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Run Though This Checklist Every Six Months for a Rocking Blog

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Blogs have a little way of getting…off track, shall we say? I’ve started blogs with a very different picture in mind than what I have today. I’ve quit blogs that I previously felt passionate about because I lost the love. I’ve mentally kicked myself in the tushie for not making the time to make my million and one ideas come to life and seeing someone else capitalize on an idea I had a year ago.

So, I created the checklist I want to share with you all today. Run through this checklist every six months to get back on track and stay focused. No matter what your niche, we all need that reminder sometimes. All you have to do is answer these questions…and then, more importantly, TAKE ACTION to improve your blog.

My Blogging Future

  • Do I really still love my niche and the blog I’m creating or is it time to give it up to pursue other ventures? (I know, a toughie right out of the gate.)
  • What is my MAIN goal (making money, sharing information about a cause, promoting a business, etc.)? Is every post I write helping me achieve that goal?

Design and Function

  • Do I still love the overall design/theme of my blog or is it time for a change?
  • Are all the elements on my sidebar necessary?
  • Are there any elements I should add to my sidebar?
  • Is it easy for readers to share posts?
  • Is it easy for readers to find my contact information and social media profiles?
  • Are there any new plugins or widgets I should try?
  • Is there an easy-to-use mobile version of my site?

Search Engine Traffic

  • What terms do I want people to use to find my blog?
  • Have I answered questions that people in this niche naturally search for?
  • Where are there knowledge gaps that I can fill using keywords (great post on that here)?

Subscribers

  • Is it easy to subscribe to my blog via RSS and email?
  • Am I writing posts that interest long-time readers, not just posts that attract search traffic?
  • Do I reward my subscribers in any way (giveaways, promotions, deals on my own products, exclusive content)?
  • Do I remember to promote the best of the best products to my subscribers?

Social

  • Do I interact with people via social media every day?
  • Do I promote my posts well with social media?
  • Are my headlines captivating to people will click on links (headline advice here)?
  • Do my social interactions and broadcasts effectively build the brand I’m creating on my blog?

Linking

  • Am I doing enough internal linking?
  • Am I doing enough external linking?

Products

  • Could I compile some posts or write a short report/ebook/guide to give away to readers?
  • Is there an informational product I could create to sell on my blog?
  • Would it be a good idea for me to produce a podcast or video series?

Posts

  • Can I interview anyone in the niche or another niche that would be valuable for readers?
  • Can I guest post on anyone’s blog to introduce myself to a new audience?
  • Can I approach anyone for a guest post that would be beneficial?
  • Am I a go-to resource in my niche for beginners and experienced readers alike?
  • Are my posts organized into categories and tagged well?
  • Would it make sense for me to start a weekly or monthly series on a certain topic?
  • Am I posting often enough (or too often)?
  • Are there old, irrelevant posts I should delete?

Answer these questions honestly and working to improve your blog based on your answers can help you stay on track. Are there questions you would add to this checklist? If so, leave them as comments!

Allison Boyer freelance writer and content marketing consultant. She also runs the food blog The PinterTest Kitchen with her mom and sister. You can follow her shenanigans on Twitter (@allison_boyer) or contact her at allisonmboyer@gmail.com.


Feedback

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  • Seth Resler

    Hi Allison, Great checklist. I know that for small businesses who are new to blogging, it can seem like quite a commitment of time. So if I could add something to the list (perhaps in the ‘Products’ section), it would be to look for ways to re-use great blog content in an email nurturing campaign. This is especially valuable for businesses with complex buying cycles. Sometimes, SMBs think of their blog content as disposable. But it’s helpful to constantly look for ways to repurpose your content to help buyers through the buying cycle. Again, great checklist! Thanks for it!
     
    Seth Resler
    Content Manager
    Marketo

    • Rick

      That is a great Tip Seth. Thanks for sharing it.

    • allison_boyer

       @Seth Resler That’s a great suggestion, Seth! I think content that plays a double role is awesome, especially for a small business owner who doesn’t have a ton of time.

  • kirstenwright5150

    That is a serious checklist! And definitely worth doing, but I would suggest every quarter instead of only twice a year. One of the biggest pieces you included that I think many people overlook is the very first question. Outside of business reasons, why someone has a blog can often be tough to answer. The only element I disagree with is the final point under posts. I don’t think you should ever delete old content on a blog – unless it becomes completely invalid or false. Old posts are surprisingly helpful for coming up with new ideas…

    • allison_boyer

       @kirstenwright5150 I disagree a little about the old posts thing because I think that it can be a problem when content you wrote a year ago isn’t relevant or correct today. We all write stinkers sometimes and on occasion, I have a drastic change of heart about something. The very first post someone reads could be that old, outdated post. If you would hate the thought of a specific post being the first impression someone gets of you, I say delete it (unless it can be easily updated, that’s an option too)! If it’s a post that’s been linked to a lot or is bringing in a lot of search engine traffic, I’ll sometime write an updated message at the very top pointing people to new posts, rather than deleting the old one completely. I don’t recommend deleting posts willy-nilly (and especially not to hide the fact that you were wrong about something), but sometimes an old stinker has to go!

  • farmnwife

    Thanks so much for this check list. I will be saving it for future use. I would agree with Kirsten about not deleting old posts. If one becomes irrelevant, I use it as an opportunity to create an updated post and create a link on the old post noting the up to date post.
    Extremely helpful list.

    • allison_boyer

       @farmnwife Glad it was helpful! I do think that is one option if you don’t want to delete old posts, especially if the content is still relevant but just needs an update. Sometimes, though, I think a topic just didn’t work and isn’t worth an update. Like I said to Kirsten, it’s not something I recommend willy-nilly, but I also don’t think it’s a bad thing to consider if it’s going to make your blog better overall.

      • farmnwife

         @allison_boyer Yes, especially if there wasn’t much there to begin with. And all of us do have a few duds. Going over to check out your blog to see what I’ve been missing.

  • InboundAgent

    @JulianaP16 Thank you for the RT. We truly appreciate it. Have an awesome Sunday.

    • JulianaP16

      @InboundAgent no rest for the wicked hey? Had a busy article writing sunday! where are you based in the US?

      • InboundAgent

        @JulianaP16 We are in Nashville by way of Los Angeles. You?

        • JulianaP16

          @InboundAgent I’m based in Los Angeles, near LAX actually

        • InboundAgent

          @JulianaP16 Nice. I went UCLA. Also have a CSUN grad as our Chief Content Mngr.

  • Chem-Dry Carpet Tech

    Excellent checklist! this was actually very informing… have you ever heard of teamlabs? I find it very useful on helping to get the daily tasks finished…

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