I've been blogging since 2005 (yes really!), and though I feel like I still have a lot to learn, I have definitely picked up lots of stuff along the way. I think I change and refine things on my blog every couple months. Most are very tiny tweaks that aren't immediately noticeable by readers, especially if you read my blog in a feed reader or e-mail. (By the way, if that's you, do pop over, I have made a few noticeable changes to start the year).
I also read lots & lots of blogs, both for pleasure, and for the work I do on Craft Gossip. And I have noticed that there are certian things that make me happy to visit some blogs, but whose absence on others, make me groan and exit quickly. Most of them are very simple changes that if made would make your blog a pleasure for your readers. I mean more of a pleasure of course.
Introduce yourself. You can do a super quick blurb in the sidebar, like I've done. This will help people to feel a connection with you more easily. If you want to add a photo, that's even better! You can also do a separate about page with more details. And please do consider including an e-mail address where people can contact you, as well as links to other places you can be found online - like Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. If someone loves your blog, they will love to see what else you're up to!
Use labels and categories to sort and classify your posts. Most blogging platforms allow you to do this, and keeping things sorted is really helpful for your readers to find older posts, or only read posts on the topics they are interested in. That applies to you too. I can't tell you the number of times I have used this feature to search for things on my own blog. Plus if you are running a short term blog series, it's a quick way for readers to find all the posts related to the series. You can choose to display all your categories in your sidebar, or just highlight a few of the major ones.
Speaking of searching, think about including a search function on your blog. This is another thing I use a lot on my own blog, and also on others. Especially when trying to track down a specific post for something that was incorrectly linked on Pinterest. I use Lijit for my search. It's free!
The power of the internet is hyperlinking so make this work for you. When you refer to something that exists online, link to it! And if you refer to a previous post on your own blog, do the same. This is a great way to keep readers on your blog for a little while longer. You can even use a service like LinkWithin (which I do), which will link to your older posts in the footer.
Change the name of your images from DSC75138 or IMG8713813 to an actual name that says what the photo is. Include the name of your blog in the title too. Apparently this is a way to improve your SEO (search engine optimization), because now search engines know what your photo is of. (I don't know one jot about SEO but that sounds legit). Plus it just looks nicer when someone hovers over a photo and a custom name pops up! Finally, when soneone uses the pinmarklet to pin an image, it will grab the name of the photo and automatically put in the description when someone pins your awesome tutorial to Pinterest.
These are pretty simple changes and none take a lot of time. Do one a day for the next five days and by this weekend your blog will rock even more than it does now.
I'll be back in one week with five more blogging tips!