5 tasks you can do to summer cleanse your blog

fairy blog mother cropAh, the summer holidays. Endless days of lazing in the sun, playing with your kids, enjoying the release from the daily grind that wears you down during the rest of the year.

However, this is not a time to neglect your blog. Far from it! There are plenty of things you can do while you soak up that vital Vitamin D and bask in the well-being the warm weather can bring.

And after all, don’t you want your blog to be in tip top condition ready for when you get back to it in September with the kids back at school or nursery and you can focus properly on it again?

Of course you do! So here’s a quick Infographic that outlines some tasks you can do when you have a spare five minutes…

5 tasks you can do to summer cleanse your blog

And here’s some code you could paste into your own posts (via the text mode) if you want to share this Infographic with your readers.

How up-to-date is your blog?

WordPress is constantly being updated to combat hackers, spammers and worse. Therefore if you aren’t aware that an update has been done recently, and there is a big number next to the Updates tab under Dashboard, it’s time to take a look.

This shows you have a number of plugins that also need to be updated, and probably your theme too if it has been made by a diligent developer.

Leaving these unattended could make your blog vulnerable to unscrupulous techies that only want to do you harm. And this includes deleting any you don’t need any more, as these can also be a liability and leave your blog open to attack.

Have you backed up recently?

If your hosting account has a backup system, make sure you have it connected to your blog and it is working OK. You need to be sure you understand exactly what is being backed up, that it is enough, and how you can ‘recover’ your latest backup should you need to.

There are a number of plugins and other services that provide backup facilities for your blog. One I have been recommended is ithemes.com, but it’s worth doing a bit of research and asking around for others to see if they suit you better. If you have a good one, why not let us know in the comment box below?

Backing up your blog gives you peace of mind that everything can be restored should anything go wrong. That is definitely worth it rather than to see all you hard work go down the pan.

Has your moderation lapsed?

Spam is a real pain in the ***, but it is now a daily part of blogging life. Make sure you have a good spam eater, such as Akismet, activated to sort it out for you. There are lots of other plugins available that provide extra spam support or CAPTCHA facilities to keep those pesky spammers at bay.

However, there will be some proper, real comments that get through. Neglecting these can be really harmful to your reputation and relationship with your readers. Ideally you should answer them as soon as you can. This is only polite, since they have taken the trouble to leave you a comment, you should return one back.

And of course responding appropriately to good comments will encourage more. And we all know that having a healthy commentary list at the bottom of our blogs is a great boost to our self-esteem, as well as showing our blogging is worth it to the search engines.

Are you sure everything works OK?

As your blog matures, some things in it will ‘break down’, and the most obvious of these are links. There are many reasons why (which I won’t go into here), but it is worth installing the Broken Link Checker plugin to sort this out for you.

There is nothing more annoying to a reader to come across a 404 page. Checking your links will stop the majority of this kind of incident from happening, which means more people will read your posts and your reputation will be maintained.

Also it’s worth considering redirecting any old pages you may have deleted in the past to newer versions. These may still be in the cache within the search engines, so having an alternative in place will keep your readers happy.

When did you last declutter?

There are lots of things you could take a good look at in your blog as part of your summer cleanse.

For example, what about your sidebars? Does it contain an updated bio and professional headshot? Do the social media links go to updated profiles? Have you included a subscription facility or newsletter sign-up form? And do you really need to have all those unnecessary badges that make it look so untidy?

How relevant are your categories and tags? These are areas that can easily multiply out of control and really could do with a good prune/reorganisation/elimination/reality-check or whatever. It’s worth having a good think about their relevancy and whether you need all of them any more.

When was the last time you updated your pages, in particular the About and Contact pages? The About page is really important to focus on, as you may have moved on since its last edit, and you will have more exciting things to put into it. How about a video, or a new headshot? And relevant links to other important areas within your blog?

Now’s it over to you

Let’s get out the marigolds and feather duster (just kidding) and see how much you can do to improve your blog during this summer. Once done, you can sit back and revel in how wonderful your blog has become. A summer cleanse will do it a world of good!

And if anyone has any tips and tricks they would like to pass on in relation to what I’ve said above, please let us know in the comment box below. We could all benefit from your enthusiasm and sharing.

And if you would like some help in knowing what you could do to your blog to improve it ready for the new Autumn term, why not have a complimentary blog review? I will go through your blog as a user and give you positive and constructive feedback as what you could do to make your blog even better than it already is!

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About Alice Elliott

If you are a beginner blogger who is looking for someone to "explain things really simply" about blogs and WordPress, then go ask Alice Elliott! Her award winning blog Fairy Blog Mother explains blogging using ordinary, everyday words. Why not take part in her 90 Days Challenge to Commenting Mastery to get more readers and traffic!

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