Upgrade and Remodel Your Content and Blog on a Regular Basis

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

By: Weston Bonnelle

Valuing Your Content and Blog Just Like You Would Value Real Estate Series: Part 2 Renovations and Maintenance are Essential!
Beautiful homes, renowned apartment complexes, upscale condos and professional business offices renovate when necessary to attract quality clientele and prevent the deterioration of their real estate. Those who invest in real estate and truly care about the sustainability of their property make a persistent effort to upkeep their properties. This helps them remain competitive, build their reputation, increase their real estate’s marketability and stay in the public eye by generating buzz about themselves. However abandoned real estate is never a pretty sight and it can cause customers to feel devalued. It also lowers the value of the real estate and becomes unmarketable. Once real estate is abandoned or no longer renovated, those with ill intent can take advantage, your competition wins, your community disbands or becomes dysfunctional and you are branded with a negative image. Customers avoid abandoned real estate and search engines also avoid crawling abandoned blogs that are hardly updated or maintained. Therefore do a bit of maintenance on your blog every once in a while. For example, check your links to make sure that they are not broken, add or change images and scan for any grammatical, structural or spelling issues. Every once in a while do minor edits on your posts, especially on your popular posts, to make them more appealing and worthy to be shared. If you wrote a blog post about an issue in 2008 consider including updated information so that the post remains relevant. In some instances, I’ve had to remove a couple of articles to change the title for the sake of SEO.

Even the White House gets renovated!
In other cases you have to do renovations and remodeling. Bloggers from the late 1990 and early 2000s didn’t have to consider social media; however bloggers that can adapt and are willing to learn how to do renovations such as adding Twitter and Facebook buttons to their posts have a greater chance of staying relevant and thriving. Think about your competition. You must always remember that any “housing development” could arise. Therefore you want to gain a solid standing and following by presenting a quality blog. Your blog, content and community should always to be improving and growing just like an upscale community is always attempting to outdo surrounding communities and expand to other areas. Major renovations to consider include: redesigning your blog, changing your host and/or blogging platform. If necessary you may need to redesign your blog to stay modern and align appearance of your blog to the content. A mommy blog should look like a mommy blog while a financial blog’s design should complement the posts about finances. In extreme cases some new bloggers have to change their writing style, content focus or even domain name. Whenever your blogging platform offers a new feature, test it out to see it boosts the user experience and/or is an upgrade for the appearance of your blog. If you are unsure of what or when to renovate or upgrade just observe other blogs or websites. A couple of websites that I gain design inspiration from include CNN and the Economist.

Home Improvement Woes
Focusing too much on design and remodeling and not enough on content can be a deceptively easy yet disastrous mistake. Even though a professional, exquisite and clean looking site is generally desired, some blogs look very plain yet their content results in return visitors. You don’t want to waste too much time renovating. Perfectionism and excessive anxiety about making grammatical or spelling mistakes and/or writing about the wrong topics can hinder your creativity and prevent you from making regular posts. Just face that we are all human and it takes practice to fine-tune the art of writing. Degrading your brand should also be avoided. Changing your blog’s logo, name, layout or structure too many times can leave your audience confused. However new bloggers can take this risk if needed.  Either way, it’s helpful to warn your audience beforehand and even ask for their suggestions. If not it can lead to resistance. TechCrunch has personal experience with disgruntled readers that were inflamed their controversial redesign in July 2011. Designinformer highlighted a couple of “colorful” comments “AOL obviously has some bad marketing execs if they switched from the old TC look to this crayola crayon design. This is about as bad as TC adopting FB Commenting over Disqus” and, “This has to be the worst “redesign” of all time.” TechCrunch did acknowledge the dissent by unveiling a standard hate letter with specific complaints that readers choose from and they wrote a satirical yet informative post, We Picked This Logo Just to Piss You Off, explaining the changes.

Another danger to watch out for, especially new bloggers, are pseudo “professionals” who claim they have experience to gain your trust but intentionally lead you down the wrong path to make a sale or stifle you, the competition. Others may blatantly scam you and not even do the renovations or maintenance that you paid for. One blogger was scammed out of $115 from paying a web designer who took the money but did not redesign her site. Unfortunately she had no retribution since PayPal considered the purchase “virtual”. Other issues include trying to do everything on your own. Some people have lost their content trying to install a new template on blogger. If you can’t figure out the various coding or if editing becomes taxing, you may have to hire a reputable professional. Get recommendations from other bloggers to avoid getting scammed. Probably one of the most frustrating incidents is mistakenly downgrading which wastes money and time. For example you may switch from good hosting to "supposedly better" hosting to just find out that hard way by getting hacked that your new hosting was actually more vulnerable than your original hosting This experience is comparable to renovating your kitchen and then realizing that your new appliances are of worse quality than your older appliances. The overall goal is to not rush into implementing new renovations and maintenance for your blog but avoid going to the other extreme and succumbing to inactivity. 


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PEnny said...

Great advice!

D. Heath said...

@ Penny
Thank you!!

Bill Swan said...

The one thing people often forget is that simple is often better. Adding too many widgets, links and places to go makes the site feel more Wal-mart than a little place to find answers from the owners.

D. Heath said...

@ Bill Swan

That is wonderful advice!! As a new blogger it's so tempting to put all these cool gadgets on my page and try to lead people to other content with bunch of links however that is distracting for the reader. I really like the design of your blog. I like how other sites, such as CNN and the Economist, use images to draw in readers. In the future I would like to do that.

Ralph said...

I just redesigned my blog and I'm anxious to see how the readers react to it. The fun part about this is being able to change it up in the near future. Great advice!

D. Heath said...

I just redesigned both of my blogs also. I was so adamant about my original designs but looking back redesigning was for the best. I do agree that this aspect of blogging is definitely fun!

Marc Azada said...

I totally agree with you. Thanks for sharing tips on how we could resign our blogs. This would really help me a lot since I'm very new at this industry. Good Job!

Dianne Heath said...

@ Marc Azada
I'm so glad that you found the tips helpful. This advice is definitely geared towards new bloggers. I had to fumble around for a bit before I truly was able to grasp the concept of redesigning.