Small Business: Eight Changes I Made to Improve My WordPress Blog

Readers who have been dropping by now and again have probably already noticed some of the branding and related changes, which I’ve been steadily incorporating.

These changes are part of an ongoing effort to use inbound marketing to enhance my job search and to launch a small side business.

Moving to WordPress.org this past summer was a major factor, in making these changes possible. On the new platform, I’m able to benefit from a variety of helpful plugins and widgets, which weren’t previously available to me on WordPress.com.

Before making the changes, I researched my targeted keywords using the Google Wonder Wheel and AdWords Keywords Tool. I also thought a lot about my own blogging goals as well as the goals of the cross-disciplinary readers who visit here.

Here are the changes I’ve made so far to improve this blog:

1. Developed Consistent Branding. Back in July, I held a 99 Designs contest to develop a logo for this site. The winning logo by arkvisdesigns consists of a Convergent World symbol, as well as the major keywords that apply to my new small business (Content Strategy, Development, and Management). I incorporated the logo consistently at this blog as well as my other social media outposts, such as TwitterFacebook, and Flickr.

2. Restructured site. The sidebar navigation now reflects the major keywords I’m targeting, as sub-sets of Content Strategy, Development, and Management. Previously, I had just used a drop-down list to display my blog’s main categories in the sidebar, but for better keyword optimization, I’ve started displaying the full category names.

3. Optimized blog elements. To help this site rank better in search results, I’ve also started more consistently including my targeted keywords in the blog’s page title, categories, meta-tags, headings, and body text.

4. Switched from WordPress.com to WordPress.org. To take full advantage of the Premium themes and the many plug-ins available, I moved from freely-hosted WordPress.com to the self-hosted WordPress.org platform.

5. Added Plug-ins. Through WordPress.org, I’ve added these helpful plug-ins: WordPress.com Stats, TweetMeme Retweet Button, Easy Facebook Like ButtonShareThisWordPress Seo Plugin by Yoast, and Contact Form by ContactMe.com.

6. Added widgets. In my sidebar, I added the AddtoAny – Subscribe Button. I also added a free Mailing List form (courtesy MailChimp), to sign-up for the monthly Convergent World newsletter.

7.  Added a Work with Me page. As part of my small business launch, I added a Work with Me page, linked to my Contact form, which describes my writing, editing, and holistic SEO services. (For tips on how to develop your Work with Me page, see Chris Brogan’s slides on How to Enhance Your Job Search with Social Media.)

8. Added a Portfolio Page.  I’ve highlighted guest posts, samples, and endorsements on a new Portfolio Page. So far, this page is more visited than my About Peg Mulligan page, so I highly recommend including one, to anyone ramping up a small business, especially as a way to reinforce credentials.

There’s still lots more to do, including incorporating more video, especially in my About Peg Mulligan page, adding a Resume page, installing Google Analytics, and investigating other helpful plug-ins. Long-term, I still plan on moving to the Thesis or Genesis theme. I’d also like to start exploring affiliate marketing and see if I can generate some extra revenue from my blog that way.

How about you?  Any additional recommendations, on ways I can make this blog a better experience for my readers? Or suggestions on how blogging can enhance my job search or expand my business? What’s your experience with affiliate marketing? Any tips on getting started there? All feedback is quite welcome and appreciated, in advance.

 

About This Blog: Copyright Information

Contacting the Author: Content for a Convergent World – Peg Mulligan’s Blog

9 thoughts on “Small Business: Eight Changes I Made to Improve My WordPress Blog

  1. This is very helpful, thanks. I’ve recently revised my wordpress site as well at edmarsh.com, and of course it’s a continual work in progress. i need to add portfolio and “hire me” pages as well.

    I’m interested in learning more about your keyword research. As a result of all of this, have you noticed increased traffic and/or interest in your services?

    Thanks!
    -=Ed.

    • Hi Ed,

      Glad to be of help. Chris Brogan’s slides about social media & the job search (available on SlideShare) provide good tips on developing your About page & Work with Me page. (I’m still fine-tuning these pages.)

      As for keyword research, you might check out
      Elise Redlin-Cook’s article, “How to Find the Right Keywords for Your Content Marketing Efforts,” at the Content Marketing Institute.
      http://www.contentmarketinginstitute.com/2010/08/content-creation-and-promotion-is-more-effective-with-seo/

      There, she provides good descriptions of the various keyword research tools available, as well as tips on how to organize your keyword data for comparison.

      I wasn’t all that scientific in my approach, but I did do a lot of social monitoring on Twitter, before I selected keywords for content strategy, development, and management.

      I haven’t noticed a huge uptake in traffic, but I did gain one prominent client through my blogging & social media efforts. I have also had hiring managers comment that my blog has helped distinguish me from other candidates. (In this sense, I consider my blog a living portfolio.) Since my branding efforts, I also feel like I’m attracting a more professional and specialized following on Twitter as well.

      I only implemented some of the changes quite recently (including the Work with Me) page, so time will tell…:-)

      Thanks again for stopping by,

      Peg

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  4. Great advice. I found your post from Today’s Chris Brogan’s post.

    I think i need to incorporate a portfolio to help others find my guest blog posts and other efforts outside of the about me page and the work with me page.

    I might consider using mail chimp thanks for the advice.

    best regards,
    Raul

    • Hi, Raul. I’ve received quite a few visitors these last couple days, from Chris’ post, about how folks are using his Blog Topics service
      (http://www.chrisbrogan.com/blog-topics/)…Responding to Chris’ Blog Topic writing prompts are another way I’m working on improving this blog, by encouraging more two-way conversation, for starters. Hope the tip about the Portfolio page helps as well. Thanks for dropping by.

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    • Thanks for the kind words, Elaine. I was very pleased with the 99 Designs service, which gave me lots of logo options, at a very reasonable cost.

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