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DIY Blog Critique & Tweak

Originally published on Etsy and Meet Me At Mike’s (adding it here so it’s easy for Blog Yay! types to find!)

Pip’s DIY Blog CRITIQUE AND TWEAK <– The list below is updated, buy you can also download the original version (which is almost the same) at that link right there! (No email sign-up or other such trickery!) Here’s a glimpse of its dandy-ness!

 

blog critique and tweak

 

Now, without further ado, here are some questions to ask of your blog (if you want to!)

Pip’s DIY Blog Critique and Tweak

User Experience

Readers-eye tour
Have you visited your blog from a reader’s point of view to experience how they might navigate your site? Have you noted down any glitches or problems?

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Design and Layout

Fonts – size and choice
Is your font web-safe, legible and the correct size?

Colour palette
Are you using a cohesive colour palette? Do the colours work nicely together?

Header:
Does your header look the way you want it to or does it need an update?

Theme/template
Does your template need an update?

Favicon
Do you have a favicon? Do you want one/need to update yours?

White space/clear borders
Have you got plenty of white space or clear borders between content and sidebars?

Sidebars:
Have you got one sidebar or two or more? Is this how you want your blog to look?

Footer
Are you using the footer area of your blog well? Do you want it nice and clean or would you prefer useful widgets in there?

Post Layout
Is your post layout working? Do you want to add subtitles, justify text or other layout tweaks?

Overall Layout
Are you happy with the overall look – how it all looks together?

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Basic Blog Bones

Mobile responsiveness
Have you viewed your blog on various mobile devices? Does it work well?

Site description and title
Are these correct and up to date? Do they show correctly in your browser ‘address bar’?

Browser compatibility
Does your blog look great in Safari, Internet Explorer, Chrome and Firefox?

Search Button
Do you have a search button clearly visible at the top of your blog?

Permalinks
Are your permalinks/URLs showing post titles or just a number?

 

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Subscribers

RSS Subscribe Buttons
Do you have subscribe via feedly/bloglovin’ options near the top of your sidebar? Or simply an RSS subscribe button?

Email Subscribe Button
Do you have an email subscribe opt in box?

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Navigation

Navigation & Menus
Is your navigation logical and easy to work with? Or does it need a tidy up? Do you need to refresh your menus/categories?

Previous / Next Post option
Do you have this feature at the bottom of each post for fluid, chronological navigation?

Archives
Are they easily navigated to and through?

Categories
Are your categories up to date and logical?

Tagging
Are you tagging your posts logically so that you can curate those tagged posts if need be? Do you want to display a ‘tag cloud’ to encourage more page views on older posts?

Related Posts
Do you have a related post widget showing within your posts

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Author stuff/About YOU!

About Page
Is your about page succinct and up to date?

Photo Of Author
Do you have a photo of yourself on the home page of your blog?

Contact Button
Is there a way for people to easily contact you?

Email Address
Contact form emails are not always prioritised – have you published your email address on your blog for urgent enquiries?

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Purpose & Readers

Blog Mission Statement
Have you written a mission statement for your blog detailing why you are blogging and what you hope to achieve? Is some of this included in your About Me page?

Blog Tagline
Do you have one? If not maybe you’d like to consider one?

Blog Ideal Reader Profile
Have you created an ‘ideal reader’ profile? To help you focus on who you are writing for?

Google Analytics
Are you using Google Analytics to find out more about your readers and improve your blog’s content?

Overall Vision Calendar
Have you written down an overall vision for your work (blog and otherwise) to focus on as your blog grows?

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Editorial Flow

Editorial Calendar
Are you using an editorial calendar to map your content plans?

Content Brainstorm
Are you making time to brainstorm fresh ideas for your blog?

Guest Posts
Would you like to think about working with other bloggers on your blog (and on theirs?)

Content Balance
Are you happy with the mix of content? Are you using text, images, video, podcasts etc in the way you most want?

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Pages & Posts

Pages
Are your existing pages all up to date (broken links? Formatting correct? Images loading?)

Posts
Are your most popular posts all up to date (broken links? Formatting correct? Images loading?)

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Writing

Passion
Are you writing about the things you care most about?

Voice
Is your own voice (or your chosen professional voice) coming through in your posts?

Story/Message
Are you telling the kind of stories you want to tell, or focusing on your core messages or things you care most about?

Writing for new readers & old
Will your writing be interesting to new readers as well as your established readers?

Grammar/Spelling
Are you checking your grammar and spelling before you publish? Perhaps you would like someone else to read your posts and help with edits? Are you writing proper sentences/paragraphs?

Post Structure
Are you conscious of the structure of your post? Are you writing your story logically and clearly?

Post Length
Are your posts too short? Too long? Just right?

Post Transparency
Are you upfront (at the top of the post) when your post is sponsored or commercial?

Post Title
Do your posts have logical titles?

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Motivation & Inspiration

Time
Do you need to work on your time management to find time to blog? Is this a bit of a challenge?

Consistency
Do you need to adjust the post frequency to keep things achievable and fun?

Self-care
Are you making time to do fun stuff? Not just doing ‘bloggable’ stuff?

Comparison
Are you getting stuck because you compare yourself to other bloggers all the time?

Purpose
Is your purpose still matching your blog output?

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Images

Image Size & Quality
Are your images the correct size and resolution for your blog’s post body? Do you know how wide this column is? Are you resizing your images to almost span that measurement?

Image Style
Are you working on your photography skills and developing great images to use on your blog? Do you need to skill up a bit more?!

Image Watermarking
Do you want to watermark your images in Photoshop or Illustrator?

Image Labelling
Are you labelling your images correctly so they are easy to find in your media library?

Image Attribution
Are you attributing images owned by others correctly (and asking for permission to use those?

Image Library
Are you taking the time to develop your own ‘stock image’ library so that your blog photos are always unique to you?

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Commenting

Comment Monitoring
Are you happy with the way your comment notification system is working?

Replying
Are you replying to comments as often and in the way that you want to?

CAPTCHA
Do you want CAPTCHA turned on? Or not?

Spam
Do you have a reliable spam filter – or are you needing to wrangle those pesky spammy comments a little better?

Commenting System/Ease
Is it easy to comment on your blog?

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Social Media

Share Buttons
Do you have share buttons at the top of your sidebar and/or within your post?

Profile Cohesion
Is it clear across all social media platforms who you are and where to find your blog? (Especially important if you use different handles on Twitter/Instagram)

Social Media Integration
Are you ‘feeding’ your blog into your social media streams? Manually or with scheduling platforms?

Social Media Widgets
Do you have a Facebook feed or like box? Or Twitter or Instagram feed on your blog? Do you want to consider that?

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Community

Linking out
Are you linking to other bloggers you admire frequently in your posts?

Blogroll
Do you have a blogroll? Do you want one? If you have one, is it up to date?

Real life community
Are you finding ways to meet other bloggers or readers in real life?

Community – replying
Are you commenting on other great blogs?

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Plugins & Widgets

Freshen up
Are all your plugins or widgets up to date? Are you using them all or can you remove some? Are there some you’d like to add?

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Advertising

Ad Networks
Do you want to consider working with an advertising network?

DIY Ads
Is it time to offer advertising on your blog?

Sponsors
Do you want to look for a long-term blog sponsor?

Affiliate Links
Would you like to introduce affiliate links (where you get a commission from sales of a particular product or service?)

Ad Boxes
Are they the correct size and up to date? Do the visuals suit your blog design? Is the pricing structure correct?

Disclosure, Copyright & Privacy Info
Do you have a disclosure, copyright and privacy statement on your blog?

Media Kit
If you have a media kit, is it easily accessed? Or perhaps you want to create one?

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SEO

Keywords
Have you explored keyword tools and thought about keywords and searchable phrases which might bring more visitors to your blog?

SEO plugins and Approach
Do you use an SEO plugin? Are you mindful of SEO? Do you need to find out more about this?

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Product

Shop
Do you have a shop link on your blog? Are there things you can sell?

Related Products
Are there products you could develop to extend the reach/readership of your blog?

Newsletter
Do you want to set up a monthly (or otherwise) newsletter for your readers?

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Events

Do you need a page for events to promote the things you are doing?

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Improvement & Growth

Change
Are you having regular catch-ups with yourself to target areas for change/improvement?

Repeating
Are you noticing the things you are doing right, and repeating those?

Tweaks
Are you tweaking small things on your blog on a weekly basis to keep things fresh?

Repurpose
Are you looking for existing, older content that you can reuse in new ways? (updated post, eBook, printables etc!)

 

1 Comment

  • Reply
    Debbie
    January 23, 2015 at 1:58 AM

    wow thats a comprehensive list! Thanks so much for this Pip.

  • Leave a Reply to Debbie Cancel Reply

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