2017 has been a great year for Chaotic Life of Lauren. There’s been a lot of great posts, even better guest contributions, and even a very tiny amount of money earned. I climbed to higher stats than I thought possible. Then I watched all of that decline to a level so dismal that I just uninstalled my stat tracker so I would stop getting distracted by it. Most importantly, I’ve made a lot of friends and heard from many of my readers.
I would like to present the 2017 end of the year roundup.
Chaotic Life Best of 2017 Roundup
Top 10 Posts from 2017
In my most controversial post, I caution Christian moms about the danger to faith on overemphasizing self. I also try to provide some genuine tips on balancing self-care (which is necessary) with the needs of your husband and children (which are also necessary to take care of).
I think, aside from the “Faith of a Mother” devotional series, this is the Read It, Learn It, Apply It devotion that has most stuck out to me.
It truly is impressive that a recent post made this list. In this post, I talk about some of the struggles that Christian moms phase when they have to parent during dark times (like threat of war and terrorism) or even more personal difficult times (like dealing with a violent crime).
This post, written by Alycia De Lucio, emphasizes Christian motherhood despite infant or child loss. She writes to an important segment of my readers to provide them some hope and strategies during a holiday that can leave the mothers of angel children feeling forgotten.
While I absolutely adore Hannah’s story from the Bible, it shocks me that this has become the most popular blog post out of the “Faith of a Mother” series.
This is another recent post. Originally, this post appeared on Madison Weaver’s blog. She recently changed domains and, with that, my post vanished from the internet. I took the opportunity to move it to Chaotic Life last month along with a couple of other former guest contributions that I wrote for others.
Did you know that Proverbs speaks a lot about how to interact with a fool? Check it out in this post, which definitely deserves its place in this list.
Cooper’s guest contribution has reached many mom’s wrestling with the decision of becoming a SAHM. I’m so proud of how God has used her words to inspire and encourage other women.
(Before I make this post my #2 Controversial Post, let me add that neither Cooper or myself condemn working mothers. In fact, I now work part-time.)
Is anger always a sin? If not, where do you draw the line? how do you help a child overcome anger? What about overcoming your own anger? All of these questions are addressed in this post.
I told you there were better guest contributions then posts that I had written! Madison Weaver’s encouragement and suggestions are practical. Make sure you pin this one for later!
Blogging Lessons Learned in 2017
Since this was my first real year blogging “professionally”, I learned quite a few lessons. In no particular order, we have:
1) The Easiest Way to Get Guest Contributors
From January – July, I had a great line of guest contributors on Chaotic Life. Nobody cared that I was a new blogger still struggling trying to get views, figure out social media, or even how to easily connect with my audience. I think it’s because I did something very simple: I kept themes on Chaotic Life. Not only that, but I promoted these themes as “guest contributor opportunities” separately on social media. I also mentioned them in my #25Roundup, which instantly connected me to other bloggers who would then share with their own influencer circle. So, if you want to get guest contributors:
- create a specific theme or series
- promote your guest contributor opportunities on social media
- find a way to mention your themes in a post that promotes other bloggers
2) The Frequency of Posts Doesn’t Influence Views, Promotion Does
Bloggers, don’t let yourself get burnt out by setting your writing schedule so tight that you can barely keep up. Instead, focus on writing quality posts at a pace that also allows you to promote in a very consistent manner. You’ll thank me later. Plus, if you do get ahead, you’ll find it easier to participate on other people’s blogs.
3) If You Write Last Minute, You Will Eventually Fail
I fought the good fight and ran the good race in this area pretty much all year long. And then I got: 1) burnt out on the whole process, 2) exhausted physically, and 3) sick. My editorial calendar didn’t stand a chance. Once I slipped up once, I lost my willpower to get back on schedule again.
Don’t be me. Set up a schedule that lets you get ahead on your work.
4) Product Launches Are a Step Forward, Even if They Don’t Earn Money
This year I’ve launched three products:
- Spiritual Self-Care for the Mother
- 51 Faith Challenges to Foster Spiritual Growth
- Total Spiritual Toolkit Package
You’ll notice there’s no hyperlink for product a. There’s a reason for that. Even though I’ve kept the other products listed, they haven’t been wildly successful. Part of that is just because I’m awful as a salesperson. The other part of that is that fear stops me from really pushing these products. (There’s a lesson in that as well!)
Here’s the thing, though. I don’t regret any of the time I’ve spent developing, editing, and marketing these products. Why? Because none of it has been wasted. I have TWO awesome spiritual growth resources that I can draw material from as needed. I also have twenty-five lessons already written that I can reinvent into any form needed.
Guess what? I AM using some of that material for a book by the working title, Ordinary Mom, Extraordinary Faith.
Plus it’s such a good feeling just be able to list three different products that I can say, “Hey! I did that in one year. That’s so awesome!”
The moral of this story is to plan time in your schedule for product development.
5) Don’t Put Your Eggs in One Basket
This year I’ve pretty much relied on Pinterest to bring in traffic. I’ve ROCKED Pinterest considering I average 500,000 viewers each month when I only have 2,000 subscribers.
Their hashtag update has rendered most of my hard work useless. Now, I have to make time to edit image descriptions to include hashtags, repin everything on my entire site, and then update my entire quicklink excel sheet that lets me quickly share with people.
If you feel sorry for me, then toss me a pity buy of a Spiritual Toolkit package or something. 😉
What’s Ahead in 2018
Originally, I planned to take Chaotic Life down to three posts a month:
- 1st Monday – An affiliate or sponsored post, usually a themed Amazon list. I have to make some money somehow!
- 2nd Monday – A ‘Read It, Learn It, Apply It’ Devotion really focused on reaching other Christian mothers
- 4th Monday – An inspirational or humorous post for moms.
Like usually, I’m talking myself into more work. I really want to work on this Motherhood Encouragement Project that I wrote about on Instagram:
This means that I need a place to post encouragement projects so that others can join me. So every third Monday, I’ll post a project or mission that can be done to help encourage other moms.
Motherhood Encouragement Project
The point is to find very low-cost and genuine ways to encourage another mother so that individuals on a strict budget can still join. It also needs to be pretty fool-proof in terms of craftiness because God gave a triple heaping of that gift to some people and none to others.
I’m hoping to get at least 10 projects up in 2018 so that an entire free resource can be created. If you have suggestions for project ideas, I would love to hear them! Alternatively, if you are a Christian blogger who would like to partner with me for one month’s project, I would welcome you with open arms. Just send me an email at laurencmoye(at)chaoticlifeoflauren.com.
These are my goals for Chaotic Life in 2018:
- Facebook Page – get it almost completely automated to pull from Instagram, the blog, and occasionally Pinterest. This should keep it running consistently as the monster that shall not be named again. Yet I won’t have to invest a lot of time without a reward.
- Instagram – Reach 1,500 followers on Chaotic Life of Lauren’s main Instagram page. See a 5% engagement rate (which is considered a high engagement rate even though it’s easily managed at 1,500). Reach 1,000 followers on Faithled Mama. (Wait – you didn’t know I ran two accounts? Now you do!)
- Pinterest – Reach 6,000 followers on Pinterest. I’ve been stalled out at 2,100 for a long time. I would love to triple my current followers by the end of 2018. The only problem is that it’s very hard to intentionally gain followers on Pinterest. The good news is that you don’t need a lot of followers to see massive traffic coming off of your pins.
- Release 3 Total Spiritual Toolkit themes for a total of 4 themes to choose from. My next theme, Banners and Boxes, will release on January 19. It’s going to be a very minimal and gender neutral because I want to be able to offer a ministry package for youth groups or small groups. After that, I’m going to release a beach or mountain theme. Which one depends on what my budget for that theme will look like.
A Note of Gratitude
As always, I am very grateful to my readers for your support, comments, shares, and messages. When I wonder if all this work is worth it, it never fails that one of you will send me an email. You ladies encourage me, you inspire the content on Chaotic Life, and you also hold me accountable to my faith. Just as iron sharpens iron, God uses all of you to humble me, refine me, and to mold me into the writer that He desires.
Without you, I wouldn’t have the faith that I have today. <3