10 Tips for a Better Blog – Scary Mommy

10 Tips for a Better Blog

10 Tips for a Better Blog

1. Make your site Facebook friendly. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Facebook, baby, is where it’s at. If you do any one thing for your site, make it Facebook friendly. The easiest way to do that is to put a little Facebook icon under each post. When someone is logged on to Facebook and they read your post, all they have to do is click the thumbs up for it to post to their wall in front of all of their friends and family. It’s really a must have and the most simple way for you to get more eyes on your site. {If you want to go one step further, build a Facebook fan page.}

2. Put a Twitter button on your site. There are a million social bookmarking sites, but other than Facebook, it’s really the only one you need under your posts. (No Stumble? No Digg? No Kirtsy? Nope. Why junk up a page with icons people never click? They really don’t and I just don’t think it’s worth it.) There are many times when I want to tweet a post I’ve read, but there is no link that shortens the url or alerts the author I’ve tweeted and frankly, I’m lazy. The easier you make it for people (and by people I mean, me) the more likely they will be to share your posts.

3. Renew your Domain. Don’t own a domain? Buy one for the new year. It’s cheap, easy and gives you ownership of your site. If you own one, make sure you are up to date with payments. If you let the url expire, someone else can snatch it right up.

4. Set up the Basics. Make sure your settings are, um… set up. Whatever host you are using, there is a place to fill out a description and keywords for your site. Make sure to take the time to fill in that info- it’s one of the fastest things you can do to make your site more searchable.

5. Clean Up. This is the perfect time of year to go through your site and purge. Are your sidebars filled with buttons for events that have long passed? Does your blogroll include blogs that haven’t been updated since 2008? Do you have an outdated list of favorite posts? Could your About page use a face-lift? Go through and bring it all up to speed.

6. Test your site. Thought you were done with grades once you graduated? Wrong. Sites like “Website Grader” and “Blog Grader” are really good (and free!) at pointing out things on your site that you may not be aware of. Run them, see what you find and make some changes. They’ll be worth it.

7. Utilize Alexa. Comments or traffic aren’t the only way to rate the popularity of a blog. Alexa is the most reliable way to get information on any website, by simply showing a numerical score based on traffic, rank, and a million other variables. By downloading the toolbar and installing a widget on your site, you help build up your own score. It’s one of the first things that advertisers and PR people ask for, so the number is pretty important.

8. Protect your site. Can you imagine if your blog just disappeared? Stranger things have happened and it’s a terrifying thought. Back it up. WordPress has plug-ins that will automatically e-mail you a back up once a day or once a week. Make a book of your blog. Print it out, even. Just make sure that it lives in more than one place.

9. Evaluate. It’s also the perfect time of year to look back at your posts and see if they were what you want them to be. Were you too much of a downer? Was the paid post really worth it? What would you change if you could?

10. Enjoy it. Most of us aren’t making millions from our blogs, we started them for fun. It shouldn’t be bringing you more stress than happiness. Did you worry about posting everyday more than the content? Is commenting more of a chore than a joy? If so, step back for a while. The blogosphere will be there when you come back, I promise.

Better blog, pretty much guaranteed.