Guest Blog: Special Topics in Calamity Business – 3 New Years Resolutions for Blogging Your Indie Biz & a Giveaway!

52weekscover.png I’m taking some more time off for the holidays…lots of family visiting still going on and I need a week off as well. Some of my peeps have very generously offered to help me out though, so don’t worry there will be posts every day this week on the Guest Blog. Today, Tara Gentile is sharing 3 New Years Resolutions for Blogging Your Indie Biz. As editor of scoutie girl & the author of the new e-book called 52 Weeks of Blogging Your Passion, Tara knows maybe a thing or two about blogging. πŸ˜‰

Tara has also very generously offered 3 copies of 52 Weeks of Blogging Your Passion as a prize for 3 Indie Fixx Readers.Β  52 Weeks is all about how to boost traffic, beat blogger’s block, communicate your creativity & more. If this sounds like something you are interested in, leave a comment on this post with your new year’s resolution for your indie biz. I will choose 3 random commenter’s to win a copy. This giveaway ends January 2nd, 2010 at 11:59 pm EST.

by guest contributor Tara Gentile

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{image credit: mundilfari via flickr}

3 New Years Resolutions for Blogging Your Indie Biz!

Let’s face it, there is always something to we’d like to improve about our blogs – whether we have 10, 1000, or 1,000,000 readers! Since my blog is my indie biz, it’s really important for me to take a step back at the end of the year, consider what I’ve done right and what I could have done better – and then resolve to improve those things after my lovely little holiday vacation!

1. Comments. We all get ’em, we love ’em, we want more of ’em! I need to get better at rewarding my commenters. Whether it’s with a comment back at the end of the post, a quick email note thanking them for visiting, or the occasional shout-out in a later post for a really exceptional comment, treating your comments as a conversation is key to keeping your readers engaged! I am very guilty of making a haphazard attempt at this key blogging principle.In the New Year, I resolve to make my blog comments a 2-way conversation, a place readers can go to start give their opinion, more information, a link – or just say “awesome!” – and know that I’m reading. How can you resolve to make comments work better for your business? Can you use these techniques to generate more comments for your blog?

2.Editorial Direction. In the 5 months of I’ve been at the helm of Scoutie Girl, I’ve tried to stick with the good things that were already there: strong weekly columns, emphasis on discovering new makers, and a focus on discovering the passion that drives us to create. And it works – really well. But I’ve also started to discover my own voice as the girl behind Scoutie Girl. Making my writing more personal, incorporating “handmade” into each post organically – and it works, too! If anything, it’s an even greater challenge my previous editorial benchmark: is this handmade and is it ridiculously cool? So, I need a system and that system should also help my blog stand out from others.In the New Year, I resolve to create an editorial calendar with weekly themes – the lead off post for that day will be a riff on that theme and I’ll recap the week’s posts every Friday at the same time. How do you plan for blogging? How do your editorial decisions differentiate your blog and your business from others?

3. Blogroll and Blog Reading. This might be the hardest of them all. In November, I made the move from Typepad to WordPress. I wasn’t unhappy with Typepad or the set-up of the old site, I just have a deep, unavailing passion for WordPress. I also completely redesigned SG into a minimalist set-up with an emphasis on the huge images in the main content. Well, when I did that, I kinda didn’t move the blogroll over… I still don’t know what I want to do about it. The old blogroll was Jan‘s and it was really, really long. Full of great stuff, but not reflective of the blogs I read on a daily basis. I need to incorporate a blogroll back into the site and I need to do it before the New Year. I also need to add all those blogs to my blog reader and make an attempt to read them daily. It’s important to keep an eye on what others are writing about, being inspired by, and doing so that I can keep SG as current & relevant as possible.In the New Year, I resolve to keep a blogroll and read the blogs on it daily, as an important time investment in keeping myself on the cutting edge of handmade, art, and design trends!

So there you have it, my three blog resolutions for the New Year. I’ve said it out loud – and you’ve read it – so keep me accountable! Now… I want to know, what are your New Year’s blog resolutions?

About the contributor: Tara Gentile is the editor of scoutie girl – the blog with a penchant for the passionately handmade – and the editor & founder of handmade in pa. subscribe to *the weekly dig* – an e-newsletter featuring deals, events, & news from the world of indie brought to you by scoutie girl. She also just released an e-book called 52 Weeks of Blogging Your Passion :: boost traffic, beat blogger’s block, and communicate your creativity.

56 comments

  1. OOOhhh!!! Great GiveAway, I want to concentrate on my readers this year… I have concentrated on content for so long and now its time to engage all those lurkers!!!

  2. My 2010 Blog Resolution is to dedicate a specific period of time each week to write my posts, rather than having so many “sorry I haven’t blogged in a while” posts.

  3. Gack. This year, I intend to actually write a query for a magazine column I think would be a great fit for me and the mag. Of course, since I’ve never actually been published, I hope to use my blog as a showcase of my writing. I’m kind of scared…

  4. My business resolution is to blog once per day for the entire month of January. Since it’s already January 2nd and I haven’t blogged yet, I don’t think it’s going to happen. Oh well.

  5. My resolution is to create a network of other bloggers with whom I can become friends and share ideas – and to comment sincerely all the time on everybody’s posts in order to make connections!

  6. Thanks, Tara and Jen! I have lots of plans for my indie biz in 2010 and am so excited to get started in them. In the blog realm, I’ve had on the list for ages:
    β€’ Establish regular features/schedule/themes
    β€’ Double readership in next 6 months
    β€’ Update/organize blogroll & reader

  7. I am just starting a blog – and this is my resolution – to learn how to use it effectively. Not to just rant on, but to be able to promote my product effectively – with a little of my personality thrown in perhaps – I want my blog to be interesting – not boring and weird to read, you know?

  8. Enjoy your break! My big goal for last year was to get my online shop (independent of etsy, etc.) up and running. Now that that’s done, it’s time to get more organized.

    – monthly blog giveaways
    – finally start sending out newsletters
    – be more responsive to blog comments
    – organize home (Since I work from home, this has a HUGE impact on my work.)
    – prepare more blog posts in advance

    I could go on and on… Perhaps my first goal should be to sit down and figure out my goals. πŸ˜€

  9. I would have to agree with Ms. Bechtel in comment #1. Blogging is such a chore! I have started many a blog venture, and each has fizzled out because I didn’t have the motivation to keep blogging. I think I have figured out the problem – I have not found something that truly interests me enough to blog about it daily. So my New Year’s resolution: find that thing!

  10. Tara, I feel you on the commenting, both on other’s blogs and in response to comments on my own. I feel like I’d been slacking in that regard for awhile, and I’m trying to be better about it lately. I’d definitely like to engage my readers more in the coming year.

    I’ve got one very big goal for 2010, which is the launch of my new online shop. Other than that, I’d love to just keep building my readership, develop my Facebook fan page more, and I’ve got an e-book or two I’d love to work on if time allows. (Ha!)

  11. How funny! I just talked about my resolution on my blog!
    It is to look through the viewfinder even when you are not. It sounds wierd but when you are shooting Ttv photography everything seems so beautiful and pretty and that’s how I want to look at things around me all the time!

  12. I was just posting about my goals on the blog today! Perfect timing! My goals include offering more items in the Etsy shop, learning more about self marketing and promotion and starting a new online biz…will probably take me most of the year to get it up and running though. I’m a late bloomer and embracing it!

  13. I have definitely been giving this topic some thought so glad I stumbled on this post.

    1. I want to bring back a blog roll but I want my blog roll to be dynamic vs. a static long list. I wish there was a widget that you could upload a long old list of blogs you love and it would auto-rotate the list and publish five per day. So it’s always changing and fresh. In the meantime, I will do it manually, perhaps weekly.

    2. I need, need, need to follow some sort of editorial calendar. I need some structure to my blogging so I can be more efficient about my time online.

    3. I want to do some kind of regular tutorials, just haven’t figured out what topics yet. I guess that’s part of #2.

  14. perfect giveaway for the new year! More time to grow my business and blog are very high on my list, and finding the proper tools to help realize my goals is the first step. When I know just what to do, I’ll be off & running…

  15. My 2010 goal is to get more organized. It sounds so general, but I do have a list of the areas I really need to work on.
    I’m ready and excited to start the new year with fresh energy for my business!

  16. My resolution is to try to make maximum use of my time. There’s a quote that says “It’s not enough to be busy, what are you busy about?” I need to find a way to make every minute count – whether it’s marketing, the blog, or my art. Mostly so I have more time for my art!

  17. What great advice. Sadly, my New Year’s resolution is to spend less time reading blogs and more studying for big exams I have next year. After I’ve sat them, the blogging will definitely move up a notch!

  18. Thanks for the great post and the amazing giveaway!

    So many goals, where to begin? I think my biggest goal is finding a way to balance all the projects I want to do this year. (Oh, and to make my business profitable!)

    Karine – for your goal of reading more, I highly recommend a kindle. I got one for christmas and i’ve been tearing through books ever since!

  19. I love to have it. My new years resolution are more productive, creative, organize and enjoy the life with my husband and kid ^_^

  20. I have been thinking about purchasing your e-book, Tara. It will be very helpful. I’ve been thinking about my blog and there are several things I want to do to improve it. I would like to post weekly, I haven’t been consistent. And I would like to create more interesting and meaningful posts that engage my readers. Thanks!

  21. I have a lot of resolutions for the new year. My blog is really just getting started, so right now the main thing is to read more, find great inspiration, and post regularly.

  22. All good reminders, Tara. Thank you. I hope to keep bringing new people to my own little blog and to find new and interesting things to talk about, make and do. I would also love to be invited to guest blog too – that would be a real vote of confidence in my taste and writing abilities.

  23. Hmm, I have a couple and I totally relate to yours also! I want to make my blog more interactive and like a conversation between myself and my readers. I also know that I need to get better at actually commenting, and interacting with other bloggers that I read daily. Finally, regularly blogging at my doula blog needs to happen, and happen soon. Ha! Happy New Year!

  24. I just want to be able to express my thoughts about life and things from my point of view as a mom and artist in a way that helps me be more creative. I think that blogs are great for getting a discussion going and sharing things that other people can identify with.

  25. My new years resolution is to be a bit more organized with my blog topics…maybe create themes, and a weekly feature….and not suffer from writer’s block each and every time I sit down to blog!

  26. My resolution is to be more consistent in my marketing efforts and spend some time each day working ON my business as well as IN my business. Thanks for the great ideas!

  27. I’m a Scoutie Girl fan! I bought her e-book about a week ago. It’s great so far… Gosh, so much information! You really get your money’s worth. And, her e-book really goes well with my new year’s resolution to blog more often! Actually, I have been thinking about switching from Typepad to WordPress and would LOVE advice!

  28. Whoa! The comment from Bobbi Cushman (above) looks like the “about me” section of my page. Great to see kindred spirits! I am actually just starting on my blog, so my resolution is to get it cranking. Just like Bobbi, I am shooting for self-sufficiency, willing to try anything, and want to help others do the same.

  29. In the new year, I’ll have much more time to work on my stuff! So, I’m going to try and dedicate one day a week to reading other’s blogs and writing a great article.
    I’ve also seen others who dedicate certain days to images or inspirations, etc. I’d like to incorporate that kind of a regiment into my blogging!

  30. My new years resolution is to start my indie biz! I got an overlock machine for the holidays and I can’t wait to start rocking out embroidered t-shirts and high waisted skirts.

    I’m taking all your advice as I get my business on the web!

  31. My new years resolution is to have more playtime with my kids, i know it’s not the most exciting or creative approach to new years but i vow to emerse my self in playdough and craft glue!!

  32. My new year’s resolution is consistency. I seem to fluctuate through the year with blogging, promoting…I need to keep it up all year long!

  33. Awesome resolutions – in fact they are exactly my resolutions as well! I don’t need to be entered in the giveaway as I’m already good to go there…but just wanted to say “I’m totally copying you!” πŸ˜‰

  34. I’m finally getting a more permanent workspace which will hopefully eliminate many of my reasons, more like excuses, for not keeping my sites on track.

    I guess it really boils down to now that I will have a serious workspace, I need to get serious about building my business.

  35. I’d love to win this book. I have just started blogging and find it a welcome escape. I would like to learn more. Thanks and Happy New Year! L.
    Oh yeah, the draw is on my birthday!

  36. This post was helpful, since I’m trying to funnel my blog direction. Goals for 2010?
    1. Makeover my blog to my own custom wordpress theme so it reflects me better
    2. Double the average number of comments per post
    3. Improve my content
    4. Post at least 4 tutorials in 2010.
    5. Continually learn about artful blogging (this is where your book comes in handy!)

    I’ve got plans around each of those in my head. I should probably write them down or I’ll forget them before February.

  37. many, many new years resolutions. I have started to think about them so my list is not definitive. Here are the first one:
    1. post at least five times a week on my blog.
    2. finish redesign website by end of january
    3. set up photography online shop by end of february
    4. enjoy holidays
    5. be more healthy
    6. be more organised
    7. read more

    isn’t that a good start?

  38. Ooo, I’ll definitely have to check this ebook out. Love the fact that we can get books nearly instantly these days!

    My resolution is to exercise more…gosh it’s difficult to work it in when there are so many great blogs to read!

  39. Number 3 is one that I really have to work on finding a balance with. If I religiously read and comment on all of the blogs in my reader, it leaves me no time to create, little own blog about what I am creating.

    Thanks for the insight

  40. I blogged about my goals for the next year, and one of them was to definitely engage my readers a bit more, entice them to comment and respond to these comments like you stated above!

    I am also going to have a weekly feature teaching my readers how to knit! I started a thread in the Etsy Fora asking what people wanted to learn and many of them said that they wanted to learn how to knit. I’m going to teach them, weekly, with the help of videos, pictures, and step by step instructions πŸ˜€

  41. My New Year’s Resolution is actually to start blogging about my adventures in creativity. I don’t want it to be about “what’s new in the shop,” although I can see that being incorporated. Rather, I’d like it to be about the possibilities that open up when you start using your hands.

    I have so many friends (and have met so many other people) who insist that they “really can’t” do things. I’m one of those people who figures that if I can gather enough solid information about something I want to get done (refinishing the bathroom floor, or refurbishing my treadle sewing machine, or learning a new craft technique), then I can just give it a go and see how it works out. And I think that if I can share those processes with people I love (or would if I were to meet ’em), then maybe I can convince them to start being self-sufficient in really satisfying ways!

    Thanks for the post, by the way… it things like this that really bolster my determination!

  42. My resolution is to create some buttons for my sidebar – I’ve been meaning to do it forever, but just haven’t gotten around to it. Beyond that, I’m constantly working to to make my blog content more interesting, more inspirational, and more reflective of who I am. I think that’s a process that never ends!

  43. My New Year’s resolution for my indie biz is too work on my online presence. I put in the long hard hours on my work, but without the internet, I don’t exist! It’s a blessing and a curse to have a home studio, most days the only other place I see is the Post Office, so I really need to put in the online hours.

  44. Reading this is so timely for me. One of the things keeping me up last night strangely enough, was how to improve my own blog to not only keep my regular readers coming back to getting new ones. Thank you Tara!

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