Close
Close

2014 Reboot: Get Ready for the New Year With a Blog Overhaul

We are mining ProBlogger content this week for super-useful information to kick-start your blogging year with gusto. Today we delve into the world of giving your blog a shake-up for 2014 when you’re a bit weary of the same-old same-old. Ryan Barton, author of Smart Marketing, shows us the way.

This post “9 Steps To Take When You Loathe Your Own Blog” first appeared in May 2012.

You’ve got an editorial calendar, you’ve scheduled blog posts weeks in advance. Look how professional you are. Well done. You’re an inspiration.

You press “publish” and bask in retweets, praise, and a flood of comments. You’re “resonating” with your “tribe.” You’re prolific. You’re a cocky so-and-so.

Then it hits: the loathing.

You’re exhausted. You’re ignoring your calendar. You can’t be bothered to think about new topics. Your writer’s well is bone-dry. You’ve met the resistance and it has won.

Your writing becomes programmed (verse, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus). It’s no longer art, and no longer an exercise in intellect. It lacks moxy. You’re phoning it in.

This is a low point. Have you been there?

If you bore yourself, how do you expect your readers to read, let alone share, your content?

What do you do when you loathe your own blog?

Find a way to restart, tabula rasa. And you’re the only one who can make it happen.

1. Do a design refresh

You buy new running shoes, and suddenly you want—need—to run. I must satisfy the shoes, it is their reason for existence. You buy a new car and instantly you cease dreading your hour-long commute.

It’s the same with your blog. Launch a new theme and you’ll feel the need to create new content that mirrors the sophistication of your new design. It pulls you back in and urges you forward. Clearly, your own boredom isn’t reason enough for a design overhaul, but it’ll certainly reignite your fire.

2. Narrow your focus

When I launched The Smart Marketing Blog in 2007, my posts were eclectic random. Readers didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know what to expect. One day, a post about bus stop ads, the next day, how to set-up PDFs to open at screen height, and another day, musings on a new social network. There was no focus.

But now, when I focus only on smart marketing for small business success, my readers know what to expect. I have focus—a roadmap.

3. Take off the chains

Darren publishes daily. Sort of. Somebody on the collective ProBlogger team publishes daily. But I think he’d agree that expecting you, by yourself, to generate mind-blowing content daily is expecting too much.

At one point, I followed an editorial calendar that scheduled posts twice a week. But even those posts were rubbish. They weren’t inspired, they were the result of a self-imposed guideline. Sure, publishing more frequently drives more traffic, but also yields disappointed readers who are trying to digest your traffic-driven rubbish.

Write because you can’t help it, not because there’s a blank post to fill. Today, I write only when I can imagine giving a speech on my topic. The topic is that good. So good, I can visualize myself preaching from a soapbox. And you know what, my traffic has remained the same, despite publishing much less frequently.

4. Ship something

I don’t advocate shipping something simply for the sake of shipping; that only yields mediocrity. But shipping evokes pride and passion and a fierce sense of taking names. Last year I published my book on smart marketing for small businesses, this year I launched my newsletter, and in the months ahead I have two other books in the works. Each functions to inspire and refill my writer’s well.

Aside from your blog—because your blog is not your product, your blog supports your product—what can you create to inject that same inspiration?

5. Change your routine

Want to find new inspiration? Approach your trivial, mundane tasks in a new way. When you break your habits, you force yourself to problem-solve, expand your thinking, and consider other solutions. It’s that same thinking that yanks you out of your writer’s rut. Purposefully take the longer route to the office, travel to a foreign country, run instead of lifting weights, read a different genre book to stretch your mind, expand your palette with a new coffee brewing method, keep your phone off when it’s normally on, watch a documentary instead of that sitcom—or better yet, read a book … with pages, not a screen.

6. Change how and where you write

Last week, I sat in a dark parking lot waiting for takeout from a local eatery. I was isolated, undisturbed, and focused. So much so, I made great progress on a blog post in the matter of minutes. Just me, a journal, and a soft dome light. Working out of coffee grinder-dominated cafes doesn’t foster the same productivity. Neither does sitting in front of a television or high-traffic public venues. Sure, use the excuse that people-watching inspires you. Rubbish.

Take yourself seriously, hide yourself, sever ties to notifications, reminders, and the urge to make sure you’re always in-the-know. Your writing—your art—deserves nothing less than your undivided attention.

7. Read new, not more

How many blogs do you subscribe to? Right now, how many blog posts sit unread? If you’re no longer challenged—if you’re glazing over posts out of habit, if you’re no longer being inspired and challenged—unsubscribe and find new ways to be stimulated. Stop wondering if you’re missing out on anything, cut ties, and stretch yourself. You may be out of school, but that’s no excuse for not remaining a student.

8. Who’s your muse?

Who do you work for? Wake up for? Breathe for? Write for them. Is it your wife, your lover, your most loyal subscriber, or your unborn child? Use them as your motivation to keep driving when you’re not strong enough to persist yourself. Keep this person’s photo nearby as a reminder. Don’t get so busy that you forget why or for whom you’re working so hard.

9. Declare victory or failure

When starting a new project, name your goal. How else will you measure success? Seth said it best, “Declare one or the other, but declare.” Maybe it’s time for self-evaluation. Maybe it’s time to reflect and determine what you did right (to do it again) and what you’ll avoid the next time. Because there will be a next time. “Failure” isn’t never blogging again. No, failure is taking valuable lessons and proactively applying what you’ve learned to the next iteration of your blog.

We’re artists. We all feel the urge to tweak our logos and change our avatars. We see the same “us” every day, and we’re bored. But what we find repetitive and boring and loathe-worthy, our tribe views as consistency and resonation.

The real artists find a way to push through, put their shoulders back and chin up, and reignite their own passion.

Talk back

Have you hit the blogging loathe-wall before? How did you bust through it? Leave a comment below so others might be inspired to do the same. And stick around—later today we’ll take a look at a case example of a blogger who changed their blog’s writing style overnight—and reaped the rewards.

Ryan Barton is a small business marketing, social media, and design consultant. He is the author of Smart Marketing, blogs at The Smart Marketing Blog, tweets at www.twitter.com/RyanBarton, and lives in Los Angeles.

Problogger.net runs on the Genesis Framework

Genesis Framework

The Genesis Framework empowers you to quickly and easily build incredible websites with WordPress. Genesis provides the secure and search-engine-optimized foundation that takes WordPress to places you never thought it could go.

Check out the incredible features and the selection of designs. It's that simple - start using Genesis now!

Comments

  1. kollan says:

    Hi
    Guys thank you for shear the link. Thank you again to giving me changes like ours blogger. I am very glad to see your site. It gives many ideas new think & knowledge. I want apply this in my daily life. I am appreciating you & your Blog. You may say that i am your well-wisher. Thank you so much & thanks once again. All kinds of update technology news. About Computer hardware. Basically computer helps. It news. Mobile application. Mobile update mobile helps. New of technology all over the world. All kinds of new electronics goods. Download link of necessary file. Recent world technology news. Recent computer technology
    Thanking
    Rubel

  2. Well, at the begging many blogger experimenting with their blogs, due to which some time they dislike their blogs, it also happen with me as well.
    Man, its quite difficult to show consistency in blogging hehe.

  3. Samuel says:

    Redesigning your blog with a new theme will certainly jump start your production machine and get you more motivated.

    That’s what I just did recently with my blog. I personally designed my custom theme and then payed a developer to code the theme.

    For that specific part, I like the way you put it. A commute with a new car will not be the same. In fact, the trip will seem much shorter.

    Design is one of the most important areas of a website. It displays credibility and a sense of professionalism.

    If you are an artist and designer, I highly recommend designing your own blog. It is one of the best things I’ve done!

    Thanks for sharing some tips to jump start for the new year.

    - Samuel

  4. Chris Ortez says:

    I’m so glad I stumbled on your blog with this post today! I’m trying to get started blogging, so I’ve yet to reach the loathing point yet, but your advice helps someone trying to get the ball rolling as well.
    Happy & prosperous New Year!

  5. RB,

    Great initials and first name ;) Changing your design refreshes your mind. I did a complete overhaul 3 months ago and am still working off of the newness juice. LOVE each tip!

    • Stacey Roberts says:

      That totally worked for me too! I was so re-energised when I got a new theme.

    • Phuong Le says:

      I am not specialized at template coding so the only way I can do is going for outsourcing.

  6. Ash says:

    Excellent tips. Thanks for sharing them.

    I tend to use pocket to expand my horizons in terms of my reading. It has some excellent customisation features which allows you to read about specific niches. You can read more about how I use pocket here: http://bit.ly/IQepdj

  7. Oh my goodness, what a great post – I need to follow some tips on here. I love writing but sometimes I do feel like I am all over the place. Running, travel, food, fashion. I need to focus!

  8. Alex says:

    Hi Stacey,

    not a bad list, I definitely need to narrow down a few things and I thank you for reminding me to do so. I have still got a lot of things to go over for 2014 and so much stuff to write down and think over… :)

  9. Christine says:

    These tips rock! I think site redesign is one of the best ways to, “refresh”. It can really help change things for the good. Going to use these tips! Thanks for the info :)

  10. Stephen says:

    A fresh design can work wonders! It’s certainly helped me in the past. I also like the idea of cutting ties and looking for new material to read – finding somebody who has a different take on a situation you’re familiar with or who provides a new way of looking at things, is very refreshing and sometimes very motivating.

  11. Shameem says:

    Great share as we need to test the stuff for more improvement and give something which you will get great thing in return.Give the readers what they want through your blog and engage with them between enjoyed reading it

  12. diwaker says:

    hi Stacey,

    Great post and written in very positive manner. thanks Stacey for inspiring us with this kind of articles.

    Yes we are as a blogger very much isolated and work almost 24 X 7 to make our blog better. In this kind of situation we need any motivation and goal for us to keep working and giving our best.

    You can choose whatever motivates you for short goal i choose Chocolates. Yes whenever i complete my post on time i take 10 min rest and one of my favorite chocolate.

    • Stacey Roberts says:

      Haha that sounds like an awesome motivator! I use all sorts of little things, but treats are a high priority ;-)

  13. Eli says:

    I have I did a fresh design on my blog and I certainly can say that google sees it with good eyes! since I changed my design I got more visitors! spot on tips you gave there!

  14. awesome. need this. great post SR.
    worth reading line by line.

  15. very intersting post…
    I really like each and every word of this article…..
    from the mistakes,people have been learning….so as i…
    thanks for sharing it…

  16. Marcie says:

    I’m not loathing my blogs, but I’m changing them to love them more. I have several sites and I just changed the focus of my writing site, Marcie Writes, to make it more of what I want it to be. I am going to transform my community site, Shorty: Your Chicago South Side Resource, to focus more on people in the community. I’m really not feeling the site design of my business site, The Write Design Company. It is more complicated than it needs to be. And if I’m not feeling it, my customers probably won’t either.

  17. Manohar says:

    Great ideas, thank you for sharing.

  18. Thank you so much for sharing wonderful tips about the blog and it was really helpful to me and all the blogger.

  19. Frazer says:

    Some good points there. My Blog needs a refresh in some areas.. including the design.

  20. محطات says:

    Great tip, thanks!

  21. Diesel says:

    Thank you so much for the easy to follow steps to overhauling blogs for the new year. The best on this subject i have read. I will use this article as a guide for my overhaul. Thank you so much have a great day!

  22. Thank you for your suggestion on this article and it is very useful.

  23. Ingrid says:

    Good info. Lucky me I came across your blog by accident (stumbleupon).

    I’ve book marked it for later!