How to Break Out Of Your Blog Shell
Does your blog feel lifeless? Does blogging fall to the bottom of your to-do list? Does emptying the garbage (or any other chore) seem more exciting? The problem may be your blog, not you!
When you find you’re writing variations of the same old post, when your blog traffic has plateaued and when you feel your blog is holding back, it’s time to break out of your blog shell.
Don’t worry, you’re in good company. The challenge for most bloggers when they reach this point is figuring out how to get over this hurdle and keep their blog going, rather than abandoning it.
Here are twenty-one ways you can give your blog new life and regain the excitement that got you blogging in the first place.
Change your blog design elements. This doesn’t mean throw out your branding or getting rid of what you have. To keep it fresh and current, every piece of creative needs to be spiffed up regularly. Think in terms of making easy changes.
- Replace header image. As one of the easiest elements to change, it enables you to stay in tune with current trends and seasonality.
- Rewrite blog’s tagline. Has your tagline gotten stale? Does it seem out outdated? You can modify your tagline in the general WordPress settings. Just don’t change the title! (This can have an impact on your search optimization and your content’s findability
- Try a new typeface. Since you’re making a minor change, use a related typeface so that it’s familiar to readers.
- Vary your color palette. Bear in mind that you want to keep your brand consistent, so think in terms of swaping colors around. If you’ve got a two color palette, you could introduce a new color.
- Freshen other design graphics. If it makes sense, make these elements more seasonally appropriate in some way.
- Move your blog onto your own URL. If you’ve been using a free service like WordPress.com or Blogger, consider getting a tailored URL and taking control of your content. (Note: Unlike the others, this is a major change.)
Examine your blog’s content focus. Has your blog expanded or evolved to new topics? For help, assess your analytics to determine what content resonates best with your readers? Look at which posts are doing well.
- Assess blog categories. Do your posts only focus on a handful of these? It’s possible since what you expected to write on may have changed. In this case get rid of the categories you don’t use and consider combining or modifying those you do use.
- Expand or modify your regular features. Are there columns that are difficult to write since there’s not sufficient content? Has the environment caused your blog focus to be less dynamic? If so, how can you adjust your coverage to be relevant and unique?
- Review keyword usage. Start with your analytics to see which terms your readers are using to find your blog. Are there terms that are no longer relevant to readers? Are there newer terms you should use?
- Evaluate the words and phrases used for tags. Are these aligned with your keyword strategy? Are these the words people use to seek information in your category?
- Assess inbound links to your blog. What’s the focus of these websites and blogs? Is their content focus aligned with yours? Do they provide insights for your content?
- Adjust your publishing schedule (aka blog post frequency). Are you challenged getting sufficient quality content to keep your current publishing calendar going? If so, consider changing your publishing dates. This means going from publishing five to seven times a week to two to three times per week. It’s critical to be consistent and to post at least twice a week. If you change your publishing schedule, let your readers know so they understand it’s a planned change.
Change content. Do you find it difficult come up with ideas for new columns? (Here are suggestions for blogging when your heart isn’t in it.) Have you exhausted your major topics? Here’s a list of suggestions for adding some new perspective and excitement to your posts.
- Throw in some personal tidbits. Show you’re human by occasionally including personal details. For example, I periodically reference my knitting hobby to show something marketing related. This doesn’t give you permission to tell all or reveal confidential information.
- Change your writing format. Offer a variety of different types of posts. For example, if you always write lists, write an essay or case study.
- Use other ways to gather information. Get input from peers, customers and others through round up posts and interviews. This is a great opportunity to spotlight customers or employees.
- Tell a story with each post. Instead of reporting facts or giving readers your latest thoughts, shape your information into a memorable story with a beginning, middle and end.
- Think picture book. Portray your information in the form of visuals with limited text like a kid’s book. For example The Satorialist shows photographs of people on the streets.
- Place photographs or graphics at the top of your columns. Add this eye candy to attract readers.
- Modify the type of photographs used. If you’ve been incorporating photographs or graphics in your posts, change your approach. If you’ve used one form of graphics, cartoons or photographs, consider a broader offering of visuals. Consider using color versus b&w photographs or images containing people versus those without people.
- Add video, audio or presentation. Instead of a text post, use another format.
- Offer infographics. These viewer magnets are a great way to convey information. Understand that you don’t need an expensive graphic designer or art department. You can use PowerPoint to create a more basic visual. Here’s a basic example of a blogging infographic.
Make changes to rediscover your excitement about your blog. While I’m the first one to guide you to tie your blog goals to metrics, this is about looking inward to re-envision your blog.
What recommendations do you have for helping give your blog new vitality?
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Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/peg1950/3419923146/