Sunday 7 June 2015

10 Good habits to ensure you have a healthy blog

Blog maintenance, I don’t think anyone really enjoys it but it is necessary if you want your blog to retain its authority and be in good standing with the likes of Google, Yahoo and other search engines.
Of course the other plus point is that readers want to keep coming back to a blog that is easy to read and navigate as well.

If you regularly indulge in these ten good habits then you should keep a healthy blog and not fall foul of any penalties that Google decide to dish out!

1.  Check for broken links on your blog regularly.
Basically linking to other web pages in your blog posts is a great idea but you’ll soon find that other blogs close or suppliers change their product links and you are left with a load of links on your blog that are pointing no-where useful and that is a big no-no in terms of your site retaining its credibility. You can easily go to Broken Link Checker and do this for free, I try to do it every couple of months now as I never knew about it for the first five years of blogging and when I went to check there were thousands of links that I needed to remove or fix (one by one) and yes it was a lengthy process.

2.  Register with and log in regularly to GoogleWebmaster Tools
It might look a bit confusing at first but this is one of the first places you will learn about any issues on your blog. You can search for duplicate meta tags or titles (google hates duplication and sees it as less authoritative) and also check your site’s mobile optimisation, to see if your bog and individual posts display well on mobile devices. There is lots of look at and then you might need to fix a few things so plan some time to do this and slowly get your blog in hand. Here is a link to a video I found that explains a little more about what you will find in this useful but jam packed resource.

3.  Back up
This one is a real basic. You should back up your blog regularly. Over the years I’ve known too many friends who have lost their full blogs or their latest work as they have not been backing up. It is up to you how often you want to do it, I try to remember monthly.

For an easy tutorial of how to back up your blogger blog then check out Geekalicious and click here for Word Press

4.  Update all your static pages
If you want your blog to look professional and to attract work then it is imperative that you update all the statics pages like your 'About Me', 'Contact Me', 'Work with Me', 'Disclosure' etc etc. You can’t moan at a PR who offers you nappies when your child is five if you have never updated the page which gives all the information about your family says Andrea at All you need is Love and Cake.

5.  Update your media pack and statistics
If you are wanting to work with brands then they will often ask for more information about you and your blog, what your rates are, what work you are happy to take on and what your current site statistics are. I personally, find it easiest to have a media pack that I update about every 6-8 weeks as I can attach it to an email and respond quickly.

Here are a couple of links to how to make your own media pack tutorials. The first from my friend Stacey Corrin uses Canva and is a one page dream or here is a tutorial for a more traditional pack on BritMums.

6.  Cleanse your sidebar regularly
It is very easy for your blog sidebar (and footer) to get very cluttered over time, Cass at Diary of a Frugal Family advises you to keep your sidebar clutter free and to make sure you have social share buttons easily visible.

7.  Update your Wordpress plug-ins
I’d like to pretend I know what I am on about here but I’m not a Wordpress user but I’ve seen enough blogger friends have a meltdown on FB to know that you must update your plug-ins regularly as ones that become out-of-date can be a route to spam and an insecure site. This looks like a great guide to updating your Wordpress plug-ins and why you should do it.

8.  Take your security seriously
Jenny at Cheetahs in my Shoes reminded me how vulnerable our blogs can be as we are mostly using freeware. She says if your username is Admin - change it immediately and she would recommend the Sucuri plugin to help harden WP sites against hacks, it also lets you see if you're being DDOS or brute force attacked and if anyone seems to have your username. Using the Limit LogIn attempts plugin (it's now in the setup of a new WP blog as an option) is a good idea (but make sure you write the password down). And keep an eye on where traffic is coming from - if it suddenly starts coming from porn sites, you may have a problem. And if a WP theme is free and not from the main WP selection, be highly suspicious - if it's too good to be true, it probably is (and is full of links, malware or otherwise)

9.  Tidy up any sponsored posts
Donna at Little Lilypad Company mentioned paid for posts. If you take paid-for work on your blog then I’d advice that you offer the follow link (if you take them) in your post for a time-limited period (but the purchaser must of course be advised this up-front before any payment is made), you can then change the link to no-follow or remove the post at the relevant time if you so wish. This means your blog does nto get clogged up with paid-for links over a longer period of time.

10.  Update your photos & older blog posts
Joy at PinkOddy quite rightly points out that most of us get better at taking photos with experience and a practise she has adopted is taking new photos to suit old posts, so that they look better and also rank better in search engine listings. It is of course image to name all your images as well as add an ‘alt tag’ (which is a way to describe the image to someone who cannot see it). Here is a link to an old post that Joy had updated the photos in.

Mari at Mari’s World also says to comb through old posts, tweak them so they are as enjoyable as possible to read and when writing a new post try to link naturally to your other posts (or other blogs) as you go. IE: she has just written about a London Bus Tour day out so she linked with all her previous London sightseeing posts.

Good luck keeping your blog healthy and maintaining a blog that readers want to come back to time and time again. Mich x
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