Ah spring is in the air. In Minnesota that is always a welcome sign after our long winters. We begin to shed our coats and spending more time outside. The more time we spend outside the more we look at our surroundings. In most cases it is the wear and tear that winter has done to our landscaping and the exterior of our home. We think about the spring cleaning we need to do inside and outside of our homes.
The same can be said about our blogs.
You’ve spent the fall gearing up for the back-to-school posts. You spent winter consumed with writing about Thanksgiving and Christmas. Then when that was over it was all about plans for the new year. You were busy posting and adding images and promoting.
Just like winter wreaked havoc on the outside of our house, your busy writing season has wreaked havoc on your blog. Before you jump into the busy season of DIY spring projects and summer recipes why don’t you give your blog a good spring cleaning? Get it ready for your new busy season.
1. Update Your Freebie
Your freebie opt-in offer should be driving tons of new email subscribers to your email list. If it isn’t it is time to give it a spring cleaning. Think about your audience. What do they want to know when it comes to your niche? Maybe they want easy recipes to prep on Sundays for their busy week ahead. Maybe they want 10 spring cleaning tips for their budget. Or 10 projects they must do before they list their house for sale.
Spring cleaning to do: Take a look at your audience and find out what they want in an opt-in offer. Find out their problems and respond with a value driven opt-in offer. By taking the time to invest in your freebie it will pay off with hundreds more email subscribers.
2. Broken Pages
We get so busy putting up content that we forget to check on our existing content. Are pages broken? Are links not working? When people visit our blogs the hope is that they will search through all our posts to learn more. You want to make sure that your reader will find a pleasant experience throughout your blog. Broken pages, links and images can hinder that experience.
Spring cleaning to do: Go through all your pages and look for broken text, graphics and links. Check out BrokenLinkCheck.com to check for broken links on your website.
3. Pinterest Worthy Images
As a blogger Pinterest should be driving traffic to your site. Pinterest was made for people to keep a collection of blog posts to look at now and reference later. To get in on that traffic you must have pin-worthy images. Whenever you create a blog post add an image that is at least 1000px wide and 1500px height. These large vertical images show up best on Pinterest. Take a look at the one I used above in this post as an example. (While you are looking at it please pin it too! Thanks!) You also want to make sure you are including a captivating call-to-action in the description of your image. This will help you drive Pinterest traffic.
Spring cleaning to do: Take a look at the images for your blog posts. Make them bigger if they are too small or vertical if they are horizontal. Add captivating descriptions for each image that encourages readers to click on the image. If you have a lot of images that need work, work on 5 images a week so you aren’t overwhelmed.
4. Start Here/About Page
Your start here/about page is the number one viewed page on your blog. Why? People want to know who you are and what you are about. They want to know they are connecting with a real person that is just like them. Because this is the most viewed page you want it to look good. I like doing a “start here” page instead of an about page because it pushes my readers to check it out. I also like to make the start here page more about my reader than about me. If you check out mine you know exactly what you can expect from Women Winning Online and why you need to stick around. Then at the bottom you will learn more about me and why I am on this blogging journey.
Spring cleaning to do: Go to your about page and give it the once over– more than once. Print it out and sit with it. Interview your blog and include why people should read your blog. Include how you will help them and make their lives better. Then include real facts about you. The more fun, interesting and real the better!
5. Your Photo
I have been in marketing for over 10 years and people’s photos are the number one problem in marketing. Sounds strange doesn’t it? I can’t tell you how many times I have met with clients and thought “Wow they look nothing like their photo.” Not good! Also I am sure people have done the same to me! Now does this matter on the Internet? I think so! What ifyour blogging turns into an in person opportunity? You want to look the same on your blog as you do in person.
Spring cleaning to do: If your photo is older than 12 months it is time to get a new one! Schedule time with a photographer right now!
I am amazed at the number of bloggers that still don’t have gravatars. Your gravatar is your photo that is used in your bio at the end of your posts. It is the photo that is used when you comment on other bloggers’ posts. A gravatar that is your photo instead of the gray box helps get you recognized on the busy internet. Isn’t that what we all want?
Spring cleaning to do: If you don’t have a gravatar get one ASAP! It takes about 3 minutes to do. Read my post to get the step-by-step instructions on how to do it.
7. Mobile Friendly
We are a more mobile driven society than ever before and this is only going to continue to grow. Your blog must be mobile friendly. This is a non-negotiable item. In fact Google is penalizing websites that aren’t mobile friendly. You don’t want to get on Google’s bad side! I come across many blogs that I still have to zoom in on or move the content around in frames. If I am struggling to read your content I am going to click away– right away. We are spoiled and don’t think we should have to make a website work for us. We just believe that it should.
Spring cleaning to do: Look at your blog on all devices to make sure it is functioning properly. If you have to pinch or zoom to read content it is time to get a new theme. If your content shows up in frames it is time to get a new theme. Use a website like QuirkTools to view your website on different devices.
8. Too Many Ads
You want to make money on your blog– I get it. So do I. But I refuse to do it at the expense of my readers. I am putting awesome content out there and I don’t want ads to get in the way of that. I want my reader’s experience to be a good one and not one bogged down by ads. I think it looks desperate if you have ads on your sidebar, a pop-up on the bottom of the content, in your header, and in the content itself. It tells me that you are more interested in making money from me then helping me or teaching me something new. Nothing makes me click away faster from a website than too many ads.
Spring cleaning to do: Evaluate your ads. Do you really need them in your sidebar, header, in content and the bottom of posts? Are you ruining your reader’s experience? Ask a friend to evaluate it and see what they think. Then remove ads where necessary.
There is a trend going on in web design that I don’t understand. All the fonts on websites are gray. For me that is impossible to read! I understand not having the harshness of black. But I would rather have a gray-black then a gray-white. I can’t read gray-white.
You also should stick to 2-3 different font styles. I wouldn’t do just one font style because that is boring to look at. But don’t go crazy with 5 different fonts either. Stick to one font for your headings and one font for your paragraphs.
Another tip is to increase the size of your font. Many websites are stuck at a 12px font because that is what we are used to from our days of typing papers. It has been proven that if you increase your font to a 14px or 16px you will increase your traffic. A bigger font is easier to read on a computer screen.
Spring cleaning to do: Check your font color, types and sizes to make changes. These small changes make your website easier to read which makes people stick around longer.
Just like your house needs a good spring cleaning so does your blog! Print out this list or pin it and take the time to give your blog a face lift. It will feel good to clean up some of the junk that is holding your blog back. It will also improve your reader’s experience which will pay off with more loyal followers and page views!
What is the state of your blog? Does it need freshening up or does everything look good? What is the first thing you want to work on from this list? Please share your thoughts in the comments below! Thanks for commenting!