Wow: I can’t believe we’ve been blogging for six months! In some ways, it’s flown by; in others, it already feels like we’ve been blogging forever… 🙂 By now we’ve gotten into a routine that works well, and as we’ve said in previous posts, organisation is key! I don’t know where we’d be without our editorial calendar – however, in between babies, netball, work and life, we’re working so hard focusing on creating and promoting blog posts that we rarely have a moment to stop and take stock.
What’s more, there are so many blog posts giving advice about blogging – how to increase your blog traffic, how to grow your social media following, how to work with brands, etc. Many are really useful, but often I can become so overwhelmed by all the tips that I just want to switch off. The three of us have really struggled to find the time and headspace to actually implement any of these ideas properly.
Which is why this six-month anniversary feels like a good point to actually make the time to sit down as a threesome and ask ourselves some Big Questions.
What are our goals for the blog?
This is so important! We all start our blogs for different reasons, but it’s so helpful to have an ultimate goal in mind that you can keep working towards. This answer is different for everybody, and it’s something we need to be honest about. It’s also helpful to clearly define how you’ll measure whether you’ve achieved that goal. Is it a certain amount of page views or followers? Is it being to able to generate enough income to work on the blog full-time/part-time? With clear goals in place, it’s easier to come up with strategies to start achieving them. Writing a blog business plan is a great way to do this – I love this guide from Autumn Leaves, and this post from Media Marmalade on setting blogging goals is also really useful.
What do we love about blogging?
It’s so easy to get carried away with churning out blog posts and forget why we started the blog in the first place. I want us to figure out what we enjoy doing and see if we can do more of it. Even if you have grand plans for your blog (we do!), the reality is that it will take a long time to make them happen, so you need to enjoy the ride. I really enjoyed the Beautiful Mess blog course and one of the points that has stuck with me is that you have to find out what sort of content you enjoy making. There’s definitely a balance to be struck between what you enjoy writing and what people enjoy reading, but I really think that it shows through in your content if you’re sharing something you’re really excited about, not just writing something because everyone else is. Another great point made on the course was this: don’t be afraid to experiment. We’ve only been blogging for six months, so I don’t think we should limit ourselves to certain posts – this should be a time to write about whatever we feel like, see how people respond and, crucially, assess whether we enjoyed creating the post.
What don’t we like about blogging?
Likewise, we also need to have a real think about what we don’t like about blogging and see if we can make those aspects any more enjoyable. For us, social media has always been hard work – we’re not naturals at it and we’ve struggled to find our voice. In January, we had a chat about what was (and wasn’t) working and came up with a template for promoting blog posts on social media, which included making images for social and including handles like @UK_blogRT – this has made it much quicker to write tweets. We also schedule tweets using Tweetdeck. Something else that helped has been to install the Tweetily plugin, which automatically tweets links to posts from our archive. All of this frees up time for us to actually try to engage with people on Twitter – and that’s what’s really helped us start to enjoy social media. It’s amazing what a reply on Twitter can do – it really makes our day :).
Images are hard work for a lot of bloggers (myself included). So one idea could be to dedicate a few hours to researching how to improve the images on your blog. There are tonnes of tutorials out there (I prefer to browse Pinterest for picture inspiration) – use what you find to come up with a couple of ideas that you’re going to try out, such as creating simple graphics instead of using pictures, trying some PicMonkey tutorials or making better use of free picture libraries.
What do you think? Are these questions useful – have you asked them about your blog? How do you find the time to think about your blogging goals in between all the writing and social media?
P.S. Read more of our posts about blogging here.