbacks. We have struggled at times with finding a balance between writing and commenting and responding to emails and link parties and behind the scenes tech stuff. We had no idea how much went into blogging! Shockingly, blogging is about 10% writing and 90% everything else.
We’ve also found ourselves discouraged at times. It’s hard not to get overwhelmed when we begin to compare ourselves with others, and that is definitely true in blogging. We’ve had to be reminded that God has us right where He needs us, and all things happen in His timing.
We have also had some really encouraging moments!
One of the highlights for me was guest posting for the first time on Moneysavingmom.com. You can read the post right here. I honestly didn’t think my post would be accepted the first time it was submitted, so I actually submitted two guest posts on two different blogs in the same week! Imagine my surprise when both of my posts were accepted at the same time. (You can read them by clicking here and here by the way.)
The week after my first guest post went live on moneysavingmom.com, I also had another guest post published on sixfiguresunder.com. These are women I have read and followed and been so inspired by! Like, I want to BE them when I grow up! I totally had a fan-girl moment about both of these opportunities. And then my dog looked at me like I had lost my marbles, and I was better.
One of the most humbling experiences of this past year has been hearing from YOU, our readers! We have had women from all walks of life comment and email us. My heart breaks at some of the stories we hear on a regular basis. The frazzled mama who is running ragged on no sleep, the broken woman who is lost and hurting and feels so alone, the couple who is overwhelmed with financial burdens and don’t know where to start in paying off their debt, homeschooling moms who feel like they have no idea what they are doing.
We have emailed, chatted on Facebook, and messaged on Instagram so many women who have shared a little bit of their stories with us, and we are truly honored that you have trusted us with your struggles. We are better people for having known you. We are better women for being in community with you. And please know that we really do pray for you!!
Going forward, we hope this gospel-centered community continues to grow. We have already talked about what this will look like in regards to the content of our posts for the new year in this post right here.
Our tagline, “Faith, Family, Finances” obviously hits on the three things that are most important to us. One of the things we are most proud of is that this is resonating with our readers as well. Our top ten posts of 2016 prove this! About one third of our top ten posts were faith posts, about one third were family posts, and about one third were finance posts.
One of the things we will be doing more of in our second year of blogging is working with other bloggers. We would love to guest post once a month, we would love to grow our presence on social media, and we would really like to find ways to grow our blog as God sees fit.
Right now, we are working on some really amazing products that we know will make your lives so much easier. We can’t wait to spill the beans on everything that will be rolled out this year!!
I wake up excited every morning to work on the blog! I go to bed excited about all of the plans we have for the future of this online community. And I genuinely love our readers.
We could not be more excited about all of the things we are working on behind the scenes to bring to you and hopefully help your lives. Even more than ever before, especially after hearing from so many of you, our hope is that we can be an encouragement in your friendships, your marriages, your parenting, your finances, and your walk with God.
Just last week, a sweet friend of my husbands reached out to him to let him know she had stumbled upon that very first post I shared, Finding Beauty in Your Brokenness.
She is going through a very painful transition right now and reading that post was a reminder that God is with her, that there is purpose in her pain, and that He will one day use this season of brokenness for good. I couldn’t help but be brought to tears as I was reminded that I almost chickened out of this whole blogging thing. I almost missed that opportunity! I’m so completely humbled that God is taking the messes of our lives and using them to minister to others.
I saw in a very real way that this platform isn’t really about me. It’s about HIM. It’s about YOU. It’s a way that Christ can speak directly from our keyboards to your hearts and our biggest prayer is that you feel this as you read. That you feel Him speaking life into your hearts. Giving you the peace you need if you are going through a hard time, the guidance you need if you seek direction, the comfort you need to know you are not alone.
For more daily encouragement and a peek at our lives behind the blog, we recently started a Little Light on a Hill Instagram account. We also have a Pinterest account and a Facebook page and we would love for you to follow along. Finally, feel free to subscribe in the little box below the post. As a thank you, we will send you a FREE financial goal setting workbook and new posts will be sent straight to your inbox as they go live.
We cannot wait to see all of the things that will transpire in the next year of blogging. Thank you for joining along!