Blogging is a fast evolving medium. The blogs of today are vastly different from the blogs of 2003 and 2004 when blogging was making its early appearances. Keeping up can seem daunting. Today, Meghan Telpner shares some key strategies to help you stay on top of change and take your blog to the next level.
You’re in it. You're a blogger.
You have your blog and you’ve named it. You've (hopefully!) written a witty “About” page that offers your readers an idea of who you are, what you do, and most importantly why you do it. (If you haven’t, please do that right now and then come back here. I’m a big fan of the Q&A style about pages.)
You’ve written posts too. Maybe a few, or maybe a few hundred. Most of them are awesome, and some of the early ones could perhaps use some refreshing. You’ve had posts you worked days on that fell flat with your audience, and quick and dirty posts that flew high in the social media skies. You’ve played with sidebar ads, pop-ups, times of day to post, and the newest plugins that everyone seems to love.
This is the world of blogging.
And then we get stuck. We lose our motivation, or get frustrated by the lack of response.
I’ve gotten stuck many times. My blog began in 2008. I’ve written 1,500 posts and, most recently, deleted about 300 old ones that were no longer relevant (definitely worth doing!). I spent three years writing seven days a week and the last five years posting at least once a week. And it’s not always easy, but it matters.
What you do matters. Perhaps it's one reader who's inspired by a restaurant review or a product review. Or perhaps it's that recipe you tested a gabillion times until you perfected it and one of your readers chose that one to serve at a special family event. Perhaps your time cooking, writing and reviewing is the one thing you give yourself permission to do that's just for you. Maybe you've built up an insanely large reader base and they depend on you. It all matters.
We all have our own unique reasons for doing it and our own motivations for keeping going, but the truth is that we are bound to hit those blocks at some point. That's our opportunity to expand our current knowledge. That’s where continuing your education fits in.
It’s no secret that the best of the best are truly the best because they never stop learning. If we want to be in that category, we have to keep evolving and continue to do our work at the edge of our own knowledge. It’s the only way to continue with motivation and inspiration.
Continuing your education is the surest way to evolve you and your blog to the next level.
The opportunities are endless for ways in which you can broaden your knowledge base and allow that to influence and improve your blogging skills —and likely apply those same skills in numerous other ways in your personal and professional life.
5 Essential Blogging Practices To Keep You Relevant
This may seem like an obvious one but even the best photographers continue to learn more. This may take the form of an online course, an in-person workshop or service trade with a photographer you know. Images and video are everything on the web right now. It behooves you to know how to best use the tools you have, and to know where you need to upgrade. Then make the most of them. We’re food bloggers and most of the time the image at the top of your blog post, whether it’s from five years ago or yesterday, will be the first impression.
Learn To Be More Awesome
There are loads of different learning opportunities that can inspire a greater depth in the post itself. The recipes matter but the story, the information and the applicability will matter more. If the food blogging world already feels saturated in your niche, what are you doing about it?
Take a course that offers you the expertise, a step beyond hobby or personal interest, on the subject. I run the Academy of Culinary Nutrition and part of the Culinary Nutrition Expert Program curriculum includes recipe development and content development — both obviously applicable blogging skills. Loads of our students use the experience and knowledge they gain to both enhance their blogs and kick-start a business.
The best way to set yourself apart is to be just a little more awesome than everyone else.
Continuing your education in your niche of choice is a great way to do that.
Stay Relevant By Keeping Current
I'm often asked how I stay current on nutrition trends. The answer is because I love it and am always attending or running nutrition events. There's no reason not to attend events in your area of interest.
Though travelling to some may be more challenging, there are loads of free summits available online on every subject under the sun — from free social media seminars to full-blown free online conferences. It’s up to you to take advantage and schedule them in as if they're business meetings. I run an annual Culinary Nutrition Conference, available for free, to give the online attendees an opportunity to get first-rate, current information from leading experts. There's massive value in donating your name and email in exchange for brilliant information that oftentimes money couldn’t buy.
Learn Those Business Skills
When I'm doing business consulting, too often I hear people say they hate working with numbers, or are a mess with bookkeeping. If your blog is a business in any way, then you have to learn this stuff. Keeping good books goes beyond tax season. Understanding where and how your blog is generating revenue, how much on a monthly basis and perhaps even being able to track it back to specific posts or products, is essential if you plan to grow your blog into a thriving business. Don’t let fear of finances be the thing that stops you.
If this is all completely foreign and terrifying to you, there’s a class for it. It may benefit you to find a local class in your community, but there are loads of basic bookkeeping courses online. You could even hire a bookkeeper for a few hours to walk you through the process so you know how to best organize your files for your specific needs.
Doing this recently made me realize that running Google ads on my website and Youtube channel wasn’t worth the cost of giving away that real estate to advertisers (it rarely is, though affiliate marketing can be amazing — more on that here).
Up Your Writing Game
Good writing is hard to find these days on the web. For the record, no one enjoys reading long-format posts that are lacking capitals and punctuation. It’s fine for text messages, not okay for your blog.
If grammar, clarity and persuasion are lacking in your writing skills, or you simply struggle to effectively communicate what you want to communicate, then take a class. The best writing classes are going to include the challenge to write on topics that are not usual for you, that require you to edit someone else’s work and that will provide editing and feedback on yours. The greatest writing lesson I’ve ever received was reading the edits on the first and second (and what felt like the hundredth!) round of revisions on my books.
You may also find that getting disciplined about your writing invites you to explore new formats and styles that might just result in a boost of confidence for you and traffic to your site.
Take Time to Organize Yourself
Success in blogging, like success in many businesses or hobbies, doesn’t come from having some exceptional talent, but instead from having an exceptional level of discipline. Whether you choose a notebook or a project management app like Trello, Basecamp, Asana or even Evernote, plan for your blogging success. All of these apps have incredible resources including articles and videos to help you get your projects organized. For my blog I have a blog checklist set up so I remain consistent with posting. I also have tasks that ensure I check the SEO, edit, preview and schedule each post.
Success in blogging, like success in many businesses or hobbies, doesn’t come from having some exceptional talent, but instead from having an exceptional level of discipline.
When I started my first blog in 2004, it was all very straightforward. You had a thought. You wrote it down. You’d hit publish. People would comment. That was about all it took. The blogging space today is very different. We are a powerful and influential force. Whether we know it or not, we're also innovators in the tech and media space. Apps are designed and the creators wait to see how we use them. That being said, having the best plugins and the greatest tactics in place can only go so far.
It's our individual responsibility to keep evolving, stay relevant and continue leading the way in our unique niche in the blogging world. And I know you want to. That’s why you read this, right?
You can read more of Meghan’s writing here on FBC!
- Making a Cookbook — Behind the Scenes With Meghan Telpner
- Featured FBC Member Meghan Telpher
- The Power of Affiliate Marketing On Your Blog
- 5 Tips to Ensure a Healthy Body and a Healthy Biz
This article contains affiliate links — we earn a small commission if you purchase through them. That helps us keep this site ship shape and useful!
Toronto-based author and nutritionist Meghan Telpner brings her healthy and awesome life inspiration to fans across the globe. As founder of the Academy of Culinary Nutrition and author of the bestselling UnDiet: Eat You Way to Vibrant Health and The UnDiet Cookbook, she is fast creating a revolution in health and well-being. Inspiration is waiting at MeghanTelpner.com and follow her daily #UndietLife adventures on Instagram @meghantelpner.