Why You Need To Audit Your Blog
So, you are wondering what the next goals for your blog are and where to start from? You ran the blogging race through last year and would love to see some distinctive growth this year. Well, let’s take it from the top, you need to audit your blog.
Like every business, to run a successful blog requires auditing and doctoring your blog periodically.
Based on your desired goals, the process of auditing your blog effectively could be simple or intensive.
Looking at what you achieved over the past year no matter how big or small helps you to make a concise plan on the way forward for your blog.
If you don’t know where you’ve been, how are you going to know precisely where you are heading to?
Having a blanket wish of wanting your website to grow popular or hoping that you would have a better blogging year without taking into account previous fails, successes and the reasons for those results is like searching for the proverbial needle in a haystack.
You are bound to repeat the same mistakes. Find the faults and fix them.
A good old-fashioned notepad and pen, word editor or Google spreadsheet would do.
If however, you are more into the nitty-gritty details of things Google analytics plugin and JetPack are free tools that you could use. They offer comprehensive insight into your site’s performance over a specific period.
This process might take a bit of your time but you’ll be glad you did it.
Questions To Consider
* Is the overall feel of your theme functional for you?
* Is it appealing to the eye and user-friendly?
* Are the colours properly blended or do they clash?
* If you’ve got a brand – logo, is it in sync with your site’s colours?
* Is the site too crowded and needs reorganizing? If there are widgets that are no longer serving any purpose, consider removing them. Snip, Cut and Tie. Examining your site with the critical eye of a visitor is the key here. Like a messy home that no one likes visiting, no one wants to hang out in a site that would probably end up giving them a headache.
* What of your essential pages like your contact form for getting in touch, about page and other relevant pages? Have they been set up? Do all the links on your homepage work?
* Is your Gravatar properly linked to your URL?
* Is a short bio of the author of the blog added to your Gravatar image? This gives a reader a general overview of the writer/author of the blog.
* Are your subscription buttons strategically placed where your visitors can easily see them? Time constraint doesn’t favour hidden buttons and to increase your subscription base. Place your buttons at various points where they easily draw the eyes’ such as the top part of your sidebar, the end of your post, just before your comment box.
* Are there any social proofs that could be used to show your visitors that other people read your blog? You could install your Facebook fan page, Twitter feed, Your subscription numbers et cetera. Other alternatives are your top post and top commentator box. For WordPress managed platforms, there are ready to use widgets that display such information while on a self-hosted blog plugins such as JetPack provides this service.
* A common practice used on self-hosted blogs is to attach some form of reward like e-books, images, printable, coupons et cetera for subscribers. Are you using any of the above?
Your site is only as strong as the contents found in it and as is commonly said by bloggers, ‘content is king.’
This part of auditing involves taking a good look at your statistics, either through your Jet Pack or the Google Analytics.
Before delving into the numbers and the how and why of things, check through your posts for issues enumerated below:
* Are your blog posts/contents concise, easy to read and to understand? Keep it simple. Avoid using ambiguous, oversized vocabulary that simply makes reading your articles tedious.
* Do you use pleasant images and graphics to emphasize your posts? Adding some visual candy and easy to digest information which creates an overall satisfying experience for your readers. In respect of your images, what image source do you use? Do you create your images, source for free images online or use attributable images? It’s important to sort out this aspect of image sourcing out to avoid any legal challenges. As a rule of thumb, images that have watermark by the creator are not free to use.
* Do you have related posts footnotes on your pages that links to your older posts? You can increase your page views when readers can find other articles a click away.
* How enticing are your headings? I always liken blogging to fishing. Your headlines are baits that you cast into the ginormous sea of blogging with the hope of catching a fish if not several. When the title is flat, chances are it would fail to attract wanted attention.
* Is your content properly formatted or all over the place? Choose a formatting style and keep up with it.
* Compare your blog posts performance by their lengths.
* What are the types of your post that attracted more views and resonated more with your readers? Were they helpful, niche related, personal post? Can you publish more posts like them?
* Which posts gained a lot of comments? Which posts got shared most? What do you think caused it to arouse so much response?
* For the posts that fell flat, do they share a common trait? Is it something you can avoid repeating?
* Did you publish contents equally across your chosen topics or did you concentrate on a particular topic?
* What day of the week that got the most traffic? What can you make of the information deduced from these?
Social Media and Promotion Strategy
* Do you have branded social media presence?
* Do all your platforms link to your blog?
* Which social media and promotion strategies platforms worked best for you?
* Where was your dominant growth and engagement?
* Which of the platforms did you enjoy working with most? Will you keep using them?
* Have you submitted your blog to major search engines?
* Did you do guest posts or collaboration on other blogs?
* Have you been interacting with other bloggers by leaving insightful comments that engage conversation on their blogs?
* What new strategies would you like to try this year to grow your presence?
* What’s your SEO plan? Do you use rich keyword texts in the right places? For those who use SEO plugins, how effective was it? Would you consider trying something new?
* Are your images properly filled out with the alt-text focus keywords before inserting them into the post? It’s the alt-text that search engines, Pinterest et cetera focuses on to make it user-friendly.
* Are you plugin’s and widgets working properly? Do they need updating?
* Do you have broken links? You can find out by using the free broken link checker to fix the problem.
For Monetized Blogs
* What monetization strategies are you using? Has it been worthwhile? Have you made sales with them? If they are not working so well, would you consider changing them?
* Are you considering other monetization methods to generate income? Such as:
. Making and selling of eBooks, tutorials, videos, website themes, graphics, photos etc.
. Offering your services like writing, copy-writing, editing, coaching, building sites etc.
. Affiliate marketing and selling private ad spaces
. Exclusive membership programs
Setting New Targets
There you have it. You stuck to the end. Well done! When you know better, you certainly do better.
Armed with information learned from your audit, you can check your previous goals and use your performance as a yardstick to set new targets.
1. Don’t set too many concrete goals that would become overwhelming and only lead to failure to meet them.
2. Keep your goals S.M.A.R.T. Specific, measurable, actionable, realistic and time-bound.
Always remember that the journey of a successful blog is not a day’s walk. The more you know the better it becomes.
I hope that you find this useful and would love to know your thoughts and recommendations.
This post was originally published in http://theartofbeautifulexpressions.com/audit-blog-determine-direction/ by Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha