Monday, March 9, 2015

Blog Housekeeping

April and the A to Z Challenge will be here before you know it. Whatever your reasons for running a blog, we all hope we'll gain more followers and receive lots of comments. Writing interesting content if one of the best ways to keep people coming back to your blog but here are a few little housekeeping items you can work on between now and April 1st.

Do you have links along your sidebar? Perhaps to your Twitter or Facebook? To your author's page on Goodreads? Buy links for your books? Do they all work. Now is the time to make sure they will take someone where you want them to go.

Do you list some of your favorite blogs on your sidebar also? I have found some of my favorite blogging buddies on other bloggers' sidebars. Is yours like mine and has a few friends who haven't posted any new content for weeks or months? Perhaps it's time to take them off and add some new favorites.

What about the other pages on your blog? Most people land on your homepage but hopefully some of them will check out other parts of your site. Are they up to date?

Do you have a tagline near the top of your blog? You want to share a short phrase that tells visitors what you're about. Invent one. You'll need it for other things also.

Have you made it easy for people to follow your blog? I have visited so many blogs that I want to follow and can't find the follow thingy because it's so far down the page and perhaps even at the bottom. Have that near the top. Especially if you're keeping your A to Z posts short.

Another thing that you want is for any links you have on your blog to open in a new tab and not carry people away from your blog. You want them to explore the things you've shared but you don't want them to leave before they've arrived at the end. Let the link carry them away, but after they check it out and close it, your blog is still there. This is simple to ensure on blogger but I don't know about wordpress.

This is the part where I confess, "Do as I say, not as I do." for some of my advice. I need to update my other pages, especially since I lost two publishers. The blogs on my sidebar need updating. I've added a few more favorites but I really could take a few non-active blogs off.

57 comments:

  1. Still very good advice. Do you find sometimes it spurs you on to do a thing if you say to others first that it should be done?
    Life & Faith in Caneyhead

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  2. Good advice for blogging in general, not just for the A-Z Challenge. I recently did a little blog clean-up but I'm sure I could do more. :)

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    1. I need a little more too. I'm working on it.

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  3. Yes, yes, and yes. Links should always open a new window because if people leave your blog, they often don't come back.

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    1. I'm surprised at the people who don't have links open in a new window.

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  4. Good tips indeed, I regularly check things to make sure the links work. Can`t say I update it a ton, but maybe should get on that lol

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    1. I don't do it as often as I should but I'm getting it all done before April.

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    1. People kept reminding me until I took care of it. Not sure I have the best.

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  6. Great tips; would add one because I found it frustrating on last year's A/Z. Make it simple to leave a comment. There were some blogs I visited and couldnt' figure out how to leave a comment on them, therefore didn't. It got so bad that I would check first before reading a blog if it was easy to leave a comment before I would read the blog.

    betty

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    1. Yes! That happened to me too. I'm making a note to mention that one at some point.

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  7. Definitely a good idea to go through and update links from time to time. I hate clicking on something and finding the page no longer exists. :(

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    1. I know what you mean. It just turns you off.

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  8. All good advice. I *recently* updated my About section because I had an old email and said I hadn't joined the "Twittersphere" and probably wouldn't. I joined last October, I think. I still need to give my blog a once over and add/check half the things you mentioned. Thanks for the reminder! I'll probably get to it next month... if I'm lucky.

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    1. Reminds me I probably need to update that page too. As well as Twitter profile.

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  9. We suck at all of this. And we aren't participating in A-Z. We don't just need a housekeeper, we need someone to condemn the building, knock it down, and rebuild the whole thing.

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    1. LOL. I've let my go for long periods too. Maybe start with one repair here and there. New roof first, then maybe plumbing.

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  10. All great questions. I blog at Two Fur Peeps and a Writer once a month for now. At the Secondhand Shoes, A Novel blog, I post something every week. Life has a tendency to change what I'm trying to do.

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    1. Life can interrupt the best laid plans and disrupt schedules without mercy.

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  11. Wonderful advice for all of us, Susan! I have been trying to clean up my blog, and got it going and then life roared in my face, my projects got a little wild, and I lost the "clean up" momentum. I guess it's time to get back to it. :) Like you said in a comment - "new roof, then maybe plumbing."

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    1. I sometimes lose that momentum when I'm trying to clean mine up too. I keep thinking I could be writing instead.

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  12. Susan, you've pointed out quite a few things I need to fix on my blog. Updating my books, for instance. Haven't done that in a while.

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    1. I did some book updates on my main page, Still need to do some others.

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  13. I did a pretty good job of cleaning up my blog last month. I revised my tabs and reformatted them to look more professional. But I do need to go back over it again and get it ready for A to Z. Moving the social network stuff to the top is important for the event.

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    1. Your blog looks so professional. I'm envious.

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  14. This is some good advice! I somehow removed my "followers" widget while redecorating my blog, so I should probably add that back. I've also been meaning to add a link to writer friends' blogs.

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    1. That followers widget is so convenient. I try to keep mine right at the top.

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  15. You have a lovely uncluttered blog all ready for the Challenge! I agree with the adding of blog links. I had removed mine for awhile but recently put it back, and you're right, I do often find new blogs from seeing what's on other people's blog lists.

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    1. It also tells you something about the blogger when you see who they have in their sidebar.

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  16. The thing I'm most concerned about is my banner being cut off on the right side on mobile devices. I honestly had no idea this was happening till my father was helping me with my updated résumé recently and discovered my blog banner isn't properly resized on the iPad or iPhone, but just cuts off. It's a little better with somewhat sized-down text, but still cutting off. Short of going to another template or spending a lot of time tinkering with sizes, I have no idea how to fix this.

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    1. I wouldn't even know where to start with that. I seldom read blogs on my phone but I do on my Fire tablet. I don't mind if it's cut off so long as I can read the content and then comment.

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  17. Great tips. I had to remove my blog roll because malware kept attacking it and shutting me down. Annoying stuff!

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    1. Ouch. I've had some malware problems on my old computer. Knock on wood that nothing goes wrong with this one.

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  18. I picked up on this and have a post on opening links in a new window:

    https://thesoundofonehandtyping.wordpress.com/2015/03/09/a-great-suggestion/

    I show how to do it on both platforms.

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    1. I'm going to link to your post on my Wednesday post for those who didn't see it in the comments. Thanks for doing this. It will really help people.

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    2. I'm going to link to your post on my Wednesday post for those who didn't see it in the comments. Thanks for doing this. It will really help people.

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  19. I keep a blog roll on a different page, but a mishap deleted part of it and I never restored it.

    Once a blog roll gets too big, I don't think people look at it much. I know I don't. Rather, it's the comments that people leave that inspire me to look them up and maybe add them to my blog reader.

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    1. I should have mentioned comments as a good way to notice bloggers worth checking out. I do that too.

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  20. Best wishes on your A-Z. I'll cheer from the sidelines, as I do every year!

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  21. Seems like revamping that sidebar is a never-ending journey. I made some changes a couple months ago, which means it's probably time to look at it again.

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    1. I try to do it every month but sometimes I just forget and am too busy to take the time.

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  22. I hope a lot of people read your suggestion! I've seen blogs that are miles long because of the outdated links in their sidebar. I mean, I think after three years it's time to let some old favorites go.

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    1. Blogging can take up so much time that I think a lot of us keep putting off the updating stuff.

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  23. Good advice for blog spring cleaning. I need to do a bit myself. Have a good week! :)

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  24. Some good reminders. I've not been as diligent about clean up this past year, especially on my blog lists. I do need to take a good look at it all again.

    Sia McKye Over Coffee

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  25. I know I need to do some blog housekeeping soon. Thanks for the timely reminder, Susan.

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  26. Great tips! Adding Twitter and Facebook links to my blog is something I've been wanting to do for ages, but keep putting off. Now that I've been reminded, maybe I'll finally remember to get around to that, LOL.

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  27. Oh boy, I got to get busy. I joined A to Z because I like to find good blogs to read. Instead, I find myself having to let my blog grow up. I've been plotting dates to get situated and these tips will be used.

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  28. My advice is to keep everything visible and easy to access. It's definitely hard when someone over clutters their blog with stuff! but best of all - have fun!!!

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  29. Great idea! I had planned to do a blog review, and this reminds me of things to check that I hadn't thought about.

    I always follow blogs by e-mail, so if I don't see a way to do that, I don't follow the blog. That's what works for me, and I get frustrated when I see an otherwise good blog that doesn't offer that option.

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  30. this all good advice and I need to put this on my to do list

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  31. Sound advice. I think I've got everything up to date, but I should probably check my bio and works page again to make sure. Good reminder. :)

    Alex Hurst, A Fantasy Author in Kyoto
    A-Z Blogging in April Participant

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  32. My sidebar gives visitors four options: 1. Follow the blog, 2, Find me on the other social media, 3. Find contributors' blogs, 4. Find something yummy in the archives. I also have a carefully-thought-out top menu.

    And agree that, to the extent possible, every link should open in a new window.

    My personal blog is a message board and a collaboration hub for projects. I don't even worry about growth with that blog. The people who need to see it, see it.

    The pop culture blog is something else entirely. It's about getting the contributors read. It has what I think is a good tagline.

    And comments are the gold standard for me. I put a lot of effort into generating good comment threads, both for my own blogs and for my friends.

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  33. Hi Susan,
    Good to be here again this year.
    Glad to read the tips given in this post
    for your fellow bloggers especially the
    one who are participating in A to Z Challenge.
    I have already done some, and yet to do some more.
    Thanks for your kind reminder.
    This is year I am in the group of Joy L Campbell's
    Joyful Brigade.
    Will see you at a to z page
    Have a great time of blogging
    ~ Philip Ariel

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