The bright, shiny, beautiful new year is almost here, IFB! With 2013 hours away, I wanted to share a few blogging resolution suggestions for the upcoming year (many that are on my own plate)! It's always easier, in my mind, to start resolutions (or new year's goals, as I prefer to call them), in the first week. To give your simmering mind some time to calm, reflect, and build up what you really want to do.
Don't ask for followers; earn them.
While numbers are great for a blog, engagement is where it's AT. Earn your blog followers! Interact with them. Respond to their comments and emails. Leave comments on blogs that you love– beyond Great post! or Super cute outfit!. Engage with your readers and fellow bloggers the same way you want your blog to be engaged with.
Redesign your blog.
A redesign can be a quick, easy, and cheap way to spruce up your blog and re-ignite your passion for it. Your blog's layout– it's the first thing a new visitor will encounter. It'll make or break whether or not they stay. It's also a wonderful way to learn a few new skills (see below), challenge yourself, and progress your blog's evolution.
Email one brand you love to begin a long-lasting relationship.
Don't sit back waiting for them to reach out to you: that may never, ever happen! Instead, reach out to them. Send them a quick pitch. Know what you're looking for from the relationship and what you'd like to start with.
Reach out to other bloggers you love beyond the comment; cultivate a support system with your peers.
Blogging is a one-man island. It doesn't HAVE to be, though. Over the years, I've developed wonderful relationships with a handful of bloggers. We provide one another support in so many ways. Some I reach out to with design questions; others, we chat about working with brands. A few I come to with my blogging existential crises, and we slowly work our way through those deep blogging issues,
Make it easy to K.I.T (keep in touch)!
Make commenting easy by removing captcha or special login credentials. Post your email address in an easy to find spot. Leave links to social media sites visible and easy to access. Don't make it hard for your readers to interact with you. Make it so easy they have no excuse not to.
Learn the basics. Of EVERYTHING.
Nothing helps a blogger more than knowing the bare basics of everything. Consider it adding “Jill of All Trades” to your resume. Learn a few tips to spruce up your photography skills. Memorize a few simple HMTL or CSS codes to help you modify and change your blog's layout. Practice great writing; get to know the rules (and then learn how to break them). You don't have to become an expert, but if you learn the tip of the iceberg, you'll find blogging becomes a lot easier.
Employ a few quick marketing tools to get on the right path.
SWOT analysis anyone? Look at the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportuntities, and Threats of your site. If you're having a hard time, involve a friend. Ask them to look at your site and let you know any problems they find. What do they like? What is confusing? How is the writing and how are the photos? Or try a little Gap Analysis. Where is your blog and where do you want it to be? Or maybe you just want to get SMART with these Marketing 101 tips: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely.
Do a little extracurricular reading.
Pick up Yuli Ziv's Fashion 2.0: Blogging Your Way to the Front Row or any of Darren Rowse's blogging ebooks. Read books OUTSIDE of the blogging niche. Pick up fashion history books, art history books, books on writing, and books building creative habits (I love Twyla Tharp's The Creative Habit and Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott). Read fiction and read non-fiction. Reading not only makes you a better writer, but it also helps you think outside of the box. You'll be inspired to create new content, try new writing formats, and share the exciting new information you've gained.
Easier said than done, right? The quickest and easiest way to stop sinning is to be honest with yourself why you're blogging. If you're in it to launch your own shop or brand, then accepting tons of free products and reviewing them, when you could be advertising yourself, is a bad business move. If you say you're in blogging for the community, but don't reply to comments and emails, and spend more time pitching and retweeting yourself… well girlfriend, community ain't a one-way street! Figure out what you want from blogging, and let that drive how you run your blogging business.
To Thine Own Self be True.
Stop trying to be Leandra. Or Jane. Or Emily or Gala, Nicolette or Tavi (they're all lovely, but they're not you!). You will only find pleasure, fulfill your passion, and earn success as a blogger by being 100% you. Your point of view, style, energy, voice, and personality– everything that makes you you is what people come to your site for. It's why brands choose to work with you– your unbridled passion & enthusiasm for their product. It's why readers come to your site– to read what YOU have to share, whether your experiences, your inspirations, or your style. It's why bloggers interact with you– you have something valuable and unique to offer. Your site is ultimately YOU– so don't spend time mimicking someone else.
What are your blogging resolutions for the new year?