Give this checklist a try if you think your business blog needs a revamp; it’ll help you get started reinventing your site. I’ve broken the checklist down: look and feel and content items. There is not a right or wrong answer, and you don’t have to implement changes all at once…but put yourself in your reader’s shoes (or fingertips) and balance what they want with what business goals you want to achieve:
Look and Feel:
- Look at your header and tagline – Do they present your site as you’d like? Is it too big, small; the right colors, words images; to busy or too boring? Does it match your current offline business branding (business cards, logo etc)?
- Review your navigation bar and static pages, site structure – Is there enough or too much info there? Is it too sparse, or too busy. Are tabs/page titles clear so a reader knows what they will get when they click?
- Look at the typeface on your site – Is it presenting the image you want? This can be hard or easy to change, depending on your blogging software or theme? Is it easy to read. Is the text too light to read, why gray – black is much easier on the eyes? Is that white text on black background theme still “cool” or does it give some readers headaches (like me).
- Check your sidebars & widgets if you have them – Has it gotten too busy/junked up, or is there an almost empty column there? Neither extreme may be your best option.
- Do you have a single column of content, two columns, or three? Some themes let you easily rearrange this configuration – others don’t. Content | Sidebar, or Content | Sidebar | Sidebar – may work better when read via mobile phones than Content | Sidebar | Sidebar. (There are also plugins to help render a site for mobile phones and tablets)
- Do you have ads and/or affiliate links – Are there too many/too few? Or have you made a conscious decision not to use them? Or are you missing a good opportunity to make passive income? Or are you annoying your customers. Do your ads convert customers?
- Does your site load slowly? Google now takes that into account when ranking sites in search. Too many and/or conflicting plugins can slow you site load time down. Uninstall ones that are no longer useful; or at least make them inactive. While showing your tweet stream can work for some sites – it can also slow your site down. If more than 50% of your customers aren’t on Twitter – you might not need this “in” thing.
- Ratio of images to text – is your site too text heavy, or have too many images? Too many large images can also slow your site loading time down too. Before you load images onto your site, make sure they are smaller files for the web.
- Could you add an audio or podcasting feature, or video to your site? Would it add or take away from what you have built?
- Is your RSS feed set up and working properly? Can someone subscribe by email as well. Does it say “subscribe” – or “click to get posts via email or RSS” (change in wording can increase subscribers over 200%)?
- Is your contact info on the site and doe you have a contact page? If you are active on social media, do you have both social share buttons to make your content more easily share able, and “connect with me here” buttons – so people can find you on social networks where you both are active?
- Are you still on a hosted blog on WordPress.com, Blogger or Typepad? Are you looking to be more professional, starting to make money form your blog or related consulting? Explore switching to WordPress.org hosted on your own URL/domain name. There a pros and cons, enough fodder for another blog post, but it can be worth the switch in functionality and flexibility.
Content, Posts and Pages Oh My:
- Are you posting often enough, too often? Review your posts. Do you get comments? What topics have you overdone, or not done enough of? What is popular.
- Do you know your audience? Have you honed in on who your audience is and what info they need and want that you can provide?
- What content are you serving up to your readers? Does it support your business goals? Do you get comments, retweets, and interactions when you post a post on LinkedIn or Facebook? Do you get prospective customers who mention your blog posts when they call?
- Does your content convert readers to take whatever actions you hope hey will take? Do they comment, click, call, buy, sin-up for your enewsletter, connect on a social site, share your content with their network, inquire for more info, become a client/customer/brand advocate, referral source etc? Have you thought about what action you wan them to take?
- What posts are always favorites with readers? Type of posts, topics, length of posts.
- Have you gotten stuck in a posting rut? Do you always doing long involved posts, or always doing short ones? Perhaps balance of both would work, or have your readers come to look to you for one or the other. Don’t e afraid to ask what they want to see more of, or less.
- Is your content aligned with your brand? Are you the really helpful type on Twitter and Facebook – but your business blog is really stiff and formal, or visa versa? Make a running list of content ideas, categories topics?
- Would video or podcasting – audio be something to explore? Would it bring new readers, would in enhance what you are doing, or be a distraction?
- Are you getting burned out blogging daily? Do you need to do it daily? What would happen if you scaled back a bit?
- Are you bogging too infrequently, because it seems hard to come up with ideas? Try setting a bog schedule (once a week every Wednesday etc) and keep an open file on your computer to jot ideas down whenever they come.
- Have you thought of ways to shake things up? Make a list of things you can do to rekindle your interest: Find good guest bloggers, do some interviews or book or product reviews. Do some round up posts – cherry pick the best blog posts from others on a topic related to your core topic, do an intro and conclusion paragraph and link to the stories in the middle with a sentence or two about the post and/or the authors.
Ask Me Questions – Add your Checklist Items:
Please add your own blog reinvention checklist items. If you have ay follow-up questions, or would like to see more on any of these topics, please let me know in the comments. Several of these topics might make good blog posts on their own.
This post was inspired by my appearance as a guest on Melinda Emerson’s (@SmallBizLady) #SmallBizChat on Twitter where I am the guest November 17th on the topic of reinventing your business blog (I’m normally her co-host on the chat). Feel free to read her Q & A interview with me over there: http://SucceedASYourOwnBoss.com