And just like that, another year draws to a close.
2018 had its fair share of challenges, but it also had many moments of joy and accomplishment.
As we race toward the end of 2018, I wanted to take the time to slow down for a moment and reflect back on the year. It’s one of my very favorite end of year activities! I love checking in on my goals and taking a look at how the blog performed.
A look back at my 2018 goals
While I’ve been back and forth on setting new year’s goals over the past few years, in 2018 I was firmly #TeamGoals.
I set nine goals in three different categories — blog, business and personal. I knew the goals I set were challenging, yet attainable, and after I hit publish on that post, I felt excited for the year ahead.
So…how did I do? Let’s check in!
- Blog consistently. When it comes to blogging, publishing consistently is key. I set out in 2018 to blog at least three times a month, and for the most part I achieved that. I fell off the wagon a bit in the fall as I worked on the website’s rebranding/redesign, but for the most part, I published 3-4 posts each month. In 2018, I published 34 posts (two more than in 2017!) so I consider that a win.
- Partner with more travel destinations and brands. After dipping my feet in the travel blogging waters a bit in 2017, I set out to partner with more destinations and travel brands in 2018. I definitely achieved this goal after I secured a paid partnership with the Valley Forge Tourism and Convention Board at the beginning of the year. We worked together in the winter on an itinerary centered around stepping outside your comfort zone and again in the spring for a tour of Montgomery County’s charming small towns. As I prepare for a three-week trip this March to San Francisco, Hawaii and Australia, I’m hoping to get a few more partnerships under my belt!
- Get my affiliate marketing in order. I’ve slowly started incorporating affiliate marketing into my blog, but look forward to diving even deeper in 2019. The way I’ve chosen to implement affiliate marketing is by including brands I love in blog posts I’d write anyway — I did that here in this post about all the tools I use to run my business. While I didn’t earn a significant amount of money through affiliate marketing (just a couple of bucks, really), I know this is a viable monetization strategy, and want to spend more time on this in the coming year.
- Earn six figures. Last year I set a super lofty financial goal for JL&Co. I made this goal very public, as I believe fully in transparency. My goal was to earn $100,000 from my business. Here’s where I get to tell you the not-so-fun part. I fell short of this goal. I’ll have more details in my state of JL&Co post in the new year, but I had a few setbacks, and didn’t quite get there. I did earn slightly more in 2018 than in 2017, so I count that as a success. I also consider this an important lesson in that while the goal is always to earn more than the year before, the reality is it’s not always going to happen, so I do need to prepare for that possibility.
- Redesign my website. YES, YES, YES! A goal that was 150% achieved and crossed off the list. I started the redesign process over the summer and launched the new site in November. (Hi! If you’re reading this, do you like the new look?) It feels so good to have a site that I’m proud of, and I hope this momentum will continue into 2019. Plus, I already landed a new client after the redesign, so it’s definitely working!
- Get bylines. I spent a lot of time in 2018 writing, and it felt SO. GOOD. I wrote seven articles for The Penny Hoarder and three for Craft Your Content, plus several more client bylines. Here are a few of my favorite stories I wrote in 2018: Sick of Negative News, This TV Reporter Left Her Job and Started a Podcast, Down the Shore: Here’s Why This Attorney Quit His Job to Buy a Run-Down Hotel and How I Earned $6K Last Year with My Side Gig as a Yoga Instructor. I want to write more in 2019, and I am always looking for interesting stories to tell. If you have one, I want to hear from you!
- Read at least 12 books. If you’ve been around these parts for awhile, you may remember that this very website used to be a book review blog! Welp…I’m really sad to share that I read a pathetic four books in 2018. (The books were really good though!) I simply don’t make time for reading (though I sure do consume a lot of the internet!) I do want to continue to make this a goal for 2019, and hopefully I can do better then.
- Continue my health and fitness journey. Last November, I recommitted to my health and fitness in a major way, so my goal was to continue that momentum into the year. This was a major win! I began working with a nutritionist in 2018 and made some major life changes. I’ve also continued working out five days a week (three days of bootcamp, two days of yoga) and I am loving the variety of my workouts. I’m seeing a difference in my body, and more importantly, I’m feeling SO. GOOD.
- Reconnect with old friends + make new friends. I had a rough year when it came to friendships in 2016 and 2017, so in 2018, I really set out to change that and make new friends. I am so, so pleased to share that I accomplished this goal. Joining Bumble BFF and meeting my now good friend Megan was the jumping off point, and since then I’ve met a few other awesome gals from various podcast Facebook groups I’m a part of. I had a Christmas party at my apartment last weekend, and I felt so much joy looking around the room seeing all of my new (and old) friends together. It feels like this area of my life finally clicked back into place.
All in all, I’m extremely proud of my progress in 2018. If we’re keeping track, it appears that I fully achieved six out of the nine goals, and made headway on the others. Not too shabby!
Stay tuned for a post about my 2019 goals — I’m still in planning mode at the moment.
The 10 most popular posts on the blog in 2018
Each year, I always love taking the time to review how my blog performed throughout the year. I dig into my analytics and compile the top posts from the year to see what type of content resonated the most with the community.
In 2018, I published 34 posts. Here are the 10 most popular posts on JessicaLawlor.com in 2018.
A few quick notes/reflections about the top 10 posts:
- Crowdsourced content is powerful. The #1 post about turning 30 blew the traffic of every other post out of the water! With literally 10x more traffic than any other post this year, it’s clear this post resonated with a lot of you. Because the post included 30 other women, it was more widely shared than other posts I wrote. This is a great reminder that crowdsourced content tends to perform well as it includes a large number of people and creates community.
- Travel posts tend to perform well! I wrote three dedicated travel posts in 2018, and two of them landed on the list. I hope to have much more travel content for you in 2019.
- You still like when I’m honest, transparent and vulnerable. Writing about losing a client wasn’t easy, but I knew it was important to share one of the more difficult parts of running a business, and it’s clear from the post’s #4 slot that you like when I do this too.
- You’re enjoying posts about productivity. Several of the posts in the top 10 are either 100% about productivity or touch on the topic in some way. That’s great, because I have lots more productivity-focused content slated for 2019.
Thank you for being part of this community in 2018! Whether you’ve been around for years or you just found this little pocket of the internet in 2018, I am so grateful to have you here!
I’m pumped for what’s ahead — I hope you are too.