I spent the better part of 2019 doing extensive market research about blogging. I was eager to see what topics resonated with you, my readers. As you know, I experimented with different color schemes, photo editing styles, website page layouts, and even content topics. I changed my blog name (ok, twice), shifted my focus, and overhauled my marketing strategy.
I fully acknowledge that all these changes were distracting, frustrating, and probably gave you a degree of whiplash. I apologize and I promise it wasn’t all for naught. I learned so much in 2019 – about the world of blogging, about what people like to read about, and even about myself.
So, what have I learned, exactly?
About My Niche
First, I believe the most successful blogs are those that cater to a specific audience. The necessity of a niche is widely-disputed within the blogging community, but I’m a member of the niche-is-necessary camp. When I stuck with a specific topic for a few months, you were interested and engaged. When I branched out to explore some other (albeit related) topics, my readership fell off.
About My Brand
I also analyzed my content extensively. My most-liked posts were in the health, beauty, and fitness categories. You especially liked my personal posts – the ones where I wrote candidly about my journey to bettering myself.
You were much, much less interested in posts pushing products like clothes and accessories. In fact, some of those posts had absolutely no reader interaction at all. This was particularly interesting and follows a marketing trend gaining steam in recent months – the desire for human authenticity behind a brand. Readers are less concerned with what brands do, they want to know why brands do those things. Basically, they want to get to know the people and passion behind the posts.
I learned a lot about myself as a content producer in 2019. I found that I enjoy writing about things that are uplifting, and that I needed to adopt a more casual tone. I moved away from the serious, stuffy “soapbox” posts and began writing the same way that I’d talk to a friend.
I realized that I am most motivated when I am providing creative solutions to problems. After all, you’re reading a blog to be inspired, entertained, and learn something new. If I’m not producing quality content that benefits your life, why would you stick around?
These lessons are valuable, but what does this mean for the blog going forward? It means a few things, which I will elaborate on below.
I’m committing to a specific niche – health, fitness, and healthy living.
Overall, I think the most important lesson I learned is to be more selective and focused about my topic. Some people don’t believe in the necessity of a niche, and that’s perfectly fine, but I feel like it’s best for my blog to have one.
Instead of posting about anything and everything, I have chosen the wellness/fitness/health genre. It makes the most sense for me to stick with this category. It’s authentically a big part of who I am, what I spend a ton of time doing, what I know the most about, and what I’m passionate about.
I’ve decided on the following categories: Healthy Food, Fitness, Gym Style, Active Travel, and Inspiration. I’m sure sub-categories will form eventually, but these will be the anchor categories going forward.
I’ll be posting a bit less often, but with better quality and more consistency.
And by “less often,” I don’t mean once a month. Instead of churning out 3 articles a week (I was previously posting on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday), I am going to post once weekly on Monday mornings.
This decision wasn’t easy, but I truly believe it’s the best way to increase my readership and improve the quality of my content. My 3-day posting schedule simply wasn’t allowing me adequate time to create, proofread, and promote my work thoroughly. It was starting to feel like a turn-and-burn revolving door without a return on valuable engagement.
I’ll be investing in better tools and continuing to learn and grow.
It’s becoming very clear that I need to make a few technology upgrades. Most importantly, I need a DSLR camera to improve my photo quality. I’ve been pricing a few models and I think I’ll end up with a Canon EOS Rebel T7.
Later this year, I’ll probably need to upgrade my laptop as well, but that isn’t as dire of a need as the camera.
Finally, I need to migrate my site from WordPress.com over to WordPress.org. This will be a process, but it’s a goal of mine for 2020. This doesn’t really affect the readers too much since it will all happen on the backend, but it’s worth noting anyways.
Whew! This post was a doozy.
To sum it all up, if you’re an original reader who has stuck around for all this craziness, I appreciate you. If you’re new and just found my site, welcome! I know 2020 is going to be a good year. I feel like I have more knowledge than ever and I’m excited to share my fitness journey with you.
Along the way, I hope to be a valuable resource for active living and inspire my readers to be the best versions of themselves.
Thanks for reading, and here’s to 2020!