Ahh…1st Quarter In Review

The first quarter of 2017 is over and it’s time to review goals.Tweet: The first quarter of 2017 is over and it's time to review goals.

While creating an editorial calendar in January I set some goals for 2017.   Now that I’ve had some time to work on them I think it is important to sit down and review how I am progressing.  This helps me stay on track and continue positive momentum setting new goals going forward.

Goal #1: Post at least once a week.  In 13 weeks I have made 10 posts for the year 2017.  In quantity my posts are almost on track.  However, my posts have not been regular in timing.  Going forward I want to increase my frequency to solidly hit once a week and do so more regularly.   One way I can do this is to pay more attention to my weekly feature categories like Wrap it Up Wednesday.  Just doing one of those weekly would meet this goal so it is definitely attainable.

Goal #2: Add website pages leading to online store.  This goal isn’t very good because I didn’t make it measurable.  Going forward in the second quarter I will be more specific and plan to add plant picks, garden flags, mailwraps, and Pure of Heart to both website pages and our online store.

Goal #3 Begin placing videos on blog posts.  I did it!   This has been so much more fun than I expected.  To clarify this one:  I would like to post at least 3 new videos each month for the remainder of the year.

Goal #4: Increase number of followers to 500 by the end of 2017.   I didn’t specifically say where I want these followers to be – the blog, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn – What was I talking about here?

To define this a little further I’m going to say I would like to have 500 followers to Little Gift Shop OH and on at least one social media platform. This goal has so many components to it for implementation that I think I’d be better off to break this down with some sub-goals.  Such as … create interactive posts on Twitter at least twice a month or consider when the time is right and promote posts on social media once a month.

Goal #5:  Monetize website.  I have our Square shop in place and have set up some affiliate links.  My goal for 2017 is for Little Gift Shop OH to be in the black.  I expect this might not be attainable for the first few years, but one can dream right?

Over the next week I will be celebrating my accomplishments thus far and fine tuning my direction for the second quarter of 2017.

How often do you review your goals to help stay on track? Once a week? Once a month? Once a quarter?

What goal have you met or worked on this year that has you most excited?

Feature photo by Christopher Campbell


My First Meetup

Finally made it to my first Meetup!  I met with the Cincinnati Blogging Group earlier this week for a discussion about 2017 Editorial Calendar Planning.  As a newcomer to blogging this was a great topic for my first Meetup.

I had already decided that I believe in the importance of having an editorial calendar to keep me on track.  I learned some things to consider when creating my calendar, as well as some great resources for planning and brainstorming ideas.  Plus, I enjoyed meeting some fellow bloggers and website owners.   For me it is important not to isolate myself because I feel I really benefit from collaborating with others.

So I’ve hammered out a solid plan for the next month or so and have a good start on the rest of the year.  It’s January in Ohio, but I’m already thinking of summer flowers and vegetables.  Be watching for Down In The Garden posts.   I will be doing some Tuesday Travels and giving you some Thursday Thoughts from time to time.   I’ve also got some fun videos (!!! 🙂 ) coming your way.

I often recommend to patients who are struggling with a life event or circumstance to join a support group.  The thing is – we don’t have to wait until we are struggling to join forces with people who share our own interests.  Why not mingle and create a network of friends that can help keep you from reaching the struggling in the first place?




5 Unexpected WordCamp Takeaways


Not too long ago I was listening to my local National Public Radio station and heard a segment about an upcoming event in Cincinnati, OH for WordPress called WordCamp. When I heard the broadcast on the radio that day my ears perked up. This is because once upon a time a couple of years ago I was fooling around on my computer and started a free WordPress blog.  It had been sitting dormant until recently when I purchased a domain name.  So after listening to the show I decided to register for the camp with the intent of picking up some information that might help with setting up my blog and understanding some of the features of the software.

Turns out I found what I was looking for and also came away with 5 unexpected takeaways:

1. I didn’t expect to come away understanding open source software. I’ve heard the terminology and had a loose grasp on the concept.  One speaker explained it well and recommended the book  The Cathedral and the Bazaar by Eric S. Raymond which I have on hold at my local library. (This even led to an aha moment later when I was home cooking which I’ll tell you about another time.)

2. I was awestruck with the changes to my alma mater. WordCamp 2016 in Cincinnati was held at the University of Cincinnati’s main campus.  I am a UC alumni so I didn’t expect to be so taken with the campus.  The old building architecture has been smoothly joined with some marvelous more modern looking buildings bringing back feelings of nostalgia combined with excitement and curiosity. I didn’t expect to have such an awesome lunch catered by Classic Fare Catering leaving no doubt one of the best ways to my heart is through my stomach!

3. I was also surprised to hear so much emphasis on community & networking.  It makes sense due to the nature of the WordPress project.  I learned about resources available within the virtual WordPress community.  I also learned about in person meet-ups within the community.  I had been having a few small glitches that I was unable to work through on my own and learned what a WordCamp Happiness Bar is like.  They had my problems fixed in less than 10 minutes.

4. I didn’t anticipate getting a refresher course on writing.  I was given tips to remember when writing content and headlines.  I wasn’t really looking for writing instruction, but was glad to get reinforcement of information I’ve learned before.

“People need to be reminded more often than they need to be instructed.” – Samuel Johnson

I enjoyed learning some new tips and tricks I’ve never heard before too. For instance, when you can’t think of anything else just write about or post cute pictures of cats or kittens.

5. Lastly, I certainly didn’t expect to be presented with information that would have me consider posting video content.  I don’t mind watching a video from time to time on the internet, but hadn’t previously considered including it on my site.  After seeing how simple it can be to add it and how popular videos truly are I think I would be foolish not to use it.

Okay. I know. I cheated. Technically that was more than 5 things.

If you’ve never been to a WordCamp I encourage you to go when you see one nearby. Even if you don’t have a website, business, or blog I’m sure you’ll encounter new ideas and interesting people.

What have you got to lose?  AND… To quote a WordPress guru, “It’s only forty bucks!”