Now is the time to prep your blog for a successful 2017. Yes, you heard me right. The start of February (or whenever you’re reading this really) is the perfect time to prep your blog for the coming year.

You’re probably thinking that I’m crazy and maybe I am. But hear me out.

You see, the thing with resolutions and “New Year, New Me” plans is that you over plan. You set yourself insane challenges. Then you hit January. And the January blues kick in. And you fall off track.

Sound familiar?

So, if you’re struggling with the resolutions and goals you set at the start of the year, or if you never set any, now’s your chance.

You’re through the hardest month of the year. You made, you awesome person, you!

Now’s the time to knuckle down, plan for the year ahead and be a total blogging, business owning badass.

How to Prep Your Blog for a Successful Year

5 Tips for Planning a Successful 2017

1. Review

The best starting point for looking and planning ahead is to look back. Yep, look the opposite way first.

If you want to plan a successful 2017, you need to know what worked well and what didn’t in 2016.

So, review your stats and performance from the last 12 months. Make a list of what worked well. Which type of posts performed the best. What opt-in freebies drew in the most sign-ups. Were there any days of the week that traffic was higher?

That list of things that worked well, put to one side. You’ll need it later when you’re planning for 2017. Those are the things that you want to do again in 2017.

Now make a list of things that didn’t work well. Did you spend lots of time networking on Twitter but didn’t get many new followers or much traffic? Were there certain types of posts that didn’t perform well? Have you had a lot of unsubscribes from certain email lists?

This list is slightly more complex than the “what worked well” list. For some of the things that didn’t work well, you’ll want to adjust and work on over the next 12 months. Some of the things on that list, you’ll want to cut out entirely (for the time being).

2. Set Goals

Now that you have your lists of what worked well and what didn’t from 2016, it’s time to plan for a successful 2017.

Looking at the list of things that worked well in 2016, you can start putting in place some “easy” goals for 2017. When I say “easy”, I mean goals that are achievable by not making much of a change to what you were doing in 2016. If posting 4 blog posts per week worked well for you in 2016, do the same in 2017. If you gained 1,000 new Twitter followers in 2016 through Twitter chats and general engagement, set yourself a goal of 1,500 new followers for 2017 and continue your Twitter engagement as before. You get the idea.

Using your list of things that didn’t work well, you’ll want to set yourself some “work hard” goals. Has your following on Pinterest been slow progress? Set yourself a goal for 2017 to work on your Pinterest profile. Pin more often, promote your account 5 times per week. These goals are the things that didn’t work great last year but, with a little hard work, can make a successful 2017.

3. Create an Editorial Calendar

I cannot explain how much easier your blogging life will be with an editorial calendar. It doesn’t even need to be anything fancy. I just use an Excel spreadsheet.

Start by thinking of 12 topics you want to cover on your blog. Then for each of those 12 topics, start to plan post ideas around them. You’ll need to work out how many posts you want to publish each month

You’ll need to work out how many posts you want to publish each month. For example, I post 3 times per week. Multiply that number by 4 (4 weeks per month) and you have your number of posts per month. So, for me, that’s 12. But, each month I do 2 regular posts – what I learnt in that month and my income and stats report. That leaves me with 10 posts to schedule. I plan 10 posts for each of the 12 topics I’ve chosen

So then I plan 10 posts for each of the 12 topics I’ve chosen. I now know what I’m going to blog about for each of my posts for the next 12 months. No last minute, frantic searching for inspiration. No missed posts because I didn’t know what to write about. It’s really that simple.

Of course, you’ll need to go through the usual process for each post such as researching, writing, editing and promoting when the time comes. But you’re already off to a great start.

4. Promote and Network

You might have covered this when you were look back at 2016 and what did and didn’t work well.

Unfortunately, people aren’t just going to stumble across your blog if you don’t promote it. The internet is a huge place and there are millions of other blogs out there. Don’t worry. There’s space for you too. But you need to promote your blog. You need to put it out there for people to read.

Now that you’ve got an editorial calendar, you’re in the perfect position to work on promoting your blog. Firstly, you’ll have more time to focus on this as you’ve saved time planning out your content. Secondly, you now know in advance what you’re going to be posting about which means that you can plan promotional Tweets, Facebook posts and Pinterest pins in advance too.

With your blog posts and social media updates scheduled ahead of time, you’ll have plenty of time to engage with your audience. So, what are you waiting for? Join in those Twitter chats and get involved in some of those blogging Facebook Groups.

5. Grow Your Email List

If you don’t have an email list, 2017 is the year to start. If you do have an email list already, 2017 is the year to get some serious growth!

For those of you just starting out with an email list, you can find my step-by-step guide to setting up an account with MailChimp here.

If you’re planning to grow your list this year, now is the time to start thinking about those must-have-opt-in-freebies. Do some research into what your most popular posts were last year and think about any freebies you could offer that tie into those posts. Link those freebies to your email list.

You might have noticed a common theme in all of these tips: planning. Planning ahead, scheduling and being organised is the key to a successful 2017.

For more tips on prepping for a successful 2017, download the full 10-page guide here:

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