Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Evaluate, Update and Recommit to Your Blog for the New Year

This time between Christmas and New Year’s Day is often a no-man’s land of lethargy and laziness…at least for me. Part of it has to do with the surfeit of calories and gatherings. The rest seems to stem from re-evaluation.

I can’t seem to help it. The approach of New Year’s, with its focus on resolutions, pulls me into a period of introspection. Actually, it’s a good thing. It gives me a chance to look back over the past year and decide what worked and what didn’t. It also gives me a push toward trying something different.

Today I’d like to invite you to join me in one aspect of this journey and take a look at your own blogging aspirations. Click on your own site and look at it with these thoughts in mind. Here’s the checklist I use to evaluate my sites. Don’t hesitate to tweak it to fit your needs.

  • Make sure your site hasn’t become too cluttered in the sidebar area. Clean out any old links and add any you’ve been considering.
  • Recheck your default font. Sometimes you’ll find you’ve drifted into a different one. Whatever font you use, make certain it’s easily readable…on all screens.
  • Update your about me section on your site. Include the things that have happened over the past year in regard to publication, job changes, awards, and anything else applicable.
  • If you have a calendar with your speaking engagements, update it as well.
  • Also be sure to update any lists you have of other sites, like those for writers, photographers or others.
  • Now take out your mobile device (cell phone, tablet, eReader, whatever) and make certain your site is optimized for mobile viewing. This is vital because at least a quarter of all visitors to your site will be looking at it from a mobile device and that number will continue to increase!
  • Reassess what action you want your reader to take after viewing your blog. Maybe you want them to share your site with their friends/readers. Perhaps you’re selling a book. Even if it’s only to follow you on Twitter, make sure it’s easy for them to see what you want and then execute it!

This is also a good time to look at your blog posting schedule and evaluate the popularity and efficiency of your different topics. You can do this by utilizing the stats section of your blogger dashboard or of your specific blogging platform.
  • First, look at the most popular posts of the past year. Do they fall into a specific category or theme? If this isn’t the main focus of your blog consider making it a bigger part of your posting schedule.
  • Next look at the day of the week when you get your most hits. Does it correspond to your posting date or is it the following day? You may need to tweak when your email notification is sent out.
  • Finally, Google the subject of those popular posts. Don’t plug in the exact title of those blogs, instead try a more generic subject search. The purpose of this is to see where within that search your blog entry is falling. Not certain what I’m referring to? Read my posts about SEO and Tagging.

We all benefit from a yearly checkup and our blog is no different. I’d love to hear how you use this time to get ready for the New Year ahead!

Don't forget to join the conversation!


  1. Unfortunately, my most popular post by far was a cartoon with an Oh-So-Clever title. Lots for hits for the wrong reason.

  2. Helpful stuff, Edie! I love a clean-looking blog but sometimes I think mine's a little too clean. It can be hard to strike a balance, but I'm working on it!

    And good advice about tweaking your email schedule. Most people don't know you can make this easy change on Feedburner! Just set to post during a particular time frame (I think it's a 2hr window), then schedule your post for 15 mins before that.

  3. Don, don't be discouraged, the most popular post on my blog wasn't even written by me! (It's one of Lynn Blackburn's posts)
    Susan, good stuff about Feedburner. Actually, if you schedule your post within the 2 hour time frame it will usually go out as well.
    Beth, I'm definitely NOT brilliant, but I'm always looking for a way to compensate! :)
    Blessings All,

  4. Sorry, Edie. I have to agree with Beth. You're brilliant. :) I'm currently working on a new title/graphic in hopes of updating my entire blog. Your tips, as always, are very helpful. Thanks!

  5. Thanks for the guide to help me as I reconsider all aspects of my blog. Even with my new website, I didn't get to all the cleaning out I needed to do with the blog.

    Thanks for the reminder!

  6. Edie, thank you for this helpful information! I've already changed my Blogger settings to optimize the view of my blog on mobile devices. I still need a little help with coordinating my e-mail feed with my post time. Can you explain how to do that with more details please?

  7. Julia, and others who've asked. To adjust your feedburner settings, get out of your blogger dashboard and visit the front side of your blog. Then click on the words FEEDBURNER where your email signup is located. This will take you to your feed. Click on your blog name, then on the tab at the top of the page that says PUBLICIZE. Then, from the options on the left side of the page, click on EMAIL SUBSCRIPTIONS. This will open up several other options and you need to click on DELIVERY OPTIONS. From there you can choose the time you want your blog notice emailed to your subscribers. Next week I'll explain this more in depth, but this should give you the bare bones of what you're looking for.

  8. Edie, Thanks so much for the additional info. I just started blogging a few months ago, and your blog has given me so much helpful information! Blessings to you in the New Year, and keep the good stuff coming!

  9. Thanks Edie! It's posts like this that have helped me with my blog so much. Someone at the last meeting indicated that I was really good a blogger and facebook. That seemed so funny to me considering where I was a year ago. I "google" everything. Whenever I decide to work on my blog, I just google what I want to do and I always find just what I need to make it work!

    Check out my new button up for grabs on my blog. I just googled "create a button for blogger" and an hour later it was done. (www.celestialprescriptions.blogspot.com)

  10. You made me think. And I know I am going to act. Thanks, Edie.

    But my search is for that visitor, who will not only read what I write, but also make me write more.


  11. I know, I'm way behind so I'm just now reading this! I love this checklist. I find that most of them have helped me improve my website as well. I hadn't realized how stale some of my content was. Thanks!