Refresh with a new design
If you’ve gone through most of 2013 with the same blog design, it might be time to consider changing things up a little bit. Keeping your layout updated to reflect your current state of inspiration is a fantastic way to start the new year. I always feel like a new design gives me a new slate to work with and also find that it motivates me to really make my blog the best it can be. If you’re web design savvy, this could be an easy task for you to accomplish. Otherwise, there are thousands of premade templates you could download and play around with which range from about $20 to $100. Hiring a designer to create a totally custom design might also be something on your new year’s resolution list, so now is the perfect time to get it done!
Learn how to take better photos
How well do you know your camera? This could be the year that you really start to learn about photography and taking better blog photos in general. You don’t need to invest in a fancy camera, but if it’s in your budget, go for it! A DSLR is an investment that always pays off in the end. My favourite mid-range budget camera is the Canon T3i, or otherwise known as the 600D. You can usually find one for around $500-$600 (Amazon) or if you’re in Canada, The Source has them on sale right now. An even more budget friendly version is the T3, which doesn’t have all of the features of the T3i but is still a good camera (also on sale at The Source in Canada). You can usually pick one up around the $300 mark (Amazon). If you already have a DSLR, look into changing up your lenses. A staple lens for many bloggers is the 50mm f/1.8 which is extremely budget friendly and makes a HUGE improvement to your photos. If you’re looking to create photos with an out-of-focus background or lots of bokeh, the 50mm is your BFF.
There are a number of online resources for learning how to take better photos. Skillshare has a course offered by Frank Wang called A Crash Course in Photographic Composition that will teach you how to compose images better. Photography Concentrate offers paid courses as well which are full of extremely valuable information including everything from learning the basics of your camera to editing your photos in Lightroom.
Really think about your content
How many times have you posted something just to fill some space or just so you can say you had a new post for that day? Instead of doing that, try really thinking about your content and if it fits in with the vibe you want to portray on your blog. It’s easy to think “I have nothing to post today!” and then post something totally random just to feel as though you completed that task. Before you hit that publish button, try to learn to ask yourself “will this add value to my blog?” or “does this fit in with the direction I want to take my blog?”
Get more organized
Once you start asking yourself those above questions and ditch the useless posts, it might seem a little bit tougher to come up with blog topic ideas. Start making a commitment to jot down new topic ideas in a notebook or on your mobile device. Setting aside an hour a week to come up with a list ideas and content really does prove to be helpful. You could even choose a day or two a week that is dedicated to creating your blog posts and start scheduling them in advance. This not only frees up the rest of your time throughout the week, but it eliminates that nagging thought that you “have nothing to post!”.
Grow your audience
Now is the time to start growing your traffic and seeing all of your hard work pay off. I recently wrote a post called How To Get Blog Followers that offers some tips and tricks in that area!
There you have a few ideas to get you started. I want to know: how do you plan to improve your blog in 2014? Let’s discuss below!