Would you like 2017 to be a better year? Me too! Today is the last day of 2016, I’m going to indulge in a post that’s not a DIY craft or project, but rather about me and this blog. One of my rare #Jenuine posts. So come along, if you dare…
My Year of Challenges
2016 was NOT my best year.
For the first six months of 2016 I had health issues. Specifically, my chest hurt! A lot. This was not good and it caused much worry. Ultimately, after a lot of testing, I was diagnosed with Prinzmetal’s angina, which I’ve probably had since my 20s. The good news is that my heart was fine. No more caffeine for me and I had a medication to take, but otherwise, I was healthy.
The following month, someone moved my cheese. (If you don’t know what that means, read this book!) The world is changing. People get their information in different ways today. Print books, which have been my bread and butter for over two decades, are on the decline. Thankfully I knew this was coming and I’d been working on long-term solutions, but the reality was still pretty harsh. This was even more stressful than the health issues.
I did some soul searching and I asked myself what it was I really wanted to be doing with my life, if things were to change (and change they would). I went camping at Lake Michigan in September 2016 and the answer came to me… I wanted to teach people online all the things I knew, be it travel, crafts, writing, or building a business. I’d been doing some of that already as a travel writer, but I realized I wanted and needed to do more. Teaching and writing is my passion and my calling. I’m a prodigious producer of things and I want to share all the knowledge and experience I have with the world. That simple.
But it’s not really that simple, is it? One doesn’t just teach the world ALL THE THINGS. So I decided I needed more outlets to reach more people who might wish to learn from me. Some blogs, to be specific.
But wait—I had a blog already! I began a mom blog almost three years ago in March 2014. It was simply a place I could talk about my life and my crafts. I posted about teaching my son to cook, Minecraft parties, and sweater coats. I didn’t post very often—only when something tickled my fancy. But I did use my blog as a way to play with social media beyond my normal job. I made graphics and pinned them to Pinterest and I posted my little tutorials and recipes to Facebook. It was fun and satisfying to see that I was able to help people with just my little once-in-a-while hobby blog. I remember vividly one day, maybe in spring of 2015, when I said to myself, “I wish I could play on my blog more.”
After my camping trip, I realized my mom blog was doing pretty good, despite my neglect. Several of my posts had gone viral and continued to help people around the world. Even though my visitorship had slowed to an all-time low of 6500 monthly readers, it was still bringing new people in daily. But I hadn’t posted anything new in nine months!!
So in late September 2016 I dusted the blog off, focused my content to DIY & crafts, and committed to weekly posts. I started a brand-new Pinterest account, just for the blog. I began a new Instagram account for my photos. And I began to network with other bloggers and business owners who found themselves in similar places. I posted twice in September, six times in October, and ten times in November and again in December. (This was more than I’d posted in the entire 2.5 years before that.) My Pinterest account swelled to more than 1,000,000 monthly viewers and my daily Pinterest impressions shot up to over 50,000 a day. Even my little Instagram account is now over 1700 followers strong. And my traffic? It’s increased every month and, by the end of the day (end of the year!), I will have doubled my readership since September. And I did it all in my free time (less hobbies, more blogging).
In the end, I realized my blog has been a beacon of light in an otherwise challenging year. Thank you, mom blog!
Looking Ahead to A New and Better Year
So now I stand on the precipice of a new year and I ask myself, “What are my blog goals for the new year?” Because I know this blog is no longer just a place for my random craziness—it’s taken on a life of its own. The craziness has some form and function, and people come here looking for answers and help. And that is something worth working on. So I shall see if I can push it a little further, do a little more, and help a few more people. Here goes:
My Crazy 2017 Goals for My Blog:
Publish a new DIY post twice a week, every week. This could be challenging. I have elective surgery coming up in the new year, and lots of work in general with my company and social media consulting business. But I think this is doable with a committed effort. I’ve managed to do it in November and December already — I’d like to keep it going for an entire year! End-of-year 2017 goal: 52 new DIY posts
Start a YouTube channel with DIY and craft videos. My son loves YouTube and thinks I should do this. I think I should, too. Watch for a video from me in January. End-of-year 2017 goal: 12 new DIY videos
Extend my reach ten-fold. If I can double my visitorship in three months again, and do that several more times throughout the year, I can make this rather lofty goal. I’ve always been a fan of reaching more people. It makes me happy to connect with so many people. I’ve always been a fame over fortune sort of girl. End-of-year 2017 goal: 100,000 monthly visitors
Improve my social media skills. I don’t just mean my numbers, but my skills in general. I think I’m doing well on Pinterest and Instagram, but Twitter and Facebook? Meh. I resolve to do better with both this year. Maybe a new social media platform will debut, or emerge, and if it does, I promise to jump on that bandwagon sooner. End-of-year 2017 goal: Quadruple all my social media accounts and try out new ones sooner.
Grow my list and send weekly newsletters. I thought I didn’t need a mailing list, but I was wrong. I’m only just beginning to accept subscribers, and I need to send out newsletters. I resolve to send out a new one every week, with a least one tip or trick in it! End-of-year 2017 goal: Send 52 newsletters.
Teach courses. This is the big one I want to do in 2017. I discovered about five years ago that I LOVE to teach. I want to teach on my local level at the community college, and to the Internet on a world-wide scale. Would you take one of my courses? End-of-year 2017 goal: Teach at least one course.
Help more people. This is the big, overarching goal that is the hardest to quantify. I simply want to help more people. Every time I read a comment from someone who says I helped them, I feel uplifted. Every time I answer a question from a friend or colleague, I feel great. I want to help people do great things. Books are a great way to reach a lot of people. I’ve spent most of my adult life writing books, which I still adore. Print books may not be popular like they once were, but e-books are doing fine. End-of-year 2017 goal: Write an e-book.
Perhaps all this is a bit ambitious, but it’s good to have goals. I will be interested to look back in a year to see how I’ve done! And I could have just written this down in a file on my computer, but now you and the world know my blog goals and accountability is good!
The best news is that I have plans to meet each one of these goals. These past few months I’ve spent accumulating a LOT of really amazing information on how to make this happen, as well as setting up workflow tools. Those are all topics for a different blog, however. And none of this is replacing my “day job” of travel writing. I’m just expanding my horizons and skills!
And, because I can’t resist DIY, this post has a sneak peek of a future project: a DIY chalkboard globe! I’m going to show you how to transform a old globe into a beautiful work of art that you can personalize with messages for years to come! All you need is an old globe (I had one that had long since faded, but you can find them at the thrift store), some primer, some black chalkboard paint, some metallic paint, and a brush. Get your supplies ready and watch my blog for details!
I’d love to hear your thoughts! What do you think of my goals? What would you like to see this blog do in the future? What goals do YOU have for the new year?