Blog Tune Up
Updated Jan 2016
As the year winds down we typically find ourselves reflecting on the events of the current year as well as dealing with all those tasks we’ve put off. Now is a great time to review your blog and perform your blog tune up to maximize performance and review any enhancements you put in place this year.
Is Your Site Responsive?
With over half of website traffic coming from mobile devices it’s imperative you use a responsive design on your blog. If you’re using WordPress or other CMS, check that the theme is responsive. The easiest way to test this is to pull up your blog on your phone. A responsive design will properly size and format to the screen versus displaying the desktop view of your blog. You can learn more on responsive WordPress themes and download free responsive themes at WordPress.org.
Check Your Links
We tend to add links in many areas: in posts, on pages, to our blog roll. But have you checked those links lately to determine if they are still working? There are many link checking tools available to see if links are broken, not resolving. The one I use is from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). It will run a comprehensive analysis of all links on the URL you enter. If you have a large site with many links this will take some time but review the report and fix or remove any broken links.
Another blog tune up task is to check on links is your blog roll if you publish one. You should be doing this on a periodic basis anyway, but now is a great time to verify and review the sites you have linked. For instance is that NING community that you were active in six months ago still around? If not, then take appropriate action to deactivate or remove is the site is inactive. Find out now before your readers do and you lose credibility.
Review Analytics and Use for Upcoming Year Plan
If you are using Google Analytics or any other website tracking tool, take a look at the whole year and each quarter to analyze traffic and find trends. Was March a great month for traffic and July terrible? Was it due to end of the quarter and vacation? Or did you publish more in March and less in July? These questions should be asked and draw some conclusions about the data and how it related to content published and viewed on your site during the timeframe. This information is what you need to start planning for the next year so you can potential repeat success and avoid downturns.
Revisit Your SEO Strategy and Tactics
The past several years we’ve had major changes in search algorithms (Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird, RankBrain). Moz has a great page summarizing the changes and this is a great place to start if you have not been on top of your SEO game. Review these updates to see if they apply to your site or content in order to capture top SERP (Search Engine Result Page) results.
Talk to Your Readers
Sure we comment with readers on posts and via email newsletters, but when was the last time you polled your readers? Take the end of the year to ask them what they liked and disliked about your site this year. What would they like to see more and less of? This data and feedback is crucial to your content strategy planning going forward and can be compared to your site analysis outlined above.
Clean up the Clutter
Did you add a bunch of ads, links to contests, social networks profiles, etc. during the past year? Have they resulted in any action, revenue or something of value? If not determine if they are worth the real estate and clean out the ones that are not providing value. Too many blogs just keep adding and adding to the sidebars and it gets messy and distracting to your readers.
Another great task to do this year is to look at special pages you may have set up for video or other content. Did you create a page that is now very long and lengthy? Can the content be put into posts and grouped by category or tag so that the CMS will handle the greater amount of content? Is it easy to find this content and should you create a unique menu heading for it? These are some of the questions you need to ask yourself when reviewing your site.
Update your Tools
If you did add any special functionality to your site like an image gallery or a web application does it need to be reviewed and updated? Does the data need to be backed up and archived? If you’re not backing up your site the end of the year is a great time to do this and save the backup data to an offline storage device like a DVD or CD for safe keeping. If you have not updated your CMS and its associated tools, plug-ins, themes, templates, etc. you need to perform a thorough backup and then start upgrading.
Now you have some blog tune up tasks, have they worked for you?