Write more. Paint more. Photograph more.
Do something amazing. Go down a different path.
New year’s resolutions — you might make ‘em, or you may think they’re trite and a waste of time. Whatever the case, you’re here, aren’t you? Exploring WordPress.com, contemplating your next blog post, and scheming up 2014. We closed out 2013 with a showcase of year-long, daily, and weekly projects, so let’s brainstorm ways, big and small, to get your work out into the world in 2014.
Photographer and writer Stephanie Dandan at Infinite Satori sets off for Asia soon to work on a photo storybook called The Wanderers. Traveling solo, Stephanie will meet other explorers on her journey and tell their stories. She lays out her project on Kickstarter, and its design aesthetic — and her nomadic and adventurous spirit — echo the work she publishes on her blog.
But thinking big doesn’t mean you have to hop across oceans to take on something new. Writer and reader Andrea Badgley sets off on a literary journey: she launched Andrea Reads America, in which she plans to read three books set in each state of the US (plus the District of Columbia), and written by male, female, and non-Caucasian authors.
Consider small goals, too, which help you on your journey to where you’d like to be. Stay motivated or beat writer’s block with manageable, byte-sized tasks:
- Establish a quick feature: a weekly post (or more frequent, if you want) meant to be short and sweet. If your theme supports post formats, use a specific format (like an aside, quote, or image) to distinguish this feature from other posts. From quotes of the day to single photos submitted to weekly photo challenges, the regularity and simplicity of smaller tasks might be what you need to keep your momentum.
- Use daily prompts to jumpstart your thoughts, or download our 365 Writing Prompts ebook. (For responses that you choose not to publish, we recommend leaving abandoned drafts in your dashboard, as you never know when these ideas become ripe).
- Still not sure what to write? Diversify your content. Curate your favorite reads and notable finds. Use the community around you for inspiration.
Join a blogging event — or launch your own
Or, why not create your own for 2014? Over the holidays, we mentioned Linda Silvestri’s fun and festive sketch project, in which she established HoHoDooDa (Holiday Doodle a Day). From recipe challenges hosted by food bloggers to reading clubs led by bibliophiles, consider your own event — then submit it to the blog listings page so others can join.
Ask people what they want
Insert a poll into a post or page to ask questions and get input. Bloggers use polls to meet their specific needs — and have used them creatively for collaborative, crowd-sourced storytelling, too. You can also insert a contact form to a post or page, through which readers can get in touch privately (without having to give out your email address). You can gather a lot of information from contact forms and personalize them as you see fit. Encourage modern-day letters to the editor. Urge your readers for detailed critical feedback on your latest essay or chapter-in-progress. Use these tools in ways that work for you.
Strategize for world domination
If the heading above got your attention, maybe you’re ready to expand your reach. Your blog is just one platform to shape your online presence. To build your network (and personal brand), reach out to people whose work you respect and ask to collaborate. Contribute a guest post elsewhere (bloggers set up submission pages in different ways — check out Thoughts of a Lunatic or A Manic World for examples), or widen your circle and invite guest bloggers to your own site.
Link your blog to your social media accounts like (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and more) with Publicize, which you can do in Settings → Sharing in your dashboard. (We’ll publish a crash course on these tools next week, so stay tuned.) Also think about using social media strategically to best promote yourself and your work in a way that makes sense for you — take a look at these posts on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, which are good starting points.
Give your site a makeover
New year, new you, new blog: it might be the perfect time to give your site a refresh. Again, you can go big (switch your theme) or small (add a widget or change your custom header image). Find inspiration in these theme customizations . . .
- Elegant and sophisticated Forever.
- Popular and tried-and-true themes like Coraline and Pilcrow.
- Playful and lighthearted Koi.
- Modern portfolio-style Imbalance 2.
. . . as well as these showcases for more ideas:
- Cool blogs using custom fonts.
- Special theme options you might not know about.
- Adding image widgets to add color to your sidebar.
- Widgets and tools to build your community.
Now, over to you: what’s in store for you — and your blog — in 2014?
Jan 9th at 12:32 am
Yep. Followed the site makeover tips and it sure did make a whole lot of difference (went with a BIG makeover though). Now weekly posts look more than just a possibility.
Jan 9th at 12:55 am
Thanks for posting, this stuff is a great reminder. I started my Blog with a Goal, if I make it, Ill shoot bigger
Jan 9th at 1:27 am
I’ve done a complete overhaul of my blog this week, and was glad to see a few extra tips and tricks here I hadn’t thought of yet! For one of my goals this year, I’ll be reading, cooking, and reviewing a new cookbook once each month of 2014.
Jan 9th at 1:45 am
I found a lot of “30 day blog challenge” ideas online and I found it helps me want to keep writing since I have pre-determined post topic every day. Eventually I might stop doing them, but for now it gets me writing!
Jan 9th at 3:04 am
Great suggestions. As a baseball blog I’m limited, but try to do a monthly column, as well as the adventures of my kids and I during the summer months. It can be tough in the off-season coming up with ideas, though.
Jan 9th at 3:10 am
Love the idea of hosting a recurring event.
Jan 9th at 4:59 am
You are absolutely right. I don’t make them but you have achieved yours already. You challenged yourself by setting a new years resolution.
Jan 9th at 5:07 am
Jan 9th at 5:34 am
These are some really good tips! I’m super new to blogging, and I’m just starting to figure it all out. So thank you!:)
Jan 9th at 6:05 am
So much great stuff for the new year. Thank you for the inspiration!
Jan 9th at 7:32 am
Thank you for these ideas! Now I’m thinking to buy my own SLR, hhahahaha.
Jan 9th at 7:33 am
A really refreshing way to plot for the year!
Jan 9th at 7:46 am
I like this blog post
Jan 9th at 8:51 am
Thanks for the blog, i think this year is going to be a turn around for me as i will put in everything in me to see that i put down information about my yet to be published book and the published ones: “Daybreak Massacre and The Last Dictator”. Both were published by Trafford. Ned Tony Emeni
Jan 9th at 9:28 am
thank you, having just started my first ever blog, total newbie, i am going to be trying a lot of your suggestions
Jan 9th at 9:30 am
These are simple but very useful tips. Thank you.
Jan 9th at 10:18 am
Thank you for your advice! I’ve just started blogging on WordPress and have committed to writing more often and connect with people in the bloggosphere.
Jan 9th at 11:37 am
Shall i write a post asking readers what topics they would like us to cover the most?
Jan 9th at 12:03 pm
This is such great timing! I have just launched my craft and art blog and started to panic about keeping up with interesting blog posts! This makes my ‘list hapy’ brain start planning a bit more and setting out the posts for each month – baby steps! this was a great way to look at things!
Jan 9th at 12:40 pm
I will seriously consider all that you have mentioned..
Jan 9th at 1:50 pm
Great post. I have learnt something new. Now I’m starting a weekly collage post on random topic to motivate me to post regularly. Hope it can cure my blogger block.
Jan 9th at 6:12 pm
Great Ideas!! I especially love the recurring events, I had no idea how to connect with other bloggers of the same like and now because of you I now do!! Thank you!!
Jan 9th at 6:31 pm
Fantastic post. This will definitely help me become a better writer. Just wonderful!
Jan 10th at 4:00 am
Excellent….a boost of inspiration.
Jan 10th at 5:09 am
These are all wonderful ideas. I will definitely use some of these ideas, especially the one about posting more regularly.
Jan 10th at 4:05 pm
Great post! Definitely following some of these tips! Here’s to better bloggin’ in 2014!
Jan 10th at 8:08 pm
Thank you. Most helpful.
Jan 10th at 11:55 pm
Thanks for the shout out, Cheri
Jan 11th at 12:27 am
Thanks for posting! I’ll definitely be taking some of these ideas on board during 2014!
Jan 11th at 12:11 pm
Thanks for the motivation.
Jan 11th at 1:17 pm
Fantastic ideas and advice.Thanks.
Jan 11th at 5:46 pm
This is great! As a newbie to the wonderful (but initially daunting!) world of WordPress, this is extremely welcome! Thanks!
Jan 12th at 2:20 pm
Great idea! New year’s resolutions not only about your private or professional life but also about your blog.
Jan 12th at 7:44 pm
great idea as I missed a lot of days due to exams, I will look forward to participate..
Jan 13th at 1:13 am
I’m changing it UP! Thanks for the kick-in-the-pants!
Jan 13th at 3:32 am
First time blogger and this just blowed my mind! Thanks for the courage and powerful blog!
Jan 13th at 6:34 am
“Do something amazing. Go down a different path.Challenge myself”
Best lines I read this new year.And very inspiring
Jan 13th at 6:57 am
Cool inspiration — am gonna implement it all now!!!
Jan 13th at 7:28 am
I love this post so much! There are so many great ideas in it,
Jan 13th at 9:49 am
I like this post — it gives a new direction on posting.
Jan 13th at 3:32 pm
Thank you so much for linking to the yeah write weekly writing challenge in your wonderful 2014 blogging must-do list. We have enjoyed all the new visitors and subscribers, and we are excited about folding all the newbies into our humble little community. We are honored to be mentioned here.
Jan 13th at 8:55 pm
I’ve been working on revamping my blog by going through the #zerotohero challenges each day. My goal is to post a heck of a lot more this year and build up a good following as well as new contacts through networking on WordPress.
Jan 14th at 8:57 am
Thank you for the motivation and good ideas! Definitely helpful and inspiring. Think I got a new direction…
Jan 14th at 6:23 pm
Hey would you recommend creating a blog if you need to keep 2 separate distinct journals? For instance could you have a menu with 2 tab items (DayTrades and SwingTrades) each menu item could contain unique posts? Then perhaps a 3rd menu item in which I make posts on random thoughts?
I am wondering if I should just switch over to creating a website.
Jan 15th at 2:51 pm
Great advice! I just gave my blog a makeover and am now trying to get more readers to my site!
Jan 17th at 3:49 am
Excellent advice! I’m just starting out so this should be very helpful
Jan 17th at 8:32 pm
Great idea. I should get serious with blogging in the new year.
Jan 17th at 11:30 pm
Found the ideas bland, but then again, I am known to be picky.
Jan 18th at 5:47 am
Nice ideas for a beginner!!!
Jan 18th at 7:45 pm
Thanks soooooo much, this is helpful.
Jan 19th at 5:56 am
Great write up made me think more about my blog. Love the idea of holding blog event so will have to check out some in the uk. How do I find them. Thanks
Jan 19th at 10:19 pm
Really nice ideas! I’m just new to blogging so reading over this has given me sense of direction, plus I want to be a novelist myself so I’m intrigued about ‘The Wanderers.’ Is there a way I can find out more about it?
Jan 20th at 8:15 am
Definitely found some inspiration and have gotten many ideas
Jan 20th at 9:24 am
I know so many of us hesitate to read certain docs because it’s maybe very lengthy! Not in this case; I found it to be informative, simple, easy to read & enlightening.
Thanks for the tips! I find it very satisfying to know what & how to do things for my blog!
Jan 20th at 3:33 pm
thanks for the great ideas! love it, thinking big and small and taking risks
Jan 22nd at 6:44 am
Hi everyone — can I join any of your conversations? I’m new with this blog.