Spring Clean Your Blog In A Few Easy Steps
But the benefits of cleaning your blog up are worth the time and trouble. Every time I do a freshen up, I notice:
- improved traffic
- better load times
- more subscribers
- improved earnings
- better bounce rate
Those are great reasons to set aside a few hours to spring clean your blog, right?
Getting it all done at one time will leave you feeling refreshed too, and you will be able to get back to doing what you do best...creating awesome stuff!
The great news is that it isn't that hard at all. I've put together the list of steps below. Just follow along, and clean up the parts that apply to you specifically:
1. Upgrade to Your Own Domain
Also, some sponsors and affiliates might not accept you if you don't have a "real" website.
You can go with your favorite platform and already be familiar with the layout, or you can start completely fresh. I use Weebly for this site. Weebly has a very affordable starter plan for $8 month.
Here is my post on why 5 reasons I recommend Weebly to those starting out with a blog or website.
If you want to blog or open a business website, check out my easy guide for starting out with Weebly website creation tools.
2. Check for Dead Links
There are tools available to help you locate broken or dead links so you don't have to manually hunt for them. Try Dead Link Checker to help you find your links quickly (it's free!)
3. Clean Up Your Blog Posts
Your writing style may have evolved from when you first began. Are your old posts still relevant to your blog? If not, it may be time for them to be deleted or rewritten.
Here are some other things you can do to older posts to clean them up:
- Make sure older posts link to newer posts.
- Add links to trustworthy resources when applicable
- Add call-to-action messages where needed
- Add affiliate links if you haven't
- Make sure the SEO is optimized
- Add keywords if needed
- Make sure each post has a description/snippet
- Double check that all posts have correct tags/categories
Here is a cute printable checklist to help you update older blog posts. You can doodle color the flowers in as you complete your tasks!
4. Upgrade Your Bio and About Section
The about section for your blog is equally important. It probably states the entire reason for your site to begin with, and maybe even links out to to some of your strongest posts. That is why it is so important for both your bio and about page to be fresh.
When people want to learn more about you and your site, they want to know what you are doing now, where you are now, and what they can expect from you now.
So, for instance, if your bio says you have one child and you've been blogging six months, yet your recent blog posts show four kids and your 6th year blogging anniversary post, people will notice.
And they may not check out the recommended links you have there because they will feel those are just as outdated.
5. Declutter Your Side Bars
Once that is done, you can decide what secondary items need to go back. I have links to other parts of my site, as well as a list of places where my art is for sale.
You can also scrap all of that and go completely naked. (Your sidebars, not you. Unless you want to.) Lots of bloggers are going minimal and scrapping sidebar items.
At the very least, you might try rearranging your ads and experimenting with different styles/colors of banners.
6. Refresh Your Post Images
I don't know about you, but images are the bane of my blogging existence. Just when I get them all "perfect", the rules change and they are either too big, too small, or not optimized for certain social platforms.
Plus, what looks good on my laptop doesn't always look as good on a phone or tablet. And of course, after awhile, people tend to be blinded to certain styles and color combinations, and attracted to others.
There is no fast fix for this. If your images are branded and work fine, then by all means, keep them as they are! If not, you might want to create new ones. Either way:
- Make sure your images have alt tags
- If you use Weebly, captions provide another form of SEO
- Try compressing large images for better load time
- Add watermark to each image
If you make new images, I recommend making a custom pin (or two) at the same time. These can be longer and skinnier than the version you use at the top of your blog.
You can read my post on creating pinterest friendly images with PicMonkey here.
7. Clean Up Your Comment Section
Just the basics. Reply to any comments you've received. Remove spammy comments.
8. Remove Plug-ins or Apps
Unused plug-ins, apps and widgets can slow down your load time. Just keep the ones you use the most, and remove any that perform duplicate functions.
9. Update Your Subscription Forms
If you haven't been getting any subscribers, try creating some new forms. Or simply rearranging the ones you are already using.
10. Make Sure Your Static Pages Are Current
If you manually add to your archives, make sure you have all of your recent posts.
If you have landing pages or a static home page, make sure they are sending readers to the newest or most valuable posts and pages on your site.
Check and troubleshoot shop pages, too. Remember, keywords and searchable descriptions are more SEO-friendly than clever or humorous text on product pages.
11. Add Some New Content
Once you have your blog all cleaned up, with perfect links, sparkly new images, and updated SEO, create something new for your readers. It can be a post, a new page, or a freebie (such as a checklist or other printable).
If you've made any major changes, you can write a post telling your readers where to find everything.
12. Share and Promote!
Before you sign off, let your followers on social media know about all your hard work, and share a link to your new content!