How To Improve Your Blog in 10 Steps
Is there such a thing as a perfect website? As I’m still learning about blogging, I check out plenty of blogs. Some of them blow me away and intimidate me with their perfect images and clever words.
But I sometimes wonder what the creators of those blogs think. Do they see their blog with our eyes or are they critical and noticing little tweaks they’d like to make to improve it? I’m betting they always think there’s something that could be better.
That’s probably one of the reasons we see their blogs as so amazing - because they’re constantly improving them. Are we looking at them with envy or for inspiration? Do we think their blog is great because they have some magical something we don’t have? Or can we look at what they do to make their blogs the best and implement the steps we can to get our blog closer to where it needs to be.
If you don’t have time to go through some of these more indepth steps, take a look at Ten Tasks to Improve Your Blog When You Have 10 Minutes and come back here when you have more time.
When you focus on your actual website and blog, do you look at it with fresh eyes or the tired gaze of a solopreneur overwhelmed with all there is to do?
Here are ten suggestions for small improvements you can make on your blog to get it closer to where you want it. Don’t try to do these all at one time, but use this as a checklist to go through each step and take some action to move things forward.
Optimize Your Titles for SEO
Did you write your blog titles when you were just starting and didn’t know about SEO optimization? Do you have some old content you can tweak by simply improving the title. Go through post by post and rethink your wording to make your title more Google or Pinterest friendly.
There are lots of experts out there on SEO optimizing. Find someone whose tips resonate with you and try a few of their suggestions. Start with your titles and then go from there.
on your images
Use captions on images
Do you have beautiful pictures, but nothing describing them? Don’t waste this little bit of real estate on your blog to put in a few descriptive words to fill your post with keywords without rewriting the entire post. A post filled with keywords can be awkward to read, so find places to sneak those words in that don’t affect the readability of your prose.
Keep thumbnail images consistent
Do your images look beautiful on the pages together? I began completely reworking my blog photos after I came across This Renegade Love and saw how seamlessly her images work on her pages. In building this new website, I often go look at hers to get inspiration and remind myself of the thought I need to put into the consistency of images.
Take a look at the images on your thumbnails and throughout your posts. See which ones jump out at you and work toward that look for all of them.
Place links throughout your post, but especially at the end
I have this as an intention on every post, but am surprised at how many times I forget this. Make sure there is something at the bottom of your post that entices your reader to explore something else on your site. Don’t let them leave after seeing only one thing you have to offer.
For example, I have a post on Three Mindsets for Beginning Bloggers written to help you if you’re just starting a blog. I know that a lot of readers of this post are probably just starting their blog and looking for improvements, so I want them to know about this post.
You’ll also see at the bottom, I have a gallery of posts from my other main navigation link, Blogging Mindsets. If you have a lifestyle blog, try to link pages and posts that go most naturally together so readers can easily find more information on your topic.
So take a quick second to go through each of your posts and make sure you have something there and that it’s a good fit. Keep readers on your site and bring down that bounce rate.
Include calls to action
Are you building an email list? Selling a product? Offering a course?
Is it easier for a visitor to find information about any of these things? Placing your calls to action in on your site in ways that guide your reader is an art and a science. And honestly, this is one I’m still working on understanding.
Go back to the sites of some of the mentors you’ve connected with and try to recreate your experience of how you were drawn to their content enough to develop a relationship with them. Look at how they move visitors through their site in ways that get them to convert.
Then when you go back to your site, see how you can implement strategies that you see are effective. Remember, they got you to sign up for their email list or buy their course, so they are doing something right.
Use clean and clear
Use clean and clear navigation links
How easily can visitors find their way through your site. Again, visit some sites you love and check out their navigation.
This can be a tricky step because changing up navigation can affect other parts of your site, so make sure you think through the effects of any change you decide to make and believe it will be beneficial.
It’s also helpful to have an additional set of eyes take a look at your site. Ask your friend or sister or someone who isn’t a blogging guru to take a tour through your site. See what a natural user tells you about what they found. You may or may not implement what they tell you, but it gives you some ideas of what a visitor might be experiencing when they’re on your site.
Present a clear message on your homepage
Your homepage is your front porch. It welcomes visitors and shows them a little bit about who you are.
Go straight to your homepage and ask yourself this question? Do I know what my website is about? Does my ideal customer avatar know this is her place? Does a random visitor quickly see cohesion in my message?
We spend so much time on our specific blog category pages or posts that we don’t visit our homepage enough to know if it’s staying up with our message.
Take some time to tweak this page and clarify your message to visitors. Make sure your front porch is a place a visitor would want to linger and have a glass of tea.
Branding and Logo
I know, I know, branding seems overwhelming. I have built a couple of other websites and never focused on my branding or made sure my blog conveyed a consistent look.
This time, I’m making a more concerted effort, even though I’m still no branding expert. But I now have a logo I love and I’m taking extra time on my images and pins.
If you need inspiration, take at Pinterest and see how quickly you spot pins from your favorite bloggers or even brands. I bet you know instantly when you see a pin from Target, right? Yes, I know they have a bigger budget than you and they have professionals on staff. I’ve felt that same way and still usually feel completely inadequate at branding, but we have to try. We start where we are and make things better as best we can.
So, even if branding overwhelms and scares you, give it a try and you can start making progress.
And if you think it’s not important, think again.
Use your thank you
Thank you page
Do you have a thank you page for customers when they sign up for an offer? Or does it simply go to an email link?
Take some time to put together a thank you page that welcomes a new customer and gives them a little more glance into who you are and why they need you.
They may think they just want your freebie. This is your chance to persuade them they want everything you have to offer.
Check all sign up forms
Do you have miscellaneous landing pages with forms or pop ups on your website? When was the last time you signed up through one of them and checked the process?
Take some time to click on these forms and make sure the path they lead your customers on is easy to navigate and makes sense.
We have our customers’ attention for such a short time. Don’t lose it during a sign up process that is confusing or cumbersome.
There’s always more to do
Yes, there’s an endless list of tweaks and tasks for your blog and website, but don’t let that stop you from doing at least some of the things that will make the differences that set you apart.
Spend some time here and there improving the little things and it will add up to big changes. Take some screen shots along the way and watch the cumulative effect of the improvements.
You’ll be amazed at your progress.
Please share any tweaks you’ve tried and let us know what has worked and where you’ve gotten the biggest bang for your blogging buck.