10 Ways Your Blog Can Add Value

Let's talk about how your blog can enrich your life because that is the key to not only being a success at it, but in enjoying the time and energy spent pulling together posts.

Here are 10 ways to add value to your life through blogging:

1. Stop making unfair comparisons and create your own magic. It's silly to be petite constantly wish you were a supermodel. It's also silly if you're a single mom on a Nebraska farm comparing yourself to a married mom in London with household staff who blogs about her life balancing motherhood with her job as a fashion editor for Vogue magazine. Comparisons are normal, we all make them, and sometimes they can drive us forward. Beware though of unhealthy comparisons. Instead, look at the other single mom bloggers who are creative and making the best of their life and doing great things with their blog. That can be a source of encouragement and strength. Also consider that your life may be even more inspiring than that London mom who seems to have it all - your readers may find much more value in your words. We often dismiss our daily life as nothing special but we all have a story to tell. Be proud of who you are and what you can personally accomplish and bring to the table through blogging.

2. Be consistent with your voice and vision. Consistency is steadfast adherence to the same principles, course, form, etc. Your written words and your photography should be consistent with your overall blog and brand. What do you think readers look to their favorite blogs for? What do you look for when you are reading a blog? I look for a consistent voice and a clear, unique vision. A blogger may take some good photos now and then but if most of their photos are poor, this isn't showing consistency. Readers like something they can depend on, even visually (not just words). Another example is that a blogger may be open and positive but slowly start blowing off steam, posting negative thoughts on their blog that brings down the mood. This can irritate readers and even irritate you as the blogger. How? Consistency makes YOU happy because when you know what you want, define it clearly and then work to make it clear to others it can make you feel accomplished.

3. Maintain a balance between family life and online life. Family members can quickly become resentful if your back is always turned to them as you tap away on your keyboard. When your family is happy, you feel better, right? Set aside time when you are offline to enjoy your family without distraction. You can blog without them even knowing it if you schedule posts to run at times when you are away from your computer. Scheduled posts are a dream for this reason!

4. Let your blog guide you through, and beyond, your fears. Facing fear is tough but it feels great once you've identified it and have pushed through. Fear can be healthy or negative - it is cautionary at times, a result of your gut giving your a warning, your inner voice sounding a warning signal so you can consider next steps. Fear in this sense is healthy. It can also motivate and drive you to build courage, especially the more you work through fear and find success. Overcoming fear helps you to gain greater self-confidence. For your blog to give your life more value, you have to get exorcise those unhealthy, “I’m not good enough” voices which may be based on a fear: the fear of not being interesting enough. Examine why you have fear in the first place and if your reason isn’t based on something concrete then push past it. If it is valid, fix what appears to be broken. It feels great when you're not afraid and face life with courage and a full, passionate heart.

5. Step away from your blog for a fresh approach. Take a walk, do some gardening or play with your dog. If you’re lacking inspiration that is an indication of boredom so it's time to do something that gets your creative wheels turning. Go to a museum and roam the halls, take your camera to a botanical garden and snap some photos, make a little video on your phone of your children playing in the park and send it to their grandparents. Not everything needs to be associated directly with blogging or your job. In fact, we often need to step out of our job for a moment and into something unrelated to spark new ideas.

6. Surround yourself with people and experiences that inspire you. Decrease your exposure to things (or people) that are draining. This makes you happier which spills over into all of your activities, including blogging. Negative people always make you negative and bring down your energy. It's vital to reserve your energy and put it into the things in life that matter most.

7. Learn to trust others and delegate or collaborate! Ask your family to support your creative endeavors. Let people help you. Ask for help. Hire outside support as needed, too. Some people can do things better than you can do them or at least as good, so work together to make some magic. I always say to outsource the stuff you don't like doing or that you're not good at. This means you have to TRUST people. You will be shocked to see how much joy you have when you're not struggling from doing everything alone.

8. Schedule time for vacation.
Vacations are vital, even if you stay home for a week and work in your garden or sunbath on the patio. Time out allows you to relax and refocus, and become mindful again, to center yourself in the present moment. When you return to blogging, you can channel that renewed energy into your blog.

9. Beware of analysis paralysis!
Take some risks and stop worrying about what others think to the point of becoming paralyzed. If you over-analyze your every move and question yourself, you’ll constantly feel weighed down and definitely not light and happy! Do what your creative soul is telling you to do and don’t listen to your inner critic who says that you must be perfect in order to share something – forget it! Perfect is unattainable and when people strive to be perfect, it comes across as really safe and boring.

10. Have the courage to experiment more on your blog. Try new photo layouts, work on your writing style, ask more questions, approach your topics differently, change your blog template, improve your photography, add a new column, remove a column that bores you to tears... Experiment!

Remember, your blog and its success depends on YOU first. How will you turn your blog into a creative catalyst that makes your life more exciting and adds value? Only you have the answer to that question.

(image: valentina fussell)


6 Ways To Be a More Consistent Blogger

Consistency the key to success in most things that we take on in life, isn't it? Health, business, building a solid relationship, saving money, the list goes on and on. Consistency is key to whether a blog becomes successful or not, too. Here are 6 tips that may help you be more consistent and find genuine value in the time that you spend reaching out to others through your blog.

1. Set a schedule. Carve out a weekly or daily time slot to blog and stick to your schedule the best that you can. Life will get in the way but writing at least a few posts each week is a great habit to form. You can also schedule posts to run on specific days during the week to help you stay on track.
2. Stay on topic. Have a list of topics that you will regularly cover on your blog and try to stay within those topics.
3. Draft some back up posts. Save some posts on draft mode for times when you aren’t feeling creative. Then you can publish them to freshen your content on days when you're not feeling up to writing.
4. Be relevant and regular. Provide value by delivering regular content that is also relevant to your readers that you are excited to share. Stay on top of trends in your field and new trends in thinking and technology, too. Follow your readers and fellow bloggers to see what they're sharing and liking online.
5. Spell check and read each post before hitting publish. Readers will run in the opposite direction if some of your posts are well written and others are a hot mess. You’re or Your? Thank you or Thankyou? Their, there or they’re? Read posts (often out loud) to check flow, reduce or remove run on sentences, eliminate redundancies.
6. Know your readers. Who are you trying to reach and how do you want them to see you? You can’t develop a consistent voice if you’re all over the place. Most bloggers do not consider themselves a brand but it is still important to consider how we’re perceived from the other side of the monitor. List what you would like your readers to associate with you and your blog. Is it your creativity, great entertaining ideas and inspired decorating? Do you want them to associate you with winning recipes, a great sense of style and the feeling of community that your blog gives? Whatever your looking to convey, by knowing your audience and consistently delivering content that fits your own goals for your blog, you can feel more inspired to be consistent as a blogger because you'll feel a reward whenever you post by how your readers respond to it.

What are some ways you have found to be helpful in becoming more consistent as a blogger?

(image: fiona humberstone)