I hope all my American readers are enjoying a lovely Thanksgiving weekend with family–and maybe even a busy Black Friday shopping spree.
As a Canadian, I got a fun holiday yesterday, since I don’t tend to post when Americans aren’t reading (since y’all are about 75% of my audience). And today, I thought that rather than do a traditional post, I’d take a chance to tell you all about what’s going on behind the scenes, and what’s coming up.
Last night I had a talk with Katie, and she was worrying a bit about how much she’s changed since she started YouTube.
When she launched her channel, she was 16. Now she’s married. So how does she keep making videos that her audience will relate to when she’s now a different person? (don’t worry; she’s figured it out! She’s just going to keep being authentic, and she has some great stuff to say). She’s honestly one of the savviest people I know. She can read the culture, and she feels deeply when things are wrong. I hope she jumps in to her “new self” with both feet, because I think God’s taking her places.
But it got me thinking about how much I’ve changed since I started this blog. When I began blogging in 2008, my kids were 13 and 11. Now they’re both married. Then I was mostly talking about parenting, with some marriage thrown in. Now I mostly talk about sex, with a lot of marriage, and some parenting.
But that’s not all that’s changed.
I know you all are hearing all the time about changes in social media, and I thought I’d give you a behind-the-scenes look at what it’s like for me, as a blogger.
In 2014, my biggest social media source was Pinterest, by far (well, it still is, but it’s fallen off a lot). They mostly came because of my graphics, and those were mostly to do with marriage from a Christian point of view, so many people who were discovering me everyday were Christian.
Since then, Pinterest has done a huge algorithm change which pretty much everyone hates, and which is why no one uses Pinterest the way they used to (have you ever noticed that when you go on Pinterest now, they show you all kinds of pins that you aren’t interested in from people you don’t follow? Because Katie once looked at wedding dresses on Pinterest, that’s all she sees now. She hates it). You can’t see the people you follow in the same way, because Pinterest has decided to compete with Google, and is trying to become a search engine instead. So I’ve hired someone (hi Sarah!) to make my graphics and study Pinterest and try to get the traffic back up, and she’s doing a good job, though it will likely never completely recover.
Then there’s Facebook. Oh, dear. My Facebook traffic is likely about 20% of what it once was, but I think that’s likely because no one is on Facebook anymore. Are you? I hardly ever am. I wanted to follow my friends and keep up with pics of their kids, and instead it’s all politics.
But my traffic hasn’t really changed, because I get most of my traffic from Google. (The new visitor traffic that is). And most of them aren’t Christian. I’m actually going to do a post in January of the 10 biggest searches that get people to this site, and they’re all pretty darn sad, actually. There’s a lot of hurting people out there.
So on any given day, I get about 13,000 people landing here from Google, hoping to fix their sex life or their marriage, often because of porn. It’s funny, because I always wanted to go into mission work overseas, but I actually am in mission work, right here at home. My mission field is just Google. So I have several people working for me (Hi Connor and Emily!) who are doing Search Engine Optimization for the blog. It’s my outreach.
That’s really humbling. And I get really overwhelmed by how many hurting people are out there. It’s heartbreaking, because what people need is Jesus. They don’t just need to know what to do; they need the power of the Holy Spirit to actually change hearts. I’m so glad Google sends so many people here, and if you ever think of me, that’s what I’d really like prayer for–that I keep Google’s favour. It’s an incredible outreach, even if it is overwhelming.
As for social media, I used to put a lot of time into Facebook and Pinterest personally, but now I spend a lot more time at Instagram, and increasingly at YouTube. I want to start making more video content, since I have so much video of me speaking and doing interviews, and I never seem to use it. In fact, yesterday I made a video that kind of encapsulates what I said on Wednesday about sexual intimacy. See what you think:
And I have my daughter Katie (hi Katie!) working for me doing my Instagram.
I’m still on Facebook, of course, and when I need ideas for a top 10 post, that’s where I ask (and you all say the best things!). But if you’re not following me on Instagram or YouTube, please come on over. I’ve just revamped my YouTube page, and I’ll be adding more stuff soon.
Most of my efforts, though, go into my emails.
42,000 of you are signed up to get my marriage emails now, and that’s awesome. I’ve got two people helping me with that (hi Connor and Samantha!), and they get the basics together so that then I can add personal touches. Every Friday I send out a weekly roundup of the posts, and I include something personal for my subscribers that you don’t get if you’re just on the blog. Maybe it’s a new freebie, or a behind the scenes look. Last week Rebecca and I shared a video where we debated whether to raise the issue of how to handle a spouse’s obesity in marriage. I’d like to talk about it, but I was getting some pushback on Facebook. So I conducted a poll (it was 92% in favour of talking about it!).
So it’s a lot to keep up with, but I love it, because I get to employ so many people, and I honestly feel blessed to get to help so many marriages, too!
So what are we up to for the New Year?
Rebecca (my oldest) has been working for me for a while, but she’s going to be stepping back soon (we hope. That’s been the plan). She’s honestly one of the most brilliant people I know. Whenever I have to write a difficult post, I talk it through with her first. Whenever I don’t know what to do with a comment, she sees through the issues so clearly. She’s wonderful. But we’ve got an amazing business idea that she wants to pursue full-time, and she’s hoping to transition over to that in January. She’ll still be here to write posts or be in videos, but she won’t be doing the behind-the-scenes day-to-day administration stuff.
PLUS we’ve got an amazing opportunity to offer our Whole Story puberty course to some charter schools, and we’ll be filming the youth group/school curriculum version of it in the winter. So that’s exciting.
And I’m going to be writing a new fun book on personality in marriage in the new year, too. Wasn’t planning on that, but the opportunity came up and I’m quite excited about it.
Over the last few months, my son-in-law has come on board to do a lot of the administrative stuff Rebecca was doing, and it’s been fun having him work for me. Plus their dog loves having both of them working from home!
We’re planning on starting a podcast!
Blogging just isn’t the same as it once was. I’m really blessed because my blog traffic has stayed pretty much the same, but people are consuming media in all different ways. It isn’t just reading posts anymore.
That’s why I really do want to branch out into video (which I’m doing) but especially into a podcast. We’re looking at getting that ready for the New Year. I’m going to focus on the monthly topic (every Wednesday in a month I talk about a specific theme), and delve deeper than the blog posts. Plus we’ll have a bunch of extras as well.
I really appreciate all of you who have been with me through all this transition, and those of you who have only joined me recently. I’m having so much fun learning all the new stuff about videos and podcasts and Instagram and everything, and that’s what I love about what I do. It’s always changing. I’m still going to blog of course, but I’m just adding more things (and more employees), and our family is growing. (in fact, all of my employees are getting together for a “How to Host a Murder” Christmas party in December! Should be a riot. Though we’ll have to get baby-sitters for the three baby girls. We’ve got lots of babies here!)
I thought on this family weekend, then, I’d let you in on my “family”.
But let me know–if I start a podcast, would you listen? 🙂 And any specific features you’d want me to include? Let’s talk in the comments!