Note: This post was originally written a few years ago. We republish & update it each year to help you prep for a new year of blogging. Just implementing a few of these ideas will make a big difference to your blog’s growth.
For most bloggers, December is the month where traffic starts to nose dive.
After all, it is the holiday season.
It’s a time to reflect on the events of the past year, and spend time with loved ones.
With traffic nose diving, you could publish less content towards the end of December – especially considering your posts may not get the traction they deserve. Makes sense, right?
But that doesn’t mean you should stop working on your blog entirely.
So what should you do with all of that extra time?
There are plenty of tasks you can get done.
Maybe you’ve been putting off a blog redesign, or you need to update some old content. Whatever the case, December is the best time to work through these tasks.
Here are a few quick ideas to get you started:
1. Run a content audit
Look back through your old posts and see how well they’re performing. Start with the high traffic posts and figure out what you can do to improve them.
Maybe there are some broken links you can fix (use this tool to check and follow these tips for adding redirects if you use WordPress), or some information needs updating. You could add some vivid imagery or improve the formatting.
It’s important to note that the ‘freshness’ of content can directly impact how well your blog posts rank in Google. So, if you’ve got blog posts that get a lot of search engine traffic, updating them will ensure they stay relevant and improve user satisfaction.
2. Give your blog a fresh look
I don’t recommend changing your blog’s look frequently, but it’s worth doing every so often. And your blog’s design is the first thing people will see when they find your blog. So it will help to form a first impression.
You could just update your blog’s branding, get yourself a logo if you haven’t done already, and tweak your blog’s colors to make sure they all fit together. What I like to do is to pick one main color and then find related colors using a free tool called Paletton.
Now, if you haven’t updated your blog’s design for a long time, this may be the perfect time to roll out an eye-catching new design.
If you use the self-hosted version of WordPress, you’ve got plenty of options to choose from. Be sure to check out Christine’s post on WordPress themes for bloggers.
3. Remove unnecessary clutter
Are there any widgets or plugins that you don’t need? Maybe you’ve got a link to a blog directory in your sidebar that is doing nothing for you. Or, you’ve got some plugins installed that you aren’t using.
Now is the time to identify what you need and what you don’t.
4. Prepare for the next phase of your blog’s evolution
If you looked at Blogging Wizard in 2012, you’d notice that it was very different to how it looks now.
Not just from the perspective of the design, but also the topics I talk about and how I write. I cringe every time I read one of my older posts. And sometimes more recent ones (lol).
Sometimes it makes sense for us to pivot our blog’s in a slightly different direction; maybe we need to be more specific about who our ideal audience is, or maybe we need to adjust our content plan.
As much as you plan out how your blog will take shape when you first launch, you’ll always learn more after you launch, which is why we should always keep our minds open to the possibility of changing things.
So be mindful of the direction you want to take your blog, and don’t be afraid to change your approach – it could make all the difference.
5. Orientate yourself ready for the new year
If you don’t have a clear plan for your blog yet, now is the time.
Even if you have a plan, it’s still a good time to sit down and evaluate how well it’s going, and what you can do to take things to the next level.
6. Pick a topic you’ve been planning to learn and dive in
What I love about blogging is that, there’s always something else to learn, but this isn’t something just for the holidays.
The best way to give yourself an advantage is to keep learning. You could pick a topic each month and learn everything you can.
But be sure to pace yourself to avoid information overload.
7. Add a new monetization strategy to the mix
Can you earn more money from your blogging efforts? Yes! The easiest way is to add a new revenue stream.
You could start work on a product/course or try your hand at freelance blogging.
Becoming a freelancer is a great way to step up your income and to leverage the skills you’ve learned as a blogger – Elna was able to earn a full-time living as a part-time freelance blogger within six months (read about it here).
8. Improve your blogging processes
As bloggers, we have to wear many different hats.
One moment we’re a social media manager. The next, we’re a content writer, SEO, content promoter, editor, or something else. The list goes on.
Now, let me ask you this:
Do you have a documented process for each of these tasks?
If not, it’s well worth doing.
Processes help us to save time, maintain focus and give us the ability to scale.
A good example is blog post promotion. I have a checklist that I run through whenever I publish a new post. Well, it’s more of an editing/promo hybrid checklist so it includes everything I need to do before and after publishing a post.
And here’s the thing: not everyone’s process will be the same. It’s critical to identify what’s important to you and your blog.
Specifically where promotion is concerned, there will be certain promotional channels that will only be relevant to your niche.
Use the ideas from the guide to help you create a checklist you can work through for each post you want to promote.
9. Stockpile some content ready for next year
This is a personal favorite.
Sure, you can’t do this with time-sensitive content but for more evergreen topics it works well.
Get some content written up, and schedule it for the New Year. The more, the better.
Some years I’ve gone as far as to prepare a few months worth of content. This helps to ensure I can kick off the new year by spending more time promoting content.
Or, you could spend the time you save yourself in the new year on something else. Maybe creating a new ebook or course.
How will you prepare for a new year of blogging?
There are plenty of ways you can prepare for a new year of blogging.
And there are more than those listed above, but these should give you more than enough to get started with.
I hope you’ve found this useful – now, go out there and get your blog ready. And most importantly, make sure you take some time out over the holiday’s to unplug and unwind.
Have a great new year 🙂