Your blog is engaging. It’s authoritative. Sometimes it’s even funny. But is it all it can be? Here are a few easy ways to spruce up your blog and keep readers coming back for more.
Show Links Some Love
There’s nothing worse than a broken link to a good resource. Not only will your customers not find what they’re looking for, but they may even change their opinion on the quality of your brand.
If you make it a priority to repair links on a regular basis, it won’t turn into a huge deal. WordPress and Drupal both have plugins/modules that check automatically for you, or you can use a free online tool like brokenlinkcheck.com to scan your links from time to time.
And while you’re frolicking in the land of links, make sure all targets are set to “Open in new window/tab.” That way, when users click away to another website, they can easily come back to yours and continue reading (we all know how easy it is to click ourselves into Google oblivion and forget what we were looking for in the first place).
Pre-Size Your Images
Avoid using unnecessarily large images just because your blog lets you adjust them later. If you reduce the size of your images before you upload them, you reduce the file size, thus reducing your page load time. And quick page load time = more blog love.
Here’s a list of free online photo editors that make it easy to resize photos to your exact specifications.
Update Your Tags
In their August 2012 update alone, the Oxford Dictionary Online (the internet-based sibling of the Oxford English Dictionary) added the following new words: tweeps, photobomb, video chat, lifecasting, Wikipedian, lolz, inbox, ethical hacker and a whole bunch of non-tech words, like soul patch. And vajazzle.
Do your categories and tags reflect our ever-evolving language? Can your readers find what they’re looking for? Every year or so, sweep away the dusty old terms and update them with what’s being used today.
Make Sharing Simple
Blogs are social creatures. They’re meant to be shared, bookmarked, +1’d, upvoted and whatever else it takes to be loved by the masses. People are naturally inclined to share content they find valuable, but most won’t go through the trouble of manually posting something to their social networks. If you want your blog to exist outside of your website, you actually have to make it shareable.
Add a row of similarly-styled sharing icons to your blog, but don’t go overboard. Rather than cluttering your blog with every social network possible, add only the ones that make sense for your blog and affect your traffic the most. Twitter and Facebook buttons work for almost every type of content. Running a business blog? Use a LinkedIn sharing button. Have viral, Reddit-worthy content? Add a Reddit button. Write for a crowd that would appreciate an RSS feed? Add an RSS button. If you’re unsure of which buttons to add, take a look at where your current traffic is coming from and adjust your sharing buttons accordingly.