This is a repost of an article originally published in early 2019, but the information is just as pertinent today. Enjoy!
Remember to check out this week’s writing prompt.
With apologies to the queen of decluttering, Marie Kondo, “Does your blog or website make you happy?” Does it excite you to read it or post to it? Or does it feel stale and uninspiring?
Maybe it’s time to declutter your website?
It can be easy to overlook your website or blog once it’s up and running. But like anything else, it can quickly turn boring. And if it’s boring to you, imagine how your readers feel about it. If you don’t feel excited about your own site, you’ll put in less effort to maintain it properly. Once you lose interest in it, your readers will too..
I’m always looking at ways to freshen up my website. I’ve tinkered with it here and there — with mixed results. Here are a few ideas that can help give your blog a new lease on life.
1. Update your bio. When was the last time you reviewed your About Me page on your website? Does it still give readers a realistic view of who you are? If it’s a bit thin, add a few more details about your experience, either as a writer and blogger or as someone with specialized knowledge and expertise. Have you published any pertinent articles, taken an exotic vacation recently, or completed relevant education that would add to your credibility? Add that information to your bio.
Your professional development doesn’t stand still, so neither should your professional profile on your site. With every new life experience, education course, or job change, review and update your bio. In fact, I recommend reviewing your bio at least once or twice a year, just as you would your resume.
2. Update the Resources page. A helpful tool for your readers is a list of resources related to your blog topic. A separate page with resources can include links to other websites and blogs you follow, organizations you support, publications, and downloadable materials that may benefit your readers. Double check the links at least one or twice a year to make sure they are still active. If you don’t already have a resources page, consider adding one to your site. When you share resources on your site, it positions you as an expert just as if you had created those resources yourself.
3. Update site images. Be honest with yourself. When was the last time you updated images on your website or blog? If you’ve had the same images since the day the site went live and that was more than three or four years ago, consider replacing with new photos. Either take your own photos (make sure they’re high quality) or use one of the free image sites like Pixabay or Flickr. Be sure to give credit to the source of any photo you use that isn’t your own.
4. Change the layout. If you’re bored with your site, maybe it’s the layout that needs updating. If you’ve used the same layout on your site since day one, consider changing it up. What I like about WordPress is the numerous themes they offer, and new ones are being added all the time. Maybe you still like the theme but use a slightly different layout, like two-column instead of one-column. Test out different themes and layouts to see which ones look best. You may find after testing them that you like what you have. That’s okay. At least you made an educated and informed decision.
5. Update your color scheme. Maybe the color scheme has gotten stale, or it no longer appeals to your sense of artistic integrity. Maybe it comes across too somber when what you really want is something more cheerful, or conversely, maybe it comes across as juvenile or immature when you want your readers to see you as mature and professional. You want a color scheme to reflect your site’s topic and appeal to your readers at the same time. If your color scheme isn’t working for you, test out new combinations. A new color scheme can breathe new life into a tired-looking site.
6. Add video. Video has become the hot new trend in website content. Video has a sticky quality because it encourages visitors to linger longer on your site. Video is especially valuable for teaching purposes. Think demonstration of yoga poses, how to use carpentry tools, or cook a meal.
7. Interview experts. If you’re tired of writing the same types of stories or you run out of ideas, consider doing interviews. To start, stick with a few brief questions. Seek out people who have expertise in your selected topic. For example, if you write about outdoor adventures, consider interviewing a biking enthusiast who just completed a 100-mile trek, or the leader of an adventure travel group. Five easy questions can make an easy-to-write post into an interesting-to-read story.
8. Write a book or movie review. Read any good books lately? See any great films? Book and movie reviews are another way to add strong relevant content to your site. They’re also helpful for stirring up discussion and debate, which helps you engage with your readers.
9. Conduct surveys and post the results. Want to know what your readers think about a particular topic? Just ask them. Set up a survey on a site like Survey Monkey, then link to the survey from your blog or website. Once you compile the results, be sure to share them with your readers. For example, a movie fan website might do a survey about the Academy Award nominations. Surveys are a great way to generate more interactivity with your readers.
10. Invite guest posts. If you’re connected to other bloggers or experts, consider inviting them to write a guest post for your blog. This approach is especially helpful if you plan to be out of town for vacation and won’t have time to contribute articles to your blog. It’s also helpful if you simply run out of creative ideas. Having guest posts can expand your audience to include the guest blogger’s readers as well as your own.
11. Write how-to articles. We live in a continuous learning society, and readers are always looking for easier ways to get things done in an easy-to-read format. How-to articles are a great way to showcase your expertise, especially if you can clearly explain complex subjects.
12. Add downloadable materials. Consider posting freebie content, such as a podcast, a white paper or a chapter from an upcoming book you’ve written. These items can whet readers’ appetite for more material you create.
13. Include client testimonials. Do you work with clients? If they’re pleased with the results from your work, ask them for a testimonial that you can post to your website.
14. Add social media links. Invite readers to follow you on social media to keep the engagement going off site.
15. Share your portfolio. Have you written for other blogs? Have you been published anywhere else? Or are you an artist with pieces you’d like to sell or show off to visitors? Set up a portfolio to showcase your work. Especially for writers and other creatives, this is a great way to show what you can do for potential clients or employers.
A site that looks and feels stale won’t inspire confidence in you or your readers. Any one or a combination of these ideas can make your site more interesting and reader-friendly.