When it comes to your blog, you’ve got to make sure you’re writing about what you want to write about. And even if you think you’ve got it all figured out – whether it’s the way you write your headlines, the times you post to social media or your content plan – you’re always developing as a person and it’s important for you to re-evaluate and adapt.
Nothing ever stays static, and if you’re like me, you always want to be growing, challenging yourself and moving forward. But at the heart of it, you want to always come back to what made you love blogging in the first place.
That’s exactly what happened with A Branch of Holly.
Last August I moved platforms from Blogger to Squarespace, so over the past seven months, my online presence has grown and so has my vision for this online space.
I needed to find a way to make my categories more concise. I wanted to be more intentional with what I was blogging about and make sure it directly reflected my purpose and the keywords I associate with ABOH. And instead of completely re-branding or starting a new blog, instead, I decided some changes to my categories were needed.
Maybe you’re in the same place right now. Maybe you want to go back to blogging about what you love. Or maybe you’re just curious about the changes to my site categories and the reasons behind it.
Either way, today’s post is the one for you! So here’s a look behind-the-scenes at what changes I’ve made and why.
First, I took the leap and launched the #Bloggingbreakthrough eBook.
When I first launched ABOH two and a half years ago, creating an eBook wasn't in my plan of action. I had no idea how to go about it and couldn't even use InDesign at this point. But after pushing myself out of my comfort zone and talking to all of you, I made the eBook and put it up as a free offer when you sign up to my online community.
This was the first thing I wanted people to see when they came to the website. There are still some changes I need to make, but there’s a direct link to the eBook on the homepage.
I also decided to set up an entire page for the eBook detailing everything you need to know about it. Why I created it, what to expect from it and any questions I thought you’d want to know the answers to.
The only big decision for me was whether to launch this as a free or paid product.
Creating a product for your blog, whatever your expertise, is a tough process. And deciding how you’re going to launch it is even tougher. But probably the biggest decision is whether to give it away for free or not. While you wouldn't lose anything from putting it out there as free, there are still big benefits to putting a price tag on it.
But I wanted to offer something valuable. I wanted to offer something to you that made people think, “as if I’m getting all of this information for free.” That right there is a true measure of value.
It also reflected my reputation well, too. A lot of bloggers are launching courses and the like these days – I didn't want to put myself in the same category as them.
And I have to say, launching the eBook for free has been the best decision I’ve ever made and has had a huge, positive impact on my online presence!
If you want access to the #BloggingBreakthrough eBook, click right here to be taken to where you can download it for free.
I also started putting more effort into my photography.
While none of us might be trained photographers, that isn't to say we can’t practice our skill and learn the tools of the trade.
When Tom got a camera for Christmas, that’s when I decided to up my photography game massively on my blog – with his help of course!
It’s had a huge impact in how I run this blog and really helped to streamline my personal brand even more. Here’s the sort of style I’ve been going for so far:
I always knew photography was an important part of any blog. But I mainly used stock photos, because I didn’t think I was good enough to take great photos. Now I know that the way you create imagery directly relates to how happy you are with your blog.
Now I love what I do with this online space, it makes the photography more exciting and easier to create.
Media Marmalade explains this well:
“Whilst a blog isn’t solely about images, they certainly go some way in driving engagement with your content, traffic to your blog and shares across social too. An attractive image teamed with a catchy blog title is often what encourages people to click ‘read’ in the first instance.”
So I made sure to start taking vertical images (because they’re perfect for Pinterest and I just think they look better), and tried to have a theme running throughout them.
The best thing about my photography now though is that I don’t do it alone. Me and Tom make a great team and my images honestly wouldn't be as good without him. I style the images and then he’ll shoot them and we’ll both alter the layout of the props depending on how they look. Plus, he always comes up with a better idea than me!
I created a plan for my mailing list.
Usually I’d just come up with a random idea for my weekly letter to the #BloggingBreakthrough community each week. But I realised I wasn't as passionate about writing to you until I had a plan.
It all started looking better once I had my opt-in ready to give to you. Because that gives people even more of an incentive to sign up.
So I did some research, had an inspiration session and wrote down a whole list of content ideas for my mailing list, based on the purpose I wanted it to serve. I even set up a spreadsheet and everything!
But the biggest thing that did it was of course, the Blogging Breakthrough eBook. One thing has made all the difference.
Then I changed my categories.
The biggest change came with re-evaluating my blog categories. And in all honesty, I’ve never been happier with them.
Before, my categories used to be:
- Social Media
- Blogging & Online Presence
Now, they changed slightly to:
- Blogging & Social Media
The additional new categories really help to link together with the others and capture the aspects of ABOH I want to highlight the most.
These categories directly reflect why this blog started in the first place, which is exactly the purpose I’m trying to keep. I also decided to merge Blogging, Online Presence and Social Media into one category – that was a decision based on your responses to my survey.
Now I’ve got these categories, I feel they’re the most “me” they’ve ever been. The next step is to go through my entire post catalogue and rearrange everything into these new categories, so watch this space!
This post comes directly after what I talked about yesterday, so I really hope you enjoy these new categories and get to know me and ABOH even more.
As always, I’d love to know your feedback. How do you feel about the changes to these categories? Are you considering making some changes to your own?