Summer Blog Social: Blogging Goals


When I was trying to come up with this post, my thoughts were all over place! I decided to pick a prompt from the 3rd category of the Summer Blog Social Prompts which is “Waxing Philosophical & Other Stuff” and decided to go with “What are your overriding goals for your blog and social media presence? How have those goals evolved over time?”


Something that has changed over time is that I actually have goals for my blog! When I started blogging 4 years ago, I really had no idea what I was getting into. I started a blog as it seems a lot of the ladies in my infertility group were blogging so I thought it would be a great outlet and share some of my struggles with infertility and later chronic illness. I thought other ladies from the IF group would read as its often how we traded treatment info and progress but I never EVER would have thought A New Kind of Normal would still be around 4 years later or that I would actually have people reading it or that I would have not one but TWO blog conferences on my schedule! It has been an amazing journey (but I really don’t recommend venturing back to posts from the first year or so – its pretty scary back there!) and I look forward to hopefully many years to come!

So when I think about goals that I have for ANKON and my social media presence, I would love to have more time to dedicate just to blogging but unless a miracle happens and I can quit my day job, I’ll keep my goals realistic!

I definitely want to increase my presence on my Facebook page as I mentioned in my post yesterday and hopefully with some of the tips I picked up throughout the Summer Blog Social, my page will become more of a community instead of just a page.

I also definitely want to venture out a little more with advertising and maybe find a couple sponsors. Not only do I want to feature companies and blogs that I respect and love, but I want to get ANKON out there as well. Its not about the money as much as it is the networking. Hopefully with the conferences coming up, I will be able to network more with brands and gather some more information on how to be effective in marketing/advertising. My degrees are in Music Ed & Pastoral Counseling so marketing is completely out of my comfort area!

I also want to take more time to focus on my writing as after all, isn’t that the heart of blogging? I think I’m a pretty decent writer. I always earned good grades in school and college and I always enjoy it. Unfortunately most of my writing has always been in the area of research so I want to focus on learning to write more creatively such as story telling. I’ve met bloggers who can tell a story and it feels like you are actually in the room with them as the story is unfolding. I love that! The perk of working for a university is that I am hoping that maybe in the spring I can audit a course on creative writing (keeping my fingers crossed). I’m also interested in reading books on writing if any of you have any recommendations!


I would love to tackle some of the more technical details with blogging such as HTML and SEO but I’m going to have to take those ones slow which is why these blogging resources are so awesome and help me understand the basics in a way that is easy to understand!


Wow! It feels so good to have all of this written down! What advice do you have for me as I embark on these goals? What are some of your goals for the future?


Summer Blog Social: I Need Your Help

As a part of the Summer Blog Social, there are different categories of prompts that include advice for others, advice for me, and philosophical topics. I’ve tried to help by sharing some of my favorite blog resources as well as 10 things I’ve learned over my four years in blogging. I hope someone has found them helpful!

One of the writing prompts prompts for the “Advice for Me” section is, “Tell us about an element or two of your blog or social media presence that you are unsure of and would like opinions on.”

So here goes.

I need lots of help on my Facebook page. I have it linked through Network Blogs so new posts automatically post. I also try add links regularly to articles or blog posts I come across regarding chronic illness, parenting, or something else that I think my readers would enjoy. I try to ask questions to start conversation but I may get one response if I’m lucky.

I really want my facebook page to be a place where I can engage in conversation with my readers. I want it to be more than a place where you can find links. I’m in the processed of getting a custom landing page to match my brand but outside of that I’m not sure what to do next.

So please help a girl out! I would love to advice or links to resources on how I can really beef up my page and make it a fun place to hang out! Thanks in advance for your help!


(PS What I Wore Wednesday will return next week!)


10 Things I’ve Learned About Blogging

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I’m linking up again with the Summer Blog Social to share with you some things that I have learned about blogging over the last 4 years. I am by no means an expert but having been around the block a time or two, I thought I would share some things that work and some others that don’t when it comes to blogging! So here are 10 things I’ve learned about blogging:

1- Design Matters.

Your design should be eye-catching without being overly distracting. Colors are great but pick just a couple and go from there. In my experience, the cleaner and simpler the design the better. Definitely add your personality but if I can’t find your posts lost in a sea of buttons, awards, and widgets, then I probably won’t come back. And for the love, please don’t use a light font on a dark background! What I’m looking for when I visit your blog: is your content as well as where I can learn more about you (an about page is awesome) and how I can follow you (make your social media icons easy to find!). The great thing about blogging is that the quality of the design is not dependent on price. Just because you can’t shell out $500 on a custom design doesn’t mean you cannot have a great one! The web is full of tutorials on how to make a great and unique design (such as this one on installing a cute font on blogger) so while custom is a perk, it isn’t a must. If you want some critique on your blog design, Eli Rose Social and Blog Clarity are great resources!

2- Reply to Comments.

As a reader, it means so much to me when a blogger takes the time to read my comment and respond! There are many plug-ins out there that make this a piece of cake by sending readers an email when you respond to their comment.  Chances are, if a blogger takes the time to reply back to my comment, then I will be a repeat visitor.

3- Comment On Other Blogs.

Want to increase your traffic and readership? Get out there and start reading! Find blogs that you love and leave comments – REAL comments. No comment vomit. If you leave a sincere comment, then that blogger can then reply back with a sincere response and voila – community has begun.

4- Grammar Matters.

I’m not talking about hiring a Comma Nazi to proof every post but spelling and sentence structure are important. I need to be able to follow and understand your writing. This isn’t Facebook or texting – please use full words (skip the “ur” or “cuz” please) Although I can’t say I like reading the slang there either. This is a great post on how to improve your writing.

5- Trust Your Gut

Totally pull a Gibbs when it comes to your blog. If you finish up  a post and feel a little unsure about it, do not hit publish. Let it sit in drafts for a few days or have a blog buddy read over it. If in your gut your post seems disorganized or off, then it probably is. Don’t hit publish just for the sake of having something to publish. Another word of wisdom: don’t hit publish when you are angry or otherwise overly emotional. Feel free to write but wait to hit publish.

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6- Don’t Sell Out.

It is so tempting to accept any offer that shows up in your inbox when there is money (or other form of payment) involved for a sponsored post. Believe me. I am guilty. If you browse through my history several months ago you will find the type of posts I’m talking about. Was the money a perk? Of course. Did those posts get any comments or views? Very, VERY little.  Am I kicking myself for completely selling out and leaving my niche for some income? Absolutely.  Stay true to yourself and your blog and you will have no regrets.

7- Find Your Own Voice.

While it’s good to read other blogs and have bloggers that you admire and who inspire you, be sure that you don’t lose yourself trying to be like someone else. I read your blog because of YOU.  I want to hear YOUR story. This is a great post from Content Brew about using your own voice.

8. Don’t Lose Your Blog in a Sea of Memes.

There are tons of great linkups throughout the blogosphere these days – Top 10 Tuesdays, Wordless Wednesdays, Wordful Wednesdays, What I Wore Wednesdays (Wednesday seems to be a popular day), Thankful Thursdays, Fill in the Blank Fridays. It can be extremely tempting to participate in them all! While they are a great way to expose your blog to new readers as well as find some new blogs to follow yourself, if all you post are meme linkups, your content is going to suffer and your readers are going to get bored. Pick one or two that you enjoy and then focus on original content.

9. Know Your Audience.

Do you know who is reading your blog? Moms? Singles? College students? If you don’t know ask! I was curious so I did a quick poll using Survey Monkey and was surprised to find that a good chunk of my readers are not moms. While I do include motherhood and parenting with chronic illness in the content of my blog, I try not to make it the overlying theme as I want to still be able to connect with my readers in a variety of areas. Another way to get to know your audience – which posts have the most comments? Is there a common theme? Asking some simple questions can bring a huge return in your blog readership and community.

10. Have Fun!

Blogging should not be forced. If you feel overwhelmed or uninspired, take a break. Take the time you would be spending writing to seek out some inspiration! Like I mentioned before, its better to not post at all then to publish a half-thought-out junk post (preaching to the choir here).


What things have you picked up through your experience as a blogger? Have you learned anything about blogging that you would like to share? Are there things that work and things that don’t?