So 2020 is almost upon us and you're probably feeling inspired to make a few changes for the new year...and the new decade. The time to make those changes is right now, while you're still full of excitement and motivation.
You might have started thinking about where you want to take your blog in the coming twelve months. Maybe you want to gain more readers or start working with brands. Well, here are 20 things you can do if you want to take your blog to the next level in 2020.
[Related: How I'm Planning to Take My Blog to the Next Level in 2019]
This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase anything through one of my links I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.
1. Make a commitment to your blog. If you've decided that 2020 is going to be the year that your blog really takes off, you've got to commit to making it happen. No more excuses, no more wishing. It's time to take action.
[Related: Seven Tips for Sticking to Your New Year's Resolutions]
2. Make a plan. Get clear on the goals you want to achieve in this coming year and write them down. This makes them more real, rather than just an idea floating around your head (which can easily be forgotten). You can keep checking back on them throughout the year to see how much you've achieved and what you need to put a little more work into.
3. If you haven't already, buy a domain name for your blog. It makes you look more professional and you'll also be more likely to take your blog seriously if you've put some money into it. I recommend using Bluehost for affordable and reliable web hosting.
4. Make sure your blog looks professional by purchasing a clean and minimal looking theme. You can't go wrong with a white background. Avoid cluttering up the sidebar with unnecessary content. A busy page with too much going on can be overwhelming and put people off staying on your site.
6. Go through old posts and update them. Check for broken links, add new pictures and update any out of date information. Some posts may require a complete rewrite.
7. Learn how to use Pinterest effectively. I can't stress this enough. If you want to increase your page views and really take your blog to the next level, Pinterest is where you need to be. I get at least 80 per cent of my traffic from Pinterest. I took this course about a year ago and as soon as I started implementing some of the strategies I noticed an immediate and significant rise in blog views, which is only increasing as time goes on.
[Related: The One Pinterest E-Course that Exploded My Blog Traffic]
8. Learn SEO (search engine optimisation). If you want your blog to rank in search engines such as Google, it's worth learning the basics of SEO. This would take a whole post in itself to explain (and even then it'd only scratch the surface) but there are plenty of courses you can take to learn how to make your blog more SEO friendly.
9. If your ultimate goal is to make a living (or even a bit of extra cash) from your blog, start monetising it now. There are a number of ways to do this, including applying to affiliate schemes (such as Amazon Associates or ShareASale), hosting ads on your site, creating a product (either digital or physical) to sell and writing sponsored posts.
10. Make sure you have social media accounts linked to your blog (and make them easy to find - when someone stumbles across your site and likes what they read, they'll often want to follow you on at least one social media channel to keep up to date with your posts). Don't neglect your socials; spend time on them following, interacting with and supporting other people. They're also a great place to share your posts - I get a lot of traffic from Twitter when I tweet about a new blog post.
[Related: The Best and Worst Social Media Platforms for Bloggers in 2019]
11. Leave thoughtful comments on other blogs. This will help to build a relationship with other bloggers and you'll probably notice that people start to comment more on your posts, too.
12. Get ahead by planning some content for the next few weeks or months. It's always a good feeling to have the next few blog posts written and scheduled, or at least planned out. It'll save you the stress of trying to get a post up at the last minute.
13. Write good quality content that people want to read and engage with.
14. Create (and stick to) a posting schedule. Even if you only post once a week, doing so on the same day will be beneficial. Your readers will know when to expect a new post from you and it will help you to come across as more dedicated and professional. (I definitely need to take my own advice on this one - over the years I've tried numerous times to stick to a blogging schedule but have never managed to keep it consistent for more than a few months.)
15. If you want to start working with brands, you'll need a media kit. You can do this yourself for free on a site such as Canva, or pay someone to make one for you.
16. It might seem scary at first, but you'll also need to start contacting brands you want to work with. It's usually best to find out the PR company for the brand and contact them rather than approaching the brand directly.
[Related: A Blogger's Guide to Finding Brand Work]
17. Don't be afraid to ask for help. If you're not sure what you're doing, reach out and ask other bloggers for their advice (especially ones who've been doing this for a long time and know the industry well). The blogging community is generally a friendly, supportive one and most bloggers will be more than happy to help.
18. Have other interests and hobbies besides your blog to focus on - this will help you to avoid burnout. Make sure you have a healthy blog/life balance!
19. Take regular breaks from blogging. This may sound counterproductive, but breaks give you a chance to rest and ultimately produce better content. You're allowed to take holidays in your job, so take a holiday from your blog once in a while, too. I often find that I blog less in the summer and I tend to get fewer views around that time of year anyway so it's a good time for me to take a break and enjoy the nice weather. If you're worried about people forgetting you and your blog, you can always write and schedule some posts ahead of time so you still have fresh content going out. Staying active on social media even when you're not blogging helps, too.
[Related: Why I Won't Be Blogging for a Few Months]
20. Don't give up! I guess we've come full circle here as we seem to be back to point #1: making a commitment to your blog. If you're committed to taking your blog to the next level in 2020 then you'll keep trying, even when the going gets tough. All you hard work will pay off eventually.
We can do this!
How are you planning to take your blog to the next level in 2020? Let me know in the comments.