It is Blog Checkup Time!
Happy 2023! It’s the time of year to do a deep dive into your site, evaluate what is working, and what isn’t, and make necessary changes. But where should you begin?
1. Update your plugins and themes
It should go without saying, but the number of times that I have been asked to audit a site and discovered dozens– or more– updates just sitting in the dashboard is stunning. When you log into WordPress and you see that little red number, it means that this needs your attention. Some updates are functional, but most are to patch security vulnerabilities so leaving these undone is leaving your site open to being hacked or infected.
Is it safe to do all of those updates? Possibly. But maybe not. There is an order in which you should do them, and things that you should check between updates to ensure nothing has broken or become disconnected due to an update.
2. Evaluate your traffic
Check your stats for the past month and for the year and see where your traffic is coming from. Is it social media? Pinterest? Ads? Or do you spend a lot of time networking in communities? Are you getting traffic from the demographic that you are targeting? Take a good look at who is coming and from where, and decide whether you may want to focus time in another area to bring in the visitors you are looking for.
3. Evaluate your content
Traffic follows content, and if your content isn’t there, they will not come. What do you typically write about? Are you in a focused niche, or do you write on many topics? If you do, there may be a way to tie these together to find your target audience. A content audit will help you decide what posts are worth keeping, and what should go.
Things to consider that you can easily change:
- Categories: How many are you using and how many posts are included in each? Can one or more categories be combined, or should you let some go?
- Tags: These create a much larger sitemap but do not benefit you in searches. You can eliminate the use of tags completely and instead target keywords in your SEO app (SEOPress, Yoast, RankMath) to gain more search engine benefits.
- Low-content Posts: Do you participate in weekly meme-style posting, with a photo and a few (or no) words? Low-content posts are not considered valuable by search engines and do not help your search ranking. In this case, more is not better. Google will rank five well-developed long-form posts much higher than 50 low-content posts. These low-content posts can often be combined to create longer-form posts with more in-depth content.
- Accessibility: While achieving full site accessibility is difficult and costly, as a blogger you want visually impaired readers to be able to enjoy your site. Therefore, it is necessary to add descriptions and alt-text to images and links so that visually impaired visitors know what it is they are encountering on your site. Yes, this is a time-consuming task but it is not difficult. You can edit the alt-text and descriptions of your images through the media gallery without ever needing to click in and edit each post.
- Site Speed: How fast does your site load? You can easily check this by running your URL through Google’s Page Speed Insights . Statistics say that if a site doesn’t load within 2 seconds, most visitors will leave. See where yours is ranked and what recommendations they make for improving it.
4. Evaluate your action items
What actions do you wish your visitors to take when they arrive on your blog? If you have a newsletter or posts by email option, is this easy to find? Verify that your sign-up forms are working by signing up on them yourself. Find out what your visitor’s experience will be and if the process is still functioning as expected. Do you have a shop or special promotion happening? Check that these are easy to find and access. With these being said, do not give your readers too many options all at once. Decide what the optimal action is, and then make sure that it is working properly.
5. Hire help if you can’t do it all
An experienced WordPress manager can take care of all of your updates, do a site audit, and make recommendations for improvements. If a full content audit is recommended (and if you have more than 100 posts, it probably will be), know that you will receive the maximum information about your site. You will receive a full report which includes every single post on your site, the categories and topics, content quality, and recommendations for what to do with them (keep as is, delete, combine with another post, edit or add images, add alt text to images, edit and go deeper into the subject), and recommend ways to monetize or turn them into saleable products. A lot of time goes into a content audit and should give you as much information as possible so that you can make improvements that will tighten up your content and target your traffic.
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