Close
Close

Reinvent Your Blog

Warning – Tangent Ahead….

As I write this post I’m sitting in my favorite cafe sipping on a great coffee and getting ready to order some lunch. This cafe has been a regular part of my blogging workflow for quite a few years now. It’s just around the corner from where we used to live, it’s got a great vibe, a toasty warm open fireplace, fantastic coffee, good food and the staff have become good friends (they even know what I want when I order ‘the usual’).

Today when I came in I was pleasantly surprised that there have been a few changes since I was last in. There have been a few subtle changes to the decor but the main change was a number of new additions to the menu.

The changes have not gone unnoticed. As I’ve sat here for the last two hours (drinking coffee and people watching) I’ve overheard quite a few fellow customers make comment about the new menu. The comments have largely been positive (lots of ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ while perusing the menu) and even included a number of people who told waiters that they’d made special trips in to the cafe because they’d been told there was a new menu.

It’s amazing to see the injection of life that a few simple item changes on a menu can bring to a place like this. Essentially it’s the same familiar place, with the same people and even same style of food – but a few tweaks and it suddenly seems fresh again.

The same thing is possible with a blog.

I love seeing blogs reinvent themselves and try new things. It has the potential to:

  • give them a fresh new vibe
  • stimulate new interest in old readers
  • draw new readers in
  • give the blogger behind the blog being reinvented fresh inspiration and energy

There are many ways to ‘reinvent’ a blog. Here’s a few:

  • Redesign – perhaps one of the most drastic change that most bloggers make is a complete redesign. I still remember the impact that moving ProBlogger from a default template to a professionally designed one had in terms of traffic and reputation. I could track to the day when my blog picked up.
  • New Visual Tweaks – while some blogs seem to do complete redesigns every few weeks, even just a tweak or a new visual element can add interest and the feeling of change to a blog.
  • New Features - adding a new feature for your reader to interact with (like a poll, a new WP plugin etc) can inject new levels of interaction, functionality or even fun into a blog.
  • Starting a Series – there’s nothing like announcing that you’re starting a new series to peak the interest of readers.
  • Start a new ‘project’ – starting interactive projects can give your blog a real lift. It might be a competition, a meme or some other type of way of inviting readers and other bloggers to participate in what you’re doing.
  • Writing in a New Style – sometimes bloggers fall into the ‘trap’ of always writing in the same style or voice. Intentionally mix things up a little with a new type of post and you could see some interesting responses from readers (I still remember a few months back writing a more sarcastic/negatively toned post and seeing a number of regular readers being quite shocked that I had that style of post within me.
  • Widen your Niche – announce that your blog is going to be exploring a new topic (preferably related to your current one). This can give you renewed motivation and inspiration to write as a blogger when you’re feeling you’ve said everything there is to be said on a topic. You might widen you niche in this way permanently or just as a temporary thing.

What other ways have you tried to inject a fresh approach into your blogging?

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

Problogger.net runs on the Genesis Framework

Genesis Framework

The Genesis Framework empowers you to quickly and easily build incredible websites with WordPress. Genesis provides the secure and search-engine-optimized foundation that takes WordPress to places you never thought it could go.

Check out the incredible features and the selection of designs. It's that simple - start using Genesis now!

Comments

  1. Justin says:

    The only thing that I have tried so far has been a complete redesign and it has paid off. I went from absolutely no readers to a decent amount in less than 1 week. I think doing a series would be a great next step. Thanks for the tips.

  2. Lisa says:

    What great thoughts! I wish to blog at my local cafe as well, now I need a laptop, eh? ;)

  3. Rex says:

    Darren this a great tip. But when I think of a “re-invent” I’m not thing of subtle change but more major changes. While subtle may go over easier to people that are use to your blog a “re-invent” should shock and aww the normal reader.

    Am I mis-reading?

    Rex

  4. DAIGO says:

    Hi Darren,
    You don’t know me, but I really enjoy your entries everyday. This article’s got me because I’ve been developing a blogware that let you design the page for every entry. (Of course, you can also use your old time templates.) The visitors surely enjoy the fresh looks of every entries as long as you are careful with the navigability. The other advantage of this blogware is that you can optimize the Adsense positions for every page to prevent the regulars becoming “blind” to the ads. Although it’s still under development, you can still create a single HTML page with graphical use interface in the demonstration page, and download it. So, please take a peek :)

  5. marcy says:

    i don’t know if I am a blogger…I have hosted my own web magazine for almost ten years and send out an essay called A Note From Marcy which I suppose is a blog with overflow. I used to send out lots of missives. How I got more traffic, saved my energy and soul, and innovated was to introduce ‘scarcity”. I write once a month – no more weekly or daily missives, I say less, less often…In short, I made what I do more precious by being less available. People email me days before the new issue of my magazine and monthly essay- and on the day of(first of each month) saying ‘WHERE is the NEW stuff???”
    It is a matter of retraining compulsive content providers (me, and other writers who are prolific and passionate), and training readers to wait, to value special things …There is something to be said for a pretence of scarcity….which is really the art of pining and waiting with grace.
    Best wishes from Canada, the village baker/wordsmith
    marcy goldman
    http://www.betterbaking.com

  6. Ma2T says:

    I bought a laptop with earnings from blogging so I can bring blogging with me, as with blogging as a job you can be anywhere, just need trusty laptop, and Internet of course!
    Blogging from cafes / pubs seems like a nice idea, I have been noticing a number around here with the Wi-Fi logo, I might look into this a little more.

    I like to change the look of my blogs from time to time, either just for the change, or trying out a new look for the blog and ad integration. Also adding new features is always a good idea I feel, if it doesn’t work, simply remove it.

  7. prlinkbiz says:

    Great practical post. I’ve been a lurker for a while, but thought I’d put my two cents in! Eateries give us a great example to follow. For the most part, we are creatures of habit. We don’t really like it when things change dramatically when it comes to what we love from cafe’s to blogs! (and don’t even think about messing with my mocha….) However, variety is the spice of life, so the idea of new ways to interact, a series, etc. are great- they are like introducing a new speciality item! A little bit of fun with your comfort level intact! * Interesting note- women are more likley than men to try something new at their favorite place to eat. So know your audience!

  8. Darren,

    Good advice. Also reinventing your public image is important as well. It was really nice seeing you on The Simple Life: Till Death/ Part in the Beggs family episode.

  9. bernard says:

    Testing new features is cool, aborting them is less fun… for my new website I plan adding some more extra features such as embedded google videos (but squared to 250×250 screens) in order to bring extra life and keep the visitors hooked to the site. Dunno yet how I will implement it but I do think it might be cool… perhaps I will do a editorial videopost just for fun every now and then in between videos from bands that send in news. Nothing revolutionary but step by step it adds up…

    The best thing I did was setting up a forum, the things reaches lots of people and google has picked up the threads pretty well.

    Next to this I have some other plans to increase the power of viral marketing… lots of work. Oh well…

  10. Darren were you able to quantify the changes in terms of traffic or rss subscriptions when you changed the layout of your blog to a professional design?

  11. Bill McRea says:

    I just updated the Themes of several of my older blogs and now I find it easier to stay interested in the topic.

    Now to just find a local Cafe where I can work.

  12. renee says:

    great post, darren. i recently just changed my blog theme, and the response i got was amazing! all blogs should reinvent once in a while, to mix things up to keep it ‘fresh”!
    take care, renee

  13. Leroy Brown says:

    It’s a shame there aren’t really any nice cafes like that around here.. just the usual Starbucks and such… but they aren’t really very nice. Not a place I’d like to hang out, anyway.

  14. Jon says:

    I love that the “Related Posts” is ‘How to Kill Your Blog’ so I guess we know what to do if the revamp doesn’t go so well :)

  15. Stu says:

    Once again, an excellent post Darren.

    Now I can tell people my inability to choose a WP theme and stick with it is actually me “re-inventing” my blog! :-)

    Thanks!

  16. Splatty says:

    Long time, first time. I have been blogging since October of last year and have read your site since the beginning. I have been contemplating some serious site re-design/tweaks for the past couple of weeks. It might be just what I need to bring some new readers. Thanks for the ideas and keep up the great work.

  17. Greg says:

    What a great post! If thats the kind of posts you come up in the local cafe then i see me and the laptop are going to have to go to the local cafe more often.!

  18. tanya says:

    I have tried a few of the things mentioned in your post with great success and I think it was after you mentioned them in various entries on this site – so credit to you! I have a very niche specific blog (healthy ‘diet’ food reviews) and I didn’t want to stray too much from that niche but I wanted to try and increase traffic and keep it fresh and interesting. When I noticed a lot of people searching for coupons, I added a category for coupons and freebies with short posts linking to coupons for healthy foods that I found searching around the web, and it is now one of the most popular categories. I also added a category of diettrash for foods that are surprisingly not-so-good for you, and this too turned out to be very popular too (I think it’s the keyword diet). I have tried a lot of different things – most work, some don’t.

  19. Blogs like coffee are best appreciated when they are fresh. How you define “fresh” is up to you. Maybe its design, maybe its content, the possibilities are endless. The point is you need something fresh to keep your readers coming back.

  20. Dee Stewart says:

    Tanya, I definitely am going to check your site out.

    I also check my site stats to see what are driving people to my site. Particularly newbies. And then I think of ways to bring them back.

    This week I hosted a weeklong web event at my site where fans of a particular author could ask her questions and she would respond without either party emailing each other. I used Faqqly.com for this.

    I also hosted a writing workshop this spring, which generated traffic.

    I set up a myspace page for my musician clients, but my blog readers have followed me over there, which is killing me time wise. I can’t respond to all the people who want to be added to my friend’s space.

  21. Peter says:

    Well i just reboot my blog, here is the link:
    http://silentbits.com/?p=450

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Edit: Yet again, Darren Rowse amazes me with his prescience. He has just published a post on reinventing your blog, where he describes a redesign + new features as ways to do so. [...]

  2. [...] Reinvent Your Blog Darren Rowse went on a bit of a tangent today, but it was a good one where he informed us all how great a few changes can be for your blog. [...]

  3. [...] Reinvent Your Blog Several ways to reinvent your blog. [via Blogging Pro] (tags: blogging) [...]

  4. [...] I recommend that you also reinvent your blog with a few tweaks or a complete redesign of your blog theme. It can help you stimulate new interest in old readers and also draw in new readers Technorati Tags: blog, css, design, johntp, wordpress If you enjoyed this post grab the site feed to get new posts instantly in your feed reader,or get updates via email in your inbox or track with TechnoratiIf this is your first time visit, be sure to check the Top Posts of this site to find the other interesting articles posted here.Check out the site archives for more articles.If you are looking for something specific, you should try the search located on the header.Spread the word:These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages. [...]