Hello friends! I have some fun stuff and a little bit of business I want to run by you all today...
First of all... have you guys noticed the ads in my sidebar and at the bottom of the page? I'm hoping they haven't been too obtrusive :-) They've been around for a year and a half or two (honestly can't remember when I installed them!) and I finally earned my first paycheck from them this week! Every time someone views a page where an ad lives, I make a teeny bit of money (so... if you're viewing this page... thank you!). When that builds up to a certain amount in my account, the ad company pays it out. I notied a few months ago that I was getting close to the payout amount, so Ethan and I started talking about what to do with that extra money when it came in.
I was so excited to be able to contribute half of the money to household expenses. As a stay-at-home mom, I know I contribute (and work hard), but it was nice to be able to contribute a teeeeny bit of actual material income to our budget. ;-) The other half, I am putting back into the blog. I've been wanting to make some changes around here, but didn't really want to invest in advance. I know that's the best way to make progress, but it isn't a good strategy for our family :-)
So here's what some of those changes are going to look like:
- A new design. I have been looking for a new template for the blog, and I've narrowed it down to a couple. I'm going to be purchasing one this week and installing it hopefully over the weekend. I want something with a lot of white space, clean-looking, and simple. :-) Don't be too startled when you visit next week and this space looks a lot different! ;-)
- Collaborations with other bloggers and shops. This will hopefully include a couple of giveaways, maybe a new link-up series hosted here, and some ad-swaps (where we put another blogger's photo and link on our sidebar in exchange for them doing the same for us).
- Stepped-up images. I have been exploring my house with my DSLR, trying to add "stock photographs" to the library of photos I own, so I can create more "pin-worthy" blog images for the blog, and just elevate the appearance a little. This, of course, isn't really something I needed to earn money to invest in, but this time of change seems like a good time to focus on this area a little bit.
- Editing and improving old posts. Along with the stepped-up images for future posts, I am going to go back in my archive and update some of my "oldies-but-goodies" to include higher-quality photos and pin-able images. I also need to check links to make sure none are broken, and identify which links may be affiliate links. Some posts will be permanently archived if they no longer fit the theme and focus of the blog, or don't serve as relevant bits of my history.
- Streamlining. I'll be getting rid of some labels and other things that clutter up my sidebars and posts. Going for very clean and uncluttered!
- Getting up to code. I have been learning a lot lately from other bloggers about some of the legal aspects of blogging, and I am going to be working hard over the next few weeks to get certain areas of the blog into compliance. I started this so long ago as basically an online journal that it has been tough and weird to try to keep up with all the changes in the blogosphere!
My hope is that all of these changes will help make this blog both more inviting and engaging for readers, and more attractive to potential collaborators. Because I am committed to reinvesting half of everything I earn into the blog, more collaborators will translate to more fun and exciting things for you to learn, explore, or win :-)
I am really excited to "grow up" my blog a little bit! I'd love to hear from you... what sort of content do you enjoy most? Are there any bloggers or shops you'd love to see me collaborate with?