A spring clean needn’t happen in spring, of course. But it’s useful to have a checklist for spring-cleaning your blog–and I don’t mean doing a make-over. And mine is in urgent need of a spring clean.
This is my Insecure Writers Support Group post, in which we share our successes and failures as writers, our insecurities, in fact. Anyone can join in, just sign up at the IWSG Sign-up page, write a blog post on the first Wednesday of the month, and go back to that sign up page to link with everyone else–or a goodly sample. Our host is Alex J Cavanaugh, and cohosting this month are:
Joylene Nowell Butler, Ronel Janse van Vuuren, Meka James, Victoria Marie Lees, and M Louise Barbour!
What do I mean by a spring clean?
Unless you are really new to the blogging world, you’ve probably had your blog sometime. Whether it’s on a free site like Blogger or WordPress.com, or whether you pay in one way or other (hosting plans, subscription services), your blog will probably have had security updates and new versions implemented, maybe without you even knowing about it.
You can usually tell when I’ve had a new upgrade for WordPress. The ‘likes’ and ‘shares’ don’t work – in fact they disappear. I now know that as soon as that happens I have to go into the Jetpack option. WordPress is steadily putting every useful free thing for blogging into Jetpack, and then making you pay for the add-ons. I’m resisting, of course. But whenever I see the Likes and Shares have disappeared, I know now I have to go in and check the Jetpack settings, under Sharing.
But that’s not so much spring cleaning as being on the alert.
For me spring cleaning is a systematic check of all my pages, to see they are up to date:
- Is the information correct?
- Are the links working?
- Are there any details out of date, or just redundant?
I also think about whether they have a valid function on my blog now. Do I really need the section on Flash Fiction prompts any more? Does my project portfolio make sense in the way I used it? Should I make that into a book library like I have on other sites?
Of course, if everything is working fine, why change it?
There are some things happening that you should check and change if necessary
Book Depository closed last week. Are your paperbacks linked there, rather than Amazon? (Free shipping most places was terrific). Mine are not only linked from my blog, but also on the Smashwords book pages. And I’m not sure what the best online independent paperback source is now. Is it different for US and UK? Do I find those and leave my Aussie and other fans hanging?
Smashwords is merging with Draft2Digital. We are nearing the time when my Smashwords links will all need to change, although I expect the addresses will redirect to Draft2Digital for a good while.
It’s worthwhile checking all your links are working – including those with ‘universal’ links, which redirect to the correct country for readers. I believe Draft 2Digital may offer those in future.
Check other links that are important – do they go where you expect them to go? Do you still have old social media links you no longer use?
Do any forms you have embedded still work? This can be hard to check unless you log out of your own system. They may present differently to your visitors.
And does your blog still reflect the you that you want to present your work to the public. Was it all hearts and flowers when you planned your teen romance books, and somehow you’re now writing horror?
And is your author biography up to date? See Sally Cronin’s reminder on that, plus guidance on your author pic!
Just give your blog a once-over. Check everything. Delete the old-fashioned or tired pages (or at least take them off-line) – but check posts that link to them. Make sure it’s up to date and fully functional.
It’s your main marketing tool – it should read like the author you are, and whose books people want to read!
Question of the Month
When you are working on a story, what inspires you?
I think it depends on the ‘working on’ stage. First draft, it’s the concept, the idea I’m trying to get across. But it might be the characters, who always inspire me, and make me carry on during all the other phases, especially the most tedious bits of editing. I always want to do them justice.
What about you – or link to your blog post with your reply 🙂
12 thoughts on “Does your blog need a spring clean? #IWSG”
Plenty of food for thought there Jemima. Sorry I misread what you meant in your comment.. Lovely photos of you since 2009… Fred looked a lovely chap. That’s a nice picture of us at the B.B that was a good day.
Your so right and I admit I am not very good at keeping my blog tidy! I need to set aside some time to sort it!
Oh, I’ve read it now, lol. I bet Ritu is a dead ringer for Morgana 🙂
I didn’t know The Book Depository closed. Thanks for letting me know. My blog constantly needs updating because of my agent spotlights. I’m working on updating them this year.
Thanks for the reminder – I do need to check my links.
How did you guess? I am moving my blog from Word Press to saylingaway.com – and having the tech guy I hired spruce it up. What inspires me when I am writing? Research! Love historical research.
Great tips. I’m going through my blog posts 🙂 Oh, Draft2Digital offers UBLs for all your books for all stores. If you don’t have a D2D account, you can get a Books2Read account (you use the same details for both) and set up your UBLs there. Here’s a random UBL for one of my books, all the extra link stuff you need to set up your own is on the page. https://books2read.com/u/4jW1EZ
Ronel visiting for IWSG day Joining the Creator Economy
One of my biggest decisions when the Smashwords/d2d merger finishes is whether to produce new paperbacks through d2d as you suggest. I’m effectively part of both now, through Smashwords, but my paperbacks are all distributed via Ingram from Blurb. Not sure of how to handle that in the ‘where are your paperbacks available’ link.
Time will tell 😀
Great reminder–I have a lot of blog maintenance to do, especially with regard to my archives, which I have to update manually for the most part (and the ones that do it automatically I dislike how they do it, so there’s that to think about, too). What I’m wondering about with the D2D merger is moving my paperbacks from Amazon to there–Smashwords gives me a better deal with ebooks than does Amazon, so I won’t be surprised if D2D does with paperbacks. Or maybe I’ll need to have both, which will be a PITA.
But it gives you a comparison if you do both. And if you want to maybe tweak soem of the things that irritate you abut the finished books…well,…
I’m thinking about Lard and Pete, of course lol
And this is why we should have gone for our bundle of 100 ISBNs when we first started…
Good points to make about spring cleaning your blog. With an old blog, I tried to keep up and make sure everything was tidy and all links worked.
Hello! I really liked your spring cleaning idea. My blog needs it as well.
I need to do this before I start another project.