Okay, enough with the excuses. Now that the holidays are over and the new year is beginning, it’s time to fulfill those promises you’ve been making to yourself and re-commit yourself to blogging. Whether you’ve been slacking on content or need to make some serious updates to your design, now’s your chance to commit to a blogging resolution (or three) and improve your game in 2015. Here’s nine possible resolutions to mix and match:
1. Post more regularly
If that means making a schedule, do it. If schedules mean you’re making sub-par content half the time, just make a commitment to up your game. Keep a running list of blog post ideas to have with you at all times (I use my phone) and every time you think of an idea, no matter how good or bad, write it down. Figure out when you enjoy writing the most, like Sunday mornings, and schedule in time to write your posts for the week. If inspiration strikes while you’re doing the dishes or watching TV, stop what you are doing and write. If you never feeling inspired, maybe rethink what you’re blogging about.
2. Improve the photography
Pick up a DSLR and learn how to use Photoshop. These tools, while expensive, are absolutely invaluable for blogging. Don’t make the pictures an afterthought five minutes before you want to post, make them a priority. Plan out your photoshoots and give yourself time to tinker with the lighting and the camera settings and the objects in the picture. After you edit the pictures, walk away and come back later to look at them with fresh eyes. Think about Pinterest (vertical photography with the title) and Facebook (horizontal photography). If you can’t afford expensive equipment, use your phone and PicMonkey, but always take the time to take, edit, and upload big, beautiful photos.
3. Do some technical updates
This is the sort of background work bloggers often put off because you can’t immediately see it, but trust me when I say it makes a difference. Download an SEO plugin and start optimizing all of your posts for SEO. Download social share buttons and a Pinterest hover button for your photos and a plugin that will make all external links open in a new window. Start using an easier commenting system like Disqus. All these little details add up to make your blog get and keep more readers.
4. Improve the design
Buy a book on WordPress or Blogger and start learning how to improve your blog design on your own. Or, if you’re like me with 0 design skill, start saving up your money to buy a new design. Find out who created the design for your favorite blogs by looking at the citation at the bottom and look through the portfolio and prices for that designer. Start tweaking things yourself, like the About Page. Revise and update the copy, add in new photos, and include links to some of your favorite posts. Consider your sidebar – is it too empty or cluttered? Remove what isn’t necessary and add in a Popular Posts widget.
5. Incorporate new post types
Start a new series or start a linkup. Start sharing your more controversial opinions, because people like to read and talk about more than just recipes sometimes. Don’t feel overly limited by the fact that you’re a “beauty blogger” or a “fashion blogger.” Nobody makes the rules about what you can and can’t talk about except for you. Share personal posts (apparently they’re insanely popular with my readers) and share tips about something you know a lot about. Share your top ten movies and top ten books and top ten albums. You’ll never find out what your readers like to read about or what you like to write about until you try it. You may be surprised.
6. Start advertising
Start advertising on other blogs and begin allowing bloggers to advertise on yours. Ask your blogger friends who they have had great success advertising with. Look around the marketplace on Passionfruit for blogs that have high uniques and followers, who offer more than just a banner ad, who are reasonably affordable, and who you can work with sooner than June 2015. Or, sign up for Passionfruit yourself and create a Sponsor page on your blog. Offer a variety of ads, like banners and guest posts. Don’t sell yourself short when it comes to the price – make advertising worth your time if you’re going to do it at all.
7. Get active on social media.
Don’t just promote your new blog posts – promote old blog posts, share your favorite posts from other bloggers, join chats, and reach out to new people to form relationships. Start using tools to schedule posts, manage your followers, and keep track of your friends. Make your social media copy witty and eye-catching and more than just the title of your post. Form new relationships and connect more with your regular blogging friends by engaging constantly. Retweet, repin, like, heart, favorite, comment, and share. Social media is not a one way street.
8. Get more involved in the blogging community
Despite the fact that it can be time consuming, always respond to comments. Make your readers more than just your readers but your friends. If they share a heartfelt, personal story, take the time to have a dialogue to them. Not only will it be more rewarding for you, it will show your readers that you care that they’re there and encourage them to keep coming back. Go comment on other people’s blogs. If you have time, always leave a comment (and always make it more than one sentence). Promote your friends on your blog and they’ll reciprocate. You’re there to support each other, and blogging is much harder, and less enjoyable, when you’re doing it alone.
9. Do some extracurricular learning
Take courses and read blogging how-tos and buy books. Trade tips with your friends. No one knows how to blog when they start and we’re all learning more. Try Skillshare or A Beautiful Mess or Design Love Fest. Follow bloggers who share blogging tips and implement those tips on your own site. Take a college class in SEO or professional writing or Photoshop. Always be learning, always be updating, always be growing.
Pssst… you can read more of my blogging tips here:
- 7 Reasons I Stop Reading Your Blog
- How to Get More Blog Readers
- 4 Twitter Tools Every Blogger Needs
- 5 Non-Obvious Things Every Blog Needs