The beginning of the year means a clean slate. Even if you fell off the blog-wagon sometime this year, you will be able to start anew in just a few short weeks. Here are 10 goals to set your blog up for success in 2016.
1. Stay on Theme. Most people use blogging to illustrate their expertise. However it’s easy to get off topic and sway from your focus. This year, make a goal to always blog in tune to your mission statement, theme or tag line. Don’t have a tag line? Write one. What short phrase describes your blog? Come up with about 20 ideas and pick the best one. Then, whenever you start to write a blog post, you can ask yourself if it fits your tag. If it does, perfect. If it doesn’t, figure out a way so it’s in-line with your blog or save it for a later writing project.
2. Blog Consistently. Decide on how often you want to post a new blog, and then stay on schedule. Pick one or two days a week. (Note they should be the same day or days.) Then stick to your schedule. Set up an expectation for your audience, so they know what days to come to your blog to read a new post. And don’t let them down.
3. Write Complete Content. All blog posts should have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Make sure you adhere to some sort of structure and that your thoughts are complete, so the content you create is valuable and easy to understand. Don’t forget to add a call to action to comment or share at the end of each post.
4. Edit Posts. Nothing gives a hit to your credibility quite like spelling and grammatical errors. Before hitting publish, take a little time to review your posts. Run spell check, read it out loud, read it backwards (that’s a fun trick for finding errors). Or do all of the above. Properly edited posts look professional and are an awesome reflection on you!
5. Add Images. You probably already know that every post should have an image to illustrate your point and draw in readers. If you want, use a site like Canva or PicMonkey to create a custom image with your blog post title. You can use this at the top of your articles and to promote it on social media sites.
6. Categorize and Tag Content. Whenever you create content, put it in the relevant category on your blog – it’s an excellent way to keep your posts organized. Also, add tags (keywords) to make your article easy to find when people search.
7. Keep Ahead of Schedule. Notice I said “ahead of” not “on” schedule, though that’s important too. If you find you have some extra time, write a few blog posts in advance. Try to have articles that are due, ready to go a week in advance. That way you are not constantly struggling to make deadline. Plus, it will help with goal #2: Blog Consistently.
8. Share. Share each post on all your social networks. People can’t read your posts if they do not know about them.
9. Step It Up. You know that big interview you’ve been wanting to purse? Or that article you keep meaning to write, but put off because it’s “so much work”? How about your decision to start a podcast or do video interviews? Well, stop talking about it and start doing it. This is your year. Do what you can to add extra value, multimedia and/or oomph to your blog. You’ve reached goals 1 – 8. You’ve got this. Now, step it up!
10. Enjoy Your Blog. This is something I find myself saying regularly: Everything you work on should be at least a little bit (if not a lot) fun for you. If you are not enjoying the content you write, write something else. You can’t expect your audience to become invested in it … or in you as a writer … if you are not enthusiastic about your material. It’s your blog, you created it for a reason. Have fun with it!
Post your blog link in the comments, so we can all enjoy your writing too! Happy Blogging!
Note: I employed nearly all of these tactics in writing this post. Still working on #7: once a writer on deadline, always a writer on deadline ...
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Debra Eckerling is a writer, editor and project catalyst, as well as founder of Guided Goals and Write On Online, a live and online writers’ support group.
She is the host of the Guided Goals Podcast and author of Purple Pencil Adventures: Writing Prompts for Kids of All Ages.
She is an editor at Social Media Examiner and a speaker/moderator on the subjects of writing, networking, goal-setting, and social media.