As many of you know, I recently made some major changes to my blog. Some of the major changes happened behind the scenes, as I migrated my blog from wordpress.com to a self-hosted wordpress.org site. It was a change I put a lot of thought into and planned for a long time. But the changes weren’t all behind the scenes. If you’ve been reading my blog for more than a few weeks, you know I totally changed the design as well. I went for a cleaner, simpler, more polished site.
Before making the switch to a self-hosted site, there was very little brand consistency to my posts and images. For each individual post, I would choose an image and go with it. There were no color, styling or size consistencies with my graphics from post to post. One of the major changes I wanted to make when switching to a cleaner, more professional site was to add that consistency that my blog has been missing. You’ll notice that in the last month or so, each graphic is similarly styled, and has style elements in common with my overall blog design.
Here’s the problem, though. Out of a total of 230 blog posts on my site so far, only a dozen or so newer ones match my new aesthetic. As daunting and time consuming as it sounds, I’ve begun going through all 200+ blog posts to update the style. While I’m on each post, I run through a checklist to make sure they’re updated for not just the aesthetics, but that they’re an even better post with more relevant and high-quality content.
Today I wanted to share with you all the checklist I run through on each blog post to make sure it is absolute best fit for my blog.
Is it pinnable? Is it high-quality? Is it the proper width for my blog? Are they styled to match the general aesthetic of my blog? These are the questions I’m asking myself when updating post images. Some of the images on my older post are bad. For so many reasons. They’re a terrible size, they’re blurry, they’re low quality, etc. They’re images that I would personally never repin on Pinterest from someone else’s blog. So why would I expect people to repin them for me? With the crazy amount of traffic possible from Pinterest, it’s important to make sure each post has an image that can perform on Pinterest. So far updating images has been my priority, since that’s the first thing people will see on each post.
A lot of my older blog posts are really short. I committed to posting every day Monday-Friday, but I really just wasn’t able to come up with quality content five days per week when I first started. Instead, I would use really weak filler content. Honestly, a lot of the posts are less than 200 words. Since I would like to be able to drive new traffic to those posts, it’s important that I have content worth reading. I’ve also had days where I’ve rushed to write a post and haven’t even attempted to proof-read it. That’s still one of my biggest blogging downfalls. I’m going to be carefully reading each post to correct any spelling and grammar errors.
Now that I have moved to a self-hosted blog and have a plug-in that helps me with my SEO, I actually have a better understanding of SEO for driving traffic to blog posts. Since migrating, I have seen a significant increase in search-engine traffic. Now I want to make sure my older posts are optimized for search engines as well. The plugin I use is WordPress SEO by Yoast.
4. Categories and Tags.
My categories were kind of all over the place in the earlier months of my blog. This is something I started trying to rectify several months ago, but it’s still a work in progress. First of all, I had way too many categories. I probably had 30! I’ve been working to put posts into much more general categories and breaking them down from there if necessary. It’s really cleaned up my site!
5. Checking and adding links.
I add links to other relevant content from my blog. I update links that are broken. I also add affiliate links where appropriate. I used to feature far more products and clothing than I do now, but didn’t start using affiliate links until earlier this year. I have been adding affiliate links to older posts that feature these products.
6. Call to action.
None of my older posts include a call to action anywhere. They don’t ask a question from my readers or really give them any reason to comment. I’ve been adding a call to action at the bottom of each post that gives readers something to respond to directly in a comment, hopefully encouraging them to comment more often.