So everyone is all about the blogging refresher right now, right? It's time for goals, lists, to-dos and a boost behind your little corner of the web. Whether you're one for New Year Resolutions or not, you can't deny that a new year brings a sense of action with it, a tangible time scale to begin your refresh.
I'm here to add some more tick-offs to your to-do list. Some blogmin to set you in the right stead for the rest of the year. Here's what your blog needs right now...
1. Content You Love
Pressure to keep up with a schedule means you push out posts for the sake of it more often than you'd like, am I right? Last year I lived by the blog rule that I blogged for me - if creating a post that felt a little forced, I'd pick it up later, or skip it completely.
The more passion in your words, the more passion will be read by the audience. Create content you love to create, not content you should create and the motivation will come with it.
If you're going to kill it with your blog this year, then get organising. Need motivation to organise? You can pimp out your desk with a plethora of stationery if that's what it takes. A pretty workspace definitely boosts your activity. Definitely.
Find what works for you, that could be a spreadsheet filled with your blog schedule for the month, a Post-It full of ideas or allocating time each week to get on top of emails, photo taking and getting the words out.
If you want to set yourself off right then Tea Party Beauty has designed a free downloadable planner which will give you a good head start.
3. Some Social Love
If you're putting all this effort into creating amazing content, then you want people to see it! With your now organised time, devote some of that to social. Get scheduling some promo tweets, Instas and Facebook posts. Spread a few social posts out over each day of the week to reach different audiences and make sure you tag companies and include any relevant hashtags without getting too spammy.
I would say that you can't over promote but I'm definitely guilty of unfollowing a handful of people after they seemed to throw their content at me without doing much else.
4. A Real Person Behind Your Blog
Getting everything scheduled in advance is great, but make sure you're still engaged with the content. Blasting out a load of blog posts in one day can lead you to losing touch with your blog as you leave the auto-post to do the work through the week.
Make sure your voice shines through your content. It's not always easy to put a voice to the digital written word, but think of your favourite bloggers or content - is it bland copy? Or is there a unique personality behind the words? I know I definitely return to the latter and look forward to reading the content daily. Start by writing exactly as you'd speak with your best friends - and let the personality flow from there.
5. Some Content Risks
The best posts are the ones to get people talking, but make it for the right reasons. Start a discussion, raise a passion, share your concerns and the things that get YOU talking - you'd be surprised at how many people are on the same side as you.
6. Damn Good Pictures
A picture speaks a thousand words, said endless times because it's true. How often do you scroll through blogs or news (even on your favourite sites) and only read a few of the sentences? Attention spans are shorter than ever. Keep your content to the point and engage the audience with your photos.
You don't need to spend loads on equipment, you need to learn how to create the best with what's available to you and only consider an upgrade if you think it'll be worth it. Your phone camera and the right editing could be just what you need.
7. A Break from a Rigid Theme
While consistency is great for stats and aesthetic, step back from it every so often. Want to share that amazing stacked burger you just ate but you don't have your marble backdrop prop to hand? Who cares?! Share what you LOVE - there's always room for passion, life's too short to live for likes.
8. A Stop to Comparison
Far easier said than done, but as the saying goes 'comparison is the thief of joy'. You're on your own journey, whether you're blogging for yourself or for the masses, so keep your blinkers on if it means a happier you. Easiest way? Remove yourself from the situation, if you're having a down day then throw yourself into something creative, or the ultimate chill, don't bury yourself in a lap of blog reading that'll make you second-guess yourself.
9. An SEO Crash Course
If you're here to get noticed, then you should devote adequate time to an SEO education. Learn the essentials at minimum. PRs and SEO agencies will all differ on what they're after, but learning why nofollow links are important, what all your blog statistics actually mean and the importance of external link maintenance could mean a significant difference.
Even if you're not on a professional mission, having the right audience coming to your blog will always be positive for your blogging motivation, some SEO for dummies could be just what you need.
10. Take a Break
All of the above only apply if you're heart's in it. I think there's a tendency to take blogging a little too seriously or blindly keep at it just because everyone else is. At the end of it all, if you're not loving it, take a step back. You may have promised daily posts, but chances are your audience would much prefer a couple of no-show posts than something there just so you got something live. It's not the end of the world if you skip some posts to rejuvenate your passion.
Some simple guidelines... They work for me and I'm hoping they'll have some impact on your blog life too. I would seriously love to hear if any of these work for you - if anything just to boost your motivation, but if you see any improvement in your blog, then I'd like to think I played a part.