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August 21, 2013

This summer has been kind of a bummer.  And I’m not just saying that because it rhymes.

My personal life has been pretty crazy.  The kids have lots of friends over every day, except when we’re camping, which is pretty frequently.  Robb’s new position at work has him traveling much more frequently, and while the new position is a good change, the travel is a bit taxing.  We ran into some financial problems which we’re working to solve, but have left us feeling set back.  My weight has now equaled my all-time high and I can barely stand to look in the mirror.  And some of my big efforts to improve my life over the summer left me feeling like a big failure.

On top of that, in the food blogging world, stats and revenue are down, as is posting frequency, but confusion seems to be on the rise.

I’m normally not this pessimistic.  I think I’ve used summer as an excuse to be lazy, and I’m reaping the fruits of that decision big time.  You may have noticed the conspicuous lack of monthly reports on this blog.  That’s still coming, by the way, I’m just way behind.  It’s bugging me.

Today, I just want to regroup and remind myself of the progress that has been made over the past couple years, and remind myself of my goals.

First of all, last year in August, I had just over 7000 pageviews all month.  This year, I’ll probably end up around 60,000 pageviews.  Seeing a drop in traffic over the summer was crazy depressing.  That didn’t happen last year, but I understand it’s normal.  Not that I think pageviews are the only way to measure success, but they are an important way.

Second, my photography is so much better than a year ago, it’s almost laughable.  Last August, I had my very first successful photo submission on FoodGawker.  It was for the Lemon Mini-Meringues.  I had no idea what I was doing, and basically took some decent photos by accident.  The post that followed the meringues was this one called Fluffernutter Cookies.  The cookies tasted good, but looked like a mess, and the photos were fantastically terrible, made worse by the words I added in those ungodly colors over the photos.  This year, I have come a long way, and I’m beginning to develop a style I like.  I’m pretty proud of these pictures of the Baked Coconut Almond Oatmeal Cups.  I feel like it’s some of my best work.  These pics give me hope and encouragement for future photo shoots.

Third, in August a year ago, I made about $1.25 the entire month with AdSense.  This year, well, I’m not making that much more, (specifics coming in a later post), but it’s a little.  I’ll probably end up making around $200 in August this year.

Okay, here are the latest developments and goals.

A couple weeks ago, I went to the awesome Facebook group I’m in, and asked for a mentor.  Suddenly, one appeared.  Several, actually, but one that fit me more than the others.  We had an hour long IM chat and she gave me some great advice.  I feel so encouraged by this development, I can’t describe it.  If I just had one person to meet with regularly and to keep me on track, I think it would make a huge difference.  I don’t know if this mentor will have that kind of time commitment, but as my brother pointed out, I have a lot of knowledge and a lot to offer, and there’s no reason I could be the mentor, and use that relationship to keep me on track.  I actually thought about asking another blogger I know who is roughly the same size as me if she would be interested in a once a week chat.  Keeping my fingers crossed about all of this.

I’m recommitted to G+, even though I still don’t enjoy it at all, and I found that as I am more careful about my interactions, it seems to be helping.  Engagement and traffic are both up slightly.  I have been keeping my eye on information to help me be better at G+.  I’ll get the hang of it.

In other news, I fired my ad network.  I did my first real sponsored post using a 3rd party network.  My first e-book came out.  It’s been a big summer.  I’ll have more details in my next post.  Mostly I’m just trying to reignite the fire right now, and pull myself out of the funk I’ve been in about the blog.

I’ve said it many times, and I can’t go back on it now:  2013 WILL be the year that is the hinge that changes our family’s direction.

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