5 Things That Will Make Your Blog More SEO Friendly

Love 'Fresh Starts'! Let's do it!

I love new beginnings, and now is more than a better time than ever to make your blog more SEO friendly.

I love the opportunity to start fresh and clear where I can put aside the past and look forward to the new future with a new perspective and vigor!

Sure, some will argue that the so-called New Year’s Resolutions never really find follow-through for most people but we’re not in the “new year” yet!

And seriously; now’s a good time to do this stuff anyways if you haven’t done them already! Why not leverage a particular calendar date to eek out a little motivation?

Sure! No problem!

So, in the next 5 days (including today) you should look to spend 5 minutes (at least) doing these 5 things to get yourself ready for the coming new year!

1. Get Web Analytics Installed

If you’re not using some sort of analytics software for your blog then you need to get some installed right away! There’s a lot that you can do without having analytics installed but you will never be as effective as you want (and need) to be with your blogging efforts without them.

I’ve listed out the 5 reasons you need blog analytics here as well as the three that I use across my blog properties but I’m not dogmatic about those (except perhaps Google Analytics) – you can use whatever you’d like but use something, anything!


A lot of the topics that I’m going to cover in the coming year will require that you have at least Google Analytics to make any sense and for you to start the New Year with these installed will help you have a better picture of what’s happening year-over-year.

Signing up will take you a few minutes and installing it shouldn’t be too hard either. Drop a comment if you have any questions!

Already Have Them Installed? Here’s Your Assignment:

If you already have analytics installed then your job is to review the past year looking for trends and making note of valuable keywords that are bringing you traffic.

What do you see? Any patterns? Is there anything unexpected? Jot those things down. Love to hear what you find.

Keywords are your friend(s)... Seriously!

We’ll talk more about the use of these in the coming weeks but take the time now to get familiar with them!

2. Lighten Your Page Load

It’s already been proven that the speed of your blog’s ability to load content has a direct impact to your Search Engine Ranking. What this practically means is that anything you add to your blog will make your blog load slower and thus impacting your SEO return.

Unless your 'heavy' plugins and scripts are bringing the (good) pain... get rid of them.

You probably have a number of Plugins and 3rd party scripts that are, to be quite honest, unnecessary. My rule is this: If the 3rd party script or plugin doesn’t bring incredibly high value to my readers and holds a very explicit value-increasing purpose then I don’t need it.

Your assignment is to go through your list of plugins and get rid of as many as you can. Get your blog “fresh and so clean” for the new year!

3. Content Focus, Again.

We’ve talked about this a few times already and I’ll continue to talk about it until everyone really gets it, but now is the time to double-down and really begin to think about your content focus for the coming year for your blog. What 1 to 2, maybe 3 topics is your blog really going to cover?

It's ok to be out of focus... if that's your stated goal. Otherwise it's a bad idea.

The point here is that the more focused you can be with your content focus the more control and penetration you have in your SEO return and efforts. It’s difficult and a challenge to just win the SEO game for one focused topic let alone the billion that your blog may currently serve!

Focus, focus, focus! Pick those one or two things that you’re going to write about strategically and make a commitment to it because this year is the year of crazy-growth in those areas!

4. Categorization

If your blog has double-digit categories then you’re going to want to take a look at #3 and admit that you definitely have a problem with your content focus! This is a practical application of #3 as your categories will not only help you focus your content but will drive your SEO efforts this coming year.

Spend some time re-categorizing your blog posts, consolidating ones that are similar, and perhaps making note of blog posts that just don’t seem to “fit” your content goals for the coming year.

Some blogs (and their categories) look like this: Too many options!

If this seems like an impossible task or if you’re not willing to take the time necessary to do this early “spring cleaning” then you honestly can’t expect for the growth that you feel you deserve this coming year.

I review, prune, and manage my categories monthly; when was the last time you did? Sure, you may not be a Professional Blogger (yet) but if you don’t spend the time now then you’ll never be.

5. Commit to Spending Money

It's true you know...

This can be a tough one but you’re going to want to begin coaching yourself on the fact that a growing blog will need to spend money to make money, even if it’s really only a few dollars.

Some practical examples might be the following:

Coaching yourself on this starts today, especially if it makes your nervous, but your blogging efforts are worth it, right? Even with very small investments I believe you’ll be able to make it back in spades. Just don’t invest anything that doesn’t directly impact the quality and productivity of your blogging efforts!

Otherwise, it’s just a nice-to-have and call it for what it is!

I couldn’t be more excited about the coming year – there’s much work to be done!

  • Sean Sabourin

    Great post. I purchased the Standard Theme about 2 weeks ago (early Christmas present to my self) and I absolutely love it! My focus for 2011 will be content. Thanks again for the outline! All the best in 2011!

    • John Saddington

      sure thing sean! enjoy standard theme! i think it’ll take you places…… :)

  • http://Benrwoodard.com Ben

    Hey Jon, i know it is pretty easy to set up, but, if someone needs some help setting up their google analytics I would be glad to help.
    I really appreciate this goal setting insight from you.

    • John Saddington

      sure thing! i can pass them to you!

  • http://www.mutantminds.com Mutant Minds

    Enjoyed the post and learned a lot from it. I had never heard of Evernote, but it sure does look like a good program for some one like me who is always fascinated about new things out there. My mind constantly jumps from one thing to another so this would be a good tool to keep things organized.

    Glad to hear that you will be covering Google Analytics, since I would like to learn from a bloggers perspective than having to dig and wade through their documentation.

    I placed it on your other post, but I will add it here as well for us PC users. (Would love a Mac, but cannot afford it right now) Fraps is a good program for PC users to do screen captures and it will automatically name and time stamp your captures for you. Fraps.com

    • John Saddington

      thanks mutant! fraps is pretty good! jing has some good apps too.

    • http://www.randykinnick.com Randy Kinnick

      Mutant Minds, I’ve also found WorkFlowy to be a helpful organizational tool as well. It’s a very simple workflow and thought organizer. http://www.workflowy.com

      • John Saddington

        neat! you’ve mentioned this before.

  • http://www.mutantminds.com Mutant Minds

    Another thing, I noticed #2 is about lightening your page load. If you take requests, I would like to see a post on the pros and cons of Disqus and other such apps. I noticed that some popular sights use Disqus and others do not.

    • John Saddington

      that would be a great post mutant! (it’s weird call you “mutant”). i’ll talk about that.

  • Josh Weidmann

    Thanks for this post. It is good to see these things listed in a numeric priority list. I’ve been using the Standard Theme for half a year or so now and I love it. Good reminder to stay focused on content and message. Needed that. Thanks.

    • John Saddington

      sure thing josh! keep it up! how are you doing on the other 4?

  • Dean Saliba

    Spend money? NEVER! :D

    Number 2 is very important. I did a few things (delete unneeded plugins, scale back on widgets & ads, optimise database) and saw my blog load at least twice as quickly as it did before. :)

    • John Saddington

      great job bro! LOVE that feeling…!

  • Jenny

    So I am in the process of changing my blog over from a “text-focused” writing blog to one that is more photography based. I want to simplify and streamline and use a wp (.org) theme that allows me to post pictures (with occasional text too). Any suggestions?

    • John Saddington

      jenny,

      there are tons of great themes out there that can help. you could even just use a nice blog theme as well!

      if you can wait, i’m releasing a photo theme based on standard theme in the coming weeks.

      :)

  • Keith Jennings

    Hi John,

    I am in the midst of a re-categorization of all my blog posts. Glad to read I’m not wasting my time (because it feels that way).

    What’s your advice on the sweet spot for categories (#4 above): too many vs. too few, too wordy vs. too abstract, all on home page vs. individual keyword-rich landing pages, etc.?

    If you intend to write a post on this in the near future, please don’t waste your time responding here in the comments. Thanks!

    • John Saddington

      i’ll expand my thoughts in a blog post but give you some help right now: i believe the sweet spot is around 8 and keep the word length to a minimum. 1 or 2 word categories are best.

  • Marc Millan

    Always great to learn from the Yoda of Blogging. :-)
    I think I installed google analytics but have no idea how to find it or use it. Yes, there are things I do well, this isn’t one of them, got a page I can read more on it?
    Gracias amigo.
    M_

    • John Saddington

      marc,

      this is a great blog topic and i’ll certainly write one for you!

  • Rodlie Ortiz

    Hmm…I need to work on 2 and 4. I’m sure there’s plugins I can get rid of. I don’t think any of them are bloat things too much, but I think I have about 3 different “popular post” type plugins.

    As far as categories, I have a ton because blogger does them differently, and that’s who I moved over from. I think in blogger the tags are categories or something. In any case, I have a ton of categories now. I think I can consolidate to about 10 or so, though.

    Nice tips, there.

    • John Saddington

      getting rid of ones that you aren’t using is important too. cleaning up the database when you uninstall is something you should look into as well!

      sweet! rock the consolidation piece bro!

  • http://www.carlestercrumpler.com Carlester T. Crumpler

    I’m switching my blog over to WordPress this week and will likely select the Standard Theme. My wife seems to be more intrigued by blogging after scrolling thru pages and pages of your Human3rror blog. We absolutely love how you have made it about fun, family, and spicy prayers! And thanks for the DSLR post because I will have one by the time Little Miss Crumpette comes into the world in April 2011. And I’m sure she won’t be covered with Cheerios… LOL!

    • John Saddington

      carlester,

      great! so excited for you! glad your wife finds human3rror entertaining…… :)

      it’s going to change even more stylistically in the coming year. excited about that too!

  • http://www.lincolnparks.com Lincoln Parks

    I just recently subscribed to your blog via Michael Hyatt’s recommendation and I’m learning allot about blogging. This year was my first year blogging and I’ve changed formats so many times. I’m like the picture you have above, I’m not really focused. However, I intend to start the new year with 4 categories that I focus on. I am currently using the Genesis framework, and am making some changes there also.

    My stats are not that great but here are some of my Keywords. I want to focus on Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Technology & Sports. Too many? Thanks for your posts.

    false expectations appearing real
    lincoln parks
    lincoln parks network marketing
    john maxwell rule of 5
    earl schoff
    professional networking events in atlanta
    dominique wilkens 5linx
    lincoln parks itself
    the rule of five maxwell
    lincolnparks.com

    • John Saddington

      wow. those 4 categories are pretty broad…! even though their are only 4 categories the span between them is great. is there any particular “tie” that’s holding them all together?

      • http://www.lincolnparks.com Lincoln Parks

        Well, each of them sort of have their own tie. How I was imagining them is general content here that ties into other specific sites that I have on each topic. But if I’m planning on streamlining I’m thinking Entrepreneurship would be my focus, drilling down there.

        • John Saddington

          sweet. i think that’s a better approach. it’s hard to brand yourself with those 4 big things at the same time, at least to start, right?

          • http://www.lincolnparks.com Lincoln Parks

            I agree. Thanks for the tip, its much appreciated.

            • John Saddington

              sure thing bro! let me know how it works out for you!

  • http://www.stevefogg.typepad.com Steve Fogg

    Hey John,

    I’d be interested in what you think about the various blogs that sell SEO SAS services such as ScribeSEO, Market Samurai ETC as a way to improve your SEO ranking and whether that will help you or not.

    Steve

    • John Saddington

      steve,

      i’ve tried scribeseo and it looks like it’ll work. the issue is that it’s expensive and most people can’t afford it… but by the time you can you might not need it because you’ve done a great job so far…!

      right now I don’t use scribeseo or anything else… just good ol’ organic work with good titles, great content, and the standard theme which has a lot of that built right in.

  • Adam

    I just updated from a PC to my first Mac last night. I go me a 13″ Mac Book Pro, and I am so excited to start utilizing it.

    Next purchase is going to be hopefully church analytics!

    • John Saddington

      SWEET! you are rocking it!

    • http://www.randykinnick.com Randy Kinnick

      Awesome, Adam. I went to Mac 18 months ago and I’ll never go back.

  • Blake

    If I have a semi-dormant blog that I’m looking to reinvigorate with the new year, but it’s got a history of about 950 posts and six and a half years, the categories have spread. I’d like to keep all the old posts because it’s currently a “personal/casual” blog.

    But is there great value in narrowing the scope of a personal blog? I could see a category list of 4 or so with some being quite general. There was a time when I deleted some cats, but still have right at 20! Is it okay to have a “miscellaneous” type category that is a catch all?

    • John Saddington

      blake, you can, of course, do anything you’d like, but a more focused topical blog will always perform better (unless you’re a high-profile existing personality).

      going the personal blog route can be tough as many of your posts will not hit the “targeted” categories that will help you the most in terms of monetization.

  • Sean

    Thanks for the interesting post. I definitely learned from it. I’m restarting my blog on Jan. 1st, with the addition of Standard Theme. :) So far so good.

    The problem with categorizing blog posts, is that since we are humor based, we normally have topics that don’t coincide with others. I’ve tried sectioning posts to 5 or 6 categories, but sometimes they could be too random to fit… and creating a “Misc.” category just seems like cheating.

    • John Saddington

      sweet! congrats on the move!

      yes, you’ll have to be really be targeted with them. think global categories and “parent/master categories”. that might work and then have subs for you.

  • http://www.speckleofdirt.com Speckle of Dirt

    Thanks so much for this post! I have checked off most of these just this week. I’m very excited to hit the forums on @standardtheme to see how I can customize my site better! Looking forward to making $1.00 this year!

    • John Saddington

      sweet! love it!

  • http://www.mohdrohaizad.com Rohaizad

    cool tips. that 5 info about seo friendly for blogger.

    • http://john.do John Saddington

      ;) you’re welcome.