Reflecting Back on 2019 and the Past Decade

Reflecting Back on 2019 and the Past Decade

Hey, y'all! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and looking forward to moving into a new year and decade strong, determined, and ready to tackle those goals!

Can you believe we're going into the year 2020? It sounds so futuristic, doesn't it?

I remember like it was yesterday, starting this blog back in 2012 to document the products I use and share my thoughts about them. Never would I have imagined how far along this blog came, giving me the freedom to become my own business, meeting the head honchos of companies, chatting it up with celebrities in person, being able to travel with my family to fantastic places. And the list goes on!

And let's not forget the support I receive from all of you over the years! It's because of you that I keep living out my dreams of blogging, and you tag along with me, cheering away! Thank you for your support!

Recently, one of my readers left a loving note saying that you're the only blog I read to get the latest scoop on products, family, and travel. They love my blog! Knowing that brought so much joy to my heart because with blogs starting to age out, it makes me know that there are still people out there that enjoy reading about what I have to say.

This industry changed a lot since I have started blogging back in 2008. Yes, in 2008! Remember

I have watch companies come and go, bloggers start blogs and leave blogging behind, social media becoming the new way to blog, and so on.

People ask me, how have I lasted this long in this virtual space?

Well, if you are passionate about what you do and don't follow others, you'll continue with what brings you joy. Blogging brings me joy, and what I blog about, which is reviews, sharing my experiences, and helping others is what I'm passionate about. 

I don't hop on different trends and spread myself out thin. I stay true to myself and not be someone that I am not. What you see is what you get, and I believe that's why I have longevity with this career.

Top Nine Best Photos on Instagram for @MissLouMae Product Review Mom

How Product Review Mom did in 2019

2019 was a year of incredible accomplishments, slowing it down a bit to take care of me, also, still recovering from lost traffic due to my graphic designer not doing the right things.

Let's Chat about my Wins in 2019!

Dollywood with teen daughters

First off, this was the year of Dollywood for me. Dollywood knows how much I love the theme park, and reached out to be their 2019 Dollywood Contributing Writer for them on Product Review Mom!

I truly was honored to join forces with them to share what Dolly Parton had up her sparkling sleeves for her award-winning theme park.  

The year 2019 was definitely Dolly Parton's with a new land, Wildwood Grove, that opened in late spring at Dollywood. She also opened a dinner show in Pigeon Forge, TN, expanding her entertainment empire, a new Netflix series called Heartstrings, plus a Hallmark movie.

Since Dolly had so much going on, it had my family and me in Pigeon Forge every other month.

It makes me proud to see Dolly Parton, who grew up poor and worked her way to the legend that she is today. I want my daughters to know that you can turn your dreams to reality as long as you work hard for it. Dolly is like me, I dream it, and achieve it!

I hope to continue my partnership with Dollywood Entertainment into 2020 and beyond!

2019 was the Year of Conventions

MomoCon Atlanta with Teen Daughters

2019 was also the year of conventions for the girls and I. If we were not in Pigeon Forge, you more than likely would find us at an anime/gaming convention.

We went to MomoCon, Southern-Fried Gaming Expo, Atlanta Comic-Con, Repticon, and Atlanta Anime Weekend! My wallet was like, "Girl, would you stop going to all of these conventions, please?"

I do these things because I want to know what brings my daughters happiness, getting a better understanding of their lives with all the changes happening with them growing up.

It's fun joining in and doing what they enjoy. Keeps me young and vibrant. There are people who complain that they don't understand their teenagers, but if they join in with the stuff their child does, they will get a better understanding and relationship.  

Yes, these teenage years are hard, especially in my situation, when I don't have a tribe of help to fall back on. But, I understand that my daughters are going through phases, the same way I did during their age, so I am more empathetic.

The Car I Love the Most in 2019 is...

The All-New 2019 Chevy Blazer

You all know how much I love reviewing cars! Cars play a big part in my life because they take you to places to create memories and memorable tales in them as well.

There were several cars I reviewed this year, but one just took my breath away and surprised me making a comeback, and that was the 2019 Chevy Blazer! Chevy Blazer returned from a long hiatus to come crushing with a new edgy style. I received the most compliments with this vehicle. It's tough, rugged, bold, handling any road conditions. Lauren was like, can we keep this car longer? She loved the attention she was getting from her friends.

Great job, Chevy!

Product Review Mom 2019 Honorable Mentions

Myself and my blog were mentioned in several top publications!

First, Parade Magazine contacted me to get my opinion on how I take care of myself. They added my quote to their Self-Care article. And you know what, a lot of people say you must continuously post daily on Instagram to be seen by brands. Well, that's a myth, because several brands, including Parade Magazine, found my Instagram and reached out even though I cut back on my postings.

That's why I say, don't follow others, and do you!

Another honorable mention was me getting to ask Dolly Parton a question during her grand opening celebration of the Pirates Voyage Dinner Show. I hopped on the mic, said my name and blog to her while news crew, and other top media were filming, giving me a massive boost of exposure. This blog has gotten on so many media lists in the Smoky Mountain area, all because of me sharing who I was to Dolly Parton before asking her a question.

The next honorable mention was being crowded, one of the top bloggers on CopyHacker earning money from my blog through paid sponsorships.

Now, I want to let you know, I only do paid sponsorships that fit my brand and lifestyle, I don't do just anything to make a buck. There has been quite of bit of money I pass up because it doesn't fit my brand.  

Speaking of sponsors! Lexli became a sponsor on Product Review Mom, a skincare brand that offers aloe-based skincare products that have worked miracles to my skin as well as my daughters. After using Lexli skincare products, my skin feels and looks like I just got a professional facial done. No lie!

Lexli knows how passionate I am when it comes to skincare, so they featured me in their Holiday Beauty Guide, sharing winter skincare tips. I'm grateful for the recognition.

Lastly, Product Review Mom was on the Top 40 list of Product Review Blogs People Need to Follow in 2019! Now, how cool is that! Being on that list has given me traffic to this blog daily, and I'm pretty sure that some brands have found me on this list too.

2019 Wasn't All Glitter and Rainbows

Although I had a lot of great moments in 2019, some days had me stressed out.

I'm still trying to fix the damage my old graphic designer did, and it's a slow process. My traffic is returning but at a leisurely pace.  

I started digging deeper to correct the issues and found that not only did my old graphic designer made my blog nofollow to search engines, but she also didn't redirect my blog correctly when Product Review Mom went from HTTP to HTTPS. Such a costly mess she did!

But hey, the good thing is I'm recovering. Not as fast as I would like, but soon enough, I should be back on the right track. I got to continue with my blog and to be the best that I can be.

While doing all this, I discovered so many old posts that have excellent information that should be shown love again, so I freshen them up and reshare them. Some of you may have noticed past blog posts being reshared if you been reading this blog for a long time. I'll continue doing this throughout 2020 and beyond.

Moving into 2020, expect to see more reviews, experiences, videos, and helpful tips. Do I have anything planned out? No, I'm a go with the flow kind of girl. When I start mapping out things, it never follows as expected and only leads to frustration.

Oh yeah, here are my predictions of what will be the trends in 2020:

1. Mental Health will be a big topic on social media and blogs in 2020. People are more open about their mental illnesses, and I can see companies and bloggers taking the opportunity to make money from it. So, be careful and only trust reliable sources.

2. Green Lifestyle has been growing for a while now, and people want to live healthier lives. You'll see brands promoting Eco-Friendly products much more.

3. 2020 is an election year, so expect a lot of political content shoved down your throats.

4. CBD Products was all the rage in 2019 and will continue in 2020. I have been asked to review CBD skincare products often, but I don't know if I'm ready for that. I still need to do some research on it.

5. TikTok is a video-sharing app from China that grew in popularity this year and will be the leading social media apps in 2020. It's mainly teens on there creating funny videos, but it's catching on with adults and brands. Will you see me on there? More than likely not. I'm already on so many different social media sites as it is.

6. Short Videos. People's attention spans are getting shorter and shorter, so creating short videos is the way to go to be seen on social media.

7. The picture-perfect pictures are getting old on Instagram. As I mentioned mental health, people are unfollowing beautiful curated IG accounts that are making them feel bad about themselves. People want to see the real, not overly done pictures. Lately, I started taking pictures with my cell phone on there instead of getting the perfect shot with my DSLR camera, and I get the most engagement from cell phone pics, then my camera.

8. As Google is showing more of big brands on search results, and pushing smaller websites down the list, bloggers and small businesses are going to need to diversify ways of getting people on their sites. And with social media showing less and less of business's posts, unless they pay for the posts to be seen, companies and bloggers are going to need to find creative ways to bring people to them. For instance, start networking in person! Get out and meet your readers and fans in real life. You can't be behind the screen forever. Go to conferences, do speaking gigs, attend events. 

9. Facebook Groups with niche interests will be a big thing in 2020. Facebook is about coming together as a community and finding your tribe. For example, I'm in several Facebook groups with communities that help bloggers come along and help one another. Another group I'm in is Dollywood fanatics, who share their tips and all about their experiences at Dollywood. It's a great group for me to help other people plan their trips to Dollywood with my blog posts.

10. For those that are bloggers/influencers and noticing paid sponsorships are dwindling, expect more of it. Can't keep relying on paid sponsorships, the market is way too saturated. It's time to start creating your own products. And, for newbies starting out, be careful with purchasing online courses, a lot of that information on becoming a blogger/influencer can be easily found free doing a search on Google. With sponsorships not as lucrative as it use to be, a lot of Bloggers/Influencers are shifting their focus to creating courses on how to make money as an influencer knowing that the industry is over-saturated and even they are not making the money that they use to. 

11. Podcasts will continue to grow in 2020. Podcasts are easy to listen to since people have busy lifestyles and listen on-the-go. Soon, you'll start noticing podcasts starting to be found on search engines as well. I'm not big on podcasts, because to me, they are like talk radio, and I never was into it.

12. Voice searches are growing since there are voice products like Alexa, so when it comes to content on blogs, it needs to be legible. I know people like to use slang when they write, but voice intelligence may not understand it.

I know this post was very long, but I been sitting back reflecting on all that has transpired this year and the years past. I have come a long way, and so proud of all that I have accomplished.  

Again, thank you for continuing on this journey with me! Cheers to a healthy, prosperous 2020!

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  1. Happy Holidays sis, I am so glad that things are going forward for you into the New Year. I am working on the release of my Blogging Basics for Beginners book for the new year so that I will have something to sell from the stage; and of course continuing to host the Delaware Blogger Podcast; which if you ask Alexa to play she will do so for you Happy New Year!

    1. Happy New Years Sis! I'm so happy with your new book! I can't wait to read it! I know it will help so many people who would like to start a career as a blogger. Also, you should create a book about starting a podcast, since it's so popular right now.

  2. That's fantastic Lou! You are one of my favorites to read. So don't worry about me leaving. Congratulations! On all the partnerships and other experiences. That's what it's all about. As long as the passion is there, then it lasts forever. You inspire me so much. Keep doing it. Thank you for being an example

    1. Thank you so much Janet! And I love following along your journey as well. You worked so hard to become the top blogger you are today. Well deserved!

  3. Podcasts is one that I'm not jumping on at all. I will be doing more smaller videos on youtube and perfecting that. I also will be doing more conferences that have nothing to do with blogging. I will be keeping my blog but I want to focus on small business photography going forward. can't wait to see what 2020 brings you!

    1. Those are good goals. When it comes to conferences/conventions, I attend ones that are not blogging related at all, and brands have been finding me that way. I go to so many gaming events because of Lauren, and that's how Nintendo found me. Going to conferences that is not blogging related is the way to go. I know 2020 when bring you lots of success girl!

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