21 Ways To Freshen Up Your WordPress Blog And Help It Standout

Imagine my surprise when I recently came across some broken links on my ‘Meet Hugh‘ page while doing some general housekeeping on my blog.

Not only that, but I also came across broken links and errors on my ‘my books‘ page.

One link took me to a page that announced ‘ this blog has been removed due to violations of our rules and policies.’ Yikes! 

With many of us finding we have some spare time on our hands at the moment, now is as good a time as any to freshen up and do some housekeeping on our blogs.

Blogging tips on what changes you can make to your blog to help make it standout.
Let’s freshen up our blogs

Here’s a list of 21 things you can do. Can you add to the list? 

1. Give your blog a brand new theme. 

WordPress offers lots of free themes, and you can try them out first before deciding on which one best suits you.

In fact, if you haven’t noticed yet, my blog has a brand new theme.

After finding out that the theme I had been using had been retired (the reason why a few problems I was encountering with my blog could not be fixed), I decided it was time for a change.   

Giving your blog a brand new theme will give it a fresh new look. However, there’s nothing wrong with sticking with your current theme if you’re happy with it (and you’re not having any problems with it that can not be fixed). 

If you decide to change the theme of your blog, don’t spend too much time deciding which theme to choose. It can become time-consuming, so my recommendation is to select the first theme you like.  

2. Customise your existing theme

Customising your blog’s theme can be great fun, but don’t get too carried away with it. 

Any changes you make should be simple and should at least improve some aspects of your blog.

Before you make any significant changes, ask a member of the family or a friend for some feedback on the changes you’ve made. 

To make changes to your theme, press the My Home button on the menu bar of your blog and then click on Customise theme

Changing the theme of your blog is easy to do

3. Change the background colour of your blog

Changing the background colour of your blog can almost make it look as if you’ve changed your blog’s theme. However, be careful when choosing a colour. 

Ask yourself if you’d be happy reading a blog with that neon coloured background that plays tricks on your eyes.

Stick with light shades of pastels, and ensure the colour of the text makes your posts easy to read.    

To make changes, follow the steps in point 2 and click on Colours and Backgrounds.

Blogging tips. How to change the background colour of your blog.
Click on ‘Colours’ & “Backgrounds’

Likewise, changing the header image of your blog can also give it a fresh new look. 

4. Change the type of font (and its size) you use on your blog

Again, be careful with what you choose. Make it easy for your readers to be able to read your blog without having to squint or having to zoom in on their computer screen. 

To make changes, follow the steps in point 2 and click on Fonts.

Blogging tips. How to change the style and size on your blog.
Click on ‘Fonts’

5. Update your widget bar(s)

You don’t need to change what widgets you have, but changing the order of them will give your blog a fresh new look. I’ve recently updated my widget bar. 

Delete any widgets which are either out of date or are no longer of any use.

If you use the ‘Social Media’ widget, check that all the links to your social media accounts are working. Repair any broken links.

7. Update your site icon

Not sure how to do it? On the dashboard of your blog, click on Manage and then on Settings. 

Blogging Tips - How to change your blog site icon image.
Click on ‘Manage’ and “Settings’

You’ll see your icon with a ‘change ‘button underneath it. Click on the ‘change‘ button and follow the instructions. Remember to save the changes. 

Blogging tips - How to change your blog's site icon.
Click on the “Change’ button

8. Update and/or change your blog’s Site Tagline.

Not sure how to do it? On the dashboard of your blog, click on Manage and then on Settings. Under ‘General click in the ‘Site Tagline‘ box to make any changes. Remember to click the ‘Save Settings’ button to save any changes you’ve made.

Blogging tips - how to change your blog's tagline.
Click on “General’

Check all the links on your homepage are working. Repair any that are broken or that lead to an incorrect site/page.

Pay particular attention to links to YouTube videos that may no longer work. I had to remove a recent post from my blog because the video in the post had been removed from YouTube.   

10. Update the ‘about me’ page

This is something I recently did on my own blog. I was surprised by how much of the information was out-of-date. Nobody wants to read out-of-date information, do they?

Don’t have an ‘about me’ page? Click here to find out why it’s essential to have one and what to put on it.

Remember to also update any other ‘pages’ you have on your blog. For example, I recently updated my ‘Contact Hugh‘ page and my ‘my books‘ page.

11. Tidy up your blog’s draft folder.

Check your ‘drafts‘ folder and delete any posts that you are no longer going to publish.

12. Tidy up your published posts.

Check your ‘published‘ posts and delete any that are out-of-date, no longer attracting any traffic, and which you do not intend updating or using again.

Check what your most popular published posts are in the stats area of your blog’s dashboard by clicking on ‘Stats.’

I recommend you do a check by either Year or All Time.

Year or All Time?

Update any out of date information on your most popular posts, especially if they are still receiving lots of traffic. Remember to also check that any pingbacks or links in the post are still working.

Nobody likes reading data that is out-of-date or is no longer valid. Likewise, nobody likes clicking on a link that leads to a page that errors or says the information is no longer available.  

If you’re using the Gutenberg editor, consider converting popular older posts to the blocks format. Click here to find out how to do it.

14. Check and empty your blog’s ‘spam’ folder

This is something you should be doing daily. Mark anything that shouldn’t be in there as ‘not spam.’

Blogging tips - How to empty your spam folder.
Check your ‘spam’ folder

It will then be moved to the ‘pending’ queue.

Emptying your blog’s spam folder also frees up valuable space. 

15. Check your media library and delete any images, photos and videos that are no longer being used. 

This will free up valuable storage space (vital for those who use free WordPress themes). However, ensure those images are no longer being used on any published posts before deleting them.

Top Tip – Deleting any old ‘reblogged’ posts will free up lots of storage space, especially if the ‘reblogs’ have lots of images attached to them. 

16. Update the ‘Categories’ on your blog. 

On the dashboard of your blog, click on Settings, and then on Writing. Click on the small arrow in the Categories box. A new page will open where you can update and delete categories.

Blogging Tips - How to update and delete categories and tags on your blog.
Update ‘Categories’

17. Update the Tags on your blog. 

Follow the same steps as in #16. Click on the small arrow in the Tags box. A new page will open where you can update and delete tags.

18. Categorise any uncategorised blog posts. 

This is such a crucial thing to do. No blog post should ever be uncategorised. That’s like serving apple pie without custard, cream or ice cream.

Categorising blog posts helps visitors find them more efficiently, meaning they will probably return or follow your blog.

The easiest way to find out if you have any posts that are not categorised is to use the ‘Categories‘ widget (you’ll see this widget on the sidebar of my blog). 

The widget displays a list of categories on your blog. If ‘Uncategorised‘ is listed, click on it and all your uncategorised posts will be displayed. How cool is that?

19. Add, update and/or change the menu bar on your blog. 

Click here for full details on how to do this. Repair any broken links.

Top tip – don’t overload the menu on your blog with too many items. A top-heavy menu can make a blog look messy and uninviting.

20. Unfollow blogs you no longer want to follow. 

Click on Reader and then on the Manage button next to ‘Followed Sites.’ 

Click on ‘Manage’

You’ll then see a list of all the blogs you are following. These can be sorted by ‘date followed‘ or by ‘site name.’ 

To unfollow any blogs, click on ‘following‘ next to the blog you want to unfollow. You will then no longer be following that blog. 

Top tip – unfollow any blogs that have not published any new posts for over a year, as they are likely no longer being used.

You can view my ‘disclaimer’ page by clicking on Disclaimer & GDPR on my menu bar. 

My ‘copyright‘ information can be found at the bottom of the widget bar to the right of this post.

Please feel free to use the same information that I have used.

Top Tip – Rather than try and implement all the above changes in one go, try doing one or two a day. That way, you won’t feel overwhelmed when making any changes.  

Is there anything you’d like to add to my list? Please share it with us by leaving a comment. Other readers can then use it.

Copyright © 2020 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

91 thoughts on “21 Ways To Freshen Up Your WordPress Blog And Help It Standout

  1. Hi Hugh, I do like taking the time on an annual basis to update my site logo, tagline, and play about with some of the widgets just to freshen things up. Having a new look, is quite helpful to keep enthusiasm going and is also like having a sense of pride to how it look rather it just becoming a repository to put words into.

    I also keep updating my about page just to ensure that it clearly matches up with the direction of what my site is about. 🙂

    1. Sounds like you’re doing a brilliant job at keeping your blog fresh, James.

      “…rather it just becoming a repository to put words into.” – I love that part of your comment. In the six and a half years I’ve been blogging, I’ve seen so many blogs not change anything at all in their appearance. Things can get dull when you don’t change anything.

      1. Thanks Hugh, I know when I used to do environmental campaigning we talked about ‘poster blindness’ – when a poster has been up for a while it blends into the background and no one notices the message – so we used to move them and swap them around (being in an environmental sustainable team we were making sure not to do anymore printing than necessary).

        The same works with any site as something you come familiar with you think straight away ‘something looks different here…’

        1. That’s a brilliant example, James. One I think which would go down well with those you don’t change anything on their blog. Whenever anything looks different, I always take a closer look.

  2. Great post! I recently chose a new theme (the same as your blog actually!) and it’s definitely made me see my content with a fresh perspective. Thanks for sharing your thoughts 🙂

    1. That’s brilliant to hear. Likewise, whenever I change the theme of my blog, it puts my blogging into a whole new perspective. I’m glad this post has been so helpful to you.

    1. I’m glad it’s helped, Lisa, and that you’ve been cleaning up some of your posts. Keep up the excellent work.

      Thanks so much for coming over from Debby’s blog.

      I’m not sure why, but your comment went straight to my WordPress spam folder. It’s just as well that I check that folder often.

      1. Oh, that’s interesting. It may explain why my comments have failed to show up on a few blogs. Something about my WordPress account…odd. If I use my twitter connection it’s fine. Glad I came through. 🙂

    1. You’re welcome, Colleen. I’m just about through my own list now. With all the extra time at home, I made good use of doing lots of housekeeping on my blog.

      Summer? Not a big fan of it. The heat always nearly kills me. I much prefer the spring, and we’re experiencing a beautiful spring this year, even during the lockdown.

      Hope all is well with Ron and you. We’re all good, thank you.

      Take care.

      1. When the heat hits, it’s like my winter. I stay in more and write. It all works out in the long run. I’m not a fan of the heat either, but Ron loves it. Stay safe and well. Hugs to you and John. ❤

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