I first started my blog as a project to keep me occupied once I finished my dissertation. I had no idea what post-university life was going to hold, but knew that I wanted a way to continue and improve my writing. Having started reading blogs earlier that year, it seemed like blogging was a good way to go about it. I wasn’t expecting to keep it up for two months, let alone be sitting here two and a half years later still writing, but I’m really pleased I did as not only has it made sure that I continue writing, I also look at the world in a different way. It’s not entirely down to blogging, but I’ve found myself more keen to do and try different things. I question things and reflect on them more. I read more blogs and as such have opened myself up to more knowledge, but also to other people’s opinions.
Blogging is something that I’ve slowly ended up giving more time and thinking space to, spending my free time either writing my own blog, reading others, or learning more about blogging through courses and podcasts. I find the blogging world fascinating, but it’s also one that it feels pretty difficult to break into properly. I was possibly a little late to the party, but surely there is enough cake left for me to have a slice too? Sometimes it feels like that, sometimes it doesn’t. Whilst my blog was started as a hobby and isn’t something I want to continue with if I don’t enjoy doing it, I also do want to develop it further and see just what Being Buttons might be capable of.
I’ve already written about my goals for 2018, I deliberately didn’t mention my blog anywhere here – mainly because I didn’t want my blog to dominate the list and I needed to be slightly more specific than “improve my blog”. Having given it a little more thought, here are my blogging goals for 2018 (after all, writing something down does make you feel more accountable!) which is also my entry to win the Golden Ticket for The Bloggers’ Retreat in April.
I have a real passion for learning. I love reading articles to expand my knowledge on certain subjects, taking online courses and discovering new things. I took The Blogger Course when it first came out and instantly saw improvements to my blog, but once is not enough. I need to redo the course this year, do more of the exercises and implement further changes. I’ve started listening to podcasts such as What She Said which have helped to broaden my understanding of the blogging world. One of the main reasons I’d like to go on The Bloggers’ Retreat is to gain further knowledge from Monica (The Travel Hack), Claire and Laura (Twins That Travel) but also all the other bloggers who will be attending and have unique contributions and perspectives.
Increase Page Views
Whilst I write for my own enjoyment, I also want to know I have an audience there who are interested in what I have to say. I want to be able to help people, and to inspire them. There could be no greater treat than knowing that someone had done something because they’d read about it on my blog. Whilst I have regular readers and do get a certain number of page views each month, I’d love to see this number increase. I know that as soon as my page views increase, other things will start to fall into place and I can then focus on the business potential that my blog might hold. If I could get 1000 page views a month I’d be over the moon, so this is something to focus on and one of my main goals.
Improve my Photography
Whilst the theory is that you can blog simply using a smartphone, the reality is a little different as most bloggers use DSLRs and take stunning photographs. I’m very happy with my compact camera (it is so much easier to have something which just fits in any bag!) but I know I could be improving my photography. Sometimes I’ll take a shot that I’m really proud of (like the one below), but quite often I’m disappointed. I want to be more creative, my composition could be better, and I really want to learn how to use the manual settings properly. This isn’t just for my blog, but I know that my blog will benefit as a result.
*Shudder*. If there is one word that I hate, it would have to be networking. But I’m well aware that life is all too often about who you know, not what you know. Particularly in the online world knowing the right people can make a huge difference. Many bloggers are successful because they have a team of other bloggers behind them; inspiring them, encouraging them and sharing their posts. I’m yet to attend a blogger event and I know that this is one of the things that could be holding me back, so I want to not only attend those events, but make valuable contacts when I go. The Bloggers’ Retreat would be a great start to this as I’d be able to connect with a team of like minded people who are all there for the same reasons.
Putting myself out there
This sounds very similar to the goal above and they are connected (let’s be honest – they are all connected!) but I do mean it in a slightly different way. Recently I received some feedback from Monica at The Travel Hack about how it’s not obvious who I am by looking at my blog and social media channels. I don’t have that many photos of me up and it therefore might be difficult for readers who don’t know who I am to make a connection to me. I hate photos of myself (particularly as I don’t look anything like the glamorous travel bloggers you often see) and still feel slightly uncomfortable about sharing them with strangers, but I see her point. Even though I haven’t met them, I know what all the bloggers I follow look like. I also need to put myself out there more by talking about my blog. The more I talk about my blog, am proud of it and own it, the more likely people are to take an interest. With that in mind, here are some photos of me to get started with…
There’s a lot more I’d like to do, and I could easily break those larger goals down into smaller goals, but I feel like that’s a good overview for the year ahead. The one thing I really want to make sure of is that if I sit down to write a similar post next year, I’m still enjoying blogging and that’s the main reason why I am doing it. With that in mind, let’s see what 2018 brings.