The latest post in my series for new bloggers isn’t the most exciting of tasks but is easily one of the most important. Yes, I’m talking about blog maintenance. It can be a fairly time-consuming process if you let things build up, so it’s good to get into the habit of doing all of the below regularly.
When I started blogging, things were very different and there was a lot less involved. As a result, I’m still going through some of my really old content to optimise it both in terms of SEO and readability. Blog maintenance is a task that never goes away!
It’s vital that you make a backup of your site regularly – just in case something goes wrong. It would be awful to lose all of your content after all. You should always make a backup before carrying out a major update – more on that later.
Your hosting provider may offer a site backup tool and, failing that, there are various WordPress plugins available that can do the job for you. I use BackupGuard.
Okay, I’m putting my hands up here. This is something I need to get a lot faster at doing myself. It’s only right to reply to comments when people have taken the time to write them and you should do so as soon as possible.
While you’re at it, make sure that no spam comments have slipped through. If they have, remove them immediately. They don’t look good and could do your blog harm from an SEO point of view.
Optimise old content
As I mentioned earlier, I’m still going through some of my posts from the early days. I wrote them before I knew what SEO was. I also wrote rather long, unwieldy sentences that are tricky to follow and I didn’t always include images either.
One of the best things about blogs is that they offer what some refer to as ‘evergreen content’. That said, it helps if search engines can find it! So if you have any posts that you haven’t optimised, go through them again. Remeber to cover all bases including meta titles and descriptions plus alt tags on images.
If you’re using WordPress, you should always update it – as well as plugins and themes – when prompted. Doing so means you get the best possible user experience and it’s important from a security point of view too.
Platforms, plugins and themes are sometimes updated due to frailties that hackers can expose, so keeping up to date is a must. On a related point, delete any plugins and themes that you no longer use. Not only does this reduce security risks, but it saves space too.
Check how your site is performing
It’s always worth checking in on how your posts are performing and Google Analytics is ideal for this. Which posts are getting the most and least traffic? Where is the traffic coming from? How long are people staying on your site?
Knowing the answers to all of these questions and plenty more besides really helps when planning new content. You could, of course, use your findings to optimise existing posts that aren’t faring as well as others.
Check for broken links
Broken links are infuriating. Through no fault of your own, you can suddenly have a load of them on your site. This can have an impact on SEO as well as your domain authority, which you don’t want if you’re looking to work with brands.
If you’re running a self-hosted blog, it’s well worth logging in to your hosting provider account now and then to make sure all your details are up to date.
In most cases, hosting packages and domain names will be set to auto-renew but remember that credit and debit cards go out of date and you don’t want to risk your site going down due to a simple oversight like this.
Congratulations on reaching the end of the important but nonetheless boring topic of blog maintenance! Next time I’m moving on to something a lot more exciting – monetising your blog.