Sunday, 4 January 2015

Blogging Advice: How To Improve In 2015

10 ways to improve your blog

I started thinking of ways in which I could improve my blog in 2015 or even just be more happier with it. I jotted down a list of things and have narrowed it down to ten "blog resolutions" realistic ones (I wouldn't want to set myself up for a fail, especially if there are ten resolutions in total!). They're not technical tips but rather personal advice in which I would give myself in order to improve my own blog.We shall come back to this in 12 months time and see how I've done!

1. Forget about the numbers
Not to say that I won't be checking but I can't let numbers rule my brain anymore than it has done. 2014 became the year that I obsessed with stats, constantly checking how well (or not well, as the case may often be) my blog was doing on a day to day basis. We're talking google analytics, unique hits, pageviews, bounce rates, social media followers, social media interactions, bloglovin', GFC, and all the other numbers that bogged me down. Each day I wanted to beat the last. I got so obsessed that I even downloaded a real time traffic counter app on to my phone that showed how many people were on the site at any given time. This was when it got out of hand and I knew I had to get rid of the app and stop worrying it. I'm going to try and check Google Analytics 2-3 a month instead of daily, and I reckon I'll be so much happier with my blog!

2. Aim to pick up the pace
This one is going to take time. I want to aim to blog once a day and I know I've already failed on this so far (oops!)... but I blogged more than ever in 2014 and I do feel like I could do way better! January is always a funny one and I remember last year so clearly when I found myself "stuck" on what to blog about but I got in to the swing of things over the last six months. I know that I can keep it up and do a lot better. I'm a bit scared of this resolution as it could turn around and bite me in the bum! I need some time to pick up the pace and I will still maintain quality over quantity so if I happen to be having writer's block, I won't force it. I will promise myself to step away from the laptop and come back when my brains is feeling refreshed and rebooted.

3. Being helpful / Writing helpful content
Aiming to publish more blogpost will probably mean you'll see a wider variety of content on my blog, and I hope that that's ok with you guys. I want to write more blogpost that will help people with their own blogs. I felt that last year was the year that blogger came out of our little bubble and actually tried to help others. I always thought, in general, that bloggers were a bit cagey and secretive about the way the run their blogs. And I totally understand where they're coming from because in the very beginning, I was the same too! Now it seems that the tide has turned, and as a community, we're a lot more open to offering advice and I personally have no qualms about giving advice or answering any questions readers and fellow bloggers may have. If you want to know what camera or lens I use, I'll tell you. If you want to know how I did something on my blog, I'll tell you. If you ask tweet me or email me asking for blog advice, I'll give you a straight-up answer and do my very best to help you. Let me know what types of posts you'd like to see on this blog!

4. Going back to your roots
I don't mean this in a "Don't be fooled by the rocks that I got, I'm still, I'm still, Jenny from the block" kind of way. I mean your blog roots and going back to where you started and for me, that was fashion and personal style posts. Last year, I felt that I couldn't go back to how I started with taking outfit photos in the back garden or in my little bedroom behind a white wall. I put too much pressure on myself to go out and get the most fabulous photographs (As pretty as those photos look on a blog, it can sometimes feel intimidating and not very relatable.) It's natural for anyone to evolve but I shouldn't give myself a hard time if I want to go back to square one from time to time.

5. Be more organised with my schedule
I'm good at meeting deadlines for work and clients but I need to improve the organisation of my blogposts. I have never been that good at scheduling blogposts in advanced but during the lead up to Christmas, I was working two weeks ahead and it felt good! This is something I need to keep up!

6. Photography
Good quality imagery is important to any blog or website. I work really hard on the visual side of this blog, it takes me ages to get the photos right but I think it's because I overthink it (and that's only because I want my photos to look perfect). I don't always get it right but I'll continue to maintain the standard of photography. There's always room for improvement, for sure! Especially in the lifestyle/outdoors scenic area, I need a lot of practise.

7. Working with brands
It's awesome that I get to work with brands but I've got so much to say on this topic, I may save it for another day! On the whole, I enjoy this side of blogging more so with beauty brands than the fashion ones but I have got to know some really nice people on a personal level! Most agencies and companies I've worked with understand the brand-blog-relationship for which I am grateful for, it makes things so much easier. Without losing integrity (because I remain very selective with what I accept and I always said no if a campaign wasn't right or if they tried to take advantage) I did a lot of "back-scratching" with big fashion brands in the first half of 2014 in hope that I would strike up a good working relationship with them but it left me feeling disappointed because once I did the outfit post for them, I heard very little back and this made me feel used. It didn't make me feel good and I was left wondering what I had done wrong. There's a hell of a lot of I'll-scratch-your-back-and-you-scratch-mine in the fashion industry but this doesn't work for me so much so I've learnt to negotiate a mutually beneficial outcome and gain control of my blog. I must remember to do what makes me happy and not what pleases them.

8. Getting better at social media
I love social media but for a long time now, I feel that there's SO much emphasis on strategy. I just want it to be like how it was before: strategy-free fun! If you don't have social media for your blog, then make sure you sign up to the major platforms and learn how to use each one. I know it's extra work for what is essentially a hobby but the outcome can be rewarding. One thing I want to do is suss out how to use Facebook page effectively. I worked hard on it throughout the years to build it in to what it is but now it's a bit of a lost cause! It used to be so simple to use but with a lot of new algorithm changes, not everyone who is following your page gets to see your content (unless you pay for an ad or pay to boost a post - but I've never had much luck with that!) and it makes me want to deactivate it! I won't give up just yet!!

9. Giving back
There was a time when I was anti-giveaway on my blog and it took me a while to get around the idea. I have never contact a company and ask to host a giveaway, but when a brand approaches me, the ball is in my court and I will try ask for the best for my readers and blog followers. You may have noticed that since the Summer, I've had a good roll with giveaways. We've given away several NIVEA goody bags filled with the latest beauty releases, a Gigaset tablet, cloud9 hair straighteners, Alex Monroe bumble bee necklace, skincare worth £300, a £500 Hobbs gift card - just to name a few. When prizes are as good as that, how can I say no? I think you guys deserve it! I'm not going to inundate the blog with giveaways but once a month (if the prize is amazing) is a nice way to give back to readers, just like how the magazines do it.

10. Stop comparing myself
This is a tough one for everyone but comparison really is a thief of joy. At some point in 2014, I hit a million pageviews but I didn't mention it to anyone, I didn't say a thing. I just did a little jump for joy and then remembered that other blogs reached their first million view ages ago and convinced myself reaching the milestone wasn't a big deal, that it wasn't enough to get excited about. This is what happens with each milestone I reach and that's kind of sad, right?! This also proves my first point about being obsessed with numbers and stats. It's not all that important and t doesn't even matter at the end of the day if when I check my stats, I can't even be happy with what I see. Even though we're always striving for more, we should slow down and be proud of our own achievements. I WILL be happier with myself and my blog when I learn to stop comparing myself to other people.

All of this will take time but I felt like I had to write it down so that I can process it all in my head, and look back on it when I'm not feeling too good about the blog! I hope you have enjoyed reading this! 

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42 comments

  1. Some really amazing tips. I hope that my blog does well in 2015, recently I have been obsessing over stats too x

    pintsizedbeauty.blogspot.co.uk

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  2. This is such a great post - I especially agree with the social media point (something I'm definitely trying to work on this year!) I wish I was one of those people who could write one (or even two!) posts a day, but I struggle with three a week!!

    I look forward to reading all about your adventures in 2015!

    Steph xx
    Lay It Bare

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  3. these are all very good advice! hope you'll achieve the improvement you want to get to on your blog:-) xx

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  4. Such a great post Sarah, so many great tips! I completely agree with taking blogging back to it's roots, sometimes it's such a competitive market to capture beautiful images and to shoot on location but at the end of the day it's the outfit that's important and if you want to shoot in your bedroom/garden your images will still be just as fab! We're bloggers not models after all right?

    Hayley xx

    www.frockmeimfamous.com

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  5. These are very good ways to improve your blog ! :)

    Sara,
    http://thecrimeofashion.blogspot.fr

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  6. Great Blog resolutions!! Mine is to be waaay more organised and plan ahead... I was terrible at that last year!!

    Kay | www.mummyburgess.co.uk xxx

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  7. I can relate to 1 and 6 because numbers are my baby at the minute due to still being a newish blogger and I need to see what people are enjoying to sort out a bit of my content, but hopefully I'll be able to do what you're doing and take a step back to once a month. As for photography, I need all the help I can get! XD

    Dee | PromptsbyDee

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  8. Always enjoy reading your blog Sarah, you have a great mix of everything that I like from home to beauty, lovely photos and a friendly voice on the other side of the page :) Good luck for the new year, I know you will push it in an amazing direction!

    Hanh x | hanhabelle

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  9. Definitely going to take on some of these points myself!
    Sophie
    X

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  10. A million pageviews is totally something you can brag about!! Have a belated party this week for it. :) I totally want to TRY to get organizes this year mostly by having a routine. I laze around a ton and it's not beneficial! It makes me happy but I'm happy working too. It's just starting that is hard. I totally agree about social media. I google social media strategy like TELL ME WHAT TO DO. But I never get a straight answer. Oh well! So I do it genuine. :)

    doitfortheirony.blogspot.com

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  11. Awesome tips!! Thanks for sharing and yess the numbers always get me tooo!!! I guess it should be about enjoying it than worrying about how many people are reading! Hope my blog will reach success in a few years :D

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  12. These are really good aims, I get so caught up in numbers and how low mine are to other people. I forget why I actually started my blog it wasn't to become a full time blogger just to have a creative outlet. Same with comparing myself to others. I could never post everyday or twice a day, personally I think everyday is more than enough so don't stress over that one and good luck
    Lauren
    livinginaboxx

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  13. I love this post! I completely agree with most of these, especially about numbers and social media! I'm also looking forward to seeing other content from you :)

    Sam Betteridge

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  14. I agree with you and I hope you can accomplish your goals.
    It's really sad that you didn't get really excited when you hit a million views.

    Beauty Inside Art

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  15. Really liked your 'going back to your roots' point - my blog started off all about music and had loads of reviews and I've always thought about incorporating this again, maybe 2015 is the year I do!

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  16. I love all the things you mentioned here, will definitely take them on board x

    owlsinthesummer.blogspot.co.uk

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  17. You've got some great tips there. Being more organised is something I should try. Last year I tried so hard to keep to a schedule but it just made me feel stifled. Hopefully this time it'll be easier.
    Rubi | The Den | http://www.the-den.blogspot.com

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  18. Very helpful post :) I really need to stick to numbers 5 and 8... and number 10, too, I can be very hard on myself when I see someone else doing really well even though I'm still quite new to blogging x

    Alice Red | Beauty Blog

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  19. Fantastic post! Completely agree with all of these,

    Happy new year <3

    X Emma | www.missemmacharlotte.com

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  20. I will be completely honest. I often get bored halfway through some people's posts and stop reading, but you bet I read this one all the way through! Everything you said in this post is a piece of advice that I can definitely take as well, and your blogging advice posts have been some of the most helpful and thorough that I have ever read. I can relate to you as I used to have this me, me, me mindset that I wouldn't want to share anything good I'd learned about blogging with anyone else, but now, I can say that interaction with other bloggers is my favorite part about blogging :) I would love to read about your experience working with brands as I always find that topic so interesting!

    Emily // ahemitsemme.blogspot.com

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  21. Great post. I think for me number 2 is a must as when I get bloggers block I panic and sit there when really I need to walk away and get a cuppa tea x x this has really helped thanks x x

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  22. Great goals for the blog- I have similar goals in terms of not becoming obsessed with stats and just to continuing improving the content of my blog :) good look

    http://www.champagne-lifestyle.com/

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  23. I also want to get improve my photography so my goal this year is to invest in a better camera. Also, I want to post more often.
    ENTER MY GIVEAWAY!
    http://50shadesoflizxo.blogspot.com/2015/01/post-holiday-depression-giveaway.html

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  24. I really enjoyed reading your post as I can relate to a lot of it. My blog has seen it's ups and downs, I've been running it for just over a year and I'm like you, a little obsessed with the numbers. I have to find a healthy relationship with this because I want my numbers to be high because hey, no one likes to think they're just blogging for no reason, surely SOMEONE out there (family not included) has to be reading it right? But I have found myself recently not checking my blog stats everyday. Comparing my blog to other blogs is also a habit of mine that I must break because just like there will always be people out there dressed better/worse than me or with makeup better/worse than mine, it doesn't really matter! I'm not here to judge if people apply their makeup to my liking, we are all just expressing ourselves and having fun while doing it and my blog needs to go back to this.
    FYI, I love your blog, it was one of the first blogs I started reading back in 2013, just before I started my own, so you've got a dedicated reader here (waves).
    Great post :)
    Kate
    www.thebeautopiablog.squarespace.com

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  25. Love this post and couldn't agree more, especially with the numbers and comparing yourself to other people. It can be easy to get caught up in them and it's definitely not good! At the end of the day we all have different things to offer so focussing on just numbers defeats that. Thanks so much for always popping over and commenting on my blog too :) All the best, Saida xx

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  26. Amazingly detailed post, I have to agree with everything you've written, especially with number 5!

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  27. Love this post! One of my goals is definitely to stop comparing myself to others as well, and also to forget about the numbers. Although one of my goals is a follower number, I'm not going to be stressed out everytime I lose a follower (which I always do!) that I'm doing something wrong! Congratulations on a million pageviews as well! That's completely amazing! I hope you have a wonderful 2015!

    hellomissjordan.blogspot.co.uk xx

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  28. Great post. Really enjoyed reading it. I have also spent time considering how I will improve my blog which actually led me to compare myself with others too much - one thing I should stop! Other than that, I am not going to make any real big blog resolutions other than to work on social media. I enjoy interacting online so that shouldn't be a problem.

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  29. I really love this post, I'm definitely with you on the social media side of things, statistics and comparing myself. I tend to look too much at followers every day and if I look weekly instead of daily it's a much better picture, and I'm definitely going to look to other blogs purely for inspiration and to stop comparing. Good luck and happy new year <3

    The Quirky Queer

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  30. Great post! I know what you mean about getting obsessed with numbers - it's not healthy and just makes you feel crap when one day is worse than the other. Love the idea of helpful posts too :)

    Beth // Bethany Georgina

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  31. Number 1 and 10 is for me too! T-T
    I want to post more about traveling in my blog this year, hope I can make it xD
    Good luck for the resolutions!

    http://japobsganbare.blogspot.com/

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  32. Really good points here! Thank you, hopefully this will come in useful for me and my blog in 2015 :)
    Keep up the good posts!
    http://dreamsandcolourschemes.blogspot.co.uk

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  33. These are some really, really good tips. Many of these are things I need to work on this year too, especially if I want to continue growing and improving my blog!

    Happy New Year,
    Jackie

    Something About That

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  34. Love these resolutions, definitely some advice I need to take on board this year!

    Maria xxx

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  35. This was a wonderful post, really good to read and some great tips, some i can really compare to myself x

    heldtogetherbypins.blogspot.com

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  36. Helpful article! Thank you so much for sharing all of that with everyone. You are most kind to think about helping others.

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  37. Thank you for the advice! I need to stop focusing on the numbers as well! Your blog is so so cute! :)

    http://ncolesnotes.blogspot.com

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  38. Some great tips! I fell out of my blogging routine last year and I plan to get right back into it during 2015!

    500daysoffashion.blogspot.com
    x

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  39. These are some great tips and ideas to mull over for my own blog! Thank you.

    Amber
    amberbutbetter.blogspot.com

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  40. I think it's interesting how you put "number" at number one. I actually think that to not check them is one of the most important and freeing points you made. It's too much isn't it. When you stop worrying/obsessing about it things flow more naturally. It's all about the right audience, not the size.

    Glad we got to work together on a little something in 2014, I will hopefully have some more stuff for you in 2015 too.

    Buckets & Spades

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