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Blog Tips

10 Ways To Prep Your Blog For 2017

By Oct 19, 2016 7 Comments

As another year draws to an end, we start looking ahead to the new year and new possibilities, probably setting goals for ourselves that we really have no intentions of keeping, like vowing to finally lose the weight or finally get our house organized. (I’m not the only one, right?)

We make goals for our blog, too, but how many of those goals do you actually keep? When life and other distractions get in the way, it’s easy to lose sight of things we hope to accomplish, and blogging often times takes a backseat. However, with the right plan, you can set yourself, and your blog, up for success by following these 10 Ways to Prep Your Blog for 2017.

Don't keep setting the same goals year after year for your blog and never achieving them. Follow these 10 Ways to Prep Your Blog for 2017 and make it the most successful year yet!

10 Ways to Prep Your Blog for 2017

Zig Ziglar, the great motivational speaker, once said, “Goals are dreams we convert to plans and take action to fulfill.” So, get ready to make an action plan that will get you from where you are to where you want to be in 2017.

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#1 – Set Scary Goals

It’s easy to set tiny goals because, if we don’t accomplish them, we don’t feel too bad about it. However, when your goals are just big enough to scare you a little, they seem more real. And there’s something exciting that happens when you vow to make them a reality.

It’s important to make those goals public, though. Don’t let them live in your heart or on a piece of paper. Tell people about your big, scary goals, and ask them to hold you accountable and support you along the way.

And the hardest part? Give those goals a deadline. Write it in huge red letters on your calendar and circle it a bunch of times. Stop saying, “I want to do {insert goal here}”. Instead, say, “I WILL DO {insert goal here}”. Finally, make a plan to get you from where you are today to that big red circle on your calendar.

#2 – Learn From Your Past

As bloggers, we’re wired to check our analytics often. We want to know how many pageviews we have, how many social media followers we have, and, of course, how much money we’ve made. But after you look at those numbers, what do you do with the information?

Learn from it. Don’t just find out what your most popular posts were, dig deeper to find out WHY they were so popular. Apply those principles to every blog post you write going forward.

The same holds true for your least popular posts. Why didn’t they perform well? What can you do to improve or repurpose them? (I’ve got some ideas.)

Ask “why” when you look at your income as well. Why were some months higher than others? Use this information to make your plan of action for 2017.

#3 – Plan For Success

Not everyone is a natural planner, but having a plan alleviates so much stress. Did you know it’s not only possible, but actually easy, to map out an entire year’s worth of content in one sitting?

Think about your blog categories, then map out 12 (or more) themes. Brainstorm blog post topics based on these themes. Choose one theme for each month of the year, and voila! You’ve got blog posts for the entire year! Add these to your editorial calendar (you do have one, don’t you?), and work ahead.

#4 – Know What You Want to Rank For

SEO is kinda scary, but super important if you want your blog posts to be found in search. One way to improve your SEO is to focus on one main keyword phrase at a time. Think about what topic you want to rank for. This shouldn’t be the ONLY topic you write about, because that would get boring, but think of it as a funnel to get new readers onto your blog who will discover the rest of your amazing content.

For example, I want to rank in search for email marketing. I write blog posts regularly about email marketing, and have all of them on a category page called…you guessed it…email marketing. Every post I write about email marketing is SEO-optimized for that search term, as well as secondary keyword phrases.

#5 – Schedule Social Media

I have a love/hate relationship with social media, insomuch as I love to hate it. But I do know it’s a valuable marketing tool, so I force myself to become better at using it.

First of all, you need to determine which social media platforms are being used by your target audience, then establish your presence there. You don’t have to try to be active on ALL THE PLATFORMS so relax. Focus on what works for you and your brand.

Then, curate content specifically for those platforms. For example, video content, particularly live video content, is HUGE on Facebook, and shows no signs of stopping any time soon. That means, if your target audience is on Facebook, you have to embrace video and start sharing.

Also, find a scheduling tool or three that you love and use it. Put dedicated time on your calendar each week to schedule out all of your social media content so you have a consistent presence on each active platform, and don’t forget to engage with your audience, too!

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#6 – Email, Email, Email!!!

I mentioned in item #4 that I want to rank for email marketing. Email is my jam (and my job), and I would even go so far as to say that it is THE #1 MOST VALUABLE MARKETING TOOL in a blogger’s toolbox. I could drone on for days about exactly why it’s so valuable and why you should be using it, but that’s a different blog post entirely.

Be sure you have an email list, be sure you’re letting people know you have an email list, and give them an incentive to sign up. An opt-in offer can be a simple as a 1- or 2-page PDF resource guide listing your favorite tools, go-to craft supplies, or easy dinner staples. Make it pretty, make it valuable, and give it away in exchange for an email address.

Then, be sure you are consistently sending valuable newsletters to your subscribers. And by “newsletter” I do NOT mean an RSS email. If that’s all you’re sending, make 2017 the year you level up.

#7 – Set Financial Rules

Let’s talk about the almighty dollar for a minute. Yes, most of us want to monetize our blogs in some way, but here’s the truth: We don’t ALL have to monetize the same way.

Before you get stuck with the idea that you have to have ads, or you have to create a course, or any other have-to’s, make a list. Write down what you will and will NOT do for money. Keep a standard for yourself, and don’t listen to anybody else when they tell you you should be doing what they’re doing for your brand.

Remember, your blog is your business, not anyone else’s. Monetize your way. Be sure to write down how much you’re worth for your work, whether that’s for sponsored post opportunities, client work, courses, etc. By all means, whatever you do, DON’T UNDERVALUE YOURSELF.

#8 – Get Your Media Kit Together*

*If you plan to monetize with sponsors, this is for you.

Your media kit is essentially your blog’s resume. Create a template using a program like Canva and update your media kit often (at least quarterly). Be sure to include your most recent stats, like pageviews and social media followers, brands you’ve worked with, and ideas for brand/blog collaborations.

#9 – Plan Your Pitch

If you ever want to work with brands, or work with other blogger’s in your niche for fun collabs, you need a pitch.

When pitching a brand, it’s important to be a raving fan first, and a brand ambassador second. And by all means, do NOT include pricing in your initial pitch. Do, however, include your amazing idea to show the brand how you’re going to represent their product, and be specific. When it’s time to talk money, you should have that mapped out because you took care of it back in item #7 of this list!

If you plan to pitch another blogger with a collaboration idea, you want to be clear about your expectations, who will do what tasks, how much promotion you expect, deadlines for work, etc. Collaborations with other bloggers can be anything from hosting a Twitter chat together to doing a blog hop or linky party, or anything in between, and are a great way to get new readers to your blog.

#10 – Continuing Education

Whatever it is you feel you need to improve upon, there’s a course, video, challenge, or ebook out there to help you do just that. Never stop learning. Never stop improving your craft.

Make a list of the things you want or need to learn, then find the resources you need. Ask your blog friends for their recommendations. Search Pinterest and Google. And don’t forget – this is important – to schedule time to do the work. You can only improve if you put in the effort, so if you pay for a course, a conference, an ebook, or anything else, schedule time to participate and implement what you learn.

#FinishBigStartStrong is an intensive 7-week course designed to help bloggers & creative entrepreneurs set big, scary goals, then create a road map to achieve them. If you're tired of setting the same goals year after year but never accomplishing them, if you are ready to make some huge leaps in your business, #FinishBigStartStrong is for you. Class begins Monday, Oct. 31, 2016.

I know blogging is hard work and can be a massive time-suck, but if you want to take your blog seriously in 2017 and finally accomplish your big, scary goals, I want to help.

#FinishBigStartStrong begins Monday, October 31st, and registration is open right now.

SITS Girls readers can get 30% off the cost of the course!

This course takes you through the exact process I took my own blog through last year, and is designed to help you set those big goals, create a plan of action, and not only achieve them, but exceed them in 2017.

Last year, I was working full-time away from home, driving 3 hours round-trip to a job I hated. My blog was a side hustle, and had been for years. I set the same goals year after year and never achieved them.

After creating a specific road map for myself, and working hard to follow it, I was able to quit my job in 7 months. In the first 10 months of 2016, I launched multiple passion projects, including a podcast, a membership site, and a blog conference. I have a client calendar that stays full, I travel and speak at conferences across the US, and teach bloggers on various aspects of email and blog strategy.

Now, those were my goals. This course is not a technical course, it’s a plan. Whatever your blog niche, however long you’ve been blogging, this is for you. If you have goals and want to achieve them, without the feeling of overwhelm, it’s time to #FinishBigStartStrong.


Kirsten Thompson is the owner of Sweet Tea, LLC, a Southerner addicted to sweet tea in a mason jar, a self-proclaimed email nerd, and a proud wife & mom. She works 1:1 with bloggers & online creatives to help them pursue their passions and create their own brand of success through purposeful blog & email marketing strategies. Connect with her on her website, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

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