Every so often the creative juices just don’t flow the way they used to and I find myself in a writing rut. I try to glean inspiration from all sorts of sources, but with no avail. I end up staring at the blinking cursor on my screen with nothing to write about. Although this happens to everyone, it dawned on me that even if you’re not actually writing a post there are all kinds of things you can do with your blog to keep it up to date, coordinated, and looking professional.
I began this blog in October 2014. That’s about 1 1/2 ago and even in my short time here I’ve learned so much. From what to include in every post, how to promote your posts via social media, and learning how to write more cohesively and authentically. In that time I’ve taken breaks, found blogging to be overwhelming, contemplated on whether or not I bit off more than I could chew, and even debated on just giving up.
“us bloggers must maintain our blogs just as much as we write for them.”
However, a lesson I only recently learned was that us bloggers must maintain our blogs just as much as we write for them. Writing content is only about 20% of what we do. Consider the work and man-hours that go into creating the graphics, embedding links, networking with brands, and promoting our content. Not to mention we do this all on top of our regular lives, which for some of us include: busy work schedules, home duties, schooling, and other responsibilities like, you know, kids or husbands.
So, whether to help get you through a creative rut or if you are looking for ways to spruce up your blog, here’s what you can do to optimize your SEO today and maintain your blog.
Re-share old blog posts.
Dig into the depths of your archives and bring some life back into those older posts. Obviously your writing may look a bit dated and you may surprise yourself, like me, at how horrendous your writing used to be. But consider that progress and how you’ve grown as a writer and blogger! Be sure to embed links within new posts that link to your archived ones that way your current readers can easily locate your earlier work.
Edit old blog posts & photos.
It was pretty hilarious to go through my archived posts and see just how poorly I understood how to write quality content and be authentic. Most of my pictures weren’t in good lighting, weren’t Pinterest friendly, and I don’t know if I even shared the posts on social media. Having learned a thing or two, I’ve since taken the time to go back and fix those early blogger mistakes. Make your blog more cohesive by going back in time and make your content worth finding and sharing to your current readers.
Also, be sure that each post you write has at least one Pinterest friendly photo or banner that will entice your readers to pin and save what you’ve written. Be sure that the photos you take are in good lighting and take some time to edit them. If you want to use stock photos, make sure they’re free or you give the proper credit before using them.
Here are some resources I use for photos:
Free stock photos I love using: Unsplash, Stocka.co, and Kaboompics.
Edit and create blog graphics: Canva or PicMonkey
Editing photos: Lightroom
Get comfortable with SEO.
Did you know that SEO is extremely important for your blog to be successful and get out there for others to find? It’s a way to drive traffic to your posts and therefore your blog. So, if you’re looking to gain some new followers or meet new bloggers be sure that you’re driving traffic to your site. How to do that? For my fellow WP users the plugin Yoast SEO has been a game changer for me and points out what I should change or add for the best SEO optimization for each post!
Analytics is just a nifty way to keep an eye on your traffic and pinpoint what exactly is bringing readers to your blog and keeping them there. Google Analytics is a good place to start and used by practically every blogger out there. Luckily social media has caught on to this and offer analytics of their own based on traffic from or to your website. Sites like Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook offer you analytics for free and it’s a good idea to become familiar and keep and eye on what content is doing well and driving traffic.
Check in on your blog’s social media.
Please consider creating social media pages for your blog if you haven’t already. Most people during the workday don’t have time to sit and read your blog post from a computer. So, snapshots from Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook will help drive traffic to your blog for those readers on the go. I love following blogs on Facebook because their new posts pop right up in my newsfeed.
Social media allows you to share your posts in a more authentic way and drive traffic to and from those platforms. I find Instagram has been a great leader of people to my blog since it’s a visual social media platform so I’m sure to spend some quality time drafting each of my pictures.
Tip: Instagram/Twitter hashtags are a huge determining factor whether your photo/blog will be seen by a new audience. I keep a note in my phone of all the popular hashtags for each kind of post (baby, food, lifestyle, etc.) and simply copy and paste them when I’m ready to share.
Using some kind of blog planner has been only a recent change for me. Before I would just write up posts as the mood struck me and hit publish. I’ve since learned that there’s a lot of benefits to writing when you’re inspired, but holding off hitting the publish button right away. Using a planner helps you look at your month and see how you can spread out your content and reach the most people.
Are there weekly or monthly linkups you participate in? Monthly writing challenges? Add those first to your monthly planner. Is there a holiday coming up you’re writing for? Add that about a week or so prior to that holiday, etc. Then fill your calendar with the drafts you’ve already started working on. Planning ahead is such a simple step anyone can take in maintaining their blog and it keeps content fresh and new to your readers.
Schedule out your blog posts.
So, now that you have all these posts ready to go how do you manage to get them out there? Schedule your posts and not just with your blog host. I use Hootsuite and absolutely love it! It’s free to sign up and it links your social media accounts so that you write up your posts all in one convenient spot. Then, you’ll schedule them out based on when they go live on your blog and no more worries about forgetting to promote those posts before you run out the door.
Edit your blog’s About page.
The ‘about’ section of your blog tells your readers who you are and why you blog. With a gazillion blogs out there you want to stand out and connect with your readers. Be witty, share photos, or talk about what inspires you. Your ‘about’ page is so important and you’ll notice it’s one of the most visited pages on your blog (I know that because of my analytics). What should you include in your about page? It just takes a simple Pinterest search to find a number of blogs who share tips for just that.
Be involved in the blogging community.
I couldn’t stress this enough. When I’m not writing for my own blog, I always make sure to check in and touch base with the bloggers I follow and love reading what they’ve been up to. Blogging can be a business for some by promoting products, but I’ve found so much joy just by reading and sharing in the events that make up the lives of those I follow and vice versa. Respond to comments, post comments on other blogs, start a discussion on your blog’s Facebook page, and just get out there.
Join a blogging network or community like The Peony Project or group Pinterest boards. Blogging is so much more meaningful when you’re actually connecting on a personal level with not only your readers, but fellow bloggers.
These are just a few of the things that have helped me over the last year really get in tune with my blog and see just how I can make it better. Because as much as I love writing for me, I love writing to have others read, respond, and connect even more. Beginning with just a few of these steps will help you create a blog that has purpose, has cohesive and relatable content, and reaches a bigger audience. I hope you find these little tips to be helpful!
If you could offer a new blogger any advice on how to maintain a blog what would it be? Have you learned something new about blogging lately that has helped you transform your blog?