2019 Writing Goals

In 2018, at the suggestion of Optimistic Millennial writer Kaytie Zimmerman, I decided to create some goals for my blog in an attempt to grow my blog and, by extension, build the community around it. Last week, I talked about how those goals went throughout the year of 2018 (not to mention doing periodic checkins throughout the year), as well as trying to explore whether the results of each of those goals was a success or a failure.

I’m happy I went that route in 2018, however, I don’t think it’s the right way to go in 2019. That’s not because I succeeded in every goal, nor am I completely happy with the results I did achieve across the board. While things did go alright, there’s always room for growth and improvement. Instead, I’ve decided to diversify my goals a bit in 2019. This is in an effort to better reflect what I’m looking to achieve not just as a blogger, but as a writer and freelancer. I’ll be sticking with three goals, in 2019, only instead of three blog based goals, there’ll be one each for blogging, story writing, and freelancing.

Goal 1: Blog Growth?

Last year, I had three separate blog growth goals that I set for myself. Needless to say with how things went, I have zero clue how to set goals for myself for blog growth. Since I clearly have no clue what I should scale my goals to, let’s go with the one that’s at least the easiest for me to measure: raw traffic.

This year, I’d like to average one view per hour for every day of the year. That’s 8,760 views for the year, which would represent a massive amount of growth from 2018 to 2019. Then again, that’s what I thought by setting a goal for 3,000 views for 2018 when coming off of 2,369 in 2017. I was wrong. I was over 3,000 views in September and 4,000 views in November. If the first four months of the year would have had better traffic, 5,000 would have been a realistic possibility. While I’m not expecting months upon months of traffic like November 20181688 views, my single best traffic month ever on this blog, and my best traffic month on any blog since 2013., I think breaking the 8,000 visitor barrier is an attainable goal, even if it might be a bit of a reach.

Goal 2: Finish a Second Draft of the WIP by July

Let’s just say it’s, um, been a while since I’ve given you all an update on my work in progress. There’s several reasons for that, some of which are understandable, others of which are not2All of which I will not be mentioning on this blog, for now.. That said, I’m planning to do another update on the project within the first six weeks or so of 2019.

That all said, I know for sure that once I get the initial draft finished, there will be some massive rewriting that needs done to make it presentable for beta readers. My alpha reader’s feedback, plus some of my own changes to the direction of where I want the story to focus, has proven that needs to be the case. As a result, once I finish the first draft, I’ll be re-writing my story (particularly the first 3-5 chapters) heavily.

In an ideal situation, both of these drafts will be completed by the end of July. I’m not going to set an official goal deadline for completing the first draft (mostly because January is particularly insane for me), however I feel like as long as that draft is done by mid-April, I should be in good shape to get my July goal for draft number two.

Goal 3: Take on Four New Freelance Projects This Year

2018 was an up-and-down year in terms of the freelance projects I took on. I had a large project come to me early in the year, as well as a ton of smaller projects that I took on. The problem was that the only one of those projects that I got paid for was the large project — all of the small ones came about as the result of my former company closing our office, which in turn meant resume editing work I did for free. While I did pick up a second, much smaller, project near the end of the year, the year was slower than I had hoped.

That isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I ended up needing more of my free time than I expected on several other things that came up this year, including minor things like a redesign of my blog and launching my Patreon account. Even with that in mind, I’d like to do more this year.

I’m setting a somewhat flexible goal of taking on four new freelance projects in 2019, ideally one per quarter. I say this goal is somewhat flexible, as if I were to take on a particularly large project, I’d consider revising this down to three. That said, the project would have to be major in either complexity or the amount of time I have to dedicate to it (or both) for me to make said revision.

2018 Blog Goals – Year End Review

Welcome to 2019. How are you feeling? Excited? Confused? Hungover? Yes to all of the above?

2018 was an odd year for me, if for no other reason than I actually followed through on keeping track of my blog goals for the first time ever. As I’m thinking about it, this might be the first time ever that I’ve kept track of non-work related goals for an entire year. I know that might be a weird statement to make as a 31 year old, but here we are. I’ll be sharing my 2019 writing goals in a post coming on the first Monday of the year, however before I do that, let’s take a moment and look back on the 2018 goals.

When we last peeked in at the midway point of this year, I was only meeting one of the three goals that I had set for the year. While I was destroying the one goal I was meeting, the other two goals had continued to fall behind pace. The final quarter of 2018 was insane in real life for various reasons, so aside from my NaNoWriMo Tips series, the marketing I wanted to go into the blog never came to fruition. With that said, let’s see where I ended both Q4 of 2018 and the year as a whole.

Goal 1: 20 New WordPress Followers

Well. This had some ups and downs out of no where. Granted, I understand going from 5 to 6 to 7 and back down to 6 isn’t that big of a swing, but it is a volatile time considering how steady this value has been over the course of the year year and a half or so. This ended up being only 30% of my goal pace for the year. Even with that in mind, I’m not completely disappointed in how this turned out because of the way the next two goals ended the year.

Goal 2 – Average 250 Visits Per Month

Remember how in last quarter’s update post I said that 4,738 visits — exactly double my 2017 traffic — wouldn’t be a completely unrealistic number to hit? It was kind of nice to hit that number in the lead up to Christmas while talking about our charity drive. Though I didn’t quite get to the 5,000 visit barrier, this was still over 100% growth year over year, which is amazing to see. The final six months of the year were the six best months in this blog’s history, while nine of the top ten months all time also come from 2018. I’d love to see this upward trend continue into 2019, though (as you’ll see from my goals next week) I’ll be doing some refocusing on my priorities in my writing in 2019, so I won’t be trying to replicate my 100% growth next this year.

Goal 3 – Grow Comment Count by 20% Again

2018 was weird when it came to my comments. Consider the following:

  • January – March: 48 comments (16 comments/month)
  • April – September: 45 comments (7.5 comments/month)
  • October – December: 57 comments (19 comments/month)

What the hell happened in the middle of the year? I understand that my comment explosion in December had a couple of factors working in its favor — those being the fact that comments for 10 days in December caused a donation to charity, as well as an 11th hour commenter who tipped me over my comment goal. That said, it was still nice to hit this with how weird (and frankly not well) the middle two quarters of 2018 went from a comment standpoint.

How did you do on your 2018 goals? If you’re a blogger, podcaster, YouTuber, or other creator, I’d love to hear how you did, as well as your 2019 goals. Sound off in the comments.


Like the work I do? Want to help me make more, better written content? Consider pledging your support on Patreon.

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 month3The 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.


Like the work I do? Want to help me make more, better written content? Consider pledging your support on Patreon.

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 for4On 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 above5If 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 year6Please 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 hand7Maybe 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 blog8Through 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.