Photo and text by Gabrielle.
In July, this blog, this website, will turn ten years old. Double digits. I can barely fathom that fact.
And just so you know, for at least 8 of those 10 years, there have been articles published that talk about how blogs are dying. Sometimes those articles would induce worry in me, but they don’t anymore. Don’t believe the hype! Blogging is not dying. Though I admit, it changes almost constantly.
With every new social media platform, what we need from blogs changes. In the early days of blogging, a blog post might be 1 photo with 1 sentence. But now, that’s a Facebook update or an Instagram or a Pin. Blogs that don’t adapt well with changes shut down. Which is a bummer. But the good news is, new blogs start up just as frequently!
When I first started blogging, a blog was generally defined as an online journal, a simple place to write a log of your day on the web. A web log. A blog. But ten years in, launching a blog is pretty much the same thing as launching a website. A full website designed to be updated frequently — weekly, daily, or multiple times a day.
Sometimes I miss the simplicity, but I get that it doesn’t really work. You start with a no frills blog. Then readers want to find old posts, so you add an archive menu. Then, the archives are too deep, so you add a search feature. Then new readers don’t understand some of the things you’re referencing, so you put some highlight posts in the sidebar by way of introduction, and you add an “about” page. Then you get excited about a side project you’re working on (or your friend is working on), so you add that to the sidebar as well. Then the blog is taking up 40+ hours of your week and you have to monetize it in order to keep it going. Tada! Your simple blog is not so simple any more.
Honestly, all of this is completely delightful to me. I love how this site, Design Mom, has adapted. I love figuring out what works and what doesn’t. I love trying things out on social media, and discovering which platforms I adore and which platforms I ignore. I love communicating about changes to this site with You, the Readers. I love letting you know what’s happening and why. And I love your feedback and advice.
There are 4 things I’m thinking about for 2016, as far as this website/blog is concerned, and I want you to know about them:
1) I need a dang site redesign!!! It’s long overdue, and I want it done by the 10th anniversary. Preferably before.
2) I’m getting serious about looking into studio/office space. I have this idea that having an office to go to will help me make this a better website and a better business. I haven’t worked in an off-site office in a decade, so I might be dead wrong and hate it. We’ll see.
3) I want to feature more diversity here. Over the last few years, I made a goal to make Alt Summit a more diverse community and it’s finally working! I need to do the same thing here on Design Mom. I feel like the faces I see on Design Mom don’t match the diversity I see in my daily life and that doesn’t feel honest or authentic. They should match up better. Plus, I’m a big believer that diversity brings new perspectives, better problem-solving, and better overall ideas. Which translates to: better content. I’m not sure how to achieve this goal (because this blog has a different business model than Alt Summit), but I’m going to work on it and see what I can figure out.
4) I feel like this one is kind of a big one, so I’m leaving it for last. I think we need to find a new Design Mom. Not a replacement, but a partner. Think, me, but 10 years ago. : )
Why? Because I want to write about things like figuring out if Maude should take the ACT or SAT (I’ve got a post forthcoming), and what our older kid birthday parties are like. But I still want this site to be a place where I can host discussions, and take part in discussions, about figuring out how to get out the door when you have toddlers, and a place where we can learn about the latest and greatest baby gear (have you seen the new swivel car seats? genius!). I think it would be awesome to work with a younger Design Mom. I could continue writing about my older kids, and she could help make sure this site is still producing great content for young families.
To be perfectly clear: I’m not going anywhere. As you know, I adore working on Design Mom!! I absolutely love my job, and I realize this is not the only direction I could go in. But looking ahead, it seems like it could be a good direction. Because I’ve always felt like Design Mom was bigger than me. The site has never been my name, and has never been just my story. This is an amazing community and a safe place where all sorts of women can share their experiences. If I decide to retire from Design Mom at some point — say when June is all grown up — it would be a shame to see this happy, wonderful place disappear. So I want to take steps now to keep it going, so that even if I no longer wear the Design Mom hat, Design Mom will still thrive.
I don’t know how it would work exactly — the finding of the new Design Mom. But I’m thinking it would be fun to do some sort of nationwide search. Maybe turn it into a contest! In my head, it could be awesome!!
Okay. This turned into a much longer post than I was expecting. If you’re still with me, I’m definitely curious to hear your thoughts! What would you like to see happen at Design Mom in 2016? What sort of articles or blog posts are you craving? What sort of discussions do you want to have? What do you want more of? What do want less of? What do you think of these 4 goals that I listed? Feel free to share. Let’s make this place even better!