I started blogging way back in 2012. It all happened during a conversation about our younger years, when I happened to tell my husband I used to be good at writing. Instantly, he pulled me up.
But you can still write! Why don’t you start a blog?
I’m sure I just laughed.
I think I learned about blogs because of the film Julie & Julia. You know, the one where Amy Adams cooks Julia Child’s recipes and blogs about them. I didn’t really know how anyone started one – it seemed way beyond me. But I did feel like something was definitely missing in my life. Some creativity. Maybe a blog would fill the void. So I started to look into it properly. I knew I couldn’t crack on through my thirties listing my love for afternoon napping as my only hobby.
You see, I did my degree in engineering; the field I continue to work in. But rewarding as it is as a career, there’s a whole different side of me my workplace never really sees. Maybe blogging would give me the creative outlet I’d suddenly realised I was becoming desperate for. But what on earth would I write about? Luckily, my husband was once again on hand to give me the advice I needed.
You’re obsessed with going on holiday. Why don’t you write about travel?
And Need Another Holiday was born.
Fast forward five years and I’m still writing, but something I’ve never done is set proper goals for my blog. I think it’s because they scare me. Fear of failure and all that. And I’ll tell you something that embarrasses me a bit, too – since my son was born in December 2014, my website traffic has never recovered.
If you build it, they will come, a famous ghostly movie voice once said. But it’s easier said than done, and the brick laying is hard work when you don’t have a plan to follow.
I have my core of loyal, lovely regular readers but I’ll be honest with you – I’d like some more. So I want this to be the year. If I set some goals and really monitor them, perhaps I can actually find out if Need Another Holiday could ever be more than just a hobby blog. Now or never, eh? So here’s what I’m planning to do in 2018:
Redefine My Niche
When I started blogging, my niche was part time travel with a full time job. Simple. I wrote for readers without any dependants who could travel on a whim, with a decent amount of expendable income to afford the odd bit of luxury here and there. These days, I don’t exactly fit that bracket, and I think I’ve been kidding myself that my niche is still the same through my efforts not to become another mummy blogger. But I am one by definition, aren’t I? And so I need to write what I know with a view to connecting with people who are something like me. In summary, my niche needs attention.
Grow My Audience
I definitely want more page views (don’t we all?)! So I know I need to focus on how to bring that traffic in. My Pinterest presence? Needs improvement. My SEO strategy? I need to stop pretending that my natural writing style will just take care of it. I also want to see if starting a newsletter is something that could work for me. I’ve thought about it before, but I bottled it, convinced no-one would sign up (I do a lot of bottling.)
Streamline My Social Media
I struggle with finding the right voice for my social media accounts. Especially my Facebook page which is so often a source of anxiety for me. When I post consistently, I still never feel like it translates into thumbs ups, so I lose momentum. Then again, maybe it’s time to shift my focus away from Facebook and their never-ending algorithm changes. I’ve started wondering whether Instagram Stories is a better presence for me to have. I know I want to improve my game. Stories are definitely my favourite thing on social media at the moment.
On top of that, I need to look at how I can schedule and automate some of my social media posting to save me time. I’d like to allow for the odd ridiculously early night when my commute home is particularly bad, without feeling guilty that I haven’t posted anything!
Stop Hiding Off Camera
I’m stupidly camera shy – so there are never that many pics featuring me in blog posts and I think I can finally accept that this needs to change. The successful blogs I love always show the face behind the writing, and I actually find that really easy to connect with. There’s clearly a lesson in there. I need to learn it in 2018.
Build a Brand Collaboration
I am very fortunate to have worked with a few brands before, but that was before motherhood and what I’ll refer to as my ongoing blogging blip. I’m hoping that if I can find my way in 2018, I can have a blog presence I’m proud of and subsequently find the confidence to pitch what I believe I can do to some of the brands I know and love when it comes to travel. One thing I’d like to do is build something based around the #take12trips challenge I started back in 2013 – I still really believe in it. I’d love to aim for a long term relationship with a brand that could really fit both the challenge and my niche. (Once I fine tune it, of course. I guess that’s back to the start, then!)
I’d really like to know what you readers think about these goals. Is what I’m planning to work on aligned with what you’d like to see from me? Do tell. And I hope this post might just push me on my way since it’s my entry into a competition to win a golden ticket to the Bloggers Retreat.
If my luck comes in, I’ll get the chance to work on all this stuff with some serious blogging experts – Monica from the brilliant blog The Travel Hack, and the super sisters Claire and Laura from Twins That Travel. And I’ll get to show you readers a beautiful part of the UK I haven’t visited before.
Watch this space, and wish me luck!