While I’m not the biggest fan of New Year’s resolutions, I do like the idea of having a point in time each year to assess where I’ve been and determine where I want to go in the coming year. It can be so easy to ride on autopilot, especially with blogging which has a tendency to become a force on its own.
So here are some ideas for moms and dads who blog and are looking for some inspiration for New Year’s Resolutions.
Listen to Your Readers/Followers
The great thing about new media is that it is a two-way street instead of information being pushed out with no interaction. Be sure you keep that in mind. Respond to comments (OK, I know it isn’t always easy to keep up), follow people back on Twitter (same goes for this, but at least attempt it), and listen even to negative feedback, especially if it is constructive criticism. In fact, for this post, I decided to crowd source. I asked for suggestions on Twitter and Facebook, and you’ll see some of the wonderful responses I got below.
If you are not in touch with your readers, followers and audience, then you are missing a huge component of just what makes blogging incredible.
Establish Goals for Your Blog
A few people said they simply don’t like resolutions, period. I may be writing a resolution post, but I have to agree.
“I resolve not to make anymore resoulations. Instead, I’m setting goals,” said Deb Ng, aka @debng.
I think goals are a wonderful idea. Personally, I like goals that are very specific and have measurable results. For example, goals could include increasing monthly visitors by a certain percentage, boosting feed subscriptions by a certain percentage and so on. I would also have bullet points of plans to met those goals (for traffic goals, for example, tactics could include boosting SEO on your site, posting more frequently, engaging more on social networks to boost awareness, etc.).
The great thing about goals? I think even if you fall short it is worthy to have them. For one thing, you will likely come closer to your goals. Also, there is much to be gained in the striving to meet the goals. But be sure you DO strive. Do not just make it a resolution that gets forgotten a week after January 1st.
Better Balance Blogging and Personal Life
Wow, this was a recurring theme when I asked about suggested resolutions for parents who blog. Clearly, this is an issue so many of us who blog and have children struggle to attain. I don’t have a magic answer on this one, but here are some great suggestions:
Sage advice from Kim Coleman, aka @mominthecity: “When possible, aim to fit blogging around your parenting instead of vice versa.”
Don’t Embarrass Your Kids (Now or Later)
A few people who responded mentioned being considerate of your children if you post/share about them online. I would even add to be careful about privacy and security as well (I rarely show my kids’ faces online, for example, and hardly ever mention their names). This is a great point:
Schedule and Plan Your Blog
A thriving blog can seem like a ravenous beast that demands constant feeding. Help wrestle it under control by scheduling your time (that will help with that whole balance thing, too), scheduling your posting and generally organizing when and what you do for your blog.
Tweeter @hchybinski said she plans to create an editorial calendar in 2011, which is a great idea. Even one that has a general overview (in February, do something Valentine’s Day related, for example), can help keep the content flowing. It can also be great for those times when you’re tapped out of post ideas.
Network and Build Relationships, Even Offline
It can also be important to nurture the existing social media and blog relationships, both online and offline. Without people who like you, you will likely not have many readers, and you will not have people who share your posts or comment on them. Even long-term relationships can be easy to neglect in this fast-paced 2.0 world.
If you have found some success, it can also be easy to forget who helped you when your blog was new. That would be a grave mistake (hey, you never know when they might be able to help you again, right?… besides the whole it just ain’t right aspect of it). It is also important to pay it forward, and help others in your online community as much as possible.
How about you? What resolutions or goals do you have for 2011?