As 2015 comes to an end, I find myself sick with the stomach flu. This was not how I wanted to finish off the year, but as the saying goes “it is what it is.” As I look back on my year, I have learned several things.
- SCHEDULE YOUR BLOGGING TIME AS THOUGH IT IS A JOB: In order to consistently blog, I need to have a schedule, and I need to stick to it. If my plan is to monetize this blog, I need to consistently provide content that will make me show up on search engine radar, and bring readers. I failed this year because I didn’t achieve my goal of 2 posts per week during the year. I fell short because I didn’t treat my blogging time as important. As a result, there are several gaps in scheduled posts. I managed to post more often than last year, but I fell short of my goal of 104 posts for this year. That needs to change. No consistent content = no readers. No readers = no traffic. No traffic = no money.
- SOCIAL MEDIA CAN BRING READERS TO YOUR BLOG: Social Media has been helpful to bring more readers to my blog. Each time I post something onto Facebook, it brings quite a few hits. Granted, it’s not the thousand hits per day that I would like, but it is improving. I also get quite a few referrals from Google and other search engines. The downside to this is that I have to make sure that I am active on my Facebook page. I try to spend a few minutes during my lunch or breaks at work, but it’s a real struggle. I have decided that I am not narcissistic enough to use social media. I’m a good cook, and I know that, but I really don’t think anyone cares about every little thing I do or every thought that I have.
- CONTENT IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN YOUR THEME: I will concede that one must have a semi-professional looking blog page to get anywhere, but I have friends who spend more time switching the appearance of their blog than they do creating content. This can be a problem. Without exception, theme changes result in some weird things happening to your content. This requires time and attention to fix. When I switched from my older theme because of the problem with my Easy Recipe plug-in putting weird subsection symbols in front of all of my ingredients and double numbering all of the recipe instructions, I spent over a week correcting problems created by switching themes. There are still some issues on the site, too.
- NOT ALL THEMES ARE SUPPORTED CONSISTENTLY: Something else that I have noticed is that many of the themes do not have regular updates. When WordPress updates, it seems entirely possible that it could affect how the theme works. There are very few themes that are routinely updated. This includes themes that people pay for. That was the problem with my old theme. It couldn’t handle any of the recipe plug-ins and there was no support from the person who designed it. This probably applies to other “blog templates” that people buy, too.
- IF YOU PROMISE YOUR FOLLOWERS SOMETHING, FOLLOW THROUGH ON YOUR PROMISE: This is a serious pet peeve of mine. There were two specific incidents, and I won’t name names, when people promised 4 part or seven part series about topics. One of them was a 7 day frugal food experiment. I followed it eagerly, but they stopped posting after 3 days. A week later, they posted day 4. Three weeks later, they posted another. I realize life happens, but if you promise something, follow through. I am still waiting for part four of a series on budgeting that was started sometime last summer. I get frustrated, and I stop visiting the blog. I don’t think that my opinion is that unique. I don’t want people to stop visiting me because of a failure to follow through. I apologize for not posting as many cookie and candy recipes as I had promised. I will try to do better next year.
That’s my list of a few of the things I learned in 2015. I know that last year, I listed 10 things, but I’m hoping you will cut me some slack since I am ending 2015 with the flu. Everyone else was only sick for one day, so I’m hoping that will be my experience, too. Wishing you a Happy and Healthy New year from Patty Cake’s Pantry.