As a new year approaches, you should take some time to get some basic blogging tasks done so you are ready to start again.
5 Blogging Tasks To Do Before the New Year
1. Reassess Your Goals
Every blogger knows you should have goals related to your blog but we often commit one of the common goal faux-pas (me included.)
- Making a long list of goals at the beginning of the year. When discouraged because you haven’t met some of them, you scrap the rest of the list and work day to day.
- Making goals that are too generic. A goal such as increase readership is too vague. How are you going to increase readership and more importantly, how will you know when you have achieved the goal? A measurable goal is better such as increase to 5000 uniques/month or 25000 pageviews/month. By the same token, increase Facebook engagement isn’t enough.
- Making goals that are too far from where you are now. If you are currently producing one blog post per month, a goal of producing one blog post per day is too much of a change. If you are at 500 pageviews per month, your goal should be 750 pageviews or perhaps 1000 pageviews, not 5000 pageviews. Achieving your goals gives you confidence to keep working towards more of them. If you make your goals too hard to attain, you will just get discouraged.
- Not making goals at all. If you don’t make goals, how will you know where you are at with your blogging and how or when you have improved?
2. Update Your Blog
This includes a couple of different things.
- If you are on WordPress, ensure that WordPress and any plugins are up to date. Also weed out any plugins you no longer need. Extra plugins slow down the loading time of your blog.
- Check your contact page to ensure it works correctly and has your current email address and any other contact information it may included.
- Check your social media links to ensure they are still correct. Sometimes we change a username or URL and forget to change the links to it.
- Check your other pages (about me, media kit, policies etc.) to ensure they are up to date.
- Check for broken links. If you are on WordPress, you can use the broken link checker plugin.
3. Take a Look at Your Layout
Now is a good time to take a look at your blog layout again and see if you can clean it up a bit. Things to consider:
- Is your contact information easy to find? We already made sure the page was up to date, but is it easy to find from the main blog page?
- Is your sidebar cluttered? Do you have buttons for expired events still up? Is there anything you can either eliminate or combine into a separate page?
- What ads if any do you have? Are they making you money? Do you want to keep them or try something different?
- Are you happy with your site design? If not, decide how you will save the money to purchase a premade template or custom design or schedule time to do it yourself if you can.
4. Organize Yourself
Now is the perfect time to start that editorial schedule you were thinking about. Decide how you want to be organized and set it up. Buy a blogging planner, print out free blogging printables or set it up yourself but get yourself organized. If you wait till a few months in or more, it will be harder.
- If you already use an organization/planning system, evaluate it. Likes, Dislikes, do you want to stick with it or change?
- If you do not have one or wish to change, see what there is available. There are a few blogging planners being sold now and lots of free blogging printables to make use of. If you can’t find what you are looking for, create it yourself.
- Clean up your workspace and stock up on office supplies.
- Set a work schedule. Depending on why you blog and what the rest of your life is like, you may need a rigid schedule that you follow the a T or you may need a flexible work schedule that acts more like a guideline. Only you know what is right for you.
5. (Re)Connect with the Blogging Crowd
Having a support team is very important and now is a good time to evaluate what support you have in place and how you might want to change or add to it.
- Determine what your needs are. Do you want a group to bounce questions off of? Do you want a group that offers exchanges such as comment exchange, retweet exchange etc? Do you want a group that is specific to your niche or a general one?
- Do you have one or more blogging groups that you are a member of that you can really count on for support? It’s not the number you belong to, but the quality of them and how they support you.
- Reconnect with those you belong to but might have been distant from over the holidays (or longer.) Say hi, ask how others are doing, share your goals for the new year. See if there is someone you can help out.
- Seek out some new groups that you may find helpful. Try to be active in them for a few weeks before deciding if they are for you or not.
- Remember to check and follow the rules for every group you belong to and to contribute to the group, not just use it to advertise your blog. I’ve made some great blogging friends through these groups.
I just must mention that the Winter Biannual Blogathon Bash is always held in January and is an excellent way to connect with bloggers, get support and get working on your blogging to-do list.
I hope this post will help you to get ready for the coming year. If you found it helpful, please share!
Inspiration For the Post:
When I read Michelle’s (from The Work at Home Wife) guest post on Market Mommy about the Top 7 Year-End Business Tasks I realized not every blogger might have thought about how they can prepare their blog for the new year and I wanted to share some ideas.
Some of the points on the original article may fit the majority of bloggers but it does have a more business slant and even if your consider your blog a business, you may not have products, or employees and such. If you do consider your blog a business, I encourage you to check out Michelle’s post as well.
*Image Credits. bloglayout.jpg from Flickr User Jason Gube, open notebook from Kozzi.com free section. Others purchased through Kozzi.com (referral link – we both get 10 premium credits if you join)