26 December, 2015

Blog Goals for 2016

I've never been one for making New Year's resolutions, and this is probably the closest I'm going to get...

For the past few months my blog has been very much on the back burner, which was certainly not my intention. I enjoy blogging and I want to maintain this blog as an active part of my life, but my actual blogging behavior has not been reflecting that fact. To justify my inactivity, I use the excuse that I don't have time, but the truth is I can always find a few minutes here and there to work on it if I want to. Looking at my post count for the last few months (one previous post in December, one post in November and one in October) is honestly a bit depressing. I would like to change that and start being a more active blogger again.

As a first step toward achieving that, I'm taking a leaf out of Rhianna's book (she writes one of my favorite blogs, Robowecop) and writing down my goals for my blog in 2016. While she focuses heavily on the raw numbers in terms of social media followers, my goals tend more towards the personal goals she writes about later in her post.

Goal 1: Post at least four times a month

While this is a far cry from Rhianna's goal of posting every day, I think this is a realistic goal for me. Looking back at my previous blogging activity, the months where I posted between four and six times are the ones that I view as the most successful, and I would like to keep that pace going. Posting approximately once a week lets me focus on writing quality posts on topics I'm excited about without getting stressed or burned out. I toyed with the idea of assigning myself a certain day of the week and publishing one post a week on that day, but I think that would edge me towards stress and burn-out, which I'm trying to avoid.

Goal 2: Write more "cultural comparison" posts

These posts, which I sometimes think of as "USA vs. Germany" posts, have been my favorite posts to write. While other types of posts, like travel posts and updates about changes in my life, will always be part of this blog, I'd like to write more of what really makes me enjoy blogging and what will educate my non-German readers about my new home (and educate non-Americans about the United States). Examples of cultural comparison posts that I've particularly enjoyed writing are "Drinking Culture," "The Case for Studying in Germany Instead of America" and "Separation of Church and State." In the future I would like to write posts addressing more aspects of the German social system, including maternity leave, paid vacation, and unemployment and disability compensation. (If you're wondering, I've already written about the health care system, specifically about health insurance and visiting the doctor.) And for those of you for whom those topics seem too heavy, this goal also includes more posts about the everyday quirks of life in Germany. (Coming soon: weird German rules!)

Goal 3: Get better at social media

Instead of listing my goals for number of followers on each of the social media outlets my blog has a presence on (Facebook, Twitter and Bloglovin), I'm lumping social media together as one big goal. To be honest, I have very little patience for social media. I find that it ends of being a huge waste of my time; the time I spend scrolling through various social media feeds could be much better spent doing something more productive. With that in mind, social media is not something that I want to spend huge amounts of time obsessing over, but I would like to work on posting on each of my social media pages more regularly and trying to find a way to make it fun rather than a chore. Social media is also without a doubt the most effective way to grow a blog's readership, so upping my social media presence could be a test run for the hypothetical future in which I try more actively to grow the number of visitors to my blog.

Goal 4: Create an awesome header image

Ever since I set out earlier this year (or was it last year?) on the long quest of designing my own blog template, the thing that continues to elude me is creating a really snazzy header. When I was still using the Magazine Dynamic View from Blogger this was a moot point (the Dynamic Views don't support header images), but now I find myself in need of a cool title or logo and with zero experience at making something like that happen/look good. I've found several examples of headers on other blogs that I particularly like (Running White Horses, Unlocking Kiki, and Not Jaya come to mind), but the prospect of creating something like that for my own blog is daunting. What I have as my header image now is basically just a placeholder; as soon as I put it there I knew I wasn't satisfied with it. When I find myself with some free time in front of my computer I hope to devote more energy to this header conundrum.

Goal 5: Make my blog a priority again

In the hectic mess that this semester has turned into, my blog has definitely taken a backseat to other endeavors. Once this semester is over and things have settled down again, I want to bring blogging back to my list of priorities. And not just that. This goal is on one hand a short-term one but also a long-term one: instead of just prioritizing my blog during periods of relative lull, I would like to work on balancing blogging and other obligations even during times of more activity and stress. I never suffer from a lack of topics to write about, just a lack motivation to see posts through to completion. I would like to become better at taking advantage of burst of enthusiasm to finish several posts at a time (once I start writing I usually don't want to stop), and also find a way to motivate myself to start writing even when it's not at the top of my list of priorities. Sitting down and starting is always the hardest, so as long as I can encourage myself to sit down and start, half the struggle is already over.

I believe these five goals are attainable in the next year. They are challenging without being overwhelming, and they point my blog in the direction that I would like it to go. They certainly won't bring me into the world of "professional" blogging, but that's ultimately not what I'm going for. What I'm going for is to create a blog that I'm proud to show my family and friends, with quality writing about topics that are interesting (at least to me) and a visually appealing presentation. Anything above that is simply an added bonus :)

2 comments :

  1. Do you think you'll ever try to make money from your blog?

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    1. I've thought about it but it's not on my radar right now. The best/easiest way to get money from blogging is to put ads on the site, and I'm not thrilled with that idea. I don't get enough views for that to make me that much money anyway. Other bloggers make money by partnering with companies or brands to promote something, but I am even less interested in that route.

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