Update a Key Page on Your Blog [Day 14 – 31DBBB]

Posted By Darren Rowse 19th of April 2009 Miscellaneous Blog Tips 0 Comments

This post is an excerpt from the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Workbook

Today your task is to update some of the key pages and posts on your blog.

What are the most important pages on your blog?

This is an interesting question to ponder for a few minutes…. in fact, why not do that before reading on.

What pages or posts on your blog do you see as most valuable?

I sat down and asked myself this question earlier in the week and identified 10 or so pages on my blogs that for one reason or another were more important than others.

The reason I did the exercise was because that day I’d had the realisation that while every page on my blog is important – there are pages on most blogs that are more powerful than others at helping you to achieve your goals as a blogger.

However it also struck me while thinking about it that some of these important pages need updates from time to time.

So today your task is to spend time identifying key posts and pages on your blog and to give them an update.

Let me explore a few of these pages and suggest some ways that they might need an update:

Let’s start with the most obvious page first….

Your front page

This a fairly obvious one – most blogs get more traffic to the front page of their blog than any other. Here at ProBlogger my front page gets a little under 20% of all traffic on the site.

It’s the page I usually promote on business cards, in my email signature, on profile pages of social media sites and the page that others mentioning my blog on their sites refer people to. It’s also a page that people landing on old posts on my blog often head to next to see what the site is about.

Update it – there are a variety of ways that one can update the front page of their blog. These range from complete makeovers through to tweaks. The makeover/overhaul end of the spectrum is a little beyond the scope of this challenge so let me suggest a few smaller ideas:

1. First Impressions – what first impression does a new reader coming to your front page get? Do they know what your blog is about immediately? Does your blog’s title tags, header, tagline etc strongly communicate what your blog is about? Are their eyes drawn to any one important element or are things cluttered?

2. Sidebar – most blogs have a sidebar on every page – but it probably gets looked at more on your front page than any other. Over time sidebars tend to become cluttered with lots of buttons and links – perhaps it is time for a spring clean with the objective of only leaving useful and important information there.

3. Headers/Logo – one way that you can give your front page (and other pages on your blog) a refresh without doing a full redesign is to develop a new logo/header for your blog. This is not something to rush but perhaps today is a day to begin thinking about a new look and brand for your blog.

4. Think about Objectives and Call to Action – one question to ask when looking at your blog’s front page is ‘what are your objectives?’ What do you want people to do when they arrive on your blog for the first time (remember your front page is a logical place for new people to be visiting)? Do you want people to subscribe to an RSS feed or newsletter, click an ad, tell a friend, drive them to your best content, buy a product, hear your story…. what do you want them to do? Once you’ve identified your objective you can then position a call to action in a prime location on your blogs front page.

The front page of your blog is very important – but there are others. Let me suggest a few:

About Page

The about page of a blog may not get as much traffic as others – but it is one of the most important ones that you can spend time developing. The reason I believe this is that it can be a very influential page.

Think about who might read an about page. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that those reading your blog’s about page are going to be people in ‘investigation mode’. My suspicion is that those clicking on ‘about’ links are going to be:

  • first time readers wanting to know whether this is a site for them
  • potential partners/advertisers/collaborators/journalists/PR people/other bloggers etc wanting to know if they should invest time in building a relationship with you

It stands to reason that it’s a page you’ll probably want to have spend some time on recently to keep up to date, to think about how you call people to action etc.

Probably the biggest two mistakes that you can make when it comes to an about page are:

  1. Not to have one
  2. To leave it as the ‘default’ about page

Contact Page

During the last week I had an email from Becki who is doing the 31DBBB challenge. She wrote:

“I read all 700+ comments to the day 2 post and searched for people who have blogs in a similar niche as me. I was hoping to get a link on their site and to cooperate in some way, and am amazed that most have no method to directly contact the author.”

Becki was actively wanting to reach out to other bloggers in her niche with the hope of working with them in mutually beneficial ways to build their blogs. But due to the fact that many bloggers didn’t have any way to be contacted they missed out on a potentially fruitful relationship.

Do you have a means of being contacted on your blog? If so – is it up to date?

High Traffic Pages

Most blogs that have been around for a while have at least a handful of posts in their archives that generate a higher number of page views than other posts. This can be the result of search engine traffic, the result of another site linking to you, a social media site making a page popular etc.

This is an important page on your blog as it is a gateway where potential new loyal readers are entering.

The problem that many blogs have is that those entering your blog in these gateways often turn right back around and leave again.

Spend some time today identifying the most visited posts on your blog using a blog stats program (Google Analytics is one that I use and recommend – but even using a blog platform like WordPress’s native stats package should reveal what pages are getting visited most).

Once you’ve identified some key pages – make sure they are up to date and as helpful to readers as possible – but also think about how you can make that post more ‘sticky’. You could do this by:

  • adding some suggested further reading links at the end that point to other key posts on your blog
  • adding an invitation to subscribe to your blog at the end (or even at the start of the post)

Other key pages

Many blogs have other key pages on them that often go for months and months (if not years and years) without an update. These include ‘advertise with us’ pages, ‘recommended reading’ pages, ‘subscribe’ pages etc. Almost any page linked to from your navigation menu probably fits as these will be links people looking around your blog for the first time will probably be visiting.

Enough talk – go update some pages! Once you have – share with us how this exercise went in comments below. (Update – You can also share your results and exchange feedback with others in the challenge over at the forum: Day 14 – Update a Key Post or Page on Your Blog)

Want More?

This task is a sample of one of the tasks in the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Workbook – a downloadable resource designed to reinvigorate and revitalize blogs.

Join over 14,000 other bloggers and Get your Copy Today.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
Comments
  1. I think I made a grammatical error:

    “The importance of updating a post or a key page becomes really urgent when:”

    The effect of typing while talking on the phone.. :D
    (and couldn’t delete a comment awaiting moderation..)

  2. I was planning a redesign of my blogs within the next few weeks anyway. I plan to change my theme to Thesis. Until then I am updating the About Me Page. There are also a few posts that I was not totally happy with and I am updating them as well.

  3. Good suggestions . . . hadn’t thought of having a contact us page. Pretty obvious.

  4. Hi Darren,

    I added my e-mail address to my about page. I didn’t include it when I created The Survive and Thrive Boomer Guide in January 2008 because I thought I’d be flooded with e-mails. Ha, ha.

    I also may rewrite the About Me page. I may use the same one that I have on my other blog the Boomer Consumer on the Seattle PI Web site. I wrote that one after reading an article from you on how to write one. It’s friendlier and more interesting.

    Thanks again for the great workshop. It gives a blogger a lot to think about.

    Rita

  5. Hi Guys,

    My blog, is part and parcel of my business site.
    So the front page does get update every now and then.

    Although the about page needs some work. But the about page is all inclusive, being the blog and the business. But mainly the business.

    I have contact information on every page, including every post.
    I also have a contact form on the about us page.
    I am wondering IF I should have a separate contact page, with contact information

    Amy thought anyone?

  6. I was surprised by this. My blog is only four months old, so I didn’t think anything would need changing, but it was amazing to revisit old stuff and:
    1/ See how much my style and tone has changed.
    2/ See how poor my formatting and linking was in the early days.

    Took me a long time, but think I’ve put things right now.

  7. Hi Darren,

    I’d love to get your take on this (and that of others!)… though I’m not hopeful with so many things on your plate.

    Several weeks ago I added a few new pages to better group the various offerings at Blog Harbor. Namely, individual pages for the audio satires – The Farmland Almanac and Gabriel Theatre on the Air. Plus, it was my readers who had been asking for a Best Of page. Done. They speak. I listen. :-)

    Finally, the About page on my blog is not about the blog itself, it’s called About CG – as in, yours truly. The reason is this: When people land on the blog, the elevator description is right there for all to see in the sidebar – clean, crisp and clear (at least I think so!). The blog is a direct extension of me and my radio program. And, it will be absorbed by the new release of my website (as it was before…new site coming soon). So, it seems to make much more sense for me to give a bio on me. Yes? No?

    I hope this all makes sense. :-)

  8. Keeping your pages fresh is always important. I try to keep the about page fresh and adapt it to reflect things that are currently going on with yours truly. Good advice. Loving this series.

    http://www.lifewithoutpants.com

  9. Darren, I must have read your blogging mind. :-). About two weeks ago, I did some spring cleaning at My Itchy Travel Feet, then I wrote about it in a blog post to tell my readers about the updates.

    http://myitchytravelfeet.com/2009/04/06/spring-cleaning-at-my-itchy-travel-feet/.

    On my calendar I schedule a blog “update” for every couple of months although I don’t always accomplish it.

    One glaring omission on my blog. I need to add a “contact me” on the front page. It’s on the “About” page but that is probably not obvious enough although I do receive email from viewers so they are finding it.

    As always, great information. I’m enjoying this class.

  10. This was a good homework assignment and one I needed. I added a Contact page, cleaned up my About page, added a Most Popular page, got my Archives page working, and added links to my RSS feed to the footer of posts.

    I’m glad that is done and I know my site is better for it.

    Thanks so much for this challenge. I have learned a lot and have meet some good people too.

  11. I had done this very thing before I started your challenge. I didn’t have any contact information, and didn’t have a very good profile page. I created a separate profile page after I downloaded a new template. It has worked well in giving me more credibility as an artist.

  12. I just wrote an about me post, nearly two years after beginning blogging. I think it’s important in my niche to build a community, and build trust and I totally forgot to let people get to know me!

  13. Great Point,
    Thanks
    I am working on it, will let you know after completion…

  14. Hi Darren (and Becki),

    I have created a contact page, updated the About page and I’m really happy with the end result. Thanks Darren for helping me evaluating the blog.

  15. I thought of a better design, with the header being more appealing. Had to hire a designer. Some more cool changes to enhance user experience.

  16. I update my about page and advertising page frequently to keep the information relevant.

  17. Another great lesson in this series.

    Thanks.

  18. Another great post. I revamped the design of my blog and cleaned up my sidebar just last week so it’s a bit of a coincidence that this is today’s lesson.

    I keep looking back at my ‘About’ page as I think it can be better. I make small changes now and again (the last one was just an hour ago!).

    Great tip about the Contact. I don’t have a separate contact page but I’ve added some text of how to contact me on my ‘About’ page.

    I’ve noticed quite a few times that certain people don’t state their e-mail address as it is but instead spell it out, e.g. me[at]mysite[dot]com. I figure it’s to deter spam. Is this correct? Anyway, based on my assumption, I’ve done the same.

  19. I just updated my blog last year into a new look. Added a photo in February and at least every other month tend to move things around and update any links/photo links that have gone stale.

    Good ideas that you shared. I have a fairly new about page and update the advertising page every quarter or so…but I also made a Twitter about page for the heck of it–don’t remember it it was you that suggested it but I really liked having the customized approach.

  20. This pushed me to get my About page done…finally!

    http://budurl.com/32xv

  21. Hehehe – I obsessively change stuff around on my blog (my husband hates that fact that I also constantly rearrange the furniture around the house too) so this one’s easy for me.

    I have a question, though – does anyone have any recommendations about where to put badges and widgets so they don’t clutter up the sidebar (I can’t do pages in Blogger, as far as I can tell)? I love trying widgets, and change them up all the time, but I’d love to have a place to put ones I still like even if they are not permanently on the sidebar (which makes my site slow to load, probably). And badges too – I’m part of a whole ton of communities and projects and aggregators and whatever, which I do want to help promote, but I’d love to move all that stuff somewhere else.

  22. After this comment, I straightly go to update or create above pages to my blog.

  23. My blog is on blogger, http://misscalculate.blogspot.com, and I don’t really have an “About” page. There is a link to about me, but it’s more personal than about the blog. I posted my elevator pitch on my sidebar and I also post my e-mail and twitter name for contact purposes. I don’t have a navigation menu or anything like that. Is there a way on Blogger to create these things?

  24. Great one… Am actually doing this as I saw this post.

    Glad that I was on the right track.

  25. I spent 3 hours last night doing this — including the rewrite of my elevator pitch: “DailyWorth is a free daily personal finance
    email for women. We deliver practical tips, empowering ideas and the occasional kick in the pants.” I also added a blogroll (finally!) and included a link to you. Next, I am going to add a Be a Guest Blogger page. I can use that as a way to further fulfill this assignment — it’s long overdue.

  26. I always wonder what widget I should delete because almost all of them looks important to me ;p

  27. Am just in the process of updating my About Me page with all my relevant content details and elevator pitch etc.
    I also like the idea of a guest blogger page so I am working on that as well.

  28. I can relate to the issue about no email or direct contact information available on many blogs–I’ve run into that trying to respond to comments via email, only to be unable to find an email address anywhere on their site.

    I need to do a separate “about me” page, as well as update links to special posts and de-clutter the sidebars.

    http://www.avirtuouswoman.info

  29. I actually already redid my main pages a few weeks ago. I do need to make some more tweaks though to my front page, and update some older posts that I often link to. This is a great tip and great practice to keep up on from time to time.

  30. This is very timely as I am planning on redesigning both my blog and my website. I do have a questions, though. At the moment my “about me” type page is not a blog page but is a pagr (file) that is part of my website and is linked to from my blog. Is there any reason why that would not be acceptable?

    Patricia

  31. These posts of your have been really helpful! Considering I started my personal website up last Sunday, I’ve learnt a lot from your blog! Take a look at it when you get a chance:

    http://nevillelobo.net/

  32. I’ve been putting the most viewed post in my sidebar, to show my readers which post is popular, so they can read them as well. I just think that sometimes readers lazy to search your archives page to find some post, but it’s a must-have page.
    I still have to edit something in my blog, I just want to make a perfect view and easy to be read by my readers. :)

    Regards,
    Lee

  33. I’m glad I just give a fresh look to my blog not long ago! But I have to admit that despite the fact that I have a Contact page, this one is rather dull and more work should be done on it.

    That’ll be my task today, I guess!

  34. Thanks for that very precise and valuable insight. Most of the time we miss out on this things. I am thankful that you pointed out that aspect in blogging.

    Again thank you for that lesson.

    JT
    http://www.stepbystepblueprints.com

  35. Thank you for the reminder. I updated our Inspiration page which is a series of videos that helps inspire us to keep working on our dreams. I added a theme song video, then realized the page really should have and intro telling readers why we have the page.

    So thank you for this.

  36. You know, sometimes we’re just so critical of ourselves… And in the striving pursuit of perfection, we hesitate to put information out there. Like me for example, I used to struggle with my about page because I didn’t know “what” to say and “how” to say it. Then it hit me…just say what you want to say. Be transparent…be yourself. And let the words come out. And if it becomes a piece that changes over time, that’s ok. Because that’s what a blog is. An ever evolving piece of you. At least, that’s kinda how I like to think about it…

  37. Nice lesson. I have taken inspiration from this and created a ‘contact me’ page as well as an ‘about me’ page.

    I am not happy with the look and feel of the site but as my blog is only a few weeks only I am more concerned with getting decent content, otherwise I will spend valuable time deliberating over colours instead of writing!

  38. I feel the same ANDREW MASON – just got my new blog going and trying to improve me before the theme.

    Wanted to say THANK YOU DARREN for being such an awesome teacher.

    I worked on the home work and I feel tons better.

    Tasha
    http://www.theeangles.com

  39. My blog can be found at http://artquiltmaker.com/blog. It is about creativity and design using fabric and quilts.

    I recently updated my Creative Prompts page: http://artquiltmaker.com/blog/aq-prompts/ to include another source of inspiration, which I found on another blog! Anyone interested in creativity and inspiring yourself or looking to create a creative habit can participate in the creativity prompts. Everyone is welcome and I want to encourage people to feel welcome.

    My blog on WordPress is fairly new. I moved my blog from Blogger to WordPress in February and just yesterday updated the theme to a new 3 column theme. Now the blog has a different look and feel and I am not sure how I like it and whether I will keep it.

    I do tinker with various pages periodically, but I don’t normally update posts unless I can add a link or change spelling and grammatical errors. One thing I do is to write a follow-up post and link heavily to the previous post.

  40. I have a small “About Me” section as one of my sidebars so this appears on every page. It also includes my email address and a link to my online portfolio, which is a separate website. I do need to add a full “About Me” page – thanks for the reminder. I was also thinking about adding a Be a Guest Blogger page but have held off doing that – I was concerned about how to handle offers from people I didn’t think would be a good fit. For now, I look at commenters and at other blogs and then approach them proactively.

  41. The point about “contact” is a good one. It wasn’t until I had a client talking to me on the phone, looking at my website for my email address, that I realised how I’d messed up on this one.

    In the end I decided to go with a contact-form plugin for my WP blog. It seemed the best way to keep spam down. Plus I’m not a fan of the jon at jontusmedia dot com model.

  42. Oh boy – I am glad you suggested this. Turns out I had a link to a defunct page in one place and needed to update my About page too!

    Also, I am learning from your blog and others in this challenge where to put RSS subscription link (not where I had it, by the way) and how to really be focused and try to move people around the blog with links to related articles.

    Time to pick some popular pages and link elsewhere to the blog from there.

    Again, thanks for the great class,
    Michelle

    What’s Cooking Blog – Cooking with Kids for a Better Body, Planet and Community: http://whatscookingblog.com

    What’s Cooking – Healthy and Seasonal Cooking Classes for Children: http://www.whatscooking.info

  43. Thanks , I updated my contact info and please free to send over your post . You will note that my blog is a Online Magazine Blog which was started in October 2008 and thus far i have made steady progress. Sine I am more savy on the marketing side my challenge is to get any changes done
    technically on my site. Check out my contact page
    http://egruve.com/contact-us

  44. Finally! I’m catching up on to your excellent suggestions. On my front page, I modified my blog name, added my 15 sec elevator describer, placed an add this icon and I hope I placed my “subcribe to” in a prominent place.
    Next, I need to either figure out how to move my tags because someone mentioned they couldnt find my “comments” button or delete most of my tags… too many anyway.
    I have more changes to do that are beyond my html abilities… I must add that I tried reaching out to someone in our forums to hire him for a small project and couldn’t reach him… I will go back and check to see if he has made changes so I can contact him again.
    By the way, are you psychic Darren? Thank you!!!

  45. This post really got me thinking. I’m going to spend some time on my home and about page this week. Thanks!

  46. I totally changed the layout of my main page! I don’t know if I like it yet, but will see how traffic responds. I also moved my 52 Books in 52 Weeks Resolution Info from a sidebar to a separate page so that I can elaborate and allow comments from readers… I am going to keep that separate even if I revert back to the old page style!

  47. My blog is created from a basic template so I am going to have to check to see that it offers an option for my profile. However, if not, then I will find a way to leave a signature as a way to be contacted. This article was especially helpful.

    Elena

  48. My blog can be found at http://artquiltmaker.com/blog. It is about creativity and design using fabric and quilts.

    I decided to update the very first post I ‘wrote’ with a bit more information. I only put an avatar up back in the day!

  49. Because I have merged 2 blogs I have to go over a lot of the pages to make sure that they match in terms of content and of style. Must be time to do it now!

    I have yet to finish the colours and header, too. I need to get rid of that teal. ANy ideas what colour to replace it with?