It takes a certain level of discipline and structure in order to execute a continuing education plan successfully.
A few weeks ago, I asked, "What are you doing to continue your blogging education? If you're planning to take your blog to the next level, then you've got to be willing to continue to develop your blogging knowledge and skills.
You've got to treat this as if this were any other course you were taking - okay, perhaps that's bad advice.
If you treat this as you would any other class, you'd probably skip the important reading, would probably wait until the last minute to complete action steps and ultimately you wouldn't absorb any of the information.
Yes, you should treat blogging as if it were a business, but you should approach self-education the way you would treat your favorite hobby. When most people dive into a new hobby, they research with high amounts of vigor - they read, they watch YouTube videos, they ask their expert friends to teach them new tricks - they totally immerse themselves in self training.
For example, when I used to collect dollhouse miniatures, I developed a great level of interest for building my own miniatures. I started reading books on the subject and had began following step-by-step instructions as I practiced my craft.
Another example, my son loves to skate board, so he pairs up with friends who show him new tricks and then he'll spend some time watching youtube videos to get more ideas.
When I first began blogging, I probably collected and read more materials on the subject than I had ever voluntarily read on any subject in my life. As I gained more skills, I needed less and less information. But that didn"t mean I knew it all. I still have gaps that I need to fill, so I make it a point to continue my blogging education.
Most bloggers know that continuing education is a must, however creating their own plan may seem daunting.
Here's what you can do:
Set a schedule
It will never seem like a priority if you don't actually set aside a day and time to sit down, tune out everything else and just do it. You can decide how much time you want to devote and the frequency.
My suggestion: it's easier if you schedule in small increments more frequently. For example: 15 minutes per day or 30 minutes every other day or 2 hours once a week. What matters is that you hold yourself to it.
Set goals and action steps
If you're like me and you don't have time to waste - don't just pick a random topic. Pick something that directly relates to what you're working on and immediately put your knowledge into action. I'm in the process of learning about product launching, so it would be a waste of time for me to set a time to learn about CSS coding right now. Does that make sense?
Track your progress (grade yourself)
I don't literally expect you to give yourself an A or an F, but you should be able to track whether or not what you've learned and put into action is working. If after 3 weeks of applying SEO tips you've learned to your posts, there still is no increase in organic search traffic, perhaps you need a refresher course - or a different teacher!
Create informal learning opportunities by networking
You'd be surprised how much you learn just by interacting with knowledgeable people in your niche. Don't be afraid to ask questions - there are no stupid newbie questions. Last time I checked, there is no living being that knows everything. Knowledge I'm lacking in one area may seem like common knowledge to another person and vice versa. Besides learning is reciprocal - and yes teachers can learn from students - I know I have.
You never know what new knowledge can be gained if you just ask - maybe the person you're asking doesn't know either, but perhaps they know where to look for the answer and can guide you to a great reference.
So what about you? How do you tackle your blogging education needs? What would you like to know more about?
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