Is it just me, or does your website never ever really feel done? I always have an ongoing list of updates, tweaks, and changes I want to make and I never seem to get around to making them all happen. The more I do give my attention to my website though, the more it does the hard work for my blog and my business. I spoke about this in more depth in my recent post on How To Build A Website That Works For Your Blog and today I'm sharing ten simple steps you can take if you want to get your website together this week.
You may be thinking that with all the content creation, social media, and behind-the-scenes planning you already do for your blog, do you really need to put another big task on your to do list? Three reasons why you should consider adding to that list is:
Your website is your blog's storefront: It makes the first impression of what your blog is, who you are, and what new visitors can expect to find. We only have a few seconds to make a good first impression so our website plays huge part in our initial connection with new readers. Ultimately, it's how we put a face to our brand/business and express with the world who we are and what we do.
If you're taking your blog seriously, you need to take your website seriously too: If you're starting to step things up and you really want to take your blog from a hobby to a game changer, giving enough attention to your digital home and making it look and work as professional as it can is a must.
Your website can do most of the hard work for you: If we're intentional in how we build our website, overtime it can really start to do most of the hard work for us. From sharing our work, to directing readers to our social media channels/shop/hire me pages, you can build it in a way that works towards your bigger blogging goals and intentions.
About Page: I've spoken in depth in the past about How To Create An About Page That Works For Your Blog as I personally think they can be one of the most important pages on your website. They're the place where you can share who you are, what your blog is about, and what readers can expect from your online space. Crafting an engaging about page can really help you to connect with your audience, share your story, and set reader expectations.
Contact Page: There's nothing more frustrating than trying to get in touch with someone via their website and not being able to find their contact page. Whether you take the route of a contact form or just an email address, having a page dedicated to making it easier for people to get in touch with you is something most websites will need. For both your readers and any brands/clients depending on if and how you monetise your blog, a clear and concise contact page means that it'll be super easy for them to get in touch.
Archive: I love archive pages. They make a blog so much easier to browse and I love looking through a previous month or so worth of content so I can really get a feel for what a site is about. Whether you want to break it down by category or just chronologically, if you have a good chunk of content to share don't let it go to waste. Your blog is way more than just your latest content and an archive page is a great place to share all your previous awesome blog posts.
Sidebar: I spoke about the importance of building an intentional sidebar in my How To Build A Website That Works For Your Blog post. A messy and unfocused sidebar will just confuse and repel readers, whereas something focused and fuss free can work wonders at directing readers to the other pages around your website. My best advice is to only have on your sidebar exactly what it is you want to share. Don't bombard your readers, instead make it clear and simple to see exactly what it is your blog is about and what other pages and external there are for them to explore.
Social Links: The majority of us extend our online presence to our social media accounts and making it super easy for people to visit our social media profiles is a must. Social shares are also a great way to increase brand awareness and traffic so making it easy for your readers to Pin, Tweet, and share your content with their own audience is a great way to grow your blog along the way.
Customised Domain: If you're taking your online presence seriously, losing the .blogspot/.wordpress/.squarespace from your www can really help to make things look more professional. It's super affordable and fuss free to purchase your own domain and it can make all the difference when it comes to first impressions.
Logo & Branding: Depending on your budget and skill set, you may or may not have already spent a lot of time developing your websites logo and branding. This is something I really want to invest in at some point in the future as so far it's all been a DIY job. Clear and consistent branding, from your logo, to your colour scheme, to your visuals really does play a huge part in the first impression that your website makes, though in my experience if you're doing it solo your brand will most likely evolve and develop over time as you start to find your feet.
Navigation: A huge part of the user experience is how people actually navigate through your website. I don't know about you but I end up clicking off a website if the pages are too complicated to navigate between. Visit your website and try and consider what the experience would be if it was your first visit. Is it easy to navigate from page to page and post to post? Does the process feel streamlined? How about on mobile devices? Is your site responsive and mobile friendly? If not, figure out ways you can make your website more user friendly.
Your Call To Action: I've spoken about CTAs in the past and they really are super important for if you have a clear purpose and goal in mind when it comes to your website. Whether it's to encourage mailing list sign ups, social media followers, subscriptions to your RSS feed, or clients and customers for your online store/services, Call To Actions encourage your readers to act instead of just being passive traffic. Know what CTAs work best alongside your long term goals and build them into your website. Personally I'm not a huge fan of pop ups and anything that feels too forced, but strategically placed CTAs can work great for really making your website work for you.
How about you? Do you treat your website like your blog's store front? Do you build your site in a way that does most of the hard work for you?
For anyone who wants to feel focused and find confidence in their blogging process, find out more about how we can work together here.
This months Spotlight Advertiser
Six of this months sidebar advertisers