Happy 2014, friends! With a new year upon us, it seemed like a good time to talk about this blog: the good, the bad, the goals, the vision, you know.
First off, thank you for being here. This blog would be nothing without the readers and community that sustain it, and for that, I am ever grateful. I appreciate your presence, your comments, your e-mails, your conversations. I have always said that I blog for the “me too’s” and that is still very true today. I hope that every post you read here resonates with you a tiny bit, even if you are in a completely different life stage than me. The goal of blogging about vulnerable topics like marriage and motherhood and faith and friendship is to ultimately make people feel less alone in all of the hardships and joys that accompany those things. I believe we are meant to live a full life in fellowship and community with other people, and I am thankful for this little online space that allows me to do that with strangers from all over the world.
*end sappy intro*
And now? Let’s talk about cha-cha-cha-changes!
I know. You hate change. Me too. Lucky for you, these are small, teeny changes. Dare I say, they might even be improvements. You can be the judge.
1. The momma catalog page is LIVE. Woot woot! Here you will find a full index of all of my motherhood posts. This past year a few people e-mailed me and it went something like this: “Ashlee, I’M PREGNANT!!! I’ve been digging through your blog to read all of your posts about being a mom and it’s making me SO EXCITED TO HAVE A BABY!!!” and I was like “Aww!!” and then we shared a very special moment via e-mail. But then I realized that aside from the motherhood tag, my mom posts were all pretty hard to find, which is not very convenient. So now! You can find them in one neat little tidy space, right here (easily accessible from the sidebar).
2. I am trying to be a better blogger by using Pinterest. Pinning my own blog posts and my own photos feels incredibly vain, but the marketing side of my brain tells me this is a good thing to do to grow my little blogging audience. So, I officially have a whole pinterest board dedicated to the “best of” where my heart resides, and you can find it here. Feel free to repin something so I look like less of a loser for pinning my own pins. I’ll be pinning things here sporadically to not cause a scene.
3. FACEBOOK. Where do I even start? Once upon a time I started a Facebook page for my photography business. It was called “Ashlee Gadd Photography” and I only used it to promote my photo sessions. Then, I started noticing that a lot of bloggers were creating Facebook pages for their blogs. That made me feel awkward because I was posting my blog posts to my personal Facebook page, where it went out to all of my friends, like guys and some people who probably have no interest in reading my blog. I started to get paranoid and began worrying that I was annoying everyone in my Facebook feed with my blog posts. So, I changed my Facebook page to “Ashlee Gadd Creative” where I could share my photography AND writing, all in one page. But then I got overwhelmed with too much content and never knew if I should be posting blog links or photo sessions. Cue: minor identity crisis. Finally, after MUCH thought and consideration, I came to the conclusion that I would rather use my Facebook page to foster community with my blog readers, not promote my photography. And unfortunately, I don’t have the time or energy to do both (right now), so I picked one. I PICKED YOU. If Facebook is your thing, you can like the official Where My Heart Resides page here.
(p.s. I love and hate Facebook for various reasons, but one of the reasons I hate it is because everything is based on algorithms which means that in order to actually SEE the content that YOU yourself have “liked”, you have to also engage with the page. So, if you DO like my facebook page and actually want to SEE the content, try liking a status every once in a while and it should show up in your feed more regularly. Otherwise they want me to pay like one million dollars to have people see my content and (duh) I don’t have one million dollars. And if I DID, surely I would find a better way to spend it than on Facebook advertising. Like new shoes!)
4. Sponsorship. Guys, I’m going to be real. I can’t decide how I feel about this sponsorship thing. I love the idea of working with online brands, local businesses, and etsy sellers, but it just doesn’t really seem to be taking off. Is it me? Is it the economy? Is it because I never even talk about it? WHAT’S UP? Every time I collaborate with someone, it’s fun and awesome, but those opportunities are few and far between. It seems kind of pointless to keep the sponsor thing open at this point. Ideas? Feedback? Should I just scrap it altogether?
5. My bookshelf is updated, hooray! All books listed have been read, loved, and recommended by yours truly. Reading makes you smart. Get to it.
6. VERY EXCITING ANNOUNCEMENT. In 2014 I am trying something new: monthly newsletters. I know, the LAST thing you need in your life is more e-mails. Amen, and no hard feelings. But hear me out: there will only be 12 e-mails for the WHOLE YEAR. Once a month, nothing more and nothing less. If this blog is my living room, the e-mails will be like….standing in my kitchen while I try not to burn pasta (which I actually did two weeks ago, true story). A little more personal, a little more intimate, a little more messy. Every once in a while, I want to be able to engage with my readers on a more personal level, and I think this might be the best way to start. If you want in, you can sign up here. I pinky promise not to spam you.
And now for the reader-participation portion of this post…..
Hello! As I close out 2013 with a bang (seriously, my parents watched Everett and I wore sequins, holla!), I wanted to take a quick minute to ask you, the readers, a few questions. If you have a couple minutes today, I’d love to hear your answers to any of these questions in the comments. If you have something personal to address, my inbox is always open (firstname.lastname@example.org).
1. What kinds of posts would you love to see more of in 2014? Less of?
2. Is there anything I’ve never talked about on here that you want me to talk about?
3. What kinds of things would you like to see/talk about on the WMHR Facebook page? Inspirational quotes? Thought-provoking questions? Pretty pictures?
4. Do you have any ideas on how I could better foster a community through this blog? Would you be interested in a link-up or a collaborative blogging project?
That’s all, folks. Thank you for being here, thank for you leaving comments and for sending me e-mails throughout the year. I feel your love and support all of the time, and I’m excited to spend another year writing for you in 2014.