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2012 Year in Review

Posted on Dec 30, 2012 by in All Posts | 4 comments

Well, it happened again – the end of the year is nearly here! Taking a cue from Chris Guillebeau, I wanted to do a year-in-review type post this year. I’ll talk a little bit about what went well on the blog, what didn’t go as well as I’d hoped, and a plan for moving forward. Even if you don’t do resolutions, I highly recommend taking some time to do your own end-of-year review to figure out where you’ve been, where you want to go, and how you plan on getting there. Alright – let’s dive in!

What Went Well

  • Readership was up. This year I increased my readership greatly and I can’t thank you all enough for that. It truly is every blogger’s wish that people will actually read the words they put out there, so I am humbled that you all come back each week for more of my writing.
  • Photos were higher quality. I finally invested in a nice camera earlier this year and it has made a huge difference in the photo quality. I also did a lot of research this year on how to take better photos so I’ve tried to do a better job of styling the food and using natural light.
  • Content went up consistently and was higher quality. I had a consistent publishing schedule this year and I very rarely missed a post. I participated in Vegan MoFo again this year and posted over 20 times, which I was very happy with. The content, including recipes, was of much higher quality and I took more time to test my recipes to make sure they were something you could recreate at home.

What Didn’t Go So Well

  • I overextended myself. Even though I posted consistently, sometimes I was definitely pressed for time in trying to get the posts out. I committed to a lot of different projects and I felt like I didn’t have a good work/life/hobby balance.
  • Interaction was not where I wanted it. Though I know I have a decent readership, I haven’t had the interaction or engagement with you that I would like. Commenting has been limited and it’s something I definitely want to work on improving from my end for next year.
  • Balance between blogging and social media. With all of the options for interaction and engagement online these days, it’s tough to figure out where to spend my time. I want to make sure that I provide meaningful content for all of my readers and followers, and I didn’t feel like I had a good grasp of where my time was best spent.

Looking Forward

I have a lot of personal and professional goals for 2013, but for this post I’m going to stick with goals strictly related to blogging.

  1. In 2013 I plan on eliminating a lot of the ‘compensated content’ on the blog. Though I don’t do a lot of this, and when I do it’s only because I truly like a product, I sometimes force posts or reviews that don’t necessarily fit in with the overall mission of my blog. I will still occasionally use Amazon or other affiliate links, but only when I find them to be truly useful to you all (ironically, I do have an Amazon link at the end of this post – it is clearly marked).
  2. On the same note, I plan on revamping the way I do giveaways. Rather than requiring you to leave a comment or tweet, FB, etc, I am going to come up with something a bit more meaningful – though I’m not entirely sure what that will look like just yet. Getting a bunch of retweets, likes, or comments just because I’m giving something away doesn’t add meaningful content to the blog or discussion so I’m going to minimize it as much as possible while still giving away awesome stuff.
  3. I am going to incorporate more animal advocacy pieces into the content schedule. I do a lot of volunteer work with regards to animal rights issues and vegan advocacy, but I don’t do enough writing on my own blog about that work or its importance. While I want to keep it mostly food-based, I plan on devoting at least one post a week to animal advocacy.
  4. Continue to improve photos with better styling and lighting. The husband gave me some new equipment for Christmas, so I don’t have any more excuses for bad photos. I can’t wait to get comfortable working with the new lights and show you guys the results.
  5. Finally, I really want to make the blog more about what you all want to read about. I like writing about things I’m passionate about, but I also want to get more input from you all, so periodically I will check-in and get your opinion on what things I should write about next.

My Favorite Recipes of the Year

Here are some that you guys loved as well as ones I am particularly fond of:

Cayenne Spiced Peanut Butter Cups

Baked ‘Bacon’ Mac-n-Cheese

Tomato Zucchini Carpaccio

Sweet Potato Pie Cups

Easy Vegan French Bread

Vegan Gruyere Cheese

Cream Cheese Wontons

On a side note, I made the peppermint version of the fudge brownies from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar [Amazon link] over the holiday – they were AH-mazing! Definitely recommend making these – you can make the classic version for a less holiday-esque dessert.

Vegan Peppermint Fudge Brownies

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See you in 2013!

  • It sounds like you have a very clear focus and grasp on where you want things to go. I’m so impressed (and apparently slacking.) 😉 But in all seriousness, I understand that we all blog for different reasons, but I really wish more people would pledge to do less “obligatory” posting–either due to ads or vanity–and make it more about quality, not quantity. But that’s why we’re all so unique, I suppose!

    I like your plan and direction and look forward to 2013.

    • Thanks so much for your support, Abby, and thanks for reading!

  • Unny Nambudiripad

    I’m looking forward to continuing to read your blog, Ashley. I think you have a lot of wisdom to share about animal advocacy, and I’m looking forward to hearing it. I’m astounded by how much you do!

    • Thanks, Unny – I’m blushing 🙂

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