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How To Prepare Your Blog For The New Year

With the end of the year fast approaching, it’s a great time to review your blog and catch up on all the maintenance tasks and things you’ve been meaning to do for a while. Here’s a quick run down of the things to check, plan, and update in order to start strong in the new year.

These tasks can be done any time of year, not just at the beginning, so we’d recommend creating your own list, spreadsheet or Trello board to keep on top of things and review them regularly. If you’re only just getting around to these things, don’t worry – better late than never!

Lyrical Host customers can find a handy Year In Review workbook in the Resource Library that makes a great accompaniment to this blog post. If you need any help finding it, downloading it, or using it, just ask!

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01. Do any small website maintenance updates

We recommend starting with this because a) updates are important and b) they’re typically nice quick tasks that you can check off easily. Log into your WordPress Dashboard and check for theme and plugin updates. Before updating themes, remember to have a backup or child theme handy so you don’t overwrite any customization changes (if you’re unsure, please contact our support team). Next to each plugin and theme you’ll want to click “Details” to check when it was last updated. If it’s not been updated within the last year or last two major WordPress releases, we strongly recommend deleting/replacing it for security reasons. This is also a good opportunity to clean up any unused themes and plugins.

02. Check your site’s performance

If you have Google Analytics installed, make a note of your visitors, pages views, sessions, bounce rate, and returning visitors from the whole year (you may want to wait until early next year so you have year-end data you can look back on, too!). It’s up to you what you record, but you may also want to look at your stats month on month to see trends, especially if you haven’t been blogging a year yet.

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Don’t have Google Analytics installed? Check your website stats in LyricalCP by scrolling to the bottom of the control panel and clicking “Website Stats.”

Check your Google Search Console (see our instructions for setting up Google Search Console, or ask our support team to do it for you). Again, it depends on what you want to look at, but we’d recommend a minimum of looking at the penalties section, errors section, and keywords to see how people are finding your site from organic searches.

Other tasks you may want to do include working on your website speed and fixing broken links (we strongly suggest using a website such as https://www.brokenlinkcheck.com for this, not a plugin).

03. List the best and worst performers

Using your analytics data, make a list of your best performing posts over the year. Use them to fuel ideas for new posts, or repurpose them into opt-ins, paid digital products, and so on.

Next, list your worst performing posts, and note whether to work on improving them or ditch them altogether. If you’re planning to improve a post, make a quick comment on how (e.g. better keyword research, more detail, better pins, etc.).

04. Make a snag list

If there are niggly things you’ve been meaning to fix, make a snag list. Snags could be things like going through your blog posts checking grammar and typos, formatting a contact form to make it more user-friendly, changing colors to make your text or images more legible, fixing 404s, replacing something in your sidebar, etc. Any task that takes more than 2 minutes and involves fixing something that already exists qualifies for your snag list. If it takes less than two minutes, you may as well fix it now. If it relates to something that doesn’t already exist, it’s a to do rather than a snag!

04. Make a dream goals list

What’s your big, overarching goal for your blog for the upcoming year? Maybe it’s to earn a certain amount, or to get a certain amount of traffic, or to qualify for a particular ads program or ambassadorship. Whatever is it, write it down and stick it to your mirror or door or something else you see every day. People typically give up on new year’s resolutions and goals by February, but having your goal in front of you every day acts a constant reminder and motivation.

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05. Make smaller task lists

Break down your big goal into smaller steps. You could have goals for each quarter, month, and week, and then make daily to do lists based on those. The idea is that these smaller lists consist of tasks that directly contribute to your big goal.

Tasks that are unrelated belong on another list, for example snags, maintenance, or recurring tasks (like social media scheduling). You may want to add the results from #3 in this post to their own list or put them on another list – it’s up to you.

06. Review your year

Give your blogging/business year an overall grade based on how well you feel you did generally. Include three things that went well, three that could be better, and three big non-negotiable tasks based on your to do lists. (Don’t forget our Year In Review workbook in the Resource Library if you’re a customer – it has a lot more detail of things to think about and review!)

Finally, write a few sentences about how you’ll feel once you’ve completed your tasks and achieved your big goal. And feel free to share your thoughts and goals in our Facebook group!

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How To Prepare Your Blog For The New Year

Jenni Brown
Co-founder of Lyrical Host, Jenni has been in the web hosting industry for years and specializes in social media, copywriting, search engine optimization, and email marketing. She loves cats, baking, photography, and gaming.

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