In the 5+ years I’ve been blogging, I don’t think I’ve ever outlined a set of goals on here in line with the start of a new year. I’m personally kind of weird when it comes to goal setting at the start of a calendar year…I appreciate the idea of a blank slate and enjoy the seemingly universal motivation around getting off on the right foot, but it’s easy for the best intentions to fall by the wayside quickly and there’s no reason not to set goals mid-year, you know? That being said, we’re taking care of so many logistics at home right now (we cut cable last night, booked train tickets for our upcoming trip, downloaded a new budgeting app, purged a lot of unnecessary things, and more) so it feels natural to check some boxes for the blog, too. Here are five (fairly broad) goals I have for my site + brand in 2019…
Continue to flesh out my travel content.
I love creating travel content and am looking forward to doing even more of it this year! We’re heading to London + Edinburgh in March and have the wheels turning for a few other trips in the US, too. I’m crossing my fingers that we’re able to squeeze in at least one more international trip, too, but we’ll see!
In addition to my trip recaps, you may have noticed that I love sharing hotels, too. I haven’t stayed at the majority of the properties in my Around the World series, but have had the opportunity to partner with some great places over the past couple of years. These types of collaborations can be tricky–sometimes it’s nice to go on vacation and not feel obligated to “work,” since doing a press stay definitely comes with a time commitment in the way of coordination, on-site photos, and often times, a meeting. However, I feel really lucky to have these partnerships come my way and love being able to experience something first-hand and share all the details (and my own photos!) with you guys. I’m hoping to do a couple more of these collaborations in 2019.
Stick with my editorial calendar and write posts earlier.
I used to use CoSchedule but in an effort to cut down on subscriptions + expenses, stopped my subscription last spring. My editorial calendar now lives in Google Sheets–it’s simple but does the trick, and is totally free! I’m good about using it but want to be more consistent with my MWF posting schedule. This isn’t my full-time job so I cut myself slack when life gets in the way, but I used to be so good about writing–or at least starting–posts a few days before they go live, vs. finishing them the night before or morning-of, like I am now. One of my favorite tricks is writing the copy and editing the batch of photos (if necessary) a few days early, and then going back to clean up the text and select photos for the post the night before.
Figure out how SEO works best for me.
You know how they say to focus on what you’re good at and hire people to help with your biggest weaknesses? Well, I did that in 2018 and hired a wonderful SEO specialist! The ball is in my court when it comes to determining how much I want to optimize my site and blog posts–fully doing so would change the blog’s tone in many ways, which isn’t something I feel comfortable doing. I’m still trying to determine where to draw the line when it comes to optimizing posts to drive more organic search traffic to my site vs. not…it’s a little confusing to explain in a few words, but essentially some of the optimal ways to increase site traffic mean editing my language a bit, particularly in post titles + URLs, and I’ve been wary of doing that.
Improve my site’s UX.
This is kind of broad but there are some tweaks I can make on the backend that will make my site more user-friendly and improve the overall user experience. I pretty much have my work cut out for me–the EmPress Themes are wonderful!–so just need to update some post tags, play with a couple minor design elements, and reconsider how I’m categorizing topics (e.g. how to break down my style posts, whether I have too many different recipe tags, etc.)
Get more clarity on my overall brand.
I’ve mentioned this in passing some but the side of my brand that isn’t typically shown on here is my freelance work. Right now I have one main client (Sweet & Spark–they are wonderful!!) and I do their email + website graphics. I’ve dabbled in a couple different types of freelance marketing work over the past few years but now that I’m a full-time graphic designer for my day job, am quickly developing more design skills (it’s amazing what doing something day in and day out yields, vs. just spending nights and weekends on it!) and want to spend more time outlining my side business goals. I have a couple ideas brewing and have some specifics in mind, but also want to take the time to look at the bigger picture and what I’m looking to get out of it in the future.
I’m excited to have these in writing–publicly!–so it’ll be easier to be held accountable. As always, thank you for reading and supporting my little site…every comment, “like,” email, and conversation always means so much to me, and I can’t wait to continue onwards and upwards in 2019!