That Tiny Website — Short Stories, Video Games, and Freelance Editing

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2018 Blog Goals – Q3 Review

I had a moment on October 2nd where I was sitting Starbucks, minding my own business, when it hit me. October’s arrival means I need to do my third of four reviews of where I’m at with my 2018 blog goals. Needless to say I was not prepared for that moment — mostly because I had posts for the entirety of October and part of November completely planned out. That’s why there’s an extra bonus post this week, as the last time I posted on a non-Monday that wasn’t the 1st or 14/15th of the month1The Mid-Month Short Story Challenge response and prompt days, respectively. was May 24th. And even then was because people on Twitter got me fired up about my favorite video game of all time.

When we last peeked in at the midway point of this year, I was meeting two of the three goals that I had set for the year, though one of those two goals wasn’t doing quite as well as it had been in Q1. Much of my marketing and redesign efforts in Q3 were focused on longer term projects, which combined with a very busy third quarter, meant that I wasn’t driving my blog post promotion as much as I previously had been. So where am I at after three quarters of the year? Let’s take a look.

Goal 1: 20 New WordPress Followers

As I mentioned in Q2, seeing massive growth in the WordPress followers category would be unexpected, though I would like to see some growth here. That said, despite starting off the quarter with a new follower on July 2nd, the blog didn’t see a single additional new follower for the rest of the quarter. I did start a Bloglovin’ page for my blog back up after a three year hiatus on that platform, however I did admittedly minimal marketing for that page. Even cutting my year start goal in half would be a stretch at this point if I’m realistic, though double digits would be a nice touch.

On an unrelated note, I’m really enjoying how much better quality my screenshots (like the one above) look with my new computer than my old one. That might be a coming post topic in its own right.

Goal 2 – Average 250 Visits Per Month

Meanwhile, today in goals I’m absolutely crushing, traffic to my blog has been great the past three months. July, August, and September of 2018 represent the top three traffic months in That Tiny Website’s history. If trends both in this blog’s history and in other blogs I’ve done continue, I wouldn’t be shocked to see either November or December of 2018 dethrone one of those three months from the top three. At the midway point of the year, I mentioned that there was an outside shot my blog could hit 4,000 site visits on the year. As of the end of September, we’re on track for just shy of 4,300 visits. Continued growth could give me a small chance at 5,000 visits, which isn’t objectively a realistic goal. What is a bit more in range, however, is 4,738 visits. That number would be exactly double the number of visits from last year, as well as representing nearly 400 visits per month. To say that would be a massive milestone would be an understatement.

Goal 3 – Grow Comment Count by 20% Again

While my follower goal has shown consistent struggles and my traffic goal has shown consistent growth, my comment count goal has been pretty volatile this year. After a great start to the year, comments have cooled off pretty significantly, with the blog only getting 17 comments the entire third quarter. I found this particularly annoying, especially since the normally reliable Akismet anti-spam service missed as many spam comments in September (5) as it has in the entire past year combined. Seeing a new comment notification in my email only for it to be spam was pretty saddening. I did learn that my new post notification tweets on Twitter were getting filtered out by Twitter’s algorithm (or at the very least that they weren’t showing up in the latest tweets for some of my followers). I’m going to try to tweet out my posts more often to help that, however, we’ll see if that helps comments.

How are you doing on your 2018 goals? If you’re a blogger, podcaster, YouTuber, or other creator, have you made changes to your goals for the year? Sound off in the comments.


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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.

Why You Should Surround Yourself With Difficult People

The longer I blog, the more I interact with other bloggers. The more I interact with other bloggers, the more I do cross-promotion with them and work with them. And the more that the cross-promotion and working with other bloggers happens, the more I recognize that I don’t always agree with other bloggers.

Pretty much this. Image credit: xkcd.com

I’ve come across advice blog after advice blog in recent weeks, only to find I have mixed opinions on the blogging advice being shelled out in such posts. On one hand, it’s great that I don’t agree with some of the advice being offered to other bloggers. By not agreeing with someone, it forces me to analytically think about why I don’t like their opinion at a level beyond calling the person a stupidhead who is incapable of writing an article with any original thought (even if it is true). On the other hand, it’s disappointing to see bad advice and misinformation make their way onto the internet, because there are people who will blindly follow the first thing they see that even remotely conforms to their preexisting opinions.

I love thinking analytically. I love being challenged with a difficult problem. I love learning. To do any of those thing though, I have to keep people who don’t agree with me around me. There’s a common saying that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. There’s a lot of basis in that theory — after all, it relies on the Law of Averages to succeed — however I choose to look at that saying a bit differently.

For the majority of my childhood, I spent a significant amount of time around both my mom and my dad (albeit in separate locations thanks to their divorce when I was very young). There was quite a bit I learned from them, however the items that stick with me the most today are what I learned not to do thanks to them. My mom1To my knowledge. hasn’t had a job since she was 19 because she feels it’s a man’s responsibility to provide for a woman in all situations. Her insistence on this being a part of her life taught me that this kind of unfair thinking was not only sexist in many situations, but also set standards of what a very unfair relationship would look like. My dad, on the other hand, had a bad habit of spending money frivolously on things he didn’t truly need. While many times my brother and I would have a nutritious* dinner of ramen noodles and kool-aid, he continued to compile guns for his collection, while spending more money on cigarettes than food.

Apparently someone thought this was an adult lunch too. Huh. No shit. Image credit: justustakeson.blogspot.com

If anything, being exposed to behaviors like these reinforced the fact that I didn’t want to be like either of my parents. The same goes for keeping difficult people around you. Part of their involvement in your life is to make your opinions and arguments stronger by challenging your preconceived notions as to how something should work. When the difficult people around you fulfill this need, it’s a wonderful thing. Sometimes, those difficult people will do nothing more than teach you how not to act (or how not to write in the case of bloggers).

The demoralizing thing is that in some situations, there will be more people who agree with the difficult person than with you — even if you’re the one in the right. There will also be difficult people who refuse to recognize your input, no matter how valuable it is, just because they don’t agree with you. While these people are (obviously) a bit more of a nuisance to deal with on a daily basis, this doesn’t mean you completely remove this person from your life. If anything, keep this person around to serve as motivation to do better. Even if their shitty, crowd-sourced blog post is drawing hundreds of hits and tens of comments per day while the post you spend four hours working on is barely noticed, you’ll be the one setting yourself up for more long-term success.

What’s the most difficult type of person for you to deal with? How do you use difficult people for motivation in your own life? Sound off in the comments.

Front page image credit: Alexandre Dulaunoy on Flickr

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