Monday, January 4, 2016

Get Your Blog Ready for 2016

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

2016 has begun and with its focus on resolutions, it 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 get your blog ready for a great 2016. 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.
  • Take a look at the position of your sidebar gadgets. Many times during the year I’ll add something and it will push other things down. It’s important that you have your email and RSS signups at the top where people can get regular updates when you post.
Be sure all your links, especially social media, are working.
  • Also be sure to check all your links, especially for social media. Nothing’s more frustrating than a visitor trying to connect with you further and come up with a dead end.
  • 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 two-thirds 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!

Update Your Schedule
Update your schedule.
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.

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!

Get your blog ready for a great 2016 - Tips from @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Start the New Year right by getting your blog ready for 2016 - @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)


  1. Happy New Year, Edie. I am printing this list and checking my blog. Thank you.

  2. Great ideas and boy do I need to clean out my blog. I'm not great at the tech stuff but know I can make some much needed changes. Thanks Edie and Happy New Year. 2016! Wow, new adventures with God. :) Beth

  3. Happy New year, Edie! Thanks for the checklist. I've been reading your book, "Connections: Social Media and Networking Techniques for Writers," that I won through a book giveaway on Vonda Skelton's site. I just have to figure out what I want to accomplish on my page and START! (A bit intimidating for this cave dweller. LOL) Thanks for providing very clear steps here and in your book! God bless.

  4. Great timing for this list. I have some work to do. Many thanks!

  5. it's on my goals (and bucket list) for 2016 (also a blogpost! whenever i manage to post it! ha!) i've a file of articles and this is going straight in there, both digital and print format! once again, thanks Edie, for great guidance!

  6. Edie, this is so helpful! Over the Christmas break, I updated the look of my blog. I just walked through your checklist and found it very helpful! I have a couple questions for you:
    First, I don't know how to add the RSS feed to my blog. Do you know how to do that for Wordpress?
    Secondly, I noticed on my mobile version of my blog, I don't know how to add buttons for people to connect with me on social media. Is this normal? I'm still figuring this out. :)

    I gleaned MUCH from your post.

  7. Excellent advice! Will be implementing this list immediately!

  8. Thanks for the great advice. I'll put it to good use.

  9. Thanks Edie! I'll keep this in mind with my new website coming out soon!