As a content publisher, you want to create a seamless, simple experience for your readers and visitors to get them to stay longer on your site and keep coming back.
In order to do that, your blog needs to be free from challenges or obstacles that might get in the reader's way. From long load times to glitchy widgets, it's your responsibility to trouble-shoot your blog and get it functioning at 100%. While trouble-shooting might sound hard, you can easily do it. In fact, the more often you trouble-shoot your blog, the more experienced you will get and guess what? You won't have to hire a developer to solve minor issues that you can do on your own.
Trouble-shoot your blog by:
1. Checking your blog's images. Your images shouldn't be so big that they drag down your blog's load time. If it does, it means you need to resize your images to be smaller. You should also check to see if your images are loading properly. Because you are typically in the back-end of your blog, you might not be noticing photo glitches.
2. Accessing your blog from other browsers. Just because you use Firefox doesn't mean your readers are all using that browser. Internet Explorer is still used in some parts of the globe and many are switching over to Chrome or Safari. Be sure to check your blog in each browser to make sure your CSS isn't acting up in a certain browser.
3. Updating your plugins. Certain plugins use be updated in order to run properly; without an update, they are basically pointless. This is really important for your security plugins as they are routinely updated to fix bugs and other errors. When in doubt, check your plugins and update.
4. Testing out your comment section. Spam filters and comment moderation systems can act up, every now and then. You want your readers to leave comments and if they sense something is happening to their comments or they aren't able to leave comments at all. And guess what? You will never know if something is going wrong with the comments until you try it out yourself. So go ahead, leave a comment and make sure it's working. Your readers will be happier because you did it.
5. Clearing out dead links in your blogroll. For ever new blog that pops up, another oldie dies (RIP Blog). Don't let those dead blog links take up valuable space in your blogroll. Delete, update and save.
6. Seeing how long it takes your blog to load. I know I briefly mentioned it in the first tip but it's very important that your blog loads as quickly as possible. The key time for page loading is under five seconds . Longer than that, your user gets antsy, starts to think about clicking out. And before you know it, he/she is gone. If your blog is taking a long time to load, consider cutting the amount of widgets you have active on your site as well as limit the amount of posts you display on your main page. By decreasing both of these elements, your blog should load fast.
7. Optimizing your blog's widgets. Let's be real. Do you really need all of those widgets? If you can live without them, take them down. They affect a blog's loading time and can just distract your readers. Instead, choose two to three widgets that are your favorite and stick with those. Make sure they fit within your blog's framework and are coded properly in HTML.
8. Updating your archives. If a reader wants to peruse your older posts, he/she shouldn't have to keep hitting the “past” link to access those posts. There should be an easy-to-find section that has all of your archives laid out clearly for your readers, either organized by month or year. Depending on your platform, there are widgets you can use that will automatically update and archive each post or you may have to do it manually. Whatever you do, make sure it's easy for your users to find and use.
9. Utilizing your search bar. You would think your blog's search bar would just magically work all the time but like everything else in technology, they can have glitches. Try searching for something in your blog's search bar like a brand name or an outfit post and see what comes up. Are your featured images shown properly? Do your posts show up appropriately? I once had this problem that whenever I searched for something, my search results would display only my photos and nothing else, which was extremely weird. Turns out, I had used a way-too-large image as my featured image. Whatever the case may be, test out your search bar and see what happens.
10.Double-checking your RSS feed. We often forget about our RSS feeds but this blogging tool delivers your posts straight to the hands of your readers. Without a functioning RSS feed, your readers could be missing out on posts, which means less click-throughs and decreased page views. To trouble-shoot your RSS, try subscribing to your feed and see if it works. Simple as that. If your RSS feed is acting up, go to your RSS source and see if you can get support. Most platforms will offer some kind of help.
Are there other issues we should have added to this list? What is a common blog issue that you think more people need to pay attention to?