It's the new year and we're all looking to improve where we can, our blogs are no exception. Luckily, there are quite a few little (easy!) things that you can do today that will help enhance your blogging experience for both yourself and your readers. I truly believe that continuous growth and progress are so important in this little hobby of ours, and these are a few of my favorite tips I've picked up over the last couple of years. Read on, my fellow bloggers...
1. Turn Off Captcha
Captcha is the word verification that requires your readers to make sense of little squiggly numbers and letters to be able to leave you a comment. It's such a pain and ain't nobody got time for that. Most people turn it on because of spam comments but instead of making your readers jump through hoops, just approve your comments before publishing or switch to Disqus.
Now, you may not know you have captcha turned on (this happened to me once and I'm still sorry!) so check out this tutorial to make sure it's not/how to turn it off.
2. Make Your Email Address Visible
Your email address should be the easiest thing to find on your blog. Make sure a link to it is on your home page and also written out on your About Me or Contact pages. Make it simple for readers/potential business partners to be able to contact you!
3. Set Up Google Analytics
Google Analytics will provide you with valuable information about your blog; everything from your page views, where your readers are coming from, how long they are staying on your page, your bounce rate and more. Plus, it's 100% free so there is no reason not to have it!
I LOVE working with an editorial calendar. I do a monthly one and instead of setting my posts in stone for each day, I come up with about 10-15 ideas I would like to write about that month. I can't tell you how much time it's saved me by avoiding that "what to write about tonight...." panic.
If you love a good print out, here is one to get you started!
5. Spruce Up Your About Me Page
This one is on my to do list :) About Me pages can be hard to write, but they're so important. When I visit a new blog that I'm interested in, I always check out the About page and sometimes they can be a make or break deal for whether or not I end up following the blogger. Some ideas include a list of your favorite things, Q&A, or even have someone else write a short blurb about you (and don't forget a picture of yourself).
6. Get on a Regular Posting Schedule
Now this doesn't mean post every single day, because that is hard! But try and post on the same days so your readers know when to expect new posts. Maybe M/W/F or one weekly post - whatever works best for you - but try not to disappear for random lengths of time as your readers may start to disappear, too. Also try and have your posts go live at the same time. I like to schedule mine for midnight EST.
7. Improve Your Images
Blogging is a visual game so this means that great images are essential. It's something that I am constantly working on improving - as I'm sure most bloggers are! Whether it's investing in a new camera or a new editing app for your phone (I've been loving PicTapGo or VSCO Cam), it's worth it. Beautiful, crisp and clear pictures are more likely to be shared which will help grow your blog.
Goals are necessary as they give us something specific to work towards. I like to set a couple each month as I find these are easier to keep me on track. Blog specific goals can be things like an x number of page views/Instagram followers/re-pins.
9. Install A Pinterest Pin It Button
Speaking of Pinterest... make sure your images have a 'pin it' hover button! I did a tutorial on this last year so check it out HERE.
10. Open Links In A New Tab
There are few things more annoying than clicking on a bloggers links and having their page redirect/ them not opening in a new tab. This is also bad news for the blogger because it means that readers are leaving your page without finishing your post or exploring your blog further (reducing your bounce rate).
Here is a visual explanation of how to set up your links to open in a new tab.
And lastly, have fun with blogging! Now go download Google Analytics and work on that About Me page ;)