Traffic is typically at it’s lowest between Christmas and a couple of days after New Years while everyone is either celebrating or recovering. This gives you the perfect opportunity to work on your blog and preparing for the year ahead. Here’s some of my tips for getting your blog ready for a new year.
Open a notebook and take a few minutes to brainstorm. Write down anything that comes to mind. Think about fresh content and new features. Once you’ve got a collection of new ideas, you can start thinking about blog posts you want to do. Do they have a date they need to be posted by? Write that down. How often are you going to post? Do you want a schedule or just post when you feel like it? Remember quality over quantity! Great content will be shared so concentrate on writing really good posts, rather than just posting because you feel like you have to. I use a page a day diary for college assignments and at the bottom of each page I like to jot in what post is being published that day so I can plan and schedule posts. I also use the notes at the back to write ideas or requests.
Don’t forget to create a 2013 backup of your entire blog including images, content and design incase anything happens in 2014. You could also write out some monthly blogging goals or things you want to achieve with regards to blogging over the year. Having these written down along with content will keep you motivated and on track. Think about new ways to use social media to promote your blog and to connect with your readers.
The New Year is the perfect time for a new design. A new blog layout often inspires and encourages you to write more. Here’s some blog design tips
Tip #1 – Find Inspiration
Your blog should be a reflection of you so start by collecting things that you like. Gather your ideas, favourite colours and images. It doesn’t have to do with design, it could be fashion or home decor – anything that you like. Pinterest is great for this! Once you’ve gathered all your inspiration you can begin the pulling it all together. What’s similar throughout your inspiration? Is a certain style apparent? Once you have this in front of you it should be pretty easy to see what kind of style you like. Is it clean and simple or bright and fun, minimalistic or quicky?
Tip #2 – Think about Layout
When a reader appears on your blog you want them to first know what they should expect. This could be easily done with your header or tagline. You also want them to easily be able to find what they are looking for so navigation is really important. Add new features or topics and remove the old ones. Next make sure your social media links are clearly visible as well as ways to follow or subscribe to your blog. Take a look at your sidebar and see what can be cleared out.
Tip #3 – Get Planning
Once you know what you are looking for and what’s important for your design, sketch out a wireframe mockup. It’s much easier to re-design your blog when you know what you want it to look like in the end. When it comes time to design/code, take one section at a time and don’t get stressed out if something isn’t working right. It’s usually just a small problem, make sure your code in well written and properly closed (brackets, semi colons, etc). Have a look at the best tips & tutorials of 2013 for help.
Improve your sites SEO
This is the perfect time to read up on SEO and start making your posts more search engine friendly. You could even go back to some of your favourite posts and adjust the title and content to help it get more traffic. Double check that all links on your blog work, broken links can negatively affect your ranking so double check posts where you link to blogs, shops, products, etc. You could use a tool like this to help you or check out Webmaster Tools for an in depth look at any problems on your blog.
Update About me Page
Read over your about me page and update it, include new information about you and your blog. Update your stats page using Google Analytics. You could even check your policy page as new updates and laws could mean you need to include new things. Ensure that everything is up to date and relevant.
Grab your camera
Whether you got a new camera for Christmas, are using an old one or using your phone, take an hour out of your day to get to know it better. Try some new settings, new techniques and see what else you can do. Take it off automatic and experiment in manual. Read up on how to use your camera or play around with GIMP or Photoshop. This will all help to improve the quality of images on your blog.
Hope you all have a fabulous night tonight and an even better 2014! Thank you so much for reading.