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5 Ways To Improve Your Blog

Blogs are an evolution, and keeping it up is a big commitment.  Usually you end up focusing on just creating new content on some sort of consistent interval, but the biggest problem with keeping a blog up to date is revising all those elements you once thought you would use, but now realize are not useful at all.  This is my 400th blog post on this blog, and I recently rebranded the blog slightly to make the name simpler.  Now I am thinking about to carry through the theme of simplicity to improve the user experience on the blog even further.  Here’s my list of ways that I plan to rethink the interface of my blog or have elements I have already replaced:

  1. Kill your about page – About pages usually suck.  And if you use the Blogger platform for your blog, chances are they suck even worse than usual.  The problem with these pages is that they are static, offer little information and usually have no personality.  My solution was to replace my about page with what I called my Social Media Bio.  For me, that was what I would really want people to see if they clicked on my name or wanted to know more about me.
  2. Replace trackbacks with blog reactions (or something similar) – Here’s the problem with trackbacks – they are optional and so only usually account for one fourth (or less) of all links to your blog.  For example, Technorati lists this blog as having 786 unique blogs linking to it.  To date, I have received only 214 trackbacks.  And these days, 50% or more of all trackback requests I get are spam.  To augment the trackbacks, I put a "blog reactions" counter for Technorati links on the bottom of each blog post as well.  There is always a big gap between that number and the number of trackbacks (usually zero).  I am considering getting rid of trackbacks altogether.
  3. Rethink your blog roll – My blog roll are blogs that I admire and read, but it’s very tough for me to keep it up to date.  At this point, I think that about 50% of the blogs that I read consistently are not on my blogroll at all.  Finding the time to update this is difficult, and at the moment I feel it’s incomplete.  I am tempted to remove it altogether or figure out a better way of having it more automatically update based on what I am actually reading.  Perhaps I need to aggregate my feeds and publish those into a page like others do.
  4. Lose the stupid or outdated blog badges – When you first start your blog, you tend to put in a lot of silly things on the sidebar to take up the space.  One of those was the "my blog is worth …" widget – but there are many others.  Going through your blog to find these dated badges and getting rid of them is a great idea.  Especially because when newer readers make it to your blog and don’t know that you have had these up for some time, it can make your blog look dated.
  5. Improve the blog header and branding – I rebranded the name of the blog but have not yet really updated my header with a new custom look.  I plan to do that very soon and hopefully create a stronger brand for the blog in the process.  That tends to be one of the most difficult elements for non-designer bloggers, as it requires me to get someone with design skill (ie – not yourself) to work on a new identity.  Look out for that to come soon.
  6. Optimize the sidebar – Based on hearing from users about how they navigate the site and popular links, I have a better idea of what sidebar elements are most useful.  I have not yet put that into use in optimizing the order of the sidebar, but this is going to be a priority as I try to make the experience better and more "sticky" to keep readers on the blog for more time and help them find older content that would be useful or relevant to what they are looking for.

Those are just a few thoughts on what I plan to change or have already changed on my blog to simplify and improve the experience.  So let me know what has frustrated you about this blog or about the interfaces of blogs in general … I’m open to suggestions.

8 thoughts on “5 Ways To Improve Your Blog”

  1. Hi Rohit

    Some insightful points, as usual. I’m in the process of starting my own blog and want to incorporate some of these points into the design. Thanks for the tips – keep up the good work. I look forward to reading your posts….

    Rax

    Reply
  2. Haven’t tried it myself, but https://www.blogrolling.com/ appears to be a quicker way to manage and update your links. I recently went through my site and removed half of the older links because I simply wasn’t reading them anymore and wanted to give more weight to the other half that was creating great content and worth checking out.

    Reply
  3. “I am tempted to remove it altogether or figure out a better way of having it more automatically update based on what I am actually reading. Perhaps I need to aggregate my feeds and publish those into a page like others do.”

    I use Google Reader to read all blogs and other RSS content that i like – and the neat feature there is the sharing capability which allows me to highlight items of interest that I would like to share.

    This is available as an RSS feed (see link below), which at least blogger allows to be added as a widget.

    https://www.google.com/reader/public/atom/user/12095995303000648946/state/com.google/broadcast

    Reply
  4. rohit,

    a.) what else can you write apart from social media biography ?

    b.) i think trackbacks do not wordpress at the firstplace.

    c.) blogroll- here the problem is there are so manyinteresting bloggers and so much to consume so on numerous occassions it becomes difficult to manage blogroll.

    Reply
  5. I am not really sure killing the about page is actually a good idea. I think that the about page is what makes a blogger ‘personal’ removing it will send a mixed message to the one reading your blog. At least that is the feedback I am receiving since I removed the about page.

    Reply

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About Rohit

A keynote speaker on trends, innovation, marketing, storytelling and diversity.

Rohit Bhargava is on a mission to inspire more non-obvious thinking in the world. He is the #1 Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author of eight books and is widely considered one of the most entertaining and original speakers on disruption, trends and marketing in the world.

Rohit has been invited to keynote events in 32 countries … and over the past year, given more than 100 virtual talks from his home studio. He previously spent 15 years as a marketing strategist at Ogilvy and Leo Burnett and also teaches marketing and storytelling as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University.

He loves the Olympics, actively hates cauliflower and is a proud dad of boys.

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