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This Week, Try Something New

In the last few weeks I’ve had the privilege to meet a lot of bloggers at various on and offline events.

These have been great experiences that have really opened my eyes to what others are doing on their blogs, and with their audiences. It’s been a great time for learning.

Trying something new

Image courtesy stock.xchng user milan6

But one thing I know I can suffer from, and I suspect all of us fall prey to at some point, is complacency. How often do we see a tweeted link and tell ourselves “Yep, I know what that’ll be about”? Or read a post title and mentally let part of ourselves drift off into a daydream? Or see a product and think, “That won’t help me!”?

Whilst it’s true that not everything that’s available online will help us, these kinds of mental blocks can really prevent us from learning new things. In fact, the things don’t have to be that new—they just have to be different from what we’re accustomed to.

For example, YouTube. Hands up if you use it! If you don’t, you’re probably one of thousands of bloggers who tells themselves that video isn’t for them. They’re too shy; they don’t look good on camera; it’s too much hassle; their audience won’t use it.

Well, that’s all fine, as far as it goes. But thoughts like this often do more to hinder, rather than help, a blog. The reasons I just mentioned are common reasons bloggers give for not trying new things, yet none of them has anything to do with what’s good for a blog, or a blog’s users.

Stepping out

YouTube is one example, but there are all kinds of ways in which we limit ourselves and our blogs. Perhaps you hate list posts, so you never write them. Perhaps you don’t accept guest posts, thinking you’ll lose your readers’ attention. Perhaps you’re scared to monetize your blog, because you think you’ll put people off.

My message today is: give it a try.

You don’t have to go the whole hog, and overcommit yourself to something you might want to change or remove later. But blogging is about experimentation, stepping out of your comfort zone, and giving it a go.

It takes energy to do this. And determination. But I’ve found it’s the only way to see what works to grow your blog, and expand your audience. It also takes some humility—the power to admit that you don’t know what will or won’t work every time, and a willingness to try things out before you make a judgement. We might not like to think so, but it’s true that we bloggers don’t always know best!

It’s too easy to sit back and say, “That’s not for me (or my blog).” This week, I’m inviting you to pick one thing you’ve never done on your blog before, and give it a try.

Pick one new thing each week

This isn’t my idea. I once had a friend who decided she was going to do something she’d never done before every week for a year. It could be to try a new food, visit a new place, embark on a new experience—anything was fine, as long as it was new.

I think this could be a valuable approach for bloggers who want to improve, expand, and grow. Pick a new thing every week, and give it a go. Obviously, you’ll want to choose something that suits your blog, niche, and audience. But within that realm, I usually find a lot of scope to try new things.

To get your started, here are a few ideas:

  • try a new writing style or technique
  • try following all the advice in a single post right through to the end
  • try getting in touch with a peer in your niche who you’ve never met before
  • try tweaking some aspect of your blog design or layout, and tracking the results
  • try a new approach to finding readers—something you’ve always dismissed in the past
  • try a new type of promotion to reach more readers.

These are just a few ideas. We’ll be covering most of them in the coming week here on ProBlogger, so if you need inspiration or direction, you’ve got it!

Hopefully, that list piqued your interest. You can probably think of plenty of other things you’ve never tried on your blog, but would like to. Grab a pen (or open a new document) and make a list of those things. They—or a step toward each of them—could also become part of your New Things list.

Why bother?

What I’ve suggested here does take work. But the alternative is to keep doing what you’re doing, day in, day out. Where’s the passion in that? To grow, and help our blogs reach their full potential, we all need need to break through a few barriers, open ourselves up to new ideas, and put in some hard yards.

But of course, on the plus side, experimentation is fun. Trying new ideas, and having at least some of them succeed in some way—however small—is a huge buzz. Most of the stories we publish here on ProBlogger aren’t about bloggers who know what they’re doing all the time. These posts are the result of experimentation—in fact, many of them are experiments themselves.

What are you experimenting with? We’d love to hear about your plans to try new things in the comments below.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
  • Trying something new will help us to learn a lot whether its success or failure.we always need to try our best till the end

    • Challenge accepted, I’m gonna try out the climbing wall at my gym. Been looking at that bad boy ever since I joined. I’m gonna dominate it tomorrow :D

  • Some great advice, Darren.

    I had a whole list of things to put into action over the past week(some of those are on your list) Though, after getting a few things done from the list, the wheels fell off after a few tech and other issues which set me back some time….

    Personally, I need to definatley mix thing up a bit and try a few alternative routes to see if that will bring any lasting improvements…

  • I tried something new for Internet Dreams!

    I was able to produce the first video for it!

    Thanks for the article that basically tells me that I did the right thing!

  • Love your personal growth advice here Darren. I still find myself getting complacent from time to time. Besides doing interviews, I made it a point to video chat with my fellow bloggers through Skype. It was weird the first few times I did it, but after a while it felt quite normal.

    The same goes for anything that we try that is outside our comfort zone.

  • Trying a new writing style or technique is great advice because it might just help you discover your writer’s voice. Moreover, there’s no telling if writing differently can bring in new readers.

  • You make good points with regards to trying new things for blog growth, learning and stepping outside of your comfort zone. It also sorta reminds me of the 30-day trial system that Steve Pavlina talks about in reference to developing new habits or getting rod of old ones. I think you and your friend is onto something good that is worth a try, not just for my blog but for other areas of my life as well. So, I’m going to give this thing a go, especially for a short film that I’m currently working on. Hopefully I’ll have better results than when I attempted the 365 Days Photo project….twice….and failed both times.

    Here’s to weekly experiments!

  • Great post Darren, I think one of the biggest things in blogging and the online world is to continuously try new things and diversify what you do, one method of communication or promotion is just no good enough and you need that edge. Now it’s time for me to think what new thing I can do this week!!

  • Great article! I believe you should attempt something new everyday. In fact the more you try, the more you fail, and fortunately that’s the fastest way to learn anything :)

  • This advice is spot on.

    With only months behind me as a blogger, I already see that I am setting up ‘rules’ for myself. There are things I tell myself that I do and don’t do based on what I have ‘decided’ or based on the examples of others. The thing is, I am not even sure how I decided these things of style or content or tone.

    When I break away from my ‘decisions’ I see small spikes. I am sure time will teach me things, but this post just reduced the the learning curve.

    You do a great job. First time posting a comment on your site, but a regular reader. Thanks.

  • Great Idea, Darren. We all need this type of push to try something new. In fact I believe trying something new may rekindle a dying light of interest. It may also bring on a spark of inspiration that breaks down mental blocks. This week, I will like to increase my use of YouTube just to take up this challenge!

  • Yes you are right darren,experimenting new ideas will make you stand out from the crowd.I am too far from writing,I have got a idea of setting up a video blog which will fetch videos from worlds top brands YouTube channels in realtime.And I was seeing its success through Google analytics.Day by day it was growing,don,t afraid to take risk.Everyday I was doing some experiment which will help me to take my blog to the next level.In 2010 I have started a blog and shut down it in 6 months.From my failure I have learned lots of things and it helps me to try new ideas in a effective way.In blogging everyday you will learn new things.

  • There is however, a ton on my list of things to do today, so let’s hop straight into my Try Something New Tuesday items, shall we? First

  • Good post here i like it, Most of audience want something new so we Should try something new and advanced that can give the better guideline to our audience

  • Hi Darren,

    I liked your idea to try a new writing style or technique. Writing can feel like a grind sometimes, and any way we can inject some freshness is going to be a help. Youtube has been on my list of things to try, it’s a scary one for me–so probably a good one to get cracking on!

  • Enjoyed reading your blog. I am new at blogging and find learning the ins-and-outs fascinating. I am using Word Press. Certainly using video and photos has improved the site, and I plan on expanding that. Being far from a professional at this, it is interesting learning something entirely different from what I had done for years. John

  • This has really inspired me to shake things up a bit. I have a Tarot reading blog where I post daily Tarot readings every weekday and then a video reading on the weekend. I have wanted to mix things up a bit and occasionally post an interview or something a bit different but I have always worried that my readers will be upset if I depart from my usual format – but after reading this article, I think I am just going to go for it and throw caution to the wind! Thank you!

  • As the saying goes, ‘Keep doing more of what you are doing and you will get more of what you have been getting’ so if you are not happy with what you are getting then try something else. I agree completely with the advice that you should try something new, if it doesn’t work then so what? you gave it a go. Better to know you tried and it failed than never try and keep wondering what would happen.

  • Darren, It has been 8 months I’m blogging and I’ve never written a review for any product, but just today I did it and published my first review. Let’s see :D

  • After reading this post I must say that don’t only try something new this week but try something new every week.

    As innovation is the second key to success after HARDWORK. Right?

    Thank you for this post!!

  • I like this idea. Every blogger should try something new every once in a while to mix it up a little. I particularly liked the YouTube tip.

  • I am always ready to try something new but always end up sticking to the new things, means that I always try too much new things and loose my concentration on work. whenever I find something on your Blog Mr. Darren, I thought of trying it on mine which also happens after every other blog I went as well, which is why I write so less.

    I have written just 6 blog posts till now and even deleted 4 of them last day….

    Due to shortage of concentration power and investment, I can’t get to work. I am trying but….low results till now.