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31DBBB Day 14: Update a Key Page on Your Blog

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This is Day 14 of 31 Days to Build a Better Blog, a group project 60+ of us bloggers are doing together in an effort to help each other become better bloggers.

Today’s lesson and assignment is pretty straight forward – update a key page on your blog.  After you’ve been blogging for a while, you tend to focus day in and day out on new posts and new comments.  It’s easy to end up neglecting the static pages on your blog for months or even years.

If you haven’t already done so, go ahead and read all of your static pages.  Static pages are the pages that don’t change, pages that are not blog posts or automatically generated category/tag/archive pages.

Typical pages include:

  • Homepage
  • About
  • Contact

I was surprised that revising the homepage was included in today’s assignment.  I would consider redesigning the header/logo one day’s assignment all by itself.  I would also consider revising the sidebar(s) a big enough assignment to get its own day as well.  But it’s in there, so give it some thought.

Adding Pages

If your blog is new, perhaps you don’t have an about or contact page.  This would be a great time to add them.  Other pages you may want to write include:

  • Advertising info – If you have ads on your site, provide information about rates and how a person should proceed if they’d like to purchase advertising on your blog.
  • Guest blogging info – If you’d like guest bloggers to write posts, it’s a good idea to add a page with guidelines and instructions.
  • Topical pages – If you’ve done a popular series, consider creating a special page with links to all the posts in that series.  Or if there is a topic you write about that is particularly popular, consider creating a special page with links to your best posts on that topic. For example, we have a Church Website Tips page here on Christian Web Trends (which needs to be updated, by the way).

Discussion

  1. What page(s) did you update or add?  What changes did you make and why?
  2. Did you make any changes to the header or sidebar?  If not, do you intend to later?

The Extra Mile

A few other things you can do to take your blog, other bloggers, and this project even further today…

  • Reply & give other bloggers feedback on the little things they do.
  • When other bloggers include a link to a new article they’ve posted today, click, read, and comment on it.
  • Check previous posts in the series for new comments.
  • Tweet, share, & bookmark this post.
  • Please review Wendy Spoon’s blog, and give her some feedback.
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    About the author

    Paul Steinbrueck

    Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck.

    86 Comments

      • I really like the simplicity of the layout of your blog. It makes it very easy to read.

        One thing that confuses me a little is that there are two banners up at the top that both say "Speaking Grace Ministries." It's not readily obvious, until I click on them, that one is the Home Page link for the blog, and the other links to a church. The instructions that say "click on the banner above…" don't help a lot because they're both above.

        That's a nitpicky thing, I know – but that's the only thing I'd change, just based on a quick glance.

    • Not for me this – but a good warning. I update static content regularly, but include a fair amount of self-changing applets e.g. quotes, cartoons, photos, etc. For the rest I use a standard look and feel, which I adjust less frequently to ensure consistency of user experience in terms of navigation, etc. I do have other static stuff which I update whenever I feel it is getting a bit old.

    • This left me a little lost. I'm not sure Blogger even allows a front page. Maybe I missed that. I do update my sidebars from time to time – especially the About & Why This Blog. I also have an update I am going to do today for an important recent blog on Quaker Values. It will require revising the link assignment and creating a new post but it deals with a troublesome aspect of my heritage – what happens when Quaker values are unhinged from Christ. I'll add the link via "reply" to this comment when I get the post completed in a little while.

    • hmmmm, I know I have to update my pages, and add a guest post page – I would love guest posts (hint hint).
      I often wonder what the benefit is – to have lots of pages (as apposed to posts), I even saw that there was a list of top filmmaking blogs ranked on the number of pages, ummmm – what is is that?
      Anyway that's me:
      Add a Guest post page (future plans)
      update my "Stuff I use page":http://synapticlight.com/the-stuff-i-use/

      • Phillip,
        Do you use WordPress? It seems to me that those using WordPress are happier????

        What would be the effects of changing blog hosts mid-stream? Or is it better to just make the best of it?
        Any thoughts?

        • this is always on my mind when I want to add a review.
          I think WordPress rocks. In a Self-Hosted environment (like you can do here at ourchurch.com) the world is your oyster.
          You can run a WordPress blog on wordpress.com itself – so no hosting fees. But then you can't use JavaScript as you can in blogspot and a selfhosted wordpress install.
          Are wordpress users happier? I think so, I am.

          By the way, if you migrate from a certain blog to wordpress, you can import all your posts and images onto wordpress.
          I think it is worth it, a few proviso's tho:
          there is an initial bucket load of effort; setup, import, setup the sidebar, pages, tweek
          don't expect anything more in terms of traffic etc
          there are costs involved

        • Wendy, I think WordPress software installed in a hosting account is by far the best blogging platform on the web. That's what we use here and I use on Live Intentionally and I would bet the vast majority of the best blogs use.

          Since you use our Silver hosting package, you can easily install WordPress in your account using the Fantastico option in your cPanel control panel.

          I don't know for sure, but there should be a way to export your posts and comments from Blogspot and then import them into WordPress.

      • I too would love guest posters – have asked several folks and it has always been "I'll think about it" or "not now" and both become never ::sigh::

        • well, I'll guest post on your blog and you can on mine 🙂
          something techy but not restricted to that. It does not even have to be video/film/editing related 😉

          • He he – I'll have to think on what I can say then … perhaps I could discuss the time I was asked to create several montages for our 25th anniversary and had to pull the graphics from VHS, Old pictures, etc .. and what I did to edit / adjust / improve… that's filmy related 🙂

      • Managed to somehow delete my previous comment, but I was saying that a guest post page is a great idea. I'll probably end up copying a bunch of stuff from you to get one started tho. 🙂

        • 🙂
          anything that finds itself in video, church and social media.
          I see that you volunteer online at Lifechurch.tv & Healing Place Church. I'm not sure about Healing Place Church (first I have heard of it), but Lifechurch.tv is right in the middle of video, church and social media. What is it like volunteering online? DO you have any thoughts on watching live video of church online? Maybe you can write something along those lines?

    • Since I'm using WordPress.com, I'm stuck with their designs and don't have a ton on control over the look and feel. For instance, there's a little paragraph in the header that says something like "Thanks for dropping by! Take a look around and grab the RSS feed to stay informed." I can't seem to find anywhere to change this.

      My "About" page ("What Is The Experiment") could probably use an update, though. http://prayerexperiment.wordpress.com/about/

      • I see, 🙂 but that is theme specific
        I have a wordpress.com blog :http://sonofmine.wordpress.com/ and tried that theme as well,
        does not happen on other themes I have used. Switched to Bueno theme and it went away.
        BTW : Would love to see a picture on your about page – just a thought.

        • Thanks for the feedback. I should probably use pictures more in general. I've probably only used pictures on three of my posts ever. Good point.

      • Chances are there is somewhere you can edit the HTML of your template. It takes a little time. If you find the editor, you can simply search for that text, and then delete it out of the template in the html. I was able to change my Blogger template a little to make my post column wider (that was a little more work than just deleting something.) –Richard

        • I'll have to dig around. If I can edit the HTML, it's not readily obvious, and they specifically state that in order to edit the CSS, you have to pay for an upgrade, which I should probably do. Really, I want to eventually go to my own design and have someone host it.

          Your comment has prompted me to dig around more to see if I can tweak the HTML.

      • I would heartily recommend setting p wordpress via a hosting company.

        It's easy to do and that way you get the granular control you need. I won't recommend any particular hoster but you can do if from free right through to many '$s or '£s per month depending on what you want from it.

        Another option is run multiple blogs from one hoster and that way you could share the costs if you like with another blogger – or indeed run multiple blogs and URLs yourself.

      • I like the theme you've chosen, Cris. In fact, you inspired me to go looking for a new theme for my art blog, and like Phillip, I chose Bueno. I'm not in love with the fonts, but I do love the fact that I can upload my own choice of backgrounds. The background I chose to start off with is just a close-up picture of the faux finish on my living room wall. 😆 I think it's very pretty. But I'll probably change it before too long. The URL ishttp://jennygulchpottery.wordpress.com/ in case you'd like to see it.

    • Hmmm this is definitely something I want to address and definitely want to change my homepage around a bit – but I'm waiting on my son to get home from Uni so he can do the coding side of it. Just subtle tweaks, etc as overall I like what I have.

      However one point I did want to bring up is the About page … I find it odd that bloggers want to tell us whatever it is they tell us butthen hide behind a curtain of anonimity. It's not as if any of us are writing "how to hack" or "how to subvert government" articles after all.

      If you're worried about a semblance of privacy then tell us just your first name and a bit about why you think you have a right to tell us what you tell us. When folks don't include this sort of stuff I tend to get more nosey than if you had just told me.

      Finally – please or please include a way to get hold of you more privately than a comment … WP users can use a contact form plugin or the excellent CryptX plugin which obfuscates your email address anywhere on the blog just still leaves it clickable or readable by human eye.

      • Good advice.

        I don't put contact information directly on my blog though I do give a link to my twitter profile and a person could DM me there. A lot of times if someone leaves a comment I'll comment back to them or on their blog and that'll have a contact address.

      • Stuart, I agree completely. If you really want to grow your blog's readership you need to make connections with your readers. If you don't tell them your name and don't give them any way to contact you, you're undermining your ability to connect with your readers.

    • Adding tabbed pages is one of the reasons I'm preparing for a move from blogger to wordpress. The attempts I've made to customize my blogger theme are less than professional. I'm looking forward to having more customizable options.

      My post today is a two minute video from Recycle Your Faith that I've called, "Is God the Same with Everybody?"http://captainestes.blogspot.com/2010/05/is-god-s

      • Excellent a WP convert 🙂

        If I can offer any help then please just holler. Though the WP community is very good anyway.

      • I'm on blogger as well Chad and was hoping I could add a contact page. Without my computer literate sons to help "Mrs Techno", I'm not sure I'll be able to. Also thinking about converting to WordPress. I need wider columns. Cleaner, neater sidebar.

        Thanks for commiserating,
        Janis

      • Doesn't Blogger support "pages" now?

        BTW Chad, are you moving to wordpress.com? I believe they block affiliate links. …Can anyone comment on this?

    • Thank you all for reviewing my blog the other day. I have made several changes to it from your comments. I added an image to the header, rearranged the sidebar, changed some subscription buttons, and made the column width larger (that was not easy!). I am going to try to make a way to more easily see and link to my church web site (now you have to go to my profile to find it).
      I have gotten a lot of good ideas from visiting many of your sites. Thank you so much for helping this poor-preacher/neo-blogger. –Richard
      Oh, my beatitude post is up, Mercy! http://junctionforjesus.blogspot.com/2010/05/merc

    • Hey everyone. Thanks to all for the reviews to my blog yesterday. I've made a bunch of changes as far as layout as well as my about page. Still working on it some, but that's the great thing about blogs right? Even when it's published you can change it. 🙂 This was def a good reminder and I'll probably end up updating, making edits, or completely changing all my static pages.