March was intense around here.
I had the best month ever, traffic wise, on my blog. Egads. Sometimes, I feel as if I'm the conductor of a train that may or may not be getting ready to jump off the rails, and I'm not completely sure I'm prepared to handle what's coming. Yet, seeing my blog goals actually happen after 2.5 years of going at this thing strong is incredibly rewarding, and I am so excited to see where this blog takes my family and I (literally and figuratively) in the rest of 2017.
We had a successful trip to North Carolina's Crystal Coast, where Landon ran the Emerald Isle half marathon. We all had such a good time at the race that Britton started to ask when she could run a kids' race, so the very next weekend, she and I did the 1-mile kid fun run at the Cooper River Bridge Run here in Charleston.
My husband is really big into running, and we often plan our travels around his races. (Shameless plug: follow his new account @intotherunknown for more pictures of his races and our trips!) After going to Emerald Isle, North Carolina, last weekend, our 3 year old asked if she could do a race, too. We signed her up for the Cooper River Kids' Race--the full 1 mile run. We were worried that those little legs wouldn't last the entire time, but she ROCKED her first race, finishing at 12 minutes. I'm so proud of my fearless, headstrong, adventurous girl!
We also had birthday parties and family get-togethers, and basically just had a wonderful, if exhausting time. I'm starting to (sort of) figure out the balance between blogging, parenthood, and freelance writing...but the laundry is going to have to wait until about 2031 to get done.
How did I do on last month's blogging goals with all of that going on? Surprisingly well!
March's Goals: A RecapHit 11.5K on Instagram. I hit this two days ago! Go me! I've really gotten into a rhythm with Instagram lately--I've started scheduling my posts out a week in advance, which has cut down on the stress of figuring out which pictures I still need to share.
Finalize the itinerary for our Western U.S. road trip. This is going to be one epic road trip, even if our preschooler is definitely going to ask, "How many more minutes 'til we get there?" at least 900 times during our 2 week trip. We'll be visiting Nevada, Arizona, Utah, and Colorado, and taking in such sights as the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Arches National Park, and Red Rocks.
Post 2x/week. Even though I didn't accomplish this goal, I am still happy with the content that I put out in March. I loved the posts that I wrote, and the First Timer's Guide to London is already doing really well with traffic (that usually doesn't happen until the post is a few months old).
Figure out what we're doing in North Carolina later this month. We had the BEST time in Emerald Isle last weekend. We went to the aquarium in Pine Knoll Shores, walked on the beach, and cheered on Landon while he was doing his half marathon. He ended up with a PR and finished in under 2 hours!
Build my Facebook audience to at least 2900 followers. I cannot tell you how happy I am about meeting this goal! I hit 3100 followers on Facebook, and it feels as if I've accomplished something major. I know that having an engaged, robust audience on Facebook is something that potential partners look for, but I've struggled so much to build it.
Facebook is, to me, not as much fun as Instagram, and doesn't drive the traffic to my blog like Pinterest does. I've gotten a little boost from this recent success, so maybe there's some hope for Facebook and I to live happily ever after.
Monetize all of the relevant/evergreen content from 2014. So, I was going to go about my content update and monetization in time order, but I realized that I was leaving money on the table by taking that route. Instead, I looked at my most popular posts from the last 3 months and started to monetize those.
I've gained several hundred dollars from my monetization efforts on those posts, so I'm looking forward to getting through the rest. Even though I failed at my original goal, I definitely think this is a win since I had such immediate response to my efforts.
April's Goals: Looking ForwardThis month was supposed to be our easy going month between our North Carolina trip in March and our big Western U.S. road trip in May. Let's all laugh together because every single weekend in April is currently booked up!
We have an excavator coming to help finally fix up our yard--we cut down great swaths of trees on our property 1.5 years ago and have been left with hundreds of stumps since then. We're finally grading the land so we can have an actual yard.
We have a new nephew coming, an Easter gathering with family, more birthday parties (that's the thing to do on the weekends when you have a 3 year old), Britton's spring break, and an engagement party. Whew.
In between everything we have to get through this month, I've got big plans for the blog.
Beat last month's income. I hustled last month and made over a grand from my different income streams that I've been putting in place: hotel affiliates, Amazon affiliates, social media campaigns, freelance writing, and my Etsy shop. Many of these are new, so I'm hoping they continue to grow over the rest of the year.
Reach out to at least two CVBs/brands for future press trips. At the beginning of the year, I decided I wanted to go to Crystal River, Florida, and Savannah, Georgia; I also had hoped to partner with the Great Wolf Lodge in Charlotte since it would be so much fun to experience the waterpark with my kids. We'll see if I can finally get around to talking with those places!
Finish monetizing my top 30 most viewed posts. It takes at least a half hour for me to add in affiliate links, make new headers and pinnable images, and update the information in each post. Yet, that time has been well worth it since my updated old posts are reaching new readers on my social media accounts. So, onward and upward!
Get back into the habit of commenting on other blogs. Dear blog reader friends, you have been neglected. I'm so sorry. This will be rectified this month!
Grow the new Instagram Inspiration series. Each week will have a new theme and will feature 10-15 images that interpret that theme. I'd love to have you submit your photos for consideration since this is an ongoing, collaborative series. Read about the series here and submit your photos in this spreadsheet.
How was your March? Did you accomplish all of your personal and professional goals for the month? What's in store for April?
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