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.

6. Check your social media links work.

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

Important – ensure you have linked your Twitter account to your blog. Click here to find out how to do it.

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’

9. Check your links.

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.

13. Edit and update your most popular ‘published’ posts.

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.

21. Update your blog’s disclaimer and copyright information. 

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.

Author: Hugh W. Roberts

My name is Hugh. I live in the city of Swansea, South Wales, in the United Kingdom. My blog covers a wide range of subjects, the most popular of which are my blogging tips posts. If you have any questions about blogging or anything else, please contact me by clicking on the 'Contact Hugh' button on the menu bar. Click on the 'Meet Hugh' button on the menu bar to learn more about me and my blog.

90 thoughts

  1. I like your list of sensible things to do to spruce up your blog Hugh, thanks very much. I agree we all seem to have some time at the moment and these can be done in stages, as you say, not necessarily all at once. Great reminders. I’m currently going through the images and trying to work out if they need to be kept or not and attaching them to posts and also updating older posts to the new block editor, it’s not that hard to do as you say! Thanks again.

    1. Photos, pictures, videos and images soon take up so much space in our media libraries, Debbie. It’s one of the reasons why I’ve recommended in the past to think twice about reblogging. Many bloggers don’t realise that when they reblog a post, any images from those posts go straight into their media library and takes up space. It’s one of the reasons why I don’t use the reblog button anymore, although my main reasons were to do with ‘copyright’ of images.

      Good to hear you’re sorting out your media library. Every time I go into my media library, I delete a few images I know are not being used anymore.

      1. Yes I’m learning all the time about how to improve things! I’m so glad I know that blogging is a long term project and not a quick get rich quick scheme 😊

        1. Same here, Debbie. I’ve seen too many new bloggers give up on blogging when the idea that everyone can make lots of money from it does not materialise.

  2. A great list of ideas Hugh. i never realised I could change the font of my site…
    One other tip to add – optimise the images in your library by using a compression tool. This will help free up storage space but the compressed files will also help to improve the speed at which your site pages will load.

    1. Thanks for that tips, Karen. I always edit the size of all my images. This can be done from the dashboard of my blog and helps not take up as much space in the media library of anybody who reblogs one of my posts.

      I with you totally on not waiting around for a website to load. Only this week, I came across a blog I’d visited in the past, and their images were still taking forever to load. I guess for some, it’s more about not knowing how to reduce or compass the size of images, so your comment will act as a great reminder.

  3. I always get the best ideas from reading your tips posts. Saving this for reference. I just did a bunch of these items but there is always more I could do. Thanks!

    1. I hope it comes in useful when you get around to fixing your blog, Aimer. However, as I said right at the end of this post, don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to implement all the changes in one sitting. Do one or two a day/week. You’ll soon have everything crossed off that list.

  4. An amazing list Hugh, thanks. I wish I had spare time lol, I’m finding the days passing much too quickly, but no doubts I should tweak a few things.One thing for sure that makes me leave a blog, small font, it hurts my eyes, especially on a bad choice of contrast background making it worse, and I’m still astounded at the amount of blogs I see with ‘uncategorized’ posts. Your post will be helpful. ❤

    1. I’m now in the camp of always making some time to maintain my blog, Debby. If that means reading and commenting on fewer posts or not publishing as many blog posts as I usually do, I much rather visitors to my blog have a pleasant experience than one that leads to broken links, out-of-date- information, or an unfriendly and messy look. I was horrified when I discovered that link that led to another blog that had been taken down because of violations of policies and rules. I dread to think about what they did.

      I don’t know about you, but when shopping online, if I come across a site that isn’t working correctly, takes too long to download, or one that does not make it easy to find what I’m looking for, I’ll shop elsewhere. As I mentioned at the very end of this post, making changes and fixing things a little at a time, is an excellent way of trying not to do too much in one go and ending up becoming overwhelmed by it all.

      I’m so pleased this post has been helpful to many of you. I aim to please.

      1. You always aim to please Hugh. And yes, I even know the blogs I visit that continuously take the same long time to load. Sometimes I do leave. I also think that people who use lots of images on their blogs aren’t aware of resizing the images so they don’t take up as much time. I know that helps. ❤

        1. I learned all about resizing images from Chris (The Story Reading Ape). And would you believe that I’ve just visited a blog (after doing a search on WordPress for ‘blogging’) where it took ages for all the images on the post to download? It was like waiting for Ben Affleck to ask me out on a date! I didn’t stay around for long.

      1. Thankfully I’m still quite new to blogging so I didn’t have a lot of updating to do. Almost done with the few bits I wanted to. It’s a great list which I’ll refer to from time to time 🙂 x

  5. Thanks for the reminders. I read so much blogging advice that is complicated and tedious but yours is always practical and straightforward; unless we get the basics right the fluff is just that. I do like your new theme. When I first started blogging, I noticed that the name of a WordPress theme would display in the footer, then that went away, I miss that.

    1. There is a lot of blogging advice out there, Aletha, much of it aimed at those who are looking to make lots of money through blogging. I think that’s where blogging tips can become complicated. I always try and write my blogging tips posts in a user-friendly manner and always add images where I can, as I think they help too.

      There is a website that tells you what WordPress theme is being used when you add a link of the blog to a search bar, but I can’t remember what it’s called. However, never be afraid of asking a blogger what theme they are using if you like a theme. I’m sure most bloggers would be delighted to let you know.

      Thanks so much for letting me know that you like the new theme I am using. It’s called Arcane. Thanks also for the lovely feedback on my blogging tips posts. I’m glad these posts are helping so many of you.

  6. What a great list. I’ve bookmarked this page to begin to work through your list over the next few weeks. Thank you.

    Also, perhaps you know the answer to this: my posts never seem to show up in searches on my WordPress dashboard. I’m wondering if this may be due to the fact that I may not be paying good enough attention to categories…

    1. It could well be the reason, but the most important thing is to ensure you are using the right tags when adding tags to your blog posts. Tags act as keywords. When I add tags to my blog posts, I ask myself what keywords I would put in the search bar if I wanted to find a post that had the information I was looking for. However, never add more than 14 tags to a post (as it won’t then show up in the WordPress Reader), and never use keywords or tags that have nothing to do with the subject of the post. Readers don’t like doing a search and ending up on a post that has nothing to do with what they were looking for.

      I hope that helps?

  7. ‘Don’t take too long to choose a theme’- I’m so bad for this! It’s fun trying one theme after another, but a lot of them don’t meet my requirements (such as right sidebar). You can narrow this down at the top of the theme list.
    Thanks for the tips, Hugh.

    1. Yes, I used the filters when searching for a new theme, Jacquie. Like you, I like having a right sidebar on my blog, so that was the only requirement I had when searching. I still had plenty of choices of themes and am delighted with the new theme I now have.

    1. I think most of us have experienced that writing slump since the start of the pandemic. The problem for me was finding out was what causing it. Once I found the answer, my writing mojo came up.

  8. Hi Hugh, some great tips here. I think by the end of ‘lock down’ we’ll all have beautiful shiny perfect blogs if we follow your advice! Thank you. 🙂

    1. Hi Michele, on the Stats and Insight page of your blog’s dashboard, click on Posts and Pages. You’ll be taken to a new page. Along the top of that page, you should see ‘Day Summary – 7 days – 30 days – Quater – Year – All Time ‘ all listed in a row.

      I hope that helps. If not, come back to me, and I’ll include some new screenshots.

  9. Great tips, Hugh! I recently ended up changing my theme when my old suddenly quit displaying post titles. It turned out to be good thing as I do like my new one even better. Starting in on my About page, so I’m going to read the post you mentioned.

    Michelle

    1. Same here, Michelle. I usually end up liking a new theme better than the previous theme I used. I think WordPress has stopped supporting some of the older themes because of all the new ones they are bringing out. I completely understand why they are doing that. After all, they are just updating their platform to make it an even better experience for their users. All of the new themes are also Gutenberg friendly, so the new block editor works better with them. I think many problems are down to older themes no longer being supported. Indeed when I changed to a new theme, the issues I was experiencing with my blog went away.

  10. Reblogged this on From Cave Walls and commented:
    If you find yourself with extra time on your hands, this might be a good time to freshen up your blog. Hugh gives some great tips here. I just recently found a broken link on my Gravatar, so yes — tidy up!

    1. Yes, one a day means you won’t feel too overwhelmed by what you need to do, Miriam. I did many of these changes over a month. I spent anything between 10 minutes and an hour doing them each day. We should always find some time to keep our blogs looking good.

      1. Last year, Sally Cronin featured Achieve posts and went to her authors’ blogs to find posts. I updated the menu bar to be user friendly.

        I started to delete old posts last month and then delete photos in the media folder but as you said, doing it within an hour a day probably is manageable.

        Let me ask you this. Do the comments in the comment folder take up space for my blog? I have a premium plan and used about 20% right now. I used up the space in the basic plan because I take part in the phone challenge and post a lot of photos.

        My current theme is not perfect. It doesn’t have the “previous” and “next” features. I asked WordPress already. But I like the look of the theme, so that’s the trade off.

        Thank you, Hugh.

        1. Sally probably used the ‘search’ bar to find the posts, or she may have looked through the categories. That’s why I also recommend every blogger have a search bar on their blog.

          No, comments do not take up any space on your blog. The easiest way to free up space in your media library is to delete any photos, images and videos no longer being used. If you’re somebody who also reblogs a lot of posts, removing older reblogs posts will also help free up space, but remember to then delete the images attached to the reblog from your media library. A lot of bloggers don’t realise that when they reblog somebody else’s blog post, any images, videos and photos in the post are added to the media library.

          And if you’re happy with your current theme, then stick with it. I liked my last theme a lot but started having a few problems with it. When I found out that the theme had been retired and WordPress had stopped supporting it, I knew it was time for me to change it.

        2. I realized the reblogs have a lot of photos. I usually delete all but the one showing on my post. I should go back to delete all the reblogs and photos in the media. The longer I watered the harder to scroll down the media.

          Thank you so much, Hugh.

    1. 30! Wow! It could be because you have ‘uncategorised’ as your default setting. I have the same, but at least I know it’s better than having one of my short stories categorised under photography. I do a check every month for uncategorised blog posts. I often find one or two in there.

  11. HI Hugh, these are good tips and I will try and implement some of them when I get some time. I am still working and it feels as if the whole world is having a holiday and only I am the only worker left. An illusion, to be sure, but still … If you know how to add social media buttons like pinterest, I would love to learn how. I have added the usual ones that WP has available like FB and twitter.

    1. The widget I use allows me to add up to 10 social media links, Robbie. As far as I know, there is only one social media widget. Have a look under the widget menu of your blog. It should be there.

      As for the sharing buttons (under blog posts), WordPress has a Pinterest sharing button. You’ll see it in the sharing buttons under my blog posts. You’ll find sharing buttons under ‘Marketing’ on the dashboard of your blog.

      I hope that helps.

  12. I love your blog, Hugh, and appreciate all of your very helpful info. I do have a question on changing themes…I am not tech savvy and thought I read that changing a theme can produce unwieldy results — causing problems in other areas, formats, etc. Have you found this to be true? I’ve often thought I’d like to change the theme but have opted instead for other changes you mention like background color, header, etc. Still, if changing the theme wouldn’t be a technological headache, I’d like to give it a try but, of course, rely on your expertise. Thank you in advance for any guidance you can offer.

    1. A few years ago, changing the theme of your WordPress blog could be a nightmare experience. I remember it taking at least three days to put everything right. Now, I find it a seamless experience that takes no more than 20 minutes to complete (once you’ve chosen which theme to use).

      You can try new themes out first to ensure you like all aspects of your blog before saving any changes. There were a couple of themes I came across where the widgets I had were not the same as I had on my blog, but they were few and far between. I did make a few minor changes after saving the new theme I now have, but that got me on to realising that I had out-of-date information on my ‘Meet Hugh’ page, which also contained some broken links.

      Changing the theme of your blog has come a long way, and I’m pleased to report that WordPress has made the whole process very simple. I’d recommend you set aside a couple of hours of where you know you’re not going to be interrupted as any changes you make should only be made once you’re happy with them. My partner helped me in giving me some feedback while I was trying out the various themes, so if you have anybody who can give you some feedback, then better still.

      I hope that helps.

  13. Hi, Hugh – I greatly appreciate you sharing these tips. Not only do I read each one, I regularly go back and check them as a reference. Yesterday, I revisited your post about removing duplicate photos.
    Thank you so much for doing this.

  14. Wow, Hugh! Thanks for the tips! It’s like organizing our home. I think I got tired only thinking about it 😉 , but it’s a must if we want to welcome visitors.

    1. It’s one of those jobs we all put off or say ‘I’ll do it tomorrow’, but once I started making changes, it made me feel so good, Elizabeth. A little like it does after I’ve decluttered a room or cupboard.

    1. As I said at the bottom of the post, doing just one or two of these changes every few days, won’t make us feel overwhelmed by it all. And if we ease changes in gradually, it’ll keep our blogs looking fresh for longer.

  15. A fabulous list of very useful ways to freshen up our blogs. I’ve been toying with the idea of changing my theme but decided for the moment to simply change my header. Sometimes just a little thing can make a big difference. You’ve given us plenty to think about. I might have to go through my blog and check links. Thanks again Hugh and hope you’re keeping well.

    1. The littlest of changes can help make our blog look different and more inviting, Miriam. I know of bloggers who change the heading of their blog every couple of weeks. I think it helps keeps visitors interested and helps freshen up a blog.

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