The end of the year approaches fast. The week after Christmas and before the new year is generally a very relaxed and low production week. But it does not have to be low production for your blog.
Internet usage has slowed down and not many people are interested in work. Take this time of slow-down to spring clean your blog and get it ship shape. There are a lot of things you can doto clean up your blog that will make it just that much more special.
1. Clear out all the spam from the comments.
This is a good time to sift through those comments and clean them up. Deleting all the spammy comments and self serving back link seekers, who’s primary role for their comment is just to get a back link and try to affect their Google PageRank.
There is nothing that highlights neglect of a blog and comments more than loads of spam. So clean up your blog by cleaning up your comments
For a nice little discussion on the top commenting systems available check out Blog Comment System Shootout: Disqus vs. Intense Debate vs. JS-Kit Echo.
2. Cut down on all those ads.
Clean up your blog by removing some of your ads. Nobody likes a blog that has more ads than content. One thing I hate is when I get to a blog and all that I can see are ads trying to sell me something. Ads on blogs need to be well placed, discrete and effective.
If an ad is making you next to nothing then remove it. This will strengthen the message of those ads you’re displaying that are working.
If you are going to monetise your blog, flooding it with ads is not the way to make money. Ads on blogs only work well if you have sustainable traffic and lots of it. Build up your traffic first, then you can worry about ads. Once you have got your traffic up to a reasonable amount, then look into limited advertising.
3. Clean up your sidebar.
The side bar of a blog is an excellent place to put all your blog accessories. Things like ads, Calendars, Best ofs, recent comments, blog rolls, etc. But we can often get carried away. Don’t think that just because you have loads of space all the way down your sidebar that you are obligated to fill it. Clean up your blog by cleaning up your sidebar.
4. Refine your blog design.
Take a look at your blog design and theme. Can you improve it? Can you make your menu structure better? Can you clean up on the colour scheme? Remember KISS, Keep It Simple Stupid.
Even though your blog design needs to be simple, it should not look simple. There is a big difference. You want your blog to look professional, with good colour scheme, loads of white space, and easy navigation.
A good way to clean up your blog is to have a good clean design and theme.
5. Analyse your posts and improve their SEO ability.
Go through your blog stats and see which are the key words and phrases that brought the most traffic to your blog. Note them down, you can do follow up and new articles surrounding those keywords in the future.
Note the articles that did not get much organic search traffic. Traffic that comes naturally from search engines. Analyse them and see if you can improve their SEO quality.
6. Fix the spelling and grammar of old posts.
This is one I hate, because it involves the most work. But needs to be done. I realise you can’t go though every blog post, but at least scan the most read ones. Using your blog stats check out which are the most read and viewed posts and analyse those for spelling and grammatical errors.
If grammar and spelling is not your forte, like me who is dyslexic, rope in the services of someone else that will be able to help you and who has a keen eye for grammar and spelling mistakes.
7. Track down broken links.
Yes I know you have been careful throughout the year, making sure all your links work and point to reputable pages. But remember that the internet changes. Pages get deleted or moved. Not everyone puts in a 302 or 301 redirect. Which could mean your links are broken. It is very frustrating to read a post just to find that you cannot get to supporting articles because the links are broken.
8. Unclutter the clutter.
Isn’t it amazing how much clutter our blogs build up over the year. This is the perfect time to unclutter your blog.
Because everyone is different all clutter will be different. Clutter is basically extra content on your blog that will not affect the reader in any way or in any significant way. Things like old polls, unnecessary widgets, things that can go on a page by themselves.
Probably one of the best ways to clean up your blog is to unlcutter it.
Here is a brilliant article on what one might be able to remove from our blog that is just considered clutter. 50 Tips to Unclutter Your Blog
9. Optimise your blog.
Nobody likes a slow downloading blog. Search for ways you can speed up your blog. You might have to also look at individual posts to get best results.
Optimise your theme graphics. Nothing slows down a site more than large graphics. Remember the medium you are catering for. You are not catering for print media which demands large resolution graphics and with high pixel per inch. 72 pixels/inch is perfect for screen.
- Compress those graphics as much as possible without losing quality.
- Cut down and clean up your images.
- Do not use Flash if you do not need to.
- Do not use a graphic where a well formulated text will work perfectly.
- Reduce the amount of summary posts on your blog home page. You do not have to list the last three months. 5-10 summary posts will be sufficient.
10. Check out your ISP and host provider.
Run some test to see how your blog host ads up. Perhaps compare a few different hosts. But be careful stats can and sometimes do lie. Move to a different host only if you are absolutely sure that you are not satisfied with the level of service and speed that your host provides.
There have been times where a blog has failed because of a poor host. So make sure you have the best that you can afford.
BONUS. BACK-UP! BACK-UP! BACKUP!
This should have actually been the first tip. Back-up all your data from your blog. Each blogging software will do it differently. Make sure you know how. If you are self hosting your blog, then make sure you can backup your whole site through the tools provided via your hosting provider. Some charge extra for this. Money well worth spending.
Remember you cannot restore if you have not backed it up.
Do you have any point that I have perhaps missed? Share them with us in the comments below.