Q3 was filled with transitions as we settle into our new lives in Saigon. With Xav at work, I am left with ample time to catch up on this blog.
Am I A Writer?
Being in a new city, one of the most common questions I get is that dreaded, “What do you do?”. I find myself stumbling over this question and throw out some version of, “oh, I’m exploring my options, and meanwhile working on my blog.” What I really want to say is, “I am a writer, and I run a blog.”
A new friend I’ve met is training to be a career coach, so I let myself be her guinea pig and had a session with her. We worked on my issue of not able to confidently proclaim as a writer, and not proud to tell people that this blog is what I choose to devote my free time.
This quarter, I spent a lot of time working on this central issue and practicing what I preached to redefine what work means to me. For years, I had a socially acceptable answer when asking, “what do you do?” For the first time, I can afford to be a creative, yet it’s not as easy to put on the hat and own the writer title.
I realize my fundamental fear to proclaim as a writer is that I am not currently making much money as one. Yet, in any business, there is a ramp-up phase, and it takes a while to break-even. This is my ramp-up period, and I am continually iterating and fine-tuning my niche. As much as we hate on labels, we also love them to define us. The key is to find the right label that fits who we are.
So yes, I am a writer. Maybe not yet a successful one, but a writer nevertheless.
Q3 Goals Check-in
Take care of the legal side of my blog – A
Finally sat down and figured out a privacy and terms page for my blog. Not sure why it took me so long. Just one of those things that don’t get prioritized, yet very important.
Publish two posts per week – B+
I averaged 1.3 posts per week in Q3. In September, I shifted to one post a week to spend time on the other goals. Quite happy with the result. I will keep two posts per week as the stretch goal and see how far I get.
Fix old posts and broken links – A
I spent the bulk of September to hit this goal. This blog chronicles my experiences over the past 11 years. This goal has been the reason why working on this blog always felt so painful. The massive archive felt overwhelming to sift through, and no one cares about them but me.
Recently, I learned from the SEO world that I actually could leverage old content for people to care, but I first need to fix broken links and missing images. So, six months since I began the endeavor, I’ve gone through all 472 posts and ensure nothing appears broken at first glance. I’m super proud of checking this one off my list!
Kick off a Life Abroad series – C
I started Saigon Chronicle to tell stories of settling into Saigon, but I had hoped to highlight stories of other globetrotters and how they settle into their home abroad. I have some ideas, hope to launch something in Q4.
Publish 5 more Travel Guide blog lists – F
Total fail on this one. Curating blog links is actually incredibly time-consuming. I’ve made sure to curate them into individual posts that I wrote, but a curation list for a country is a different level of commitment. I am surprised how hard it is to find quality content without pop-ups and ads flashing all over the place, ruining the reader experience.
Restructure the menu to facilitate navigation – A
I’ve restructured the menu to reflect the niche of this blog: stories on living globally, simply, and with financial freedom. I’ve also reorganized the home page layout, because I received feedback that simultaneously writing about settling into Saigon and catching up on travel posts was confusing.
Feedbacks are so valuable! Please keep them coming.
Work on something nicer for my email-subscribers – A
In September, I sent out my first monthly newsletter to subscribers with a more personal update that links to various blog posts published that month, and links to inspirational content that I’ve come across. I’ve received positive feedback, and I enjoy having this private space to share my work and try out new ideas.
Traffic & Engagement
Average Stats for Q3
- 1,881 monthly page views (-355)
- 818 (43%) page views from organic search
- 77.95% bounce rate (-0.11pts)
- 19.6k monthly Pinterest viewers (+8.6k)
- 54 email subscribers (+9)
- 2,429 likes on Facebook page* (+446)
- 2,770 followers on Twitter* (+308)
- 1,548 followers on Instagram* (+26)
*as of September 30, 2019
Complete Posts from Past Year of Full-Time Travel
I’m woefully behind, and I’d like to set this goal for me to catch up more quickly, and free-up energy to devote to more thought-heavy pieces on living simply and with financial freedom.
Fix SEO on 15 Old Posts
Now that I’ve fixed all the broken links, it’s time to move onto the next phase. I’m still a newbie on SEO, but I’ve already seen fruits from these past six months of labor, and organic traffic has increased quite a bit. Slow, but encouraging progress.
Create a Start-Here Page
The archive has some wonderful hidden gems, and I’d like to create a page to walk readers through some of the stories and resources in a more organized fashion.
To have the financial freedom to dedicate full-time to a passion project is such luxury, yet I often find the need to step into a label that society approves and understands. This journey is an area of exploration and deserves a post to itself, but for now, I am happy that these quarterly updates are keeping me honest and holding my progress accountable.