If you’re a blogger, even part time, I’m sure you’ve had your share of struggles with it. Maybe coming up with new, interesting content, finding good photos, or maybe it’s the technical side that’s frustrating at times. Even long-time bloggers like myself go through these exasperating times. I’ve tried all kinds of techniques with this blog like posting daily, infrequently, changing the design and layout, including more content, you name it. Still, there are times that I really struggle about what to write about and if my readership is improving.
Bloggers all alike have different reasons for why they write and so it’s really important to know the purpose beforehand so you’re not stuck somewhere in between and your blog goes dormant for many months. Let me share with you some things I’ve learned along the way. Maybe my experiences will help you especially if you’re not sure where to take your blog to next.
Ask yourself a few questions…
Before I started this blog, I asked myself:
- Why do you want to blog?
- What do you want write about?
- Do you think people would be interested in what you blog about?
Blogging takes a lot of time and preparation. It’s not just writing a post, research comes into play, inserting really good photography, and marketing. Some bloggers do this full time so making money is also an essential part of their plan. Knowing the whys and whats ahead of time will save a lot of time, effort, blood, sweat, and tears later on. If I couldn’t answer those three questions satisfactorily, I would not be blogging. I don’t need “make work” meaning doing something with no purpose or strategy in mind.
And even if you have started a blog but you’ve hit a wall, you can still ask yourself those three questions. You may need to reassess what you’re writing about and change some things. There’s nothing wrong with that. I went through several transformations with this blog before I was settled on the topic which for me is “lifestyle”. I started out as a food blogger but when I added crafting to my life, I suddenly was at a standstill. I didn’t have the time nor energy to run two separate blogs. Plus, I also wanted to write about my faith in God. So, it seemed logical to start a lifestyle blog where I could incorporate recipes, business tips, style, crafting, and faith articles. This way, my blog can grow along with me because all these topics personally affect me.
However, if you’re passionate about one thing, write about that and stick to it. Try not to write topics you’re not into as much. It’ll be frustrating especially if it’s a subject you don’t have a lot of expert knowledge about.
The Next Step…
Content. So, so important because of course without it, you have no blog right?! But how does one come up with new topics? I have a few ideas I use when I get stuck:
- I look at other bloggers’ blogs. I love to follow other bloggers and read their posts. Sometimes, when I’m stuck on what to write about, I’ll get inspired by something I’ve read on their blog.
- Jot down topic ideas on paper. Always a good idea and this helps you stay ahead if you do it before each month. Decide how many times you want to publish a new article, for example, if you want to write one post a week, then come up with 4 topic ideas on paper and jot down a few phrases for each topic. Then, you can start writing your drafts before the next month and you can future post each article to publish on the dates you select. This way your whole month is done. If you post more frequently, than maybe break your month into 2 weeks and work on posts for the first two weeks and publish, then jump to the last 2 weeks.
- Visual ideas. I am definitely a visual learner so that’s why I like sites like Pinterest. There’s always so many ideas there that get me inspired to write. I also like to go to my favorite photo sites and look through pictures. Many times I was able to write a blog post because of a particular photo.
- Re-work older posts. Whenever I’ve hit a writing block, one really good tip is to go back to older posts and revive them. Sometimes information changes and you need to update it like say you linked to another article in your post. This would be a good time to check that link to see if it’s still works. And, since most of the writing is already there, you won’t have as much work to do. You can change up the photo and update the text where needed and you basically have a whole new post.
My problem is technical…
I hear you! When you’re not designy (I know that’s not a word LOL!) or tech-savvy, blogging can be a daunting task. However, I don’t want to discourage you, there are sites, plugins, etc., that will help you out. Here’s some examples:
- Adding images to posts. If you’re not taking your own photos, this can be hard with copyright laws and what not. But, I don’t think you have to be a pro magazine photographer to add good imagery to your blog posts. If you have a garden around your house, take your point and shoot camera and take some pictures of different flowers. For example, what if it just finished raining?, take a pic of a flower with raindrops on it. You can even put an empty plant pot into black dirt to depict growing a seed as a blog topic. If you’re looking for sites for free photos that you can use, I like pixabay.com and pexels.com. It’s not required that you credit them however, I usually like to. Plus, you can use their photos for commercial and personal use. That said, I also want to caution you that if you’re not absolutely sure you can use a photo, you probably shouldn’t unless you get permission from the photographer.
- Adding text on top of photos. Sites like canva.com or picmonkey.com are great for this. They give you such pretty fonts and all you do is upload your photo and then add your text. You can play around with placement, font colors and sizes and then save them and use them in your blog posts.
What if I want to change the look of my blog?
That’s happened to me too, I actually went through about three major designs on this blog before I was satisfied. I use Blogger but I don’t like the themes that automatically come with it so I went looking for a 3rd party theme. I would suggest first deciding: (a) what colors you like, (b) if you want a simple blog layout (2 columns) or; (c) if you want a slider on the homepage, etc. So, in my case, I looked at several sites plus you can view a live demo of the design so you can see if you like it.
- Gooyaabi.com. Free blogger themes here and you can search by style, features, topic, by how many columns you want and by sidebar (if you want right, left, both, etc.)
- Themexpose.com. I love the themes they create and in fact this blog theme comes from them.
- Beauty templates. You don’t have to be a beauty blogger to use the themes here. They are beautiful, minimalist, and clean layouts. You can take any one and tailor it to your needs.
- BTemplates. A large repository of Blogger themes that you can search for by style and even some have been adapted from WordPress.
If you’re using WordPress, here’s a couple places to find great themes:
- Wpexplorer.com. My favorite place to go for WP themes. The code is very well written which makes it easy to tweak.
- Themeforest.net. They have really nice WP free themes plus every month you will find a number of premium WordPress themes available to download for free.
There’s a lot more places to get WP themes, but I didn’t want to include anymore in this list because frankly I’ve been very happy with these two sites and I haven’t used any others. They both have a lot to offer. Also, they do offer premium affordable themes also.
Final words …
The last piece of advice I can give is don’t push yourself that you MUST MUST post everyday. You don’t have to. It’s your blog and you can create your own schedule. If you have other obligations, then do your writing during your down time. I like to write after work hours and sometimes in the evenings because I don’t have to worry about interruptions. Then, I can publish or future date it to post. I stopped beating myself up if I go days without blogging. It’s not my full time job first off and if I’m not motivated to write that day, I don’t force it. And, I believe it makes my writing fun and productive when I do post. So, I hope this helps you. Sometimes, you have to go back and start over again or give your blog a little content makeover. You’ll be happier and you’ll want to write more if you like how your blog looks and what you write about. Your readers will thank you too!