Not satisfied with your blog yet? Looking to improve and optimize your chances of success? Need inspiration for how to get your project to the next level? This is a list of 58 simple things that you can do to improve your site today.
I did a presentation inspired by this post in front of a crowd of newbie bloggers. The presentation was filmed so I wanted to share with you the video and the presentation slides so you can get all the 58 blogging tips in a visual format as well on top of the text format below.
I hope that you do enjoy the advice and you find it helpful in improving your own site. Please do share this post with your friends who are interested in starting a site if you do find these tips useful. For more advice make sure to follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.
- Get a domain name
Forget yourname.wordpress.com or yourname.blogspot.com. Get your domain for branding, user-friendliness, search engine optimization and a professional image. See how to choose a domain name.
- Include keywords in the domain name
You can try to go with your full name, but if you are not a household brand like Seth Godin it won’t work. It takes years to build a brand. Search engines like keywords in the domain and will rank you.
- Install self-hosted WordPress
- Don’t be just another WordPress site
Think of a catchy tagline, include it in your site and let it brand your site.
- Focus on a niche topic
It is much easier to attract visitors if you have a very focused topic. You brand yourself as an expert within that field and your readers know what to expect from you.
- Be SEO friendly
Search engines can send you a lot of traffic, allow them to do that by changing your blog permalinks to include your post keywords in your URL. See all WordPress SEO tips here.
- Write a new article
Write the best article you can, share your experience and know-how and publish it.
- Write catchy how-to and top-list headline
Write “how to” and “top list” type of headlines. They work the best for getting the attention from readers and are very shareable. See how to write clickable headlines.
- Include links to internal pages in your article
Always make sure to link to at least one older article of yours in the new post your are writing. Internal linking makes your content more sticky, it increases page views and introduces your visitors to some older articles.
- Include a Related Posts list at the end of your articles
Allow your visitors to easily discover relevant articles from your archives. This brings you more subscribers, more page views and longer time spent on site.
- Activate Akismet
Akismet saves you a lot of time and protects your posts from spam comments. Activate it, relax and let is do the dirty work.
- Be focused
To succeed in blogging you must have a goal, and you must stay focused on reaching it. Work constantly towards it for a longer period of time without losing the focus.
- Make your site harder to break into
Do not use the generic admin username. Create your own unique username and delete the admin one to keep your site more secure.
- Consider a premium theme
Premium themes build on top of WordPress software and give you even more possibilities for customization.
- Be consistent in your branding
Use the same avatar, same nickname, same logo wherever you are spending your time online. Make it all consistent with your site to get the best branding effect.
- Brand your site with a header image
Create an unique header image to brand yourself better. It is the most prominent position on your site and the first thing visitors see.
- Move your RSS feed to Feedburner
Feedburner gives you more options with your feed, you can see subscriber stats and offer your feed as an email newsletter as well.
- Let your visitors subscribe via email
RSS may be great, but many people still do not know how to use it. For many e-mail is the preferred way to subscribe to content, so make sure not to neglect them.
- Allow visitors to subscribe to comments
Allow your visitors to subscribe to comments on your site and get notified when a new comment has been posted. It makes them return back to your post and comment again.
- Sign up for Google Analytics
Get Google Analytics to track and learn more abut your visitors. Analytics offer a wealth of data that can improve your content.
- Build a sitemap
Build the XML sitemap to allow the search engines to easily find and index your archives.
- Make your content scannable
Majority of Internet users do not read word by word, they scan the text. Make your articles scannable by using sub-headings, short paragraphs, bulleted lists and so on.
Do you have too many social media buttons? Do you have too many widgets in your sidebar? Think of the usability and user-friendliness and remove the unnecessary once.
- Backup (just in case)
In case someone hacks into your site, you may lose all your articles and comments that you have built. Make sure to avoid that and do a regular backup of your content.
- Verify your URL in Google Webmaster Tools
Verify your URL in Webmaster Tools and let Google tell you what to improve on your site.
- Include at least one picture in each article
Adding images is the simplest way to grab the attention of your readers, make your articles easier to read and make your site look better.
- Be self disciplined
To succeed in blogging, you must be disciplined, write posts regularly, and work consistently over a longer period of time even without seeing the big results.
- Register at StumbleUpon
Join StumbleUpon, start sharing the articles you are reading and start connecting to stumblers interested in the topic you are writing about.
- Remove broken links
Search engines do not like broken links, your visitors do not like them either, make sure to remove all the broken links from your site.
- Comment on one other site
Just read a good article you agree with? Just read an article you do not agree with? Comment on it, share your opinion and experience.
- Respond to a reader comment
Read through the reader comments on your site and respond if there is something interesting, or if someone has a question or an insightful thought.
- Write a guest post on a popular site
Contact the most popular site in your niche, send them a great article you have just written for them and let them publish it in exchange for a link back to you.
- Need inspiration for the next post? Just read
Read as much as you can, take notes and get inspiration and ideas for your future articles.
- Be active
Take the stairs, bike to work, run in the weekends. Live an active life and it will improve your energy levels and will keep you and your mind sharp.
- Think outside “text-is-king” box
It is not all about article of blocks of text. Can you say something by using pictures? Can you say something by pasting a tweet into your article? Think outside content is text only.
- Connect with another blogger
Reach out and establish new contacts with other bloggers. You can exchange experiences, write guest posts for each other and so on.
- Learn a new skill
Be open-minded and be on the lookout for new things that can help you improve, learn and build new skills.
- Make it easy for people to contact you
In case someone wants to get in touch with you, you must make sure it is easy for people to do so. Have a contact page with your details and a contact form.
- Have a media kit ready for advertisers
If you are looking for advertisers, make sure to have a media kit ready to send them where you inform them about your site, your traffic numbers and other details.
- Make a video
Even if your site is in a very saturated niche, you can differentiate yourself by basically making videos of all the information that everyone else is competing for with text articles only.
- Don’t be passive, promote your content
Get out there. Find your target audience. Connect with them. Show that you are the expert. Promote your content wherever you can, whenever you can.
- Thank your visitor
If someone comments on your posts, or shares your article on StumbleUpon or tweets it, make sure to thank them for the support.
- Write an ebook, give it away of free
Ebooks are great for attracting attention and getting visitors, subscribers and links to your site. So put your best tips on one topic and give it away for free, do not even ask for an email address.
- Promote a comment from a reader into a full post
If you find a very insightful comment on your site, publish it as your next post, style it, give the credit to the reader and share your thoughts on the subject.
- Do not make assumptions about your readers
Simplify your writing, explain obvious things. You might know all about the subject but there are thousands of people who have never heard about it and to whom your article might introduce the topic.
- Unclutter your workspace
Clean up, throw out useless things, unclutter your workspace to help you focus, keep you inspired and make you more productive.
- Need sponsors? Go out and grab them
If you’re having trouble attracting sponsors, get out there to the relevant companies, get in touch with them and explain how you will help them spread the word about their product and sell more.
- Going on a holiday? Don’t let your site die
Plan in advance, write some good posts before you go on a holiday and schedule them to be published while you are away. This way you keep your site active while you are away.
- Automate your comments moderation
Don’t waste your time moderating your reader comments, let a spam filter do it for you. Once in a while it might let a spam comment go through, but it is easy for you to delete that instead of having manually to approve each comment. Trust Akismet.
- Register for a Twitter account
Go on Twitter, search for people in your target group, get in touch, connect to them and win them over one by one. See how to get your first 500 Twitter followers.
- Add a Tweet This button to your articles
Tweet This works so much better than Digg This or Email This. It brings you instant results and spreads your content to new people.
- Read a book
Don’t just spend your time online, you can also get inspired offline. Pick up a book, read it and let it inspire your online work. Reading a book will give you a different and fresh perspective on online topics.
- Don’t be a quitter
Blogging takes a lot of hard-work and it can take a long time before you start seeing the results. So do not quit after just a while.
- Throw away the television
Cannot find the time to write for your site? Stop watching TV, stop wasting your valuable time. Be productive and start creating that next post which will introduce your site to many new users.
- Follow the probloggers, and learn from them
Follow probloggers, see how they write articles, when they write them, how they style them, how they tweet. Don’t necessarily only listen to what they say, but analyze how they say it and why.
- Don’t just consume content, produce content
Don’t just read sites whole day long, it is important to take time and work on your own articles.
- Write an ebook, sell it
Publishing an ebook is the easiest method for a blogger to monetize his site without using the banner ads. So write a great book on a topic you know a lot about and sell it via your blog.
- Stop planning, go do it
Stop reading and planning, get out there now, publish the best post you can and go promote it to your target group.