We’ve all been there haven’t we? Scrolling aimlessly through our blogs, wondering how we can add new life to them… I had this recently, and decided instead of forking out for a brand new theme, I would give my website a little bit of a face lift with a wee clean up! Here are some tips and tricks I wanted to share with you as to how I cleaned up my blog.
INVEST IN A NEW THEME
For those of you that can (and want to!) investing in a new theme can be a game changer. I really love the feeling of your content in a different layout, gives it a fresh lease of life! I don’t have the monies for a new one at the moment, so I decided to customise my current one by changing the layout a little bit and adding in options for readers to go to certain pages. Tweaking your setting slightly can make a hell of a lot of difference!
REFRESH YOUR HEADER
Creating a new identity, or re-branding yourself- whatever you like to call it, it’s a good idea every now and again. If you’re like me, I’m constantly getting bored of the way my header looks and what visuals represent me, but I do try and keep them consistent for at least six months! I’ve just had my header re-designed by Kayle, and I will say it’s a brilliant idea if you’re feeling a bit disillusioned with your current one. Previous to this, my header was quite busy, so I cleaned it up with simply dark grey text which I’ve been happy with for a while, until I wanted to inject more of my personality (hence the pumpkin!). Do what suits you and suits your blog- even if it’s a slight change it can make you feel so much better about your site.
UPDATE YOUR SIDEBAR
Ah sidebars, sometimes you aren’t sure how much is too much, or if they look too empty?! For me, I’ve always tried to cram in as much as I could. A search bar, blogger badges (because somehow I was convinced that made you look legit?!), a blurb and social handles. My advice would be to keep it simple. Update your blurb to something short and memorable if you can, with a lovely picture of yourself. Your social handles would be next in importance and make sure you include a search bar- I’ve seen countless tweets from PRs and fellow bloggers who’ve been scouring other’s blogs looking for a search bar! Blogger badges definitely aren’t essential (IMO) but of course your choice to keep/ditch.
HOW TO RE-WRITE YOUR ABOUT ME PAGE
Recently I visited my About Me page. Not only did I realise it was more of a careers page or a mini CV, but it was out of date, the images were old and well, it was very uninspiring. Writing is my day job too so I just assumed that would be appropriate but I’ve realised it really isn’t. I would treat your about me page as your virtual media kit. You don’t need to put your stats for the world to see, but be nice to yourself! Do a short introduction about yourself- little bite-size chunks of loveliness that explain what makes you special. Then if your aim is to work with PR companies/earn a little bit of dollar, really sell yourself. If your following is micro (like mine) then write your combined following, along with the date this number was updated. Every time you work with a brand, get them to write a couple of lines about what it was like working with you- I’ve got testimonials on my page and it’s basically like a reference for a job! Also let them know the brands you’ve worked with in the past, and don’t forget to keep dropping in your contact details and make them bold so that anyone scanning your page can pick them out almost immediately.
CLEAN UP YOUR NAVIGATION
I will definitely admit this- I’ve had MAJOR issues with my navigation bar. Trying to decide what I wanted to be visible and what I wanted to be hidden in the menu bars was SO HARD. I think in an ideal world we’d all love to heatmap our sites and monitor what people really click on, and how they behave but we just can’t, so my advice is to make it easy. Look at your site as if it’s your first visit- what do you want your readers to see first? For me I’m adding a larger focus to my beauty looks at the moment, so I have prioritised that to the first thing on my nav bar. If you have a number of different focuses like me, then add in a ‘view all’ option, and also change things up according to seasons and focuses. For example ‘Beauty’ and ‘Halloween’ will definitely be at the forefront in the months of September and October.
Tip: Add in a search bar at the left or the right of this location if you can too! My theme doesn’t allow it, but it’s a fab idea if someone doesn’t want to trawl through your menu and want to read something specific.
MAKE EVERYTHING PR FRIENDLY
Like I said above, if you’re looking to make a little bit of dollar or work with your favourite brands, being PR friendly is a priority. A lot of these companies have a limited amount of time and you are amongst a few people they will be looking at- make sure your contact details are visible at all times- if you’re easy to reach, then the opportunities will come flooding in! Just bear in mind you will always get spam if your email is easy to reach- I get them all the time! Pyramid schemes, Chinese companies wanting to advertise on your site and marketing businesses wanting to get you more followers.. *yawn*
HOW TO CHECK FOR BROKEN LINKS
I’m finishing on an important one! When someone visits your blog you effectively want them to stay for as long as possible. One thing that could really hinder this is broken links within your blog posts- it can also effect your domain authority too. The best way I check for broken links is by using the site Broken Link Check. You simply add in your URL, and it scans for broken links ( I just got 47 out of a total of 1147 pages).
Tip: You can ignore a lot of old product links you might have referenced to, or you can change them to link back to your homepage.
Do you have any tips on how to clean up your blog?
Let me know if you found this helpful!