Now that 2007 is behind us, I offer a quick inspirational list of things any blogger can do to “jump start” their blog in the new year.
1. Figure out what you’re really an expert in. Maybe it’s time to write about that instead of chasing what’s popular.
2. Put your readers first. Ultimately, the point of any blog is to be read by readers, and putting content first. Sounds obvious, but with all the crazy blogging details like traffic, SEO, etc., many seem to may forget this simple concept. Do a mental reboot and look at your blog as if you were a reader who just happened upon your blog. Would you read the article you found, or click the back button, never to return?
4. Comment on other blogs. When was the last time you visited all the blogs on your blog roll and left a comment?
5. Link to other blogs. The Internet is all about sharing information and links are one way to make this plain for all to see.
6. Have a reader survey to find out what your readers really think about your blog. Here’s a plugin you can use:
7. Change your ads around. It’s a good idea to change placement of your ads periodically into new configurations.
8. Declutter your blog. Way too many blogs with crazy widgets that are of little benefit to the average reader.
9. Sign up at a new social networking service. Blogging is partly about networking, and also finding new content to share with your readers. There are many social networking sites that have a constant flow of user-submitted content. I’d recommend Twitter, Mixx, Digg, and Reddit.
10. Hold a blog contest. Offering something up as a prize is a quick way to get user response and return a little focus on your blog. Avoid the paid for links thing (Google doesn’t like it).
11. Set up automated blog back ups. It’s important to keep your eye on the back end and using a periodic back up plugin is painless.
12. Update your blog’s software. WordPress recently had yet another security update.
13. Update your plugins. WordPress 2.3 now reminds you when a newer version of a plugin is available Check out the plugin page to find a link to the new version.
14. Write for another blog. Many blogs put out periodic calls for guest posts. Volunteer for one to break out of the routine of writing for your own blog. You may push yourself harder when writing for someone else and get your creative juices flowing.
15. Ask people to write for your blog. You may learn something about how others see your blog by what sort of content they come up with for your niche.
16. Take a vacation. Blogger burnout is common and is no reflection on your ability – any normal person gets exhausted when doing the same thing over and over and over and over (and over). Maybe it’s time to take a break and recharge your batteries.
17. Set up a blog posting schedule. Dream up a few topics you could do a series of posts on and assign a day of the week. Challenge yourself to write three posts in a day for that topic. There, you’ve taken care of three weeks.
18. Throw out your blog posting schedule. Maybe less order is what you need. Toss out the book of rules. Try posting an off the cuff rant, or post at an odd time of the day.
19. Choose (or create) a new theme. So many free themes out there, so little time. A change of scenery may provide a fresh, inspiring start.
20. Write from a new perspective. Take a look at the last ten posts you wrote and list the similarities. Then set out to write a post that contains none of them.
21. Change your writing environment. Take your portable computer to the park, to the library, to a cafe. One great aspect of blogging is the ability to write and post from anywhere you have an Internet connection. Take advantage of it.
22. Stir things up. Sometimes the best way to get attention is to blatantly ask for it. Link to another blogger you disagree with and politely point out why you disagree. They can handle it.
23. Use more images. Readers like images, if only as a hook to get them interested and start reading your post. Sign up for a stock photography service and add some flair. If you’re very organized, choose one image for each of your blog subjects so you always have an image.
24. Get more personal. You may not need to go as far as ranting about your spouse but a little bit of heart on sleeve wearing is a good way to get some attention and maybe some pity. Everyone can relate to a writer who reveals that they are human and just like them.
25. Remind yourself that blogging is fun. Every blogger has a platform on which they can voice their opinions, put them out there, and see what the rest of the Internet thinks. It’s a new form of communication and exciting stuff. Remember that!