Blogs need to change, adapt and grow with the blogger. Spring is often a time people clean out their homes in preparation for spring turning to summer. In my last post about NaNoWriMo and creativity troubles, I mentioned the checklist I am working through to improve my blog. In this post, I’m applying the spring cleaning vibes to my blogging, and discussing all the things bloggers should be considering.
The first thing I check is my site design. I want a site that is not only engaging and interesting to read, but also appealing. Ultimately it is the design of the blog that controls who will stick around to read the posts. The first job of us bloggers is to get our work to our readership. The second job is convincing them to stay. The WordPress Showcase is a good idea if you are looking for good examples.
- Is there a clear colour scheme?
- Does the colour palette allow all areas of the site to be read and accessed?
- Are there any changes you could make to improve the visual accessibility of the site?
Navigation and Labelling
The next thing I consider is how easy the site is to move through. When I do this, I try to think about my personal standards for entering a website. What about website design encourages me to read, and what puts me off? Additionally, Yoast has a great article talking about website navigation in terms of SEO.
- Are there any broken links or pages?
- Are there any pages that are inaccurate or incomplete?
- Do you have a navigation menu? Is it potentially confusing to navigate?
- Do you have a search bar? How easily can readers navigate from one post to another?
- Does your site use popups? Are there annoying and/or intrusive adverts on your site? Consider removing anything in this category.
- Is there anything distracting your reader from the blog posts themselves? Can you do without it, or work to minimise the distraction?
From time to time, there might be old content you no longer want on your blog. This might be because you’ve changed niches, decided on a new way of formatting posts, or changed the tone of your content.
- Are there old posts you no longer want to include on your site?
- Are there old posts with problematic formatting?
- Will you rewrite old posts, revert them to drafts, or place them in an archive?
Search Engine Optimisation
In this section, I’m including links to further reading for each point where I think further clarification might be needed.
- Are you including backlinks?
- Are you considering your use of key words?
- Are your URLs to each post “clean”? Or, in other words, are they readable or a jumble of letters and numbers.
- Do you format your posts appropriately? This includes titles, headings, subheadings and things like italics, bolding and underlining.
- Do your images have alt captions?
- Is there a clear way for your readers to share your articles on social media? Are your social media accounts connected to each post? This might include Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn where appropriate.
Learn, Learn, Learn
It is a good idea to always be open to learning more and continually be seeking out new, update to date knowledge about blogging. This particularly applies if you’re new to blogging but it is also a great idea if you’ve been in the game awhile and want to refresh.
- Take some online courses – especially around digital marketing and search engine optimisation. FutureLearn has some great free courses about the digital world of social media and digital marketing.
- Take a look at online tools that can help you. Google Analytics Academy is one such example.
What changes have you been making to your blog recently? Did any of these points on the checklist prompt you to make changes? Let me know in the comments!