The grass is growing, the flowers are blooming and that means it’s spring! As people start the spring cleaning on their garages, it’s also a great time to do some spring cleaning on your blog and give it a tune-up.
A lot of things can happen to a blog over time and blog maintenance is a task that probably doesn’t get done as often as it should. When is the last time you tested your comments? Or filled out your own forms? Maybe looked at the site in Internet Explorer?!
It’s a good idea to take a step back and look at your site, as others do, from time to time to ensure everything is working, and displaying, as it should.
Here are a few things to help with your blog tune up and spring cleaning.
- Upgrade your software. If you aren’t running the latest version of your blog software, you may be missing out on features, security patches or bug fixes. Upgrading could make for an improvement in performance for both blog authors and visitors.
- Upgrade your plug-ins. Just like with blog software, the plug-ins you run get updated from time to time to fix, update and improve. Check those plug-ins to see if anything needs to be updated.
- Remove plug-ins. Sometimes a plug-in is a great idea, but you find out over time that you don’t really use it. So why not remove it? The less your blog has to load, the more responsive it’ll be.
- Test in other browsers. Take a look at your stats and see what the top browsers and platforms are to your site. Then test your blog in those browsers to see if everything works as it should. People sometimes look at everything through their browser, but forget that there are many others out there.
- Test on smaller, or bigger, screens. Every computer screen is different. Some are bigger, some smaller; some have high resolutions while other low. Again, it’s good to look in the analytics software to see what most people are running and check out the blog as they see it. You may be surprised at how some designs break.
- Fill out forms. Contact forms, comments forms, lead forms, all should be tested to ensure they are working properly. But don’t stop there, whom does the form go to internally and what’s the process to follow-up with the email?
- Check 404 error page. If someone does follow an invalid URL, what do they see? Do they see your blog with a nice error message? Or a generic server error page that may turn them away?
- Check Google Webmaster Tools. If you’ve got your blog verified, check with Google to see if they have any issues crawling your site. You don’t want to miss out any traffic.
- Search your blog. Doesn’t matter for what, but you want to ensure the search is still working properly and the results page looks good.
- Click around. Just take a stroll through your blog. Look at archives, random posts, and categories, whatever. If something jumps out at you as an issue, then address it.
- Check your title tags and meta descriptions. Are they still optimized? Do they look good? If someone reads them, would it draw them into the site?
- Check your external links. Just because the sites you were linking to six months ago worked fine doesn’t mean they still do. Double check any blogroll or other links in your blog template to be sure they still go where they should. You just want to be sure you know where you are sending your visitors.
Overall, it’s a good idea to take a step back once a year, or month, to look at your blog from a different perspective. There are a lot of things that change over time and if you’re not looking for them, you may not know what’s really going on with your blog.
What other things should be checked? Share your thoughts in the comments.
About The AuthorThomas McMahon is a SEO Designer for TopRank Online Marketing in Minneapolis, MN. His specialities inlude technical optimization of existing web sites, creating search engine friendly web designs, and blog optimization. He has also created a number of blog marketing tools, WordPress plug-ins and FireFox add-ons.