5 Essential Upgrades your Blog needs for 2012

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Blog Upgrade

Your New Year’s resolution as a blogger surely sounded something like “I’ll take more care of my precious and make it grow like never before”. 2012 is here and it’s time to do some spring cleaning in order to make your blog shine in this fast-paced world of Internet.

Did you know that every day comes with 14 fresh plugins for WordPress? This means 14 out of the box features you’ve never experienced before. Technology is constantly evolving. New trends in graphic design and content writing are round the corner. And the readers can sense if your blog is keeping up to the times or not.

So where to start upgrading? Here are a few tips.

Polish your blog’s design and usability.

– Most bloggers stop thinking about updates once they got past the approximately 154 nights spent on tinkering the layout. But it’s very healthy to take a step back and watch the overall picture. There’s always some work left to do for spicing up your blog’s design and usability.

Install the latest version of your favorite plugins. You don’t need all the bells and whistles, just the essential features: spam filter, comments managing, form building, performance monitor, some social media integrations. With a decent bunch of plugins from trusted publishers, you will enjoy the enhancements without worrying about conflicts and low page loading speeds.

If you are using the Thesis Theme framework, you can customize it like you want. Three main spots you can personalize are the top banner, the sidebar icons and the overall look of typography. If possible, work with a professional graphic designer to make your blog match the exact feel of your ideas.

People should have as less obstacles as possible in leaving comments. CAPTCHA is redundant for this, remove it. For secure authentication you can use Facebook log in.

Boost your lead generation.

Here’s the recipe for success: a real bio of yourself in the About page and a contact form for visitors to drop a few lines of feedback. Make the contact form short and simple, not too focused on “selling” and visually attractive.

A phrase like “Follow me on Twitter” next to your account link will help transform your readers into fans. Also, if you are a freelancer looking for gigs, you should publish your phone number also, even if it seems redundant. This is a more business-like way to introduce yourself to potential clients, who probably won’t search for your details on LinkedIn or other social media.

Content clutter – wipe it out!

Make a commitment to yourself: “I shall stick to the essence and won’t do any more writing on topics that are beside the point of my own blog”. Of course, we don’t advise you to become a niche blogger if you’re a generalist, but try to leave aside all those posts that just blend successful topics others have blogged about in 2010.

What is not enjoyable to write is probably not interesting to read too. Be yourself, speak about your own hot topics, take care of details. And NO for small personal annoyances of everyday life, these are not topics your public will read about anymore. Here’s one for the high-flown language fans: forget it, internet is too fast for anyone to bother deciphering this.

Control your ads display.
– This is a matter of design but also marketing. Avoid having blinking ads all over your blog. As often as you can, take static banners instead of animated ones. For AdSense, the best position would be the sidebar and between blog posts.

Try not to have ads inside posts in one post view – if you can’t remove them, at least place them right below the title, not in the content, or the entire post will have the overall look of an advertorial.

Be social!

It’s always a good idea to place social buttons somewhere visible, for people to share your content easily. Google Plus is on the wave now, so make sure you include a snippet with “Add us to Google+ circles” (of course, this means creating a G+ page for your business first).

Probably the best social media channel for a blogger is Twitter, so join it if you haven’t already and make a habit from tweeting your ideas around. And one more all-times tip: be nice, make friends among other bloggers and create a community where you promote each other. This will ensure a happy blogging for you in 2012 and ever.

Image Credit:Nick Canoy

Article by Laura Moisei

Laura has written 1 articles.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Nick Stamoulis January 24, 2012, 10:04 am

    To improve the effectiveness of a blog, it’s also important to pay attention to SEO. Incorporate keywords into the content and title in order to get the blog post ranking for those keywords. This will generate traffic to the blog post in the long term extending its shelf life.

    • Arjun Rai January 31, 2012, 2:16 am

      I agree with you nick, through good title and good content it can be done so easily without paying to SEO’s

  • Jasmine January 24, 2012, 10:44 am

    You are absolutely right, Laura. I think this year, I will work on my blog’s design and usability. Perhaps, I will get a better Wordpress theme from the guys at Elegantthemes for this as I really like their themes. What do you think?

    • Laura January 25, 2012, 2:51 am

      Thanks, Jasmine, glad to be the spring cleaning initiator 🙂 Imo, it’s always a good choice to refresh design, while taking care that the overall image still fits your established brand that readers are accustomed with. I share the same opinion upon Elegantthemes, their Aggregator is the one I enjoy best. Good luck!

      @Nick Stamoulis: Very good point. This is a basic rule any web content publisher should follow.

      • Jasmine January 25, 2012, 10:59 pm

        Oh, I like the Aggregator theme too. It looks really elegant!

  • Swapnil January 25, 2012, 6:18 am

    hey laura, nice post you might also add HTML5 which becoming standard slowly

  • johnavery January 25, 2012, 3:56 pm

    Be social ! how important have that become this days.Gud article Ms.Laura.

  • Genevieve January 25, 2012, 10:47 pm

    I agree with this post, especially on the ads and the clutter. Nothing irritates the reader more than an unorganized and distracting layout.

    On the other hand, I would like to differ on the Captcha and other security tools. We have to be wary of bots writing comments, so it pays to be sure.

  • Larry Lewis January 26, 2012, 8:03 am

    Our blogs act as our platform so it makes perfect sense to make sure we take time making sure they are looking their best at all times. I have undergone a major facelift, which of course at the time was a period of great stress, but the end results have definetely been worth it. When you look back and see where you were and where you have got to, you can’t help but feel total pride. So you’re right everyone should get spring cleaning, and get their blog looking great

    • LauraMoisei January 26, 2012, 8:08 am

      I really like the design of your blog, Larry, I think it’s worth every minute you spent on polishing it.