A Few Updates and Changes on the Blog

posted by Andrea | 07/10/2018

I’ve been blogging for 8 years, and during those 8 years, the internet (and my own life) have changed a TON.

For starters, I now have 4 children — hello completely different stage of life!

Regarding the internet… it seems like almost everything has changed there too! Social media is growing and expanding every day (some is good, some isn’t), advertisers have changed how they reach potential clients, online shopping is essentially the “norm” now, almost everyone has a smart phone, and the current number of websites and blogs is simply astounding!

It blows my mind to think how many changes have happened in my lifetime already (33 years) – most of which are a direct result of the internet!

I find it nearly impossible to stay up with all the new internet trends, social media algorithms, blogging “best practices”, and advertising etiquette… but maybe that’s just because I really don’t care to try.

I’ve got better things to do (like pick strawberries with 3 little munchkins!)

I wasn’t always so laid back though!

I started my blog in June of 2010, (with no real concept of what I was getting into). I did my first major website update in September of 2011, (just over a year later).

Then, in April of 2013, (roughly 18 – 19 months later) I completely updated the look of my blog AND changed my name from Simple Organized Living to AndreaDekker.com.

So, for the first 2.5 years of blogging (and throughout my first pregnancy and baby), I did a really great job keeping up with new blogging and social media trends, new website styles, updated technology, etc. etc.

Then, over the next 5 years, I had 3 more babies, completely re-landscaped our entire property, and (nearly) finished renovating our 130 year old farmhouse — all while continuing to maintain my blog.

The only “problem” was that I didn’t do anything to actively GROW my blog!

Apparently the energy spent raising 3 more children, completing a slew of home and yard renovations, doing my VA work, and maintaining my current website meant I had very little extra time or energy to devote to extra projects on my blog or with my business.

There have been SO many times over the last 5 years when I’ve thought: 

  • I should start a weekly e-newsletter
  • I should try podcasts
  • I should really update my website to be mobile-friendly
  • I should try Facebook live
  • I should try different ad networks to see how much of a difference they make in my revenue
  • I should reach out to more companies for sponsorships
  • I should improve and increase my social media presence
  • I should look into getting published

Yet, for whatever reason, these ideas and to-dos continue to settle at the bottom of my list year after year…  surprisingly, it hasn’t bothered me too much!

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Now, 8 years later, my website is fairly outdated, my social media presence is essentially non-existent (I just have no desire to spend time on social media), I’m not super excited about starting something brand new (like a newsletter or podcast), and writing a book sounds like absolute torture!

However, in an effort to practice what I preach, start small, do the next thing, and continue working towards improvement, I recently made a couple smaller changes to my blog (many of you have already noticed!)

1. New Mobile-Friendly Site

After several years and hundreds of requests, my blog is finally mobile-friendly… and it was such a painless process!

All I had to do was download the WP Touch plugin, configure a few settings, and my website was immediately much more mobile friend (Seriously, if you haven’t tried checking my site from your phone or tablet, give it a try. It looks really nice!)

Eventually, I’d like to completely redesign my site to be fully mobile without the use of a plugin (maybe this coming winter) but I don’t have the energy for that right now. When we get to that point, I’ll have my designers hard-code something in to make my mobile site super sweet… but for now, the free plugin works wonderfully well.

I’ve gotten many emails and comments from readers who are loving the more mobile-friendly layout — and I’m loving it too!

You can now easily switch back and forth between the mobile and desktop versions (via the links on the bottom of the screen) and the text is much larger, so it’s easier to navigate, click on links, comment, and (of course) read!

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2. New Ad Network

Along with finally creating a mobile-friendly version of my blog, I also started working with a brand new ad network (Mediavine).

I was having nothing but issues with my old ads — they were slowing down my site, showing lots of pop-ups and videos that I had not authorized, and had horrible customer service.

Since switching to Mediavine about a month ago, I have had the “royal treatment” in terms of how responsive they are to my questions, needs, and requests.

It took a little tweaking and finessing to get things figured out a few weeks ago, but I’m getting the hang of things now and know how to adjust many of the ad settings.

That said, there will now be more ads than I had in the past — including ads within the content of my posts (something I never had before). I went back and forth with this decision for some time — not knowing if I should do it or not. But then I figured, people can simply scroll past the ads and keep reading, so it really shouldn’t be THAT disruptive!

I have the ability to change this in the future — but for now, I have chosen to show some ads within the content of my posts. It’s not my personal favorite ad placement, but I want to try it for a few months before I make changes.

There might also be a few ads at the bottom of pictures, but you can “x” out of those if you need to, or they will eventually go away after a few seconds (see image below).

Also, just so you know, I have ALL my ad settings as low as they can possibly go via Mediavine’s standards. This means that my website will show as FEW ads as possible ALL THE TIME.

I have a huge number of specific ads completely blocked, as well as many different categories of ads completely blocked (political, drugs, medical, dating services, etc.) and there shouldn’t be any video or pop-up ads at all. There might be ads that have movement, but they shouldn’t cover the blog content and they shouldn’t play any sound unless you specifically click on the ad.

So while I realize the new “in-content ads” might take a little getting used to, I hope that my efforts to greatly reduce the number and frequency of ads will help!

I really do love working with this new ad network so I hope I can find the “right” balance for me and for all of you!

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Neither of those 2 changes are a huge deal (many of you might never have even noticed them) — but they are 2 things I can FINALLY cross off my blogging to-do list!

Yay for progress!

Moving forward, I’d like to continue pursuing a few changes and updates (not exactly sure what that will look like though).

And I’m hoping I’ll have the time and energy to devote to bigger changes this winter (they general layout will still stay the same, don’t worry!)

I’d love your thoughts!!!

If there’s a specific feature you’d love to see on my blog (or one you don’t like so much) feel free to email it to me or leave it in the comments. I definitely will not be able to accommodate or please everyone, but I’m certainly willing to get your feedback!

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93 comments

  1. Jolynn Van Wienen

    09/09/2018

    Hey Andrea!
    I have followed you for so long – but now with fresh eyes as I have thrown my hat into this blogging community! :):) I’ve been going through alot of your archives about your blogging life and have learned ALOT – thanks for putting it all out there for us newbies to learn from you!!! 🙂

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Jolynn! I’m loving your new blog, by the way 🙂

    [Reply]

  2. Veronica

    07/20/2018

    Hi Andrea! Just wanted to say I think it’s great that you’re so up front about the ad changes. I follow a lot of bloggers and that’s not always the case. 🙂 It’s clear that you’re trying to strike a balance between what’s best for the reader and what’s best for the business–and as a reader, I appreciate that. I’ve been reading since you were Simple Organized Living…your content has been consistently interesting and useful through the years, and your honesty and great personality are refreshing!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks so much!!

    [Reply]