Blogging 201 Days 1 & 2


Because I like to be overly busy (ha!) I decided to sign up for Blogging 201: Branding and Growth over at Blogging University. I haven't gone through any of these courses before, but I plan to do them all just to see how they might help me. I realize that it is through Wordpress, which my blog is not on, but that actually doesn't matter. Anyone can take the course as long as you've registered and created an account.

I missed day one, but decided I'd do the tasks for days one and day two together because what I've been thinking about really involves both. So, here I go...

Day One's Task: Set Three Goals

Today’s assignment: consider what you want to accomplish with your blog. Write down three concrete goals.  

Day Two's Task: Audit Your Brand

First, focus on your goal. Think back to yesterday: What do you want to accomplish? What is the thing you’d like your blog to be known for? This is the lens you’ll use to dissect your blog.


Second, examine your blog from header to footer. Consider your theme. Look at every widget, page, and image and ask: does this clarify and reinforce my focus? How will this help me meet my goal?
Here’s a checklist to get you going:
Third, start introducing changes that reinforce your brand. Make one update today. You don’t have to burn things down and rebuild — just start making tweaks that move your site closer to your vision, and watch them add up. Here are some easy starting points:

I've been thinking about this quite a bit lately - goals and my brand. I have so many interests. Originally this blog was supposed to be mostly YA reviews with occasionally another genre thrown in. Now I review just about everything including cookbooks and nonfiction. Then I also love crafts and cooking and other stuff. I threw around the idea of creating a companion blog where the cookbooks, nonfiction, crafty things and all other things would go that would be more of a blog about my interests and life, leaving Wishful Endings for just fiction books. Of course my husband was like "So, how much more time would you have to spend to do that???" Lol! Blogging and doing tours (over at Prism Book Tours) already takes a lot of my time and I'm in a constant battle of managing my time so that it doesn't affect the time I need and should be spending with the family. Do you guys have any of these same struggles with blogging?

So, then my thought was that I could work on things, but not start this until next year when my youngest will be in school and I will have the day to do things like this and staring the web/graphic design stuff that I want to (another side project).

It comes down to my goals. What do I want to really do with this blog? Can I increase my followers?Am I doing what I love and reaching my followers? How can I engage my followers better? Do my followers know what they're going to get when they come to Wishful Endings? Does my site/brand/look portray those things?

I'm just going to brush the surface of what I really want to do in this course, so I'm going to start off small. These are simple things that I hopefully can complete before the end of the year and then I'll continue working on my bigger goals over the next year.

SHORT-TERM GOALS:

1. Figure out what my followers like. Ask and receive follower feedback (What do they read? Why do they come to my blog? What would they like to see more of?)
2. Increase my followers by the end of October. Bloglovin' followers by 100, Pinterest followers by 50, and Instragram followers by 20. I may do a special giveaway.
3. Begin a weekly discussion post. I've thought of joining a few and may do my own and theirs alternating weeks or depending on the topics.

LONG-TERM GOALS:

1. Streamline my brand
2. Create one or two new blogs for other features/topics/interests
3. Increase my followers on Wishful Endings by 500 in one way over the next year
4. Re-design my blog. I've been wanting to do this for some time. I know so much more than I did before when I first set things up. So. Much. More! I'm planning on keeping the colors and the owl, but making some changes to how they look. I'm a little attached and it is my brand. I don't want to lose that familiarity, so I just want more subtle changes. I want an older look - meaning a look a YA and adult audience would like more. My current look is perfect for a children's book blog, but since I rarely review those, I want something a little more distressed. We'll see what happens.
5. Do better in keeping my archives updates and cross-posting all my reviews. Create a daily/weekly schedule to get everything on my to-do-list completed.
6. Earn more money from my blog so that it covers giveaways.

BRAND AUDIT:

I discuss this quite a bit above, but more specifically...
- I do have my header and brand look carried over to all my other platforms and social media.
- I'm happy with my overall theme and tagline, but might tweak it a little.
- I love my colors.
- I need to update my widget titles. I have been slowly making changes this year to this site and Prism's. This site still needs quite a bit of work.
- I just updated my gravatar a few weeks back. Finally. Why I waited so long I do not know.
- I already have a custom email for my blog
- I actually like my fonts too. Is that bad? I'll probably mess with them more once I know how my blog will look when it's redesigned.
- I also really need to clean up my blog's HTML because there have been changes here and there and there are some bugs that need to be fixed. This will be added to my long-term goals since it takes time that I just don't have right now.

What do you think? Any suggestions? Have you taken this course or made changes to your blog that you were really happy with?

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