The end of 2016 is near. Now it’s time to look back and reflect on what we have accomplished throughout the year. Aside from that, it’s also time to look ahead – to create our vision and plans for next year.
In this post, I want to share what we will do to make sure that we take our blog to the next level in 2017.
1. Goal setting
As the saying goes, if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there. Tony Robbins say that before you write your to-do list, you need to know your outcome.
What do you want?
Now, it’s important that you are specific with your goal. Here’s is an example of a target that is not specific:
I want to get some more traffic to my blog.
This goal is so general that you might already have achieved it. “Some more traffic.” Two additional visitors and your goal is achieved! I’m sure that isn’t your real goal, right?
Instead, write down your goal in a way that is more specific. I recommend that you follow the S.M.A.R.T. method:
If you follow this method, your goal might look like this:
I will easily get 50 000 visitors to my blog every month on December 31, 2017.
Write down ten goals like this and prioritize them. Put the goal that will have the biggest impact on you at the top of the list. Revisit the goals by rewriting it several times throughout the upcoming year or at least put it where you can see it regularly.
Here is an article on How to Set Goals so you can discover more secrets on goal setting.
2. Creating a game plan
Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result, said Einstein. Well, now is the time to look at what’s working and what isn’t.
Will you keep spending your time on an activity that is bringing you little to no return? I will share a powerful ritual that we go through each year that we originally got from Brian Tracy. Here it is:
Ask yourself: What are 20 things that I can do to grow my blog in 2017?
Start writing down your answers. Don’t cheat, force yourself to come up with 20 things that you can do since your best idea might come close to 20. If you need help, check out our post on 33 Ways To Immediately Improve Your Blogging .
After that put a circle around the one activity that you think can have the biggest impact on your blog. After that, try to prioritize the other activities.
Other things to look over is the time that you can spend on your blog. Don’t plan to do ten things in a week if you know that you only have 8 hours to work on your blog.
There might be certain activities that you can outsource as well. For more information, check out Should you be outsourcing work or not?
3. Looking over the analytics
There are a couple of things that you want to use Google Analytics for at the end of the year. You want to use it to find out
- The blog posts that are giving you the most traffic
- The source that is giving you the most traffic (Search Engine, Facebook, Pinterest, etc.
- More information about your readers, (age, location, interests, etc.).
By looking over your top posts, perhaps you can start to see a pattern. Do people resonate more with motivational posts or tutorial posts? So for example, if they resonate more with tutorial posts, you might want to focus more on that in 2017.
By looking at where the traffic is coming from, you can choose to concentrate more of your attention on the high-return platforms. The 80/20 rule states that 80% of your result will come from 20% of your activities. Find that 20 % and put 80% of your time on those.
4. The best investment you can ever make
In 2016, we spent over $1000 in different courses to grow our online business. We expect to invest the same amount or even more in ourselves in 2017.
As the billionaire Warren Buffett has said; “the most important investment you can make is in yourself.” There are a lot of people who are known for working harder than Buffett. But few are known for reading as much as he does.
No one has said that only original ideas are valuable. Therefore, when reading books or going through courses, you can FIND ideas that can be worth millions to you.
Sometimes, it can also be good to study unrelated fields for ideas that you can implement in your field. That’s how a lot of the “original” ideas were born in the first place.
What do you need to know now to take your blog to the next level? Perhaps you need to find sneaky ways to increase your blog traffic.
Or, you might need to read a book about social media tactics. Whatever, you need to do, write it down and look for a person that has that information.
Never be afraid to pay for information. As Jim Rohn said:Formal education will make you a living, while self-education will make you a fortune. Click To Tweet
5. Make small improvements in these areas
When people say “don’t sweat the small stuff” I hope that they don’t mean what I’m about to show you right now. Because let’s face it; a small improvement can yield BIG results over a sustained period of time.
This is called the 2-millimeter rule. If you’ve ever played golf, you know the different that a tiny shift in your swing can do in terms of where the ball ends up.
A small change that you don’t really notice in the beginning. But over time, it’s an entirely different destination, isn’t it?Small shifts in your actions, can lead to massive alterations of your end result Click To Tweet
So, these little changes that you can do – starting in 2017 – are:
Keyword research. By knowing the keyword and phrases that people type into Google, you can increase your traffic from the search engine. We use something called Longtail pro to check keywords since it also gives us the competition score of that keyword phrase. To learn more about keywords and SEO check out:
- SEO For Beginners: How To Improve Your Search Engine Ranking
- How to Find Keywords and Optimize Your Blog Posts for the Search Engine
Another small change that you can do is to optimize your opt-in. If you don’t already have one – then I would suggest that you build it by following this free guide on how to create an email list. Having email subscribers will allow you to grow your blog even faster. It will also enable you to make money from blogging if you want to.
One thing that we will look at in 2017 is site speed. We will try to decrease the loading time of the blog. This will benefit our rankings, and it’s been proven that faster sites also makes people more likely to stay. If you want to see your blog’s speed, check out tools.pingdom.com (it’s free).
You might also want to consider increasing the length of your content. If you are writing 500-word articles, perhaps you can increase the length of them and see if that makes a difference? We saw an increase in the shares that our posts got after we increased the length from 1000 words to 2000-3000 words.
Now, to do that, we had to decrease the frequency. So instead of posting once every three days, we now post every Friday. We have not seen any decline in traffic from doing this shift.
I also recommend that you experiment with the paragraph length. For example, we used to write long chunky paragraphs. We had terrible bounce rate as well as low time spent on the site.
But once we started decreasing the length of each paragraph, we slowly noticed a difference. The reason for this is because short paragraphs tell the subconscious mind that this is an easy read.
That’s the signal that you want your readers to get if you want them to start reading. The truth is that attention is not easy to get these days. Therefore, make sure that you do whatever it takes to get your readers to START and to go all the way to the finish line.
The thing you got to work with in my opinion to accomplish this is;
1. Having a captivating introduction.
2. Making sure that your paragraphs send the “right” signal.
3. Adding images to give the reader a break.
4. Removing fluff and cluttered sentences.
5. Having enticing subheadlines.
You can also use interlinking to increase the time that people spend on your site.
It’s simply linking to other pieces of content that you have within the current article. Aren’t you guilty of this yourself – going to one article but ending up in an entirely different one. All because of intelligent interlinking made by the blogger.
Now, there are two more things that I think is important for you to keep in mind if you want your blog to crush it in 2017.
That is adding the right image, as well as writing compelling headlines.
The image that you use can make a big difference when you want to people to click through to your post when you share it on social media. Therefore, spend some extra time to make sure that the image is professional.
I also recommend that you add pictures that are “pinnable.” Now, every picture size is pinnable. But people on Pinterest are much more likely to share a picture that is vertical. So for example, you could use the size 735px x 1102px. We use Canva to create our images.
Now, the second thing that you will want to make sure you master for 2017 is headlines. I know that a lot of people hate clickbait titles. But that’s not necessarily what I’m talking about here.
It’s more about creating headlines that are proven to work rather than trying to reinvent the wheel. For example, the “How to” headline works very well. You’ve proven it since you decided to read this article.
Other types of headlines are lists, for example:
- 10 Influential People and Their Message to the World
- 17 Thing To Keep In Mind Before You Ditch Blogging
If you want to know more ways of writing compelling headlines, check out 12 Ways To Write Awesome Headlines.
Last but not least, let’s talk about social media. What small changes can you do there that will yield big results over time?
Are you making sure that you use hashtags for your posts so you can be found in the search?
Do you have a strategy for getting followers?
Have your found your ideal platform where your target audience is hanging out?
These are all questions that can help you to get on the right track sooner. It’s important to note that each platform has its own way of being. So, for example, a post that goes viral on Facebook is not necessarily what will go viral on Pinterest.
I recommend that you focus on a few, not the many – especially if you’re new to social media marketing. Otherwise, you run the risk of spreading yourself thin.
One platform that we focus on a lot right now is Pinterest. The great thing about Pinterest is the fact that it’s a search engine. Therefore, you’re investing in a platform that can give you long-term results when you go with Pinterest.
If you want to get a basic understanding of social media marketing, I recommend that you check out our latest book on Social Media. In that book, you’ll discover the demographics
of each social media so you can find your ideal platform.
You’ll also learn from some of the biggest brands so you can do what works for them.
The book available on Amazon.com for the price of a coffee at this moment, so get it now!
Okay, so there you have it. Do you know of any additional ways to make sure that we can crush it with our blogs in 2017? If so, drop it in the comments below. Thank you for reading, I hope to see you in the next post.