Category: Blogging

2018 Blog Goals – Q1 Review

At the beginning of this year, I decided to set some blog goals for 2018. I was inspired by someone on Twitter (I swear it was Kaytie Zimmerman from Optimistic Millennial, but I can’t find her goals post or tweet talking about this) to try set some sort of plan for myself to grow my blog in a few ways during the new year. It’s something I’ve only done one other time in the history of any of the other sites I’ve written for1On my old blog, I set a goal to write 365 posts in 2011. I think I ended with 435ish.. I figured it couldn’t hurt to try this year, particularly since I had some new projects I was planning on doing this year. I’ve talked about a couple of those projects so far, with a couple of them still on the way.

So…how am I doing on the three goals I set this year? Let’s take a look.

Goal 1: 20 New WordPress Followers

Let’s lead off with the goal that is going the least well, shall we? In 2017, I picked up 16 new WordPress followers, so I figured I’d try to grow this total by 20 this year. In retrospect, this might not have been the best goal, particularly since 12 of the 16 new followers in 2017 came in the first half of the year. While 2018 started off good, with the blog gaining a new follower in the first week of the year, I’m well behind pace on this one. I’m at a loss on how to improve this one at the moment, particularly since even in the heyday of my older blogs, I don’t believe I ever topped 100 total WordPress followers. If you blog and have suggestions, I’m open to them.

Goal 2 – Average 250 Visits Per Month

While I’m not on pace to hit this goal so far this year, I’m relatively happy with how this has gone so far. As you can see from the table above2If you needed further proof that I’m a spreadsheet nerd, I started a sentence in a blog post like that., while I hit my goal in January, I fell short of the goal in both February and March. That said, the fact that I was over 200 visitors in all three months shows that I’m sustaining growth, as the last month I was under 200 visitors was August 2017. On top of that, the 708 visitors by the end of March represents a 51.9% growth over where That Tiny Website was at the end of March 2017 (466 to 708). So while I’m not quite at the 750 visitors that would mean I’m meeting this goal, I feel pretty good about this pace so far.

Goal 3 – Grow Comment Count by 20% Again

I have to be honest. I expected this goal to be the hardest to achieve by a large margin. I don’t have the number of commenters on my posts that I once did. Yet, despite expecting struggles with comments, I’m shockingly ahead of pace on this one. Technically, I could not get a single comment in April and only be one comment behind pace for the year3Please don’t do that. I love you all.. But seeing how well this one has gone has been a nice surprise for the start of the year.

How are your 2018 blog goals going? Do you have any ideas how I can solve my follower struggles? Would you like to encourage people to flood to my site and click follow? Awesome. Sound off in the comments.

2018 Blog Goals

I have never been much of a person for making goals for a coming year, especially not for my writing or my blog. Sure, there’s things I’d like to do, but I generally don’t set them out in goal form.

I thought I’d change that this year for a few different reasons. First and foremost, I’ve had this blog for a little over three years now. While I’ve enjoyed writing on this blog, it’s never quite reached the traffic levels of either of the two blogs I had before that. I recognize that part of that is timing related. Early on in this blog’s existence, the active blogging community I was part of closed its doors. I received a decent amount of traffic from that site, we well as various bloggers who frequented that site coming to my blog(s) directly. Losing that was unfortunate.

Additionally, I think blogging as a medium is in a decline. That’s not to say that people don’t read blogs anymore, as I don’t think that’s the case. What I do see, however, is a decrease in the number of bloggers who have stuck with blogging for a long time. I can count on one hand1Maybe two hands. But that’s only if I’m being generous or if I’m forgetting a lot of people. the number of bloggers who I’ve seen stick with blogging over the past three years. There’s new bloggers out there who write good content, but for every one new blogger I’ve seen, I can think of three or four that have stopped.

I do see other bloggers doing great things. I’ve watched Laidig grow her blog significantly over the past year. Tabitha does some of the better written posts you’ll come across. Todd does some quality (and frequent) work on his blog. There’s other great writers out there (even non-bloggers) who are doing great work that leaves me inspired to improve what I do each day.

In light of all of this, I think there’s definitely some value to setting some goals for my blog. Here’s the goals I’m setting for 2018, along with a short explanation of why I’m setting each. I recognize the numbers I’ll be mentioning below aren’t big numbers, but you have to start somewhere.

  • 20 new WordPress followers – This blog doesn’t have a ton of WordPress followers, as I get a decent amount of my traffic via my various social media accounts. That said, I did pick up 16 new WordPress followers last year, bringing the site’s total to 29. I’d like to think that picking up 5 new followers per quarter (on average) isn’t particularly outlandish as a goal.
  • Average 250 visits a month – Last year, That Tiny Website averaged 197 visits a month. On one hand, that was a great thing to see, as it was this site’s best year ever. On the other hand, my previous blog’s worst full year saw an average of 245 visits per month. This will be the site’s third full year in existence and second one where I’m writing fairly regularly. I don’t want to be lagging behind my old work anymore. I recognize that this is around a 27% growth number, but I’d like to think I can hit it.
  • Grow comment count by 20% again – My blog comment totals got thrown all out of whack when I migrated from WordPress.com to a self-hosted blog2Through my own error. I didn’t follow directions well.. As such, the only comment data I have is from 2016 and 2017, where I went from 102 comments to 122. Ideally, I’d like to see a similar percentage increase this year, which would mean 147 comments on this blog this year.

I realize that none of this will be able to be done without the help of you, those who are reading my blog. Some of you have been reading and interacting with me for quite a while. For that, I thank you. Others of you are likely new to this blog. Welcome. I hope you stick around a while.

 

What are some of your goals for the new year? If you’re a blogger, podcaster, YouTuber, or other creator, what are some of your personal growth goals for 2018? Sound off in the comments.

2017 Book Charity Drive – Wrap-Up Post

It’s been a few weeks since the charity drive I was running with my book finished up. You might have noticed I’ve been a little slow to write up a post about how the charity drive went. There’s a reason for that.

Before I get into this year’s drive, I want to provide a little context with how things went last year. During last year’s drive, those who purchased my book raised $24.28 for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. While it wasn’t the number I wanted to hit — it fell just short of one-quarter of the goal I was aiming for — it was still something and it still went to a good cause. This year, I decided that instead of doing a 50+ day long charity drive that I’d do a one week long drive. Considering the fact that about one-third of the sales that happened during last year’s drive happened within the first seven days, combined with the fact that I had more people helping me out promoting the charity event this year in comparison to last year, I figured thing would go close to as well as last year1I didn’t set any charity drive goals, but I was honestly expecting a similar result in terms of money raised..

About that.

Let’s begin by taking a look at the Kindle sales. As a reminder, the drive lasted from November 12th through the 19th.

That’d be one copy purchased. Total. At least it was on my birthday? Well, no matter. Most of my sales historically have been from the paperback side, which is (currently) tracked through CreateSpace. How did that go?

Oh2Fuck..

As for final totals, I was able to pull that from the Kindle site.

Needless to say, I’m not making a donation of $2.06 to UNICEF. I’ll be donating more than that3I don’t feel a desire to divulge how much. Sorry.. That’s not the point though.

It took me the better part of two weeks to write this post because I found myself at a loss for words. I didn’t know how to say what I was feeling without sounding like an entitled prick. There’s a pair of thoughts in my mind that I can’t completely reconcile in a way that I can phrase them quite in the way I’m thinking them.

On one hand, I really want to see my work become successful. Whether that success is through acclaim, through the admiration of a small but devoted fan base, or through actual financial success is something I haven’t fully figured out my desire for. But I want to be successful with my work. Specifically, I want to be successful with my writing4Because frankly, my actual work isn’t particularly fulfilling..

On the other hand, I recognize that by raising money for charity with my work, the important person here is not me. It’s the people the money will be going to help. I’ll be fine. But there’s a lot of people who won’t be if they don’t receive the help that charitable organizations give. Hell, I likely wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for the work of charity in my childhood. So to see this event fail when I’m not the recipient of the proceeds is disheartening.

I’m going to be taking a break from writing for a while. I don’t particularly want to stop writing, but I also don’t feel like my writing has a purpose at this point. Maybe I’ll change my mind at some point. There’s a handful of blog posts I’ve pre-written that’ll still go up on this blog each Monday (as per normal). In theory those will last until around the end of the year. I have a few ideas that will likely be content here early next year, though I haven’t gotten around to writing those yet. As for my long-form/story stuff, I think I need to reassess where I’m at there.

Writing Diversely From A Non-Diverse Standpoint

A few weeks back, someone posted a thought on Twitter that can be summarized as such:

Dear white people: Please stop writing minority characters into your books. You’re taking away readership from POC/minority writers.

I remember not being particularly caught off guard by the tweet. After all, it came from a writer who identifies as a minority writer in many ways (race, sexuality, religion…those are the ones I can recall at least). And part of me gets the point. There is definitely a gap between sales of books from white authors and from non-white authors, whether we’re talking about children’s book authors or otherwise. There’s a need for diversity in writing, not just in characters, stories, and points-of-view, but also in authorship. That much is very true.

And yet, I can’t do anything about the fact that I am writing from a white, straight, English-speaking, higher-educated male viewpoint. I want to write in a more diverse manner. It’s a goal I put forward for myself after publishing An Epilogue to Innocence.

I do think there are some things I did well in AETI. I tried to make the book less about good guys and bad guys and more about people — regardless of their gender, background, or religious views. Yes, religion, sexuality, gender, and mental illness were addressed in the book to varying degrees. And yes, there were shortcomings I had with the book. In particular, I wanted to find a way to make my future writing more diverse racially and culturally.

As an example, I recently wrote a story that I think has a lot of potential. The story is intended to introduce a larger world and as such, there are very limited deep details given about the main characters in the story that will be reappearing in later iterations of the story. You know, world building and what not.

One of the characters is supposed to be a woman of Filipina descent. I actively chose not to introduce this facet of her character in the first section[1] of the story because I didn’t want her race to become the focus of her introduction. While her race is part of who she is, in the world in which she exists, what causes judgement and discrimination is not race — it’s something else entirely[2]. Yet, at the same time, I feel as though it’s not only important that I have an understanding of the discrimination that any minority individual goes through in order to write my story effectively, but also in order to grow as a writer, I need to better understand how to write characters who are culturally different from me.

So I look to you, my readers, for advice. Many of you are also fellow writers, hence hoping to pick your brain on this topic. How do you write more diversely when you write fiction? What tips, tricks, and recommendations would you have for me as I look to become a writer that writers not just about those I know, but also those I hope to better understand?

Lists Full of Favorites

It’s 2017. That means the seemingly neverending global shitshow that was 2016 has finally come to an end. Granted, there’s a lot that 2016 did to mess up 2017 (and beyond) for a lot of people, but hopefully we can work together as a society to ensure that people who deserve rights (read: everyone) receives them accordingly.

Whenever I take a day off from work, I leave a paper letter on the door of my office. While I’m not a big fan of printing things out[1], it’s a tradition that started almost three years ago, so I keep it alive. While the letters started out as completely serious, work-related instructions, they’ve since morphed into a hybrid of that and a place where I just ramble because I can.

More often than not, those letters also includes lists of various things. Usually, these lists are totally random, but sometimes they’re lists of my favorite things of some type or another. There likely won’t be a ton of context in these lists. After all, I’m giving you multiple of these lists at once while on my office door there’s one at a time. If there’s enough caring in the comments/via Twitter, I’ll go back and add context later.

Ten Most Underrated Songs of all Time

10. Bayside – The Walking Wounded
9. Flobots – Panacea for the Poison
8. The Lonely Island – Spring Break Anthem
7. Mumford and Sons – Thistle and Weeds
6. Sia – Chandelier
5. Louis Prima – Sing, Sing, Sing
4. Ram Jam – Black Betty
3. Gwen Stefani – Rich Girl
2. Rise Against – Re-Education (Through Labor)
1. Straylight Run – Hands in the Sky (Big Shot)

Ten Favorite Video Games of all Time

10. Tropico (2001)
9. Madden 96 (1995)
8. Mirror’s Edge (2008)
7. Rogue Trip: Vacation 2012 (1998)
6. Catherine (2011)
5. Super Smash Bros 4 (2014)
4. Brave Frontier (2013)
3. Pokemon FireRed & LeafGreen (2004)
2. Civilization V (2010)
1. Fire Emblem: Awakening (2012)

Ten Favorite End-Stage Gen I Pokemon Evolutions

10. Starmie
9. Blastoise
8. Alakazam
7. Victreebel
6. Jolteon
5. Fearow
4. Cloyster
3. Hypno
2. Dewgong
1. Vaporeon