I know what you're thinking, this is such a cliche blog post that everyone does around this time of year. You know what I'm thinking? As a reader you should know by now I never give you all the cliche content you can get from anywhere. No, I'm more dedicated to making sure I keep it real with you and remain the one of a kind woman I am.
Now that we've come to the conclusion that my list of things is amazing, let's get to it. You read in my 23 Lessons Learned By Age 23 post that there was so much knowledge I gained in these past few years, but I primarily shared my expertise with life experiences. Now with the year ending I'm also sharing my blogging knowledge gained from 2016, and let me tell you it's a hell of a lot.
To put it into perspective, check out my End of The Year Income Report where I discuss my stats for the year and income obtained. I learned how to generate income from my small blog this year and want to make sure all of you are on the right track to doing the same with yours. As I always say, it doesn't matter the size of your blog, but rather the quality. So let's begin.
1. Keeping That Extra Long URL - If you want your blog to be taken seriously by not only brands but also by your audience, it's time to get that URL right hunny. No more myblog.wordpress.com in 2017. I'd argue that even the newest of new bloggers should pay the additional cost to remove the excess to in your website because it shows dedication to your blog. Even if it's a hobby dedicate a little time and investment in that hobby, because it may turn out to be a source of income in the future.
2. Promoting Your Content With Bad Pictures - This one CANNOT come into the new year. I've seen so many bloggers wondering why there is no traffic coming from their promotion, but found that they were either not posting images with their promotion or not posting the best quality images they could. Make sure you're producing quality photos to tell the right story. Now don't go out and buy a fancy camera you don't know how to use to get better photos, rather learn with the tools you have. I've seen beautiful quality photos come from an iPhone, but it's all about learning the right lighting, angles and editing. Here's a video my Shameless Maya that shows how to use your iPhone to take bomb videos/photos. If you're just not into taking photos, I understand. Sometimes I'm the same way so I use my favorite stock photo websites (CreateHer Stock and Pexels) to assist with elevating my blog's visual story:
3. Investing Monthly In Your Blog - Whether it be having G Suite for your email, BoardBooster to promote your DIY posts or buying a new pair of heels for your photo shoot, you should be investing in your blog monthly. This sounds so scary to some people, but the beauty of it is you choose how you invest. Hundreds of dollars aren't required to elevate it rather simple investments can make all the difference. I know moving forward I'll be investing moreso into my attire because you all stay for the content, but the reason you stop in the first place is because my clothes capture your attention. Find what works for you and invest in it! You'll definitely see the difference once you make it a habit to take some of your money earned and put it right back into your work. Never forget that "it takes money to make money."
4. Not Having A Media Kit or Rate Sheet - Ladies and Gentleman, if you're wanting to make money from your blog in 2017, you MUST have a media kit and rate sheet. I know some people are not fans of either, but think of them as your resumes. You wouldn't apply to a job without a resume, right? You'd use that to show them before you even speak that you're qualified and the best candidate for the job, correct? So think of your media kit and rate sheet in the same way. Let them do the initial talking for you so that way brands are intrigued and know your value before even sending you a campaign or opportunity. Taking time to create these tools creates more time for you to find the right brands who align with your blog and who are also willing to pay you. Need help pitching? I did an entire blog post on Pitching As A Small Blogger.
5. Outdated Content or Links - It's imperative to go through all of your old content and make sure every photo, link and piece of information you're providing to readers is up to date. There's often this notion that you shouldn't update old content and I'm here to say that's complete bull. You should be updating your content with new information because there will be new, and old, readers who still visit those older posts. Just because the glow up is coming don't forget about those first few posts. Make sure they're in tip top shape so you can keep on rising.
6. Blogging Alone - The struggle of learning everything in blog world can be TOO real. So, why go through it alone? There's so many groups and organizations out there that exist specifically so that bloggers like you and I have support from other's going through the same things. You will learn so much more and progress so much quicker by being in groups of likeminded individuals. I myself am the Founder of a network called Black Bloggers United that I suggest EVERYONE join. Don't go into 2017 with the notion that you have to blog alone. Find a group you like and become part of the blogging community. I promise it will make all the difference.
7. Not Having a Posting Schedule - Being inconsistent with blogging is probably the ONE thing I've found so many bloggers struggling with. I have a theory that even if your content is sub par, you'll still be able to progress and grow a following if you're consistent. So, take time to not only produce content but come up with a set schedule to stay on focus. I'm leaving 2016 a little scattered, but don't be fooled! I'm planning bigger and better things for the new year and you should to.
8. Difficult Themes - To each his own when it comes to the design of their blog. I'm not going to sit here and tell you how your blog should or shouldn't look. But, what I will say is there are some difficult themes that make it hard for readers to navigate the site. I've been on some websites where it's taken me literally five minutes to figure out where simple things like their about me or contact pages are. That's difficult and it could be potentially deterring people from returning to your website. Another thing that can make a theme difficult is making it hard for people to share your blog posts. The whole point of blogging is to get it out there to the world, right? So make it easy for people to share. Leave those difficult themes in the past and find a theme that's going to take you to the top.
9. Not Making Your Posts SEO Optimized - There is no point in posting if you're not making your content easy to find. So make sure you're doing all that you can to make your posts SEO optimized. What does that mean? In simple terms it's making your posts easy to be found when someone googles or searches for something. For example, when you search 'DIY Charm Bracelet' the search engine finds the website that is most relevant and utilizes those key words throughout. Needless to say make sure you're adding SEO details to your posts next year. You want to be on that top spot when someone googles for a thing.
10. Bad Branding - Aside from consistency, this is one of the things holding us all back from success. Bad branding can hold any blog back, so don't let it be you. When I say "bad branding" I'm referring to branding that doesn't make it clear to a reader or brand who you are and what you're about immediately. This was one of my biggest mistakes this year and I'm making sure to leave it in the past. All of the ladies in my blog post on Melanated Girlbosses are excellent at branding, so I suggest giving it a visit to get some inspiration and assistance with making your branding A1 in the new year.
Leave those things in the past and you'll have a bright future ahead of you! Need additional help? I'm your girl. Visit services to learn how we can work together to get your blog in tip top shape to monetize and pitch your dream brands.
You can also watch my latest video on Trends To Leave in 2016: Blogger Edition!