Welcome back and I hope everyone had a great holiday! I know I sure did, spending time with family and friends. It seems almost shameful to get back to work and back to blogging.
Speaking of blogging, I’m sure you noticed that in coming here we have a new design. I decided that with the new year coming it was time to clean up my blog, focus on my branding and make some tweaks and changes to help my SEO and get my blog back on track to make it easier and more manageable for my readers.
Cleaning up your blog doesn’t have to be hard. Below are some great tips that can help you clean up your blog, get your old posts noticed and spruce up your little corner on the web.
1.) Go Big or Go Home – Bold is in and bigger is better. And I’m not just talking about typography this goes for pictures too! One thing we changed here was the font. We are using a bolder and much larger font for our main features and archives. I’m also increasing the size of my pictures. A picture says a thousands. You can use ipiccy or picmonkey to help crop and re-size your pictures to make them more attractive to your readers.
2.) Organize your sidebars – Despite people saying everything has to be on the right where sidebars are concerned. I don’t believe that. Sidebars can have information but it is spacing that is important. Ads should be separated with relevant text or links you want to share and don’t fill up your sidebars with so many ads your readers are left feeling as though they are being bombarded.
3.) Keep your colors simple – You want to stand out so making your titles larger is great, but what about colors? Choose colors that are easily readable. More and more people are using smaller devices to read blog, so make sure the colors you choose are not too bright, too dark and easy on the eyes.
4.) Organize your categories and tags – It’s great having your posts tagged and categorized but not so great to overwhelm readers with 200 tags or categories to choose from. Rule of thumb if you have more than 10 to 20 posts in one category perhaps start thinking about creating a sub category with tags. For example if you blog about special needs as I do, but have a lot posts on sensory disorder, I created another category for those posts. All posts are tagged under what the content is about but not too many and try to keep your tags short.
5.) Remove unwanted or old plugins – I know this one can be hard but we all do it, especially us WordPress users. We download a plugin and then stop using it and just leave it in our database instead of deleting it and its files. Clean out your unwanted plugins or ones you aren’t using. Here is a post I wrote on the top ten WordPress plugins I cannot live without that you might find interesting.
6.) Update your About Page and Contact Page – Believe it or not this is one many of us do not do. I know I’m guilty of not updating as time goes on. Well now is the time to remove old information and add in new information you want readers to know about you. The last thing you want is for readers to hit the 411 on you and see a photo of you from ten years ago and learn your kids are now 12 years older.
7.) Clean up your database and broken links – This one is important to help maintain the health of your blog. I use broken link checker to keep track of any broken links on my site. It emails me when a url I’m linking to breaks or is removed. I also use WP Optimize to help clean up unwanted spam, old post vamps and keep my site healthy without having to know PHP.
8.) Revamp your old blog posts – Don’t just delete outdated posts, revamp them and re-publish them. Doing this increases your SEO and creates relevant posts for your readers. Simply update your posts by adding in new keywords, cleaning up your photos and adding relevant information for how your blog is geared today. If all else fails and the post is of no value then ditch it.
9.) Add social sharing buttons to your site to attract more readers – If you don’t have social sharing buttons and I don’t mean just the ones on your sidebar that take people to your own networks. I’m talking about the ones that hover below your posts so readers can share your quality content with others. The plugin I find helpful and one that has pinterest integrated in it is sharexy. It’s awesome!
10.) Write quality content above anything else – No matter how you de-clutter your site you must always write content that you feel your readers will not only enjoy but want to share. Search for keywords and what’s trending online to help you with ideas. Google trends is a great site for this.