I almost forgot all about my annual tradition to write a birthday/anniversary post every April when my little blog gets another year older. 2015 marks 8 years of Spoon Graphics, so let’s take a look at how things have changed over the past 12 months. Last year I talked about the tweaks I’d made to my site to survive the apocalypse. I’m happy to report that those changes have made great improvements to my site’s growth, and things seem to be looking good for the future.

Spoon Graphics 2015

I always start these anniversary posts with links to my previous yearly celebrations. It’s always interesting to go back and see how my blog has progressed and how I described my experiences:

Onwards and Upwards

The creation of an email newsletter and the website layout changes I made last year seem to have really helped my site grow. My mailing list has grown tremendously and now has almost 60,000 subscribers.

Download overlay

One additional improvement I made to my site was to implement an extra newsletter signup form that appears in a modal window whenever a user downloads one of my free resources. I hate the idea of requiring an email in order to download an item as many other sites do, so my process is to give the user their download file, then prompt them to sign up if they want to receive more free stuff. This form alone has scored me the highest number of signups on my entire site with a conversion rate of 17%.

Spoon Graphics YouTube Channel

The biggest change for 2015 is the increase in post frequency from 2 posts per week to 3. Alongside a new tutorial, article or freebie every Monday and a new premium resource for Access All Areas members on a Friday, subscribers now also receive a notification of a quality design deal or new video tutorial every Wednesday, which leads nicely onto the topic of my new Spoon Graphics YouTube Channel!

Retro Style Geometric Lines video tutorial

My video tutorials are still fairly new, but 5 have been posted so far, with one seeing over 8,500 views after being shared on Twitter by the official Adobe accounts. In total, my videos have amassed over 20,000 views so far and there’s 1,238 people who subscribe directly to the channel on YouTube to see the tutorials before anyone else. I’m hoping to see these figures take off as my channel becomes established and I find an additional audience from people who discover my video content on YouTube.

Average stats of late

Google Analytics statistics

Average visits per day: 26,000 (up 12% from 2014)
Top Content: 15 Free PSD Templates to Mockup Your T-Shirt Designs (2014) & 25 Free PSD Templates to Mockup Your Print Designs (2013)
Email Subscribers: 57,694 (up 275% from 2014)
Highest Traffic Peak: NEW RECORD! Tuesday November 11th 2014 – 44,592 visitors (How To Create a Realistic Painted Effect in Photoshop)

Last year I was disappointed to see my views drop for the first time in the history of my site, but I’m happy to report things are looking up again. Visitors as a whole are still lower than they were in 2012, but March 2015 saw the largest amount of traffic in 2 years.

What’s interesting is my old roundup of 50 Illustrator Tutorials Every Designer Should See from 2009 has dropped off my top content list after having the number one spot for 5 years. Free mockup templates are what people seem to be searching for these days.

My email subscribers growth has exploded by 275% thanks to those content tweaks I documented last year. At an average of 130 new subscribers per day it will be interesting to see what that figure sits at this time next year.

One exciting statistic is a new traffic record. The highest I’d previously seen was 36,635 visitors in one day back in 2013. That figure has been blown away by the 44,592 visitors on November 11th 2014 who mostly came from Reddit Photography.

Technical stats

Powered by: WordPress
Hosted on: 4GB VPS
Server location: Dallas (SoftLayer)
Monthly bandwidth: 7TB

There’s also news to report behind the scenes. My decision to give every new subscriber all the free resources I’ve ever made meant my hosting fees were rocketing with Rackspace, so I looked around for a better deal and saved £230 per month with SoftLayer. My trusty server admin buddy @davidsilburn virtually transferred everything over from Chicago to Dallas. I’ll have to visit my server at its new home in Texas one day!

One more thing…

Baby Ashleigh

These birthday/anniversary posts are also a great opportunity to share updates from my personal life, such as our wedding back in 2013. This time, I’m proud to introduce Ashleigh Spooner, who was born on December 6th 2014.

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  1. Congrats on the stats and dadhood!

    I started reading your site regularly without fully realizing that all of the different tutorial links I had been following kept bringing me back here. Not long after that you earned a spot on my bookmark toolbar and are a daily stop as soon as I boot up my rig. Went premium about a month ago and am not regretting it in the slightest. I hope it’s a long time before I read a post about you calling it a day and shuttering a great site.

    • Thanks Kyle. Don’t worry, I’ll still be writing tutorials long into the future as long as there’s people to read them!
      I’m glad to hear you’re enjoying the premium membership too, I appreciate your support.

  2. Hey Chris, Congratulations and kudos for all the great work you have been putting in. I have been an avid follower and will continue to do so :)

  3. Congratulations Chris!

    You’ve done an outstanding job creating and maintaining such a wonderful resouce to the graphic design world :)

    I sincerely thank you for all your efforts across the years, and wish you, your business and your lovely family all the best.

  4. Congratulations Chris! Happy 8th Anniversary.

    You continue to have the best resource site on the web and have made my transition from print to web much easier with all of your tutorials.

  5. Congratulations Chris!

    I’ve been reading your blog for a couple of years, and your content is second to none. You should be proud of what you’ve accomplished. :)

    All the best in the next 8 years!

  6. First off, congratulations on your adorable baby girl, Ashleigh! I’d be interested in hearing how growing your family has affected your schedule/business.

    Watching you try new things and grow over the years has been so inspiring. I only wish you the best in the years to come. Keep up the great work, man! :)

  7. Congrats Chris. As a marketing and graphic design professional, I find your site invaluable to me. Not only does it provide excellent tutorials and info on current trends, but the premium membership is worth it’s weight in gold. So many resources for so little. Keep up the good work and here’s to 8 more years!

  8. congratulations i have been following your blog since the beginning !!! I hope this keeps growing and growing.

    Best wishes for your family

  9. Thank you for your relentless passion. Love everything you do and you have given me so much. Keep up your amazing work. Its very appreciated.

  10. Always amazed at the gracious free content you post. Thank you. Your blog has been invaluable to my growth as a designer. Great tip about the opt-in – Going to try that! And, congrats on your wee one. What a cutie! :)

  11. So much congratulations! I’ve been reading your blog for a few years now and it has been immensely useful in my work as an instructional designer. I’m even more impressed now knowing that you’ve been putting out all this great content when you have that cute baby monopolizing your time! Thanks for sharing your time and talent.

  12. Hey Congratulations…
    Ive been with you since the start. Seen the changes over the years and saw you grow and grow. Your videos are brill. Especially the accent :) I’m a fellow Northerner. Great to see your progression. you have been a real inspiration to me over the years.

    Easy now

  13. There’s nothing better than family! Congratulations on the addition to yours! I would be so disappointed if there wasn’t a spoongraphics to help me as a designer. My formal education was a sham so I deeply depend on internet instruction such as yours to help me. Your YouTube channel is great and very helpful. It’s great to watch the whole process in a continuous way then refer to the website to break down the individual steps. All that you do is so much appreciated! Thanks!

  14. New to this page but love it and check religiously. I love the way you are doing things. Keep up with the same pace and it will sky rocket. Also loved your tutorials please do more, nice to see someone who doesn’t speak to us like we are brand new to design. Best blog i’ve found this year so far!

  15. AHHHH!! So exciting!! 8 years!! ANDDDDD Now a beautiful bundle of joy! Congrats to you both and looking forward to many more years of SpoonGraphics :)

  16. Hey, Chris!

    I found your blog basically a few weeks ago, it’s amazing to know you’ve been running this blog for eight whole years. Congratulations to you and your new addition to the family. She’s adorable.

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us; your work is just amazing, and your tutorials and resources have been amazingly helpful to me to grow a little more as a new designer. I really appreciate it.

    Here’s to another productive year! Kudos!

  17. As a novice who was handed a graphic design class on short notice………..you have saved me! I first began to learn after watching some of your tutorials. Then I shared some with students. They get it! They even have started teaching me, which is just fine by me :) Keep up the good work !

  18. Congratulation Chris! On both the success of SpoonGraphics blog and your baby girl my friend.
    I stumbled upon your blog about a year or two ago, and it has changed my life literally (I’d save that story for a better time).
    I can honestly say that your free resources and design tutorials are nothing but top notch throughout the years; and your premium membership is one of the best investment I’ve made. Best of all, you’re a really helpful friend and an extremely generous designer.
    I look forward to even bigger success of yours in the future Chris!

  19. Thanks for all the resources you share, and congratulations on your baby; she’ll be your best creation yet! Rx

  20. Congratulations on your 8th Anniversary!
    Thanks for all the goodness you share with the community. Whether it is a tutorial or a freebie.
    And seeing the photos of your darling girl pop up while reading through the post, left a huge smile on my face. She is adorable!

  21. oh you daughter is so cute!! , my best wishes for next years coming ,Congratulation!!

  22. Hey Chris, I’ve been following you for about half of the time you’ve been around, starting in early 2011. I saved every email you’ve sent so I can refer back to the links, tutorials, etc. Your emails and resources were my first source for graphics months before I created my own graphic design business (although, I was doing graphic design in varying capacities for nearly 20 years before the business). I appreciate the wide range of graphic design you present! Between you and Design Cuts, I am always full of new ideas, influences, and resources! For that, thank you!

  23. Thank you so much for creating this blog and thank you for all the things you share with us. Keep the good. May god bless you and your family!. Regards from
    IG : Kamikita ( Malaysia ) ;) , Peace!

  24. Félicitations pour Ashleigh! So glad for you to read all the deserved good news you share with us. Merci & bonne continuation.

  25. Happy Birthday!! ^_^ Your emails are the only ones I don’t delete from my “Promotions” category! They are super resourceful! I’m certain I became a fan through that 2009 50 Tutorials article… I went looking through several similar articles from other people but no other website caught me like this one. I signed up immediately for emails (which I normally hate) after downloading the free bundle. It’s my goal to become a premium member someday so congrats on an awesome blog! Also, your kid…adorable!

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