Blogging Goals, Creativity and Why I’m Abandoning Numbers in 2018

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2017 was my second year of blogging and I was in full planning mode at the end of 2016. I was buzzing with ideas for content, and was busy setting goals for the year ahead. I followed all the good goal setting advice and made sure that my goals were all ambitious and measurable, and that meant I ended up setting a lot of goals around numbers. Because that’s the measure of a successful blog, isn’t it? Follower numbers, page views, rankings – I had all kinds of goals that I was determined to achieve in 2017.

And the reality is that I haven’t achieved any of them.

There are all kinds of reasons for that, a newborn baby being just the biggest one. The main target I set myself was increasing my Instagram followers from 3000, to 6000. Admittedly a fairly ambitious target, but with the growth I was having I felt it was just about achievable, and a focus on improving my photography was very much where I wanted to go.

Then those dreaded algorithm changes hit me hard. Instead of gaining followers, I spent May to September haemorrhaging them, losing around 200 a month.

I think that would have been a bitter pill to swallow, even without having set my goal, but realising that I had no hope of hitting it was very disheartening. I ended 2017 with just over 4000 followers and my approach to Instagram has changed dramatically over the year.

I now post more of the photos that make me happy, without wondering whether my ‘ideal reader’ will relate to it, or like it. I’m not as concerned with the number of likes a particular photo receives – the photos you don’t expect to do well will always surprise you, while the ones you think are beautiful and exactly what your followers would like can often bomb. I’m trying to enjoy posting and scrolling on Instagram in a more natural way, following accounts I love, without worrying whether they follow me back or not, and engaging more with the accounts that I do follow. It’s been eye opening. I’m getting far more satisfaction out of Instagram as a platform, and I’m able to see it as my happy place again.

And that’s an approach that I’m taking forward with me in my goal setting in 2018. My goals this year aren’t about numbers; they’re about pursuing the things that make me happy and developing creatively. When I started blogging, I loved it as a creative outlet, and that’s what I want to rediscover in 2018.

By identifying Instagram as my area of growth last year, what I was actually saying was that I wanted to focus on developing my photography, and that’s what I’m planing to make my focus this year. I’ve invested in Lightroom and Photoshop, and I’m slowly getting to grips with what I can do with them both. I’m determined to properly master manual exposure (I generally shoot on Aperture Priority at the moment), and I’m trying to be bolder in the situations I choose to shoot, taking photos indoors and in lower light situations.

Equally, I want to rediscover my love of writing. This year has been a killer for me in terms of writing personal posts. When you’re so tired you can barely form a coherent sentence, writing a heartfelt blog post is next to impossible. So the balance between personal posts and sponsored posts in 2018 has been far more towards the sponsored side than I would have liked. Now that we’ve got past the worst (I hope!) of the sleep deprivation, I’ve rediscovered my inspiration. At this point in time, I’m brimming with ideas for personal posts, so it’s about finding the time to sit down and actually write. To emerge from the newborn haze and rediscover my own voice.

For me, blogging just doesn’t work as a numbers game. There’s definitely a satisfaction in watching your stats grow, and it’s great to have a way to measure success in a world that often doesn’t offer much in the way of recognition. But the reality is that my stats did increase in 2017, albeit not as much as I’d hoped, and I still wasn’t satisfied. I don’t think I would have been satisfied even if I’d achieved my ambitious targets. For me, I need my blog to be that personal creative outlet, or it just doesn’t work for me.

2018 is going to be a year where I push myself creatively, rather than chasing numbers. I want to be able to look back at the end of the year, and see the progress I’ve made in my photography. I want to document the moments that make up the tapestry of our family life – the first steps, starting school, the holidays, the days out, the trips to the beach. I want to finish the year and be able to look back on what I’ve achieved and have a smile on my face at the memories as I read through the posts and look through our photos. And although those goals might be less tangible, less measurable, than the ones I set last year, I hope that the satisfaction from working towards them will be more fulfilling both for me, and for my readers.

To every single person out there who reads Hot Pink Wellingtons, thank you for sticking with me through 2017. I have a really good feeling about 2018, and I’m looking forward to sharing our adventures with you all again over the year ahead.

  • Louise – Mummy Miller

    Iā€™m looking forward to see what you do this year. I completely agree with you about stats, I am so much happier doing what I love rather than thinking of things my readers might enjoy! Hopefully you enjoy 2018 a bit more! X

    • Thanks Louise – I think writing about what you love is the best way to really find your voice and keep authenticity in your blog. And that’s why I read blogs – I want the personal voice. I hope you have a wonderful 2018 (I have a feeling you will!)

  • Samsam Said-Jibril

    Great post Katy, I also set very specific targets in 2017 for my blog and I didn’t end up achieving them! so this year my main goal is to grow (my blog, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube channel) but not attaching a number so that I don’t end up being disappointed if I don’t meet those numbers.

    • I’m totally with you. I think for some people numbers work really well as motivation, but if you’re the kind of person who will get really down if you don’t achieve them, then it’s not going to work so well for you. Best of luck with growing your channels in 2018!

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  • Natalie @memeandharri

    Love this Katy – I feel like we have such high hopes sometimes and other bloggers seem to be whizzing past us at a faster pace we worry (well I know I do) that we are getting left behind. I think 2017 for us was the year of our baby boys – a year when our family needed us the most. I know I spent 2017 doing exactly what I was meant to be doing.
    Good luck lovely I am looking forward to seeing what you achieve. x

    • I completely agree lovely – it’s so difficult not to compare and wonder why you’re not getting some of the same opportunities and growth that other people are, but when it comes down to it, I’m happy that I spent 2017 in exactly the right way for me. You know I always love reading your blog – here’s to a wonderful 2018 for us both!

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  • Lauren Porter

    This is a really helpful post for me as I’m about to have a baby & am so worried about the impact it will have on my blog so thank you for helping me put my mind at ease šŸ™‚ X

    • I think my biggest piece of advice would be to be gentle with yourself. There are limits to what you can do when you have a newborn baby, and the pressure to keep up the blog is really hard. But the blog will still be there when you have time to write again, but those moments with your baby you can never get back. I wrote a few posts beforehand which I knew I could post to keep things ticking over, and I did find time to write some reviews and sponsored content, but I really struggled with writing anything personal – I just couldn’t put the words down in any kind of sensible order I was so tired! Best of luck with everything – it’s so close now for you!

  • This is a great mindset to have – the numbers game can be so stressful, great to focus on the creative side. Su

    • I definitely don’t think the numbers way is for me. Creativity is harder to measure, but I think I’ll get far more satisfaction from it.

  • John Milnes

    These are great blogging goals. I guess we all need them to start off the new year with something different or great to aim for.

    Thanks for Sharing

    John M

  • Vicky

    Blogging happy is something I recently wrote about. It’s so much more important than numbers. I find that when I focus on numbers I become anxious and disappointed. I also start to compare myself to others. Thanks for sharing x

    Victoria | http://www.spokenreveries.co.uk

    • I completely agree and understand – how can you not compare when you look at numbers? It gives you that concrete thing to compare yourself with. It clearly works for some people, but it’s not the right way for me

  • I’m keen to improve my photography. I’ve invested in Lightroom (already have photoshop elements) but have so much to learn!

  • Laura Dove

    I love this Katy, it saddens me how many bloggers focus so much on numbers. I always try and write for the reasons I started, and any work that comes my way really is a bonus. This year I want to write more for me again, last year ended on way too much stress and pressure!!

    • Thanks Laura. I think we all need to go back to the reasons why we started in the first place now and again, just to remind ourselves of our motivations. I hope you have a bit more of a laid back year this year, but I hope it’s equally successful for you!

  • Anosa Malanga VA

    To more adventures this year 2018 and to our blogging world! Just write and share your passion, ignore the numbers as it will soon follow. Cheers to a positive year!

  • jennifuchs

    I think this is a really good approach! Instagram – and other channels – keep moving the goal posts, so it’s good to focus on something other than just numbers.