11 Blog Changes from 2020 to Review
What a year 2020 was! Yes, there is Covid and the economy, riots in the streets, canceled holidays, weddings, and birthday parties. But even in the worst of times, there can be the best of times. This is the time for 11 blog changes from 2020 to Review.
Do you review the previous year before turning to the new year? These 11 blog changes from 2020 to review gives us perspective. That knowledge will help us plan for 2021.
I love making lists, so I looked over 2020 in my business. The list of changes/additions that were positive steps produced bigger benefits than I would have thought possible in March. I know that these 11 blog changes from 2020 will prepare us better for 2021.
I thought sharing my review of 2020 might help you. If you need a push to review and plan, then hopefully, my changes will give you some ideas.
11 Blog Changes from 2020 to Review
After spending a few hours over the past 2 weeks reviewing 2020, I will be better prepared to plan for 2021. Let me start at the beginning and share my process.
The easiest way to share my process for reviewing 2020 was to go back through my 2020 planner and take note of all the changes I made in terms of resources and practices I use in my business.
Blog Changes in 2020
This post contains affiliate links to products that I use and highly recommend. If you should purchase any product from this site, I may receive compensation, but you do not pay a penny more.
I made about 11 major changes to my blog practices and resources. These are not in order of importance, but in chronological order.
#1 ~New Link Party ~ Tuesday Turn About
In January 2020, I became part of the hostess team at Tuesday Turn About. I’ve been part of two previous link party teams. The first was very brief and the second lasted a couple of years. Some things worked for me and some didn’t.
Hosting with Julie @My Wee Abode and Michelle @Thistlekey Lane has been an absolute joy. They are so easy to work with (and have wonderful blogs!) and we are supportive of each other. The bloggers who link up with us each week are so talented, it is wonderful to see what they create ~ you may be one of them! ~ and I feel like they are new friends. In addition, my traffic definitely gets a nice boost.
Suggestion: Join us in the new year on January 5 at 5:00 PM.
#2 ~ Podcast Resources
I started listening to one podcast in 2019 ~ Kate Ahl at Simple Pin Media ~ in my car. As I began walking several times a week when Covid kept us home in March, my podcast listening expanded. I now have about 10 blog~related podcasts in my library.
I won’t give you my lists of podcasts here, but I will encourage you to search for podcasts that will help you in both your business and personal life. (I have about 5 non~blog podcasts that I listen to every week.) Try them for a while; if you aren’t benefitting, then unsubscribe, and find others.
Suggestion: Find podcasts that you enjoy, teach you, and will help you grow your business. If you do want podcast suggestions, let me know in the comments.
#3 ~ Simple Pin Media Mastermind Group
I am a big fan of Simple Pin Media Pinterest Marketing. I have learned so much from the resources, coaching, monthly classes, and support from other bloggers. In May, SPM offered members the opportunity to join others in small groups for support and exchange of ideas.
I volunteered and was paired with two other amazing bloggers. We met almost every week via Zoom from May through mid~November. We exchanged ideas, suggestions, constructive criticism and support. We decided to take off the holidays weeks, and I can’t wait to see them in the new year.
Suggestion: Find a few other bloggers that you like and trust and form a mastermind group. There’s nothing like learning and supporting your blogger friends.
#4 ~ Fresh Pins/ Fresh Content
Thanks again to Simple Pin Media and Tailwind for focusing on the importance of creating fresh pins for Pinterest for your blog content. Both resources offered webinars and worksheets for why and how to create new Pinnable images for older blog content.
I have updated dozens of older evergreen content this year. Pinterest “sees” them as new content and pushes them out into the Pinterest universe. My Pinterest followers continue to grow steadily and Pinterest continues to be my biggest traffic driver.
Suggestion: Learn about fresh pins from Tailwind and Simple Pin Media for creating new Pinnable images for your content and make those fresh pins. If you have any questions, let me know in the comments.
# 5 ~ Switching to Gutenberg
Yes, I was late to get on the Gutenberg bandwagon. I had been perfectly happy using Classic Editor in WordPress. Finally, in June, I just gritted my teeth, hit the Block Editor button, and a whole new world of blog editing opened up.
Was I a convert from the beginning? No, but within a couple of weeks, I was hooked. This is definitely an example of “why didn’t I do this months ago?”.
Being able to move blocks around, easily replace images, and designating a type of block are just a few of the features I love about Gutenberg.
Suggestion: Do not pass go. Don’t procrastinate like me ~ switch right NOW.
#6 ~ Change Email Marketing Provider
I have been threatening to switch from MailChimp to another email marketing company for over a year. I finally just did it. After some research and hand~wringing, I chose MailerLite and I’m so glad I did.
I love the ease of design and the wealth of tutorials. Plus, I cut the monthly fee in half.
I still have more MailerLite features to learn, but I’m a happy camper.
Suggestion: If you have been considering changing email marketing providers, check out MailerLite.
Here’s some more blog tips from earlier in 2020.
#7 ~ Start Using New PicMonkey
I use Lightroom for my post image editing. Batch editing is a big plus when editing multiple images for a blog post. It’s a fabulous program from Adobe and I love it.
For creating Pinnable Images, resizing images for Instagram, or updating older images for those new fresh pins, I use PicMonkey and love it.
Over a year ago, the design team at PicMonkey created a whole new format, called New PicMonkey. I tried it, hated it and swore I wouldn’t switch. Some features were fine, but I didn’t like several that I used all the time.
However, PicMonkey had made it perfectly clear that as of December 31st ~ yes, today ~ Old Pic Monkey was going away. (Emoji tears here.) So in November, I decided I had to learn New PicMonkey.
Well, you know what happened. I finally figured out how to use those new features. Do you know what else? They were easier, they were more efficient, and the results were better than I imagined.
Suggestion: If you are an Old PicMonkey user, say goodbye (you don’t have a choice) and embrace the New.
#8 ~ Configure Google Analytics
In 2019, I became aware that my Google Analytics was not configured correctly. I had a tech do a quick fix.
In summer 2020, it became evident that Google Analytics and my blog still were not communicating correctly. One of my mastermind friends suggested a resource. I bit the bullet ($$) and had it fixed correctly ~ finally. It took a few months for Google Analytics and Bluesky at Home to start talking to each other politely.
As my numbers were starting to align, my mastermind group was also helping me understand and use Google Analytics. It still is intimidating, but now I’m more comfortable searching and finding the information I need.
Suggestion: Make sure your Google Analytics and Google Search Console are correctly configured. It is so worth the time and dollars.
#9 Milo Tree Master Class and Pop~up
While watching a Tailwind webinar last spring, I was introduced to Jillian Leslie of MiloTree. She was an incredible Pinterest resource. Then Jillian appeared on a Simple Pin Media Podcast. Again, I loved her depth of knowledge and no~nonsense approach to blogging.
I immediately signed up for Jillian’s podcast, The Blogger Genius.
In August, Jillian and her husband David, who is a tech guru, opened up their Mastermind Course. For 6 weeks, I absorbed everything that Jillian and David had to share. David also reconfigured my navigation menu and made a few design changes on my blog.
Just FYI: David and Jillian have the largest party blog on the web, Catch My Party.
Jillian also included a session on Gutenberg, which was so beneficial, as I was still learning Block Editor.
At the end of the course, I signed up for the Milo Tree pop~up on my blog. I had seen this tool to grow your social media on other blogs, Kate Ahl of SMP loves it, and I decided I would try it. I’m so glad I did.
#10 Adding Advertising
Most bloggers try to make money for all the time that we invest in our blogs. Blogging can be an expensive hobby. At the least, it’s nice to make enough revenue to cover all your expenses.
Like many bloggers, I was one of those who came so close to qualifying for Mediavine in June. So close and yet so far. I was really bummed out.
My friend Kari Anne of Thistlewood Farm suggested I check out Ezoic. I did some research and asked about the advertising service in a few Facebook groups. Everyone who commented said lots of good things about the company. One blogger even offered to connect me with her contact.
Finally, in late September, Bluesky at Home had ads!! I wish I had jumped on board with Ezoic a couple of years ago. My revenue has increased each month. It feels really good to see some monetary benefits for my efforts.
Suggestion: If you are not ready for Mediavine, take a look at Ezoic.
#11 Financial Deep Dive
Every year I keep a running list of all my expenses and revenue from the blog. It’s a simple document on Numbers on my MAC. (like Excel or Google Sheets).
For the first time, I did a deep~dive. I am not a financial/numbers person, but it was actually fun in this review of 2020 to analyse my expenses.
I determined my total monthly expenses (SPM membership, Adobe Lightroom, Cricut Design Space, MailerLite, etc.). Then I looked at my yearly expenses (Yoast, WP Rocket, Tasty Pins, PicMonkey, Tailwind, Domain, hosting) divided that by 12 to get the monthly expenses.
For the first time in my blogging business, I now know exactly what my minimum monthly blog expenses are. This doesn’t include office or DIY supplies for projects, courses I might take during the year, or miscellaneous expenses. But it gives me a real picture of what it takes to maintain my blog.
With the additional income from advertising, affiliate links and commissions, my blog is now totally self~sufficient for the first time. 2020 hasn’t been all bad. Every one of these blog changes in 2020 was well worth the time.
Now I can plan ahead for conferences (hopefully, they will be back this year), courses, or other necessities.
I hope that any one of these blog changes to review from 2020 are helpful to you. Maybe, they just give you ideas for blog ideas for 2021.
Now it’s time to plan for 2021.
I hope that we all have a successful 2021 in our businesses. Success is about growth, learning and the satisfaction in a job well done.
Be sure to PIN so you remember these ideas.
HI Carol, This is a great post! I joined KariAnne’s MG this August and it is life changing. When I get overwhelmed with details I reboot to “content is king (queen), Thanks for the podcast suggestions-already subscribed.
If you hear of a Linky Party I would like to add one more to my monthly schedule. Happy New Year friend! Laura
So happy I clicked on this post, Carol.
As always you help me to understand much about blog land.
Bless you for your willingness to share.
I had my own goals for 2020 and was happy to meet and even ended up exceeding them when I started a link party. I really didn’t see that coming, but it was just a natural progression for me 😉
Happy New Year
Rachelle, I’m glad that you exceeded you 2020 goals! Starting a link party is a big commitment but you will be so glad you did it. And thank you for such a sweet comment. I really, really appreciate it.
Thank you Carol for sharing your blog changes with us. Some I’m doing and others I’ll definitely be looking into. I have suspected that my Google analytics may not be configured properly as well and have no clue how to get it checked. I would be so grateful if you could share your process or resource for getting it fixed. Thank you!
Marie, thank you for the feedback and I’m happy to share the contact. I used Sherry@Painless Blog Analytics.com. Here’s the link to her site. Tell her hi for me. https://painlessbloganalytics.com/
Such a great review! I appreciate that you have shared this part of your business. Congrats on your blog being self-sufficient. My blog is not there yet. But I am making moves towards that goal. I will definitely look into Ezoic. Currently, I am using Google Ads and it took me 3 years to earn my first $100. Laughable, I know! Thanks for all of your tips!!
Cindy, building your blog doesn’t happen overnight. If you are already set up with Google Adsense, then the jump to Ezoic isn’t hard. I wasn’t so it took longer to get my site set up. I can refer you to my account manager if you like.
Wow. I didn’t ever think I’d be a blogger. The techie stuff is just way over my head. You have made some awesome changes this year for the better. Thank you for all of your hard work so that we can enjoy the posts!!!
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