By Design: Minimalist Themes, Sitemaps, Time to Blog

By Mash Bonigala

There are always little tweaks you can apply to improve your site’s look and feel and rankings. This includes tweaks to customize a theme, adding a sitemap, using optimum permalink URLs, and deciding on home and archive page post excerpt lengths.

  1. Minimalist website themes.

    Are you looking for a unique WordPress theme? You probably already know that there are thousands of free ones out there, but dozens to hundreds of other bloggers might already have downloaded and used them.

    An alternative is to start with a minimalist WordPress theme then customize it with easy tweaks that don’t require a lot of design experience, just a little bit of CSS knowledge and maybe a new blog logo.

  2. Using sitemaps.
    Dagon Design

    If you’re not good at deep linking archived articles from new articles, you need some other way to ensure that the search engines index your older articles. New sites do not always get indexed with any sort of regularity, resulting in them sometimes being “invisible” in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).

    One solution is to use a sitemap, which typically has a link to each and every page on your site. Dagon Design has a Sitemap Generator WordPress plugin [via One Man’s Goal].

  3. Better Permalinks.

    With all the blog platform options you have, you might some day decide to switch. Make it easy on yourself now, on any new blogs you set up, by using a folder name URL structure.

    That is, if you have the option of using permalink URLs that have no file extension – such as .html, .php, etc. – then a move to a new platform will not affect search engine rankings. You will not even need to redirect old URLs to new ones.

  4. Optimum post excerpts.

    Still undedecided whether to use full or partial text posts on your website? Xfep suggests using a combination: full posts on the home page and excerpts for archives. The reasoning is solid. People often want to see full posts on the home page but only want to browse the archives. That makes archive pages load faster, enhancing a quick-browse ability.

  5. Finding time to blog.
    Dumb Little Man

    Of course, all these tweaks for an improved blog are pointless if you can’t find time to blog. A number of up and coming bloggers have told me lately that their salaried jobs keep them busy, though their blogs are just starting to earn revenue. Should they quit their jobs?

    I’d suggest being conservative, at least until you’ve had consistent and significant blog ad revenue for at least six months. Enough revenue – and all saved up – to warrant quitting.