With a brand new month upon us, I thought it was the perfect time to spend the next 30 days showing our blogs some serious love. It's easy to get stuck in a rut, fall behind on maintenance tasks, and take our online spaces for granted. To flourish and grow they need our full attention and a whole lot of TLC, so I have a 30 day challenge for you to help you whip your blog into shape and really utilise it in a way that works for you. This is for you if:
You’re feeling overwhelmed and lost: If your blogging process is in need of shaping up, and if you're struggling to feel confident and focused along the way, over the next 30 days this challenge should hopefully help you to find some clarity structure.
You want to take your blog from a hobby to a game changer: I spoke about this in more depth a few weeks back in this post, so if you're ready to take your blog from a hobby to a game changer the next 30 days are the perfect time for you to really make some progress on those long term goals.
You’re craving some drive and direction: If you have some big dreams but struggling to make any progress, this 30 day challenge is here to help you get started. I won't lie, it probably will be a lot of work but hopefully it will be fun too!
Day 1: Evaluate The Previous Month: The best way to start a brand new month off on the right page is to take some time to evaluate the previous 30 days and check in with your blog and online presence. Depending on your goals and personal intentions for your blog, the areas you may want to assess and evaluate are:
- Your Google Analytics
- Your readership growth
- Your social shares and social engagement
- Your in-post engagement via comments
- Your blog income
- Your blog expenses
- Your own personal fulfilment
- Any progress you've made in terms of working towards your long term goals
Day 2: Set Achievable Goals For This Month: Goals are what help us really make big dreams into a reality, and without them we could find ourselves just wandering from week to week without anything guiding us along the way. Ask yourself, what would I like to do with my blog this month? Increase your reach? Open up an income stream? Collaborate with someone? Create a free downloadable resource for your readers? Whatever it is, set some exciting and achievable goals to help you stay focused throughout the month.
The best thing to do with goals is actually use them as jumping off points for tasks and areas to focus on. For example, under each goal outline three practical steps you can take this month to help you make some serious progress in the right direction.
Day 3: A Content Planning Session: One of my favourite parts of blogging - idea generation and content planning. Our content plays a huge part in our blogs message, growth, and impact. It's how we really share ourselves with the world and bring some serious value to our readers experience. Intentionally planning content in a way that works alongside your blogging goals and is aligned with your intentions is one of the best ways to really be purposeful with the content you share.
I have two posts that are perfect for helping you have a productive and purposeful content planning session - Five Questions To Ask Yourself When You're Stuck For Content Ideas and How To Create Content For Your Ideal Readers.
Day 4: Plan Something Exciting For Your Blog This Month: There's no place to rest on your laurels when you run your own online space. To keep things purposeful, productive, and for many of us, profitable, we have to keep raising the bar and pushing ourselves and our blogs. Plan one way this month that you can really up your game and do something exciting with your blog. Make it original, fun, and aligned with your blogging goals and values. Whether it's an exciting new series, a webinar, or maybe a free resource for your audience - push yourself to really show your readers and community what your blog is capable of.
Day 5: Create A Style Guide: If you're really stepping things up with your blog and treating it like a brand with purpose and intention, a style guide is a must for keeping you on track and on brand along the way. If you've not built one yet, use day 5 to build a brief (or in-depth if you really want to commit) style guild for your blog. Some things to include are:
- Your fonts
- Your colours
- Your blog visuals - use this post as a jumping off point
- Your tone - will you be serious? funny? sarcastic? friendly?
- Your headings - is there a certain or specific ways you will title your posts?
- Blog posts - how will they be laid out? How you will include links? How will you end them?
Day 6: Website Audit: Your website is your blog's storefront - it's how you make your first impression to the world. Make some time to explore your site and any areas that may need updating and improving. Use this post as a jumping off point - and if it's your about page or sidebar that needs improving? Hold on until week's three and four until we will spend an entire day focusing on each.
Day 7: Content Audit: To end the first week, a content audit is a great way to really get to grips with your blog. So you can see what's working, and refocus your content to really be aligned with your purpose, goals, and values, taking the time to assess your latest blog content and be honest with yourself about each piece can be super helpful when moving forward and really utilising your blog as a platform to reach your long term goals.
If you're a pen and paper kind of girl, get your favourite notebook out. If not, a spreadsheet or word document will do the trick. Write down every single one of your blog posts for the last two to three months. Working from the furthest back until the most recent, be honest with yourself about each piece and how happy you are with them. Ask yourself - does this post work towards my big picture goals? Does it help me to put my best foot forward? Does it add value and/or entertainment for my readers? If I could do it again, would I change anything?
This isn't a process to feel down on yourself or the awesome content you create, it's actually the opposite. You can look back and feel proud of your content (and be reminded of how relevant it probably still is now) and just explore some ways you can improve, move forward, and really start working on those long term goals of yours.
Day 8: Have An Intention Session: The day to day realities of running our blogs can distract us from checking in with our intentions and values. Day 8 is the perfect time to have an intention session. What's an intention session I hear you ask? It's a way to really check in with your values and your goals and assess whether you're happy with the path you're taking or not. We've all been there when we feel a little off course and an intention session is a great way to align your decisions with your values again.
- What are my creative values? I shared some of mine here.
- Is my current blogging process and focus aligned with them?
- What are the intentions behind my blog? Who am I creating for?
- What are my long term goals for my blog? Why do they mean so much to me?
- How could I be more intentional with my blogging process?
Day 9: Explore Your Process: There aren't unlimited hours in the day, and we all have more commitments and responsibilities than our blogs alone. Finding ways to streamline our process and really hone in on the best routine for our online spaces means that not only can we enjoy our process much more, but we can also then make enough space for other projects along the way.
Some further reading to help you? Ten Of My Favourite Tools & Apps for Bloggers & Creatives and Five Ways To Streamline Your Blogging Process.
Day 10: Social Media Audit: Our social media channels need some TLC too, so putting aside an afternoon to audit your profiles and spruce up your social media presence can really help you to be more intentional, present, and purposeful with your social media channels.
Things to audit:
- Your profile pictures - are they all matching or at least complimenting each other? Do they work alongside your brand.
- Your bios - are they all aligned with each other and engaging? Do they share with your ideal audience who you are and why you're for them?
- Your strategy - is it focused? Aligned with your values and goals? This post on 10 Steps To Bringing Some Life & Purpose Back Into Your Social Media Channels may be of help.
Day 11: Explore Your Ideal Reader: I'm a big believer in the importance of knowing who your ideal reader is. If we really hone in on who we're for and why our blog is for them, we can find more focus and direction along the way. Some questions to ask yourself from my How To Create Content For Your Ideal Readers piece are:
- What are my ideal readers passionate about?
- What are the top five websites/online resources they love and read every week?
- What kind of information are they looking for?
- What do they like to do with their spare time?
- What are their long term goals and aims?
Day 12: Write Your Mission Statement: A mission statement is a great way to really blog with focus and intention. Not only can it help you when planning content and resources for your audience, but it can also help you when deciding income streams and how best you can grow your brand in the long run. You can either share your mission statement via your blog, or just keep it for you to refer back to throughout the week.
Some jumping off points:
- Why do you blog?
- What are you passionate about?
- Who is your blog for?
- Why do I care about creating for them?
- How will my online space help them? What problems do I solve?
- What are the creative and personal values behind your blog?
Day 13: Organise Your RSS Feeds: I'm a big believer in Being More Intentional With What You Consume. What we consume can really affect our mindset and our approach to blogging, and information overload can do terrible things to our self-esteem and our process. Use day 13 to organise your RSS Feeds - group the blogs and websites you read into categories and have a specific list for the ones you really, really, love. This way on a daily basis you can consume that feed first and foremost and just jump into the other sites you follow as and when you want to. I shared Three Apps & Web Tools To Help You Consume With Intention over on ALO that may be of help.
Day 14: Have A Big Picture Session: Day 14 is for a little dreaming. Big picture sessions are great for really dreaming big with your blog and digging deep and exploring your bigger goals and aims. Ask yourself - what is the overall purpose of your blog? What do you really want to build with your online space? What would you like to do with your blog in the next year? How about the next two? Write down your big goals and let yourself be really honest about what your vision is for your space.
The key to this step? Letting the dream change as you change. It's good to be clear on how you feel now, but it's so important to stay open to it evolving, changing, and growing along the way. Check in often with what your big picture looks like and whether you're prioritising that or not in the decisions you're making along the way.
Day 15: Take A Break: We're halfway through the 30 day challenge and I think Day 15 is best spent away from your blog altogether. It's important to let our minds rest, enjoy the other things in our life that aren't our blogs, and take a step back from the daily grind of blogging.
Day 16: Another Content Planning Session: Repeat Day 3. I like to have content planning sessions every fortnight or so - this helps me to keep the ideas flowing and fresh, and be on top of my editorial content plan throughout the month.
Day 17: Write Your Blog Business Plan: If you have some big and exciting plans for your online space, some focus and direction is key to really making it happen. A business plan should be flexible along the way, and it's best used when it gives you direction and encourages you to think about all the intricacies that treating your blog like a business can bring. Some jumping off points that I shared in my Five Ways To Take Your Blog From a Hobby To A Game Changer post are:
- Your Idea: What is your online presence about? What ideas and insights are you bringing to the table? What's your niche, your purpose, and your overall values and intentions?
- Your Audience: Who are you creating for? What problems do you solve for them? How does your blog/business offer them value?
- Your Income Streams: If you plan on monetising, what income streams will be the foundation of your business? Will you be creating your own products and/or services? Will you be monetising via advertising streams and sponsored opportunities? How do they help your audience?
- Your Content: What content are you creating for your audience? What are your categories and topics? What's your content marketing plan?
- Your Goals: What metrics will you be assessing your business by? What are your goals for in 3 months? 6 months? What are the essential areas you need to focus on for growth?
- Your Marketing Plan: How do you plan on promoting your blog/business? Social media marketing? Content marketing? SEO? Advertising?
Day 18: Spruce Up Your About Page: Following on from your website audit on day 6, today is now the perfect day to spruce up your about page. Your about page is a great place to share more of yourself with your readers, your blogs purpose, mission statement, and your own story and journey so far. My piece on How To Create An About Page That Works For Your Blog should hopefully be of help.
Day 19: Spend An Afternoon On Pinterest: Pinterest is an awesome platform for sharing your content, and connecting more with your readers and audience. The best advice I've ever been given for Pinterest is to build intentional boards that are suited to my ideal audience and readers. Instead of just making it a space to pin without purpose and strategy, spend an afternoon curating boards that work well alongside your personal brand and your audience's needs.
Day 20: Explore Your USP: Too many us can tell ourselves the lie that the online world is oversaturated and there's no way our blogs and our work can hold its own amongst the masses. All you need is to explore your USP - your unique selling point. What makes your blog stand out in your niche? What do you bring differently to the table? (Hint - it's you). Ask yourself - how can I give more of myself to my blog to make it stand out? Find ways to switch things up, bring something new to the table, and consistently raise the bar.
Day 21: Subscribe To Some Mailing Lists: I love mailing lists. They're a great way to stay inspired throughout the week, and if we're intentional with the ones we sign up to they can really help us to stay motivated and informed. Some of my favourites that I'd recommend are Braid's Letter for Creatives, Emily Thompson's Indie Tactics, Kory's Wild Tribe, and Amber's The Move Letter.
And if you want a little more Jennypurr in your inbox every week? You can sign up for my Weekly Letters for Bloggers & Creatives which is an exclusive letter from me to you each and every Sunday.
Day 22: An Income Stream Audit: If you monetise your blog, of if you're thinking of taking the leap into opening up income streams soon, spending a little time auditing your monetisation methods is the perfect way to spend Day 22. If you're just about to start monetising your blog, this post on Five Questions For Anyone Who Wants To Turn Their Blog Into An Income Stream may be the perfect jumping off point.
If you already monetise your blog, some things worth exploring in your income stream audit are:
- Your current income streams - are they working? Are you happy with them? Are they aligned with your blogging values and intentions?
- What income streams are you hoping to open in the future? What's your big vision for monetising your blog?
- The income streams you don't feel happy with anymore - can you close them? What will that process look like?
- Your current income streams - can you improve any of them? What would that process look like?
- What are the values behind your income streams? For example, are there certain ways you will never monetise as it's against your values and intentions?
- Your income goal - if you really are taking your blog and its income streams seriously, having an income goal in mind is a great way to really stay focused along the way. If your blog is a business, this is an essential to really being focused, intentional, and strategic with your monetising methods.
Day 23: Spend Some Time With Your Inbox: Oh emails, they keep us connected but also lost in a world of replies after replies. For Day 23, spend some time clearing out your inboxes and building a process that is more streamlined. For example - can you break your inbox down into folders? How about systems in place to direct specific emails to a certain folder? How about using Unroll.Me to clear out any junk and newsletters you aren't interested in anymore?
Day 24: Sidebar Audit: Your sidebar is the perfect place to share more of your blog and your content and really add more value to your readers experience. A cluttered sidebar is ineffective, whereas a focused and intentional sidebar can really help you to guide you readers to use your site in the most engaging way possible. Some things to consider including on your sidebar:
- A little more about you
- Your blog's tagline
- Social media links
- Mailing list sign up
- Popular posts
- Links to your products/shop/services
- Your categories
- Links to other places your readers can find you around the web
- Social media widgets
Day 25: The Comparison Trap Process: Comparing ourselves to others and getting lost in the tricky cycle of the comparison trap can really hold us back from blogging without boundaries and fear holding us back. This process I shared in my recent Three Mindset Shifts To Help You Blog With Focus & Intention post is perfect for really overcoming the comparison trap and utilising it in a way that helps you in the long run:
- Write down five blogs who you have been feeling envious of recently.
- Ask yourself what it is specifically that is causing the jealous feelings. Is it their success? Their aesthetics? Their content? Their courage?
- Explore what it means. We’re usually greeted by the green eyed monster when we see something we don’t have yet. For example, with a client the other day they shared that they were envious of another blog because they saw that the author behind it created without compromising themselves in the process. This showed us that she herself wanted to pursue her goals and share herself with the world but without compromising who she is along the way. It sounds like such a small thing, but by realising this it allowed her to start blogging without any self imposed restrictions.
Day 26: The Blog Post Bucket List: I'm a big believer in the power of our blog post bucket lists. The content that scares us is usually the posts that are most fulfilling and that have the most impact with our readers. Use Day 26 to explore your own blog post bucket list - write down 3-5 posts that you've been too afraid to write. Ask yourself - what is making you so afraid to create and share this post? Would overcoming that fear allow you to be more vulnerable with your audience? Bring more of yourself to your content? Be more authentic with your online presence? Set yourself the challenge to write at least one point from your blog post bucket list - and then do the scary thing and schedule it to be published soon.
Day 27: Finalise Next Months Editorial Calendar: Editorial calendars are the foundations of a strong and focused content plan. I shared a super in-depth post recently on Building An Editorial Calendar From Scratch that takes you through every stage of the process if you're new to these. Before the next month rolls around, use this day to finalise your upcoming editorial content plan. Using your content planning sessions as jumping off points, start to build your content plan for the next month (or however long you like to be planned ahead for) and include any launches, social media marketing, resources, and guest posts in your editorial calendar too.
Day 28: Schedule Promotional Tweets of Old Content For The Next Month: You are way more than just your latest blog posts. Everything you've shared previously can still have some serious impact and reach with your readership. Using a tool like Buffer, schedule promotional tweets of past content for the following month - either one or two a day or every other day.
Day 29: Invest In Yourself: We pour a whole lot of time, energy, and devotion into our blogs and investing in ourselves and our process can really help us to grow along the way. Whether it's investing in a new web tool to help you streamline your process, an ECourse, Ebook or, one on one service to help you learn, grow, and evolve along the way, or a bigger investment like new equipment, I think we should always give ourselves permission to invest in ourselves from time to time.
Day 30: End Of Month Check-In: To end the 30 Day challenge, and end of month check-in is the perfect way to spend Day 30. Repeating the steps I shared in Day 1 and Day 2, this is also a great time to see how you've evolved and grown over the past 30 days. After focusing on your intentions, your income streams, auditing your site, and really investing more time into your content creation process, you can now see any areas of note that you want to take with you into the months to come. You may want to repeat some of the challenges throughout this process - for example the income stream audit and content planning sessions - regularly to help you really blog with focus and direction.
Are you going to take on the 30 Day Challenge? I'd love to know how you get on throughout the month!
How We Can Work Together
I work with bloggers & creatives to help them feel focused and find confidence in their blogging process. Whether you want to connect with your ideal readers and clients, give your creative business a better online presence, launch your blog from scratch, or transition your online presence into a business, I'm here to help you make it happen. Find out more here.
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