The Ultimate Guide to Spring Clean Your Blog
It's official, Spring is here y'all and I'm claiming it despite this Georgia weather which has my allergies suffering. I'm all for the clear skies and in the spirit of cleaning out our spaces, I've decided that our blogs could use a good spring cleaning too.
As you know, I've been working to push out more content consistently for you guys and the first quarter of the year is coming to a close. Now that I have a better idea of my schedule, it's time to take a look at my personal goals and reorganize to keep this momentum going — and continue to make this a great year. That’s why today I'm sharing the ultimate guide to spring clean your blog.
If you've discovered this post, but may not started your blog just yet, don't worry I wrote a post about starting a blog too. Lately, I've had a theme for each month and this month is no different in terms of my blog.
So before we get started, I want you to keep in mind the three R's: review, repurpose and repeat. These steps are the foundation for this post because sometimes we all just want to get to the point, right?
Now let's get cleaning!
Plan and Prepare
Before you start cleaning up your blog, you must develop a game plan for how you plan to tackle your task. The best thing to do is to take a look at why you started. What is your blog's purpose? If you're in need a refresher, be sure to view your blog checklist.
As much as I love writing and sharing with you guys, it is important to establish your OWN purpose. After all, if you’ve been blogging for a while now, you understand that your site's content can change and evolve based on your personal goals or audience's interest.
Block out a bit of time to write the purpose of your site and what areas you're excited about. It doesn't have to be difficult, I have an old notebook that I use daily for my ideas.
If you're still not sure of what questions to ask yourself or what direction you'd like to go, take a look at this post on enhancing your own creativity.
Review Your Stats
Blogging is a numbers game, anything on digital media is these days. This is why it's important to review your stats as it shows how others view your site. What content is the audience interested in? How long are they on your site for? If you aren't tracking stats or if this whole data thing scares you, sign up for a Google Analytics account and sync it with your WordPress site.
I personally use the Google Analytics for WordPress plugin by MonsterInsights because it's free and straight forward on stats. I also review my Jetpack statistics for consistency, but would definitely recommend either or because they're both free.
However with Google Analytics it only starts tracking once you install, so you’ll have to give it a month to track enough data to review, and then identify your trends or what you're wanting to track.
Once you have Google Analytics installed, make sure that you are monitoring your stats at least once per month (or quarter). It can be overwhelming, so I prefer monthly so that I can review trends on the blog plus it gives me an idea of what I want to write for the next month.
I recommend you build your own dashboard to review your monthly metrics - Click Start Club shows a great way to build your own dash for your blog's stats. Spending time reviewing your stats will give you insight on how to plan and leverage your content.
Now that you’ve planned and reviewed your stats, it's time for some TLC to your sites SEO.
What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is basically using specific keywords, tags and even meta data that make your site more visible in a search engine like Google.
With saturation in the blogging community it can be hard for your work to stand out - this is something I'm still working on (and being consistent!) I recommend repurposing your posts to add new content, links and even link to your new content to help drive traffic.
This also helps you with considering new post ideas - either by expanding on a previous topic or follow-up to the original post. For example, this post "How to Spring Clean Your Blog" is related to my previous "How to Start a Blog" post.
While updating your posts, I definitely recommend you download the Yoast SEO plugin and aim for all green! The plugin rates your post like a stop light in red, yellow and green. This helps you discover search terms and how your content ranks on the web.
However, don't get stuck just on this piece of it because sometimes when you naturally write to your readers it may not always pick up your tone.
Update Your Content
When updating your SEO, be sure to also update your overall content. One thing that I forget to do is update my posts! As I mentioned previously, make sure that you're linking new content to old posts and especially updating your pages. My about me page had information from when I was in college - class of 2015, whats good? - and I didn't even have a complete contact page either - sad, I know.
However if you want to work with brands and be consistent with your readers you have to do your part instead of last minute updates. These easy updates will leave both you and your readers more confident in your site and the work you put into it.
Revamp the Design
Once you’ve completed the previous steps, it's time for a makeover! Now I don't think it is absolutely necessary, but if you're indecisive like me it's time to get real about your blog's look. I've been through quite a few brand boards and spent money on several themes - happy to support others, but my bank account was sad. Seriously, I spent so much money on trying to rebrand.
Eventually I decided to get back o my roots and put my experience and degree to good use with my own brand. You would think that was an option before, but sometimes it's easier when it isn't your personal project. You know? But that is what I started treating my brand and self as a personal project. There were several life changes happening in my life and I wasn't sure what direction I wanted to move into. So I started fresh and even created a personal challenge for myself #IRL.
I went back to the drawing board, added a bit of color and code to an old theme I purchased, rearranged my navigation as needed, and prioritized my passions that best aligned with what I wanted to convey making it easier for new visitors to see what my site is about.
Do what works for you
In the end, spring cleaning your blog is for you. It's a way to refresh your mindset, outlook on your blog and the content you want to create. If you noticed, my brand has had a major revamp from the previous minimal theme I was attempting to go for, but it just wasn't me.
Word of advice: be sure that when you find your brand voice and what speaks to you, you go with it. Don't try to compete or compare yourself for the sake of branding.