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A lifestyle blog by a London gal who loves plants, metal, bleaching my hair and Osaka

Monday 16 May 2016

14 ways to spring clean your blog

Spring has sprung, (although here in Japan it barely seemed to last a minute, cry) and so here I am with 14 big and small ways you can improve your blog this spring:

1//Tweak your blog design

If you don't have a professional design, get one! Either buy a pre designed one (I'm so in love with my recent redesign from Pipdig) or even better, learn HTML and make one yourself! Try and get some cohesive branding going, and check the mobile design looks good too. Honestly, getting a new layout was a game changer for me. The new design is so minimal and stylish, it makes me feel happier about my blog as a whole, and I'm way more inspired to write here!

2//Declutter your template

Try and get rid of any visual clutter like unnecessary widgets or badges. I'm a fan of the minimal look, but apart from that, a cleaner look means people will be able to find what they're looking for more easily. Less clutter also means a faster loading page too, always a bonus.

3//Make sure your blog is easy to navigate

Have a clear about me and contact page, make sure your posts are all labelled correctly, and make sure links to your social media are clearly visible. Also split up text in with paragraphs, headings and lists- your posts need to be scannable. My new design has actually improved the bounce rate for CandyflossOverkill, and I think it's because the navigation is clearer, with categories at the top and the archive (of over 300 posts!) is more easily accessible and searchable.

4//Check sure your about me page is up to scratch

This will probably be one of the first pages people click on, after all! As Melyssa Griffin always points out, make sure you include a call to action at the end!

5//Buy a domain

A .com makes everything look more professional, plus it might be useful to grab the .com of your name while you can. Dana has an awesome tutorial on how to add your domain to blogger, which completely saved my sanity. I recently bit the bullet and bought a domain, it wasn't too expensive but is another thing off my to-do list.

6//Think about your images

Images are soo key to blogging these days. There's no question that the quality overall of blog photography has improved so much, and readers have grown used to the higher standard. Images, along with blog design, need to grab your reader. If it's not engaging to look at, people won't read it. That's not to say that you have to immediately go out and buy a vase of peonies and a dyptique candle, but good lighting and composition are things anyone can do. Learn how to edit a little (note to self). Make sure the images are large sizes (and if they are large, make sure the image quality is ok) There are tonnes of blog photography tutorials out there too, so read up next time you are looking for something productive to do in your 'dead time'.

7//At least one vertical image per post

You need at least one pretty vertical image so when you pin your post it it will be optimised for Pinterest's vertical feed. Bonus points if you can make a super long image or a graphic. Seriously though, even if they're pretty, landscape or even square pictures really do get lost on pinterest, as landscape pictures will show up too small to see well. Think about this when you're shooting your images too so you take a mixture of horizontal and vertical images. The image below is the one I'll use to pin this post:

8//Make your name and branding consistent across all of your social media

Try and have the same handle everywhere, and the same profile picture. (although sadly @candyflossoverkill is too long for pinterest, sob)

9// Try switching up your posting schedule

Check iconosquare for instagram analytics, and of course good old Google analytics for your blog, and see when your most popular times are. While we're talking about scheduling, if you don't have some sort of blog planner or calender, maybe try one.

10// Experiment with new content areas

Try something new! I know people say stick to your niche, but my favourite bloggers are always 'lifestyle' bloggers. If the content is good and it still fits, why not?

11/Check your blog for broken links

And other housekeeping type things. I think you can do this in GA. I'm not sure. I'm not techy at all y'see.

12// Up your SEO game

Install all the 'webmaster tools and stuff in Google analytics and have a play. See what your most popular posts are, and what keywords people used to find you. I'm no SEO master, but again, there are about 6 million SEO tutorials out there these days, and if I can do it, anyone can!

13// Learn a new skill

This could be anything from HTML, photography, calligraphy, contouring, anything. Learning is fun :)
For blog tips and tutorials, a few of my faves are Wonder Forest, Cocochic, MediaMarmalade and Melissa Griffin

14// try and follow some new inspiring people!

I love looking in stylish people's blog feed and seeing what inspires them. Try and follow smaller bloggers as well, often their style is more unique.

I hope some of these helped :) Are you guys doing any blog spring cleaning? I need to have a physical spring clean of all my uni stuff soon, eek. Also speaking of spring, I have literally hundreds of Sakura pictures that I'll be sharing with y'all sooner or later, so stay tuned for them!
Thanks for reading!
-Amy xoxo

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