6 Things I Want to Achieve in 2015

Goals for 2015

1. Focus less on custom work and more on premades

I won’t be quitting custom work completely, but I am thinking of massively toning it down. I’m going to reduce the amount of custom projects I accept so I can work on fine-tuning my premade store. I want to create more premade themes.

Really, I’d also like to focus less on design and more on development. I’d like to make more connections with designers who do custom work. I’d love to forge partnerships where they do the design and I do the development work. So if you’re a designer who wants to pass off the coding to someone else, hit me up! πŸ˜‰

2. Rock the blogoverse with simple designs

In 2013 I made an error. I kept trying to beat Tweak Me (at least in terms of the settings panel). The only theme I’ve actually released like this was Charlotte but I have many others that remain unpublished.

Here was my problem: I wasn’t happy with Tweak Me. It was a good theme, but I didn’t like the look of it. So I tried to create a new theme with a different look and an equally-epic settings panel. What was the problem? Everyone still chose Tweak Me. And I don’t blame them, because you can pretty much make any theme design with Tweak Me.

Finally, at the end of 2014, I realized that if I wanted to beat Tweak Me, I had to start from scratch and make a new Tweak Me. I couldn’t make a different theme with a new name but a more epic settings panel because everyone already had it in their head that “Tweak me is the most flexible.”

Well, now that Tweak Me v2 is done, what’s next? It’s clear that I can’t keep creating these huge themes because people will just ignore those and buy Tweak Me v2. So what’s my plan moving forward?

Simple theme designs with small settings panels

I’m going to start moving away from the “build your own design” themes. Tweak Me v2 has that area covered. Now I’m going to be creating actual complete blog designs. So when you buy these themes, you’re not buying the power to build your own design. You’re building a design that’s already made for you. And since the design work is done, there won’t be 5 million options for changing fonts and colours. The settings panel will be very basic with only a few settings (maybe sidebar location, excerpts vs full posts, and a few others).

With integrated Tweak Me v2 skins

But with each new premade theme, I’m hoping to also release a version of that design specifically for Tweak Me v2. I did this recently with my new Wonderland theme. You can either buy the full theme on its own, or you can buy the Tweak Me v2 skin. When you buy the skin, it adds a new preset for Tweak Me v2 and when you click that preset, you automatically get that new design!

Simple design recap

  • Release new premade themes that are simple, fully designed, and have small settings panels.
  • For each theme also release a second version that’s just a “skin” for Tweak Me v2. So people who have that theme can buy a new preset at a smaller cost.

3. Create a “how to start a blog” series

I have A LOT of blogging tips on Nose Graze, but I’m hoping to create a linear, all inclusive “how to start a blog” series. This will include things like:

  • Choosing the platform (Blogger vs WP.com vs WP.org)
  • Deciding on a name
  • Choosing a focus
  • Setting up an email subscription
  • Your blog’s presence on social media
  • How to host giveaways
  • How to gain followers

Some of those I already have in posts, but my aim is to tie everything together. This way people won’t have to go searching for different topics, they just have to follow the series!

4. Launch my Novelist plugin

The "add new book" interface in the Novelist plugin

I swear, this plugin is like the bane of my existence.

Novelist is like the Ultimate Book Blogger Plugin, but for authors. It gives authors an easy way to add new books to their website and rearrange/display the book information. Also included are:

  • A contact form.
  • An ARC request form and management section (similar to the Review Requests add-on for UBB, but for managing ARCs).
  • Custom widgets for highlighting books/series.
  • Custom archives for series.
  • Automatically grab data from Goodreads (average rating and number of reviews).

I’ve been working on this plugin off and on for months, I just haven’t had time to finish it up and launch it. Well, 2015 is the year!!!

5. Finish Couch to 5K

Top 10 Excuses I Make for Not Exercising

I started C25K in 2014 but I never finished. Here’s what happened:

  • I got pretty far along (week 6 or 7 out of 9 total).
  • Then there was my wedding, so obviously I paused C25K while I was in Italy getting hitched for about 4 or 5 days.
  • Shortly after I got back, I came down with some kind of virus so I was out of commission for like THREE FREAKING WEEKS.
  • When I finally got better, it had been so long that I felt like I had to back track. I couldn’t just pick back up at week 6, I felt like I had to go back to week 4.
  • But, I didn’t have a good, solid stretch of uninterrupted time (like 4 weeks where I wasn’t going to be away on holiday). So I was hesitant to start up again.
  • So, I never did.

#fail

So in 2015, I’m going to finish it! I’m not sure if I’m going to start over from the beginning or not… I think I jumped straight into week 4 the first time I started up, so maybe I’ll do that again. But I’m going to see this through to completion!

6. Launch something new

I have a lot of ideas swirling around in my head, including:

  1. A new e-course, focused on an introduction into HTML, CSS, and customizing premade themes.
  2. A blogging/WordPress related ebook.
  3. Some kind of coding/blogging membership site. A subscription gets you access to exclusive guides, tutorials, and a forum where you can ask questions and get help/advice with coding/blogging. I have no idea how this would go down in the book blogging community but it sounds fun. Hmm… I had thoughts of tying this into the first idea.

I’m not really sure what I want to focus on yet, but I want to launch something new in 2015!

Do you have any goals for the new year?

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I'm a 28 year old California girl living in England (I fell in love with a Brit!). My three great passions are: books, coding, and fitness. more »

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43 comments

    1. That’s awesome Stormi! I think I need to decide whether or not I want to turn that into “just” an e-course or merge it into a bigger membership site kind of idea. Then I can work on implementing it… Hmm, decisions decisions!

    1. Thank you! πŸ˜€ I’m really excited about that. I think my first step will be redoing all my old themes in this new style.

  1. You have so many great ideas for the new year! I love all your blogging tips, they gave me the courage to take the plunge, so give me more! And I love the idea of skins. I bought the original Tweak Me and was a little overwhelmed with all the options, I didn’t know where to start. That’s why I think it is so AWESOME that v2 comes with some presets! I can’t wait to use it πŸ™‚

    Jade @ Bedtime Bookworm recently posted: Matched (Matched #1) by Ally Condie
    1. That’s exactly why I created the presets! πŸ™‚ I know that the huge settings panel can be SUPER overwhelming, and not everyone wants to spend time creating their own design. So the presets are totally perfect for that! I can’t wait to make more. πŸ™‚

  2. The idea of an online design course sounds like an absolutely lovely idea, Ashley! I’m certain you’ll be a pro at that, seeing as how you’ve helped me with my HTML problems so many times!

    Impressive goals, and I’ve no doubt you’ll manage to complete each and every one of them πŸ™‚ good luck, and happy new year!

    Madiha @ Symphony of Words recently posted: 2015 TBR + 2014 Favorites
    1. I’m glad you like the idea Madiha! I’d really love to create a membership site that includes exclusive material (like an e-course) and a forum where you can get constant advice (from both me and other members). I think I’m just wondering if there’s enough demand for that…

      Maybe I’ll do a poll/survey to see how many people are interested. πŸ™‚

  3. Very nice list of goals πŸ™‚ I read all of your publishing tips (and I mean all of them) so I’m definitely looking forward to your new how to blog series! Best of luck with everything and happy new year!

    Zareena recently posted: 2015 Challenges & Goals
    1. Yeah I’m really excited for Novelist! I already had one awesome author try it out and she gave me some great feedback. I can’t wait to get back to the UK and add even more features to it.

      It was fabulous working with you on your theme! ^_^

  4. I’m so excited for all your plans for 2015 Ashley. I’m always excited for whatever you decide to do, because it’s always something I’m interested in. I can’t wait for your “How To Start A Blog” series, despite the fact I’ve been blogging 5 years lol. At the end of the day, any knowledge you impart is knowledge I want because it’s invaluable.

    I’m also quite excited for your potential website/forum for bloggers. I’d subscribe/sign up in a heartbeat, that would be such a cool thing to launch and to be able to chat with other bloggers about all sorts of things!

    Happy new year, Ashley! πŸ™‚

    Leah recently posted: Coming Soon!
    1. I think we can all still learn more, regardless of how long we’ve been blogging. That’s why other people’s blogging tips posts are my favourite to read. Even though I think I know a lot about blogging, there’s still always more to learn, so I love reading those kinds of posts!

      I might create a survey/poll soon about that membership site for bloggers. I think it would be AWESOME and a ton of fun, but there would have to be enough interest to get it up off the ground. Especially because a forum wouldn’t be a lot of fun if there’s only like two members lol πŸ™ But I hope I can make it happen because I think it would be pretty cool!!

  5. I love the idea of the How To Start A Blog series! I’ve been blogging for almost a year now, and I still find out about new things. There’s also a lot of things I have yet to learn, like how to present a blog on social media etc. I think a series like that would be incredibly helpful and fun! πŸ™‚
    I’ve also been contemplating buying the Tweak Me v2 Theme. I like the layout of my blog at the moment, but Tweak Me sounds amazing and like it has so many possibilities. I just quit my job to focus more on school, so I will probably have to wait a few months till my birthday to request they simply buy me the theme as a present, but man, am I looking forward to it! πŸ˜€

    Karolina @ Bookshelf Reflections recently posted: The Grinch’s Christmas Giveaway: Survey
    1. I think all bloggers (including me!) can always learn a bit more info. That’s one of the great things about blogging. It’s always changing and there’s always something new to learn. So hopefully my new series will be useful to both new and “old” bloggers. πŸ˜€

      Tweak Me v2 would be an awesome birthday present! πŸ˜‰

    1. That’s a fantastic goal Dana. Stress is the worst. I think finding a healthy balance is a great idea. I’m sure you can make it work! πŸ™‚

  6. I’ve been wanting do create or work on a line that focuses on book-related fashion items for a while now but now that I don’t have a job (and the time) I’ve been thinking about it more this past year. Which sucks because I sold my dress form and sewing machine not too long ago…
    Good luck with all your goals this year! Happy 2015!

    Nereyda @Mostly YA Book Obsessed recently posted: Review: Sweet Surprise by Candis Terry!

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