We’re almost in the middle of a brand new year, but the best months are still ahead of us. Are you still doing what you did in 2011 to get the light to shine on your blog? It’s not too late to re-evaluate your blog’s performance, its looks and other parameters based on recent changes in the blogosphere. Here’s how to infuse fresh life into your blog in 2012.
Optimize Your Email List And Newsletters
1. Weed The Garden
Over time, your email list becomes stagnant and stale, with unresponsive, deadweight subscribers. Check your email open rates and remove all those subscribers who haven’t opened your newsletters in a long time. Spam engines are more likely to mark your Id as spam if you have a high unopened email rate.
2. Clean Up Your Newsletter’s Html
While you’re at it, it makes sense to re-evaluate your HTML as well. If your HTML is sloppy, you’ll be triggering spam filters without knowing it. Plus, even if your email newsletter looks good to you, bad HTML coding will screw up its appearance in the target inbox. All of these things will only affect your reputation negatively.
3. Update Your Spam Checker
If you’ve been using an outdated spam checker, update to one who checks for the latest spam phrases. Be sure to scan your newsletters for spam before sending them out. While you’re at it, check your spam score as well. Edit your email and redo the spam check till the email is clean.
4. Make It Easy For People To Sign Up
Explore your competitors’ sites and see where they’re put up their email newsletter sign-up forms. Explore various locations for them – in the feature box, the sidebar and at the end of posts. The idea is to make a sign-up option visible at every stage of user interaction on your website.
5. Tempt Your Readers To Sign Up
Create a separate ‘subscribers only’ page with free eBooks, premium content, product offers and so on. Mention this special resource toolbox in your About Me page, landing pages and all other relevant pages. Add a tagline after your email signature and your link mentioning the goodies that only subscribers can access.
6. Target Your Emails
Customize your email newsletters based on the targets. For example, your prospects should receive a nurturing email that convinces them to convert; your new subscribers should get links to tempting offers and content, and your customers should get upsell and cross sell offers. This kind of targeting will help track your newsletters better and also improve your success rates.
Increase Your Blogger Reach
If you’re not sure how to network with key players in your industry, start by making a list of the top bloggers. If you haven’t garnered the power of guest blogging and its traffic-boosting after effects yet, it’s time to do it. Use your list to connect with the people that matter.
Use Technorati or AllTop to find out who these toppers are. Break the ice with an introductory email. Subscribe to their email lists. Follow them on social media and promote their posts. Then send out an awesome guest post and request them to accept. You will earn many organic links this way, not to speak of support from your peer network.
Explore And Update Your Blog’s Uniqueness
Evaluate your blog and re-identify its USP. If you already know what your USP is, build on it. Know in clear terms exactly what your readers expect out of you and why they come to your blog in particular. For 2012, evaluate the value you’re bringing to your readers, your blogging network and your niche community at large.
Work on different angles to offer more value. Even if your blog does not stand out, create twists in your content and your take on industry events to make for a unique perspective.
Refresh Your Blog With New Content Types
Are you sticking to the same old text medium? People do love to read and bookmark their favorites for later, but check out the new content types that are catching on like fire. Again, if you struggle to create written content, maybe you’ll be more comfortable with a podcast, a video post, a webinar, a slideshow or an infographic. Explore various content types to refresh your blog’s offerings this year.
De-Clutter Your Sidebar
Over time, your sidebar tends to turn into a complete mess. You’ll add a widget too many or have too many sections and before you know it, you’ve made it worse not better. Your sidebar’s clutter can reduce your site load speed, something you’ll want to definitely avoid. Plus, a cluttered sidebar will affect your conversion rates on new subscribers as well. Keep only the essentials and remove everything else from your sidebar. Also provide a sidebar opt-in at the top so people can choose to see it if they want to.
This article is written by Dean from funnel optimization company Invesp. Invesp was founded in 2006 and specializes in offering website testing, website usability and landing page optimization services.