Only a few more weeks until the new year! It’s always exciting to move from one year to the next. I cannot wait for next year. It’s going to be a great year for me and for The Feisty House. I can already feel it! I want next year to be a great year for your blog too, so here are 9 ways to get your blog ready for the new year and make next year your BEST year of blogging EVER.
9 Ways to Get Your Blog Ready for the New Year
1 // First things first…CONGRATULATIONS.
Give yourself a round of applause. you made it to a new year, and you still have a blog. Blogging is fun and very rewarding, but it is also time consuming and requires a TON of dedication. People start new blogs all the time, and they quit just as often (if you feel like quitting your blog, read this post first!). So if you’re reading this post and you still have a blog, congratulations! Now let’s work on making next year your blog’s best year!
2 // Find out what worked this year.
What were your most popular posts last year? That information is going to help you continue to create posts that your readers will love next year, including amazing “evergreen” content that your readers keep going back to over and over again, way after its been posted. When you’re trying to determine your post popular posts, don’t look only at the number of views each post has gotten. You also want to know which posts got the most comments and were shared the most on social sharing sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest.
Once you’ve found your 5-10 most popular posts, you’ll want to figure out what it was about those posts that really resonated with your readers. Did you use great photos or start incorporating video? Maybe you got really creative with graphics and typography? Or maybe you did a better job writing those posts, and your readers found them more useful than others. Make note of what worked for your blog and get ready to repeat that in your blog posts for next year. Also, if you find that your popular posts centered around a specific topic, maybe write about that topic more often next year.
3 // Take note of what didn’t work.
Which posts were your low performers last year? Is there a way to improve the content? Perhaps you didn’t promote those posts as well as you should have? Try to get a good handle on why these posts failed to resonate with your readers. If you’ve done a series of those posts and none of them struck a chord with your readers, perhaps its time to scrap that concept and come up with a new series for next year. Listen to your readers!
4 // Ask your readers what they liked.
An easy way to find out what people like or don’t like about your blog is to just ask them! If you’re collecting your readers’ emails (and you should be), now is a good time to ask them what they liked most about your content for this year, what they want to see more of next year, and what they wish you’d never write about again. A blog reader survey is an easy way to engage your readership and ask them for their input. To sweeten the deal, turn your survey into a end-of-the-year giveaway!
One of the best things about blogging is creating your own online community of people who are enjoying your content, and it’s good to check in with that community from time to time, especially as you grow as a blogger. As your blog grows and changes year-to-year, your readers may change too, so I like reader surveys for making sure I’m continuing to understand my readers and where we’re headed together.
5 // Read your blog manifesto.
We’ve all had experiences in this year that will shape the people we’re going to be next year, and as a result, we may want to write about new things, or we may see things from a new perspective. So as you go into the new year, it’s a good time to re-read your blog manifesto and make sure that your blog is still a reflection of who you are and what you want to write about.
6 // Give your blog a makeover.
You may not need to change up your blog every year, but now is a good time to really look at your blog design and decide whether you need an update. How’s your logo? Is your blog easy to navigate (and are all of your links going to the correct places)? Are you utilizing good SEO practices? If you are interested in getting a blog makeover, there are lots of ladies who read The Feisty House and do a great job (feel free to email me for referrals). You can also learn how to design and maintain your blog yourself (like I do). However you decide to do it–hiring someone or DIY–your blog should be a clean, dynamic and inviting space! A modern, design-friendly blog is a quick way to get the attention of brands that are interested in partnering with you. You’ll be taken much more seriously if your blog looks polished and professional.
7 // Clean out that inbox.
Your blog emails can easily pile up, especially if you aren’t blogging for a living and don’t usually check your inbox daily. So before we head into the new year, you should take some time to go through your inbox and clean it out. Organize your emails so that they’re easy to refer back to later (I have a folder for emails related to sponsored posts, another related to features on The Feisty House, one for social media, etc). Respond to any emails that have gone unanswered, and be sure to check your inbox regularly next year! You don’t want to miss a great opportunity because you didn’t do something as easy as check your email (this happened to me in 2014, and it sucked). For more tips on how to manage your inbox, read this post by Victoria McGinley of Vmac and Cheese.
8 // Thank your featured guests and sponsors.
While you’re in your inbox, put together a list of all the people who were featured on your blog this year or who partnered with you on a sponsored post, or who did any guest blogging for you. Then make it a point to say, “Thank you.” You can do this by sending a nice e-card if you don’t have their mailing address (I love Paperless Post and use them all the time). A note of thanks is thoughtful and polite (first and foremost). It will also give you an opportunity to update brands you’ve worked with in the past about what your plans are for next year and invite them to work with you again in the new year.
9 // Get started on that editorial calendar.
If you want this year to be the best you’ve had as a blogger, you should approach the new year with a strategy in place. Blogging is easier and more effective when you have a plan! Yes, some blog ideas will pop into your head with a bolt of inspiration, but if you want to blog consistently and produce high-quality content each and every time, you’re going to want to plan ahead. A good blog post takes time to develop, so having a plan of attack will make things easier for you and ensure that you’re creating really good content all year round.
I hope you found this post on how to get your blog ready for next year really helpful. I think it’s going to be our best year yet, don’t you? If you’re interested in working on your blog together next year, let me know! I launched The Feisty House in 2009, and I’ve learned a thing or two about blogging since then! I share lots of free tips here on the blog as part of my BLOG HAPPY series. But if you think you need more one-on-one help, join my BLOG HAPPY Coaching program! If you’re new to blogging, I can help you manage your blog so that it’s less frustrating and brings you and your readers more joy! I’ll help you figure out everything from branding and finding your niche, to how to use social media to engage your new followers (and grow your readership!) to choosing a platform and learning how to design a beautiful blog on your own! Send me an email, and let’s work on making your blog your happy place!
Photo Source: Eat.Sleep.Wear.