Hey, blog babes! We’re quickly approaching the start of another year, so it’s time to do a little check-in on your blog to make sure that it’s ready for the new year.
8 Ways To Prepare Your Blog For The New Year Click To Tweet
At the start of this year, I wrote a helpful post all about how to refresh your blog for the new year and today’s post is going to be a bit of a follow-up to it. I’m really passionate about helping other bloggers focus on the key things that they need to focus on for continued blog growth. With that being said, there’s a whole lot of important stuff in here that you can’t miss out on. It’s not your typical surface level tips post. 😉 We’re getting down to all of the teeny tiny details that are often overlooked. Let’s dig in, shall we?
8 WAYS TO PREPARE YOUR BLOG FOR THE NEW YEAR:
1. Install An SSL Certificate // Okay, blog friends! The reason why this point is first today is that I’m seeing SO many bloggers who still don’t have an SSL certificate (HTTPS) for their blog. This has been super surprising to me for a few reasons, so let’s dive in a bit further.
- In October 2017, Google said that sites that only have HTTP will be marked as “Not Secure”. They also said that they’ll rank sites that have an SSL certificate (HTTPS) higher in search results.
What is an SSL Certificate?
The main purpose of an SSL certificate is to encrypt the connection between a web server and a browser. Basically, an SSL certificate ensures that all data and information passed between the server and browser are kept private. The extra “S” in HTTPS stands lets others know that your site is secure.
You can Google or search on Pinterest to learn more about it, but this is the summary of it! If you don’t have an SSL certificate installed on your blog yet, don’t freak out. It’s pretty simple to install and for some hosting companies, it’s free (though, there are paid options). There are a few ways to go about it, depending on your blog’s hosting. I’m on WordPress.org and when I installed mine, I simply called my hosting (GoDaddy) and they did it for me. All I had to do was install a plugin called, “Really Simple SSL” afterward. My first year for my SSL was free because I upgraded my hosting plan but now I pay yearly for it.
If you don’t have your SSL certificate yet, you’ve got to do it ASAP! Not only does it create more trust between you and your readers, but it also helps improve your SEO.If you don't have your SSL certificate yet, you've got to do it ASAP! Not only does it create more trust between you and your readers, but it also helps improve your SEO. Click To Tweet
2. Update All Of Your Pages // A new year offers a fresh start and therefore, it’s the perfect time for us to freshen up our blog’s pages! You want to keep all of your information up-to-date and really make sure that your brand is clearly identified on all of your pages. You need to update all of your pages, but here is a list of some:
- About me or “Start Here” page
- Make sure your NAME is listed on this page.
- The main point of this page is to let readers learn about your blog. Yes, you can still include a portion about you — your readers want to connect with you!
- Side note: I recommend having a “Start Here” page because it’s more inviting to your readers than an “About Me” page.
- Contact page
- If you don’t want to include a contact form, simply include a way for readers to reach you via email, as well as social media.
- FAQ page
- Collaborate or “Work With Me” page
3. Plugins: Update Or Delete // The plugins you use on your blog can sometimes be forgotten about which is why I’m addressing this today! It’s important that you clean out and delete or update your plugins very often, so get in the habit of it now.
- Update all active plugins that you need and use
- Double check the plugins that you have activated and ask yourself if you really need them
- DELETE ALL inactive or disabled plugins. While you might not have them activated, they’re still technically on your blog. If you leave these inactive plugins sitting in your plugins folder and they become outdated, you’re opening yourself up to being hacked and having your site infected with malware. No joke. I learned the hard way.
Long-story-short: ALWAYS DELETE plugins that you’re not using.PSA to all Bloggers! If you're not using a plugin, DELETE it! Here's why... Click To Tweet
4. Create An Editorial Content Calendar // Content calendar, content calendars! If you don’t have one yet, you’re really holding yourself back. A content calendar is basically an overview or rough draft of what you plan to post on your blog within a certain timeframe. Instead of using a pen & planner for your content calendar, I recommend that you use a digital calendar simply because it’s easier to edit and shift posts around if needed. I have found that planning out by quarters has been most helpful for me.
Whether you already have a content calendar or not, this is the perfect time of year to get working for you.
Not sure where to get started with a content calendar? Here are two posts of mine that’ll be super helpful to you!
PIN ME FOR LATER!
5. Set Intentional Goals For Your Blog // Setting intentional goals for your blog is something you should do for the start of every new year. I highly recommend setting 3-5 long-term goals that you’ll work to reach throughout the year, as well as a handful of short-term goals. For short-term goals, I recommend setting them quarterly. I have found that setting monthly goals can actually be very unhealthy because you can end up putting too much pressure on yourself.
I’ll be sharing more about how I personally set goals for my blog with you very soon!
6. Update All Of Your Pictures // Somewhat circling back to point #2 about updating your pages, you also want to update all of your pictures on your pages & sidebar. You always want your blog and social media to have the same photos and representations of yourself! Update your headshot and any kind of stock photos you use on your pages.
7. Get Your Blog & Social Media Stats Tracking Sheets Ready // I’m a firm believer in keeping up-to-date with all of your stats consistently throughout the year, not just occasionally throughout the year. If you want to grow your page views and following on social media, you have to track your stats closely.
To make your life a bit easier for you, I have created some blogging and social media tracking sheets for you! I designed them so that you can type right in the sheets from your computer or you can simply print them out.Grab your FREE Blogging & Social Media Statistic Tracking Sheets here! Click To Tweet
8. Plan At Least One Blog Break For The Year // Yes, you read that right! Blogging breaks are so essential to furthered success. Make sure you schedule at least one blog break for 2019. A blog break is a great way to unplug and refresh yourself so that you don’t burn out. Trust me, burnout is not a fun place to find yourself in.
Taking a blog break or two throughout the year can also help you to find inspiration in everything around you, which you can then put into your blog after your break. I know it may seem like a tough thing to do, but if you’re in blogging for the long haul, they’re a MUST. Blog breaks are essential to growth and furthered success.A blog break is a great way to unplug and refresh yourself so that you don’t burn out. Click To Tweet
I hope you have an amazing start to the New Year, friend! Have you completely prepped yet? Let’s chat!