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

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.

[image by found_drama]

Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, elder of CypressMeadows.org, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck and add him to your circles at Google+ as +Paul Steinbrueck.

86 Responses to “31DBBB Day 14: Update a Key Page on Your Blog”

  1. Okay, I am ready for your feedback! Our blog is up for today.
    http://ronniespoon.blogspot.com/2010/05/sometimes

    As far as today's assignment, I am very lucky to have the opportunity to get feedback today, so I am going to let some of that feedback come in before I make big changes. I am looking forward to hearing about how my blog looks through someone else's eyes.

    • very cool, checking out your blog …

    • 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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 :)

    • I see you have made a few subtle changes since we reviewed your blog a couple days ago. Looks good.

    • 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. :)

    • What would you like guest posts on, I might be interested..

      • :)
        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?

    • Phill, the "Stuff I use" page is a great idea. I know it's not a new page for you, but it's a page that would add value to almost any blog.

  5. 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. :lol: 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.

  6. 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.

    • Great point about presenting our credibility for writing the blog in the first place.

      Janis

    • 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.

  7. 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?

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. I keep my blog pages & info updated all the time. I am very satisfied with the look of my blog, backgroud images, text colors, etc. and my About the Author profile so I don't want to make any changes there. I do however like the idea of adding a page to invite guest blogging including guidelines and instructions. I want people to submit there own stories, poems and articles and I get so very few. That may be just what I need to get the ball rolling in that respect.

  11. Sorry I missed everyone yesterday…lots of work and a big children's ministry meeting.

    With that being said, I have updated my homepage. I had this color on there that looked like squash baby food. I changed some other colors to make it more "cowboy".

    I am trying to get a "contact us" form on there now. I am having to call in my calvary to help me out on this little job though. Please come by and take a look if you've been to my site before. If you haven't, right now would be a great time to read my post from yesterday.
    http://campfirecowboyministries.com/2010/05/how-t

  12. Since today's assignment is to update a key page, I updated my 'about' page using my elevator pitch from Day 1 (and some of the feedback that I got on it).
    http://bibledude.net/about/

    I already have pages for advertising and how to contribute (as a writer) to the site, so updating the about page with stuff that I've been learning through this project was the biggest change that I think that I needed to make right now.

    BUT… let me know if there is anything else that you think I should be doing.

  13. I was looking forward to today's discussion, but I hit a family snag. I'm still here, and I hope to come back to the project next week. Today's guest post was insightful!

  14. I was actually thinking about this recently.

    I have it on my "list" to add a page link that says, "Want your own adventure with God?" It will link to a page that talks about what it means to be His child, aka the gospel message.

    I honestly don't have time to do it today. I am THE speaker at a women's conference in Virginia on Saturday–crazy. So my time this week has been really focused on seeking the Lord for that.

    If you are anywhere near Farmville, VA–and you are a chica–I would love to see you Saturday. Had to give a little plug.

    • Love that idea for the "Want your own adventure with God" page.

      • Yeah it sounds sweet as ….!

        And knock em flat Saturday. You wouldn't catch me speaking at a conference – unless maybe it was a tech conf.

    • Lara, the "Want your own adventure with God?" page is a great idea. I can't believe I left something like that out of today's post. Every Christian who blogs should give some thought to putting their testimony and/or a gospel presentation on their site.

  15. I ripped out the link to my old About page because it needs to be redone. I do have a page describing the benefits of subscribing and how it works (borrowing liberally from Darren's page on ProBlogger) that I have been tweaking. I don't have many email subscribers, but a handful of them signed up but never clicked the confirmation link — so I added that bit warning people to check their Junk email for the confirmation email.

    My latest post is Substitutionary Atonement: It's just a theory. It started as a response to questions I got on my list post The Six Deadly Sins of Evangelicalism. But I'm trying to be careful these days not to write overly long posts, so I stopped when it felt like I had made one point, with the promise to continue the thought as a series. I found that by breaking it up like this, I keep myself from writing something so long that few people will read it, and also have the satisfaction of clicking "Publish" sooner, which also keeps the posts flowing more regularly!

    • Oh, I forgot to add the link so you could jump to my "Subscribe" page: http://www.blogoneanother.com/subscribe-to-blog-o

      • That's a great idea too, to have a subscribe page. How cool.

        Question – does your site have to be in "domain" instead of simply at .wordpress.com to be able to have google ads?

        • I use TypePad as my blogging platform, so no issues with AdSense.
          I believe wordpress.com will block various kinds of affiliate links regardless of domain mapping. …Can anyone on wp.com address this?

    • The idea of not making your posts too long is a good one. I read a lot of blogs through RSS and unless there are pictures or the first paragraph or so captures my attention I have a hard time reading something that is more than one screen length (having to not scroll down).
      Also being able to make it into more than one post can be nice too.

      Enjoyed your thoughts.

  16. I have found myself frequently checking the About page for most of the new blogs I visit. So I need to definitely take care of the About page and tweak a few things on my homepage too.

    • I find myself doing that too, or now that we visit other blogs anyway. It's a good way to get to know the person, and maybe what you're reading about.

  17. I have been wanting to update my About Page so that is where I will start when I return from an early morning appointment. Also I would like to add a Contact page. However, I am on Blogger as is Chad. And his outlook on changes in this format are not too promising. Wish me luck and give me any words of wisdom you have. I will read them when I return.
    I am contemplating working with a web designer. In the meantime, if you would like, you can take a look at a previous post of mine: http://openmyearslord.blogspot.com/2010/05/prayer

    • Updating your About page and adding a Contact page sounds great. Some people may be looking for how they can contact you and that could be a good resource. However I wouldn't suggest putting a phone number or private email address there unless it's for business.

  18. I added a picture to my About page, and added a Categories page. I've been rearranging my side bar and trying to get ads onto my site, so I'm still playing with that.
    I made and make changes because it gets boring if it always stays the same, but also can make readers assume unreliability if I change it too much. I did not change the page background/Theme for this reason. I'm going to keep that the same for awhile.

    I did a series yesterday on what I learned from my "trip to the mall."
    "Learning from Observing" parts 1-3, then Summary with Blogging Tips.
    Pt1 starts herehttp://tijuanabecky.wordpress.com/2010/05/19/lear

    • Thanks, Becky, for your advice on keeping everything private. My Oldest son echoed your sentiments and concern when I wanted to add the Contact Me page. I'm finally done updating two pages with my son's help–what a job.

      Janis

  19. I will have to take an incomplete for today's assignment and I can go ahead and confess the same for tomorrow. I need to update most of the static content on my blog (header, about page, book and music sidebars, blogs I follow). I will plan on catching up next week.
    Until then, here is my Thursday Quick Hits blog post: http://www.nolanbobbitt.com/welcome_to_nolans_wor

  20. Well, I revamped the About page on LiveIntentionally.org on Day 1 when I did the elevator pitch. And I tweaked the sidebar here on Christian Web Trends about a week ago to add the "Top Posts" segment.

    What I'm dying to do, though, is develop a completely new template for both blogs. I think they both look too cluttered. I just don't have the time to do that today.

    But I do have a new post on LiveIntentionally.org for all the parents out there…

    4 Things You’ll Never Be Able to Do as a Parent (and 4 Things You Can)
    http://www.liveintentionally.org/2010/05/20/4-thi

    • Whilst I semi agree that this blog is more cluttered than your other one, neither of them are that bad. Maybe just a tweak or two in colours to identify where the sidebar starts or similar.

  21. So I figured out how to add tab pages on Blogger. Added an "About Me" page and a "Become a Jesus Follower" page that has the gospel message on it. This was a good exercise as it challenged me to find out how to do it. –Richard

  22. Man.. is it Thursday already? I have been a very bad boy and not done a single lesson this week.. Wrapped up in fixing a car, putting together a BBQ grill, preparing for our daughter's 4 year birthday party Saturday and etc..

    Hoping to get back on the wagon later today..

    My blog is brand new so it's not old enough really for me to evaluate what's working and what isn't. I will be changing some of the content on the static pages though.

  23. I actually did some of this not long ago. I updated my "About" page. It really needed some updating. I also added a "Contact" page with my e-mail address and Twitter username on it. I changed WordPress themes too, added some widgets to the sidebar, and had some feedback that my blog was much easier to read!

    My post today was "The Flip Side: When the Worst Happens" http://jenniferjanes.wordpress.com/2010/05/20/the

    ~Jennifer

  24. Hi Everyone,

    I finally got two pages updated with the help of my Oldest–the real "techy" guy here. I added a Contact Me page with all of his cautions about not putting myself out there :) I'm glad he watches out for his Mom.
    And I updated my About Me page, calling it Getting to Know Me. Updated the About Me under my picture on the Home Page. Still want to add a blog descriptor and do some more work there.
    Stop by and see the Updated Me:http://openmyearslord.blogspot.com
    I'm DONE!!!
    Janis

  25. The evening is coming to a close again. I liked this lesson because it is something that I have been working on over the last while. I am finding that most of the suggestions made in these assignments will be completed over more than the span of this course.

  26. Love this post….so true! I WISH I could make them have a 40yo brain sometimes=) Oh well…

  27. Busy day–I like the idea, and will probably work on it tomorrow. I recently updated my about page–in fact, I did that on the first day when we were developing the little blurb thingy. I realized then that the "about" page needed changing. Plus, the theme, the header, and the name of the blog. "lol"

    Anyway, I'd been thinking about adding a topical page for my commentary on 1 Corinthians and maybe some of my other types of posts as well, so I think that's what I'll work on.

    Blessings, Cindy

  28. OK I WAS inspired this time…really..
    I have been wanting to start my funny fridays page and add it to my blog so here it is=)
    Feel free to join FUNNY FRIDAYS…make us laugh
    http://parentingtwinsandmore.com/2010/05/21/funny

  29. really nice information to get the best ranking in search engine like google, yahoo, bing

  30. I know I posted an answer to this yesterday but it seems to have disappeared.
    I keep my info updated on a regular basis and I really like the look of my blog so I don't really need to make any changes.
    I do however really like the idea of adding a guest blogging page with guidelines and instructions. I want my readers to submit theri own storeis and poems and they don't This may be a way of getting them to do so.
    It's on my to do list.

  31. I had to do today's lesson late due to personal problems. I have just revisited my static pages after going through this lesson. Surprisingly I noticed things that required attention but not observed before now. I have done a good work to them, thanks to ourchurch.com

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