Hi, and thank you for being a reader of KeyToKorean.com.
Let me start off by saying we do appreciate all the support you’ve shown over the past few years as this site has grown from about 40 to 40,000+ monthly readers. Let me give you:
- a brief overview of the history of this site as well as
- our current status and
- what we are looking at for our direction in the future
A Brief History of KeyToKorean
2010 – Grad School
- 2010, April – I entered grad school for Media Design and began work on rebranding Korean tourism
2011 – New baby
- 2011, January – our son Isaac was born (and my wife stopped working to care for him)
- 2011, April – I finished my Master’s Degree in Media Design from Full Sail University
- 2011, October – as a single income family with a newborn + large student loan debt, life was becoming difficult (we both picked up some English tutoring to help)
2012 – Single-income family
- 2012, July – my parents helped us pay for a trip back to the US as a family of 3. While there, I read through a few Dave Ramsey books and started thinking
- 2012, August – we brainstormed the idea to let my wife begin tutoring in Korean when we returned to Korea as a way to help bring in some much needed income
- 2012, September – launched KeyToKorean.com as a support resource for her offline classes
2013 – Increase (family & blog traffic)
- 2013, February – frustrated with a lack of offline students, I began blogging DAILY on KeyToKorean.com to build traffic and interest in Korean and hopefully draw in more students. We kept up the pace well for a while
- 2013, November – our daughter Jenna was born
2014 – WordPress Programming
- 2014, July – I was added to the Korea.net Worldwide Korea bloggers team to help produce content on that blog as well. Additionally, working a tough English summer camp, and preparing for TOPIK drew my attention from KeyToKorean and I blogged less
- 2014, September – I began posting Grammar Points to KeyToKorean as often as I could.
- My university also transferred my contractual department from Liberal Arts to Fashion and assigned me a NEW class called “Global Fashion Business” with NO syllabus, NO book, NO guidance, and NO previous renditions of this class EVER having been taught before (it’s like assigning a penguin to Flight Commander – pretty much exactly the OPPOSITE of what he’s capable of).
- 2014, October – Determined to not DIE in Fashion, I started to focus on what I’m good at and studied in school – Computer Programming and Design. I released my first WordPress plugin on WordPress.org. KeyToKorean got placed on the back burner.
2015 – Too many balls in the air
- 2015, January – I completely redesigned and recoded KeyToKorean from the ground up (and wrote very few blog articles). I also started a WordPress Meetup in Jeonju to help teach others about WordPress website building. My wife also decided to go back to grad school to major in “Teaching Korean to Foreigners.”
- 2015, March – a presentation I gave at my second job (teaching Computer Programming at an International High School, where I’ve worked since 2013) started the ball rolling to introduce AP Computer Science as a class option the following semester
- 2015, July – I missed registration for the TOPIK, so decided to do it in October.
- I started daily blogging at KeyToKorean again with the 120 Days to TOPIK series.
- I also studied 1500 new Korean words
- was head teacher at a summer English camp and
- we filmed a “Learn Hangul” video series (that needs edited and uploaded)
- I additionally began selling some KeyToKorean PDFs on GumRoad to help pay our website bills.
- The WordPress Meetup was put on hold.
- 2015, September – I picked up an extra class (AP Computer Science) at the High School (now 75% full-time), so KeyToKorean got put on the back burner again
- 2015, October – I started a MAJOR rewrite of my first WordPress plugin as well as 2-3 other large coding projects
- 2015, November – I was again selected as a Korea.net Honorary Reporter for 2016
That brings us up to our current status.
1. The Website
- Currently, the design is a bit busy and crowded
- Resources are not well organized or easy to find
- Blog writing has fallen away
- Readership is surprisingly up – the highest it’s ever been
- We made about $140 from KeyToKorean PDFs so far this year – about enough to cover our website hosting fees
2. Aaron (Website Manager)
- Working Full-time teaching English at Jeonju University
- Working nearly full-time teaching Computer Programming at GPA High School
- Working on personal and client projects in design and programming (freelance)
- Working on some major WordPress updates to my previous plugins and themes
- Hoping to get out of teaching English as much as possible (it pays the bills)
3. Sarah (Offline Teacher)
- Currently wrapping up Semester 2 of 4 in her Master’s Program to “Teach Korean”
- Currently teaching 3 regular students in town on her non-schoolwork days
- Considering what to write about for her Master’s Thesis (I’m pushing for online Korean education – do you have any suggestions?)
4. Other Things
- We are still staring down the barrel of my 4th (final) student loan (but paying off 3 of 4 in 3 years isn’t bad)
- My son Isaac is in a (pricey for us) private kindergarten, mostly because it is close to our house and the public schools nearby were absolutely full
- Jenna just turned 2 last week
The Future of KeyToKorean
Where are we going with all this?
- Korean fluency
- Comprehensive list of Grammar rules
- To become a Korean-learning Resources HUB
- Increase community involvement
- REGULAR KeyToKorean updates
- REDUCE external commitments (stop teaching English if possible)
- REDUCE website clutter and chaos (clean, simple redesign)
- Commit to regular KeyToKorean updates – let’s say 1-3 times per week (not daily – but higher quality)
- Release 1 (or more) video courses
- INCREASE amount (and quality) of Korean learning resources
- Open up the website for much more community participation and involvement
The following is a list of things I’ve wanted to try out for over a year but haven’t really felt ready for. (No, I still don’t feel quite ready for them, but I guess at some point you have to just “jump” and quit considering it.)
- KeyToKorean Memberships: would include
- WRITE access to Forums (reading will always be free)
- Private Facebook group and/or private KeyToKorean social network on this site
- Access to ALL PDFs available in the Gumroad Store for the duration of membership
- KeyToKorean Pro: would additionally include
- Your own PERSONAL blog address at [you].keytokorean.com
- No ads
This functionality is not available, but I hope to do some work on it all over the holidays and hopefully get something new going on early next year.
Anyway, regardless of what happens with the Memberships, I want to continue updating this site with more Grammar Points as well as start working on some new Topics for learning Korean.
Rest assured, this site will not die until at least I’ve achieved Korean fluency – even if it takes a long, long time.