I’m glad to be back at work this week.
December is always a weird month; we’re trying to wrap things up and get things ready for the next year but also we’re cold and depressed but also we have to buy presents and go to Christmas parties. Not that it isn’t good and beautiful in its own way, but after the hubbub (isn’t that a great word?) of Christmas and New Year’s has died down, it feels good to get back to doing things and making things and writing things.
The beginning of the new year is also a great time to do a quick check of your blog to make sure it’s up to speed, especially if you made “write more on your blog” one of your New Year’s resolutions this year, or New Year’s Intentions, or whatever we’re calling them these days.
Here are a few things to look at:
1. Make Sure Your Bio is Up-to-Date
It’s easy to set and forget the “About” page on your site and then re-read it a year or two later and realize that it’s no longer accurate. Take a few minutes to read over it and see if anything needs to be added, removed, or changed to reflect your adventures of the past year. Did you move? Get married? Have kids? Change jobs? Get divorced? Switch religions? Whatever it is, make sure your About page reflects it. And if you’re feeling more ambitious, maybe do a complete rewrite. Why not?
(I just re-wrote my About page for the first time in years. You can read it here.)
2. Check your Sidebar / Footer for Random Crap
Sidebars are kind of like the kitchen counter in your house — you can put things there because they’re important at the time or because you’ll deal with them later, and without noticing it becomes a disaster. Take just a second to scroll down your sidebar (or glance at your footer) and make sure that everything there still needs to be there. Delete everything that’s outdated, boring, or just not useful.
3. Update and Clean Up your Theme and Plugins
If you’re on WordPress, you’ve probably downloaded at least a handful of themes and plugins that you didn’t wind up using. Even if they’re deactivated, it’s not a great idea to leave them hanging around in the back end of your site — they’re wasting space, slowing down your site, and posing a security risk. Go “Dashboard > Updates” and update anything that has updates available. Then look through your active plugins and see if there’s anything there you don’t need anymore — deactivate it! Then delete your deactivated plugins and themes.
4. Fix the Date in Your Footer
If you put the date in your website footer, make sure it’s on the same year we are. (Nothing says “nobody takes care of this site” like a copyright date that’s three or four years old.) Or make it even easier on yourself: use this plugin to set up an auto-updating date in the footer.
5. Make Sure You’re Covered with Security and Backups
Site security and backups are two of those things that are easy to neglect — and then you wind up kicking yourself when you have a problem. There are a bunch of plugins out there that will help you with both; head over to Google and find one that works for you.
Or, better yet, move your WordPress site to Flywheel hosting. They’re a managed hosting company, which means they take care of daily backups, site security, speed optimization, and WordPress updates for you. Plus they have the best customer service I’ve ever experienced. If you want to switch over to their service, they offer free migrations. Or email me and I’ll do it for you for free. (This is an affiliate link, which means I get a commission when you sign up over there, but also I’m currently using Flywheel for like fifty sites so I’m legit a satisfied customer.)
Alright that’s it. You’re good to go. Hit me with any questions or if you get stuck.
And you want to take it to the next level, I wrote an e-course for you called The Clumsy Bloggers’ Workshop that walks you through the design and writing process to help you make your blog awesome. Use the promo code “BLOG-FRIENDS” for 25% off.
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I wrote "10 Things I Hate About Your Blog (and How to Fix Them)" to help you make your blog kick ass this year. I'd love to send you a copy; just put your name and email right here and I'll hook you up.