It doesn’t take long for most bloggers to realize that there’s a lot more to blogging than just writing blog posts. (Although, sometimes “just writing blog posts” is enough!) There’s marketing, promotion, building your online brand, networking, creating your own products and on and on. Every now and then you need to do a little maintenance, though, to catch those small problems before they turn into major catastrophes. If you make blog maintenance a routine, then it isn’t such a chore.
What Do You Need To Maintain?
Your comments: Once those spammer find your blog it’s not unusual to start getting dozens of spam comments a day. Add to that the fact that some of your legitimate comments accidentally get sent to your spam folder and you can see how fast those spam comments add up. I’ve never felt comfortable doing a mass delete simply because there are some legitimate comments mixed in, so I literally look at every single comment before I delete it. As you can imagine, if I only did this every month or two I’d be at it for days at a time, so once a week I review comments, edit where necessary, and get rid of the junk.
Your archives: Chances are you’re a much better writer and communicator now than you were when you first started blogging. Set aside an hour or two each week to review your older content. Look for posts where you can add information or correct mistakes, and while you’re there add links to current relevant content.
Updates: It seems like there’s always a new WordPress update or updates for a few of my plug-ins pending on the dashboard. I usually put all of these through once a week. Important – ALWAYS back up your blog first, just in case.
Categories and tags: I can’t stand visiting a blog and seeing that “Uncategorized” over there in the categories widget in the sidebar. Take a few minutes once a week to check the categories and tags you used on that week’s blog posts. If you have a lot of categories and your tag cloud takes up your entire sidebar, it might be time to consider condensing things to make it easier for readers to find their way around your blog.
Broken links: Obviously, broken links hurt your credibility, especially if you have a lot. Install the WordPress Broken Link Checker plug-in. It will immediately scan your blog and notify you of broken links.
Check your load time: Use WebPageTest to check your blog’s load time. I do this once a month. If your blog is image-heavy or you use a lot of videos you may want to check more often.
Don’t Forget To Back Up Your Blog
I back up my blog every week, others do it every day or every month. The important thing is to do it on a regular basis. If you use HostGator you can have automatic weekly updates sent to you via email automatically or you can install a WordPress Plug-in to generate backups. Either way – it’s the most important step in your blogging maintenance routine.