January is a tricky month for most of us, the first week sees us all brimming full of enthusiasm - good times. Then slowly but surely such attitude wears off - bad times. It is normal, the cold weather can be demotivating and sometimes, one to many new plans can bog you down - not to mention the sudden flurry of January bills. If you are finding it all a little overbearing and have yet to get back into the swing of blogging, perhaps I can be of assistance?
The festive period came and went in a flash, on the 31st of December I found myself frantically scrawling a list of things I wanted to achieve and resolve in the following 12 months. As it goes my personal life and goals are going rather well but I did struggle fully getting back into the swing of blogging - bizarre, as it has been an almost daily part of my life for so long. If you are in a similar predicament, here are the ten little steps I found myself re-visiting in the last week or so...
1, Try something new, not only will it add something extra to your site but it will give you something exciting to look forward to and master. For me it was creating a weekly newsletter, yes not a brand-spanking new idea for many sites but something I had never got around to do doing.
2, Create a new photo set up: be it a few new props or a new background, switching things up may help to get the creative juices following and the words pouring from your fingertips.
3, If you can afford it (I can't stress this enough, do not dig yourself into a financial hole for your blog)or are html code savvy, why not try re-jigging your blog layout? I always find a new layout or a few design tweaks helps to spur me on and more often than not makes me fall back in love with my site.
4, Don't force it - if you can't bring yourself to write and/or life gets in the way, know that it is more than okay to have a day off. Not everyone has the time nor need to blog daily and even the biggest blog-come-online magazines/machines have days off. It is okay to rest, the best ideas come with patience and not a slap dash attempt to fill your page because you feel you need to. Trust me on this one.
5, I'm hesitant to use the term digital detox but a break away from social media and the online world can be beneficial, especially when you feel overwhelmed. The online is wonderful but can be truly distracting; if you find your head swimming full of ideas that are seemingly going nowhere, switch off your phone and computer, take a step back and find a notebook - yes go old school. Empty your brain onto paper, free up a little space and see what ideas spill onto the paper. Not only will you sleep better, you may just find yourself feeling refreshed and full of enthusiasm for your site once again.
6, Reach for your camera - I always, always take my photographs first for any blog post, and this is not just to ensure I snap any new product in its pristine, new glory. Rather sometimes when playing around with products/props and my camera in general, I'm not thinking about post ideas, the lack of pressure allows the ideas to flow freely. Two birds, one stone.
b, Sooner or later, most of us will develop our own photography style and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. However if you are feeling stuck in rut, why not try switching up your photo set up? Be it a new background (paper is a cheap option), adding a new prop or two, or simply going for a crisp, clean set up - a few minor tweaks may help you see your blog in a new light.
7, Organise your site - y'know all those little, pesky jobs you promised yourself you would get around to doing and have yet to do so? Well now is the time; be it updating your about page, removing unused and dated widgets or simply adding labels to your posts, do it and do it soon. I can't tell you how great it feels to have your house in order.
8, Get someone else to look at your blog - if ever something is bugging you about your blog and you can't quite put your finger on it, ask a loved one to give you a little feedback. A fresh pair of eyes will offer you new insight and prevent you from being overly critical.
b, On a similar note if you are struggling with post ideas why not ask your readers what they want to see from you?
9, Look through old posts - I don't necessarily believe in deleting old blog posts, after all they are a great way of tracking growth and in the case of some of my musings - comedy gold, seriously they are terrible. Past posts offer insight or where you may have went wrong, what you'd like to improve and sometimes provide an old idea that could be expanded.
b, Past posts can also be used in the opposite sense, you could use them to look back and see where you went right: be this post ideas, style or even topics. It isn't always about change.
10, Forget about numbers and stats - if I could only offer you one piece of blogging advice for the next 11 months it would be this. I understand that to an extent we all want our blogs to grow for various reasons, but obsessing over how many hits you receive a day, and/or how may followers you have will improve nothing. Stress will not bring new readers to your blog, use 2016 to create the best content you possibly can and don't let it become a number game.
Above all else, don't sweat it; you've got this.