6 Things You Can Do in January to Make Your Blog Better in 2017

6 Things You Can Do in January to Make Your Blog Better in 2017

As 2016 winds down, many of us are looking towards 2017 wondering what we can do to take our blogs to the next level. Will next year be the year we finally:

  • Turn our blog into a legitimate side-hustle?
  • Score a guest post on a big site?
  • Launch that online course?

Whatever our individual goals might be, every blogger can benefit from doing the following six things in January:

1. Take a break

Those first couple of weeks in January? Everyone’s either still on holiday, or slowly working their way back into the new year after the craziness of Christmas. If ever there was a good time to take a blog hiatus, this is it. Many people fret that if they take time off they will lose the momentum they’ve spent the whole year building. Experience has taught me nothing is further from the truth. A hiatus makes your readers miss you and this is always a good thing.

Give yourself permission to have at least the first two weeks of January off. Don’t post anything on your blog. Reduce the time you’re spending on social media. Use that time to catch up on reading and go for long walks.

Not only will you be mentally refreshed when it comes time to write on your blog again, you’ll also have a ton of ideas ready to work on.

2. Reflect on 2016

January’s also a good time to do deep dive into your stats. Analyse what was common to your most popular posts. Make a note of the posts you most enjoyed writing. Identify the things you thought would go well, but didn’t.

The difference between a good blog and a great blog lies at the intersection of what your readers enjoy reading, and you enjoy writing. It’s difficult to identify where that intersection lies if you never take time to reflect.

3. Run a survey

If there’s one thing I’ve learnt over the years, it’s that many of the assumptions I make are wrong. Which is why it’s good policy to always test your assumptions and there’s no better way to do this than via a survey.

Identify the assumptions you have made about who your readers are and what kind of information they want from you … and then create a survey that tests those assumptions. The results you get might lead to a slight change in direction that makes all the difference for your blog in 2017.

4. Set goals like a ninja

January is not the time for vague statements like ‘I want to be a better blogger in 2017’. January is the time for identifying exactly what you want to achieve and then ensuring the things you are striving for are SMART goals:

S – specific, significant, stretching
M – measurable, meaningful, motivational
A – agreed upon, attainable, achievable, acceptable, action-oriented
R – realistic, relevant, reasonable, rewarding, results-oriented
T – time-based, time-bound, timely, tangible, trackable {Source}

What your 2017 SMART goals might look like:

  1. Increase my email subscribers by 5% in the first quarter of the year
  2. Publish eight quality posts over the course of February and March
  3. Send out a subscriber email every week without fail
  4. Start a podcast
  5. Create an e-book

5. Map out the exact steps for achieving your goals

Telling yourself ‘I will increase my email subscribers by 5% in the first quarter of the year’ is one thing. Doing it is another. (Sounds silly, but quite often I see people thinking the setting of the goal is all they need to do to achieve it.)

What actually allows you to achieve your goal is mapping out, step-by-step, the things you are going to do to get there.

The steps for increasing your email subscribers might look like this:

  1. Check your email sign up form actually works
  2. Ensure the call to action/opt in gift is something your readers really want
  3. Create a pop-up version of your subscribe form and set it to appear when a reader has made it all the way to the end of a post
  4. Monitor the conversion rate on the pop-up subscribe form after two weeks and see if there is anything I can do to increased that conversion rate

If your goal is to write one blog post each week for the entire year, you will benefit from writing down exactly which day of the week you’re going to:

  1. Write your first draft
  2. Edit the post
  3. Press publish

As an example, this year I’ve aimed to publish a high-quality blog post every Thursday. To do that consistently I know I need to write a dodgy first draft on Monday, edit it on Wednesday, then give it a final polish and publish it on Thursday.

Studies have shown that writing down your intentions about WHEN you are going to do the things involved in achieving your goal significantly increases the likelihood of you achieving that thing – and I have certainly found that to be true this year.

6. Choose a guiding word or mantra for the year

Sometimes, when we’re toiling away deep in the bowels of our blogs, it’s easy to lose sight of why we do this thing. Particularly when things aren’t going as well as we’d like. At times like these, it’s handy to have a guiding word or phrase that acts as a reminder of the impact we’re trying to have on people’s lives. Phrases like:

  • Be useful
  • Change lives
  • Interact – Inform – Inspire

While we’re all blogging for some kind of personal gain (increased income or profile, an outlet, a way to connect with others), it’s important to remember that a blog can’t be successful without happy readers. The mantras above (or the mantra you choose for yourself), help remind us of this.

 

Via: http://www.problogger.net

 

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