Many bloggers start off a new year with resolutions and goals to better their blog. Some list blogging more consistently, or blogging on a schedule as goals. Others resolve to read more blogs, meet more people or join in more linkups. Some bloggers vow to start selling advertising, or score a freelance writing gig. All these goals and resolutions are great, and will definitely guide and motivate you to a better blog, and to be a better blogger.
However, these are long-term. There are a few things you can do immediately, or in the short-term to better your blog. Here’s how.
Spruce Up Your Design
There’s nothing like a way to kickstart your year, and motivate yourself than a fresh new look. If you’ve been getting bored of looking at your blog, or do not like the free Blogger or WordPress templates you’ve been using, consider hiring a blog designer. There are many options out there, from the very affordable on Etsy, to snazzy design houses. If you’re interested (and brave), look into teaching yourself design. Many mom bloggers have started their blog design businesses that way. If you can’t afford to hire someone to do a full redesign, consider changing your header, or even just your color scheme, which you can do on your own.
(Re)Write Your About Page
When I read a blog for the first time, I always look to find out more about the blogger. The first thing I look for is an About page. Public relations agencies do the same when they’re researching bloggers they can work with. If you don’t have an About page, you’re potentially missing out on readers and opportunities from brands. If you do have an About page, fantastic! Look into updating it, or even rewriting it.
Clean Up Your Sidebar
The sidebar is a crucial part of your blog. It is valuable retail space if you’re looking to sell ad space. It’s also where you include information, such as social media platforms you are on, communities you are part of, and any ongoing promotions if you have any. Declutter your sidebar now. Get rid of badges or buttons that do not serve you in any way. Remove the ‘Where Are Your Visitors Coming From’ tracker (no one likes these, they’re more for you). Take away the site ranking or visitor count bars, they are unnecessary.
Social Media Buttons
Do You Have Them? Your social media buttons (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, RSS Feed and so on) should be immediately visible. It’s best to situate them in the top right of your blog, or even in your header. You can get free sets of social media buttons (just Google it), that you can install easily. Do check that your links to your profiles work!
A Few Other Handy Tools
Here are a few tools you can find and install easily into your blog, if you haven’t already – related posts tool (LinkWithin or nrelate), post sharing tool (Shareholic or Digg Digg), a Search box and a Popular Post or Archives widgets. All these will encourage your readers to read other posts they may have missed, or share posts they like.
What are you waiting for? Go rock your blog now!
Alison is an experienced and passionate marketer, with 10 years experience in public relations, advertising and digital media. Her knowledge of social media, combined with her experience in marketing and branding, ensures all Little Love Media clients that they will be provided with the best social media strategy tailored to their needs. Alison also blogs at Writing, Wishing, and tweets as @AlisonSWLee.