Yannnno my favorite phrase? Besides PIZZA IS HERE!!? …FREE.
I’m a sucker for free stuff. Granted, I’ve grown up a bit + learned that not all free stuff is created equal (by ANY means), but that’s a lesson for another day. 😉 For now, some blogging tips to share – FREE blogging tips, at that. There is just so dang much to blogging. Way too often, folks mistakenly think that running a “successful” blog is as simple as jotting some thoughts down on paper, hitting “publish” and collecting the $$$. …hahahahaha. That’s just so inaccurate on so many levels. Bloggers know best: blogging takes work! And oftentimes, it can be super confusing + overwhelming with where the heck to start, especially if you’re gunning to grow your online space into something awesome (+ potentially profitable). SO, here are 15 FREE things you can do *today* to better your blog. As in, read this post, open a new tab, aaaaaaaaand begin.
- Re-evaluate yo’ goals (and/or set them in the first place…). Your goals should be SMART: Specific + strategic + stretching, Measurable + meaningful, Attainable + achievable + action-oriented, Realistic + relevant + results-oriented, Timely + trackable. Do you have goals set up in the first place? See what you’re workin’ with, then see what you can add/subtract to ensure that all of your goals are as kickass as possible. More on how to set effective goals as a blogger here.
- Brain dump content ideas. Waaaaay too often, I see/hear bloggers complaining about having zero clue what to write about, or just hating writing altogether. I’m a Wordy Wanda (and yup, just made that up thankyoukindly 😉 ), so I can write a book no problemo. #SorryNotSorry. But seriously, yo. You should *never* be short on quality content ideas for le blog! Easy trick: SPREADSHEET that ish. I have a Google Sheet organized by category to correspond with the different topics on CUR. Then, whenever you think of an idea for a post, throw it down in its respective categorical column for a rainy day. Throw a timer on for 15 minutes and word vomit all of the possible content ideas you can conjure onto the spreadsheet. Close out _ open back up when it comes time to flesh out your monthly editorial calendar.
- Eliminate broken links. If you’re on WordPress, that’s under “Tools” on your lefthand sidebar >>> “Broken Links.” That means the hyperlink you’re directing readers to isn’t actually a webpage anymore. No bueno. It hurts your SEO and page rankings to have broken links everywhere, so get rid o’ them STAT.
- Update yo’ About me. When was the last time you gave that page a peek? Probably way-too-long-ago. 😉 Seriously tho, where do new peeps beeline to upon first landing on your website???? …About Me. Give it a look over + make some tweaks as necessary.
- Go through old posts and update anything + everything that’s overdue for an overhaul. *raises hand for being oh so guilty in this category*. That includes broken links like I said, as well as any graphics in old branding, old code, and just old content that isn’t up to schnuff anymore. It’s one of the most tried + true when it comes to blogging tips, but there’s nothing a little facelift can’t fix!
- Batch some photography for a rainy day. Batching content ROCKS. (Should I do a future blog post all about batching? Sound off in the comments below…) Seriously tho, gamechanger is when you take advantage of your most creative spurts to get as much ish shot as possible. Fo’ yo’ blog, fo’ yo’ Instagram, fo’ ANYTHING that requires pretty pics…batch batch batch batch batch. Have a running list of photography ideas, and shoot whatever ya can when you need something to work on that doesn’t cost a cent. Here are 13 ideas to getcha started!
- Get first impressions. Find someone who you think would be an “ideal reader” of your blog (and no, the answer is not BUT EVERYONE WOULD READ MY BLOG!!). The key: Make sure they’ve never been on your site before! Ideally, have them record themselves getting on your site for the first time, just giving their brutally honest first impressions. How easy is it to navigate? What’s their train of thought + action as they surf around? Have them look for things like your search bar, or tell them to try to contact you; see how easy it is for new eyes to find the most important pages + buttons on your website.
- Grade yo’ website. This handy dandy (free) tool grades on everything from pagespeed to SEO to security. Know what needs work!
- Answer all of your readers comments + emails. I know, I know…we’re all busy. But the first way to boost yo’ blog is by boosting the connection with your #1 priority: your peeps!
- Nix the pesky pop-ups. If someone is hopping onto your blog for the first time ever…why the heck would they want to subscribe to something when they a.) don’t know you and b.) don’t know what they’re subscribing into getting?? Would YOU do that on a website you’ve never seen before? Uh…probs not. If anything, it’s just a pesky little annoyance to click away from. Focus on the value first and foremost. Yes, you should 100% be growing an email list. But the way to do that is not by collecting emails of total strangers who don’t even know you and/or yo’ blog yet. Focus on telling people exactly what they’re getting by subscribing, and give them a really helpful, valuable, relevant freebie once they sign up. #perks “Staying in the loop” is not an actual perk. 😉 PLUS, didja know Google can actually penalize websites for having something pop-up right off the bat that intrudes on the reader’s line of sight?
- Check for contacts. Say someone comes to your website + loveloveloves what they see (yay!)…can they find your email address within 7 seconds? Can they follow you on all social media platforms within 10? This might seem so stinkin’ simple, but I’m always surprised when I hit upon a gem of a blog with contact info nowhere in sight! If a seasoned blogger who gets website layouts can’t find your contact info, guess what…brands can’t either. It’s an easy + free checkup, so be sure to put yo’ info in plain sight for all.
- Throw up an FAQ page. Especially helpful if you find yo’self getting flooded with the same Q’s all the time – mutually beneficial, so they don’t have to ask + you don’t have to answer! Here’s mine…
- Create a blog budget. Yup, this is a blog post on free things to do. Yup, a budget typically involves spending some money. BUT actually creating the budget itself is f-r-e-e, so it’s important to know. 😉 Know how much you want to invest in the blog (cos YES, if you wanna actually grow, you’ll NEED to invest some $$$ sooner or later!). Know what areas you’ll be investing in based on any weak spots as ID’ed by the website grader, and based on the goals as ID’ed by step numero uno. At the end of the day, there is a LOT you can get your hands on fo’ free, but the best of the best stuff *always* has a price tag on it. You’ll always get the what and the why handed to you – be prepared to pay accordingly for the deeper, detailed HOW. That’s not a bad thing – it’s just #economics. Sometimes you’ve gotta put money IN to get money OUT. Invest in yo’self. You’re worth it.
- Do a lil’ structural pickmeup! Did you recently start new series? Has your collection of content changed/evolved/grown at all lately? Look at the current state of the union and address it with a fine tooth comb, re-organizing anything that needs to make more sense. Group like posts together, and/or see what readers respond best to so that IF you ARE in the market for a new series, you can create on accordingly and organize it all nice n’ neat #OnTheBlog.
- Sign up for #BrandOut. ICYMI, #BrandOut is a totally FREE masterclass (!!!) happening on Wednesday, May 17th (not this Wednesday, but next!), at 8 pm EST. In it, I’m dishing the 7 Keys to Stand Out to Brands as a Blogger. Especially on something as ginormous as the internet, it’s SO IMPORTANT to know how to actually stand out + get noticed so you’re not totally lost in the content shuffle. #BrandOut is the bread AND the butter when it comes to blogging tips, cos it gives the scoop on exactly what you should be doing + focusing on to reach goals and make money doing what you lovelovelove every single day, point blank period. Y’all, this is gonna be FIRE. I absolutely lovelovelove teaching this webinar (especially live), cos I know the value is real; last time, I was so overwhelmed by all of the tweets, Snapchats, and emails afterwards about how helpful it was, so we’re gunning for this time to be bigger + better than before across the board. ICYMI, the #BrandOut bomb dropped last week on CUR, so read all about it here!
What free thing will you do TODAY to better yo’ blog?
Drop it in a comment below + hold each other accountable! I’d recommend #BrandOut…it’s the easiest free thing with the most valuable punch. So when it comes to blogging tips, you’ve been warned… 😉
And for more free…a fabulous giveaway! I’ve teamed up with a fun group of gals to give ya a chance to win: a $700 Nordstrom Gift Card, just in time for some spring shopping. #BlessUp. Enter below by completing the rafflecopter widget. You’ll receive one entry per completion. Giveaway is open internationally and runs until 5/22, and the winner will be announced here. Good luck!