Happy New Year!

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Happy New Year 2018!

Good Morning!!! and welcome to 2018!!!

For the last nine years (geez that means I have been blogging for TEN years now!) I have written a New Year’s Day post filled with blog updates, new series ideas, and what to expect in the upcoming year, first on Coupons, Deals and More, and continuing the tradition on Ann’s Entitled Life. This year is no exception.

Note: next week I will post the 10 “best” (in other words most trafficked) posts of 2017.

First things first: sign up for my weekly newsletter! You get a free downloadable e-cookbook when you confirm your newsletter sign-up!

This past year was terrible for blog traffic, even as the blog made money (Hubby may never recover from this development!). My adnetwork (MediaVine) is fabulous and makes things easy to earn. I also did a few sponsored posts. These are difficult for me as I need to really love (or at least deeply like) the products I am being paid to highlight. Sponsored posts pay quite well (sometimes very, very well), so I make some pretty terrible faces when I am declining sponsored work where I do not love the product or service when I am offered mucho dinero for that post.

My Facebook 2017 traffic was horrible as Facebook is now strictly pay-for-play. I saw Facebook take a nosedive in 2016 as that model became clear, but in 2017 it was an even sharper decline. If you have a Facebook account where you follow business pages (a blog is considered a business), you probably noticed you see next to none of those brands in your stream these days. That is because if a brand is not paying Facebook to get into your stream, you will not see the brand’s content (not without designating favorites and liking EVERYTHING from that business that comes your way). Since I post recipes, gardening, crafts, and DIY, I cannot justify hundreds or thousands of dollars to boost posts and get into my follower’s streams. This blog just does not make that kind of money. So, I have a Facebook page to make the sponsored post people happy, but not for any other reason.

Pinterest was painful for 10.5 months of 2017 too. They were making tweaks and changes the whole year! (Full disclosure, I own Pinterest stock through a private raise a few years back – as an investor, I wasn’t happy with Pinterest-2017, as a user I was unhappy with Pinterest-2017, and as a content provider I was really unhappy with Pinterest-2017.) It wasn’t until November that I started seeing the return of traffic from Pinterest. My Pinterest page is still a top 10,000 account – out of 200M+ Pinterest accounts. That means that less than 10K Pinterest accounts have more followers than I do. Since I was a top 10K account in 2016, and basically held steady in growth, that tells me a lot of Pinterest accounts experienced Pinterest-pain in 2017.

My IG account grew a little bit in 2017, but since Facebook owns it I expect no traffic from it… and am rewarded accordingly!!! I just can’t get into Instagram. If I want to look at pretty pictures, I will go over to Pinterest. I am sure I am missing something on IG, but what, I do not know.

Twitter is still my first social media love. I had finally broken through and was getting decent traffic from Twitter in 2017 when they closed down the API for repeat-tweet schedulers. #@!*&% A tweet lasts approximately 8-10 minutes without a lot of retweets, so repeating the same tweet (a lot) was the only way I found to reach my followers. Since the repeating is dead, without hand tweeting all the time, Twitter is just gonna go back to being my playground, and not a source of “real” blog traffic. {sigh}

I plan on taking some content creation time off in 2018. The way blog traffic arrives these days is usually off social media or search. And, I have been a search-slacker on this blog since Day 1. A lot of it has to do with how I approached Ann’s Entitled Life – it was to be my hobby blog and cost me no more than $200 a month. At that rate, and as a hobby, I didn’t need to implement great (or even good) SEO.

Welllllll fast forward a few years and this blog is hurting due to that approach. Google doesn’t really like my blog, Bing barely tolerates my blog, and DuckDuckGo just isn’t that big yet. So, I need to rework some old posts, tweak my SEO a bit and hope to get into Google’s good graces this year.

I have purchased a bazillion blogging classes (you laugh! It is true! (not really but feels like it is true)), and I want to finish them. Blogging is always changing and it is one continuing-ed class behind the scenes. I need to finish two of the courses I bought in 2017 that I actually learned a few things from (when you have been blogging 10 years, it is difficult to find classes or courses where people are reinventing the blogging-wheel), and work on that SEO.

So, while I don’t expect to not post for weeks or months at a time, I do plan on cutting back days in the summer to get some of that blogging “to do” list finished.

I do not expect to start any new features this year. Blogging “experts” recommend tightening your niche, not expanding it. Since I am a rebel, I am going to keep Ann’s Entitled Life wild and free, but will stick with the recipes (which drive most of the blog traffic), crafts (which pays for most of my costs), DIY beauty, gardening (because I like it!) and cocktails (my oh my, do people like cocktails and jello shots!!) My weekly newsletter has become the place where I yap about myself, Mr. Max, Sonny-boy, and Hubby. I do want to do more yappy posts on the blog as I got away from that in 2017.

Now in the beginning of this post, I mentioned that the blog now makes money. You may wonder what type of bills a blog incurs that it needs to raise cash. Well, everyone wants a piece of the blogger-dollar-pie. Basically, EVERYTHING costs money to blog! The hosting, newsletter, VAs (virtual assistants), programmer, plugins, designers, schedulers … I could keep going and going… and going. Blogging has not been “free” for a long time, hence why you see ads, sponsored posts, social media ads, people selling e-books, classes and courses, merchandise, etc.

Many bloggers dream of the day where they can quit their day job and blog fulltime. How many hours do people blog per week? That varies by the blog of course. When I was a deal-blogger I never worked less than 60 hours a week. Complete nonsense for a “retired” person, but I did like to help people save money.

These days, I blog as little as 10 hours a week while some weeks I blog as many as 40 hours per week. Most of my time is spent on the social-media treadmill after the content is created and posted.

That’s about it for now. I want to thank you all for reading Ann’s Entitled Life. I wouldn’t mind if you all commented a bit (ok a lot) more. I love interacting with people who read Ann’s Entitled Life. I’d like to get to know you all too. So please feel free to comment on the blog!!

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Do you have any New Year plans? Resolutions? Goals? Ideas?

I wish you all a very Happy, Healthy, Fulfilling New Year. May 2018 be a year of much happiness and joy for you and yours!

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