After all of your hard work building your site, making a business for yourself, and actually getting people to follow you, the last thing you want to do is neglect your site and find yourself in a position where you want to trash it and start over. Hopefully, this will never be something you have to consider.
How do you find that balance of adding just enough quality content to keep your readers engaged, or the right amount of photos as to not overload or distract your readers? What's the right amount of ads, if any? This can be a hard guessing game and it might take good old fashioned trial and error to find out what works for you and your specific audience. But in the meantime, here are a few simple rules to get you started on the right track:
Know your audience
Simply put, you're readers are following you for a reason. They like your product or idea and are genuinely interested in what you have to offer. Keep giving them what they want, and they will keep returning. Stick to your subject of interest and refrain from trying to cover too much, which leads me to the next point.
Stick to what you are good at
You don't have to be an expert in everything to keep readers engaged. You're into photography? Great. Keep posting new articles about how to set up your equipment for that next great shot. Refrain from posting how-to's on painting from a reference photo. Sure it's related - there is a photo involved. But maybe it's not what you're an expert in. This might be a great opportunity to have a guest blogger who is an expert in painting from a reference photo. You get to expand some content on your site and make connections with another type of creative expert. This will save you time from doing all the research on your own and give your readers quality content!
Less is more
So you're a beginner, you're not a professional web designer nor do you want to hire one. That's all fine. You're site doesn't have to be super complicated. It should be functional, easy to use, easy to find information, and pleasing to the eye. Have friends and family give it a test run before you get too far in its development. Ask them if it's a site they would come back to on a regular basis. Are they excited to see more or are they overwhelmed and feeling drowned with information and content?
Consistency is key
How many times do we check our favorite bloggers or YouTube vids only to see they haven't posted in the past week? Heartbreaking, I know. If you make yourself known to post a new article or product or speed painting vid each week, then that's more or less a commitment you've made to your followers. Even if you're a newbie, anxious and excited to get going, be careful of how often you deliver. You don't want to over deliver in the beginning and find it hard to keep up with that pace later. Find a pace that works for you. Do you send a weekly newsletter...maybe monthly? How much time you have to commit to your site may help guide you in finding what will work.
Put yourself first
Take a minute and think about how much time you honestly have to dedicate to your business and your site each week. What is a normal day for you? Does it include school, work, or kids? How much time do you want or need to spend creating your next painting or knitting your next afghan? If you don't put your needs first, your business will suffer. You need time to do what is important to you and keep yourself happy and motivated. You started your business with you in mind - to be a better, more successful version of yourself. Don't forget this when you are planning what you can really handle. Set aside time each week that you need for your personal life and for your art or craft and be honest with yourself for how much time you have for your site.
Getting in a rhythm
So you're at a point where you have spent countless hours getting your site exactly where you want it to be. Maybe your site has been live for a little while now. Take a minute and evaluate exactly what you really want to accomplish with your wonderful site. Is it a store where people can purchase your products? Is it an active blog covering your latest discoveries? Each site is unique and requires it's own level of personalized attention. It feels a little overwhelming when first starting out, not knowing what to really expect. Writing things down really helped me evaluate what I needed to do to keep reaching my goals.... just like when I'm watching what I eat and how much I'm exercising, I write it down to stay on track. After a while, you get in a rhythm of knowing what to do and when.
Keep a schedule and set goals!
There are tons of articles out there telling you what the best way to schedule your weekly activities and how to set small and large goals. The key is to find what works for you. How do you do this? Good old fashioned trial and error. Are you more of a pen and paper kinda gal/guy? Then carry that planner with you! Are you more tech savvy and use electronic task lists? Great, set those automated reminders! Find a way to track what you are doing now and going forward to really be able to recognize what you need to do to stay on track and meet your goals. This might sound like more work to do now, but without anything but your memory to rely on you may be setting yourself up for failure in the future.