Goals

State of the Blog & Thoughts

April 4, 2019

One of my 2019 goals was to finally transition this site to WordPress, and thanks to Amanda I can check this off of my list! I’m generally really happy about how it looks now, with a more professional/modern appearance that better reflects the time that I put into it.

I had planned on trying to transition to a new advertising network. I had heard that Mediavine offered higher rates for ads (ie: the network keeps less of the $), and liked the idea of working with a company that seemed to offer a bit more attention than my current ad network. There was a requirement for 25,000 sessions/month, and my site was right around that cutoff, but after the blog moved and I had google analytics set up properly, the numbers looked consistently over that cutoff (though not far!).

Last 30 days. I don’t mind sharing 🙂
(Pageviews are about double that, but it seems like ‘sessions’
are the statistic being used more often now.)
PS: wow, weekend blog traffic is low!

Please note that I do not have a significant income stream from this website. With my current network (SheKnows, formerly known as BlogHer), I net something like $200/month BEFORE taxes after various hosting costs (and currently the 2019 budget is in the red due to the cost of the move/site redesign) so it is essentially a labor of love. That said, I thought perhaps turning that bit of cash into a little bit more seemed enticing.

I found out via email that I was rejected from Mediavine for reasons that they are not able/willing to disclose: “We are not provided with details; it’s just a simple approval or rejection, so we can’t provide more insight. I’m sorry about that.”

And I’ll be honest: it hurt a little! I have been writing here for nearly 15 years which is . . . long. More than 1/3 of my life. Clearly, something compels me to get up early and share my thoughts here, and it isn’t the financial payout, so I’m not sure why it bothered me so much, but it did. I guess I felt excluded or rejected in some way. And since this blog and its content are so personal, it felt like a judgment cast somehow on me, even though it was probably just purely stats-related (or maybe even related to the fact that the site in its current WordPress-hosted form is actually very new).

And then THAT let me down the rabbit hole of why I am still writing here (after all, aren’t ‘blogs’ dead?)? Am I waiting for some big break that is very unlikely at this point to happen? Or does the act of writing bring me enough joy and clarity that it is worth continuing even if my sessions/month were to drop to 0?

I know that I cherish the interaction that goes on in the comments here, I genuinely enjoy writing most posts (especially the honest/reflective ones, like this one), and I do love the fact that I have a digital archive of my life (ages 24-38!). Yesterday I even teased out the exact dates of my previous trip to Key West (January 19, 2007, right after taking Step 2 of my boards in Miami!) although I was disappointed to find that I didn’t post while there — here’s a post from right after we returned, though!

Anyway. I do not plan to stop writing. I still enjoy the ritual itself, the product, and your feedback very much. And I’ll admit I’m still potentially interested in making the blog/podcasting side of my life more of a legit side hustle, but if I can’t, that’s okay too. I think writing here has given me far more than it’s taken out, so here we are. Maybe if nothing else I can set some sort of longevity record 🙂

PS: One near-future goal I have for this site is to finally start an email newsletter list! There is currently a button for this, but I haven’t set up any kind of custom response or enticement. I’m thinking of offering a (free, obviously) planner-related bonus for signing up (perhaps the contents list/structure of my mini-bullet-journal?) and then occasionally releasing some insider content that doesn’t feel right for a full blog post. Stay tuned!

33 Comments

  • Reply Sarah K April 4, 2019 at 7:33 am

    I never really went after blog revenue but I decided to stop writing after going through a similar analysis. I’d say if you have time and you’re enjoying it, there’s no reason to stop. In my mind, turning it into a side hustle doesn’t seem to make a ton of sense for someone like you with a really good paying job. But only you can decide that! I certainly enjoy your writing and hearing a little more that we get on the podcast.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger April 4, 2019 at 7:56 am

      You have a valid point. Part of me wonders if it’s my natural ambitious/competitive steak actually working against me in this regard. Then again, it’s still nice to feel that your time is valuable and when I see others generating income from writing / podcasting / etc, it makes me feel like I should be able to, too. But you’re right that perhaps it’s irrelevant, even if accurate.

  • Reply Emily April 4, 2019 at 7:47 am

    I’m so glad you’re going to continue writing! You’re my favorite blogger 🙂

  • Reply Elaine April 4, 2019 at 7:55 am

    I’m a lurker and rarely comment but I really enjoy reading your blog and I’m glad you are planning to continue!

  • Reply CBS April 4, 2019 at 8:50 am

    I think you’ve for you. You aren’t going to be an ‘influencer’ shilling skinny teas or whatever ridiculousness, but you’ve built a core of readers who are interested in your snippits of life and insights on work, parenting, and planner geekery. I think there is an audience for these more personal reflections from people who have professional jobs rather than those who make a living frofigured out what worksm full-time blogging.

    A newsletter might be interesting. I really liked Hitha on the Gos reflections and links to interesting articles. It’s now more of a sum up of what she shares in her 5 daily reads but I always find 1 or 2 links worth clicking.

  • Reply Julia Lazar April 4, 2019 at 9:17 am

    I think that often the monetizing comes from being fake and selling things….both of which are things that annoy me as a reader. I love your blog because it is more authentic than most. I think that is valued by your readers, so I agree, it is odd that it isn’t easier to monetize. Perhaps if you were making more money from this blog, it would also be harder to keep the tone I love in your writing as you would be too caught up in analyzing what types of posts generate more traffic. Overall is the blog traffic growing from year to year?

  • Reply Sophia April 4, 2019 at 10:32 am

    I agree with the above. If you aren’t willing to shill skinny smoothies (please don’t!), this will probably not pay much compared to your day job. If you’re interested in monetizing something, there is probably a market for organization coaching that you could try to get into.

    Fwiw I think that Your blog is highly valuable but many of the people hustling in the blogosphere have lower paying day jobs.

    • Reply Frania April 4, 2019 at 2:50 pm

      I’m also reading your blog through a reader. I was so happy to finally find a blog that keeps it real and not writing for the purpose of selling stuff. I enjoy your posts about organizing and family life as it’s refreshing to see how a working mom juggles it all….glad that you plan to continue writing 😀

  • Reply Dr Eva Lantsoght (@evalantsoght) April 4, 2019 at 11:03 am

    Some quick thoughts: 1) while not bringing in much revenue, my blog did help me getting a book contract, and 2) most of my revenue comes from a long-standing agreement for writing sponsored posts that I have with an institution (Academic Tranfer, part of the overarching university network of the Netherlands, so very much in line with my readership and contents) – they pay me for writing one post per month, and I typically “invest” that money back in books…

  • Reply Erica April 4, 2019 at 11:04 am

    Just wanted to add another +1 to the comments about your blog having value even if it can’t be measured monetarily. I miss the “good old days” of blogging – now it’s largely people selling (either literally or figuratively) their “lifestyle” and selfies of fake-looking people in improbably beautiful surroundings. And I think you’ve found a great middle ground of writing about yourself and your life without the (in retrospect) cringe-inducing melodrama of the blogs some of us may have written fifteen years ago.

  • Reply Liz April 4, 2019 at 11:13 am

    I actually read your blog through feedly (which aggregates blogs into one easy site). i wonder if other readers do as well and if that affects the numbers of folks who seem to be visiting your site. I know other bloggers seem to have made the switch so that you have to physically visit the blog’s site in order to finish reading the blog post, which isn’t ideal from a reader-perspective but is probably very helpful from a traffic perspective. just a thought! also wanted to add that i really enjoy the blog as well as the podcast. i think bloggers who have a full-time job/career that is not blogging are difficult to find these days, which is a shame b/c as a working mom, i find blogs like yours refreshing and so much more relatable.

  • Reply Liz April 4, 2019 at 11:34 am

    You’re the only blog I still read! First time commenter but wanted to let you know that I love your blog and am happy you will continue writing 🙂

  • Reply Ana April 4, 2019 at 1:28 pm

    I’ve given up many blogs that have turned into full on shill-fest, with sponsored post after sponsored post. Maybe that’s what you need to do to make money in this gig. Is it wrong if you just think of it as a hobby rather than going down the whole “side hustle” path? I feel like making it into a job will…make it into a job, if that makes sense. If you are worrying about writing the kinds of posts that get more likes, and new content on weekends to keep engagement up, and needing to be on IG at all times…I dunno, sounds exhausting.

  • Reply Kari April 4, 2019 at 1:47 pm

    Just chiming in to say that I would be sad if you stopped blogging! I’m a family medicine resident (about to finish residency – this summer!) with a toddler and a baby on the way. I’ve been reading your blog since sometime in med school (early med school – I think I started reading right around the time you moved to Miami) and have found it really helpful to follow someone a few years down the line from me both professionally and family-wise. I’ve gained a lot of value from your blog 🙂 I also read mostly in a feed reader which probably doesn’t factor into your numbers. Anyway, thanks for writing for so long!

  • Reply Nikki April 4, 2019 at 4:35 pm

    Yes please keep writing! You’ve built a terrific community here and with the podcast that has some serious non-monetary value! Reading your blog and strategies for juggling career and kids and your perspective on it all, as well as your masterful planning is like a little dose of professional development for the rest of us moms each time you break it down for us. 🙂

  • Reply Susi April 4, 2019 at 6:27 pm

    I love reading your blog, and that it’s real and not just sponsored by… keeps me reading – I’ve given up on many others that started real and then just turned into one sponsored post after another. I think it’s a shame you can’t get some payback, but as and when you do I hope the blog stays as real. Also love the podcast btw… maybe an advert at the beginning and end could fit there? (Please not in the middle!)

  • Reply Sydney April 4, 2019 at 7:54 pm

    Maybe blogs died because of this push to monetize and the subsequent need to project perfection or a “brand.” Nobody wants to read that, or at least I don’t. When I blogged I used to like the sense of community that I felt, and finding others who processed things as I did. I hope you continue to do this. I’ve really appreciated your authenticity, and many of the things you say and feel really speak to me. I know I’m not the only one.

  • Reply Sarah April 4, 2019 at 8:39 pm

    So happy that you have decided to continue writing! It is frustrating when you see others generating significant income from blogging/podcasting. This is my favourite blog to read for many of the reasons listed above.

  • Reply Natalie April 4, 2019 at 10:00 pm

    Longtime reader here: I am so glad you are planning to continue to write here! I have been a reader since 2010 and have followed a similar path for career and family. What you write is honest and inspiring. I haven’t found a similar blog to yours out there. If you were to stop writing, I would honestly feel like I had lost a good (albeit long distance) friend! Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and daily life with others.

  • Reply Melanie M Kramme April 5, 2019 at 1:40 am

    I love reading your blog as well, many of us do look forward to each new post. I believe how you handle things and your honest evaluations of what you do each day helps us try to hang in there ourselves. I feel like we are neighbors or pals that share a cup of coffee even if is just from reading the posts. 😉

  • Reply Lee April 5, 2019 at 8:27 am

    You know I’ve been reading your blog forever and still want to continue to do so. Like everyone else has said, it’s so nice and refreshing to not read sponsored post after sponsored post!

  • Reply Krista April 5, 2019 at 9:44 am

    You are real! That’s why I love reading your blog and Lag Liv’s. The “influencers” are fake and selling us all on some materialistic, consumeristic, “perfect” way of living and decorating and parenting and I HATE it. They are why GOMI exists and won’t be going anywhere soon. And probably where the ad companies are spending all their money so there’s none left for actual good writers who share real life. I bet a bunch of those “doing it all for the affiliate link clicks” bloggers have been on Disney Cruises but won’t share their real thoughts on what anything would cost an actual regular person. I understand the time it takes to keep it up and it might not be worth doing it when it costs more than it brings in, but I’m glad you write.

  • Reply Maria April 5, 2019 at 11:40 am

    I am a somewhat new blog reader (found you through BoBW) and you are the only blog I consistently read! I love the authenticity, your writing, and hearing how another working professional mom makes it all work with similar aged kids. I’ve learned a lot from you about planning and it’s really made a difference in our weeks! Your insights are really valuable. Thank for you sharing all that you do!

  • Reply Colleen April 5, 2019 at 1:50 pm

    No real suggestions – just, like others, wanted you to know how much I genuinely appreciate and enjoy your blog and your podcast. THANK YOU for all that you do!! It’s maddening to hear the “ad gods” have decided you can’t be on their network 🙁 But please, please know you’re writing is SO valued and appreciated. Laura mentioned patreon in her latest post. I would DEFINITELY support that for your blog and/or podcast. Maybe that’s an option??

  • Reply Jeanna April 5, 2019 at 6:07 pm

    I love your blog, the archives, and the comments! I read through Feedly but nearly always click through because I want to read comments. I don’t know if you already use affiliate links, but could that help? I’ve actually purchased several things that I’ve seen on your blog (Erin Condren, tea collection kids’ clothes). I’ve seen other bloggers use a “favorite things” page with affiliate links. I have no idea how profitable that is, though. Might get you some referral credits at least!?

  • Reply Cara Sheekey April 5, 2019 at 8:08 pm

    Like everyone commenting above I love your blog and would be very sad if you stopped writing. You are now one of the two blogs I still read. I ditched most others when they became less real and focused on selling something. Like many others have said, the fact that you have a professional job and talk honestly about work/life with kids is what makes you relatable. I also read via Feedly and wonder if that impacts your traffic? Lots of people on there seem to have switched to the click to access the site to finish the article thing.

  • Reply Katie Von Rembow April 5, 2019 at 9:09 pm

    Another longtime reader here who reads on Feedly. I don’t read many blogs anymore but yours is one I most look forward to new posts. My little one is almost 2 and I’ve enjoyed following along as we’re a bit behind you family wise. For context I’m a CPA and so not super into the medical stuff. I also do all my planning electronically now (vs paper planners). But I still find what you write about really engaging. One example – I didn’t listen to podcasts until best of both worlds, and through it I’ve found a ton that I really enjoy. So thanks, and glad you’re going to keep writing!
    – Random 36 y/o CPA mom reader from AR 😀

  • Reply Emma April 6, 2019 at 9:21 am

    My impression is that people who make more money from their blogs also spend more time on them (making Pinterest images, advertising and responding on social media and so on, and who knows what else). So it’s probably worth thinking about whether your hourly rate would actually go up and if you want to put in those hours doing things that aren’t writing posts/responding to comments. In any case, I really enjoy your blog so I hope you continue!

  • Reply Dawn Burke April 7, 2019 at 1:24 pm

    LOVE your blog and the fact that you are real and authentic makes me feel like I have a mom friend I can check in with!

  • Reply Alyce April 7, 2019 at 4:06 pm

    Regarding monetizing your blog – if I were in your shoes, this is how I’d think about it. As a lawyer, I make $x/hour, which is the real value of my time per hour. It’s highly unlikely that my blog would ever generate an amount of money that makes it worth it financially compared to how much money I make/how much my time is worth. And in my two lawyer household, we don’t need the nominal extra income my blog may bring in. So my motivation for having the blog would definitely have to be something other than financial. Given that I love my job and would not try to pivot towards blogging or something blogging adjacent for my full time career, blogging could never be anything more than a hobby for me. The fact that I spent money on it wouldn’t bother me – many hobbies cost people money rather than make or save them money.

    I think the challenging part of your situation is that you’re probably comparing your situation to people like Laura and Gretchen Rubin, who do make money off their blogs (in the sense that their blogs are used to promote endeavors that do make them money). But those are their full time jobs/part of their full time jobs. It’s an inherently unfair comparison.

    Also, it just seems like trying to monetize the blog adds obligations and stress, which makes me wonder whether it diminishes your enjoyment of the blog. For me, life is stressful enough without my hobbies becoming a source of stress rather than stress relief.

  • Reply Brittnie April 8, 2019 at 2:22 pm

    I agree with many of the above comments. Also, I am just a firm believer that just because other people get paid to do something I am currently doing and currently love, doesn’t mean there is less value in my offering just because it doesn’t bring in $$. It is valuable because it brings so much joy. I blog and write because I love it and feel like I am the best version of myself when I am actively writing. 🙂

  • Reply Joy April 11, 2019 at 5:06 pm

    I enjoy your blog for the same reason others mentioned: you are authentic. I don’t read many blogs these days due to time and I tend to read several posts at a time, but yours is one I visit regularly. I’m glad you will continue to write.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger April 11, 2019 at 8:32 pm

      Thank you!

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