9 Ways to Clean Up Your Blog

Now that Spring is here (though, it doesn’t feel like it in Nashville), it’s time to dust off the cobwebs and engage in some spring cleaning for your marketing efforts.

Last week, I offered up a spring cleaning checklist for your social media efforts. Today, we’re going to talk about ways to clean up your blog to make sure it is working hard for you and your business.

Now, roll up your sleeves, grab your mop and let’s get to work, shall we?

Clean up your sidebar.

If your blog’s sidebar looks like a junk drawer, now would be a good time to clean it up to include only the most critical items in it that advance your blog’s objectives.

Some examples would include email signups, RSS subscriptions, social media profiles, popular posts, promotion of products/services, and a search bar. This will vary depending on your blog’s goals, but look at your analytics and try changing it up to see if you can drive deeper interaction on your site.

2. Make email signups easy.

If you’re not getting the number of email subscribers you’d like, look for ways to make your sign-up more prominent. It might mean adding a box or call-to-action in your sidebar, add email sign-ups inside of relevant blog posts or even add a feature box at the end of your blog posts.

Oh, and if you’re not already offering free premium content (such an eBook, whitepaper or video series) to people who sign up for your list, maybe now is the perfect time to create that content.

Update RSS Feed Subscription.

If you haven’t heard the news, Google appears to be shelving Feedburner, a tool for managing and tracking your blog’s RSS feed. If you use that for your blog’s feed management, I strongly recommend switching to another service. I’m using Feedblitz, but here are some other alternatives you can consider. Whatever you choose, don’t forget to make it easy to subscribe.

4. Add Social Sharing.

Do you make it easy for people to share your content on social networks? If not, add a plugin to make that a snap for website visitors. I use the Digg Digg plugin, which makes it easy for you to choose which sharing buttons you want and how you want them displayed.

Optimize posts for SEO.

Blogging can definitely help improve your website’s search rankings, but you need to put in a little work to get the most out of your efforts. To help you optimize your blog posts for search, use a plugin like Yoast or Scribe. These tools make recommendations to strengthen the SEO for each post based on the keywords you select.

Update Plugins.

If your blog uses WordPress, you need to make sure you update your plugins regularly — that means installing updates and deleting any plugins you don’t use anymore. Failing to do so can make your site vulnerable to hackers.

Every time you login to your dashboard, you should see a notification about any plugins that need to be updated. If you haven’t paid attention to this in awhile, take the time to make those updates now. And, if you need help, WordPress has some information about managing and updating plugins.

7. Change your password.

When is the last time you changed your blog’s password? If you can’t remember, it’s high time to make a switch to help keep your site secure. And, you should really make sure your password is a strong one. Here are some tips on creating strong passwords.

 Add security monitoring.

Last year, my website was hacked and I had to spend a couple of days working to get it fixed. Now, I use Sucuri, a security monitoring tool, so I can stay on top of any malware issues and get it cleaned up quickly and easily if my site gets infected.

If you’ve never run a malware scan on your site, you can use Sucuri’s free malware scanner. If it comes back with issues, you can pay $89 to fix the issue get offer proactive scanning and cleanup for a full year. That’s a small price to pay to keep your website clean and malware free.

Check for broken links.

Websites shut down and links change. Make sure the links on your blog are working properly so you’re not sending visitors on a path to nowhere.

Thankfully, you don’t have check this manually. You can use a plugin, such as Broken Link Checker, to get alerts in your blog dashboard on broken links. Or, you can run a search on your site with Broken Link Check or Link Tiger to get a report with all of your broken links.

When is the last time you have cleaned up your blog? What’s on your spring cleaning checklist?

Image credit: jaquelinetinney

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Laura Click

Laura Click is brand strategist, speaker, podcaster and the founder of Blue Kite. Learn more about Laura and her work at Blue Kite.

5 replies on “9 Ways to Clean Up Your Blog”

Thank-you for this list, Laura! We moved New England Multimedia’s website to a responsive design and parked it on a much shorter domain a couple of months ago. Once we moved it over, I started seeing all the old stuff I need to clean up and re-do, especially with everything that’s changed about SEO and how Google indexes and penalizes websites (my image files are huge — Scott had a cow when he saw them). I got a comment the other day asking for an email signup, and you’ve got that listed here, too. Then there’re all the broken links I’m finding. Plugins were outdated. Need a new social sharing plugin since the one we use isn’t compatible with the latest update to our theme.

Everything you’ve listed here, I have to do! Your list will make it easier. Now to find the time!

Glad you like it, Michelle! Hope this helps you as you go through your clean-up.

Yes, responsive design is a big one to add to the list – it’s something I still need to do….as well as a number of other items on this list! 🙂 This is as much of a to-do list for me too! Finding the time is definitely the hard part!

BTW – If you need a new sharing plugin, I really like Digg Digg. It’s really simple and looks great too!

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