6 Reasons You Need to do a Blog Audit ASAP

6 Reasons You Need to do a Blog Audit ASAP

Whether you write for one blog, or manage many, you need a measurable, goal-oriented plan. Shooting from the hip isn’t a strategy. I like to take time during these last few weeks of the year to see what worked, what didn’t and how I want to proceed into the new year.

Have you ever performed a blogging audit?

Guest blogger Nicole Avery gives some great tips for completing this essential task  over on ProBlogger. Or, head over to Spears Marketing‘s website. Seth shares an incredibly detailed blog post about how to do an audit. (Yes, it is A LOT of work!)

So, why should you evaluate your blog, or those that you manage for your clients? You want to be productive into the new year. We all work with the same 24-hours in a day, but how you spend those hours, and how you prioritize, is critical.

Completing a blog audit helps you…

Identify the most searched topics on the website.
Cultivate the top ten evergreen search terms and focus on those in the first quarter of 2017. In April, take note. Did visitor numbers and sales increase? They should since you’re giving your readers exactly what they’re searching for most often.

I took this approach on my personal health blog last year, and watched the my subscribers increase and, in turn, now receive more interaction on the blog’s Facebook Page than ever before. Nice!

Learn where you waste time.
Beyond the random social media time-sucks, we all spend time on tasks we think will pan out, but ultimately don’t. Doing an audit can help you realize where your efforts should be concentrated, and what tasks need to come off your to do list.

I recently realized the time I spend coordinating and posting guest blog posts is longer than if I just write each post myself. Plus, penning each post creates additional online writing samples for my potential clients to peruse. So, no more guest posts moving forward. Instead, I’ll continue to focus on networking with like-minded individuals over on Twitter, where I’m seeing results daily!

Spot trends from your visitors.
Pay close attention to how visitors enter and exit your site. Do they always come in on a free offer page, then leave immediately? It’s time to integrate some helpful content (with links to other areas of the site) onto that page.

Do visitors land on your home page and bounce away after a few seconds. Ouch! Something is not enticing about your online presence. It might be time to hire a pro web designer to give your site an overhaul. What is scaring everyone away? Slow image loading? A spammy appearance? Lack of information? Confusing branding?

Determine your best time investment.
Track your every move for a week or a month. How much time do you spend brainstorming, assigning, writing, editing, posting, formatting, sharing, analyzing and updating your blog? Are some of these tasks able to be delegated to a freelancer or handed to an assistant? Which tasks bring in the most ROI? You should focus on those!

Focus on your core audience.
Who you want to view your blog, and who actually shows up, can be two totally different groups of people. You might initially write to one audience, but find that it’s time to pivot and market to the people who really are engaged.

This past fall, I’ve gently shifted the focus of Web Writing Advice slightly. Instead of reaching out to anyone who writes for the web, I’m narrowing in on people who do this for a living either as a full time freelancer or who work with an advertising or marketing agency, and does the writing for the company.

A brief audit of my blog made me realize that I should be specifically targeting people who could become colleagues, or have the ability to hire me to write for them.

Rejuvenate direction for the blog.
We often run on autopilot when something is working well. This is when complacency sets in and it becomes critical to look at the whole picture. As you work thorough the data and statistics on your blog, make sure it’s moving in the direction that you or your clients envisioned. If not, is that OK?

Are you slowly moving away from the core values and reasons for starting the blog in the first place? It’s easier to get back on course when you’ve only veered a little off the road than to do a U-turn when the site hits rock bottom.

Are you working through an audit of your blog? Tell me how it’s going in the comments below. I’d love to learn what information you found surprising by doing this type of evaluation. Why was a blog audit beneficial for you?

Do you need a reliable writer on your team? I collaborate with marketing and advertising agencies to create content for blog posts, web pages, social media and newsletters. Learn how I can help your clients HERE.

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Giving Thanks for Blogging, Social Media and the Need for Words

Giving Thanks for Blogging, Social Media and the Need for Words

Across the country, nobody is feeling guilty about eating a second or third piece of pie today.

Hello, Thanksgiving! It’s a time to feast, visit with the people you love and express a little gratitude.

This winter, I’m thankful to celebrate seven and a half years as a full-time freelance writer. It’s been a long, winding road filled with accolades and misfortunes, both bringing clarity and vision to improve my craft.

I’m dedicated to my work in marketing and journalism. I make a living writing blog posts, social media updates, static web page text and white papers for businesses. I’m also lucky enough to draw on my background in the print media to tackle journalistic articles for magazines and newspapers.

I’m thankful publishers and marketing agencies need words. More specifically, they need words creatively arranged and delivered on deadline by writers with passion and talent. Each time I’m selected for a project, I’m honored.

Today, however, I’m leaving my keyboard idle the rest of the day.

My husband and I are headed north to spend the holiday with his parents. We are both thankful for their involvement in our lives and that we are able to share a meal together.

I hope you’re also taking time to fill your heart with love and gratitude. Happy Thanksgiving!

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Get Motivated: How to Write Daily, For Work, For Pay

Get Motivated: How to Write Daily, For Work, For Pay

Writing is often perceived as a hobby. It’s something to fill a lazy Sunday morning or an unexpected lull in the work day.

You wait for inspiration. Then, create.

But, if you’re one of the one in three American freelancers working as a writer, content marketer, journalist or copywriter you have to churn out words daily to meet deadlines, work goals and earn a paycheck.

Finding motivation isn’t always second nature when you have to do something daily, especially when the task requires creativity on demand.

Why do you think the phrase “writer’s block” exists? It can be very real.

I’m the first to agree that finding a writing groove on a schedule is difficult and sometimes impossible. But when you have clients waiting on copy, you have to perform. Over the past several years I’ve figured out a few ways to stay motivated.

1. Schedule writing time and stick to it. If it’s not on the calendar, it’s likely to get bumped. Schedule your writing time just as you would a doctor’s appointment or meeting with a new client. Then, stick to it.

2. Break each job into multiple little tasks. I never sit down and think, “I’m going to do this whole project from start to finish before I leave my desk.” Instead, I break almost every writing assignment into three or four sessions. I work on brainstorming ideas or an outline, conducting research, writing a draft and finally polishing the piece.

3. Never submit fresh copy. The final stage of my writing process is the most critical. Once I feel I have an almost-final draft, I press Ctrl-S and walk away. A few hours later, or the next day, I read the copy with a new perspective and often identify silly mistakes and make a few edits to improve the article flow.

4. Place a stack of bills on your desk. Yes, really. If you need motivation, knowing that you have a mortgage to pay or a phone bill coming due can put a pep in your step. You haven’t won the local lotto yet, so keep plugging away!

5. Reward yourself often. It’s helpful to have something to look forward to when you complete a large step in a writing project or seal the whole deal and send it off. Sometimes my rewards are as little as taking a 15 minute break outside with the dogs or taking the afternoon off to read a book or watch a movie.

6. Plan breaks ahead of time. In addition to scheduling writing time, you absolutely must schedule time for breaks. I often get into the mindset that if I keep working, I can reach my goals faster, or even break them. All. The. Time. This isn’t healthy. Both your body and your brain need down time to relax.

Writing daily requires discipline. It does get easier the longer you work as a professional writer. It doesn’t take as long to get into the creativity groove, and although you always need personal motivation, that feeling shifts when it’s your career. You have a team around you depending on your copy. That’s usually motivation enough most days.

Do you need an additional reliable writer on your team? I collaborate with marketing and advertising agencies to create content for blog posts, web pages, social media and newsletters. Learn how I can help your clients HERE.

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