Monday, 21 December 2015

5 Areas To Revamp Your Blog In For The New Year

New Year is the time when, whether we want to, or plan to, we start making changes. Changes to how we conduct our lives, what we do with our lives, what and who we put into our life, what our life will look like in a years time, and with our lives comes the things we do in them, and for me, that includes my blog.

While I'm making plans, goals and sorting myself out for 2016, I'm in the middle of making sure Nellie looks it's best when we get started again in January, and that means I've been doing a spot of revamping. If you're not sure what you can, and should be revamping, or at least touching up this year, take a look at the following list and see if there's anything you can do to bring your blog into the New Year with a bang.

1. Your About Page

Interestingly, my About Page is my 5th most visited page in the entirety of my blog, so it's pretty clear it's a very important aspect of Nellie and Co, and trust me, it's important in your blog too. Content is great, as is design, but getting to know the person behind the magic, the solo-multi-hat-wearer making the cogs turn, let's be real, it's something we all love to do, and your About Page covers that.

I very recently revamped my About Page after realising that it didn't coincide with what I had in mind for 2016. My previous About Page was much more focused on the books and the reviews, and everything else came second, whereas now, I'm much blogging focused, my content is so completely different to what my About Page claimed it was, and so a change was very much needed.

Make sure your About Page reflects what it is you, and your blog do for people. If you're still sporting information that's at least a year old, take a look at see if there's anything that can be altered or changed. Make sure that when people come to check you and your blog/business out, they have the updated, as of this moment edition, rather than the aging version of yourself.

Related: Don't Forget To Tell Me Who You Are On Your About Page

2. Other Pages

There's one page on Nellie and Co. that not only was rejected frequently by myself, but was also very rarely visited by anyone that popped by, and that's not because it was a bad page, at least, not really, it's that I didn't drive traffic to that page. I didn't have something encouraging people to visit that page, or even interact with that page, and that was an issue. In the end, I ditched that page, but you don't have to, you can just, spruce it up.

Another page I wasn't making the most of was my 'Resources' page. I had some of the my most helpful, popular blog posts stashed in there, but nobody really knew what it was about, or why it was there, so it was rarely visited. When I revamped my About Page, I also revamped my other pages too, throwing some out and adding some new pages in, and I've never been happier.

One of the best ways to push traffic to other pages in your blog is to create call to actions to people to visit them. Take a look at my About Page above, and the three call to actions I've included at the bottom of the screen. Each call to action provides something of value to a reader, whether than be a look at some of my best and most popular content that will help them sore, getting exclusive content via my mail list, or checking out my free resources, and it will, in time, convert into loyal followers. Your content may be the best, most juiciest burger you've ever tasted, but it just isn't right without the perfect bun to bring it all together.

3. Your Sidebar

I'm in the middle of making decisions over my sidebar, and it's thanks to apps like Sumome's Heat Maps and Google Analytics In-Page Analytics features that have enabled me to make the right decisions when it comes to revamping my sidebar based on what YOU like. It's all good me thinking something works in there, but never knowing if it really does or not, but Heat Maps have seriously made a difference in terms of where you're interacting on Nellie and Co. and In-Page Analytics go deep into the percentage of users clicking where I'd like them too, and it's super awesome, and handy.

Marianne has an awesome collection of posts about sidebars that I ultimately recommend you check out, and she's right every time - your sidebar is precious space, and filling it with junk that doesn't fit your blogs goals is pointless. Anything that isn't working for you in terms of hitting your goals, reaching your targets or is plain distracting people from what you want them focusing on, get rid.

My biggest recommendation? Go bare bones for a few weeks. Stick with a simple about area, social media icons, email and maybe some categories and leave it be. Are people interacting with your blog more, spending more time there? Have you seen an increase in readers, and have you found yourself enjoying the cleaner, less haphazard look to your blog? Seriously, it's a small change, but it makes a difference. Then, if you want to draw attention to something, you'll be more particular in what and where rather than just shovelling in as much as possible.

4. Your Footer

My footer has always been the weakest part of my blog design, and it's one of the elements I'm seriously working hard on revamping right now. If it wasn't for Krista's awesome collection of posts on blog footers and making them work for your blog, and your blog goals, I would have forever been making BIG mistakes.

Krista really covers everything, and out of respect, I won't regurgitate her work, you should just read it, but the same goes for your footer has it does your sidebar. Make sure that your elements and overall placement and design are working for you rather than you for them. If you have blog goals, make sure footer works hard to help you achieve those goals.


5. Your Content

"Woah there, my content? What's wrong with what I'm doing already?"

Absolutely nothing is wrong with what you're doing - trust me, it's your blog, don't let one person tell you what you should or should not be doing, however, it's always worth revamping your content, if only by a small amount. It took me a long time to realise that I didn't have to post content I was half-assing with just because 2 or 3 people enjoyed reading it - I had to write the content that I was proud of, and loved writing, and you've got to do that too.

Take a quick look at some of the topics of post you've written. Any there that you see and think 'I really don't want to write content like that anymore' or 'nope, got nothing knocking 'round my brain for that topic, let's just pretend it isn't there'? If so, ditch them. How about features, memes or blog topics, got anything there you just don't enjoy writing about anymore? Ditch them too.

Want to know something big? I'm ditching my book reviews next year.

I'll still be talking about books every now and again, and there might be the off book related post here and there, but reviews, they're not going to be found on Nellie and Co. a) because I don't enjoy writing them, b) because the pressure of a review took away my love of reading, and c) because they just don't bring in the views, and what isn't working for myself and my blog, isn't worth keeping. The same goes for you. If you don't like writing that post, that topic, that feature, that anything, then stop.

Let me be clear though. Revamping doesn't mean starting over. It doesn't mean delete everything and start a fresh, it just means getting rid of what doesn't work and introducing something new. You don't have to redesign your blog either - just making simple and small revamping decisions can have a huge impact on your blog too. Don't be afraid to change things, take away and add what will make your blog work harder for you, rather than you it. Bring your blog into the New Year with a bang.

Will you be revamping/changing your blog for New Year?


  1. This was a great round-up! I rewrote my about page at least like 4 times this year, so it's pretty new, but my other pages are a mess and I definitely need to make sure all the links are still working, at least. I removed my sidebar after a long period of thought (it wasn't really bringing conversions, and the average read on my pages actually iNCREASED? so I guess that's to stay.) I am rethinking my footer, though -- when I removed my sidebar I ended up tossing a lot of stuff into the footer, so I should probably clear some of it away. Funnily enough, I think I might START doing book reviews this year -- just a few, to try them out.

    1. Making sure your links work is a big thing - I know I struggle with that myself still. If no sidebar works for you, you should stick with is Alyssa! I'm still for sidebars, but who knows, maybe in the future I'll change my mind. Make sure you only have what is help your blog, nothing that doesn't help you or what you do :)

  2. I've already started my plan to revamp my blog and it started with my reviews. I've made a new shiny Goodreads button and I want to add something extra to my reviews. I'm not entirely sure what I'm going to do, but I want to spice it up a little.

    Thanks to you I've started to work with Canva more and I am now using some better, shinier headers for all my posts :) I want to pick up my Disney/Fairytale News posts more, because I really enjoyed them, and I hope to continue with fun posts for my Challenge.

    Not so long ago I rewrote my About me page and I'm still really happy how it turned out (wrote it as a fairytale)

    Thanks for all the tips!

    1. I think that's a great idea! Reviews are commonly the lesser viewed on a book blog, which sucks, but switching them up and doing something new, it's a great idea, I can't wait to see what Mel. I must say, I checked out your About Page, and it's really rather wonderful, it's such a unique idea, I love it! :)

  3. I love all your tips and ideas for the new year!

    Doing a big of cleansing and revamping is so important. It's easy to just keep adding stuff to your blog and neglecting the old stuff.

    For me a big thing was revamping old posts -- particularly tutorials that had become outdated. I redid my whole tutorial on adding an image slider on Blogger. That brings in tons of search engine traffic, but the old tutorial was completely outdated and no longer working! That kind of thing can butcher a bounce rate.

    In 2016 I'll be giving my about page and navigation bar some attention. :)

    1. I couldn't agree more Ashley, adding without taking away is a common habit, and it's not great for our blogs. I'm starting to work on revamping my old posts, making sure everything is up to date and relevant to decrease my bounce rate a little more too, your post on that really helped me get started on it. Can't wait to check out your little tweaks in future :)

  4. Ahh, I find revamping SO SO HARD. XD Mostly because I'm an insecure little cucumber and never sure what I should axe or change (plus change is scary)...but I make sure never to get stuck in the trap of writing my blog "for someone else" because, gah, that's the fastest way to get burned out right?!? I feel like I want to revisit my about page, OH OH and you just reminded me I need to sort out my book review archives. Which are...nonexistent. XD

    1. You should always post things you're pleased with and proud of, or things you've love to learn more about if you were starting out, that's how I think of things. It's okay to be nervous about change, it's 100% a-okay! A few hours here and there can make all the difference, so good luck Cait, I have faith in you! :)

  5. I'm revamping my blog which has always followed my Etsy shops. Now my Etsy shops are going to follow my blog. I am excited and I hope I have made the right decision. I need to update/redo most of my blog, your article is the perfect nudge to get me working on it again. Thanks for your encouragement and pointers.

    1. I'm so glad I could give you the boost you wanted and needed, best of lucky lovely!