So here we are, the last week of the year 2011. It's been a crazy and wonderful 12 months for all of us I'm sure, full of ups and downs and the usual drama. Perhaps some of us just began our blogs this year, and maybe some of us are just rounding out another calendar year of posting, tweeting, photo-taking and style reporting. Either way, the end of the year, after the holiday festivities but before the big ball drops is a perfect time to renew your online self. Set goals for 2012 and commit yourself to an amazing year of blogging.
Here are IFB's top 7 tips to help you set blogging goals for 2012:
1. Make a vision board. We spend so much time looking at our computer screens, and rightly so. It's where the action's at, where we get out information, and where we publish our brilliant thoughts on fashion. I'm the kind of person though, who needs a few tangible things in front of her to get inspired. I like to physically rip pages from magazines, save business cards, print out photos, collect post cards, you name it. For 2012, why not make a tangible collective of inspiration for your blog? Hang a cork board near your computer, and fill it with motivations and inspirations. Print out inspiring quotes, collect images of trends and looks you like, and arrange them where you can always see them and let them fuel your creative fire.
2. Create a bank of blog posts. I won't wax philosophic on this because you can read an excellent post on it right here.
3. Cruise your favorite blogs for design and formatting inspiration. The start of a new year is a great time to consider dusting off the formatting, design and template of your site. You should ring in 2012 with a bright, shiny and eye-catching site! For ideas and inspirations, cruise your favorite blogs, as well as some of the blogs they may have on their ‘roll that you may have never seen. For formatting and design tips, take a look at this post from earlier this year.
4. Spend some time studying your analytics. Ugh, numbers. Blech, statistics. I have a love/hate relationship with my Blogger statistics page and my Google Analytics as well. Watching those lines jerk up and down, meticulously agonizing over why one post did better than another – it can drive a girl nuts and totally drain my creative energy. However, it's one of the best things you can do understand your audience, find your strengths and take your content to the next level. Review the posts that had the most traffic and the most comments. Think of ways you can riff off those posts fresh content and photos, minimize posts that you found to have low traffic. Pay attention to what days have higher traffic and save your best posts for those days, etc. Study, study, study – I promise it's worth it. (Also check out this helpful post from Ashe.)
5. Pick a blog star to follow. When I ran cross country in high school, I would struggle to find the motivation to push myself through the entire 5k race. I'd let my arms drag, my head wobble, and would get to a place where all I could think about was how tired I was. Then I'd hear a voice of encouragement from the sidelines (usually my mom or a friend on the cheer squad) and feel a renewed motivation to perform. I would lock my eyes forward on the numbers printed on the back of a girl in front of me. I'd watch her arms, see where she stepped, follow the swing of her ponytail. I'd envision myself tethered to her back, and never let myself fall farther back from her, and try steadily to gain on her – then eventually pass her in the last 100 yards. Consider my voice right here in this post your call to action, your “You can do it!” sidelines shout. Pick a blogger you love and admire, someone who's perhaps a little more popular than you, has a few more comments, whatever. Chase her all over the internet. Tweet a few times more than she does, study her posts, emulate what you love about her style – but always, always with your own twist.
6. Renew your social-media self. In the same way that this is a good time to brush the dust off your site's design, it's a good time to brush the dust off your social media outlets. What does your profile blurb say on Twitter? Does it include your blog URL? How's your picture? How's your background? Pick a new one! Go onto your Facebook fan page and update your image, create a new gallery, “like” a few more bloggers, make sure all your info is current. Go through your “follows” on Twitter and see if there's anyone you can weed out (try using Tweepi to clean up shop). You might also want to set goals for how you communicate on your social media channels. Perhaps promise yourself to tweet a link to another blogger's post once a day. Perhaps tweet a link to an inspiring news story each day. Commit to #FollowFriday each week. Maybe set up a link to your blog so that a tweet goes out automatically each time you post. There are so many things you can do to up your game, and you owe it to 2012 to get after it!
7. Keep all your goals in a place you can see them. As I mentioned above with the vision board, I'm a visual person. Before I moved to New York, I drew an outline of the Empire State Building, and colored it in as I reached financial saving milestones leading up to my departure. In the same way, I think everyone can benefit from having their goals written out in a place you can always see them. Whether that means creating a document that lives on your computer's desktop or printing them out and taping them to the wall – just make sure you can always see what you want. See where you want to be. See the numbers, see the earnings, see the posts, see the fashion. As you reach your goals you can cross them off, put gold stars all over them, a check mark – whatever it takes to keep motivated and reward yourself for all you're bound to accomplish!
2012 is your year, so go out and get it! Make outlandish goals, make reasonable goals. Make mistakes, get crazy, take risks and push yourself. You are the captain of the good ship “your blog name here.” Don your captain's hat, take control of the wheel, navigate the waves, and use as many ridiculous metaphors as you need.
What do you hope to accomplish with your blog in 2012? How are you going to do it?