I am 100 percent allergic to cleaning my house. Hand me a Swiffer pad and I’ll use to wipe my nose as I snivel about how much I hate cleaning. Spring cleaning is not my idea of fun at ALL.
But spring cleaning my blog? I can get down with that.
See, when I spring clean my blog, I’m much likelier to want to write good posts. I feel like I’m giving my readers their due. I atone for not wanting to clean my house.
So put down the mops and dusters. Here are nine tips — ranging from the geeky to the content-related — for you to give your blog the spring cleaning it deserves.
1. Tweak your blog’s color scheme. Maybe you’ve always wanted to see what your header would look like with some green or maybe you’ve been losing sleep about the color of your text boxes or your hyperlinks (please tell me that’s not just me). So try something new! If you don’t like it, you can always go back to the old look — and your readers will appreciate having something new to look at. Need ideas? Check out Nicole’s post on color therapy for your blog.
2. Try a new blog layout or theme. There are TONS of free themes to choose from, as well as some really great premium themes (I’m a huge fan of Headway — all the benefits of Thesis for us code-challenged folk). I’m not going to embarrass myself by telling you how I have spent many an hour previewing themes for my WordPress blog. People, it’s more fun than trying on Halloween wigs (well, almost).
3. Learn some new photo tricks. Learning how to make the most of your cheap camera, building your own lightbox, playing with Picasa (or other photo editing programs), or just finding good stock images are all great ways to make your blog look snazzy.
4. Geek out. There are eight billion (yes, I counted) plugins and widgets out there. Chances are there’s a plugin for every neat little feature you can imagine out there. Looking to make commenting easier in Blogger? Need Zemanta to save time linking to photos and tags? Want to plug in your Tumblr to your blog’s home page? Looking for a way to encourage people to share your content? Want to highlight sites that you believe in or frequent? There’s a way to do all of that — in fact, there are probably ten ways to do each one! Hit up your friendly Google search (or your blog platform’s pages) for ideas, or browse through our Tech Tutorials for easy ways to make your content pop and earn yourself behind-the-blog props. And if you’re overwhelmed by all the terminology, check out Elisabeth’s lesson on the lingo of blogging.
5. Speaking of behind the blog time…. Take advantage of the (hopefully) nicer weather and take your laptop out for a behind-the-blog-time date. This is kind of like getting geeky with it, but covers issues of content too. Subjects for discussion between the two of you might include updating your blog roll, adding a new page, reorganizing an existing page or category so your blog is easier to navigate, swapping old photos on static pages and/or your homepage for new ones, or removing widgets and boxes that aren’t applicable anymore.
6. Get your blog to earn some cash for you. Whether it’s making money from placing ads you can live with, capitalizing on your blog for a new money-making venture, or just putting some thought into how your blog and your brand are working for you, this is a great way to get you thinking about your blog in a new way.
7. Update your blog’s “About” page. You’re not the same person you were a year ago, or six months ago, or a week ago. You may have just changed your goals, or big life-changing events may have gone down since you last updated your page. You may no longer be a Yogini. You might have discovered your inner pastry chef. Or perhaps you just want the world to see your cute new haircut. Either way, your readers love who you are now — so let your about page reflect that. If you’re not sure what to say, check out Kristen’s post on how to write your “About” page.
8. Start a new blog series or challenge. Whether it’s a taste challenge like Marie’s 52 Flavors challenge or a fitness challenge like Heather’s, new blog series and challenges give you the chance to tackle new subject material and give your readers incentive to participate and generate new discussion. It’s a win-win situation.
9. Reinvent your blog. Sometimes, all this spring cleaning makes you realize that you’re skirting a bigger issue: you need to move house. You need to reinvent your blog. Lori from Diet, Schmiet wrote a great guest post on how to reinvent your blog if you find yourself moving in a totally new direction.
And where’s tip number ten? Why, up YOUR sleeve! In light of AJ’s recent post on blog discussion (and posing a question in boldface at the end of a blog post), here’s your chance to dish — how do you spruce up your blog?