Guest post by Robbi Hess
If you haven’t made the commitment to join the BlogPaws Influencer Challenge — and why wouldn’t you because the aim is to boost your page views to 10,000 — now is the time. If, however you’re not sure you want to participate because your blog needs a bit of work or a complete facelift, don’t let that stop you from being a part of this challenge. You can always put time into your blog to bring it to the level or give it the look you want it to have during the challenge.
How can you clean and organize your blog for 2016 (and this exciting challenge)? Here are a few tips.
Organization starts at the basic level of creating an editorial calendar.
Without knowing what topics you will write about and when, you may find yourself not only wasting precious time when you’re blogging, but you may miss out on trending topics or pet-centric holidays. An editorial calendar gives you, at a glance, a road map for your blog content. Many readers enjoy series or themes in posts and if you can offer them that by having a “flow” to your content, you may just garner more readers. One way to organize and track your themes and/or series is by writing them down on an editorial calendar. You can use paper or electronic methods to do that. There are widgets for WordPress and you can also use the free Trello app to store your ed cal.
Once you’ve chosen a method to store your editorial calendar you need to begin organizing it. Spend some time with this as you will also be deciding — during this process — how often you will be posting. Your editorial calendar can also house your snippets for social media updates, making posting a breeze.
Do a physical content clean-up.
Typos? Run on sentences? Misuse of words? Incorrect facts and figures? These can all lead to a reader never paying a return visit to your blog. Even if a reader doesn’t completely shun you and your content, they may subconsciously doubt what you’re telling them if you’ve served them up facts that aren’t correct and if they are wading through grammatical errors.
Believe me, I know an occasional error will slip through. The beauty of the Internet is that if you find one, you can hop back into your blog, make a change and republish. Viola — error erased! The issue comes when you have so many errors and especially if a read through could have eliminated them. If you don’t know a there from a their from a they’re, work with an editor or a friend or colleague who has a better grasp of the language and ask them to read your posts before they go live.
While content errors happen, don’t let fear of making one stop you from putting your heart and soul into your blog posts. When a reader visits your site, one of the first things he or she is seeking is your personality. Let that shine through. Hint: That is also one of the ways your content may get read while another bloggers doesn’t — personality.
Is your site visually appealing?
I know looks aren’t everything, but let’s face it we all love a pretty picture! And ‘fess up. How many times have you judged a book by its cover? Before a visitor to your site even reads a word he or she will see your images. Make sure they are captivating!
Does your blog have “pretty pictures”? Do they suit the content you’re writing? For example, you’re not writing about cats and posting dog photos, right? Or vice versa. Your images should enhance your text (and also be ideal for social media sharing). Your images should be crisp and clear. Consider adding text to your images as this will not only grab the attention of the reader, but will also lend itself to pinning on Pinterest; two birds, one stone and all of that.
and grammatical errors will happen and that is fine, however several errors in a post tends to look sloppy, which might give your readers the feel that you just threw something together – rather than put a bit of heart into it.
Clean the clutter.
How many blog categories do you have? Are they relevant? How many blog tags do you have? Are they relevant? Do you have blog categories that are similar and that could be combined? For example do you have a “blog” and a “blogging” category? Why? Consider combining categories and cleaning up the blog so if a visitor comes, he can easily click on “blogging” and get the information he’s seeking. I know when you’re in the process of building a blog it’s easy to add category after category and tag after tag. Now that you’ve been doing it a while though, take a step back and check your Google Analytics and see which words and categories make sense. If you find that people are searching you on Google for “dog blogger” you may want to either start using that as a category or add it, use it and eliminate another.
There is no one size fits all when it comes to clearing your blog clutter, but one fact remains: A blog clean up could help spur you to greater page views, higher productivity and greater satisfaction with the blogging career path you’ve chosen. What could be better than that?
When is the last time you give your blog a good once-over? Schedule time to do just that and do it sooner rather than later.
Robbi Hess is the former BlogPaws blog manager and will be speaking at the BlogPaws 2016 Conference. She blogs at All Words Matter and is the Media Manager for Big Barker, maker of premium beds for big dogs.
(Photo Shutterstock: Woman on Computer)