Saturday, February 11, 2017

Blog Biz: Where is Your Blog Heading? Some Ideas to Take it Forward!

Hi, working mamas! Been away for a while because I started a new project with Calyxta (more about that soon!). But I'm here again today because a few readers asked me why I turned my blog into a working mama's journal. Well, I've been blogging for almost 11 years and I've changed a lot in those 11 years so naturally my blog will evolve with me. Right now, I'm a working mom and that's the aspect of my life that I want to share with people. Right now and for the near future, I'm making Topaz Horizon a place for me and fellow working moms to come together.

If you’ve been running your blog for a long time, you might be starting to wonder where its future lies. It probably can’t continue in the same way forever. Blogs reach a certain point when they either have to make that step up or get stuck in a rut. For you, the best thing to do is look for ways in which your blog can be grown and improved. It’s always tricky to make this happen, but there are loads of things you could be doing.

Rather than let your blog run into the ground, look at it objectively, and decide where the areas of weakness lie. Your blog certainly won’t be perfect, and that gives you plenty to work on. I still have a ton of things to fix on my blog, and I'm so intimidated with all the things I need to do, but slowly, I'm doing them all. If you’re like me and you're also struggling to get started with these changes, here are some great ideas that could kickstart your blog and push it in a new direction.

Make your overall editorial outlook clear.
First of all, you need to make sure that your blog has a clear editorial stance. This is something that all professional publications have. Gone are the days when blogs are just online diaries that meander here and there. These days, you have to find your niche, your specialty, so that readers know exactly what your blog is about and what they're getting. 

If you want your blog to become a little more professional, this is one of the things that you will need to do. It will mean that your blog posts are more unified and you put across a consistent worldview in your posts. It will give you and your blog a concrete identity that people can easily recognise and believe as authentic. 

Grab readers’ attention with good headlines.
If you can grab people’s attention better, you will become more equipped to improve your blog traffic. Most people will see the headline of your blog before anything else. And if they are not instantly intrigued by what the piece is about, they probably won’t go any further. As a reader, you probably do this yourself. Pay attention to your headlines. If you get this wrong, then it doesn’t matter how good the blog post is because no one will read it. You can’t underestimate the power of good headlines.

Implement categories.
Oh, this is the change that I'm having such a hard time with! Because my blog's more than a decade old and it's evolved so much, I've covered sooooo many topics. Organizing them into categories is driving me crazy! I've been tempted to delete entire posts from my early years of blogging (the rambling, nonsense posts) just so I have less categories!

Implementing categories is a simple logistical step that should make your blog a bit more user-friendly. This is particularly important if you write on a series of different topics on your blog. When the new categories are in place, users will have more control over how they want to view the content that’s on offer. They could go straight to the section that interests them most, while ignoring the other sections and topics that your blog covers. It will also make the blog a bit more easy to navigate and a lot more organised that it was before.

Bring in new voices.
It can be a great idea to bring new voices into the mix if you want to get people more interested in your blog. When one person is producing all the content, it can limit the scope of the blog. Not to mention that it can be extremely exhausting! 

You can’t be an expert on everything, so having someone who is able to make things clearer and share their stories and thoughts can add some much-needed variety. I know many bloggers who let other bloggers guest post on their blog. How to start? Ask your friends who have similar interests to guest post and offer a link exchange. You could also just let people know that you’re looking for new writers and see what response you get. If you want new perspectives while remaining the face of the blog, you could use a ghost blog writer.   

Be more social.
It can really help if you get your blog brand out there and try to be a little more social. This is best done via social media platforms. If you’re not already promoting your blog on Facebook and Twitter, as well as some of the other platforms that might be applicable to your blog, this is something that has to change. These days, all the major blogs and bloggers have a strong presence on these social sites. Create dedicated accounts on as many of these platforms as possible, and then see what you can do to build a followers. It will also allow you to share posts and reach new people.

Use the power of images and videos.
Images and videos can help you so much when it comes to promoting the writing you do. If you don’t use images on your posts, you are missing out. For a start, social media links are a lot more likely to be interacted with when they have some sort of media attached to them. This could be an image or a video. I always make sure my blog posts have a photo—if not mine, then an image from a photo agency. Posts with pictures are more likely to be clicked on and read so always have an image! 

Right now, vlogging is the hottest thing. Even my blog sponsors are now asking for videos. I'm not very good with videos so this is a struggle. But I will try it this year. Please help me and tell me what you want to watch!

Make your blog mobile-friendly.
All blogs need to be mobile-friendly these days. The number of people using mobile devices to view your blog is going up. I don't have any data to back up my theory regarding how my readers read my blog, but I know many readers do so while they're on their phone. I know this because people aren't commenting as often on my blog posts anymore; they'd rather comment on Facebook. Why? It's harder to leave comments when you're on the phone! 

Mobile usage is quickly surpassing desktop usage when it comes to browsing the internet. So, if you are not up to date with this change, your blog could be left behind. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to read a blog post on a blog that is clearly not responsive in its design. You will just end up frustrating your readers, and those people will be unlikely to come back in the future.

Build a network.
Finally, you should try to build a network around your blog. When you have a core group or readers and fans that share and interact with your content, you will be able to find new ways to reach more people. I call these wonderful people my Loyal Readers. I love you, Loyal Readers! Thank you for staying throughout all my life and blog changes!!! 

Anyway, back to giving tips! The people in your network - or community - will bring in other people, and that’s how word of your blog and its content can start to spread very rapidly. So talk to the people who post comments under your posts and interact with people better on social media. More than helping your blog become bigger, your community will become your online friends. If you're lucky like me and many bloggers, they'll eventually be your friends in real life! 

*This is a guest post, heavily edited that it's almost like I wrote it! To place a guest post, email for my rates. Image from Pixabay.

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