Lately I've been looking a my blog, for a couple of reasons. I love writing it, but sometimes it doesn't seem to resonate the way I would like. I get views, but not much interaction. Plus I now have access to MLSP Sites, which is a great WordPress tool. So is it time to move to another platform? Lots to think about!
Since I am going to seriously look at my blog and consider what moves or changes I need to make, I thought perhaps you would like to join me. And so I am going to be doing several posts on giving your blog a makeover.
The first thing you should do before you begin your blog makeover is to sit down and plan things out. Take some time to think about the 'why' behind the makeover. Once you’re clear on why you want to make a change, it will be much easier to plan.
When you’re still in the planning stage, take time to consider:
SEO - you probably already had SEO in place on the old design of your site but now is the chance to reevaluate and step things up a notch. Or, if you hadn't done any - or very little - optimization with the 'old' blog, this is the perfect opportunity to start and do it right. You're going to have to spend some time researching keywords and phrases to find ones that will be a good fit for the audience you reach and the purpose of your blog. I just attended a fabulous webinar on SEO so now's the time to put all that knowledge to work!
Layout - think about how you want your site to look. Get a piece of paper and a pen and literally 'map' out how you want things to look. Draw (make note of) what you want to be above the fold and below the fold. How many sidebars do you want. Do you want them all on the same side or a sidebar on the left and then one on the right?
Opt-in - don't forget to think about your opt-in box and where you're going to put this. Are you going to create a landing page for it, put it on the sidebar of every page, or both? A good rule of thumb for an opt-in box on the main page of your blog is to have it above the fold on the right hand sidebar. I have never had one on my blog so perhaps it is time.
Research - take some time to look at several other blogs. Jot down notes of the things that you like, as well as the things you don't like. A little 'cheat' trick - if you notice something you like but aren't sure what it is or how they did it - is to view the page source and more than likely with a little sleuthing on your part, you will find the info you're looking for. Once you have a list of things you like, try to incorporate them into your blog makeover. I've been doing a lot of research and studying lately!
Color - think about the color scheme you want to go with during your blog makeover. One thing to keep in mind is to stay away from dark backgrounds (like black) with light font colors (such as white). It's hard on the eyes, and won’t work for most audiences. The exception to this is if your market is young men in the music or gaming industries. Then a dark background is fine. For most other markets, your best bet is to go with white background and black or dark gray text. Then pull colors into your site in the header, sidebar, headings, and graphics. All the research I have done lately says this is true. So this is one thing I may change even if I don't switch platforms.
If you take the time to plan things out first, your blog makeover with go more smoothly and it will be easier to stick to the goal(s) of the site and what you want the makeover to accomplish.