Blog Maintenance Checklist



Running a blog is a bit like running a car. Every so often, you need to put some time and energy into maintaining it. If you don’t, will it still run? Sure, it’ll run just fine – For a time. But if you go too long without changing your oil, or go too long without replacing your brakes, you put strain on the system. Eventually, the whole thing could fall apart. The same goes for running a blog.

Much like a car, a blog is quite a complex system. Maintenance encompasses a wide array of issues, from interactions with readers to interactions with other websites to website security issues.

Here are some of the most important things you need to maintain to keep a blog running smoothly.


#1: Update Your WordPress Installation

Updating your WordPress installation is arguably the most important task on this list. If you’re running an old version of WordPress, there’s a good chance you’re running a version of WordPress that has known security vulnerabilities.

If so, it’s not difficult at all for hackers to find your site through Google, then easily compromise your blog. Updating your WordPress installation literally takes seconds. Make sure you update it whenever you see WordPress prompting you to do an update.


#2: Update Your Plugins

The second most important thing on your checklist is updating your themes. Though the WordPress core installation can pose a security risk, the reality is that the vast majority of WordPress hacks come from compromised plugins.

Most people don’t realize that a single compromised plugin can not only result in their entire WordPress installation getting hacked, but having every other WordPress installation on their entire server getting hacked as well.

Updating your plugins is easy. Just go to the plugins panel and click on “Update Available.”


Then click “Update Automatically” under the plugin you want to update.


Update your plugins to their newest versions whenever possible.

#3: Backup Your Site Periodically

Backing up your WordPress installation regularly, say every 2 weeks or so, helps prevent avoidable disasters. If your site ever gets wiped out, you can simply do a restore. If your hosting company suddenly crashes and loses your data, you can just re-upload everything from scratch.

Backing up your data is made easy by the myriad of different backup plugins you can choose from. Pick a backup system that allows you to automate backups and learn it inside and out.


#4: Moderate Your Comments

Comment moderation is not only an important part of maintain your blog, but a highly time sensitive one.

If you want to maintain a strong relationship between you and your bloggers, you need to moderate your blog comments quickly. People should never feel like they’re being ignored, especially after spending a lot of time to write out a thoughtful comment.

Try to moderate your comments at least every 24 hours, if not every 3, 8 or 12 hours. Never, ever let real comments sit unmoderated for more than 48 hours, or you’re either going to lose that reader for good, or they’ll stop commenting and become a passive participant.


#5: Check for Broken Links

Checking for broken links is something you should do about every three months.

When you’re blogging actively, chances are you’re going to be sending quite a few links out to cyberspace. The majority of those links will still work even months and years from today. But some of them won’t.

If a page you link to goes down, that reflects very badly on you. Users who click on a broken link on your site will instantly view you as less credible. They might also get frustrated, because there was a resource they wanted to access that they couldn’t get to.

To avoid broken link issues, scan your site for broken links every few months. Whenever possible, replace your old links with new resources. If there aren’t any comparable resources, then just unlink that hyperlink.




#6: Check Your AdSense Ads

Every once in a while, check what ads are showing up on your site. Check your ads for individual posts as well. Sometimes AdSense will misread your site and post non-relevant ads. Also, sometimes you might be getting ads for competing services. In fact, competitors might sometimes specifically target your site to have their ads displayed there.

One of the best ways to check your AdSense ads is to use the AdSense sandbox:

This allows you to see your ads, minus any retargeting. If you just visited your site, you’ll see a lot of ads that are targeted towards you specifically because of retargeting cookies. The sandbox allows you to see just the ads that are showing up organically on your AdSense ads.


#7: Check Your RSS Feeds

Get in the habit of checking your RSS feeds every 3 months or so.

Check to make sure your RSS feeds are working properly. Check on several different clients, including Google Reader and a desktop client. Sometimes feeds can work in one reader but not another. If something isn’t quite working with your RSS feeds, you want to know sooner rather than later.

Make sure that people can find your RSS feed by typing your site’s URL into their RSS reader. Don’t make people scour your site for a specific RSS link in order to subscribe.


#8: Check Your Analytics

Is your traffic going up or down? Are there specific pages on your site that people seem to be bouncing out of?

What kinds of topics does your audience seem to like? What kinds of headlines seem to catch their attention and get a longer stay? What kind of keywords are people typing in to land on your website.

Your analytics can help answer all these questions and more. Your analytics will help you figure out what your audience likes and doesn’t like, so you can give them more of what they want. It’ll also help you catch red flags early on. If your search traffic suddenly takes a plunge for example, you want to investigate why.


#9: Are You Still on Message?

Finally, re-examine all your posts over the last few months. Ask yourself: Are you still on message? Are you still covering the things you ought to cover? Or have you veered off course?

It’s easy to write a post that seems just a little off topic, especially if you’re feeling inspired by the subject or if there are current events that you want to comment on. But one “slightly off topic” post can lead to another and sooner than you know it, you’re completely off track.

It’s not a big problem. All you need to do is realize when you’re off track by re-reading posts from your past few months. Then re-center your message in your upcoming posts.


These tips will help you keep your blog in tip top shape. Use these tips to help your blog stay secure, to help make sure everything works, to maintain a good relationship with your readers and to stay on message.



How to Come Up With Blog Topics



Once you’ve had your blog for a time, coming up with new topics can be a challenge. After all, once you’ve written 50, 100, 200 posts or more, how on earth do you come out and say something new?

This challenge isn’t limited to long time bloggers either. New bloggers also struggle with coming up with topics that people want to read about.

So how do you do it? Just us one of these eight brainstorming tools below. These tools will help you come up with new ideas consistently, whether you’re just starting out or if you’ve been blogging for years.


#1: Scan RSS Feeds

Download an RSS feed client on your computer or in your smartphone. Then go on a subscribing spree. Subscribe to every blog feed you can find in your industry. Subscribe to at least ten different blogs.

Now anytime you run out of ideas, all you need to do is whip out your RSS reader. Read through some of the things other people are talking about and use it as inspiration.

Of course you should never directly copy someone else’s title. But feel free to use other people’s ideas as stepping stones. You can even steal an idea, as long as you don’t copy the actual words. Just make sure to add your own spin and link to the original source.


#2: Use Google Instant

Use Google’s Instant search tool to come up with ideas for what other people might be interested in. You can learn more about the tool here:

For example, let’s say you’re in the cooking niche. You could do something like:

Just change out different words and different wordings to come up with a variety of different potential keywords to target.


#3: Use Linkbait Generator

Linkbait Generator ( is a unique online tool that allows you to create very creative and attention catching titles at the click of a button.

Note that some of these titles probably won’t make sense right out of the gate. Instead, use the ideas and words generated by linkbait generator to source your own title

For instance, typing in “find a job” might land you a headline something like this:


While you might not be able to use this headline on its own, you might instead turn it into something like: 7 Bizarre Ways Looking for a Job Can Get You Fired Instantly.


#4: Browse Old Magazines

If you’re in an industry that’s large enough to have magazines, subscribe to as many of the magazines in your field as you can. In a few months, you should have a big stack of magazines that you can use as idea fodder.

Also, many public libraries keep archived copies of newspapers and magazines. You can literally browse magazines from months or even years ago for free at many major libraries.

Go through these old magazines and look for ideas. Look for things they covered that nobody on the internet is covering.

Print articles often involve a lot more research to write than online content. Print content requires sources, quotes, statistics, verification, etc that online content just doesn’t need. The print world and the internet world are quite different. That’s why it often pays to look in the offline world for inspiration for your online content.


#5: Google Alerts

Google Alerts (  is a free online system that will alert you by email whenever certain keywords or phrases appear in blogs or news articles. You can use Google Alerts to come up with topics in one or two ways.

First, you can use it as a constant stream of ideas. Just put relatively broad ideas in Google Alerts and set it to email you once a day. Every day, browse through the articles and see what ideas you come up with.

Another way to use Google Alerts is to use it to write cutting edge, timely articles. Use it to monitor your industry. Anytime something changes, anytime breaking news hits the net, anytime something controversial happens, you want to publish a piece of content within hours.

Often time’s the first person to publish content about something is the one who gets all the traffic.


#6: Invite Questions

If you’re having trouble coming up with new ideas, why not have your audience do it for you instead?

A lot of authors find that their best blog posts actually come from their audience rather than from their own minds. After all, if you’re trying to create content that your audience loves, who better to guide you than your audience?

Don’t make the mistake of thinking you know what your audience wants without asking. Also don’t make the mistake of thinking that what you want to express is always what your audience wants to know about.

Ask. Ask for questions and make blog posts out of them.

For example, Bryan of does this quite well. In addition to asking for questions, he actually outlines the kinds of questions he doesn’t want to receive (“can you get me an autograph?”) and helps guide his audience towards asking useful questions instead.


You can see more about this method:


#7: Critique an Idea, Business, Website, Video or Trend

Look for something outside of you site that you can give your opinion on. For example, you could critique a trend of thinking in your industry. You could critique a video that’s making the rounds. You could also ask your audience to send in their work for critique.

For example, Writerly Rejects creates a lot of content out of having writers send in their pitches for critique. They dissect the pros and cons of the writer’s pitch and use real world pitches to illustrate important lessons on their blog.


You can see this example in action at:

#8: Use Your Subconscious Mind

Your subconscious mind is far, far more powerful than your conscious mind. Your subconscious mind is the part of your mind that can read the thousands of different muscles on someone’s face to determine what they’re feeling. Your subconscious mind retains a copy of every experience you’ve ever had in your life. Your subconscious mind handles “intuition” by parsing data and ideas behind the scenes, working hard on problems without you ever knowing it.

One of the best ways to come up with new blog ideas is to harness the power of your subconscious mind. How do you do that? By thinking intensely about a subject, then completely letting it go.

Spend a bit of time thinking about your blog. Then, go for a walk. Or hit the gym. Or take a nice long bath. Relax and let your subconscious mind work on it. Then, when you come back to it, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find that ideas flow much more quickly. Alternatively, ideas might just hit you out of the blue as you’re relaxing.

Make sure you carry a notepad with you at all times so you can jot down these ideas. Ideas that aren’t written down are very frequently lost. Don’t overestimate your ability to remember an idea.


Armed with these eight idea-boosting tools, you’ll never have to worry about running out of ideas again. Find one or two tactics that work for you, then return to this list from time to time if you ever get stuck.



Get Started With Facebook Comments For WordPress



Facebook comments for WordPress allows you to put a Facebook comment box and a Facebook like box directly on your blog. Setting it up involves creating an app developer account, which can seem a little daunting at first, but really isn’t all that complicated.

Here’s how to setup Facebook Comments for WordPress.

Step 1: Install and Activate the Plugin


Search for the plugin under “Add New” in the “Plugins” tab. Install the plugin.


Activate the plugin.


Step 2: Creating a Facebook Developer Account


Click on “set your application ID and secret now” in the link that appears after activating the plugin.

Click on “Create a Facebook App.”


You’ll be prompted by Facebook to allow it to access your account. Click “Allow.”


Step 3: Creating a New App


Once signed into Facebook Developer, click “Create New App.”


Give your app a name. The public won’t actually see this, so it doesn’t matter all that much.


Click on “Web” in the left hand side navigation.


Enter the URL of the website you want your Facebook comments to show up on.


Upon hitting save changes, your Application ID and Application Secret will be displayed. Copy these.


Step 4: Entering Your Application ID


Go back into the settings for Facebook Comments. Paste your Application ID and Application Secret into their appropriate fields.


If you hit “Update” now, Facebook Comments for WordPress will go live.

Here are a few more important things to set before finishing up the installation.


Step 5: Basic Settings


Setup your basic settings, such as whether you want to display comments on blog posts (as opposed to just “Like,”) whether you want to count WordPress comments and Facebook comments together and such.


Step 6: Like Button Settings


Setup how the “Like” button on your site should look.



Step 7: Comments Box Settings


Under “Comments Box Settings” there are a few more settings you can set, such as how long the box is and whether to show only on pages, posts or both.



Once you’ve setup everything the way you want it, click “Update” and check your website to see how it looks. Congratulations! You’ve setup Facebook Comments for WordPress, which allows you to “Like” and “Comment” with Facebook’s system integrated into your blog.



Get started with Disqus


Disqus is a blog commenting platform that’s used on hundreds of thousands of blogs. Its top features include threaded comments, so people can reply directly to someone else’s comment directly rather than all comments in general. You can also reply by logging into a social media ID, like Facebook or Twitter.

You can also use Disqus’s notification system to let people know when they’ve got a response to a comment. They can reply to the comment right in the email response.

Here’s how to sign up for and use Disqus.


Step 1: Sign Up for a Disqus Account

Go to:

You’ll see the signup page. Choose to sign up with either your Facebook, Twitter, Google account or an email address.

Fill out the sign up form, or fill out the connect authentication.

Step 2: Adding Your Website

Once you’re logged into your account, click “Add” under “Your Sites” to add your blog to your profile.

3-Add-SiteFill out your website’s basic information.


Click “Continue.” Here you will get to choose your platform.

At this point, your site’s profile is setup on Disqus. The next step is to setup Disqus on your blog. You will setup instructions depending on the platform of your choice. If you choose WordPress, this is what you will get.


Step 3: Installing Disqus on Your Blog

Go to “Plugins” and “Add New.” Search for Disqus, then click “Install Now.”


Click “Activate Plugin.”


You’ll be asked to configure the plugin. Click the link.


Enter your username and password that you chose on the Disqus site.


Select the website profile you want to use. Assuming you just setup one site, there’ll only be one option.


When you hit next, the installation process is complete and Disqus will be running on your blog.


Step 4: Using the Disqus System

To make a comment, just type in a comment as you would in any other system.


Click the “Like” button to like a post. You’ll also be able to share the post on Facebook or Twitter if you choose.


To add an image to a post, just click the “+ Image” button. A file selection box will pop up and Disqus will automatically resize the image to fit its format.


To reply to a specific comment rather than the whole thread, click the “reply” button below every comment.


This allows people to reply to specific replies and create whole sub-discussions in an orderly manner. Here’s what an original post and two replies looks like.


You can subscribe to receive all future comments by email or RSS. Just click on either button on the bottom of the Disqus box.


You’ll see a confirmation box.


Congratulations! You’ve learned how to setup a Disqus membership, how to add it to your site and how to use the plugin to post comments, reply to specific comments, post images, like and share on social media as well as how to subscribe by email or RSS.