Everyone seems to have a blog these days, so you’ve got to make yours stand out and be better. I’m not talking about drastically changing what you have necessarily; sometimes small tweaks are all it takes to make your blog better.
Here are a few simple things to think about:
1. Turn off comment registration
Are you asking people to sign-up to comment? If so, then you’re loosing out on comments. Putting a hurdle in the conversation between you and your readers may be enough for them to tune out.
2. Update subscribe terminology
How are you trying to attract subscribers? Is it just with an orange feed button? Maybe your link says ‘RSS’ or ‘Subscribe.’ It’d be a good idea to look at it from a non-technical perspective and update it to be more meaningful. Something like ‘Subscribe to new posts’ or ‘Subscribe to Updates.’ Not everyone knows what RSS is so we may need to be more specific.
3. Add email subscription options
I’m pretty sure that there are tons of people out there that don’t get RSS, but they do get email. So making sure that they understand that they can get updates via email may increase subscribers faster than just giving out the feed.
4. Update ‘no comments’ to ‘comments’
Why does everyone advertise that they have no comments on their posts? Getting comments is hard, but we don’t need to let everyone know that there aren’t any either. Simply changing the terminology from ‘no comments’ to ‘comments’ takes the negative out of the equation and now it’s just a link to the comments form.
5. Unhide sharing links
I like to share good posts, and so do many others, so you should make it easy. Services like ShareThis or AddThis have a tendency to hide the social buttons until someone rolls over them. I say bring them out, at least for Twitter & Facebook, so people can see them and click them without having to search for them.
6. Create a translation button
Not everyone speaks English so why not add a translate button for other languages? It’s quick and easy and can open up your content to a whole new world of people.
7. Cleanup the ads
I get ads, I really do. Blog owners want to make money off their ads and pay for their hosting or iPads. But ads can distract from the content if they are placed front and center. Think about integrating ads in a way that doesn’t kill usability.
8. Organize sidebar
How many widgets are in your sidebar? Are there ads and counters and social plugins and everything else? The sidebar should not be your junk drawer, clean it out and simplify.
9. Check your theme
How does your theme look? Is it a sad knock-off of the default WordPress theme? Is it 5 years old and showing its age? The WordPress theme directory has thousands of themes that can give a quick facelift. Better yet, create your own and be original.
10. Write better content
Blogs are all about content. It’s about what you write and how valuable it is to your target audience. If you’ve been writing safe, mediocre posts, then now’s the time to step it up. A better blog post may take more time to write, but it’s worth it.
Your blog is your virtual home and it’s a good idea to keep it up and make it user-friendly. Not only will your visitors appreciate it, but chances are, so will search engines. And, in the end, that’ll make you happier too.