Happy New Year to all of you – my amazing, fabulous readers, subscribers, followers and friends!!! Another crazy, fun-filled year of blogging is over and a new one is just beginning… Let me tell you all about it in my Easy Peasy Foodie 2018 Blogging Roundup! Find out what I have been up to… Find out whether I succeed in the goals I set myself last year… And discover what I have planned for 2019!!
My New Year’s Day roundup post is an annual tradition here on Easy Peasy Foodie – an opportunity for me to reflect on everything that has happened the previous year and set goals for the next. I always believe that I am much more likely to achieve my goals if I share them publicly!
If you want to read my previous roundup and goal setting posts, you can find them here:
Well, 2018 was as fun, crazy, exciting and surprising as ever! Blogging is definitely a ‘hold onto your hats’, rollercoaster kind of career in which everything seems to change on a daily basis! But that’s exactly what I love about blogging – so much can happen in one year, and you never know quite what’s around the corner. I am already super excited about what 2019 will bring!
Like in previous years, I have been positively blown away by how Easy Peasy Foodie has grown and developed over the last year – and all the unexpected surprises along the way. 2018 was a particularly exciting year as it also saw the birth of my brand new blog: Productive Blogging – more about that later!
So let’s take a peek behind the scenes at Easy Peasy Foodie HQ…
Easy Peasy Foodie 2018 Review
First up, here’s how I did against the goals I set myself this time last year…
Start a whole new blog
I kind of had to start with this one as it has dominated so much of the last year. Back at the beginning of 2018 I had this tiny seed of an idea about creating a brand new website… to share all the things I have learnt about blogging over the years and help other bloggers start, grow and monetise their blogs.
When I wrote that as one of my goals for 2018, I really wasn’t sure if I was definitely going to do it…
Well I did do it and I am so glad I did! My new blog, Productive Blogging, was launched on 5th June 2018 and was really well received. My fellow bloggers have been huge supporters of my new venture and went above and beyond to help me get my new baby blog off the ground. Thanks so much guys!
I have thoroughly enjoyed writing posts for Productive Blogging as well as engaging with a whole new audience. I’ve already started earning from my new blog and I have so many lovely comments about how much people have learnt from Productive Blogging, how it has helped them grow their blogs, overcome challenges and even get their mojo back! I have been genuinely humbled by so many of the comments and emails I have received.
But the best thing BY FAR has been the incredible Productive Blogging Community Facebook Group that has grown up along side my new blog. It is a genuinely warm, friendly, helpful and encouraging group where no question is too silly and where bloggers are able to support each other and generally share the highs and lows of blogging life.
I am SO excited about what 2019 holds for Productive Blogging!
Get better at SEO
Back in 2017 I did an accidental experiment, which lead me to realise that spending my time on search engine optimisation (SEO) was a far more successful and far less time-consuming way to grow my blog than relying on social media.
Since what search engines like is generally also what readers like, it also meant I was spending much more time creating interesting reader friendly content, rather than playing the latest game of ‘beat the algorithm’ on social media.
So my goal for 2018 was to spend a whole month really focusing on SEO and especially optimising old posts that had been created long before I knew what SEO even was!
Well, this one is a definite tick – I actually spend about 3 months in total over the year working on SEO in one way or another, as well as a good deal of time reading and studying everything I could find about SEO. As a result, I have continued to see steady and sustainable blog growth throughout the year. Having Productive Blogging has also meant I’ve been able to share the wealth of knowledge I have about SEO with my fellow bloggers: I’ve written posts on topics such as
- keyword research
- cornerstone content
- how to set up the Yoast SEO plugin properly
- how to use the Yoast SEO plugin to grow your blog
I’ve also written a beginner’s guide to SEO for bloggers – a comprehensive guide covering the basics every blogger needs to know in order to grow their blog using SEO. My beginner’s guide to SEO is currently one of the most popular posts on Productive Blogging.
Get into the Foodies Top 50
Well I achieved this one and then promptly went and unachieved it again!
The Foodies Chart is like Top of the Pops for food bloggers. Participating food blogs in the UK are ranked based on metrics such as monthly page views, social media followers and domain authority. Back at the beginning of 2017 I was ranked 72 out of around 5000+ UK food blogs…and so last January I set myself the aim of getting into the top 50…
And I did achieve this goal… in April 2018 I got back into the top 50 and kept climbing until I got to #35 in June… (my highest ever position) and then promptly unachieved it again, crashing back to 54 and then slowly dropping down to 59 by the end of the year.
A bit of a disappointment, yes, BUT certainly not the end of the world! Particularly because the way I view my Foodie’s chart position has changed quite a bit over the last year.
When I started blogging, this metric was EVERYTHING and gave me a really good confidence boost every month as I was continually improving on my score and moving up the chart. But the way the scores are calculated is quite skewed towards how many followers you have on social media and your domain authority (which is strongly linked to how long you have been blogging). Only one metric (out of seven) is based on how many page views you get, which is my area of strength.
Most of the bloggers above me in the chart have been blogging a lot longer than me – and there’s absolutely nothing I can do to change that! And social media just isn’t my area of strength – I’ve purposely not focused on it because my time and energy are better spent elsewhere. Social media is a huge time suck and barely contributes anything to my page views or my income, so I’m not going to start working extra hard on social media, just so I can get into the Foodies top 50!
Would I like to be in the top 50 again? Of course, but truly it is just a vanity metric for me now and no longer an accurate way of helping me see if Easy Peasy Foodie is heading in the right direction, so I am not going to make any special effort to get there by the end of 2019 – if it happens then great, but if not I’m certainly not going to lose any sleep over it!
Get better at photography
This is a goal that is always on my to do list, because I can always get better at it! Last year I set myself the specific aims of learning to shoot in RAW and learning how to use Lightroom* to edit my photos, as well as looking at other locations to use for photography in my house and getting more props and backgrounds.
Well I definitely achieved the first two. I take all my photos in RAW now and edit them all in Lightroom. I did experiment with alternative locations to use for photography in my house, but sadly I didn’t really find anywhere better than where I shoot now. As for getting more props and backgrounds – I did get a few extra bits, but this last item definitely warrants a ‘could do better’.
Retake photos for old posts
Back at the beginning of 2018 I set myself the goal of spending a month taking new photographs for old blog posts that had terrible original photographs (basically any recipe that I photographed before I got my DSLR camera*). Not just for SEO purposes, but also because I wanted to make my photos look as attractive and inspiring as possible for my readers.
Well this one is a definite YES, over the course of 2018 I updated the photographs on over 50 old recipes. At the same time, I also improved the SEO of those posts, created a new pin for Pinterest and created new social media posts which I added to my CoSchedule ReQueue to be continually reshared once a month going forward.
This was a huge piece of work (and still ongoing – I’ve got a good 50 or so to go!) But I am delighted to have made such inroads into this project and I am already reaping the rewards in terms of my statistics.
Redesign my blog (again!)
This is something I realise I’ll probably be doing in one form or another every year! At the beginning of 2017 I completely redesigned Easy Peasy Foodie, moving to a new theme as well as adding a recipe index, subscription forms, new recipe cards and a brand new logo, but by the end of 2017 I already felt like it needed a refresh.
So my plan for 2018 was to do some tweaks round the edges – improve my home page a bit to make it more user friendly and update my side bar, which was looking a bit tired. I also wanted to update my About Me and Work With Me pages, which were looking a bit dated. I also wanted to update my Media kit to make it look more professional.
Well, the good news is I managed to achieve all of this and more! I completely updated my home page, about me page, work with me page, contact me page, side bar and media kit. But I also went one step further and finally got round to getting some professional headshots done, this has made a big difference to how professional my blog looks.
The bad news is I’m pretty sure I am going to need to do all again in 2019. A year is a long time in the blogosphere! More about my plans in my 2019 Goals below…
Start doing video
BUUUT that’s as far as I got. If I’d just been focusing on EPF this year, I’m pretty confident I would have produced many more, but I took a lot of time away from EPF to set up Productive Blogging and video creation kind of fell off the end of my do list during that time!
But it’s definitely going back on for 2019!
Get more organised
Yes I know this sounds like a strange one coming from me who’s supposed to be the organised blogger! But back at the end of 2017 I had identified that I was spending a ridiculous amount of time each day scheduling social media posts – especially creating social media posts to share my older recipes, so they didn’t get forgotten about… I knew there had to be a way of automating this so I could focus my time and energy on the things that would make more of an impact.
I spent a good deal of time at the beginning of 2018 researching social media scheduling apps and the one that stood out head and shoulders above the rest was an app called CoSchedule*. This app would not just speed up the process of creating social media posts for my new blog content, but it also allowed me to put every new post in a ‘ReQueue’ which would then keep re-sharing my old social media posts WITHOUT ANY ADDITIONAL WORK.
It is no exaggeration to say that this one app has completely changed my life! It now takes me about 20 minutes per week to do what used to take HOURS! Not only that but I am posting much more to all my social platforms than I ever could manually. This in turn has increased my likes, follows, comments and shares, thus improving my reach and driving more page views from all my social channels.
If you are interested in getting CoSchedule I’ve written a few posts about it over on Productive Blogging.
- CoSchedule Review: How CoSchedule can help you get more done in less time
- How to schedule your social media with CoSchedule
- How to automate your social media with CoSchedule ReQueue
Earn a decent full-time income from blogging
I didn’t actually put this on my public goals for last year – but it certainly was a goal! And one which I achieved successfully – but not how I thought I would…
By the end of 2017 I was earning what I’d describe as ‘a decent part-time income’ (though I was working full time hours!). The majority of my income was from sponsored posts, with a small amount coming from adverts.
At the beginning of 2018 I moved advertising supplier, from Google Ads to Mediavine. My ad revenue instantly increased by about 1000%! Suddenly I was earning more than enough from ads to be able to vastly reduce the number of sponsored posts I was doing and use that time to focus on growing EPF and starting Productive Blogging.
Better still, my ad income has continued to increase – partly because my page views have increased and partly because I have managed to improve my RPM quite a lot (RPM is ‘rate per mille’ – i.e. the amount of ad income you earn per 1000 page views), to the point where by the end of 2018 I was certainly fulfilling my goal of earning a decent full-time income from blogging.
Better still I have also started earning money from affiliate links on Productive Blogging – something I hadn’t even considered I’d be doing in the first 6 months of PB (It took me a year to start earning money on EPF!)
My blogging goals for 2019
Well now, it’s time to set some goals for 2019, isn’t it? So, here goes…
Finish updating old blog posts with new photographs
I’m really pleased to have updated over 50 posts in 2018, but I still have another 50+ to go! Having seen the benefit of updating my old posts throughout 2018, this is a high priority in 2019. I have already taken a lot of the photographs, so it should be a much easier job this year.
Finish making SEO improvements on both my blogs
I’ve done a lot of work on SEO this year and seen big improvements, but I know there is more than I can do: create more cornerstone articles, more work on site structure – especially my categories and tags, delete some old content which can’t be updated and is no longer useful, improve my internal linking structure, generate more backlinks and further improvements to my site speed.
I know that making these changes will have a positive effect on my page views and consequently my bottom line!
Create more videos
I mentioned earlier that I had at least made a start on getting to grips with video in 2018. But a start is really all I made! In 2018 I would like to create more recipe videos for EPF, but I’d also like to start creating videos for Productive Blogging too. I especially want to record some tutorial videos, as I have been aware when writing tutorial style posts for PB that they it would be much more helpful in video format!
Update the design of Easy Peasy Foodie (AGAIN!)
Yep, this one is on my list AGAIN!!! But this year I want to do much more than last year. I’m not planning to get a new theme, but I do want to tweak some of the design elements – especially my logo, colours and fonts.
I think this might be the year when I get a professional designer to take my blog design up a notch as I feel I’ve kind of reached the limits of what I am capable of on my own and I really want my blog to look individual (the problem with a theme is your blog does look like everyone else’s blog who has that theme!) and truly professional.
Get better at Pinterest
This is an area where I’ve become increasingly aware that I could do much better. I did actually make quite a few improvements in 2018, but I know there is much more I could be doing. There is potential to drive a lot more traffic to both my blogs via Pinterest and so after SEO, this will be my next big project.
I am particularly keen to investigate Tailwind’s new feature SmartLoop*, to help me do this in a way that’s not going to eat up all my time!
Create a product to sell on Productive Blogging
This is the big one for 2019! It’s always been part of the plan for PB but I wanted to get my new blog well established before embarking on product creation. My plan is to create an ebook or possibly a course (or maybe both) on the topic of SEO. More specifically a comprehensive guide to SEO for bloggers.
The problem with most existing help on SEO is that it is not really designed with bloggers in mind and/or it’s extortionately expensive. I want to provide something practical and affordable to help bloggers gain a full understanding of SEO and use it to grow their blogs organically and achieve their blogging dreams!
Oh dear, I say this every year…but it really does feel like I have my work cut out for me! I’d better get cracking, hadn’t I?
I just want to end this post by saying a MASSIVE THANK YOU to all of you my fabulous readers, subscribers, followers and friends – I couldn’t have done all of this without your encouragement and support. Thank you so much for all your comments, shares, likes, emails…and especially when you make my recipes and take the time to tell me how much you loved them – that really does mean the world to me!
I do love hearing from you, always, so do please drop me a line if you make one of my recipes, have a question or an idea, or just want to say ‘Hi’. Contact me either by leaving a comment on an appropriate blog post or via Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. And of course don’t forget to subscribe
I truly hope your 2019 is full of fabulousness!!
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