As the David Bowie song goes, “Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes” are coming. In this instance to Ann’s Entitled Life. (I wrote this weeks before he passed away… so sad.)
As many longtime readers know, I began this blog in 2013 after a blogging disaster on my old blog. You can read about it here if you are interested. Ann’s Entitled Life was meant to be a weblog; a diary of my life. If you look at the posts in 2013, you can see what I mean.
In 2014, this blog had a stroke of good fortune on social media, and readers have arrived by the millions. What I discovered is this: With great readership comes great costs.
This past year I had a VA (virtual assistant for those not in the blog world) set up an excel spreadsheet containing all my evergreen posts (evergreen posts are posts that are not timely. You write it today and the information still holds true 5, 10, 15 etc years from now. This could include recipes, cocktails, DIY, gardening posts, etc). This was to help me with my social media sharing. However, she said something to me in a telephone conversation that really started to niggle in my brain, “I could tell the day your blog became commercial.”
So I’ve spent six months stuck in a quandary; what do I do to pay the bills, but get back to my retired life and not compromise on quality on Ann’s Entitled Life?
I am not certain I have actually found a solution. This blog costs close to $1500 a month to operate as a one person show. I hate unsolicited “do this for me for free” PR. I don’t take on many sponsored posts (where the big money is). I run a few ads, but don’t run DFP because the terms of service for most companies that offer DFP management are appalling and my attorney has yet to approve one as written. I do not plan on writing a book, relieving other bloggers of their hard earned cash with blogging courses (the bloggers in the groups I belong to know I will always answer for free), selling a product, or billing myself as some sort of expert when I am actually nothing of the kind.
So, if I am not willing to increase blog revenue in a manner that compromises my ethics or bugs the crud out of my readers, what kind of changes am I making?
Well I am glad you asked!
Hubby and I retired in our 40s after a company buyout. We are pretty much free to run our lives as we please without working “for the man”. One of the reasons I wasn’t too upset when my last blog went down was because I was working 60+ hours a week on that blog as a “retired” person. I swore that was not going to happen again.
Except it did.
I have watched Hubby do a lot more with his life, his friends and his hobbies than I have the last two years. I have found myself once again working 60+ hours a week on a blog, and that is nonsense for someone who is retired. The social media treadmill is taxing, time consuming and really not fun.
I have come up with a quasi-plan to take back my blog, and my life.
Beginning last week and going forward, I plan on posting three days a week instead of five days. Already that has taken a great weight off my shoulders. I plan on writing more about my life including our travel. Hubby and I have decided to make a real effort to look for a new house in 2016, and I hope to document that. A few weeks ago I found Hubby looking through magazines for more fruit trees for his hunting land (which already has apple and pear trees), and I hope to document that… as well as the harvesting of rose hips, wild grapes, and other wild fruits that are growing on our property in Niagara County. He’s harvested some apples and pears in the past, but I think it is time for me to oversee that operation. He’s also looking at a tractor (I swear he just likes to play with “big boy” toys), and doing a bit of farming on his land. I’d like to post more Crap My Hubby Says posts too – because that material is never-ending.
Just more … me and my life on this blog. (Er, sounds kinda narcissistic when I put it that way!)
My greatest hope really is to make this blog more personal again. While I love the craft projects, DIY, household tips and DIY beauty posts that go up on Wednesday, (and those types of posts make money to pay the blogging bills), I may not always post a recipe on Monday or a Beverage/Cocktail on Friday. I may post more of what is actually going on in our daily lives. Or a second craft project! As someone who has lived with a blog schedule for 8+ years, this change could make me break out in a cold sweat the first time it happens – or I may feel more liberated. Should be interesting to see what happens!
And, I plan on cutting back on the social media. Right now, I have a new Facebook Page (without a long involved explanation, the old page had “issues” and was not found in facebook search), Twitter account, Google+ account, Pinterest account and Instagram account for recipes and food. And I don’t plan on expanding past that. And to be quite frank, the IG account is a reaaaaal afterthought, and probably will continue to be.
I’ve recognized that I am one person, and only one person. There is only so much I can do on this blog without it eating away at my everyday quality of life. While I can outsource certain blogging tasks, the reality is that outsourcing costs money, and I am currently unwilling to go down the road necessary to make the kind of money needed to continue to produce at the pace of the past 18 months.
These cutbacks will allow me to regain my life and to share the interesting portions of life with all of you. I want to get back to a diary; a weblog. Hopefully when I look back on Ann’s Entitled Life in 10 years I am not regretting the time spent on this blog, but rather reminiscing about the life I was leading while recording our activities on this blog.
To changes! May they result in peace of mind.
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So thrilled to hear that you’ll be cutting back & enjoying your real life more!! Congrats on your plan of action & best wishes for all this year holds for you & your hubby. xoxo
Thanks Alecia! And I hear your plans are to blog more!?
I am!! It’s a toptsy-turvy world we’re living in!! 🙂
I’ll take you any way I can!! ♥ Do what you need to do for yourself Ann, and we will follow!! 🙂
Awwww thanks, Didi!
Stephanie K. says
I’m with Didi, do what makes you happy, but know that I will follow as long as you’re writing!
Thank you, Stephanie!
Good for you!! I have to admit I liked Ann’s Entitled Life more back in the beginning. I found that I responded more back then. I’d rather read Crap My Hubby Says than cocktail recipes. I love hearing your travel adventures, plumbing problems, remodeling and watching your pool being filled in. And who wouldn’t love reading all about house hunting? We want more of you!
Thanks Marie. It is a real challenge to pay the site bills AND make it more me. I think Friday is the day that is going to be tweaked the most. It will be gardening season before we know it (although if moving, how much will we do at our house?), I have a whole bunch of crafts, house hunting, and I never finished our European vacation (I have tons of photos from Paris and Normandy!) Since I already have over 100 cocktail recipes on the blog… those probably will get bounced more than anything else.
((((((((((Ann)))))))))))) Girl, whatever makes you happy! Life is too short.. Go on & enjoy it, dang it.
BTW.. the email I got today was the first email I’ve seen from you in ages.. maybe a year?? Its been a long long time.. Anyways.. I miss the blog of old.. Good times & memories..
Best to you & him, always
Really, Kim? They go out every week on Friday at 10:45am. I am wondering if they are going to your spam folder?
Nope.. I start having problems receiving your emails when you started this new blog I think.. its been sporadic at most.. sometimes I would get one but it was dated several years before and I would have to click thru to find any new content.. screwy. Then it got to where I just didnt get them at all. I clean out my spam folder daily. They’re not there. At least I got this one.. It was a pleasant surprise. Be well!