To attract an audience and keep it we bloggers need to do more than publishing fresh content. We also need to repair and replace what`s broken, refresh our theme and breath new life into our content. And what better time is there than spring to do this?
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“To look backward for a while is to refresh the eye, to restore it, and to render it the more fit for its prime function of looking forward”– Margaret Fairless Barber
Repair and Replace
Broken links and bad links imply you don’t care enough to manage your blog well. Search engines favor the highest quality results and may penalize sites with many broken links. Use some free tools to maintain and track your links. Check for broken links and bad neighborhood links and repair or replace them with links to the most relevant posts on the most authoritative blogs found when you do keyword searches.
Reduce and Declutter
When it comes to gadgets and widgets less is more because viewers have to wait for gadgets and widgets to load before they can interact with your blog. Too many widgets will:
- increase page loading time and provoke potential visitors to click out before the blog loads,
- spoil the theme design giving the blog an amateurish appearance;
- distract readers from focusing on your content.
Reduce Page Loading Time
- Do a Pingdom Website Speed Test to determine how long it takes your blog to load.
- Edit posts and insert “the more tag” so only excerpts appear on the front page. Keep these 5 points in mind to avoid the “more tag” woes. Alternatively, switch to using a theme that automatically displays front page excerpts.
- Reduce the number of posts appearing on the front page here > Settings > Reading – Blog pages show at most _ posts.
- Reduce the number of images and or media embeds displayed and/or make them smaller. As for videos be aware that you do not need to embed them. The alternative is to provide the URL and let your visitors click to watch if they so desire.
- Reduce the number of widgets in the sidebar and footer areas and use widget visibility settings to display relevant widgets only on each page.
- Replace your blogroll with a page of relevant resource links to related sites.
Is your blog looking fresh and lively? Evaluating your theme by seeing your blog through the eyes of your audience is the next step. Changing themes or freshening up the theme you are currently using will breathe some new life into your blog.
You can quickly and easily change themes to another one and no data will be lost or negatively affected by the change. The only time you may have to do some work is if you are changing to a dramatically different theme and have done any CSS editing.
Provided you are logged in as Admin under the same username account that registered the blog go to Dashboard > Appearance > Themes and browse themes until you find one you like and click “activate” or type in the name of the theme you want to use and click the “Activate” link when it appears. After you change your theme all you need to do is go here Dashboard > Appearance > Widgets > Inactive Widgets and re-install them where you want them to appear. The widget contents and settings will be the same as they were prior to changing themes.
You cannot build or use your own custom theme built from scratch, you cannot upload third-party themes, and you cannot edit themes at WordPress.com. However, there are ways to customize themes built-in such as custom header images, custom backgrounds and featured images. Use the Video Tutorial – Customizing Your Theme.
Pixabay.com is a repository for the outstanding public domain images used in this post. There are many sources of free images for your blog so why not visit them and see which free images you can use to freshen up your blog and posts?
Some themes have color customizable options. Try experimenting with a different color scheme and ensure your colors choices are the right choices for your readers. There is an exciting new color palette feature addition that WordPress.com bloggers using eight free themes will enjoy. Eight free themes, including Superhero, Writr, Spun, Panel, Zoren, Fontfolio, Twenty Thirteen, and Typo, now offer free color palettes you can apply. If you want to go further and do some custom designing of an existing theme you can use CSS editing for freshening your WordPress.com theme.
The mobile explosion has yet to crest but visitors are accessing our blogs via mobiles and tablets is on the rise and affecting on blog design. Laptops, smartphones and tablets are performing tasks that used to be the desktop computer territory. Our blogging future will feature responsive width themes, infinite scroll and effective use of custom menus, page templates and post formats.
WordPress.com bloggers can choose to use these responsive width themes free or paid for their blogs. Responsive layout themes automatically adjust the layout depending on the size of the device being used to view your site. When responsive width themes are viewed on mobiles sidebars appear below the posts in order to provide as much space as possible for reading. If you choose a responsive width theme disable the mobile theme, which is a completely different theme, at > Dashboard > Appearance > Mobile.
Revisit and Refocus
Once you achieve one goal, you should be looking forward to trying to build onto the next thing, and not just getting comfortable with what you’re doing. – LL Cool J
Is your blog representing you, your purpose and your passions?
Spring is a good time to revisit your purpose for your blog and the vision you have for its growth.
- Has your audience expanded? Do you want it to grow?
- Is it time to alter or modify your blog’s purpose?
- Is it time to change or improve on how you reach your audience?
A vision board is a collage representing your blogging focus (topics) and new things you want to see happening in your blog. Use your vision board as a springboard for updating your goals. Carry through by updating your Tagline, About page and blog description. Don’t forget to freshen and optimize your profile pages on social networks too.
Writing for the Web
Eye tracking studies reveal we typically scan blogs in an “F” shaped pattern similar to two horizontal strips and one vertical strip which form a shape resembling the letter “F”. Eye tracking studies advice: Understand the F principle, write eye-catching, concise headlines and display crisp images. The title and first two paragraphs must be attention grabbing. Use sub-headings, bullet points, and paragraphs to keep the reader focused when scanning down the left side of the eye tracking pattern.
Write while the heat is in you. The writer who postpones the recording of his thoughts uses an iron which has cooled to burn a hole with. He cannot inflame the minds of his audience. — Henry David Thoreau
Try out a different style. Take a new approach. Blog to inform. Blog to persuade. Blog something controversial. Use comedy to address serious topic. Or get personal and go deep. A thought-provoking post that engages readers in discussion can attract new readers like nothing else can.
Need more ideas? Spring-Clean Your Blog in Five Easy Steps
Are you ready to refresh your blog? Or have you already done your spring blog cleaning?