(Hi, there. I’ve been spring cleaning my blog, ready to upgrade it and start again or convert it to a memory scrapbook – not quite sure yet. Until I post something new, I thought this oldie-but-goodie might make a useful ‘ sticky ‘ post in the meantime. ~ janice)
How to Beat the Blogging Blues
Let’s get straight to the heart of things.
1)Why do you blog?
No, it’s not a daft, simplistic question. If you were a major corporation, meetings would be held regularly to discuss the firm’s direction, branding and mission statement – especially if profits and morale were down. If you’re blogweary, it could be that you haven’t poked around in this question deeply enough for a while, because you’re scared of what you might find there.
If the simple answer is “To make money.” Then fine. Your blog’s a vehicle. See this article as a way of cleaning it up, tuning the engine. Upgrading to a newer model.
Or maybe your blog’s your brand, your shop front, the front porch of a cottage industry, the smart business suit that announces you when you walk into a room. Either way, spring cleaning is always good. So is touching up paintwork, clearing out and doing basic maintenance.
Clearing out makes way for abundance, for fresh ideas, for new inspiration and direction. Maybe your reasons for blogging aren’t the same as they were last year when you built your blog, or last month even, when you weren’t anxious about money. We evolve. It’s natural.
Maybe your blog got so successful you want to get more spiritual, provide a different kind of value and usefulness.
Maybe you blog for connection, for the exchange of comments.
Are you creating a legacy, a business to pass on, a sideline stream of income?
Do you blog for self expression?
Would you keep blogging even if your Google Stats crashed and your comments counter had a glitch?
Be very clear….
Why do you blog?
It’s a biggie, one we need to investigate alongside the next one…
2) How do you define blogging?
Let’s face it, it’s a humungus, morphing term for everything we do to create, maintain, promote and market our blogs.
No wonder folk get blogweary – if we lump it all together on our tired days, without separating the strands, it can be overwhelming: creating posts, reworking posts, filing them, adapting them for guest posts, sending out emails about guest posts, answering emails from readers, writing bios, comments, replies to comments, twitter posts, social networking updates, tweaking SEO, adding functionality to our web themes, writing ebooks, mini e-courses, attending classes to improve our skills. And here’s a biggie, one that is so easy to overlook – doing what it is we’re skilled at or love enough to write about in the first place!!
So have a look at that list above, print it out or cut and paste it into a document you can work with. Add anything I’ve missed. Then, number all of those things in order of preference. Not importance, preference. Which elements of ‘blogging’ do you enjoy most? Keep that list safe.
On blogweary days, ONLY DO YOUR FAVOURITE THINGS! The sky won’t fall in if you take a total break – and if you ease yourself into taking a break by only doing your favourite things and not should-ing all over yourself every day, you’ll feel better.
3) Who are you?
I mean who are you NOW? What are your values, your roles, your goals in each of those roles? How do you want to FEEL in each element of your life? MAKE A LIST – I’m sure you already make To Do lists! Asking these questions can freshen up your blog immediately by helping you go deeper and get off the hamster treadmill, mindlessly churning out ten point how to posts, and comments… and replies to comments, every single day, without giving your soul some breathing space.
If you’re a committed parent, and your answer to question one was “To make money.” is it really sensible to keep pushing a rock up a hill when you might find that a day job + family time + expressive blogging actually makes you happier and brings in more money. Maybe a stint of blogging has made you realise that we create our own cubicle nation mentality and take it with us.
Maybe you’ve realised that you are a passionately happy blogger, who’s found the perfect vehicle for expression and a business that makes you want to get up in the morning and get at it. But you’re just tired, because it’s really hard work.
Are you an artist, a business owner, a writer, a marketer, an inspirer, a supporter, a recommender, a connector, a communicator, an entertainer, a friend, a flesh eating cannabalistic bloodsucking vampire (come on, we all know bloggers who have gone over to the Dark Side!)
Here’s another fun exercise to help you redefine yourself. Which two words define you? One for your essence and another for your special edge, your special twinkly something. Does your blog express those elements?
When you know who you are, why you blog and what blogging means to you personally, you can spring clean your blog by trying out some of the following tips.
- Ask for feedback. Ask regular readers to describe you in two words; ask what they get from you and your blog; ask which of your posts have been their all time favourites; ask why they think your comment numbers are dropping or going up; ask what they need from you, what they want from you.
- Find a working rhythm that suits you based on your needs, bio-rhythms and preferences – ditch the shoulds.
- Visit blogs that have nothing to do with your niche. See how the other half lives while recognizing the common language of niche passion!
- Freshen up your gravatar, headshots and any photos of you on the blog. Go out with friends and family – give them a mission: capture my soul, the best of me! See it as part of your job to get out and get those photos upgraded. What do your photos say about you.? What would a first time visitor to your site learn and feel about you just by looking at those? Go somewhere you love, the ocean, a favourite bistro, the park…Or, pay to get a professional photographer to capture the parts of you that emerged in questions 1, 2 and 3.
- Change where you blog. If you have a laptop, go out and write posts somewhere completely different. Better still, buy a beautiful notebook and pen. Feel like a writer and an artist as well as whatever kind of specialist you are. Make it a mission, a fuel-hunting, inspiration-seeking mission. Give yourself permission to moodle and people-watch in the real world, far away from Cyberland. Go to a café, wear a new persona like a new coat that makes you feel great. If you’re so addicted you can’t leave the house, change rooms. Leave the home office; write at the kitchen table, answer comments in the garden; read other people’s blogs in a cosy armchair.
- And while you’re out there, enjoying the breeze, a clear blue sky, people in lighter clothes and brighter moods, take a digital camera or a Flip camera to take photos or make mini videos of the world as you see it. Be a photographer – hunt for your own photos this week instead of reaching for the stock collection. Share a bit more of yourself. Have fun doing it.
- Whether it’s autumn where you are, or spring, enjoy some colour on your blog. Change a font, colour some categories, create a rotating header. PLAY a bit!
- Have a clear out. Weed your blogroll, clean out your archives, fix broken links, upgrade your slugs and your SEO, tidy up your side-bars, get some new RSS symbols, freshen up, express a new you. I mean, how many people ever click that calendar thing in the sidebar or use your search box anyway?
- Drop in a week’s worth of surprising posts. Connect your specialism to film, book reviews, politics, home design, holidays, a You Tube video – anything you don’t usually go near.
If you’ve read this far, you’re a committed blogger and I wish you all kinds of success!