10 Ways to Refresh Your Blog

1) Make sure there’s a great ‘About You’ page. I’m surprised how many blogs have no info about the author. When I read a great post, I want to know more about you!

2) Use the free Link Within plug-in to make lovely cross-links with the photos and titles of related posts at the end of each of  your posts. I hit one glitch (a link to a post I later discarded) and the Link Within help system fixed it very quickly.

3) Did you know  you could run another blog in your sidebar using a plug-in that allows an RSS feed? (My plug-in came with the free WordPress site.)  On my book review blog I run the newest post from my just-chatting blog, and vice-versa. At Catholics Communicate Christ you’ll see the Guild’s blog in my sidebar. On the site with my speaker information, I run both my own blogs.

Can’t hurt, might help.

4) Get a free ‘Favicon’ plug-in to make your own pic, or the header pic from your blog appear next to your address way up in browser address bars. Just fun, but it also helps readers with multiple tabs open get back to your blog. (The link here is to “All in One Favicon” ….I didn’t get it off their site, but found it from within WordPress browsing a list of plug-ins in the search results for ‘favicon’.)

5) Akismet has cut the impossible amount of spam commentary I was getting to a trickle (Michael Kors bag, or knock-off designer shoes anyone?!?!?). It’s free! I have one code that let me install it on all my blogs; without it my blogging days were over – submerged under comments like, “great blog…must buy shoes to match…keep up good work…you have writing and Louis Vuitton skills…much you say is highly valuable and Gucci also is esteemed!!”

6) Here’s a fun one: Go to Tagxedo.com and submit your blog address to get a word cloud created from all the words contained there. The words are ‘weighted’ by number of times they are used, and it’s an interesting look at what content has the most gravitas on your site. Free!

7) Do a monthly ‘smallify’ (I actually put ‘smallify’ on my calendar!) of the latest posts to make more posts show up on your main page. I click on whatever image I’ve used for each post and cut it to 60%, then interrupt my post early with a ‘read more’ inserted. Now and then I’ve done a quick bit of rewriting to make that teaser on top more interesting. The exercise shows me that my posts need to be better-written in the first place! Now, instead of a new reader landing and seeing one long post, he sees a taste of 5 or 6, with ‘read more’ just a click away.

8) Don’t forget to put the Catholic Writers Guild Shield somewhere on your blog! Right click the one here and ‘save image as’, or ‘snip’ the image from the CWG home page (My daughter discovered the ‘snipping tool’ somewhere in the Microsoft Word bag of tricks…free, of course! I use it all the time now.)

9) While you’re smallifying (yes, if I coin a word I can also run it through its changes!), check posts to see if there are any natural links to old posts you could insert in the text to lead readers deeper into the subject at hand. Or, you might have found some external links you want to include (please be sure these ‘open in new window’ so your readers will be able to get back to  your post easily).

10) It will refresh your own blog to share your responses to the blogs of others! Can we each (I’m guilty of forgetting to do this!!) commit to make one post each month a nod to other bloggers?

Bonus: Do you have social media share buttons on your posts for quick clicking? Do you remember to share your own posts??? Click!

Bonus: Blog followers, don’t forget that Google Reader is going down. Just go to Feedly and let the magic begin….easy, easy transition of your whole RSS subscription list from Google Reader to Feedly, which is lots better and makes you glad GR went under!

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7 Responses to 10 Ways to Refresh Your Blog

  1. Thanks for these tips. Akismet worked only partially on spam for me. On my WordPress post page, I unclicked “allow trackbacks and pingbacks” which helped. But I was forced to go to registration in order to permit comments. That stopped all the spam, including the stuff landing in my spam folder. I just eliminated Akismet completely because it didn’t clean out everything.

  2. I’ve never had luck with Link Within working, and I found out later that it affects traffic to your site. Might be worth looking into. We use nRelate and have a lot more control over what is posted at the bottom, most popular vs. related posts.

    Agreed on the About page. We are always looking for ways to improve that. Overall, great list!

  3. Thanks, Charlotte. I just installed and activated LinkWithin and it immediately applied the links with art to similar posts. I’ll be trying your other suggestions next.

  4. Some good tips! I’m glad to say that I was already doing most of these.

  5. Good list, Charlotte. Thanks for sharing it!

    One thing to watch: when you get a bunch of plug-ins on your WP site, it can slow down load time and make it frustrating. I didn’t realize that myself until I had my site redone about 18 mos ago and the consultant pointed that out to me.

    It’s interesting to consider how many and which readers are reading your posts via email and feed reader, too. Because when they read there, as opposed to on your blog, it’s a different experience (usually a lot cleaner, and as someone who prefers that, it’s worth noting that there are a LOT of people who DO prefer that clean look).

  6. Christian says:

    Hey thanks for this. At long last I added the CWG logo to my sidemar.