10 New Year’s Resolutions for Bloggers
The beginning of a new year is a good time to look back on the year before and find ways to be better. And when you’re a blogger, there are always ways to be better.
One good thing about blogging is that the fact of doing the same thing consistently over time means you get a lot of practice and opportunity to learn what works. But it can be easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day work of blogging and forget to ever take a step back to evaluate what you’ve done so far and take a thoughtful approach moving forward.
As we move into 2018, take some time to step back from the writing and do all that other stuff you need to do to be a great blogger.
Here are 10 New Year’s resolutions to consider that can help.
1. Create a blogging strategy for the coming year.
Have you ever sat down and worked up a strategy for your blog? If you haven’t, make 2018 the year you do so. If you have, take this opportunity to revisit and update the strategy you have based on what’s been working best for you so far.
First, think about the goals you have for your blog. What do you want it to accomplish? If it’s a business blog, you want it to attract potential customers. If it’s a personal blog, you may simply want to reach some like minded people interested in hearing your thoughts. Your blogging strategy will depend on your goals, so make sure you’re clear on what they are first.
The next thing to do here is spend some time with your analytics. Look at which of your posts get the most traffic and engagement (e.g. comments, shares, or actions like signing up for your email list or clicking through to another piece of content). Then look for trends in what’s working and what’s not.
Once you’ve considered all that, sit down and make a plan. Think about things like the types of topics to cover, how often you plan to post, how long to make your posts, and the content types to make use of. Having a plan will make some of the work of blogging easier in the year to come.
2. Try a new marketing technique.
If you’re putting the work in as a blogger, you want people to see what you’re writing. With so many other blogs out there, you have to commit some time to marketing the blog posts you write. But there are loads of different marketing tactics you can use and most bloggers don’t have the time or funds for all of them.
This year, consider branching out to try a new marketing technique to see if it brings a new audience to your blog. It may not work (in which case it can be dropped when you next work on updating your strategy), but if it does it could increase the success of your blog and bring you readers who never would have learned of you otherwise.
3. Start creating your own images.
Blogging isn’t all about the writing. Including images with each blog post is now an expectation, and for good reason – people are 80% more likely to read your content if there’s an image, and it increases retention by 64%. But having any old image included isn’t good enough.
If you’ve been turning to stock photography to add visuals to your blog post (and we get it, it is the easiest option), make 2018 the year you reconsider that choice. Original images take more work to create, but they feel more authentic and have been proven to get better results. Committing to original photography or graphic design is one big way you can improve the quality of your blog this year.
4. Find and fix all broken links on your website.
Broken links create a negative user experience, make you look sloppy, and could be contributing to your bounce rate. Identifying them and fixing them is one of those tedious tasks you just have to commit to dealing with every so often. The good news is that the first part of that equation is easy. There are free tools online like Dead Link Checker, that will quickly run a full review on your website to find all the broken links.
Then all you have to do is go through and update them all. It takes some time, but it’s worth doing, and this is a good time of year to commit to getting it done.
5. Update your web design.
When was the last time you updated your web design? There’s a decent chance you’re due to revisit it. Do some testing to see if your website offers an intuitive enough user experience. If not, you could be losing visitors who have a hard time finding what they’re looking for or simply don’t know where to go next after reading a blog post.
Make sure to include testing on mobile devices. Over half of the time people now spend online is on mobile devices. If your blog offers a great experience on desktop, but a difficult one on your smartphone, then you definitely need to update your web design to be mobile friendly.
6. Try a new content format.
Most blogs primarily focus on written content. That’s just the nature of the medium. But there’s no reason you have to stick with written content exclusively. You can share videos, podcasts, or visual content like infographics on your blog. A new year can be a good time to get a little adventurous and consider what other formats could be a good fit for you and your audience.
7. Go longer.
Longer blog posts take more time, but there’s a lot of research that suggests that people like them and they produce many of the results bloggers see – like more shares and backlinks. If you can find the ongoing time to commit to creating longer content, a switch to more longform blog posts could be a smart move to make in 2018.
8. Create a strict calendar to stick to.
If you’ve been posting sporadically now and then, whenever you find the time, then your blog won’t be reaching its potential. Publishing consistently lets your readers know how often they can expect to see new content when they visit your blog. They’re more likely to come back if they know they’ll see something fresh each time.
For most bloggers, the only way that kind of consistency will happen is if you create a content calendar in advance and commit to sticking it to it. It’s hard to do, but that makes it one more way you can set your blog apart from the many that can’t manage it.
9. Create (and stick to) a promotion plan.
Writing, editing, and publishing your content is hard enough. But for a blog to be successful these days, it’s not just enough to push content out, you also have to put time into promoting your content. As with the blogging itself, it’s worth sitting down and really working up a plan.
Once again, turn to your analytics. Specifically, look at how people are finding your blog. Look at sections of Google Analytics like the acquisition overview and social reach to get a feel for how people are coming to your blog. Based on what the data tells you, you may want to increase your online marketing efforts, or make some changes to your approach.
Make this an ongoing part of your process. For every post you publish, plan on spending a certain amount of time promoting it on social media, to your email list, and anywhere else you feel people might benefit from it. Also consider devoting some of your blogging time to writing guest posts or collaborating with other content creators in your space as a way to start reaching new audiences.
Spending time on content promotion does take time away from the content you create for your blog, but reaching more people makes the time you spend on your blog posts more worth it. For most bloggers, it will be a worthwhile tradeoff.
10. Start affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing isn’t for everybody. If your blog is already designed to help you sell your business products, adding affiliate links in might muddy your message. But if you’ve been putting work into blogging about something you care about for a long time and have gained an audience, then 2018 could be the year you start monetizing your blog with the help of affiliate marketing.
Research brands relevant to the topic you write about and see which ones have an affiliate program. Be strategic in choosing which brands you get involved with – they should have some relationship with the types of topics you cover and sell products you can genuinely recommend (you want to stay authentic).
This step will mean having to think creatively about the types of content you create to feature your affiliate clients, but when done well, affiliate marketing can benefit the blogger, the brand, and your audience. If you’re ready to start bringing in some money for your blog, consider if it’s time to make the move.
Blogging is a lot of work, but it can be so rewarding. You can make it more rewarding this year if you commit to some New Year’s resolutions that make your blog better and help you achieve more of your goals.
Kristen Hicks is an Austin-based freelance content writer and lifelong learner with an ongoing curiosity to learn new things. She uses that curiosity, combined with her experience as a freelance business owner, to write about subjects valuable to small business owners on the HostGator blog. You can find her on Twitter at @atxcopywriter.