Maybe I'm not supposed to say this, but I like the easy way. I'm all about the easy way. If it comes down to going up and over a mountain to catch the view, or cruising through the tunnel underneath – if they're both going to lead me to the same end point on the other side, I'm apt to take that tunnel.
Now, that's not to say I like to cut corners, leave a job incomplete or only put in minimal effort to accomplish things – I'm just saying that plenty of things are already hard enough — so why not enjoy what can be done easily!?
When it comes to blogging, I find things get easier if I break down large goals into smaller steps. A task I can finish and call “done” in a day (or an hour) makes the journey to accomplishing something larger that much more realistic.
I'd like to try a little project this week, and I think you can do it with me: Let's do one thing each day to improve our blogs. Remember that scene in Clueless when Cher is showing Tai how they do little things each day to improve different aspects of their lives? One day it's “Buns of Steel” and the next it's Men are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. It's like that, but with the Internet.
- Clean out your social media. Let's kick off the week with the most tedious task, and just get it out of the way. A cluttered Twitter feed or a Facebook Timeline full of useless information can discourage engagement and cause you to miss great changes to converse and get informed. Like housekeeping, this isn't so much fun, but it's all about a satisfying end result. Unfollow and “unlike” brands, strangers, and random accounts that aren't enriching your social media experience in some way.
- Send a pitch or do some “Happy New Year” outreach. Okay true, the new year started 3 weeks ago, but in my book this whole month is good-to-go for “HNY” contact. If you made some blogging resolutions, at this point you may already be letting them slip. Don't! Today, make contact with a peer blogger, brand or PR firm you want to work with or rejuvenate your relationship with. It doesn't have to be a long email, but it mus have a point. Suggest a coffee date; pitch a project; request a lookbook; – something! Click send, check that task off your list and feel good about it!
- Create a post using your highest-ranking search term. We talked before about how to get post ideas from Google, and “keywords” is my favorite way. I've found it to be a creative and challenging task to take a topic that people have already seen on my blog, and make it new, fresh and successful. SEO is no joke, and I have seen legitimate, quantifiable traffic growth by using appropriate keywords in my post titles and tags. Use Google Analytics, your Blogger “stats” dashboard or your WordPress “stats” to find your search terms. Note the bounce rate (the lower, the better) to be sure it's relevant and not a fluke. Create the post, use the keywords somehow in your headline and watch what happens.
- Experiment with page breaks. Thursdays are almost always really busy for working folks and students alike, so today's task is one that's less time-consuming than the others. Page breaks are a dividing topic amongst bloggers, and I think their success is largely contingent on the kind of content you're producing. I think they work well for allowing more content on the main page, and encouraging clicks, but some visitors might be turned off by the extra effort. Blogs like Bittersweet Colours, Style Scrapbook, Honestly… WTF and The Man Repeller use page breaks for almost every single post. Try breaking up some of your new posts and employing them in a few older ones too, that are long enough. This task will involve follow-up over the next couple of weeks, but you should be able to tell by the number of pageviews if this tactic will work for your content.
- Update 3 little details. We all have them, but they vary from blog to blog. Think of three small things that could use a little sprucing up on your site, just in time for all that weekend traffic. Devote an hour or two to just this project. You'll be so happy to start the week fresh on Monday with these little tweaks and adjustments out of the way. Here are some ideas to get your gears turning:
- Add or subtract on your blogroll – who stays, who goes!?
- Snagged this tip from Grace Atwood: make your hyperlinks a very visible color, to encourage clicks.
- Have you purchased your own unique blog URL? Go. Do. Now.
- Do you have a “pin it” button for your images on every post?
- Add a widget that links to your Instagram account.
There you have it! Five easy ways to breath a little life into your blog, jump-start your goals and try some new improvements. Like I said, easy doesn't mean cheating – it just means easy!