If you are looking to increase your presence in the blogging community and turn your blog into something that has more of an impact and is read by a wider audience, here are the essential updates that will instantly improve your blog.
1 | Overhaul the Design (make sure it's mobile friendly)
The function of a blog’s layout is crucial and although you can get away with using a basic template for a while, it’s worth investing in a well-designed layout that makes the most out of your content. There are plenty of resources ranging from free to affordable templates right up to a custom build by a professional web designer. Find what works for you just make sure it’s mobile-friendly.
2 | Declutter the Sidebar (or get rid of it altogether)
Seems like a minor issue but your sidebar can become a huge distraction or prime real-estate depending on how you use it. Whether you keep your sidebar or get rid of it altogether, make sure all the important information can easily be found and get rid of unnecessary content. Declutter and make the most of your sidebar.
3 | Update the About Page
Your about page will be one of the most visited pages on your blog; make sure to introduce yourself, your blog, the content you write, and any relevant blog posts. Keep things succinct, point readers in the direction of your contact details and frequently asked questions page, and a professional looking head shot. Revisit this page regularly to keep details up to date.
4 | Upload A New Profile Photograph
If you have been using the same profile photograph since you started your blog, chances are it might be a little outdated or not quite as professional as it should be. Update your profile photograph and include it on your about page so readers can put a face to the person behind the blog.
5 | Create an FAQ Page
If you have been blogging for a while, chances are you will notice the same questions being asked over and over. It can be mentally taxing to rewrite the same answers repeatedly; write up an frequently asked questions page and direct people to it in all the relevant places.
6 | Update Contact Information
This is super easy to do and can completely change the way you work with PR agents and brands. Create a separate contact page and provide information on how both readers and PR agents can get in touch with you depending on what they want to contact you about. Remember to include a link to your FAQ to avoid any unnecessary emails.
7 | Create (or Update) the Disclaimer
Having a disclaimer is a must for bloggers that deal with product samples or choose to monetise their blogs. Make sure you layout your disclaimer policy in a clear, informative manner so readers know exactly what to expect from your content. Honesty in blogging is incredibly important to maintain the trust of your readers, don’t let them down.
8 | Clearly Define Tags
Maintaining tags is essential for easy navigation and searching content. Defining posts into specific, well-defined tags and removing old or unused ones will make it easier for readers to understand the topics your blog covers and navigate through posts.
9 | Create Categories and Features
Sprawling categories can be confusing; clearly define your posts into 2-5 topics of interest (lifestyle, style, books, travel, etc.) this will enable readers to understand your content better but also position your blog within a distinct niche. Likewise, if there are regular features on your blog (like my minimal wardrobe series) it’s worth “bundling” these posts into a feature and linking to them on your sidebar for easy access.
10 | Delete Irrelevant Content
This point is only relevant to those who have changed direction so past content isn’t reflective of the current content. If, like me, you switched from one type of content to another and find older posts are irrelevant, it’s worth considering deleting those posts. This is a bit of a controversial and highly debated but removing completely irrelevant content (for example, lifestyle posts from a business blog) will prevent new readers from stumbling across your blog and being confused by the mix of content.
11 | Update Out of Date Content
Alternatively, if your content is still relevant but just a little out of date, revisit old posts and update them to be more relevant to current readers. Sprucing up old posts will maintain your blog and create a wealth of relevant content for new readers to dip into.
12 | Check For Broken Links
Simple and pretty easy to correct, fixing broken links is important for maintaining an evergreen blog and allowing archived posts to remain active. Regularly check past content to make sure links stay active and images are still viewable.
13 | Make Posts SEO Friendly
If you want people to search and find your blog, Search Engine Optimisation is crucial and working on it is an ongoing process. Put a little time into making posts more SEO friendly and you’ll find your readership will increase. If you’re unsure where to start, The Beginner’s Guide to SEO by MOZ is an amazing free resource.
14 | Learn The Basics of Google Analytics
Google Analytics can be your worst nightmare or your best friend; learn how to understand the basics and you’ll be able to start using these statistics to your advantage. Understanding and using Google Analytics doesn’t have to be difficult it just requires a little patience and time; it’s a crucial tool for understanding your audience, improving your content, and making the most out of blogging. Read more about how to use Google Analytics.
15 | Decide On A Niche
It doesn’t have to be super specific but deciding on a blogging niche is the driving force for blogging. It’s easier to become well known for something if you focus on a specific area. Clearly defined blogs appeal to more specific readers, rank better on search engines, monetise more successfully, and build credibility faster - read more about how to find a niche and dominate it.
16 | Create an Editorial Calendar
Blogging is time consuming and if you want to see results from it and save time in the long run, creating an editorial calendar is the only way forward. Formulating a plan for blogging including content ideas and deadlines will streamline the creation process, maintain a creative momentum, increase blog traffic, and enable consistency with content. Learn how to create an editorial calendar with these easy steps.
17 | Create a Media Kit
If you choose to monetise a media kit is essential for laying out services, rates, and terms and conditions. It’s as much about presenting your services to others as it is about protecting yourself. Don’t leave it until an agent asks to see your kit before you create one, think ahead and get your kit ready to present to them. Here is a simple guide for creating a media kit.
18 | Get Involved With The Community
If you want people to engage then you need to be engaged; get involved with the blogging community by reading blogs and reaching out to bloggers by commenting on posts and following them on social media. It’s all to easy to get wrapped up in what we are doing as individuals but it’s important to remember that engagement starts with us and it’s as easy as just getting involved.