Blogging is one of the most challenging and rewarding things I've learned to do in life. Creating images, content, and a blog design that I'm proud of has taken me a few years and I'm still my own biggest critic. In this last year, I've finally come a little further with setting some blogging goals that I thought I would share here. These may be good goals for bloggers just starting out, or even for those who've been blogging a few years like myself.
Identify A Blogging Niche: First I thought about what blogs I like to read myself. I love blogs that contain unique original photos, and that cover topics such as blogging, photography tips, decor, healthy recipes, and personal style. Then I also thought about who the ideal reader of Casual Glamour would be. I think a Casual Glamour reader would likely be someone looking for natural lifestyle inspiration, photography advise and vegan recipe choices. Over time, these are the exact categories that have been established on the blog, hopefully these will continue to improve and develop further into a blogging niche.
Write a Mission Statement: I finally came up with a mission statement for Casual Glamour. I'm sure it could still use improvement, but it's a start. "Casual Glamour is a lifestyle and photography blog sharing inspiration for styling and photographing a casually glamorous peaceful life. It is also a portfolio of my photographic art." This mission works for me right now since it allows me to continue to develop my photography skills both for the blog and also for potential clients.
Develop a Brand: This year I really want to hon in on my personal photography style and make sure that it comes through more consistently in all my photos, the blog, instagram, and every other platform I have too. I recently looked through all my photos and old blog posts and thought about what I liked and didn't like and what work I was most proud of. I deleted over 200 old blog posts and cleaned up all my other pages as well. I tried to only leave the content that I'm most proud of and that fits in with my current mission. The photos and content that stayed were my best fashion, lifestyle photography, and vegan food projects. The photos are full of vivid colors, natural settings, high contrasts, sharp detail, laid back styles. Now as I go forward I can work off as this as a base for the Casual Glamour brand. I also installed the new blog template and this really helped to improve the look of the blog and brand. The clean white background allows the colors of the photos to stand out, the handwritten fonts contribute to the laid back style, the flower graphics support the blues, greens, reds that come out so often in my photos. Finally, I also bought and installed a blog domain name….no more blogspot in my url! It's easier to type and say the name of my blog now and further establishes a brand.
Increase Pageviews on the Blog: There's still a lot I can do in this area, from improving social media activities to practicing some basic SEO techniques. Most of the Casual Glamour Blog traffic comes from social media. Facebook, Instagram, Chictopia, Pinterest, Linkedin are the top ones for me. I think the most important aspect to being successful with social media is ensuring consistency to my brand with all content, only posting my best, most creative photos and letting my personality come through, finding a voice so to speak. Connecting with followers is important too and collaborations. Whenever I involve my friends in photoshoots or partner with other sites that support my content, then it brings new visitors to the blog. As far as SEO goes (search engine optimization), I've read that naming images so that search engines can find them helps, so I try to remember to name blog photos to something other than the camera file name before loading them into the site. Another recommendation is to fill in the image properties, I use the blogger platform, so I'm not certain what that is called in wordpress or squarespace, but it is another way of naming the images so that search engines can find them. I also want to work on being more consistent with the types of blog content I post and expand the creativity within those types of content, keep getting more specialized, honing in on the blog niche. Maybe even implement some different blog series, hopefully more to come on that this year. I also started using Google Analytics. Not really sure to do with all the info yet, but at least starting to learn about it.