Love 'Fresh Starts'! Let's do it!
I love new beginnings!
I love the opportunity to start fresh and clear where I can put aside the past and look forward to the new future with a new perspective and vigor!
Sure, some will argue that the so-called New Year’s Resolutions never really find follow-through for most people but we’re not in the “new year” yet!
And seriously; now’s a good time to do this stuff anyways if you haven’t done them already! Why not leverage a particular calendar date to eek out a little motivation?
Sure! No problem!
So, in the next 5 days (including today) you should look to spend 5 minutes (at least) doing these 5 things to get yourself ready for the coming new year!
1. Get Web Analytics Installed
If you’re not using some sort of analytics software for your blog then you need to get some installed right away! There’s a lot that you can do without having analytics installed but you will never be as effective as you want (and need) to be with your blogging efforts without them.
I’ve listed out the 5 reasons you need blog analytics here as well as the three that I use across my blog properties but I’m not dogmatic about those (except perhaps Google Analytics) – you can use whatever you’d like but use something, anything!
A lot of the topics that I’m going to cover in the coming year will require that you have at least Google Analytics to make any sense and for you to start the New Year with these installed will help you have a better picture of what’s happening year-over-year.
Signing up will take you a few minutes and installing it shouldn’t be too hard either. Drop a comment if you have any questions!
Already Have Them Installed? Here’s Your Assignment:
If you already have analytics installed then your job is to review the past year looking for trends and making note of valuable keywords that are bringing you traffic.
What do you see? Any patterns? Is there anything unexpected? Jot those things down. Love to hear what you find.
Keywords are your friend(s)... Seriously!
We’ll talk more about the use of these in the coming weeks but take the time now to get familiar with them!
2. Lighten Your Page Load
It’s already been proven that the speed of your blog’s ability to load content has a direct impact to your Search Engine Ranking. What this practically means is that anything you add to your blog will make your blog load slower and thus impacting your SEO return.
Unless your 'heavy' plugins and scripts are bringing the (good) pain... get rid of them.
You probably have a number of Plugins and 3rd party scripts that are, to be quite honest, unnecessary. My rule is this: If the 3rd party script or plugin doesn’t bring incredibly high value to my readers and holds a very explicit value-increasing purpose then I don’t need it.
Your assignment is to go through your list of plugins and get rid of as many as you can. Get your blog “fresh and so clean” for the new year!
3. Content Focus, Again.
We’ve talked about this a few times already and I’ll continue to talk about it until everyone really gets it, but now is the time to double-down and really begin to think about your content focus for the coming year for your blog. What 1 to 2, maybe 3 topics is your blog really going to cover?
It's ok to be out of focus... if that's your stated goal. Otherwise it's a bad idea.
The point here is that the more focused you can be with your content focus the more control and penetration you have in your SEO return and efforts. It’s difficult and a challenge to just win the SEO game for one focused topic let alone the billion that your blog may currently serve!
Focus, focus, focus! Pick those one or two things that you’re going to write about strategically and make a commitment to it because this year is the year of crazy-growth in those areas!
If your blog has double-digit categories then you’re going to want to take a look at #3 and admit that you definitely have a problem with your content focus! This is a practical application of #3 as your categories will not only help you focus your content but will drive your SEO efforts this coming year.
Spend some time re-categorizing your blog posts, consolidating ones that are similar, and perhaps making note of blog posts that just don’t seem to “fit” your content goals for the coming year.
Some blogs (and their categories) look like this: Too many options!
If this seems like an impossible task or if you’re not willing to take the time necessary to do this early “spring cleaning” then you honestly can’t expect for the growth that you feel you deserve this coming year.
I review, prune, and manage my categories monthly; when was the last time you did? Sure, you may not be a Professional Blogger (yet) but if you don’t spend the time now then you’ll never be.
5. Commit to Spending Money
It's true you know...
This can be a tough one but you’re going to want to begin coaching yourself on the fact that a growing blog will need to spend money to make money, even if it’s really only a few dollars.
Some practical examples might be the following:
- Change of hosting provider and/or hosting server for your blog.
- Changing your blogging platform (hopefully you’ll make a move to WordPress!).
- Investing in a Premium WordPress Theme, like Standard Theme.
- Investing in software that might help your blogging efforts, like Evernote, the many paid analytics applications out there, or even a recording software like Screenflow.
- Hardware upgrade? Perhaps you need to take a look at a new computer (like the Macbook Air that I absolutely LOVE!).
- Custom branding, design perhaps?
- And more…
Coaching yourself on this starts today, especially if it makes your nervous, but your blogging efforts are worth it, right? Even with very small investments I believe you’ll be able to make it back in spades. Just don’t invest anything that doesn’t directly impact the quality and productivity of your blogging efforts!
Otherwise, it’s just a nice-to-have and call it for what it is!
I couldn’t be more excited about the coming year – there’s much work to be done!
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