Prologue: We don't claim to be blogging saints round here (though Claire is, of course, a blogging angel). Although this post was drafted a little while ago we couldn't post it until we'd done a little bit of blog housekeeping ourselves... Well one thing we do believe in is being willing to take our own blog medicine:-)
It's a funny thing about the New Year, isn't it? A few weeks into January and suddenly 2007 seems like an eternity ago. A time that's over. Things that we've let go.
And all of a sudden things that are dated 2007 can look just that: dated, tired and over.
And yes, that includes your business blog.
This is the perfect time to make sure your business blog is bang up to date - and that you're avoiding these 5 blogging mistakes that can keep you stuck in last year.
Mistake # 1: The welcome post at the top of your page is dated 2007
Ouch! The first thing you're telling new visitors is that you're still in the old year (don't get me started on those that are dated 2006!!) Even if it was published in December 2007 last year's date makes it look out of date.
This is one of the main downsides with welcome posts, but if you want to have one here's what to do to keep it fresh. Post a new welcome each month - you can change the wording a bit but the main thing is you're changing the date stamp on the bottom. The older welcome posts will then disappear into your archive.
Writing a new welcome will help to keep your copy fresh, but if you really don't have time for that you can just update the date it was published (click the clock in posting status, and change to today's date.)
Mistake # 2: Your sidebars are promoting events in 2007
This one's easy to fix. Take a quick look at your sidebars and make sure you're not promoting things that are no longer on offer. Update the info to your current promo, or take the sidebar item away.
Mistake # 3: Your blog hasn't been updated for 6 months
This happens. We move on, business priorities change, life gets in the way. But your blog stays there as a statement, an expression of your business or personal brand. Which means you need to make a few hard decisions. If you're absolutely sure you're not going to blog again, tidy up the site and add some explanations that it's now an archive, where you've moved to, how people can find you.
If it's just that time's slipping away from you... move on to #4 and #5 below.
Mistake # 4: You're too embarrassed to get started with your blog again
Don't let fear and anxiety get in the way of blogging. We've all been there and it can seem awkward to get going again after a long period of absence. But it's better than the alternative - because the longer you leave it the more your blog looks out of date, dusty or dying - and the harder it is to get going again.
This is the perfect time to get back into it - a short post wishing readers a Happy New Year (if it's still January - it's not too late!) something about your business goals, asking your clients what their plans are and hey presto your blog is date stamped with 2008.
Go on, just do it!
Mistake # 5: You publish a set of unrealistic blogging goals... followed by silence
I've visited lots of blogs where the most recent post is either 'sorry I haven't been here for ages but now I'm back...' or 'haven't blogged in ages but from now on I'm going to commit publicly to posting regularly and getting into a blogging rhythm'... followed by nothing.
It makes me wonder it that kind of post in itself acts as a barrier to writing again, or it's just that they look so odd sitting on their on the shelf, drawing attention to the absence of the author.
Don't make this mistake. You don't need to 're-enter' the blogosphere with a long explanation of where you've been or promises about doing better in the future - especially not if they get in the way of you establishing a regular, sustainable pattern of blogging.
Just keep it short and simple. After all, that pattern of posting is much easier to maintain - and is more digestible for your readers too
Blogging isn't hard work - but it does require some basic housekeeping. Like most maintenance, the more often you do it the easier it becomes.
A few quick checks, some dusting and polishing, then a short post or two... and you'll soon be back on your way to blogging for business in 2008.
If you've got any other tips and suggestions for keeping your blog up to date, do let us know in the comment box below.
If you're struggling with any of the housekeeping (like sidebar maintenance or sorting out your welcome posts)... don't hesitate to ask for help - and you can now book yourself in for a coaching/training hour using these links to Claire's online appointment scheduler:
Credits for 2008 in pictures: Spell with flickr