I made the snap decision a few weeks ago to finally make my blog self-hosted, after a couple of years of ‘making do’ with wordpress.com. In fairness, I had never really had a problem with my free site, but I think I had got to the point where I was coasting along a little with my blog and wasn’t really bringing it to its full potential. It was time to either let it fall by the wayside, or revamp the whole thing.
So here we are! Revamped, rebooted, redesigned and with it a whole heap of reinvigoration! If you’re feeling frustrated or even a bit bored by your blog, I can thoroughly recommend stepping back and spending a bit of time giving the whole thing a makeover, and see what it does for your blogging mojo!
Here are my tips for breathing new life into a tired blog, based on my recent experience.
This was a big step for me. It’s almost symbolic of the fact that you’re going to start putting more effort in now you’re paying for the privilege of having your site. For a small monthly outlay, you can have more control over the look and functionality of your blog, eliminate the annoying adverts that can sometimes appear on your posts, and have technical support at your fingertips. If you haven’t already purchased your own domain, I’d recommend doing that too, then it’s YOURS.
There are lots of web hosting companies you could choose from – get yourself recommendations from blogging friends as to who hosts them, and do a bit of research to check pricing and services they provide. I went with Tsohost, who were able to transfer my existing domain name and migrate my blog content over to their servers with minimal disruption. So far, it’s definitely been worth it.
Change your blog theme
Perhaps the most obvious way to refresh your blog, and you can do it without going self-hosted if you don’t want to. My previous theme was quite ‘feminine’, for want of a better word, and I did like it, but I wanted something with more of a magazine style that was a bit bolder and cleaner. I can’t vouch for Blogger, but WordPress enables you to see a live preview of their themes before you change over, so you can see how your existing content will look.
I spent a good couple of hours trying out different ones until I found one that felt right and had the features I was looking for. I’ve now got a slider for featured posts which I love, and being self-hosted has given me a ton more customisation options, including different font choices with a Google Fonts plugin I’ve installed.
Update your header
If you already love your theme, you can give your blog a new lease of life by simply updating your header image, if your theme supports one. I have changed mine from a photo collage to a simple monochrome typographical one to complement my theme, which I put together fairly quickly myself using Canva. You can of course pay a professional to design one for you, which I might yet do, but it really depends on your own graphic design skills! Web-based tools like Canva and PicMonkey make doing it yourself really simple but if you want some personal touches like illustrations for example, it’s best to get someone with the right talents to produce a high quality result.
If you do change your header, try to complement it with the same design across your social media accounts so that everything ties in nicely. Again, Canva makes it easy to produce them in the correct dimensions for different platforms.
Review your content
One of the main reasons I had for wanting to refresh my blog was to refocus my posts to motivate myself into writing about some new topics. I’ve also updated my slightly stagnant ‘About Me’ page to fit in with the new overall feel of my blog.
If you’re looking to make a change to your content, start by narrowing down your post categories to three or four that you really want to make the most of and highlight them in your menu or sidebar. If you have a particular type of post that you’re known for – maybe craft or recipe posts – think about stepping out of your comfort zone with something else that interests you like travel. Explore what linkys you could join in with and use them as inspiration for new posts, or start your own if you’re feeling brave! Don’t stick to the same old topics if they aren’t working for you.
For a long time I blogged as and when I either felt like it or actually had the time to, with no real plan of action or constructive ideas. This led to an intermittent posting schedule which doesn’t encourage readers to visit your blog regularly. As part of my new approach to my blog, I’m making a concerted effort to plan ahead for what I’ll be posting and when. It’s a good idea to invest in a planner to enable you to plot work, personal, and blogging activity in one place so you know when you can fit in time to write.
It’s also a good idea to use a service like Buffer or Hootsuite to schedule your social media content ahead of time, ensuring that your posts get good exposure when you aren’t around to Tweet! I’ve used Buffer for a little while now and it’s really easy to use. Buffer also has a fab simple image creator called Pablo built in which is great for creating social media or blog images.
Let me know what you’ve done to breathe new life into your blog! I’ll come and have a look 😉