27 December 2016

12 Ways to Improve Your Blog in 2017

Blogging is an ever-changing, ever-evolving business. It seems like the rules, standards and guidelines are constantly changing. Just when you think you’ve mastered the latest skill or trend, boom. It changes once again.


With all these changes and growth happening, it’s more important than ever to keep your blog game strong. This means keeping your little space on the Web up to date and with the times, and what better time to give your blog a once over than now before the New Year? While not all blog trends are going to fit with your style and brand, there are a few basic standards that have stood the test of time. In working with other bloggers and brands this year through my marketing business, I’ve identified 12 simple ways you can improve your blog in 2017 that can dramatically improve its performance, presence and future.


While not all blog trends are going to fit with your style and brand, there are a few basic standards that have stood the test of time. In working with other bloggers and brands this year through my marketing business, I’ve identified 12 simple ways you can improve your blog in 2017 that can dramatically improve its performance, presence and future.



Remove obnoxious pop-up ads and information capture boxes. This may be more of a personal preference, but if I’m visiting your blog, especially for the first time, and I’m trying to read one of your posts but there are a million boxes popping up in my face the moment I land on your page, then I’m out. I read blogs for my own enjoyment and to hear what you have to say, not to be inundated with ads, sales tactics and more. Give me a hot second to decide if I like what you have to say before you’re in my face asking me to join your email list. Bottom line, please stop coming across as desperate.


Stop using centered text for the body of your posts. Unless you’re quoting someone or really need the information to stand out, stop writing your posts in centered text. It’s a dated and antiquated way of blogging. Either justify or align your copy to the left.


Create and use Pinterest-Worthy graphics. Every post you create should have a Pinterest graphic, no ifs, ands or buts. I use, and highly recommend, Canva for all your graphic design needs. They take all the guess work out of graphic design but more importantly, they have pre-made templates for each social media platform that are the exact dimensions for what you should be using for your pin or post to be optimized. There’s no excuse to not have this element in each of your blog posts. This is a guaranteed way (not to mention FREE MARKETING) to drive people to your blog. Make sure your Pinterest graphics are top notch otherwise, you run the risk of this happening.


Remove Google Friend Connect and follower counts from your sidebar. These are dated features that clutter your sidebar plus, brands aren’t even going to consider those sources when they check out your blog to consider you for partnerships. Instead, they will ask for your Google Analytics or other certified sources.


Speaking of sidebars, clean yours up as much as possible. Every time I consider adding an element to my page, I ask myself, “What purpose will this really serve? Will this feature truly help my blog and the reader?” If you can’t answer your own question simply, don’t add the feature. Here’s a good rule of thumb to stick by: less is more. A cluttered sidebar is distracting to the reader plus, it takes your site longer to load which will affect your SEO and Google ranking.


Link back to old posts as much as possible in each new post. This keeps an engaged reader on your site longer which boosts your analytics and helps with SEO.


Keep your drop down menus short, simple and clean. A reader or brand rep should be able to find what they’re looking for in three clicks max. If I’m having to click a million times all over your site to find what I want, your blog design is poor, cluttered, overwhelming, and I’m out.


Use alt tags on your images. This is especially important when using Pinterest but it also helps with your SEO, too.


If you use WordPress, make sure your plugins are updated. You should always make sure your plugins are updated and delete the ones you don’t use or ones that are outdated as it slows down your site!


Make sure you have a search bar. This goes back to keeping information and posts on your blog easy to find.


Join a blogging community. I use and highly recommend Blog Passion Project on Facebook. I’ve seen my numbers and readers climb steadily since joining this group a few months ago. Interact and get to know other bloggers – they will help you grow your blog!


Make your external links open in a new window. This seems like a no-brainer in creating your blog posts but you’d be surprised how many people don’t think about this tiny detail. It can mean so much! If a reader clicks on a link that takes them to another site from your page, the reality is that they probably will not go back to yours. Always have your links open in new windows to keep readers on your page!



What tips do you have to help others improve their blogs for the New Year? 
Courtney @ Shiraz In My Sippy Cup
Courtney @ Shiraz In My Sippy Cup

Courtney is a published author, mom, taco enthusiast, and a Star Wars and Tennessee Volunteers fanatic. She's never met a piece of sushi she didn’t like and enjoys an amazing glass of wine and a great cut of meat. You can read more of her wine-induced, sleep-deprived adventures on The Huffington Post and Scary Mommy.

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