2019 starts 6 weeks from today – what?! This means that it’s time to start thinking about the new year so that I have plenty of time to prepare for it. Or, rather, prepare this blog for it. While it’s not the end of the world to not prepare for the new year, I’ve found that I’ve had more satisfactory and productive years when I’ve done that. So today I’m going to talk about why you should considering setting up a blog for the new year instead of just winging it, as well as how to do that.
This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for supporting Kate the (Almost) Great!
Why Setting Up a Blog for the New Year Is a Good Idea
It helps prepare your blog for success – Getting ready for a new year helps you hit the ground running in the new year, and also sets you up for success. If you’re not scrambling, you’re able to blog to the best of your ability. Sitting down to get ready for the new year will help your blog put its best foot forward. Additionally, it can give you purpose behind working hard. You won’t just be working hard for the sake of working hard.
It helps you achieve your goals – There’s a saying that I don’t know the source for: a goal without a plan is just a wish. If you go into the new year with a goal but no plan to achieve it, you’re just wishing for it to happen and not planning for it.
How To Set Up a Blog for the New Year
Evaluate the previous year – What happened in the past year on the blog? What worked? What didn’t work? What do you wish happened? What do you wish didn’t happen? Ask yourself all of these questions, and try to answer them objectively. You can’t grow if you don’t acknowledge what didn’t go well, or as well as you would like, and you can’t grow if you don’t be honest with yourself.
Make goals + a plan to achieve them – What do you want to accomplish on your blog in 2019? Come up with at least one goal. And remember: it should be achievable. Is it nice to set lofty goals so you push yourself to achieve them? Absolutely! But don’t set ones that are unlikely to happen in one year, or ones that are too general. Psychology Today says, “Poorly defined goals may lead to the formation of weak intentions to realize the goal and to subsequent procrastination” (x). You also need to come up with a plan to achieve your goals. Again, if you don’t have a plan, your goal is just a wish. What will you do to achieve your goals? What will you do if you struggle to achieve them? How will you measure success? That last one is super important. If you can’t measure success, how can you figure out if you’re on track or if you achieved your goal(s)?
Know where you stand with your finances – If you’re like me, the nitty gritty business stuff of blogging isn’t very fun. But it’s so important to take a real look at your finances. You need to know what you can afford, even if you don’t feel the need to make money with your blog. There are so many thing about blogging that can cost money, from website hosting to domain name, and from mailing list service to social media scheduling service. So if you haven’t already, look at your/your blog’s bank account and figure out whether you broke even or even made a profit. Look at when your scheduled charges will be and figure out how much you’ll have to make in order to break even or make the profit that you want to make. I personally use QuickBooks Self-Employed to manage my finances, and it’s so easy.How to get your blog ready for the new year Click To Tweet
Figure out if you’ll need to buy new things – I really tried to come up with a more appropriate word than “things,” but here we are. And maybe “need” isn’t the best word, either. ANYWAY, moving on. Is your blog suffering from a lack of quality technology? This is a great time of year to buy new technology, like a camera or laptop. (Tune in on Friday for best Cyber Monday deals *finger guns at you*.) Are you not as productive as you would like? Look into signing up for a co-working space or get a new planner. I personally love the Erin Condren Life Planner and rarely go anywhere without it. Basically, take an inventory on your blogging supplies and if a) you need to buy new ones or b) there are things you don’t have that would make you a better blogger. If you can’t afford to get them now, start saving for the most important thing on your list.
Sign up for better quality software/services – This is different from above because it’s about services you use for your blog and not things. These can include the mailing list service you use, the service you use to schedule your social media, and more. I personally use Buffer for Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn; Tailwind for Pinterest; and Mailchimp for my mailing list. I really like Buffer because it’s easy to use and you can link multiple social media accounts. I switched to it from Hootsuite when Hootsuite only gave you 30 scheduled posts per month for their free account, and Buffer was the cheapest paid service with a great plan. I can schedule up to 100 posts on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn each. I switched to Tailwind because BoardBooster stopped posting my scheduled post with no warning and their Support team never got back to me when I emailed them multiple times. But I’m so glad I switched! Not only does it provide great scheduling, but it also has this service called Tailwind Tribes. Tribes are kind of like group boards on Pinterest but they’re on Tailwind. This has really boosted my blog traffic! And I really like MailChimp. Lots of people dislike it – I saw someone call it the “Spirit Airlines of mailing lists” on Twitter the other day – but I like it and you get a lot for your free account. If your mailing list has less than 2000 subscribers, it’s the perfect service for you.
Research – This is a part of making the plan for your goals: you should do some research on what you need to do to achieve them. Want to get more blog traffic? Research ways to do that. Want to monetize your blog? You got it, research how to do it. Research current blog trends and how the blogging industry has changed in previous years. Basically, you want to research everything you need to before you need to actually have that research.What you need to do to set your blog up for 2019 Click To Tweet
Look into hiring a VA – If you can afford it, it might be a good idea to hire a virtual assistant, aka a VA. They can do everything from run your social media for you to reach out to companies on your account to get sponsored posts, and everything in between. My understanding is that not all VAs do everything, so one might specialize in social media, for example. And you also don’t have to hire one to do 40 hours of work a week; even just 5 hours a week can majorly help your blog.
Start working on your editorial calendar – Ohhh my goodness has an editorial calendar changed my blogging game. I don’t know what I would do without it. An editorial calendar is a calendar where you keep track of your blog post topics ahead of time. Basically, you decide what you will write about on what days in a calendar format. This looks different for different people; for some, the topics written in the calendar are more general, while for others, they are very specific. The whole point is for it to help you, so find a system that works for you.
Overall, editorial calendars help you prepare for posts ahead of time and let you organize your post topics. It helps you to be more organized as a blogger, prepare for posts ahead of time, and not worry the day before a post goes up to figure out what you’re going to write about. It also helps make sure you don’t post about really similar topics two days in a row, which keeps your readers coming back day after day since they know that you’re going to write about new and interesting thing every day. Plus, if you are going to need to take pictures for a post or go shopping for materials or make any other preparations (depending on what you blog about), you’ll know ahead of time and can adequately prepare.
How long it takes to pull together really depends on you and your process. For me, it takes less than a few minutes, but my calendar itself is kinda bare-bones (I’ll explain my process down below). If yours is more detailed, it might take you a little longer. But since it makes me more organized – which lowers my stress level – it is so worth it.
I wrote an entire post about why an editorial calendar is worth the time and how to make one, so I’ll leave that here instead of regurgitating it entirely.
How are you setting up your blog for the new year?
Like this post? Check out: