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Reading Roundup: What’s New in Blogging Lately

Reading Roundup: What's new in blogging this week / ProBlogger.net

Coming to you live from the depths of Melbourne winter – while the rest of the country (almost) is springing into spring, we’re still freezing our butts off. Fingers crossed we’ll start to see the sun soon!

Here’s what I found interesting lately around the web:

How to use a $5 Twitter ad To Redefine Your Digital Strategy //  Jon Loomer

The Facebook Advertising guy changes tack with a cheap but effective way of getting audience insights on Twitter that you just can’t get anywhere else – advertising gold.

13 Lessons on Viral Content that got 36,177 Shares in One Year // CoSchedule

With great traffic comes great responsibility.

The Ultimate Guide to Starting a Blog, Attracting Readers, and Making Money // The Penny Hoarder

A very humorous (and useful!) description of those foundational things you really need to get your blog running as fast as you can – but also a few tips for us old fogeys like great places to find images, finding readers, SEO and more.

15 Useful Tips for Attending an Event Alone (and Actually Enjoying It) // Hubspot

There were a few nervous newbies at PBEVENT a few weeks ago – it IS daunting to go to events on your lonesome. Hopefully these tips will help for next time.

How to Tell Stories with Instagram and Facebook Carousel Ads // Social Media Examiner

I have seen some very clever versions of this lately, and I’m left wondering how I could make it work for my own blog. Some are incredibly creative!

 

What news have you read lately?

Stacey Roberts is the Managing Editor of ProBlogger.net: a writer, blogger, and full-time word nerd balancing it all with being a stay-at-home mum. She writes about all this and more at Veggie Mama. Chat with her on Twitter @veggie_mama or be entertained on Facebook.

Reading Roundup: What’s New in Blogging Lately

Reading Roundup: What's new in blogging this week / ProBlogger.net

Here we are again! Fridays come around so fast, it seems… which is good, and bad.

There are heads full of knowledge and excitement and ideas after last week‘s ProBlogger Training Event, and it’s thrilling to see people starting to put their dreams into practise. Such a surge of energy and hustle! If you missed out and would love to keep updated about future events, feel free to join the Facebook group to keep in touch, and also connect with the attendees who have formed a wonderfully supportive and informative community.

For now though, let’s check out blog news:

Three Reasons Why You Should Take Snapchat Seriously // Hootsuite

I’m the first to admit I let Snapchat fall by the wayside years ago. But I’ve noticed a resurgence of late and I reinstalled the app. This is just the beginning, they say…

Facebook Now Drives More Traffic to Media Sites than Google // Fortune

And will blogs be next? I know Facebook is the number-one referrer for a lot of blogs – what lessons can we learn from it?

How to Optimise your Tweets for Search // Social Media Examiner

I NEVER THOUGHT ABOUT THIS! Especially seeing as Twitter accounts are showing up in Google search results.

A Brief History of Internet “Joke Aggregator” The Fat Jew // Mashable

When curating your content, for goodness’ sake, attribute your sources! Goes for images on Instagram and elsewhere, “image via Pinterest” is not enough.

How to Use Evernote at a Conference // Veggie Mama

I know I wrote it, but it’s useful! How you can keep all the notes, audio, and images you take at each session in neat files, and what to do with all those business cards you accumulate through networking. You won’t know what you ever did without Evernote at conferences before!

So what did you learn this week? Care to share? Gonna revive that Snapchat account?!

Stacey is the Managing Editor of ProBlogger.net: a writer, blogger, and full-time word nerd balancing it all with being a stay-at-home mum. She writes about all this and more at Veggie Mama. Chat with her on Twitter @veggie_mama or be entertained on Facebook.

Reading Roundup: What’s New in Blogging Lately

Reading Roundup: What's new in blogging this week / ProBlogger.net

Greetings from sunny Queensland, where we are hosting the sixth annual ProBlogger Training Event! We kicked off the two days of learning and connecting with our fellow bloggers with some inspiring words from Darren himself, despite a few sore heads in the crowd after a solid night at the Welcome Networking Event last night!. Tonight is our poolside party, which promises to be even bigger. The theme is “shine” and I hear Darren’s got something extremely eye-catching up his sleeve to wear – make sure you’re following the #PBEVENT hashtag on social media to see for yourself!

Read on for this week’s round up of what’s making news in blogging.

Why Slack is Exploding as a Community-Building Platform // Hootsuite

We are using Slack at PBEVENT for all our team communication and while it’s taking some of us a while to get our heads round it, it’s proving to be a popular choice for community-building in general. Read why Hootsuite think it’s an “email killer”.

Is Google Experimenting with Bringing Twitter Into Desktop Search Results? // Search Engine Land

It might be time to dust off that old Twitter account. When was the last time you actively used it? Could be worth reviving…

Want More Blog Traffic? Focus on Growing Subscribers // Hubspot

The email list. The one everyone tells you to have because it’s so important for reaching your readers no matter what social network they’re on. It’s still the biggest tip. Hubspot tells you how to make it a priority.

Periscope Now has 10 Million Accounts – Time for Your Brand to Start Live-Streaming? // Social Media Today

Live Streaming is still the buzzword of the moment. This article explains why you should be jumping on that trend.

How to Optimize Your Facebook Posts with Facebook Audience Insights // Social Media Examiner

We’ve said it all along – the key to Facebook success is knowing your particular audience. Delve into the insights to help you figure out a content strategy that works.

 

So what’s news with you? What article or tip have you found useful lately?

Stacey is the Managing Editor of ProBlogger.net: a writer, blogger, and full-time word nerd balancing it all with being a stay-at-home mum. She writes about all this and more at Veggie Mama. Chat with her on Twitter @veggie_mama or be entertained on Facebook.

4 Ways Pinterest Can Help Drive Traffic To Your Blog

4 Ways Pinterest Can Help Drive Traffic To Your Blog - tried and tested tips to boost your traffic with some simple changes. On ProBlogger.netThis is a guest contribution from Marie-Eve Vallieres.

Nobody puts Pinterest in a corner. With 73 million users (85% of which are females), an expanding presence outside the United States and upcoming buyable pins, this social media platform/search engine is now more powerful and sophisticated than ever.

After months of pinning diligently and engaging with my subscribers, my analytics exploded, figuratively speaking – Pinterest has become the #1 referral for my blog, bringing a steady flow of high-quality visitors (that stay on my site for more than a microsecond and comment on/share the content) every day.

And that’s the beauty of Pinterest right there: their algorithm is not aggressive in the way Facebook’s is. People are either following your boards or they are not. There is no such thing as playing the Pinterest game or paying for advertisement in the hopes that an infinitely small slice of your subscribers will get to see your post in their feed. Pinterest popularity is entirely a question of how your subscribers engage with you and how easy you make it for them to share your content.

Here a few tested and tried tips that helped me reach over 160,000 followers on Pinterest.

Create bespoke pins

4 Ways Pinterest Can Help Drive Traffic To Your Blog

Millions of pins are being shared every minute. Your subscribers are constantly being thrown new information. How could they possibly know that your content is more relevant than the rest?

Think about it: by creating custom-made pins, you will immediately stand out on your subscriber’s home feed because you will present something they’ve never seen before. You want to create something that will, 1: catch their attention, and 2: that will make them want to click through. Spend an hour or two in Photoshop to create a memorable template that you will adapt for each new pin and that your subscribers, in time, will come to recognize and associate with your brand.

There are four “rules” you should follow when it comes to creating bespoke pins:

  • Always opt for vertical images. Pinterest automatically resizes pins to the same exact width. Play around with your image’s length in order to create something big enough to be noticed.
  • Don’t shy away from bright and bold colors. You do want to catch your readers’ attention, don’t you?
  • Clearly state what the pin is about. Opt for concise yet engaging wording that reflects the content of your blog post.
  • Stay in line with your blog’s visual identity. Use the same fonts or color scheme if you have one.

Find out what blog posts are already being pinned

The first custom pins you will want to create are for blog posts that are already being shared on the platform; enhance the appearance of your own popular content in order to make it even more shareable.

In order to find out which posts are attracting the attention of other users, simply follow the URL www.pinterest.com/source/YourBlog.com/ and see what comes up. These are the posts you want to make as Pinterest-friendly as possible.

4 Ways Pinterest Can Help Drive Traffic To Your Blog

Be loyal to your online persona

Nobody likes a spammer; don’t be that person who only shares his or her own content. Strengthen your brand’s identity by pinning things that are relevant to your niche or personality that you haven’t created. Identify lacks in your competitor’s strategy and enforce them on your own boards. Engage with the influencers in your community. Participate in collaborative boards. This will ensure that you won’t bore or annoy your subscribers, and that your brand’s presence on Pinterest will be as organic as possible.

Make your blog Pinterest-friendly

It’s one thing to improve your Pinterest interventions directly on the platform; it’s another to fine-tune your blog in order to make it inherently more pin-able. There are two ways to encourage your readers to pin your content (I strongly encourage you use both and not just one of the two).

First is by adding Pinterest buttons to your social sharing plugin – this method will allow your readers to share the post straight to their boards, as the featured image and title will generate automatically.

The second and most effective option is by adding a “Pin It” plugin for your images – this, on the other hand, will enable your readers to pin whatever image they like in the post (a hover Pin It button will appear when they mouse over your images) and create their personalized caption. This technique works particularly well if you use lots of vertical images on your site.

Marie-Eve Vallieres is a professional travel blogger at ToEuropeAndBeyond.com and social media strategist from Montreal. She has been to more than 20 countries, lived abroad in both France and the U.K., and is always on the lookout for authentic experiences wherever she travels – as long as she has WiFi.

Reading Roundup: What’s New in Blogging Lately

Reading Roundup: What's new in blogging this week / ProBlogger.net

How did you all go with the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog podcast? Got a to-do list a mile long now?!

I also hope you liked the stories of Megan, Nicole, and Heather about how they both dealt very differently with quitting their blogs. I know I learned a lot from hearing them share their experiences.

This week has thrown up some interesting reading – I hope you find a useful nugget in there somewhere.

How to manage your Instagram in 20 minutes a day // Hootsuite

Are you falling victim to being on Instagram all day every day? These are simple tips, but they bear repeating because they work. It’s time for you to take charge and slot in some time to get Instagram marketing under control.

Case Study: How Film4 grew their followers to 600k in one year // Pinterest

Pinterest is still an amazing traffic referrer, if you know how to use it right. See how Film4 capitalised on current pop culture issues to grow their followers to such a crazy amount.

Facebook now makes 76% of ad revenue from smartphones and tablets // Mashable Australia

If you haven’t already, it’s time to ensure your Facebook ads are mobile-friendly! You can have a look at the series we did on Facebook advertising last year, and the hot tips we shared for big returns.

Watch out Meerkat and Periscope, Facebook Announces Live Streaming // Social Media Today

Never one to leave a good internet craze behind, Facebook now says it’s getting on the live-streaming bandwagon in its efforts to be the online leader of video content. It’s only for people with verified accounts at the moment, though.

You Can Now Schedule Instagram Posts in Hootsuite – But There’s a Catch // Entrepreneur.com

Always the way! But if you’re into scheduling things in advance (I’m a fan), this might save you some time. Don’t put down your phone, though…

 

What are your thoughts? Excited to live stream on FB or schedule your Instagram?

Stacey is the Managing Editor of ProBlogger.net: a writer, blogger, and full-time word nerd balancing it all with being a stay-at-home mum. She writes about all this and more at Veggie Mama. Chat with her on Twitter @veggie_mama or be entertained on Facebook.

Thinking of Quitting Blogging? What Dooce Did Next

Thinking of Quitting Blogging? Here's what Heather of Dooce did next, on ProBlogger.net

When Heather Armstrong from Dooce decided to wind back blogging after 14 years, it became headline news – New York Magazine even ran a piece called “Dooce Talks Life After Mommyblogging“, which gave us a glimpse into how someone so successful could leave that life behind.

Heather needs little introduction – she’s a Trivial Pursuit answer, Queen of the Mommy Bloggers, an author, a speaker, a consultant, and a gal who’s come a long way from that day in 2002 when she was fired for what she wrote on her blog about her workplace.

Since 2004 Heather has worked full-time on the site, which garners up to two million pageviews a month. In April this year, she announced she was getting back to her roots: writing for the love of it, sharing stories, being honest about the unInstagrammable moments of which every day is made. Instead, she would be earning an income elsewhere, by speaking, writing and consulting, and the blog would be just that – a blog.

“Many friends who know about all the changes in my life have asked, “So, what will happen to dooce®?! Will you shut it down? What is your last post going to say?” And I always stand there and shake my head. I have no intention of shutting this space down. There are too many memories in these pages, and frankly, I still like to write stories. I still have a few contracts that I need to see to completion, and I will continue posting here. But eventually I’d like to get back to the reason I started “living online” in the first place: writing for the love of it, writing when the story inside is begging to be told.”

I chatted on the phone to her a little while ago to find out what life was like when you take the “must” and the monetization out of blogging, and just blog for the pure joy of it (tweet that!). What is it like to wind down a commercial machine and broaden your income horizons elsewhere? Is this the new normal?

I think you’ll like what she had to say…

Did you ever have a feeling one day your blog would end or slow down, or did you just blog without the future in mind?

I didn’t think of an end date in the early days, I just thought it was going to be a hobby. I was just going to write stories until forever. That was my scrapbook – I didn’t think about the possibility it was going to turn into the seven-headed monster that it has become.

Lots of people start blogs about their life musings, but why do you think yours was one of the ones that stood the test of time?

I was very lucky in the sense that I got on very early, I was one of the first ones. I think the reason it caught on and has been so successful is because I was very true to myself in the first place. People are drawn to my irreverence, they think it’s raw. My blog is not is not fine reading, it’s not high thought, its conversational, day-to-day how you would talk to your girlfriends. It at least makes people think, to a large degree. I am opening the heart of who I am and how I feel and that that has carried me through the ups and downs and valleys and peaks.

I assume writing and chronicling your life has become such a part of you – How do you walk away from your entire adult life published on the internet?

No actually, I never really did it. A big part of mormon culture is journaling. I kinda failed at that. One of the few points of mormonism I failed at, as I excelled at every other point!

In college I found myself excelling at writing. I knew I kinda liked to write. There was an underground newspaper I found out about, and I wrote several articles for this newspaper, and I realised people thought it was funny. I went to England in my senior year of college and I used to write letters back to roommate that would make her laugh.

I really just write with the idea: “how can I get my girlfriends to laugh on a Friday night?”

When did you know it was time to move on?

How do I even sum that up?

There’s been a huge shift in the industry since 2011. Nowadays you just cannot make a living off of banner advertising, you have to do sponsored posts. That kind of writing and selling alone with stories of your family will definitely take a toll on anyone who writes about their family for a living.

I don’t want to involve myself any more, and stage an event that I then have to write about later. That’s when I started looking for an exit strategy.

How does it feel to be the only person filling your publishing schedule – what kind of a toll does that take on you?

There has been dissatisfaction for about three years, but only since my ex-husband moved to New York has my publishing schedule changed. Once it was just me at home with the children, I no longer could keep up with the schedule I had in place before he left. I was the only one to take care of it. I often had to stop blogging when my kids were sick or needed me, so my publishing went down by about 30% because I had kids to take care of. It’s very difficult to be a single parent and a business owner.

With a personal blog, you just can’t delegate yourself to someone else. I always say if you want to make money from blogging, get into fashion or DIY blogging – They can have a team of people working on them, but I cannot delegate my persona, my tone, my conversational writing, I can’t have someone else take on many of the tasks that need to be done.

People noticed when I published less often, and and complained, but I was like: “what do you want me to do? My kid is sick, and this is the third day in a row I have to take off. There’s only so much I can do with a laptop while I’m sitting with my feverish daughter on my lap”.

It meant that I was panicking to come up with content – what can I do? What can I write about this week?

How much do you think the pressure of publishing schedules has contributed to lots of bloggers either burning out or giving up in favour of something less relentless?

I would say from the conversations I’ve had with other people in my situation, the publishing schedule has been 85% of it. Bloggers are on a hamster wheel which is going faster and faster and faster.

I don’t know a single blogger who even enjoys it any more. There was a time when we loved every minute of it, we would gush and say oh my god, we love it. Now we say there’s times when we still love parts of it, but nobody sits down at the end of the day and pours a drink and says “Oh I had the most glorious day”. There are only now parts of it we still enjoy but there’s not that enthusiasm for the whole thing any more.

Do you think too the move away from storytelling and into more curated posts have been a part of that? Where once we could write without wondering if we were being useful or if we could be attractive to brands?

Storytelling is much harder than what’s going on now. It’s so much harder than an outfit post with a couple of links and “here, make your affiliate money”. It’s easy because brands know you’re not going to cuss or bring in a racist angle or anything that will cause trouble. It’s so vanilla. What it’s became now is just – it’s flatlined. I mean, I love Instagram as much as anyone else, but it’s homogenised, curated – no-one shows any of the dirty, no-one shows any of the real. Like, if I see one more latte art, a meal on the table taken from overhead… it’s just so tiring that way for someone who consumes this kind of media, and I do consume this kind of media. But I do love a bigger story.

I think what it’s done its that Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook has killed blogging. It put a knife into it and let it bleed out. With a story on a blog, you have to get past the first two or three sentences, and people are like “I’m out”.

What about things like having to ensure our headlines show up in search results, and crafting intros that hook the reader in, that sort of blog post creation?

That’s not blogging, that is journalism. That’s not the heart of blogging, it is not about that at all. This has all turned into something we never intended it to be. Those of us who were writing at the start, we never intended it to look like this at all. Did we ride the wave of this success? Absolutely, but now we’re on the other side having to worry about SEO and “is my headline going to get picked up”?

Now, how do you disconnect now from that constant feeling that you need to be online, chronicling everything?

I have spent the last 18 months of my life in an absolute panic. Sunday evening would come around and I’d be on a voxxer conversation with colleagues and we’d have our weekly panic meeting, all of us having no clue about what they’re going to post this week. “My child has this and this and this all week, and I have this meeting and now I have to publish in between all that”. I hate this.

It’s not like just walking into a job every day, it’s so different.  I was talking to someone recently, and they asked if there was a segment of the population that are ridiculous in terms of their criticism of what you do – and there is. It’s people with no kids who go to an office job.

I used to do that. I’d get in a car and drive 45 minutes to an office and I would browse the internet, and I would design things and I’d do that for 9-10 hours. Then I would go home and I’d have a weekend off, and I’d take a vacation. That’s not the reality of blogging, that’ doesn’t look like what we do.

Our work is everywhere. As I’m putting my child to bed and reading a book, my mind would wander off to what I’m going to publish, you know, like “oh this time I’m going to think of something different”.

I realised I can’t let it infiltrate my bedtime routine. I could walk away.

What advice do you have for people who are feeling the pressure and may one day walk away from it all if they don’t have more of a balance? How do you keep in check the raging beast that is a blog?

You’re gonna burn out, it’s gonna happen. Sooner or later, it’s gonna happen. I’ve been doing this for 14 years and I talk to people who are burning out after three – it’s happening. Now you have to do Pinterest and Facebook and Twitter, and each one of those audiences is very different. Taking care of each audience takes up its own time. This is what the Facebook audience wants, that sort of thing. Everything is at an accelerated rate because basically you have to take care of seven blogs.

I guess it all depends on whether you want to make money. If you do, you can get into a niche that is sustainable. Start a fashion or DIY blog and hire a team of people.

In 2004-5, I was the first personal website to take advertising. Now it’s why you start one. If you’re doing it for fun there’s nothing to worry about. If you’re looking to make an income, this is not a good way.

Explain how this massive change has had an impact on your days now. How do you feel?

I’m not there yet, I’m in the middle of transitioning. My specific situation is probably different to most, but I’m the only person who brings in money, I’m it. It’s me. I have to be hustling non-stop. I thought I was going to be able to take two or three weeks where I could not look at my laptop, but it’s not a reality for me. If you’ve got a partner with a good income, please do take that time for yourself. But the transition out for me is all about the hustle, it probably has increased my workload about 40%, but at least I’m not worried about “what pic of my dog am I going to post today?”. My audience wants to see my dog photos but I’ve taken every photo of my dog, ever.

What I’m thinking about is email – it’s still hustle, but in a different direction now, and I’m loving this new hustle. If l wasn’t travelling as much as I am right now, I’d be dancing with headphones on because [the changes] have been so amazing, I’m loving this.

One of the most important things I can do for myself, and the most feminist thing I can do for myself, and I can ask myself this as a white woman in America – is ask: “am I happy doing what I’m doing?”. I wanted to do something different. It’s terrifying but at the same time, I really need to be: “Heather, are you happy? what face are showing to your children? As their mother and as their feminist? What do you want to do to your children? What do you want them to learn about this?”

When you thought about moving on, did you know what you wanted to focus more on or did you mostly just want to move away from straight-up blogging, and find the answer later?

I wanted and do want to do much more speaking, that has always been a passion of mine. Here I have how many years of experience, and an untapped audience who have no idea who I am, but I have all these stories to tell. I mean, I still plan to write a story on the blog when the stories need to be told, but I can tell them in different formats now.

A lot of my blogging has been service-oriented on purpose – I’ve blogged about depression, I’ve blogged about maternal health, I’ve blogged about cancer. I say “I’ve encountered this, this is what is was like, and if there is anyone out there who feels this, I will advocate for you. Go do these things that I recommend, and feel free to reference this post if you go see your doctor”.

But with speaking… I gave a very small version of an upcoming talk to the audience at Alt Summit in Salt Lake City. I got up on stage and I don’t know… something happened. Maybe prayers to mom’s Lord kicked in, but I realized that the room wanted to hear what I had to say. I didn’t want the 20 minutes to end.

I was going to be ok.

 


So what do you think? Are you disillusioned with the turn blogging has taken? Or are you enjoying the new road? I’d love to hear!

Stacey is the Managing Editor of ProBlogger.net: a writer, blogger, and full-time word nerd balancing it all with being a stay-at-home mum. She writes about all this and more at Veggie Mama. Chat with her on Twitter @veggie_mama or be entertained on Facebook.

Thinking of Quitting Blogging? Here’s How One Blogger Turned it Around

Thinking of Quitting Blogging? Here's How One Blogger Turned it Around, on ProBlogger.net.

You would have read yesterday about the growing discontentment with blogging and what to do next, and how Megan Tietz finally realized it was time to walk away. Liberating, eh?

Today we chat to Nicole Avery from Planning With Kids, who was dangerously close to burnout at the end of 2014. She knew if she didn’t change her approach to blogging, she was going to ditch the whole thing entirely. Her ideas of how to pull back, recalibrate and start again with a new focus is super-inspirational, and I am sure that those of you who are looking for fresh ways to do an old thing will find Nicole’s tips incredibly useful.

 

5 tips to get you back on track when you feel like quitting blogging

Towards the end of last year I reached my lowest point with blogging. I was tired, overwhelmed and feeling completely over blogging. I felt like quitting.

Blogging brings along amazing opportunities but it is possible to take on too many. Blogging is a wonderful medium to share, but it is no longer just about blogging, there are newsletters to write, social media channels to grow and products to make. Blogging is a fabulous medium to start an online business but with tens of thousands of blogs started every day, keeping up can feel like you are continually running a super fast race struggling to keep up.

My love of blogging though won out and I continued blogging, managing to turn around how I was feeling in the space of three months. While I did more than what is listed below, here are 5 key things I did to get me back on track.

1. Take a break

Each year I usually take two full breaks from the blog, one in the summer school holidays and then the second in the winter school holidays. Due to family circumstances, I never had the break in July and never seemed to find the time to take it later in the year.

Taking a break from the blog is essential to maintaining my enthusiasm and love of what I do. So at the end of December, I took a break (I had planned to take time off in late January). Usually to take a break I work super hard in the lead up to schedule blog posts and social media posts. This time I just took almost a week off and didn’t post. I gave my weekly newsletter a rest for the whole of January and I pared back my social media activity, for example I went from four posts a day on facebook to one.

2. Analyse your time

It was in my break that I came across the Pareto principle. If you are not familiar with it, it can defined as follows:

The Pareto principle (also known as the 80–20 rule, the law of the vital few, and the principle of factor sparsity) states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.[1] {source}

If I was to apply the 80/20 rule to my blogging it meant that 80% of the time I was spending on blogging was only creating 20% of my results. Effectively most of my time was being spent activities that were not adding value.

To understand this better and see if it was indeed true, I used RescueTime to see exactly how I was spending my time. RescueTIme focuses on measuring exclusively active computer time and detects when your computer is idle. My initial analysis showed me very clearly that the vast majority of my time was spent on activities that contributed very little to results, way too much time on email and social media. On my least productive activities I was spending only 26% of my time on design and composition. A huge wake up call and a stark reminder that if you are spending your time on the wrong activities, no matter how well you manage your time, you will not achieve the productivity you are after.

3. Set a goal

I came across and interview with Jay Papasan on a podcast called a Dose of Leadership and it helped me greatly. Jay Papasan is the author of the book The One Thing. Listening to him speak helped me realise something I think I knew all along. My many and varied goals needed to become a goal clear and concise goal.

If you chase two rabbits, you will not catch either one. Russian proverb

So I created one goal for my work life and one goal for my personal life. It has made a huge difference to how I operate on a daily basis. It has given me clear purpose for 2015 and has aided me in making better decisions. My goal is in the forefront of my mind every time I make a decision – will it help me achieve my goal for the year? If not then I have no choice but to say no. Having one goal makes this process so much easier.

4. Create a work schedule

Creating a work schedule helped me get back on track for two key reasons:

  • It scheduled in the activities that will help me achieve my goal for the year. We are all aware if you don’t plan it is unlikely to happen.
  • It prevented decision fatigue – work is just one part of my life. There is always a great deal going on at home and by creating a work schedule it is effectively telling me what to when. Not having to think about what to do means I can just get started on my work each day and not lose time procrastinating over where to start.

5. Practice daily gratitude

This one is a little out there I know, but I have found my attitude to the task at hand plays a huge part in how I approach it and the results it creates. Practicing gratitude does wonders for improving your attitude – we do really have so much to be grateful for if we take the time to think about it.

I began using the 5 minute journal app which I cannot recommend highly enough. I have always thought practicing gratitude would just add to the list of things I have to do and become a burden. This app however allows me to practice intentional gratitude in 5 minutes each morning and evening.

Instead of bemoaning the pressures that come from running a small online business, I would very frequently list it as something I was grateful for. For example:

  • I was grateful I could easily help out in my son’s class at short notice.
  • I was grateful picking up a sick child from school was not stressful and could be done in minutes.
  • I am grateful I can choose to clear my calendar and not take on additional work to free up more time when family life gets busy.
  • I am very grateful blogging allows me travel overseas each year.
  • I am so grateful I receive the most amazing feedback from readers who read my posts and take action.

Have you ever felt like quitting blogging? What did you do to turn things around?

Nicole Avery is a Melbourne mum to five beautiful kids aged 16 to 6. Nicole is slightly addicted to spreadsheets, tea, running and CrossFit. Family is the most important thing in her life and her goal for 2015 is to be a planned, patient and present mother to her beautiful kids.

Thinking of Quitting Blogging? The Tale of One Blogger Who Did (and What Happened Next!)

Thinking of Quitting Blogging? The Tale of One Blogger Who Did (and What Happened Next!) on ProBlogger.netThere has been a definite shift in the blogosphere over the last 12 or so months, and I’ve heard story after story of people who feel a real sense of transition in the air. Blogging can take a toll on the strongest of people, what with its 24-hour cycle, it’s relentless need to be updated, and its ability to totally take over your life if you let it.

What I’ve noticed, though, is how hard it is for people to let go. Either to let go of their blogs completely, or to let go of the parts of blogging that don’t serve them (me included!). It could be fear holding them back, or resistance to change, the motivation is different for all – but I wondered how helpful it would be to hear from people who dealt with all of these feelings very differently.

From someone who straight-up quit, to someone who hung in there, to another who merged blogging with other pursuits, the experiences I’ll be sharing this week have given me hope. I always find it useful to see how others have made huge changes and not only survived, but thrived, and I know you’re going to find some solace in the stories  from Megan Tietz today, Nicole Avery of Planning With Kids Wednesday, and Heather Armstrong from Dooce on Friday.

Megan blogged at Sorta Crunchy for eight years before finally laying it to rest at the beginning of 2015, and setting off for pastures new. If you’ve ever thought of just walking away and starting afresh somewhere else, this one’s for you.

When did you start to realise it might be time to stop blogging?

I happened across a post from my archives a few weeks ago, something I had written in the summer of 2012. That was shortly after my book had been released, and I know now as I read back over it that in my heart, I knew it was time to stop blogging back then. But I had a book to promote and a platform to maintain, so I powered through and kept at it for a few more years.

In the late summer of 2014, I had one of those rare but wonderful epiphany moments where out of the blue, the thought “I’m closing my blog” rolled through my mind, and it felt so incredibly hopeful and liberating, I knew that the time had finally come to be finished.

Were you making an income?

Sort of. I experimented with different income streams including private ads, sponsored campaigns, and affiliate work, but it was only ever enough to pay my blogging bills and have a little extra play money on the side.

Did you know you had a different direction you wanted to go in, or did that come later?

My friend Tsh Oxenreider had been generous in asking me to be a frequent guest on her Art of Simple podcast, and that experience gave me the confidence to being exploring creating my own show. I knew that I was deeply burned out on writing, yet my personality is one that craves connection and community. I’m solidly in my late thirties now and the thought of teaching myself how to work in a new medium was exhilarating and inspiring.

How did you finally make the decision?

I know this sounds a little woo-woo, but I genuinely feel like the decision was made for me. Once I knew it was time to close the blog, I found it excruciatingly difficult to write anything. It was as if after writing easily and frequently since I was in the fifth grade, I had finally used up all of my words. I couldn’t have kept blogging even if I wanted to. The well had run utterly dry.

What were the factors that led you to stop? Were they internal reasons or external?

I would say it was 95% internal and only 5% external. The external reasons include the pressure to create Pinterest-worthy posts, click-inspiring headlines, and content that would perform well on all social media platforms. But as I said above, it was mostly this internal assurance that the time had come to move on and move forward to taking on new projects.

Have you felt/seen/heard evidence that this feeling of discontent is widespread among bloggers?

It’s funny, having been part of the blogging community for over eight years, I’ve certainly seen bloggers far more widely-read and well-known step away from their platforms for a variety of reasons long before I chose to do so myself. Yet I think it’s one of those things when once you’ve tuned into a certain vibe, you start to feel it everywhere you turn. Yes, I think there is a feeling of discontent amongst my peers who are still blogging, but I think that’s the nature of this beast; a beast which on the one hand has done away with the gate-keepers and made a path for creatives to share their work in ways never possible before, but on the other hand, it requires of you the creation of awesome, amazing, share-able content day after day into perpetuity.

Why podcasting?

I have dreams of exploring lots of new mediums in the realm of new media, but I decided to start with podcasting because I am an unrepentant podcast junkie. The more shows I discovered and the more I found myself delighted by what others are creating in this realm, the more I became consumed with the idea of creating my own show. Even just a few months in, this is one of the most exciting, rewarding, and thrilling things I’ve ever done. I’m in love with the process and product, start to finish. My only regret is that I didn’t start sooner!

What advice do you have for people who are thinking of stopping, but are a bit frightened to totally pull the pin?

When you are dating someone seriously and begin to ask, “is this person The One?” you’re often told, “when you know, you know.” I feel it’s the same way with blogging. When it’s time to stop – not just take a break to recover and rediscover your purpose and mission in blogging, but truly stop blogging – you just know. And it is absolutely scary. I spent a few months scribbling in my journal thoughts revolving around the question, “but now what am I going to do?” So take the time to work through the fear and any other negative feelings that surface as a result of such a big decision, but know that everything good and valuable and important that you learned from blogging can be put into practice in a dazzling number of ways outside of this medium.

What’s life like on the other side?

Liberating. People often ask me if I miss blogging, and I can genuinely say that I don’t! I think that’s because I didn’t take my own advice and pushed myself to keep blogging long after it was time for me to be done. I didn’t realize how much mental real estate blogging was taking up in my mind, but now that that chapter is over, I feel so much more free. There’s a wonderful lightness that comes with following your intuition, no matter how scary the path is that it leads you down. It’s a newfound freedom that I am enjoying immensely.


Do you feel a bit like quitting? Like there’s something else on the horizon you’d like to explore, but you can’t just walk away? Let’s chat in the comments, cos I feel like that too…

Stacey is the Managing Editor of ProBlogger.net: a writer, blogger, and full-time word nerd balancing it all with being a stay-at-home mum. She writes about all this and more at Veggie Mama. Chat with her on Twitter @veggie_mama or be entertained on Facebook.

10 PBEVENT Speakers Tell How They Stay Motivated

10 ProBlogger Training Event speakers tell about how they stay motivated in their current work. Inspiring stuff!

All secrets are being revealed on ProBlogger this week! We’ve had the morning routines of superstar bloggers and online entrepreneurs, and also their number one life hack (especially for time management). Today, they share how they keep going when the going gets tough.

HEATHER ARMSTRONG: Author, speaker, and blogger at Dooce

Heather-Headshot-1.2015-200x200One, I am the sole provider for my children. Keeping them housed, clothed, fed and happy is the highest priority in my life. Two, I love where I am in my life and cherish the experiences that have brought me here to do what I do. I stay motivated so that I can create even bigger and broader experiences.

 

Heather will be presenting the keynote session: The Courage of Compassion: Transforming Your Experience with Criticism

MRS WOOG: Mouthy 40-something housewife from the burbs. Blogs at Woogsworld

Kayte-Murphy-200x200

 

Because I have the best job in the world and I want to keep it.

 

Mrs Woog will be on the panel for: How to monetise a personal blog with Heather Armstrong
 

BENJAMIN MANGOLD: Director of Digital and Analytics at Loves Data + Google-certified expert for Google Analytics

benjamin-mangold-800-2-200x200Seeing people learn new things and exploring new ideas keeps me motivated. When you see things ‘click’ for someone it’s extremely rewarding. I also love it when I hear how the work and training we do at Loves Data has helped someone – it’s an incredible feeling to receive a card, an email, or a chocogram, from someone saying how much they appreciate what we do.

Benjamin will be presenting the session: Metrics that Matter: Google Analytics for Actionable Insights

KELLY EXETER: Owner of Swish Design, a boutique web and graphic design company.

KellySquareHeadShotHiRes-200x200Habit. I’m very good at negotiating with myself and can talk myself out of doing anything so relying on motivation to overcome this just makes life too hard. Instead, I’ve created habits around the things that are important to me/just need to be done. For example: writing and exercise are super-important to me but it would be so easy to de-prioritise them in amongst everything else going on in my day. So being in the habit of getting up early and doing them as the first order of the day every single day … it means I never have to go looking for motivation.

Kelly will be presenting the session: Blogging voice and the art of creating meaningful connections through writing

RUTH SOUKUP: Founder of LivingWellSpendingLess.com

Ruth-Profile-600x600-200x200Honestly, I don’t have to try very hard to stay motivated—I LOVE what I do! I can’t think of a job that I would enjoy more, or that would allow me to combine all the things I love. I get bored easily, but the blogging world is always changing. I enjoy strategizing & the process of trying to get ahead of the curve. My biggest problem is not getting motivated, but trying to find the time to implement all my ideas. This year my husband made me promise to take Sundays off, which I have, but I often find myself wandering around the house wishing I could work on my latest project!

Ruth will be presenting the keynote session The 5 Ordinary Habits of Extraordinary Bloggers, and breakout session Pinterest Marketing 101: The Three Elements of the Perfect Pin

NAT KRINGOUDIS: Women’s health revolutionist and fertility fixer at natkringoudis.com.au

Nat_1698-200x200If you are fully aligned to your vision, living and breathing it, it all falls into place without too much effort. It’s so important to fully integrate yourself in your message and what you do. The rest then will simply follow and flow. With this in mind, I don’t need to stay motivated, I’m generally always motivated.

Nat will be presenting the session: How to create your gangbuster e-product

 

BRANDON COWAN: 21-year-old co-founder and Director of Crazy Dog Apps

Brandon-Cowan-1-200x200Simple (sort of)… I live my life using a bit of Steve Jobs’ philosophy – if I find that I am not enjoying something in life and know that I can do something better, I will make the switch or adjust my life accordingly. By always doing what I want, I will always be motivated to do what I do.

Brandon will be presenting the session: Creating Business Ideas
 
 

PAMELA WILSON: Big Brand System and Copyblogger Media

Pamela-Wilson-600px-sq-200x200I really, really love what I do. My full-time job is Vice President of Educational Content at Copyblogger. I am running the day-to-day operations of the Copyblogger blog, which is an honor and a wonderful challenge, too.

Along with Editor-in-Chief Stefanie Flaxman and Chief Content Writer Demian Farnworth, we set the tone and editorial direction of the Copyblogger blog, and plan how we’ll complement the written information with editorial images that help tell the story of each post.

In addition to that, I’m overseeing the educational content offered at Copyblogger Media, and there’s a lot of it!

I’m a teacher at heart, so both of these jobs make me feel like I’m contributing to help people make progress in their businesses and their lives.

That’s all the motivation I need. :-)

Pamela will be presenting the session: Design 101: How to Use Design Basics to Polish Up Your Blog, and How to Create a Content Event That Builds Your Email List

DAN NORRIS: serial entrepreneur, award winning blogger and the author of the best selling business book The 7 Day Startup

dan-norris-1-200x200I work on what I love and what inspires me at the time so who wouldn’t be motivated to do that? I do lose focus a little bit sometimes so I have a few things that pull me back into line like chatting with other entrepreneurs, listening to podcasts and speaking at and attending conferences.

 

Dan will be presenting the session: How to use your blog to supercharge your small business

CAROLINE MAKEPEACE: Co-founder of y travel blog

Caz-Makepeace-bio-square-600-x-600-200x200I think about my old life waking up every morning to an alarm to go to a job I hated and my first words uttered were “Oh F***!”. That memory makes a 15 hour day working on my blog easy to do. I also have a very engaged email communication relationship (which I’ll share more about in my session). Each week, I read stories about my reader’s lives, fears, hopes and dreams and I’m so so inspired to continue working to help them. I seriously would have quit if it were not for those emails.

Caroline will be presenting the session: From Blog to Business – the steps you need to take from to create a profitable business online

THE EVENT

There are a handful of tickets left, so be quick to ensure you don’t miss out! You can go here to purchase.

PBEVENT is Australia’s biggest and longest-running blogging conference. Our first 400 tickets sold in around 20 minutes this year, firmly establishing it the ‘go-to’ event on the blogging community’s calendar for training and networking.

In 2015, ProBlogger Training Event is presented by Olympus and will be relocating to the spacious RACV Royal Pines Resort on the Gold Coast, ready for over 650 bloggers on August 14 and 15.