1. Take a break between Christmas and New Year’s.
Ok, you don’t have to take a break — but it’s a really good time to do so. The week between Christmas and New Year’s is usually the lowest traffic time of the year, for everyone. Take advantage and give yourself some extra time to plan for 2014 (or, you know, just take a real break!).
2. Schedule time to work on your blog instead of in it.
This is actually a goal of mine for my business in 2014, and I think it applies to blogging as well. Keeping up with regular posting is hard enough, and taking time to plan new ideas, set goals, and actually do them is so easy to push aside when there are more pressing issues — like posts that need to be written for tomorrow.
I think this is especially true for bloggers who write seasonal content — you really have to plan ahead (and I bow down to you). Unless the purpose of your gift guide is to help last-minute shoppers, people can’t use your gift guides on Christmas Eve. No one’s going to make your really awesome DIY wreath on Christmas Day — and even if they do, they aren’t going to share it with their friends the next day because everyone will have moved on to New Year’s Eve.
Even if you don’t write seasonal content, some posts just require more preparation time than others, especially when you involve other people. Want to start an interview series? You’ll want to ask people a few weeks in advance and make it as easy as possible for them to participate by providing all the information they need up front. Which means making a list of interviewees, writing your questions and guidelines, putting the dates on your editorial calendar in advance, and asking contributors at least a few weeks ahead of the posting date (or, more realistically, a deadline set before the posting date to give you time to prepare the post and account for late responses). It’s hard to plan out an interview series when you’re just trying to get tomorrow’s post done, so give yourself time to plan ahead.
3. Reevaluate your goals.
The great thing about blogging is that it’s always a work in progress. But that also means that your goals today likely aren’t the same ones you had this time last year. For me, I love travel and have been posting about it almost every Friday for two years now, but as my content has shifted over the past year, it doesn’t really fit with my blog any more. That doesn’t mean I won’t post about travel ever again — I do want to share personal posts from time to time, including my own travel experiences. But it no longer needs a special place in my sidebar — it can just go under a general personal category, since that’s not the content people are searching for when they visit my blog. Which leads me to…
4. Clean up your blog.
If you aren’t blogging about a certain topic anymore, take a few minutes to remove it from your main navigation or sidebar. Organize your most recent posts into categories and tags that make sense, so if your readers like a post, they can read through that category or tag for similar content. While you’re at it, clean up your sidebar, too!
What will you be doing to prepare your blog for the new year?
P.S. Since the next two Wednesdays are holidays, Blogkeeping will be back in the new year. But you can still check back on Fridays for the final Across the USA posts!