Can someone please explain to me how it is already May?! I swear we were just kicking off the new year and yet here we are, five months into 2017. While the fresh start of the new year may now be behind us, it’s never too late to set goals for yourself and start thinking ahead for your blogging business! Lately I’ve been making an effort to dedicate some time to blogging beyond just the day to day content creation and site management – as a blogger it can be all too easy to just get into a groove and remain heads down but spending some time setting goals and making plans always helps deliver a fresh boost of inspiration and motivation to roll up your sleeves and get shit done.
I’ve learned a ton over the years of blogging and yet there always still seems to be so much more to learn to help my business grow and improve the quality of content I’m able to produce. Watching my blog evolve from a pure hobby and creative outlet to a side hustle and a business has been incredible, but it can also be stressful. There’s always just so much to get done! Good habits can make a huge difference and help you not only grow your business, but maintain your sanity along the way 😉 5 good blogging habits I’m working on this year:
1. Prep for tax season all year long: Confession: I waited until April 15 to do my taxes this year and it’s something that stressed me out for an entire year after having to pay a pretty hefty amount in 2016. Gone are the days of simple, stress free tax filing when you’re living that freelance life and between 1099’s and blogging business expenses, it can get really overwhelming really quickly. This year I’m determined to avoid the stress and do a better job of planning ahead for tax season by using QuickBooks Self Employed to track blogging business expenses throughout the year so I’m able to maximize my tax deductions and save hours of time when April 2018 rolls around. Their mobile app has already been a game changer for me – you’re able to sync your bank and credit card accounts so you can easily categorize business expenses and they even have a handy little feature where you can simply snap a photo of a receipt and upload it, saving you from a bag full of receipts. QuickBooks Self Employed also syncs right with TurboTax to make the entire tax filing process a breeze and on average QuickBooks Self Employed users find an average of $4,340 in potential tax savings this year (is it weird that I’m kind of looking forward to seeing this magic happen next year when I file my taxes?!)
2. Organize your invoices: When I first started earning income from the blog, I had a moment of panic the first time someone asked me for an invoice for a blog partnership – cue me frantically Googling “invoice template” and trying to figure out how to keep track of outstanding payments and income. Little by little I figured it out and started using QuickBooks Self Employed a few years ago which was a total game changer. You’re able to easily create and send invoices right through the app and see at a glance your blogging business’ revenue, as well as who owes you money and when you can expect payments. As a freelancer it can be really tricky to keep track of all of your outstanding payments and keeping your invoices organized is critical to make sure you get paid, in full and on time.
3. Plan ahead: A well organized editorial calendar is a blogger’s best friend! Planning ahead and organizing your content for the month (or more!) ahead can help give you a holistic view of what information you’re putting out there – you’ll be able to easily see what deadlines you have, how much variety you have within your content and when you need to tackle photoshoots and writing to get things scheduled and set yourself up for success. I swear by Google Calendar for my editorial calendar; I love being able to easily drag post topics around to create a content flow that works well, use color coding to track deadlines and sponsored content, and share calendar access with my intern Ellie so we can stay aligned with content needs for the site.
4. Analyze and optimize: I recently started working with ChloeDigital and it’s been fascinating to have monthly chats about my site’s analytics and what types of content are most popular with my readers. Taking time to look over your blog’s analytics will not only give you a snapshot of your site traffic and growth, but also can unlock big opportunities to optimize your content to lean into what’s working best for you (and potentially spend less time on what’s not!). Be sure to not only look at the past 30 days, but go back 6 months to get a read on most popular posts, pages, and content categories on your site to learn more about what’s resonating and look for opportunities to learn from your most successful posts and traffic sources.
5. Block time to brainstorm: Whether it be 5 minutes during an Uber ride in the Notes app on your iPhone or a full day planning session with lots of Post It notes and whiteboards, take time to step back and stay inspired. Start high-level and think about your goals for your blog – both long and short term – and create a list that’s posted in a visible place to hold yourself accountable. Once you’ve set your goals, spend time brainstorming ways to get there and accomplish them, from hiring an intern, to investing in a new camera and photography course, these ideas will help you identify the steps that can help you make progress. Finally, block some time to brainstorm new blog post ideas – as content creators it can be difficult to continuously come up with new ideas for what to write about and keeping a running list of post ideas will come in handy when you’re planning your editorial calendar.
What are some good blogging habits you practice to set yourself up for success?
This post was sponsored by QuickBooks Self Employed and as always, all opinions are 100% honest and my own – authenticity is a top priority and I only partner with brands I truly love. Thank you for supporting the brands that partner with Pretty & Fun!