Conference Countdown: Get Your Blog Ready

Ahhhhhh can you believe that Fitbloggin’ 2011 is just a week away?

Fitbloggin'

Fitbloggin' 2010 Folks

{{{deep breaths. deep breaths. deep breaths.}}}

I am both excited and terrified, because I am hosting a live #Fitblog chat (details to come, but mark your calendars for lunchtime on Friday, May 20th) AND I’m doing a presentation on branding.

Quick personal note — I am THRILLED to bits to let you know that I am working with SurveyMonkey, a very cool company that offers free and premium survey tools for bloggers and more. I love SurveyMonkey, and have used the surveys for months, before ever getting involved with them as a sponsor. In fact, much of the material that will be included in the presentation came from the 2011 Healthy Living Blogger Survey, powered by SurveyMonkey. When the company saw the results and heard how I’d be using them, they stepped up to sponsor me at the conference and for several projects in the future — all of which will benefit YOU! As always, opinions are my own and the sponsorship doesn’t affect anything I write about the SurveyMonkey tools.

Mostly excited, because Fitbloggin’ 2010 had such an impact on my blogging. It quite literally changed everything:

Whether you’re attending Fitbloggin’ or not, this is a great time to make sure your blog is in tip-top shape. No heavy lifting here — no coding or changing of template files. Just good old fashioned editing.

Conference Countdown: Get Your Blog Ready

Overall Look

Now is the time to take a step back and look at the home page of your website. Hundreds of new readers may be flocking here after meeting you or hearing you speak, so make sure you are giving them something that’s fun and easy to look at. If your sidebars are cluttered with crap — clear ‘em out. If your text is teeny tiny, make it bigger. If you see something you don’t like, change it now. Simple is best when it comes to a first impression!

About Page

Ahem. You DO have an About page, right? In many, if not most, cases, the About page is the second-most-read on any website…right after the home or index page. So make sure it’s awesome! Things to include:

  • A brief biography of you
  • A brief biography of the blog (when and why did you start it)
  • A mission statement
  • A list of topics that you post about
  • If you use one, an editorial calendar (Monday: recipes, Tuesday: videos, Wednesday: fitness tips)
  • A GOOD picture of yourself, taken recently
  • If you blog about a particular niche, like gluten-free cooking or triathlon training, perhaps a few points about why you’re qualified (even if that qualification is just that you are gluten intolerant or have done 5 triathlons before)

Contact Page

Easy peasy. But crucial. Include all of the information you’re comfortable with, including email, social networks and possibly a phone number (especially if you do any sort of business on your website).

Favorite Posts

This is a GREAT way to guide new readers to the “best of” your dozens, hundreds or thousands of posts. Create a page and only include your Top 10 links, or start a category for your very best posts and make that category easy to find. I use a Welcome page, but you can do whatever works best for your blog.

Recent Photo

I want to see YOU. On the homepage, on the About page and anywhere else that seems appropriate. On my site, I offer my picture with a brief biography, right at the top of the sidebar:

That photo also links to my About page.

Feed and Social Media Links

It’s no good to get a new reader to visit, only to have him or her leave. So NOW is the time to make sure your RSS buttons, social media icons and other “find me” tools are accurate, visible and WORKING. Test each of those links to make sure they’re live (I have been known to leave 404 error pages up. Oops).

Listen — don’t change your blog just because you are meeting new people. But do take a moment to make sure that it’s the best it can be. Conferences are amazing for finding new friends, blends and readers…so give them a reason to subscribe to YOU as they look at hundreds of other options.

(And on the day of the conference — consider putting up a special post, just for people who might be visiting you that day. See my example from Social Fresh: “Hello, My Name is Katy“)

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Comments

  1. says

    I am very sad that I will be missing Fitbloggin’ 2011. I can’t wait to “watch” you via social media. I have said it before and I will say it again…you are an amazing woman…I don’t understand how you do it all. Blog someday, if you will, on how you decompress…what Katy downtime looks like. Even your downtime looks like “work” time. From here, it looks like you are ALWAYS on the hunt, and that just can’t be. Love you!

  2. says

    I love & thank you for these tips! Updating my ‘about me’ page is on my to do list for this weekend! Looking forward to meeting you & attending your session at FitBloggin!

  3. says

    Fantastic list of tips! My webslave, aka hubby, just did a total redesign. I should make sure everything is working. Thanks for the reminder! SO EXCITED about Fitbloggin’ and meeting you in person. I hope I feel the same way about this one as you do about last years! :-)

  4. says

    Great tips, Katy! I just need to update a few things this weekend!!! SOOOOO excited for Fitbloggin and for meeting you and lots of other ahhhmazing peeps!

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