Last week, I shared some tips on what to do to get over writer’s block.
This week? This week I thought I’d talk about what to do when you just want to say, “Screw that!” and go do something else, instead. Because that happens too, let’s face it. And the fact is – revolutionary thought coming up – you don’t actually have to blog every day, do you? I think a lot of bloggers – myself included – get into this bizarre mindset where we’re all, “OMG, if I don’t have a post up at 9:30am on the dot, the world will end!”, but no, sweetie. No, it won’t. Most people won’t even notice, in fact. And it’s not like there’s nothing else you could be doing instead of staring at that blank page and wondering what on earth to fill it with, is it? No. It is not.
Here are some things you could be doing instead of writing that blog post you feel like you HAVE to put out. Blog-related things, I mean. If you were hoping I was going to suggest things like, “drink wine” or “snuggle kittens”, you’re probably going to be disappointed. (Do those things, too, though, obviously. I mean, ANY time is a good time to snuggle kittens, obviously…)
I’ve talked about this before, but guess what, I’m going to talk about it again, because I just can’t help but feel sorry for all those old posts that get lost and forgotten in blog archives all over the world. Pray for those posts, people. Or, you know, just go back in and show them love by updating the information and images, fixing any old links that no longer work, and catching that rogue typo that you seriously can’t believe you’re only just seeing now, two years after that post was published. I mean, FFS.
Seriously, though: some of my older posts are still the most-viewed ones on the site, and how embarrassing would it be if your most-viewed post was full of out-of-date information, and the kind of grainy, horrible images that you thought were THE BOMB at the time, but which now just look… well, grainy and horrible, really. When you have older posts that still attract traffic, that’s a really good sign, because it means they’ll continue to keep bringing new visitors to your blog, even on days when you don’t have a new post to publish. Well, they will if you look after them, and keep them up to date, obviously…
Create a landing page
Landing pages are pages on your blog which basically act as a kind of “information hub” for particular topics you write about often. So, say you tend to write a lot of blog posts about, I dunno, your favourite characters from Cluedo, say. (Mine was Miss Scarlet, by the way. You could totally tell Miss Scarlet had lived a little, couldn’t you?) You might want to create a “Characters from Cluedo” landing page, so that new visitors to your blog can easily find their way to all of that Cluedo gold you’ve written. These kind of pages tend do well in search engines, and keep people on your blog for longer: here’s a really example of one of mine, which, WHOA, really needs to be updated (Oh, hi Amber, why you no take your own advice?), but which is nevertheless normally one of the most-viewed pages on the site. I’m going to fix it up real good, and I’m going to do it either as soon as I finish writing this post, next week, or never. We’ll see.
Create or update your media kit
A media kit is a document (normally in .pdf form) which contains information about your blog, its stats, and what kind of collaborations/advertising opportunities you offer. It’s a really useful thing to have, especially if you get a lot of repetitive enquiries, because it allows you to provide brands will all (or most of) the information they should need in order to decide whether or not they want to work with you. (Or that’s the idea, anyway. I frequently send mine to people, only to have them instantly come back to me with a list of questions, all of which are answered in the media kit, but oh well: at least I tried!) Your media kit doesn’t have to be fancy, but you’ll find lots of examples and templates online, which you can use as a starting point – have fun!
Create your own ‘stock’ photos
Blog photography is one of the biggest drains on my time these days. There are so many times when I want to write a post, but don’t have any images to go with it, so the idea ends up sitting in the drafts folder for weeks – and sometimes forever. You can, of course, use stock photography in these situations (I wrote a list of some of my favourite image resources here), but I much prefer to take my own, so if I have some spare time, and the light is decent, I’ll sometimes spend an hour or two taking some “stock” photos, which I’ll then just hold onto for those times when I have a content idea, but no imagery to go with it.
Obviously it can be tricky to take photos when you don’t know what you’re going to be using them for, but your blog’s niche should help guide you, here: in my case, desktop flatlays, coffee cups and computers are all pretty safe bets (hence the photos in this post!): they can be used to illustrate a variety of different topics, and if you take a look around your home/neighbourhood, you should find plenty of things you can photograph, and then keep in stock for a rainy day. (Literally: rainy days are the WORST for blog photos, seriously…)
Fix your broken links
Broken links are, as the name suggests, links that no longer work: normally because the product you were linking to has sold out, the website no longer exists, or maybe you made a mistake when you were typing the URL. These are not only annoying to your readers, they can also harm your blog’s ranking in Google et al, because websites which have a large amount of broken links aren’t valued as highly by Google, which assumes they’re out of date. You can use Google Webmaster Tools to find out which links on your blog are broken, or there are also lots of websites and plugins which will do the same thing: my best advice here is to pour yourself a very strong coffee before you start this, because if you’ve never done it before, you’re probably going to find hundreds, if not thousands of links… which you then need to go through and update.
This is a pretty monotonous task, really, but, I dunno, sometimes I find those kind of jobs quite… soothing, almost? I wouldn’t want to do them ALL the time, obviously, but every now and then they’ll keep just enough of your brain occupied that the other part is free to do whatever it wants: which will hopefully include coming up with some content ideas. And if not, well, at least you got your broken links fixed, huh?[P.S. If you have questions about blogging – or anything else you’d like me to write about – you can leave them here!]