The new year is the perfect time to spice up your blog. Your blog is probably already pretty awesome, but there are always things we can do to make it better. I have a few ideas to help you get your blog kicking ass in the new year!
Add some variety to your posts
Mix things up! Try something new!
Do you mostly post reviews? Or memes? Try adding something new into the mix to keep your readers interested. Add in a discussion post or a personal post.
Even if all your reviews are fabulous, only posting reviews (or another type of post) every single day can get a little repetitive. Adding a brand new type of post once in a while will spice things up.
Do that thing you’ve been meaning to do for ages
Do you keep promising you’ll update your review index? Or migrate to a better email subscription platform? Or move to a new blogging platform? Or add a new feature?
Well, there’s no time like the present!
Quit putting it off and just do it! You’ll feel good about yourself and your blog and it will help you stay motivated.
Perform a health check
Does everything work as it should?
First, review your blog’s functionality.
- Do all your links work?
- Try signing up for your email newsletter. Did it go through successfully?
- Check your posts and sidebar for any broken images.
Don’t let silly mistakes bring down your SEO
Now do a super quick SEO check. Do your page slugs match the title? For example:
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people use the default “Sample Page” that comes with a WordPress installation. They change the title to something like “About Me” and add in all their text… but they never change the slug! So instead of having a URL like http://mywebsite.com/about-me/ their URL is http://mywebsite.com/sample-page/ . That doesn’t look very good (or professional), does it? Plus it won’t do you any favours when it comes to SEO.
So, check all your pages, and make sure the slugs relate to the titles. You can edit the slug by clicking “Edit” next to the permalink when editing a post.
Tell us about yourself
Have you ever blogged about your personal life? If not, consider giving it a try. Your readers will love to learn a bit more about the person behind the blog. Try doing a weekly (or monthly) wrap up post where you talk about what went on in your life. Describe your activities, outings, movies/TV shows you watched, music you listened to… whatever you want!
You can even combine this with a blog wrap up where you list:
- Your most popular posts that week/month.
- Interesting/weird/funny search terms that led people to your blog that week/month.
- One post that you wish got more attention that week/month.
In the mood for spring cleaning?
If you’re REALLY ready to rock, then let’s do some early spring cleaning.
Prune that sidebar!
I can think of six things you don’t need in your sidebar. Check your own sidebar and make sure you don’t have anything on that list! Most importantly, make sure your sidebar is never longer than your actual post. That’s just yucky! A good sidebar is short, minimal, and only has the essentials.
If you have more than one sidebar, consider removing any extras. The fewer sidebars you have, the cleaner and more organized your blog will look.
Organize your categories and tags/labels
Next, try cleaning up your tags and labels. Remove/merge any duplicates and typos.
I’ve definitely been moving towards a lot of these, but transitioning kind of slowly. I’ve stopped doing most types of blog tour stops – I’m still trying to do review stops and author interviews. But I found that when every post had to be scheduled for a certain day at a certain time, running my blog was way too stressful. I usually get pretty personal and tell stories in my reviews, but I started a recap that focuses a lot on personal stuff, too.
I have a ton of spring cleaning-type stuff on my “to do someday” list, and host a challenge focusing on that stuff so I’m confident that I’ll be able to tackle at least one of those per month. I actually don’t want to do it faster than that so I can actually participate in the challenge each month instead of just hosting it.
My main priority is getting a new theme. My current blog looks really amateurish. 😀
I just want to keep up what I’m doing. I’m pretty happy with the blog. The main thing is to keep up the non review posts. I do plan to do more personal type posts, mostly because I have things to say and don’t want to start a separate personal blog. Oh, and maybe work on SEO. I’ve been lazy so far.
I need to do a giant tag/category switch. That part would be easy enough but right now all my archives are set to coding based on categories. Yuck.
This is really helpful! I just came back from a six month hiatus and i’ve been a little out of it considering that I’m so lost on what blogging really means. I really like the personal life one because I feel like I don’t really do that. I mean, my life isn’t the most interesting but I do think that I have moments some times [plus, i see other bloggers doing it and it looks like a great time!]
I really need to mix up my posts because I feel like all I do are book cover posts, which isn’t bad, but I want more! Gotta spice my blog with something.
I’m gonna definitely bring back one of my features that was focused on romances. It’s been so long since I’ve done a post. And of course, discussions!
Literally all of this. I do it every couple months, but I can’t count how many blogs I’ve unfollowed after months of initially liking something about it that got drowned out by un-rockin’-ishness. :c
Oh god, my review index. It’s like Mount Everest! I just seems too big of a job and I never get to it. I should set a goal of doing just a couple each day or something.
I’ve actually got a post scheduled for Friday where we talk about some of the changes we’re pushing through. For instance, we’ve decided not to participate in any more memes, and we’re installing a feature that allows us to talk about more personal things. We talk about school and stuff, but I would like to talk about my anxiety, and Karolina wants to talk about weight-loss, so a new feature it is. We’re both really excited about this!
I rock my blog! I did all of these. 😛
My prime goal was to move to wordpress —»checked!:D
Second: i would love to have a custom theme…but meantime it can be a simple look and clean like nosegraze.com…if you ever change and what’s to sell it, give me a beep XD…maybe in 2016 i can afford a really custom theme XD
Oooh, yes. I needed the reminder on some of these, especially with Bloggiesta coming up next week. Though I did just update to a new theme and it’s done wonders for my motivation and wanting to play around with my blog. You know, rather than avoid it completely.
I used to recap weird search terms I got on my blog, and those were always a hit with my readers. Google makes it more difficult now they don’t show most search terms, buuut perhaps I’ll have to bring it back. Especially if I plan to write more discussion type posts (and I do), since those tend to snag more searchers.
I love more personal posts on blogs … I’m always sad when I fall in love with a blog, but then can’t find anything about the blogger save for a small ‘About Me’ blurb. I’m not sure how I’ll spice things up this year … hopefully by at least getting into a posting mojo at some point!
Great tips ! I started doing my fin questions again (discussion posts) and decided to rejoin the Life of A.Blogger meme. I had been doing both but for some reason stopped and I missed them.
This year, I want to expand my blog into more than a book blog. Most of my posts will still be book related, but I want to talk more about my life, journalism, school, or whatever comes to mind.
That’s a fantastic idea! All my favourite blogs are a mixture of books and life (or something else). 🙂
“Even if all your reviews are fabulous, only posting reviews (or another type of post) every single day can get a little repetitive. Adding a brand new type of post once in a while will spice things up.” — Too true. Last year I posted mainly reviews because I couldn’t shore up the motivation to write discussion posts that I would be interested in, but I would agree that the most interesting blogs (for me) are the ones with a variety of content. A great example is yours (which I always link to in my bookish rounds – you’ve always got advice, discussions, and reviews) + Asti/Kelley’s blog, Oh, the Books!
“Do you keep promising you’ll update your review index? Or migrate to a better email subscription platform? Or move to a new blogging platform? Or add a new feature?
Well, there’s no time like the present!” — I know, right??? That’s what I’m saying now, especially with commenting on other blogs. Hopefully I can keep the motivation up – you’re right: there’s no time like the present.
“So instead of having a URL like http://mywebsite.com/about-me/ their URL is http://mywebsite.com/sample-page/” — I have a couple like this. I did try to change the permalinks but because I’d named them something different in the past, they won’t update anymore :/. Unless I did it wrong, which I don’t think I did…
Wrap-up posts as you suggested are really popular – I love them. I love getting to learn about the bloggers I follow except somehow I never want to write them myself. Or write about my personal life despite admiring how others do it.
I just added an extra widget on my sidebar about top commenters on my blog. Seeing your post now makes me wonder if I ought to get rid of it because it’s just extra. But it helped identify the people today who I needed to thank :O. Hrmmm…. Lots of good tips & a great post – you’ve got me thinking.
Well, I took way more time off from posting than I wanted to (or intended to), in order to rebrand, and launch a 2nd blog, offboarding my books and entertainment posts into their own dedicated blog. I was supposed to launch on the 2nd, and then yesterday, and so far I’m still picking bugs out of my design for both sites, and I’m only about half way through writing the first post on the rebranded blog, and haven’t even started on the first post for the new blog yet. #thiscanonlyendintears
I know exactly how you’re feeling, Alena. I’ve also been struggling with deadlines lately. I have this one plugin I was planning on launching in January, but I STILL haven’t launched it yet because I haven’t had time to polish off the last few things.
Sometimes it’s really hard to find the time to finish things up.