It’s that time of year when Spoon Graphics gets a little older, with 2019 marking 12 years of tutorial creating, freebie sharing and article writing on what started as a blog that was attached to my portfolio website in 2007. Every April I take some time to reflect on the past 12 months and talk about how things have changed. Last year I talked about how my traffic stats were on a slow decline since the site’s peak in 2012, so let’s take a look at the latest figures and talk about what the future might hold for Spoon Graphics.

Spoon Graphics 2019

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

Spoon Graphics Traffic Stats

Traffic change: -2.7%
Top Content: 25 Adobe Illustrator Brush Sets You Can Download For Free (2016) & 20 Free PSD Templates to Mockup Your Poster Designs (2014)
Email Subscribers: 165,425 (up 16% from 2018)
YouTube Channel Subscribers: 255,528 (up 24% from 2018)
Highest Traffic Peak (This Year): Monday May 7th 2018 – 20,241 visitors (45 Doodled Portrait Illustrations in the Style of Grime Art)
Highest Traffic Peak (All Time): Tuesday November 11th 2014 – 44,592 visitors (How To Create a Realistic Painted Effect in Photoshop)

Spoon Graphics Traffic Stats

Overall traffic seems to have leveled off after a few big drops by 15-20% over recent years, with just a gradual decline of 2.7% this year. My top content remains the same, but the two have switched places since last year. My all-time high from 2014 remains unchallenged, but the most trafficked day in 2018-2019 was thanks to a small influx of people from Muzli Design Inspiration that tipped the 7th of May above the daily average.

Mailing List statistics

Mailing list subscriber growth is still strong. I recently made some updates to improve the confirmation rate of my subscribers. An alarming number of people were not making it onto my mailing list for failing to confirm their email address as part of the “double opt-in” procedure websites must follow. Prompting people to check their spam/junk/promotions folder in an attention-grabbing graphic has made a noticeable difference.

YouTube channel views

My Spoon Graphics YouTube Channel in many ways has outgrown this Spoon Graphics website. It is difficult to directly compare ‘web hits’ to ‘video views’, but a few of my top-performing video tutorials have gained over 1 million views, my most popular video is currently boasting almost 3,000,000 views. Over the past year in particular, my Neon Sign Effect Tutorial takes top spot with 42,555 views.

Technical stats

Powered by: WordPress
Hosted on: 4GB VPS
Server location: Dallas
Monthly bandwidth: 10TB
Average running costs: $1525 per month

Last year I upgraded my server setup to include a higher bandwidth allocation because I was regularly incurring overage charges due to all my free resources downloads. Monthly server bills have been much more manageable as a result. One of the biggest costs every month is my newsletter service with AWeber, which helps me keep in touch with my audience by managing my mailing list, while complying with important data laws to keep everyone’s details safe. Since my mailing list grows bigger every day, this year I’ve added an ‘Average running costs’ statistic to my report, which will be interesting to reflect upon in future milestone posts!

What does the future hold?

A lot has changed since I started Spoon Graphics in 2007! We have already seen big changes in the way people use the web since then, Instagram and Pinterest didn’t even exist! I built Spoon Graphics by riding the social media wave, but these days simply posting on social media doesn’t have the impact it once did. Huge traffic spikes from StumbleUpon or DIGG just aren’t a thing anymore, and many similar design blogs from the ‘Golden Age of Blogging’ no longer exist. It’s always a worry what the future might hold for my little design blog, but I’m determined to adapt with the times!

Spoon Graphics YouTube Channel

One big change I’m looking to make is to reduce my reliance on advertising as a source of income. I give all my tutorials and design resources away for free, which isn’t the best business model, so I rely on the revenue from advertising to pay the bills. I don’t enjoy sending out those kinds of newsletters, and I know for sure my readers dislike receiving them. It has become the norm for creatives to earn a living selling design resource products or courses, so I’m making plans to introduce some paid content of my own to Spoon Graphics to go alongside my usual free content.
Whatever the future might bring, I hope you continue to find my content useful and enjoyable. Thank you to all my readers, from veteran subscribers who have been around since the early days, to newcomers who have just discovered my content. I appreciate all your support!

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62 Comments

  1. Chris, thanks for all your content. I think you should charge for your content. It’s great stuff. Have you ever thought about Skillshare class? Thanks. All the best

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    • Thanks Brett!
      Skillshare could definitely be an option, although I’ll have to check their exclusivity terms. I’d want to be able to host the content on my own site too.

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  2. Congrats.
    You were one of my very first sites to learn graphic design in my early steps, and im still learning learning from you.
    Thank you.

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  3. Congrats man! As a long-time blogger myself (11 years now…) I know exactly how you feel and I must say my stats have been declining way faster than yours for a few years now.
    I also have to admit that my good ol’blog isn’t my main project anymore, I started another website project which is even more exciting to me.
    Anyway, I’m curious to see what Spoon Graphics will become in the future. Cheers!
    PS : love your content for years now and probably the first time I comment to thank you. :)

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  4. Congrats on producing 12 years of the best content of its kind.
    Having ads/sponsored messages etc sent to me now and then is a small price to pay.
    All the best, Mike

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  5. Congratulations on 12 Years! I’ve enjoyed all of your tutorials and freebies and you’ve made my design life so much easier.

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  6. Well done Chris. I’ve learnt so much from your tutorials, and downloaded more than my fair share of freebies over the years. Here’s to 12 more!

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  7. Congratulations on your 12 years! I love your site for its inspiration and free tutorials. I hope you can keep them free. I understand it’s tough to balance that with advertising (which, I don’t mind as long as it’s not annoying). Best wishes for the years ahead!

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  8. Congrats, Chris. I love your site and tutorials and freebies! Thanks for all you do.

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  9. Thanks for your site, blog and tutorials! I have learned so much and downloaded quite a few freebies. Truly appreciate your expertise. :-)

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  10. Congrats Chris – wow 12 years… that is quite an achievement! Keep on going and keep’em coming. Love your tutorials and collections of different inspiration.

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  11. CONGRATS!!! I’ve been following you from the beginning, and I always enjoy your posts. You are one of the few companies that I haven’t removed from my email subscriptions. :) Good luck going on 13!

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  12. Congratulations Chris! Thank you very much for all the inspiration you have given us for 12 years. On more than one occasion your blog has been a lifesaver! my best wishes. Gracias!

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  13. Thanks Chris for the comprehensive summary, I really enjoyed reading how things have changed and how your blog has done over the years. With graphic design becoming so commoditized over the past 15-20 years, there’s a lot to be said for you and your blog to still be going strong. Great job and I look forward to what you have in store. All the best.

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  14. Congrats Chris! Coincidentally, I became a high school art teacher the same year you started your blog. Whenever you do these reflective posts this time of year, it makes me reflect on my own career and see how much has changed over this relatively short passage of time (we both have a lot more grey hair now :) ). I have appreciated your creative resources and your site in general. I’ve been inspired countless times after seeing your ideas and tutorials. I can imagine you are in a tough spot as you adjust to our appetites and attention spans. All the best, and I hope this next year is a great one for you! PS: I would echo the Skillshare suggestion. As an educator, I get compensated with professional development money to subscribe to that site. It would pretty cool if we could follow you there! I have no idea what teachers make on that site though.

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  15. Hi Chris, I want to thank you for your blog and all the resources you share. I´ve been follow you for some years and is great to see your selection of content. It is good for refreshing the mind and is really interesting to learn. Keep on track!!!

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  16. Chris, even as an old hand, I find your content enjoyable and enlightening. I enjoy the videos most, but the step by steps are great. The biggest thing to my mind is that from your examples, it’s possible to learn techniques that are possible to apply elsewhere. When I started out, all I had was MacUser! Thanks Chris

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  17. Love your content and wide variety. Thanks so much for keeping it interesting, informative and easy to follow! Much appreciated.

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  18. Duude…love the before and after pic! There are only two designer people I follow, and you’re one of them. The major reason – you’re concise and the freebies are a big bonus. I generally don’t access them, but when I do, they’re always used. Thank you for staying around!

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  19. Your tutorials are great. You spoon feed people like us.. Congratulations and best wishes – dozen times. – Kadugu

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  20. You – personal and professional – have aged like a very, very fine wine. Always something to look forward to with your insights and tuts. I so appreciate these updates and all you do.
    THANK YOU!!

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  21. Congrats! I look forward to your regular emails in my inbox and have found you to provide valuable content. Keep up the good work, I’m a big fan.

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  22. Congratulations on turning 12 Spoon Graphics! Here’s to many more years to come! I second everything that has been said in these comments. Keep up the great work and thanks again for sharing EVERYTHING you do with the design community.

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  23. Congrats on your 12th anniversary. Hands-down the best Photoshop resource anywhere! The pacing of your tutorials is perfect.

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  24. Congrats !
    I’ve been coming to SpoonGraphics for over ten years!
    I’m always happy to come here …
    Thanks Chris ^_^

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  25. Congratulations! I’ve been inspired by your content for the last two years. I’ve learned so much about the ways in which graphic design and its value is evolving. Thank you for your tutorials, valuable time-saving resources and I appreciate the freebie offers. A special thanks for the stats and comms solutions you’ve shared in this post.

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  26. You have been a great inspiration during the last years for me as a designer, love your work! :)

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  27. Congratulations, I love your content… your video tutorials are excellent. You have a definite ability to calmly and concisely explain how to do things. I often watch tutorials on other subjects and think how much better it would have been if you had made it!!

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  28. Congrats! I found Spoon Graphics several years ago and it continues to inspire and push me to learn new technics. It’s really helped me grow as a designer. Thank you so much for your hard work and the free stuff that was gold (it still is!) in the beginning when I couldn’t afford to do the premium account. I’m excited for your future! Happy Birthday, Spoon!

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  29. Congratulations and thank you for sharing your knowledge. As I try to learn Graphic Design your website as been invaluable.

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  30. I use PaintShop Pro and have learned so much from your tutorials, and downloaded more than my fair share of freebies over the years. Here’s to 12 more years of success and creativity! Thank you Chris!

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  31. Congratulations! Your tutorials are incredible and they have helped me so many times! hank you so much once again! I’ve been following your blog for at least 5 years. You are right, the internet has changed so much since. The ad emails never bothered me, you have always been transparent about everything and there’s nothing wrong with advertising, your real supporters will understand that. I haven’t purchased anything bc I no longer do freelancing for a living but I still appreciate the content of your blog and recommend it to my designer friends whenever possible. Good luck with everything!

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  32. I only discovered you this year, Chris, so I’m going to need you to keep at it for at least 12 more years! Thank you for all the fun and education!

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  33. Your tutorials are very timely and I have used them for many years. I teach in a small college and the students also love your tutorials and freebies. Thanks so much!

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  34. I loved this post. Very interesting to read about your journey (and great side-by-side pic :) ). I’ve only started following you in the last year, as I try to learn to create book covers, and your tutorials have been invaluable.

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  35. Chris, congrats on completing 12 years! Your posts are innovative and always useful. Looking forward to some more illustrative posts. :)

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  36. Congratulations on your milestone Chris. It is quite something to keep providing your followers with amazing content every week. You are an inspiration to so many designers, site owners, creators of resources and content. You are a big inspiration to me. Thanks for that and for your support with helping me bring my creations to the world.
    Big cheers,
    Thom

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  37. Congratulations Chris and thank you for everything you do! I know my life as a designer would have been much more challenging and probably different without your blogs. I don’t mind the ads that much – but I’ve been self employed nearly as long as you’ve run you blog so maybe that makes me more sympathetic to what you’re doing and why! You make those links look good though! All the best and hope you’re around for at least another 12 years! :)

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  38. Congrats on another killer year, Chris! It’s been amazing watching you adapt and put out new content over the years. Looking forward to seeing the YouTube channel continue to grow, and also the paid content you plan on releasing!

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  39. Hello Chris & congratulations on your 12-year milestone. I love your content. I have been following for quite a few years now. Have another great year!!

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  40. Congratulations! Spoongraphics is a staple in the design community!
    Here’s to many, many more years!!

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  41. As with most people you’ll hear from, I am SUPER appreciative of everything you do. Over the 12 years, you’ve built something to be proud of and we all thank you for it.

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  42. Congratulations on your 12 year anniversary. Keep up the great work. I also recommend Skillshare as a great way to teach and be compensated for your expertise!

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  43. Hey Chris, congrats on another year in business! It is incredible how much has changed in these last 12 years. One thing that has remained constant in the time I’ve been a subscriber is your inspiration and the quality of your resources and tutorials. Thanks for all the hard work and good luck in the years to come!

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  44. I’ve been visiting your site and gaining invaluable design inspiration, knowledge, and resources since I started college as a graphic and web design major in 2008! Please let us all know way in advance if the site is ever going to close down, because I know people will want to archive IT ALL! You are such a blessing to the design community, Chris. Thank YOU!

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  45. Thank you for all the hard work you put into providing these valuable resources. It is very much appreciated and your content always blows me away.

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