9 Ways I am Improving My Blog

My blog doesn’t suck, but shall we say there is room for improvement? I’m talking about a lower-than-desired traffic flow, some confusion about how to find other related posts, and just a little something missing to make it engaging. So I’ve been doing some research and the advice offered was a little too authoritative and generic to really apply to my site. To employ all that advice would be essentially to bulldoze a cute corner boutique and turn it into Wal-Mart or maybe a H&M. It would strip out the heart of what this is about–a journey.

And I was really wondering how I could breathe some fresh life into this place, until I started to look at my bookmark folders. Then things started to fall into place. Before I make a decision, I pour a lot of research into that topic, and I compile lists and websites where before there was no easy-to-find-list. Why haven’t I shared this with my other sojourners?

So after rehashing and a week’s worth of thinking, I have decided I am going to change these things:

1. Make my titles more exciting.

This is an easy yet hard talent to learn. I am not saying to be dishonest in the title, merely to shine them up to be more like candy. Often all we read is the title of a post before we decide if we want to read it. How many sites have I been on (ahem, Buzzfeed) where the content itself isn’t all that brilliant, but the titles keep hooking me in. It’s like some poor-quality addiction or something.

2. Write more engaging first paragraphs.

Still working on that one. That’s alright. There is a lot of advice for those, and like I said, it’s all an art form, really. Just google search it, and you’ll have fifty articles in your palm in a fraction of a second.

3. Play with a variety of post types.

The same old thing all the time gets monotonous, to say the least. While I think you, the reader, would have more tolerance for a series of lists, me as the writer, well…I would go a little bonkers first and just might sit here glaring at my computer for hours instead of writing another list.
4. Be more generous in my links.

I’ve always thought of myself as quick to share a good thing, but it’s about time I start to share all those preciously-hoarded stacks of bookmarks–in a way which makes sense.
5. Organize my material kinder for my reader.

This seems like a no-brainer. Because it is. But how do you take all that glorious content, past and future, and put it in a way which is meaningful to your reader–and to yourself, should you ever wish to refer to it again? I’ll let you know when I’ve figured that one out.
6. Add an author’s pic and tagline.

In my WordPress theme, I accomplished this by using the “Picture” widget and adding my tagline in as the “caption”. Simple enough. Except I hate how I photograph. In real life, I think I’m rather pretty. Put me in front of a camera, and I’m like….ahem, let’s use a baby photo, shall we?
7. Add links to my other profiles.

This blog is the first place readers will come, and readers prefer different social media platforms. One reader usually won’t keep up to snuff on Twitter, Facebook, G+, Diospora, and whatever else is out there. But Reader Sally will love Facebook, and while Geek Brother loves G+. This is the best place to list all your accounts, even if you only update them to say “my new book is out”.
8. “My Books” page.

I’ve seen many variations on this, and decided that there needs to be a landing zone for your readers to be able to see and go to their favorite book-reading site. Not everyone has a Kindle or uses Amazon, yet most places link there. For the layout, I decided I enjoyed the usability of BookBub best. It has a thumbnail, a blurb, and a list of places to find your book.

I accomplished the look by doing a two-column page and doing links. You’ll have to consult Google and play with a few tutorials to find the best way to do this. It took me a few tries to attain the desired look.

9. A website which allows for these changes.

Not all sites are built the same. Two-column pages won’t look good on every site. Others look fine with three or four columns. For my re-vamp, I needed a place for Categories, my “Picture” widget, pages, and something that gave me eye candy. I chose a design which met the technical needs and laid everything out. Then I went hunting for visual appeal and picked the one that made the most sense.

Bonus Point:

10. A subscription service.

I am looking into mail subscription providers. It needs to be free and easy to use. I’m currently thinking MailChimp because I’ve seen it used so often and it’s free up till 20,000+ subscribers. If I get that many, I’d be more than happy to cough up some dough for a paid service.

* * *

You will see these changes taking effect–some of them already have. What do you guys think? Anything you’ve wanted to change up in your own site?

Your Dearest Nicolette

 

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