2018 recap and 2019 goals

I cannot believe another year has passed!? What’s the deal with time passing faster as you get older? 2018 has been a really eventful year for me in the writing world! Debatably Dateable went self hosted in April, my debut poetry collection Cracked Open was also released in April!

Goals for the first six months of 2019

Goals have to be measurable in order to know if you’ve reached them or not. Although I’m not happy to focus so heavily on numbers, it is an easy way to measure a goal. My goal is to increase my audience and have a successful poetry career. These numbers will help me keep track of those goals.

 

The Blog

Work on writing a media kit

Contact companies for sponsorship (and actually get one!)

Gain another 1,000 followers

 

Cracked Open

Between GoodReads and Amazon, have 20 reviews

Get 25 more books sold

 

Social Media

Twitter – gain 2,000 followers

Instagram– gain 1,000 followers 

 

Next Poetry Collection

I want to add 50 exclusive poems to my next collection before I work on publishing it

Have 10 reviews before release date

Sell twice as many as Cracked Open (over the course of the year)

 

Because I don’t want to solely focus on numbers, here are some

 

Non numerical goals:

Connect with new readers who resonate with my poetry.

Have my poetry help someone through a difficult time.

Have a company see value in my writing.

Keep a healthy number of articles in queue.

 

Going Self Hosted

Hosting Site: Expense: $95.15 (included Domain name, privacy, and web security purchases)

I switched to self -hosting So obviously I have to make a post about how to do it! I’ve been on WordPress’ free plan for about a year and a half learning the ins and outs of the blog world. To be honest, I never really had a plan for blogging long term and thought I’d run out of ideas and materials just a few months in. I think it was good to do the free plan on WP so I could learn about blogging without the pressures of trying to make money to make up the loss of spending money on a hosting site. I could discover my place in the blogging community and my process for writing in a very laid back way.

I researched on blogs, talked to other bloggers in the community, and did comparisons on different hosting sites. I heard mixed reviews for BlueHost and great reviews for SiteGround so that’s where I’m ending up. You might decide on a different site based off of your research, not everyone’s experience will be your experience.

Domain Name/URL:

The process was simple since I just stuck with my original WP url name (a common suggestion so that readers don’t get confused with a new name and you lose your following) which happened to still be available. At this point I want to be blogging for the next few year so I picked the plan that made financial sense to me for that purpose and can revalue when the 3 years is up. SiteGround also transferred my content over from my previous site. I was also happy with their support team since I accidentally purchased a second transferred in addition to the free one but was thankfully refunded.

Themes: $41

I thought I would be able to just choose a theme from wordpress that I wouldn’t have to invest money in yet. Unfortunately, the options were slim and not what I was looking for. Just in case, I had done research for WP themes and decided to check out the site pipdig that was recommended. Upon further research, I went for a more budget friendly option and choose a theme from ThemeForest .

Plugins:

From there I installed and activated plugins such as JetPack, Yoast SEO, Velvet Blue Update URLs, and Google Analytics. I’m still figuring out if I need Google Analytics since JetPack seems to also offer blog stats. I put a few posts on the schedule and tried out Yoast SEO – I kinda hate the hassle it requires so I’m curious to see if it really does help my posts get noticed. Velvet Blue Update URLs is amazing if you’re switching from WordPresscom to org because it will change all your links so your audience from dotcom should hopefully get redirected to your new org site. This was an alternative from a paid expense wordpress offers its users.

HTML add ins:

I was a little stressed when I realized I had to do some coding of my own so first thing you need to know is: Theme>Editor>Header. That’s where most of your coding will go such as claiming your site on google webmaster and pinterest and applying for google adsense and similar.

Migrate Followers:

I was super happy to learn there was a way for me to transfer my dotcom followers over to my new site. A little bummed to find out stats can’t be transferred over as well but I’m hoping my new marketing strategy will quickly build that back up.

Explore Your Site:

Some of it will definitely be trial and error and just getting comfortable with the new dashboard. Research and read articles from other bloggers when you get a little lost.

 

THE INTERNAL DEBATE TO GO SELF HOSTING

There is a lot of excitement to go self hosting. It’s a goal for a lot of bloggers and a popular motivational quote states “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life”. A popular life goal is to enjoy your work by finding what you’re good at and making money from it.

So you’ve completed step one and found something you’re good at and enjoy. Now you need to figure out how to make money from it. Since I never had a long term plan for my blog, I didn’t have many expectations for it. I definitely wasn’t marketing it or trying to grow my audience; my first 6 months I had 300 followers and was THRILLED!

But here we are 1.5 years later and I’m trying to plan for the future. The past few months my blog had been mostly running on scheduled content I had built up back when I had a lot more free time. That supply was starting to run out and I wasn’t coming up with any new ideas; so is now really the best time to make an investment?

When you self host you think how will you make money – selling products, affiliated programs, sponsored posts & brand collaborations? I didn’t know what direction my brand was headed, instead it seemed to be crawling to a stop. Being in the dating and relationship niche, I thought it would be a hard sell to popular brands. Company marketers could clearly understand the benefits to working with book, beauty, and fashion blogs but what could I offer them?

I heard a lot of different numbers tossed around in the blog community when it came to making money with the amount of traffic on your blog. I was worried I’d spend money on my blog and it would take months to finally make a net profit. I was worried the blog’s monthly income would be laughable at best. I was worried I’d fail and it freaked me out. Forget self hosting, I questioned if I should even continue blogging anymore!

I decided to push back my self hosting date, take a breather for a couple weeks, and try to build back up my content. And in order to do that I had to post less frequently. With less activity my stats dropped, they were nowhere near my past 6 months but also much better than what I was expecting. This gave me the push I needed and the confident to know I could do it. Of course, it’s good to have a plan and strategy but if you try to wait until everything is perfect then you’ll never make the leap.

My plan is to build up my content, understand the changes that come with self hosting, and work on building my traffic. I’m also giving myself slack with this learning curve and not setting high expectations for income for the next 6 months. After that I will re evaluate and set goals, all I had to do was believe in myself and my blog.