state of the blog address.

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 (

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.


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18 Responses to state of the blog address.

  1. Katie B. says:

    Your blog is one of my favorite places to go (and it was before we were friends, just saying that so there’s no confusion about bias) πŸ™‚ I say a link up would be awesome; pretty pictures are a trademark of you so keep them coming; and keep sharing your life honestly. You’ve always done that, it’s always been beautiful. I’m so thankful for your little corner her at WMHR!
    Katie B.Β΄s last blog post ..What I want to tell my kids about the ocean

  2. Teri says:

    Hi Ashlee! I sent you an email, and just wanted to let you know if might have gone to your spam folder because I attached a picture of my son with my email. Thanks!

  3. Kristin says:

    Your blog is one of my ultimate favorite blogs out there. I love your writing and photography so much! I love to write and take pictures so you are such an inspiration to me! Thank you!

  4. Jen says:

    Ashlee, I stumbled upon your blog about a year ago and absolutely love it! I would love to keep seeing more of the same blogs about faith, motherhood, marriage, and photography because these are all things that speak deeply to me, and a lot of other readers I’m sure! I think some thought provoking questions to get others involved on Facebook, would be a great idea, as well as a collaborative blogging project!

    Either way, you’re doing an amazing job! I always look forward to your next blog posts, and whenever I see one pop up on my Facebook feed I get so happy inside! You write beautifully, and have the prefect combination of wit and charm that make your blog pretty much perfect! Keep it up!

  5. Callie says:

    Dear Ashlee,

    I love the honesty of your blog. I love how you talk about life like it actually is.. Life! It’s not pretentious or false.. It’s a real life blog that I don’t feel like I need to have the latest $ridiculousamount coat or shoes to feel connected too. So many times I’ve read posts and gone – oh thank goodness I’m not alone!!! Or, ohhh my kid does that too!

    My request for your blog would be just more of the same! I love your mummy stories, your life stories, your passion for writing stories! Your gorgeously colourful images (want to fly to Australia and take my babies pics??!! Just saying…!) and just your thoughtful posts. I think I like them best πŸ™‚
    Please – since we’re on the request train – don’t take another blog hiatus. Remember that one a while back?? Yeah.. Reader hell!! I was checking my little WHMR link for your return daily!

    Your monthly pics with your boy and his achievements inspired me to do the same with my boy! I only have two months worth so far, but the concept is adorable! We plan to turn them into a little book after his first birthday. .. Except I have to take the photos, not be in them.. Turns out my husband can’t work a point and shoot camera..

    Thank you for (I think I’ve been following you for three!!!) years of lovely reading. I hope you enjoyed your holidays with your little family..!

    Love, Callie xx

  6. Natalie says:

    All these changes sound like they will make everything MUCH better Ashlee! Such a huge fan of your blog and your writing, and love reading all your posts. Thanks for all you share with me and all of us here. Here are my answers to your questions. Hope they help!

    Agree that engaging with readers through Facebook is getting tricky thanks to all the pesky changes they made. Especially since some people are “shy” and don’t often “like” posts or pictures. No advice on sponsorships. Your giveaways seem to be doing well though! Wish I was in the Sac area so I could have won the barre class giveaway. Signed up for your email newsletter, can’t wait!

    1. I love your posts about interesting “little life moments”, like that sweet story about the girl in the airport, or when you saw that girl and her kid at the coffee shop and you totally wanted to be friends with her, or when Brett had stuff in his ear after the color run and you thought he might have some crazy disease, ha! Those are fun when mixed in with the “deeper” stuff, which I love too. And of course love all your posts about your marriage and motherhood.

    2. You do a great job of covering things! I don’t think you’ve ever done a post about the day you and Brett got engaged, I bet that is a great story : )

    3. For the WMHR Facebook page, I love pretty pictures of your adorable family, and I also *love* when you link to other great blog posts you’ve found. You’re the only “personal” blog I keep up with (the rest are all recipe blogs), so I love that you find all the best ones for me.

    4. One great plug in that has really helped “foster community” on my food blog is the Comment Reply plug in. You can customize it so that when you reply to comments left on your blog (and are signed in to WordPress as the Administrator), it emails the commenter with your reply. That way the commenter is sure to see your reply, and is more likely to come back/read more/comment more. Otherwise, the only way they would see your “reply” is if they click back to your website to check, which they aren’t always likely to do. I highly recommend it! Email me if you have any questions about it, or need help coding it to have the “reply notification email” display like you want. I even discovered how to have the “reply email” be your email rather than the ugly, automatic domain hosts email. Happy to help.

    Happy New Year friend!
    NatalieΒ΄s last blog post ..Fennel & Apple Detox Green Juice

  7. Sarabell says:

    I think sponsorship takes a lot of time to build up. I definitely have plans to sponsor my next big book here, but it isn’t out until the spring. I hope you don’t do away with sponsorship before then!

    I also wanted to say that I read every post, even though I don’t always comment. I don’t have Internet at home so I open up a few tabs and then read things once I get home… but you share a lot of things on this blog that really resonate with me and I am always happy to see a new post. Happy New Year, Ashlee!

    • Ashlee says:

      Thanks Sara. I read a lot of blogs on my phone and don’t often comment, so it’s always nice to hear that people are still reading even when the comment section is full of crickets. I think I’m going to keep the sponsor thing open since it doesn’t really cause any extra work to have it there. Looking forward to hearing about your next book!

  8. Stephanie says:

    I love your blog as is! As a new mommy, those types of posts are probably my favorite! You are such a role model and are one of the reasons I was inspired to start my own blog. I would love to do a link up!

  9. Caitlin says:

    Just keep sharing your beautiful heart – I love stopping in at WMHR πŸ™‚

  10. Lindsay says:

    I’m a bit late to comment on this but these all seem like great changes. I randomly stumbled upon your blog a few years ago and have been passively reading ever since (this may be my first comment!) and I love your writing style. While I don’t relate much to what you write about motherhood or faith, I think you should continue writing about what you’re passionate about and what you know best.

    In regards to sponsorship, do you ever contact companies or do you wait for them to come to you? You might have success narrowing down what types of companies/brands are consistent with your blog topics and your reader’s interests and then contact them about collaborating on giveaways or advertising on the blog.

    Keep up the great work!

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