When I read that the fabulous bloggers Claire and Laura from Twins that Travel and Monica from The Travel Hack were running a competition to win a golden ticket to their ‘Bloggers Retreat’ I felt butterflies of excitement. This is one competition that I am entering. If you are reading this post then I am definitely entering, because this is part of the entry to win a place at the Bloggers’ Retreat. All I need to do for my entry is write a blog post setting out my ‘Blogging Goals for 2018; which is something that I have been meaning to do already.
I ended 2017 by announcing that the only thing I was sure about is that I wanted to be me and listen to my own advice for a while. During 2017 I had far too many people telling me what I should and shouldn’t do with my blog and I ended up feeling like my brain was mush.
Going back to move forward…
I need to remember why I started blogging in the first place. Did I even have a reason, other than having a place to write and share pictures? It was definitely showing more ‘dear diary’ characteristics than it is now. Back then (2011) I would just sit and write most days, telling you the reader what I had been doing and how I was feeling, adding a quick snapshot from my phone and voila it was posted and shared. What I can say is that it felt free and I didn’t feel like I needed to compare myself to others and I didn’t judge myself.
Fast forward to 2018 and I struggle not to compare myself to others which creates so many blocks. So I want to go back to 2011 and get that ‘Free Feeling’ and just write and post regular content. I would love to say that I won’t go on social media, but that would be ridiculous. To be a blogger you have to accept that social media is a part of being a blogger, a big part. It is just a case of mastering it.
I need to look at myself a little and really start to open up more. In 2017 I dipped my toe into the waters, sharing some honest posts about my health and then quickly jumping backwards and retreating because I don’t want to be seen as someone who is always talking about my health. I panicked that I would get judged in the professional world if I talked about illness. In my head, I have this idea that people wouldn’t want to work with or hire someone who has Lupus. What I have realised is that I can’t be a blogger if I am not prepared to be blatantly honest. I have health issues, which are ongoing and I have to adapt my lifestyle to accommodate and deal with this. I can’t pretend otherwise anymore. What I hope to be and always wanted to be was an inspiration; to be an honest blogger who says it as it is, warts and all. Yes, you can have health issues and still try to work and juggle life with a family. I refuse to curl up on a sofa and give up on life because I have a lot of life to give and If I can inspire just 1 person through my blog then It will be worthwhile.
My Blogging goals for 2018…Stripping it back to basics
I intend to keep it real for starters and taking the pressure off myself to blog in a certain way to conform to a type. I am not a type. I am an individual with a HUGE personality and interests that vary, so my blog must become an extension of me again.
Blog regularly a minimum of once a week.
If I can just stop overthinking things and judging myself before I write (which stops me writing) then I know I can produce some great content. At the moment I am just not producing anything because I am filled with self-doubt. To start with I am going back to just writing about my life and it may seem like a journal, but this is still content. From this, I will see myself a trend on which areas I am writing about on a regular basis. I have said to blog a minimum of once a week, to really give myself a little bit of breathing space (ease in gently), ideally I want to get back to the freedom of just sharing whenever. When I am fully back into my blogging mode then I may allow myself time to plan and schedule.
Build my newsletter/blog sign-ups.
Now I know I am technically writing for myself for now, but as I have said previously, I do want to inspire people, make people smile, perhaps they may be sitting on a packed train reading and suddenly they feel they are not alone. So it would be a great feeling wouldn’t it to think that your blogs are being sent to someone. With this in mind by the end of 2018, I want to have really mastered this newsletter/blog sign-ups and have a group of people who want to read my stories.
Take all images myself and learn to use photoshop more effectively.
I do try to take my own images already because I love photography. Photoshop needs mastering in my view so that I can really enhance and make the best of my photos. My life can be really busy, so I need to schedule some time to do this. Ideally, I would love to create content and use only images from my Nikon for my blog saving my iPhone images for Instagram and social media. This is going to mean taking my camera with me everywhere for a while If I am going to stick to my ‘Feeling Free and being honest blog’.
Double the hits to my blog in 1 year.
When you see other peoples figures of their daily hits to their blogs, I literally sit there open-mouthed. Some bloggers are getting daily hits which mirror my yearly hits. I am not totally delusional, but my goal for 2018 is to double last years blog hits. Growing slowly and organically, doing it my way.
Master affiliate links to try to earn ‘something’ in 2018.
I do have my blog signed up to some affiliate accounts, none of which are particularly doing much for me, but then again I haven’t really been blogging much recently. Of course, I would like to earn money blogging, because that would be the ultimate bonus, wouldn’t it? Really I am going to work on building content and audience and then this should all work hand in hand.
Increase Social Media followers throughout all accounts.
Instagram: Numbers do matter. Everyone says it doesn’t. It does. Of course, I want my Instagram following to hit 10000 so that I can have the swipe up option. This will crazily help point people to my blog and also help with affiliate links. It really drives me crazy that you have to be huge to get these benefits. The problem I have is that I am not one of these people who can have a curated beautiful pretty Instagram feed that is all flat lays or all bunches of flowers. My days just are not like that. This is something that I need to really work on. Feeling ok with myself is a target and not feeling demoralised on social media because of lack of followers. I found myself messaging someone actually asking them if they would consider giving me a shout out one day? True story! That was a wake-up call for me actually. The shame. So for Instagram, I need to just follow the same as my blog, regular honest content and just be me and work out how I can grow my following.
Pinterest: My Pinterest is a little neglected and I know that this is actually going to be more beneficial to me to grow my blog. This will link nicely to some affiliate links too.
All other accounts I need to grow my following. Ending the year on double the followers and reach would be great and if by some miracle I end up with that swipe up feature on Instagram I may just do something crazy to celebrate.
Podcasts and YouTube
I really want to grow the media side of me. I want to develop my YouTube and launch a Podcast. I have been talking about it for over a year. Informal coffee and chats with all sorts of people. People who inspire me, people who work in different careers who can inspire others. There I have said it out loud. Something I have wanted to do for a while.
Be featured in a publication
I would love to be featured in Blogosphere!
Collaborate and become and Brand Ambassador
I would absolutely love to receive Bloggers Mail. I would, does that make me bad? This will come at some point, the more I write and find myself, the more my personality will be revealed. I would love to collaborate with brands and become a Brand Ambassador, but I want them to be the right brands for me and my lifestyle or my family. Wouldn’t it be great in 2018 to actually receive some bloggers mail?
Hiding away just won’t cut it anymore Susan! Networking is something that I have decided I have to master in my personal, blogging and work life. Being bullied at school has left scars, not physical scars, but mental scars. As soon as I think I have to network I come out in a cold sweat. The thought of going into a room of strangers and make conversations can leave me feeling physically sick even now at the age of 42. How crazy is that? So watch this space.
Editing and sorting technical glitches
I still have some glitches with my site which I need to sort out myself. I have zero budget so I have to learn and do this myself. Basically, when I transferred my site from WordPress.com over to self-hosted I have lost loads of images and content. Which is why when you click on some really old posts there are just loads of gaps and it all looks a bit amateur. I have come to the conclusion that I am just going to have to do this one post at a time. I can’t afford to lose that content as it is a huge part of the blog. Don’t even get me started on Google Analytics and all of that side of things. I know I need to understand it, but I am doing this solo, so I will be learning all of this on my own.
Why do I want to win the Bloggers’ Retreat?
This ‘Golden Ticket’ prize to win this trip would be the icing on the cake. A trip away to Somerset to spend time with likeminded creatives including 9 workshops, 1:1 sessions as well as excursions, need I say anymore. Having made the decision to strip my blog back to basics and really be free to find and reveal the true ‘me’, this trip would give me the knowledge and creative ‘shove’ that I need. The support and knowledge that I would gain from this retreat would be invaluable to me. This opportunity is something that I sadly can’t afford to buy so this really would be the only opportunity for me to get there.
So it is time to end this incredibly long blog post where I have opened up and really set some major blogging goals for 2018. I am excited.