So for those of you that have been following my blog www.rcbryan.com you know that I just went through the largest update that I've ever done. While it was a little daunting it did teach me a few things about the process. I want to outline what I've learned so that hopefully when it comes time for you to start a new blog or to redesign your current blog you'll be a step a head of the game.
(1) What is your message?
Why did you decide to publish a blog or what are you updating your blog? You blog has to have a message or a reason for existing. Do you just want to inform the world? Do you want to advertise a service? Knowing what your message is before you get started will help you to design a blog that fits your goals.
(2) When it comes to your design how will you structure you pieces to make you blog easy to navigate?
When you move from a basic blog to a more advanced blog it is important to outline all of the pieces before you try to implement them. This was evident in my design process. My new design added elements that I never had before such as products and services. Because I did not properly map out how I was going to use these section I initially developed them as blog posts. Then once I had made my first post to each section I noticed that future posts will actually throw off the overall layout I was hoping for. This meant that I had to start over and create a page for each product and service. This was extra work that I could have avoided had I planned better.
(3) How will you do your onsite optimization?
Onsite optimization has become extremely easy with WordPress. There are now more then enough plugins to take care of all your onsite optimization needs. Here are some of the Plugins I use:
All in One Webmaster
Google XML Sitemaps
SEO Friendly Images
All in One SEO Pack
(4) How will you beta test the new blog?
Beta testing is very important. This is where you have users test your blog for functionality and design. I used a developer for my blog so I was the first beta tester. I then had three people with marketing backgrounds look over the blog for ease of use and expression of message. Lastly I have an SEO professional take a look at the blog in order to ensure I have not missed any on page optimization needs. Getting feedback from people you trust can ensure that your blog will meet the world in a well prepared manner. Once I've done all of that I then post a link to my blog on http://www.youngentrepreneur.com/ in order get feedback from the sites users. Their feedback as it is unbiased always helps me to catch the small things that others can miss.
(5) How will you re-introduce your blog to the world?
So now you've done all your work and you are ready to show the world. In my case the reason for my redesign was my move up in the rankings. I had been floating around the second page for a few weeks and I new the first page was coming soon. My redesign was done to take advantage of this move. This of course tool months of heavy off page optimization. For others you will want to find maybe five forums to join that are related to either blogging or to your specific niche. Let the members of those forums have a look at your blog. If they like they will tell you and of course if they do not... well... they'll tell you (that's not a bad thing). Lastly, if you are using your blog to sell a product or service then you can consider PPC advertising. This can be expensive so make sure this is the right fit for you.