While we're not huge fans of losing any amount of sleep (give us ALL the coffee this week!), Daylight Savings Time promises that spring is just around the corner, with longer, brighter days ahead of us. In the spirit of clearing the cobwebs, our blogs could use a little love, just like the spaces we live in. As the first quarter of the year comes to a close, we're ready to take stock of the goals we set, and reorganize to keep the momentum going — and continue to put our best (blog) foot forward. That's why today we're sharing how to spring clean your blog. Let's get started!
1. Start with purpose
Before you start cleaning up your blog, it's a good time to review the purpose of your site. After all, if you've been blogging any length of time, you know that your site content grows and evolves based on how your readers respond, and how your personal goals change. Take a few minutes to write down the purpose of your site — what you hope to accomplish when you publish content. It doesn't have to be complicated; think about how you describe your site to others in conversation. If you want to dig deeper, check out our key questions to ask yourself about your brand vision.
2. Review your stats
Where writing down your site purpose allows you to reflect on your own vision for your site, reviewing your stats shows you how others view your site. If you aren't tracking stats, sign up for a Google Analytics account and sync it with your WordPress site using the Google Analytics for WordPress plugin by MonsterInsights. Google Analytics only starts tracking once you install, so you'll have to give it a month to track enough data to work with, and at least three to start identifying trends. If you're new to the platform, think of it this way: install it now and see trends by summer!
Once you have Google Analytics installed, set a recurring task on your to-do list to review your stats at least once per quarter. We won't lie; there's a lot of information in Google Analytics, and it can be overwhelming. We recommend checking the Behavior overview for your most visited pages, the Acquisition overview for how people are finding your site, and the Audience overview for pageviews and user location. Spending a couple minutes in each section will give you plenty of insight on how to leverage your most popular content and publish similar.
3. Update navigation and highlighted content
Once you've written down your site purpose and reviewed your stats, you should have a good idea of what sections of your site need to be highlighted. If you started publishing a new type of content that you intend to build up moving forward, make sure you've added that category to your navigation. Rearrange your navigation as needed to prioritize your most popular content categories and those that align best with the purpose of your site. This makes it clear to new visitors what your site is about.
If your WordPress theme has featured content areas, like those at the top of the home page in our Miramar theme, or the featured content widgets in our Brevier and Archer themes, review your featured content and make sure you're sharing your most relevant posts. Perhaps you have a post that serves as a perfect introduction to your site for new readers, or answers a common question from regular readers. It's a good idea to rotate your featured content seasonally as well to keep things fresh and give returning visitors a reason to keep clicking around your site. In other words, if you're still highlighting gift guides (it's ok, we won't judge!), now's the time to switch them out.
4. Update posts and improve SEO
Now that you've chosen new content to highlight, make sure those posts are up-to-date. It's difficult to regularly create the long-form, quality content that search engines love when you're focused on making sure you actually hit publish. While you're spring cleaning your blog, take some time to review your best content and see if you can add any new insights, link back to content you've published since then, or even update shopping widgets to replace out-of-stock products. And don't forget to link back to your newly updated post in one of your upcoming posts to help drive traffic back to it! This can also help you generate new post ideas — consider publishing a follow-up to the original post or expand on one the points you made.
While you're updating your posts, make sure you improve your SEO. Refer back to your stats — what search terms are already leading readers to your content? Use the Yoast SEO plugin and try to get as many green lights on the provided checklist in your post editor as you can. Don't stress if you can't hit every single one — first and foremost, your content must make sense for readers, and it's not always possible to add keywords to your post in a natural way. Just do the best you can! Check out our blog post on 5 easy ways to improve your blog's SEO for more tips and tricks.
5. Update your pages
One thing we know to be universally true for bloggers is that we don't pay attention to our static pages until an outside source makes it necessary, which is usually either a redesign or a big press feature. Then we scramble to make updates, swearing we'll go back for more when we're in less of a time crunch (this, of course, never happens). So while you're spring cleaning your blog, take a few minutes to spruce up your static pages. Does your About page say that you live in a city you actually left in 2015? Is it time to create an FAQ page for all those questions you receive from InstaStories? Is your shop page selling out of stock products? These simple updates will leave you feeling more confident in your site, trust us. And if you're in the mood for a visual upgrade to your shop page, be sure to check out our Boutiques plugin.
What are you doing to spring clean your blog? Tell us all about it in the comments!