The new year has arrived! Now is the perfect time to evaluate your blog and prepare for a successful year ahead!
Taking the time to reflect and plan at the start of a new year, is the best way to help you stay organised and achieve your goals.
Evaluate your blog performance
Before you jump straight into planning for 2017, take some time to reflect on the past year.
Did you have a successful blogging year? Did you reach all your goals? Think about what went well and what you can improve on. Now is the perfect time to review your blog posts, and analyse which ones were most successful.
It’s also a good idea to read through the comments and feedback your readers have given you. How can you take that on board in the new year? Are there any recurring questions from readers that you could turn into a new post.
Here are some things to consider:
- Does your website and branding still reflect what you’re blog is about?
- Is there anything you want to change in the new year?
- Did you launch any products or services? Were they successful?
- Have you experienced a big growth or drop in followers throughout the year?
- Have you changed your focus within your blog?
- Will you continue blogging about the same topics?
The next step is to set goals you wish to achieve over the upcoming year. This is similar to making new year's resolutions, but instead of thinking of personal goals, think of things that will help to improve your blog performance this year. Setting goals and targets are a great way to keep yourself motivated and gives you something to hold yourself accountable for.
When setting your goals, I recommend you aim high. This is because if you set yourself a big goal, even if you fail you will most likely have gotten closer and achieved more than if you had set yourself smaller goal. Big goals push you to work harder!
Having said this, it’s also important to keep it realistic. Setting a goal to grow your blog following from 100 to 100,000 followers in a year could be unrealistic. This will have the opposite effect and make you less motivated when you realise you're not going to get there. There has to be a balance. Push yourself out of your comfort zone, but also keep it attainable.
I would also avoid being too vague with your goals. Things like ‘grow my blog’ or ‘get more email subscribers’ are too broad. It makes it harder to measure your success and achieve the goal because there is no timeframe or specific target. You might get 10 more blog followers in 6 months and you still would have grown your blog, but that’s probably not the results you had hoped for. Try making the goal more specific by breaking it down into action steps. Things like ‘reach 500 followers by the end of February’ is a much better goal as it gives you a clear target to work towards.
Know what content your readers want
This might seem like an obvious one, but it’s still a common mistake that bloggers make. They blog about things that they think their audience wants to know, but don’t actually check. It’s important to really know your readers and understand what they want to read about. You don’t want to waste your time and effort writing lots of new blog posts if your readers aren't interested or finding them helpful.
You might be thinking - “Well surely it’s obvious, they wouldn’t read my fashion blog if they weren’t interested in fashion!” and you’re right, but you might still be narrowly missing the topics that they really care about. For example, you could be blogging about celebrity fashion and runway looks, when your readers really want to know how they can take certain aspects of a celebrity's style and make it their own. You could be overlooking something simple that will really help your audience out.
The best way to make sure you're writing the right content that appeals to your readers is to ask and analyse. Here’s a few different ways you can do this:
- Send a survey newsletter to your email subscribers asking them what topics they struggle with most and what content they want to see more of.
- Use social media to ask your followers. For example, you could create a twitter poll asking what posts your followers would prefer to read.
- End your blog posts with a question and ask your readers to leave feedback in the comments section.
- Analyse your blog post performance. Which posts got the most, comments and shares? That’s a pretty good indicator of how helpful your audience found it.
Ensure your content is valuable
This leads us to the next point, which is to make sure your content is valuable! The fastest way to grow your blog is to make sure you’re providing your readers with value. Teach them something, entertain them or inspire them!
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying ‘quality over quantity’. Well it’s better to post less often with amazing content, than whack out loads of posts with average content that isn’t particularly helpful to your readers. You want to be known for being an amazing resource!
If people aren’t getting much out of your blog, they have no reason to stick around, so focus on making sure all your posts are useful, informative and what your readers want to read.
Get on a schedule
Consistent posting is one of the most important things you can do to help grow your blog. Creating a blogging schedule will help ensure you stay more organised and develop a blogging routine. It’s useful to dedicate certain days to particular tasks, this way you know which days you’re going to focus on creating content and which days you’re due to publish a post etc.
Getting on a blogging schedule not only helps you, but also helps your readers know when to expect a new post from you. Your followers will become more loyal when they know when your next post is and they will start to look forward to reading your blog regularly.
Planning and preparing blog posts ahead of time is an amazing way to make sure you stay on top of your blog. Think about how many days a week you wish to publish a post and how far in advance you want to plan. I personally like to have posts written and ready to publish a week or two in advance. This way if something comes up and I don't get around to writing a new one, I’ve still got a post ready to send out.
It’s also helpful to think about the steps it takes to produce a new blog post and how long each step takes. Do you have to take photos, edit photos or make worksheets? Plan it all into your schedule so you can stay on track.
Use a blog planner
There are so many elements to juggle when running a blog. My biggest piece of advice is to get a blog planner that will help you keep all aspects of your blog organised.
It can be quite overwhelming to look at a massive list of things to do, but using a blog planner gives you a place to put all your ideas so you can focus on the task at hand. It also helps you organise your thoughts and break them down into a more manageable action plan.
I designed my own blog planner to help me stay on top of everything and I’ve been so much more organised ever since I did. My blog planner includes a blog overview, blogging goals, content planning worksheets, social media trackers and a whole section on finances.
And because I really want to help you succeed this new year, I’m giving away one of the worksheets in the blog planner for free!
Enter your email address below to download the free blog post planner worksheet!