You may not bother with resolutions for the new year, but setting goals for your blog helps you to (re)focus and shape your online home. We asked a diverse mix of bloggers:
What’s the most important goal you have for your site in 2016?
Lisa Jakub, lisajakub.net
My resolution is very simple and not so easy: I want to create work that tells the truth. Writing, for me, is all about connection, and nothing creates connection like open-hearted honesty. It’s about putting letters and spaces together in a way that reaches out and allows all of us to feel less alone. It’s about finding our commonalities and celebrating our individual authenticity. And if we can laugh about it in the process — even better.
Emily J. Petersen, The Bookshelf of Emily J.
My goal for my blog in 2016 is to re-personalize it! I started out by writing about my memories and experiences as they connected with books, and I’ve gotten away from that. I’m working on a PhD and finishing my dissertation this year, so I’ve become preoccupied. My book reviews tend to be just that: book reviews. I think what made my blog special in the beginning were the stories I told about my life as they related to books.
So in 2016, I plan to make my posts more personal, more engaging, and more sincere. I read a lot of books, but I’d rather write about my personal reaction or connection to a book than repeat the plot line. I think this personalization will help me to reconnect with my loyal readers and to find new ones. I love the community aspects of blogging, so I hope to reinsert myself there by sharing who I am and opening up more.
Sam Nathapong, Sam in Bangkok
I’m interested in free speech in 2016. Bangkok, Thailand, has been under the military government for more than a year, since the May 2014 coup. The military junta has created a climate of fear among us, from small bloggers to journalists and academics all over the country.
My blog is small, so I’m not trying to be all Katniss Everdeen about it — and Bangkok is far more than what is described as The Hunger Games’ District 12. On Twitter, it feels especially tense for those of us writing in the English language from Thailand. But with this global language, I want to reach more people and let them know that there are still reasons to smile under such conditions — and to tell my own part of this story.
Bangkok is still rich in culture, and we have so many visitors each year. I believe that everyone has their own unique Bangkok story inside of them, and my goal is to reach out to these people. My door is open if they have a story to tell.
In 2016, I want Sam in Bangkok to be a blog where we can share and discover stories about Bangkok — freely.
Summer Pierre, Paper Pencil Life
I have always been a conflicted blogger, feeling slightly apologetic for keeping what can seem an indulgently personal project in a public forum. Yet after this year of feeling more connected than ever to a growing audience, due to telling my imperfect and personal stories, it hit me: Who am I kidding? I love my blog. If it weren’t for my blog I would have never tried half of what I’ve done. It is both my lab and my studio, and although I might have made comics and written essays without it, I doubt I’d ever have felt as connected to people on such a consistent personal level through my work.
Without my blog, I would never have come up with my latest endeavor: teaching an online class on comics in the New Year. The class is a direct extension of everything I’ve made on my blog and feels like a natural progression as an artist on WordPress. I feel more excited than ever to continue to tell my own story through words and pictures, and to extend the reach by helping others tell their own. What could be better?
Russell Jackson, Draw the Public
Samara Speaks, A Buick in the Land of Lexus
In 2016, I would like to parlay my blog into a successful freestyle rap career and share my rhythmic wisdom across the globe. Sadly, I have zero rapping skills. Can I change my answer?
For 2016, I would like to actually HAVE goals. For two years I’ve flown by the seat of my pants. (What does that even MEAN? Sounds painful.)
The grown-up bloggers set goals. They use editorial calendars and blog organizers. Blog organizers? I can’t even find a clean bra. Check my Google Analytics? I get lost at Walmart.
I’m reasonably intelligent, but blog tech jargon makes me hyperventilate. Someone says, “determine a niche to develop your overall SEO strategy.” I hear, “Blerghity blergh blergh.”
Did you know Pinterest can be used to drive traffic to your blog? Do you know what custom CSS is? Bounce rate? Meta tags?
Did you know that the Amish are a real culture of people and not just an old-timey group of actors who are just really into it? Do you realize that our presidential elections are basically a national scam and we’d be better off electing a God of Cake?
So, for 2016, my big goal is to SET GOALS.
Guess what? I checked with Lady Google, and only 8 percent of goals are ever met. If seven of us are answering this question, only .56 of us are going to meet our goals. Not even ONE WHOLE PERSON!
Maybe winging it IS the way to go. I’m not rich or famous. But I must be doing something right, because I have the coolest blog family on the planet. The people who read my blog make it what it is. I don’t have to change a thing.
So, I guess my goal is to remain goalless. I am, after all, a non-conformist. Just like everyone else.
J.S. Park, jsparkblog.com
Every blog can hit a stride, and then the pressure’s on. With enough diligence, dark roast, and in-brain mud-wrestling over the perfect click-worthy title, we can get what we always wanted: a steady stream of readers.
The problem is we try to duplicate lightning in a bottle, and we hold too many bottles, and we stretch ourselves thin with thunder. Either the blog will turn into Swiss cheese, or we will. Or in my case, both.
I rode a wave this year that culminated in the best blog performance since I started 15 years ago, with a tsunami surge of clicks over the summer. But it came at the cost of my restless desperation. I had to write on everything. I had to have an opinion. I had to ride the momentum to rapture.
I knew it was bad when I thought, I can’t stop now. I thought stopping meant quitting, and quitting in my Eastern Asian world is harakiri by pen.
My posts became passive-aggressive, choppy, less coherent and thoughtful. I got emails that said, “Sounds like it’s been rough lately, sorry.”
Their concern broke through. I had to rest.
I treat rest like an annoying pause-button before I get back to work, but rest is the living actual life that makes the work make sense. I forget to enjoy and cherish the downtime: which isn’t really downtime, but real time. I forget to remove myself from stats and post schedules to live life itself, so that I can have something to say at all. And I had to quit superimposing those moments into social media, to just let them breathe without an obligation to post them.
Rest is the room to breathe.
My hope is to write less and live more. Rest more and write better. Be still in the balcony and regain perspective. It’s this space that cultivates creativity, for better thoughts, and more thunder.
We wish all of you a Happy New Year — and can’t wait to see what you create in 2016.