When Wendi started her blog in July 2015 after we returned from a trip to Niagara Falls, she came up with a title for a blog: Wendi’s Weekend Trips & Whatnot. She had been thinking about starting a blog (and I encouraged her strongly to start one) for years, but she never could settle in on what the blog should be about. Until that trip. Everything clicked. For the past 18 months, the blog pretty much kept the same look, the same style, the same kinds of posts. But, now, things are changing. Will you recognize this blog after the New Year?
The easy answer is, “Yes, you will.” In fact, some of the changes have already been made. We are now running this WordPress blog on what is called the Genesis Framework. This allows people with no coding skills to advanced developers to be able to design and customize beautiful websites with relative ease. So, WordPress is the driving force. Genesis operates on top of WordPress. And, a “child theme” gives the look and feel to the site.
Wendi’s purpose in starting the blog has always been to give her an outlet for her writing. While she is trained as a licensed, clinical professional counselor who deals with contracts and compliance in the mental health and behavioral health field, she has a creative side to her: She acts, sings and directs plays, and she has written books, screenplays, skits and poems.
The goal was never for this to be an income-generating blog, rather a blog about Wendi’s passions. However, after attending our first blogging conference, we were exposed to the idea that generating a passive income was possible. Some people are making very good money at it, while others are scrambling to get readers and make sales.
Our New Year’s resolutions
As we say goodbye to 2016 and hello to 2017, Wendi’s Weekend Trips & Whatnot has made some New Year’s resolutions. We resolve to …
- Improve the user experience. This has been addressed, partially, through the redesign of the front page of the website. We gave it more of a newspaper/magazine feel instead of a traditional web log roll (blog is a contraction of web log). If you generally click on links to the individual blog posts, you might have missed the redesign. You can check it out here.
- Interact more with our readers. The blog has not generated a lot of interaction in the comments section. I think part of that had to do with the old design. The comment section was always set apart from the body of the blog, which made it difficult. We changed to a Facebook-style comment section, and we really didn’t see improvements. Maybe we need to write posts in a different way to get our readers to interact. Your insights would be appreciated … in the comment section below!
- Increase traffic to the website. Our year-to-year numbers are pretty good in terms of percentage of growth. We have heard from other bloggers that things really did not start taking off until year three. We are at year 1.5. We would love to see more people read the blog, so send your friends our way!
- Engage with our readers more through email subscriptions. As more people access the Internet via their mobile devices, people will be able read the blog on their phones. Our subscription level has been stagnant, and we hope to move it off dead center. We began exploring the possibilities of an email service provider and settled on Benchmark Email. While Benchmark is not one of the heavy-hitters in the field, we think it was a good place for us to start.
- Generate a passive income. When I ran my former blog, The Z Section (it might be resurrected at some point), I was able to generate some income as an Amazon affiliate. You might have seen some of our Amazon ads on the site that we introduced a couple of weeks ago. When you click on these ads, Amazon knows it is coming from our site. If you purchase the product, then we get a small commission. Or, if you purchase anything else from Amazon over the course of the next 24 hours after your initial click, then we get a small commission. It does not affect your price at all, but we appreciate you going through us.
Your New Year’s resolutions?
The truth of the matter is this: For this blog to be successful, we need people like you helping us out. Will you resolve to do some things this year? Here are some things we would respectfully request of you, if you are willing to lend us a hand in the coming year:
- Sign up for our email notifications/blog updates. One of the things I was amazed at are the laws and regulations involved with sending out emails. While all of us get more than our fair share of spam, reputable bloggers and businesses adhere to strict regulations regarding sending unwanted email. So, if you sign up for email updates and notifications and you feel it is too much, there is always a link at the bottom of the email to unsubscribe. You can subscribe via email on the top of this page at on the right sidebar (and get a copy of Wendi’s budgeting book at no cost).
- Like us on Facebook and Twitter. And, it would certainly help us if you can share our blog posts on Facebook and retweet them on Twitter.
- Comment on our blog posts. We would love to hear from you.
Thank you for reading, and I pray we all have a healthy and prosperous New Year.