Blogging isn’t just about channelling your inner wordsmith. With so much to do it’s useful to have a checklist to audit your blog. There’s a lot of quick wins here. Some you might know and others which do but put aside for another time. That time is now!
The following is derived from our experience in looking at hundreds of blogs a year and having sold blogs from $5,000 to over $1m. Let’s see how you shape up in 3 easy steps:
- Download the checklist below.
- Tick off the items you currently do.
- Comment your score below and see how you compare to others!
Download Your Free Blog Audit List In PDF
1. Develop a Mission Statement
Why are you here and why do you blog? This is essentially at the heart of any mission statement – and you need to be honest with yourself so that this will, in turn, allow you to stay true to your core values and help your readers to understand your purpose. Remember, don’t stray too far from your original mission.
Example: “This blog exists to fight social injustices around the world and give a voice to the people who need one.”
Learn more about writing a mission statement for your blog.
2. Survey Your Readers
Inviting feedback is always a little daunting and doesn’t always give you the responses you might like, but there is often no better way of finding out if your readers are engaged or not – other than monitoring your stats and looking at things like your bounce rate. In order for a feedback exercise to be effective, you need to make sure that you ask your readers the right questions and have clear aims before you set out:
- Content – Are your topics interesting, engaging and relevant? Are they too long or too short? Do you need to post more often?
- Design – How easy is it to navigate around? Does your blog look good: colour scheme, logo, visual et cetera? Are your fonts easy to read? Is there any unnecessary clutter?
- Features – Do you have any particularly useful tools? A good RSS feed?
- Community – What is your sense of community like? How could it be improved?
Not only is this exercise useful for you in terms of being able to improve your blog and maximize its effectiveness, but it will also invite reader participation and perhaps engage people who had previously been silent readers. It will also ensure that your readers feel valued and important and that they actually have a say. Check out Qualaroo which can acquire targeted data from surveys. They do a 14 day free trial.
3. Check Out the ‘Others’ Out There.
Depending on how you might feel about those people that also write in your niche, we have referred to them as the ‘others’ for neutrality. Checking them out is a really useful exercise in helping to establish what they are doing well, and therefore determining what you could be doing better. So, get a list together of 10 blogs in your field and then ask yourself the following questions as you visit their sites:
- What do they do particularly well?
- What don’t they write about?
- What is the frequency of their posts?
- What is the average length of their posts?
- What aspects of their design are particularly good/bad?
- Who is their audience? What level of expertise are they likely to have?
You may well be able to come up with further questions, but these will provide you with a good starting point – the idea is that you will then be able to identify ‘gaps in the market’, as well as seeing what tools and techniques are working particularly well.
4. Ever SWOT? You Do Now…
Anyone with any kind of business background will immediately recognize the worth behind carrying out a SWOT analysis. For those of you who don’t know, a SWOT analysis involves assessing your something, usually a business or often a specific decision in terms of its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. It is usually written out in table format, like the one shown below. Before you begin, it is important that you understand your blog’s aims and eventual goals, or be familiar with your mission statement.
|What allows your blog to achieve its goals?What makes you a good blogger?What are you the best at?||What is currently preventing your blog from achieving its goals?What should you do in order to be better?|
|What do you have at your disposal that will make your blog better?What external sources can you turn to?||Which external factors could be stopping your blog achieving its goals?What are your competitors doing better?|
5. Find a Sponsor
Is your blog a means of earning a living? Does it need to make money in order to survive? If the answer to either of these questions is ‘yes’ then finding a sponsor for your blog is a definite must. Granted, it’s not an easy task and your blog will need to be somewhat established first, but here are some helpful tips for those starting out:
i) Make sure your blog looks presentable – it will be part of the ‘interview’ process.
ii) Aim big by starting small. The chances are that you blog isn’t big enough yet to approach the big guns in your field, so start with smaller, relevant companies that might purchase small advertising spaces on your blog. It won’t amount to much money at first (and you might not be able to send them huge amounts of custom either), but it will provide you with a good learning curve.
iii) Check out similar blogs and see if any of the companies you are thinking of approaching already advertise with them – it’s quite possible that they’ll consider running a campaign with you too.
iv) Don’t be afraid to offer a free trial.
Get mind-mapping now!
6. Affiliate Yourself
You will no doubt find yourself writing about new products or services within your niche on quite a regular basis, unaware that there is an affiliate program that matches what you’re talking about and could make you money in the process.
Searching for an affiliate program is as easy as typing ‘x affiliate program’ into Google, but there are also numerous websites out there aimed at making the search easier and industry-specific, displaying all your options in one easy-to-see space, such websites are Comission Junction and Affiliate Window– check them out today!
7. Put Your ‘First-Time-Reader’ Hat On (Or Get Someone Else To).
This actually works better if you get someone else to do it for you. No doubt you are heavily invested in your blog and sometimes this means that you are unable to see the wood for the trees, so to speak. In other words, because you’re busy navigating around your blog on a daily basis, you can sometimes misinterpret how easy it would be for a new reader.
Therefore go out and find a willing participant who has never read your blog before, this could be a close friend or a family member for example; ply them with copious amounts of tea and biscuits and sit them in front of a computer, type in your blog address and watch. It is important that you don’t say anything whilst they’re having a nosey around, but pay attention to the following:
- How easily do they navigate around?
- Where do they click first?
- What grabs their attention for a moment (or longer)?
- What do they miss, or not look at all?
Make notes on the above whilst they are looking around and then follow up with some questions afterwards:
- What did they think? We’ve already discussed how first impressions are very important
- Did they immediately know what your blog was going to be about?
- Was navigating around easy?
- Can your blog be improved in any way?
- Are they left with any unanswered questions after having had a look around?
- What did they think of the design?
Then give it at least ten minutes and ask them to right down 5 things that they remember about your blog, this will give you an idea of how memorable it actually is.
For a truly unbiased opinion on your website try Peek by User Testing. You simply type in the website that you would like testing and Peek gives the address to an average everyday user to have a look around and record their responses to the site in real-time so that you can really get an idea of what potential users might think of your site.
8. Have a Spring Clean
Have you ever come across the acronym KISS? It originally stood for Keep It Simple, Stupid! Essentially what it is saying, and what it has begun to be known as is actually keep it simple and straightforward, or keep it short and simple.
Therefore, suggesting that any unnecessary clutter should be avoided in favour of a cleaner, sharper design.
You should pay close attention to this principle as potential blog readers will not respond well to any kind of blog muddle – it makes navigation more complicated and renders the overall design less appealing and in some senses less professional, another adage for you: less is more!
Start by having a look at your sidebar – is there anything that could be removed? Any widgets or menu items that don’t serve a distinct purpose should be the first to go. Could any items be repositioned to the footer, for example in order to free up some space?
9. Be Colourful…
…And we’re not just talking about your personality! Don’t be afraid to use colour throughout your blog, but make sure that you use it wisely (and creatively). You should utilize a strict colour scheme – and stick to it. Think about the tone that you are trying to set, and make sure that you don’t stray too far from it, if you’re blog is a professional one, then you might want to stay away from copious amounts of hot pink and purple, for example.
A lot has been written on the psychology of colour and you can find an interesting article from Kissmetrics here. You might want to bear this in mind when designing or updating your blog –who knew, for instance, that blue has been shown to garner trust from a user?
10. Ad Assessment
Just like the other audits that we have suggested, your ads could do with a good old once-over every now and again too, in order to check their effectiveness. You need to spend some time checking that the optimization implemented initially, still applies. You could use the heat mapping tool, introduced earlier, in order to assess the strategic placement of your ads and whether or not anyone is actually looking at them, before considering the following:
– Do you need to do anything differently?
– Would increasing the size or altering the color of your ad increase your click-through rate?
– Could you change your ad’s positioning? Quite possibly…
Positing is absolutely key here and it is probably worth noting that ads in sidebars tend to perform less well than those placed immediately beside content. Similarly, if a user has to scroll down the page, then an ad will likely go unclicked. It is also good practice to change the size, colour and positioning of your ads on a semi-regular basis in order to allow your loyal readers to notice them again.
11. Map That Heat
Create a heat map to show you exactly what’s what on your blog. Through software provided by CrazyEgg, you will be able to see a visual breakdown of exactly what your readers do when they get to your blog; what they decide to look at, what links they actually click on and what ads they click on too. Is there a particular space on your blog that people seem to be pulled towards? Find out, check it out today at CrazyEgg.com.
12. Email the Newbies!
Everyone knows that first impressions are very important and arguably even more so in the virtual world where you have to rely on your text to do all the talking. So, create a great impression on a newbie by selecting a first-time commenter on one of your blog posts and emailing them in order to express your thanks. Not only does this ensure that the all-important first impression is nailed; it also makes your newbie feels appreciated, and places you and your blog firmly in their thoughts.
This is a nice and simple way of ensuring that someone returns to your blog again and again. If you’re lucky they may well tell other people about you. Do make sure that you link your email to their initial comment, either by answering a question they posed, or extending their thoughts in some way. Also be sure to include a link to your blog in the email so that they know who you are and can return with relative ease.
13. Email the Oldies
Every established blogger has a select loyal fan base that have been reading and contributing to your blog since the early days. You need to make sure that they, too, feel appreciated, as without them, your blog probably wouldn’t be what it is today – an actively interactive blog is much more interesting to read and conducive to building a sense of community, than article after article of naked, comment-less posts. So, send a couple of emails to your most loyal contributors and ensure that they stay loyal and keep coming back for more.
14. Respond to Comments
A little thought goes a long way. We’ve seen so far that one of the key elements of a blog is its interactional capabilities and therefore you also should take full advantage of this and respond to as many comments as possible in order to actually engage with your audience.
This is one of the most simple (and again, intuitive) tactics that you can employ to ensure maximum impact on your readers. People like to feel heard – that’s part of the reason that they posted a comment in the first place, so by acknowledging their comments by answering their questions, initiating a debate, or simply thanking them for their contribution is a sure fire way to create a culture of comment on your blog, and maintain a healthy readership going forward. So, be sure to leave a little time each day to go through your posts and respond to your commenters.
15. Start Making Introductions
The power of making a good introduction has the potential to be far-reaching. Search the blogosphere and email or IM another blogger who writes in your field; thank them for an inspirational post they have written, offer a handy hint (but be careful not to patronize) or even offer your services as a guest writer. Do be mindful of how many emails said blogger might receive, so keep it brief and wait (don’t be disheartened if you don’t receive a response though).
16. Forge Links With the ‘Others’
Go a step further and actually link to the ‘Others’ out there, not only does endorsement in this form often work well for both parties (you are likely to gain a reciprocated link in the future), it also shows that you are well-read in your field and gives readers the chance to expand their knowledge on a particular subject further. Remember to mention to the other person that you have linked to them, but don’t ask for anything in return.
17. Find a Forum
Get googling now for a good forum that directly relates to your field and get involved (just as you like your own readers to do). As their name might suggest, participating in forums can be prove very valuable to your own blog, due to the relationships they help to forge. Indeed, they can be fantastic communities that foster interaction between members all linked by a common, often specialist field. So, make sure that you join in and ensure that you use your profile as an opportunity to showcase your brand, with links to your blog and further information about your brand, whether personal or business. Most blogs allow you to create a unique signature, which can be used to link to your blog, landing page or key resources.
You can also use a forum to your inspirational advantage – they are often full of specialist knowledge, or questions from beginners that you can answer by penning a new blog post, or answer on the forum via a link to an existing post.
18. Comment on Websites
Every couple of months throughout your blogging career you need to leave some time free for a good old-fashioned blog expedition. It’s definitely a good idea to be on top of your niche and have a good in-depth knowledge of who’s saying what about whom within your field. It is also a very good idea to comment on as many blogs as you can, in order to drive new traffic back to your site and get your name out there. It’s also a soft way to approach a new blogger. If they recognize your name from helpful comments you’ve left on their blog, your introduction e-mail will be read more favorably.
19. Social Media
If you’ve been told once, you’ll have been told a thousand times…social media makes the virtual world go round and any blogger would be crazy not to take full advantage of every social media site they can visit, and not just the Facebooks and the Twitters try other more business-focused sites such as LinkedIn too.
- Brand – Social Media is definitely important for branding, the main reason being that traffic to sites like Facebook is mammoth and therefore, getting your brand before a big audience is likely to pay dividends in the future.
- Relate – Forging relationships with the right people on sites like LinkedIn is likely to strengthen communication on your blog and result in higher levels of interactivity.
- Learn – See what everyone else is doing and how they are going about it, search for key people in your niche and watch how they interact with people. What are the key trends across your field? What are people excited about? Social media offers a great platform for all of this information to be pooled together- use it!
20. MeetUp or MasterMind?
The virtual world is fantastic, but nothing is better than a good old face-to-face meeting, particularly when you have got to sell something (i.e. your blog). So, get the hors d’oeuvre ready because you’ve got a Meetup to host! This is a great forum through which to meet likeminded individuals and get yourself some potential readers – so, you had better ensure that your networking skills are up-to-scratch.
If you’re full of entrepreneurial energy and ready for something perhaps a little more challenging (though this doesn’t in any way diminish the skill involved in hosting a Meetup) then visit MastermindTalks.com. This is a fantastic forum whereby you are put in front of a room full of people for two minutes, to pitch a specific problem that you and your company are facing. The audience are then given ten minutes to offer you feedback. Not only do you get your questions answered, but you also learn a great deal in the process.
21. Be Delicious.com
Another social bookmarking site and another potential goldmine in terms of new readers. ProBlogger Darren Rowse gives some helpful advice about how to get to the top of the Delicious popular page and increase your readership tenfold overnight.
22. Attend a Conference
Virtual Networking is all very well – but in order to really make a name for yourself you need to get out there and meet the people that matter in the blogging world. Here are three reasons to get ready to mingle and a link to a previous post full of recommendations for great blogging conferences:
- Conferences are great places to learn some new skills that you can action later.
- You can make friends and create partnerships with people that hold similar interests.
- You can actually engage with prospective readers face-to-face.
And the link: Digital Conferences to Attend in 2015
FollowerWonk is a clever tool that allows you to analyse your Twitter followers and optimize your account for social growth. Take a good look at your followers, who are they? What do they do? Where do they live? What do they tweet about?
FollowerWonk also gives you the change to find and connect with influencers in your niche.
24. Go to the Park!
Switch off your computer, put away your tablet and leave your smart phone at home. Get outside and go to the park, grab a coffee and sit on a bench – feel the warm sun on your face and listen to the sound of the birds. Okay, so this might all sound very serene and peaceful, but what does it have to do with increasing your blogging capabilities?
- It actually gets you out of the house and away from your blog. The life of a blogger often means many hours in sweats and copious amounts of coffee. Sometimes stepping away from the task at hand can actually result in higher levels of productivity.
- It’ll give you the chance to undertake an observation exercise proposed by ProBlogger, Darren Rowse, the crux of which involves taking a notepad and observing people in a public space (he uses a shopping mall), asking yourself questions about their buying habits, the type of clothes they are wearing or the food they’re eating, for example. You can adapt these questions to any vertical and the answers to them can be imagined if you like. The idea is mainly to get you thinking about new content, but it will also get you out in the fresh air for a bit!
Download Your Free Blog Audit List In PDF
25. The New Kids on the Block
Every now and again it’s good practice to check out the new kids on the block, in order to make certain that you are still writing content that is current. It’s entirely possible that they do things a little differently from you, so take note of what they are doing well and indeed, what you could be doing better. Has the writing style of your niche changed? Are people responding well to a new tool or widget? How long is the average post now?
However, a really neat way to make this exercise really worthwhile and drive more traffic back to your site is to comment on their content (and include your link too)!
26. Get BrightVisible’s Content Generator
For those of you who suffer quite debilitating bouts of writer’s block – there is now no excuse for an inability to put pen to paper, or tap those keys. BrightVisible’s Content Generator is a brilliant tool that not only inspires you towards great content, but helps you with keyword placement, mapping trends and finding likeminded bloggers.
Access the tool here. It works via Google Docs – so you’ll need to do the following before you start:
i) Download the tool.
ii) Log into your Google account
iii) Click on File>make a copy.
iv) Then, you’re all set – enter any keyword into cell B3 and hit return, you can also do multi-keyword search by using the + tool e.g. business+interview.
27. Check Out Google Trends
Having now extended its usage to verb form too, there is no doubt that Google is the big gun when it comes to search engines and therefore, looking to Google to map trends when thinking about improving your SEO rankings should seem like an obvious choice. Google Trends allows you to search for a particular term for an extended analysis of its search history, both temporally and geographically. It also displays trending searches on a daily, monthly and yearly basis – both generally and more topic-related. If nothing else, it is an interesting read and might offer you some good inspiration.
28. Give Your Blog Some Buzzsumo
Buzzsumo offers a great easy-to-use interface to help you identify which kind of content is doing well across any given industry or topic area. You can search social media and other relevant sites to find trends and write according to your audience, and write what matters!
29. Google Public Data
Stuck for data sources? Need a visual for some stats? Google Public Data is the place to go. It collates information from a variety of public sources into a single searchable space – you can find data, charts and infographics on any number of topics.
30. Wordle, Wordle, Wordle
Stuck for words? Don’t worry; Wordle is here to help you. It generates ‘word clouds’ from keywords that you provide it – and you can even customize them. However you decide to make yours – there’s no doubt that it can provide you with some great inspiration.
Nobody wants archived posts to be forgotten entities relegated to the past, so make them current by linking to them in your newer, related posts. Interlinking archived pages of your blog clearly becomes more important, the more established your blog becomes, but it is a good way to help your overall readership increase, including the time a reader spends on your site and it will also inevitably help with SEO, increasing the search engine ranking of your posts.
This all might sound relatively intuitive so far, many of you might well automatically and instinctively link new posts to those you have previously written, as it seems like a natural thing to do. However, I wonder how many of you do it the other way around, and go through your older posts, linking them to your newer ones. In-text links often appear more natural and can easily result in a reader clicking onto another post, but another way you can interlink is to include a ‘If you liked this post, you may also like…’, or ‘Similar articles…’ section at the bottom of each page. There a lots of WordPress plugins that will do this for you and save you some valuable time.
Sometimes it’s easy to get carried away and before you know it, you have post after post of new content that could be lost on a new reader trying to find out what your blog is actually about. The easiest way to rectify this potential problem is to simply write a post explaining everything. Talk about why you started your blog in the first place, how potential users should utilize it, at a more basic level what a blog is and how they are designed to be used, tell them how to make a comment, for example. Maybe you should also tell them how to subscribe by email or stay up-to-date with RSS feeds. Crucially, you could also tell new readers where to start, so they are not too daunted by a barrage of feeds.
This will act as a recap for your regular, more long-term readers, but you could also get them involved too, perhaps by suggesting good articles.
33. Make Someone a Celebrity
You’re undoubtedly writing your blog in order to influence people in some way. Maybe you also want to get noticed, be talked about in popular circles or actually make a difference to a cause close to your heart. Whatever your reasons, be willing to share your crown. You can do this by selecting a reader (or another blogger) and making them a celebrity in your blogosphere. There are various ways to do this:
- Convert a comment to a post – As we have already discussed, comments are often the backbone of a blog. So, show your appreciation for the wisdom of some of your readers by promoting it to the big-time as a post in its own right.
- Pen a (good) review of an under-read blog – A good review from a well-respected blogger can go a long way and earn you some respect in the process.
- Reader of the Week – This is somewhat self-explanatory, and some might feel it’s a little corny, but do it in the right way and it can work wonders for engaging your readership and extending the blog community. Be mindful of who you choose to be Reader of the Week and highlight effectively why you have done so.
Being impulsive is often fun but rarely, in business, does impulsive work in the long-term. And, if you’re serious about your blog, then you should be treating it like a business. Sporadic posting is likely to result in decreased productivity, with an increase in writer’s block. Crucially, it will also appear erratic to your readership, as it is unlikely to flow well and instead, will look rather muddled. The secret to avoiding this: plan! Before each week, make sure that you sit down and create a mind-map of potential posts for the week ahead. You can then develop each of these ideas (which are hopefully interlinked) into a sentence, or a kind of mini-abstract, outlining the post’s main aims that you can refer back to when you come to write.
35. Launch Pad
Remember that post you wrote on how to master the perfect pitch two years ago? No, neither do your readers – and your new readership hasn’t even seen it. One of the biggest blogosphere bugbears is the unread archive, which can often amount to hundreds of posts. The challenge, therefore, is to launch new readers deep into the archives so that they can access all that useful content.
Here are some quick and easy launches:
- The ‘Themed’ Post – Interviews, stage make-up or supercars. Create a post around a single theme and include a list of all your previous posts that contribute excellent content to this vertical.
- The ‘Best of’ Post – ‘The Best of 2014’, for example. Include highlights of the best posts from the past year – you can be as general or as specific as you like.
- The ‘Most Commented on’ – You’re starting to get the idea of how these launch pages work now.
Try to avoid a list of links though – make sure that you introduce the main ideas behind each post and why it might be useful to your new readership.
36. Get Some Sticky Content
Every blog needs to make sure that they have some sticky content in order to keep users interested and engaged. A good way to ensure that users stick around, or indeed keep coming back to your blog over and over, is to enable them to subscribe to via email, which means that a user is updated on new content without having to look through a website. You could also provide content that interlinks to previous posts in order to keep pushing your readers around your blog by keeping them curious.
37. Make Sure You’re a Headline Act
One of your biggest aims as a blogger is to make your blog as readable as possible to keep hold of those precious users. People like the accessibility of a blog and the fact that it is made up of small bite-size chunks of information that can be easily digested. You need to maximize the bite-size aspect and one way that you can do this, is by using headlines in your posts. They make your text infinitely more scannable, as they are big (text-size wise) and bold, they tell the reader the crux of each paragraph and they break up the text so that it doesn’t seem so daunting. Make sure that you use keywords in your headlines as the search engines will like it and it ticks all the SEO boxes, try using this handy checklist to ensure that you have covered all of your bases.
38. Not Everyone’s an Expert
This is probably one of the most important things to bear in mind when writing a blog on a specialist subject – your readership will comprise of multi-ability individuals and therefore your posts need to cater to all of their needs at once. If you pitch too high, you will lose your beginners; pitch too low and you’ll alienate (and bore) the experts.
There are many different ways to get around this, for example, when you’re discussing a concept that you feel might be new to a relative beginner, try linking to a definition. This way, the beginner will be able to research the point further by clicking on the link and your expert will no doubt chose to avoid clicking – everyone’s happy and your text is uninterrupted.
39. Like a Bullet
- We can’t tell you enough – scannable texts make happy readers.
- One of the easiest ways to make your text scannable is to write it in bullet-point format.
- It presents all of the necessary information to the reader, without them having to work to find it.
- Looking for specific information is much easier to do when the information is written in bullet-point format, than in full-sentence paragraphs.
- Readers are more likely to read an entire list, than an entire paragraph.
- It involves less writing for you.
40. Break it Down
Every great copywriter will tell you that breaking up your copy is very good practice. Not only does it look smarter, it also makes it a lot easier to read than reams and reams of continuous text. As we have already said, readers engage with material that is easy to scan and not too intimidating. Readers are much more likely to actually read your posts if they are broken down into short, simple paragraphs – try to limit each paragraph to around 4-6 lines of text – anything beyond this should be broken up.
41. Shake it Up!
No offence should be taken here – but we’re going to ask you to step down from the helm for a little while in order to shake things up a little bit. Invite a guest writer to your blog for to give a change of pace and a different perspective. Your readers will no doubt respond very well to this if it is a good article – so choose wisely. Approaching another blogger in your niche will likely benefit both of you in the long run, giving you both increased exposure and the chance to be seen in another light.
42. Hire a Copywriter
If, after all of our advice, you find yourself still struggling to write great content, then it might be time to hire a copywriter and it’s likely to be a lot less expensive than you might think and will give you time to focus on other things. Websites such as Elance allow you to post a specific job, or list an ongoing freelance vacancy, along with the compensation you are willing to pay.
Plagiarism is a scary word, and rightly so – nobody worth their salt would even consider plagiarising anything. If you have ghost writers or hire someone to produce content for your blog, CopyScape can check that the content isn’t copied from elsewhere.
44. SEO Review
There’s nothing like an acronym to render people awash with uncertainty and one frequently at the top of that list is SEO. Search Engine Optimisation needn’t be complicated though, because there are a number of tools that can help you get the fundamentals right. You should also check out our recent blog post, 105 Free SEO Tools: The Ultimate Toolkit for Digital Marketers for some more inspiration.
45. Are you the SEO King?
Use SEOptimer to find out. This handy little website review and SEO tool will analyse any domain for SEO, offering free tips and a PDF report afterwards, for you to action.
Tired of figuring everything out for yourself or has SEO got you down? If you need a quick one-size fits all approach to fixing your blog then Raven might well have the answer for you. It has a whole suite of internet marketing tools that range from help with content marking, SEO, pay-per-click and social media so that you can optimize your blog in every possible way. Unfortunately this kind of help doesn’t come free, but Raven do offer a free 30-day trial.
One of the most popular WordPress plugins for SEO, WordPress by Yoast is the way to improve your blog’s SEO, whilst ensuring that your content doesn’t suffer in the process – by giving you a keyword focus and making sure that this is at the centre of everything you write. There is no doubt that after using this plugin you will be writing better content in no time. We use Yoast, and we couldn’t live without it!
48. Eradicate Link Rot
Links make the blogging world spin! Indeed, a fair amount of your visitors will have arrived at your site via a link on another blog. So, links are very useful, and need to be kept alive. Having dead links present on your blog, in other words those that are incorrect or link to a defunct blog is very bad practice and will no doubt affect your readership, who will just end up getting frustrated and possibly even doubt your authority.
Don’t manually check all of your links, use software available at BrokenLinkCheck.com.
49. Know Your Stats
There are rarely any disadvantages in knowing your stats – knowledge is power, after all. A website’s statistics, which you can find in tools such as Google Analytics contain a ton of useful, actionable information, such as:
- The most popular posts – this will not only help you to write more of what the people want, but it will also give you a very good hint about which pages should be optimized.
- Referrals – how are people arriving at your blog? If many of your new arrivals come from a particular website, look at starting some kind of professional relationship with them to allow this to increase even further. Many will inevitably come from search engines, so tailoring your SEO techniques will help even more.
- Keywords – related to the above point, knowing what your readers actually search for in order to get to your site will help you hone your SEO and will also get you writing more of what matters most to your audience, whilst Google Analytics is unable to do this anymore, you should try a third party estimator, such as SemRush.
50. Appraise Your ‘About’ Page
One of the key pages on a blog is the ‘About’ page. This allows new readers to find out exactly what your blog is likely to say and do, and so, from that respect it is a key conversion page. Therefore, it needs to be strong, clear and concise and crucially it needs to be kept current. Include your mission statement and make sure that it adequately represents the benefits of regularly reading your blog and all that it has to offer. It is also a good idea to include other media, such as photos and videos. Maybe you could include a photo of yourself speaking at a recent conference to give readers an idea of who you are professionally.
There you have it, 50 things you can start doing today to improve your blog and grow your audience. Let us know if you have any questions and feel free to grab a PDF cheat sheet of this post below.