Last week I made a number of small improvements to my blog’s design when I had a few minutes to spare. And then I realized that there are a ton of other blog improvements you can do if you’ve only got 15 minutes free. Here’s a list of 103 of them.

Not all of these will improve your blog per se (like updating your Twitter profile doesn’t apply directly to your blog), but all will benefit your blogging in one way or another.

Please share this post if you find it useful :)

Blog Design/Appearance

  • Add or remove pages from your navigation menu(s).
  • Update the copyright date in your footer.
  • Add or remove other things to your footer.
  • Do some research to see if you need a terms of service or privacy policy page.
  • Sketch ideas for a new logo.
  • Examine your tagline. Does it accurately convey what your blog is about? Is it ambiguous at all? Should you add some keywords to it?
  • Find new social media icons for your blog. I just made new ones for Blogging Bookshelf last week. They now match the blog’s colors.
  • Rearrange the widgets in your blog’s sidebar(s), or get rid of widgets if necessary.
  • Go and take a better avatar photo of yourself.
  • Browse theme/skin/design directories, either to use or just to get ideas.
  • Try out a new theme on your blog. Here’s the WordPress theme directory.
  • See how your blog looks in different browsers.
  • Spend some time just looking at the design of your favorite blogs. What are some good ideas you can steal borrow?
  • If your theme/design allows it, try a different color scheme on your blog.

Posts/Pages

  • Find the perfect stock photo for a blog post, ebook cover, etc.
  • Rewrite (or start rewriting) your About page.
  • Look at your Contact page. Add a contact form if there isn’t one already. Add links your various social networking profiles. Answer any common questions.
  • Proofread a few already-published pages or posts to make sure you didn’t miss any typos.
  • Brainstorm blog post ideas.
  • Write a short, non-epic blog post.
  • Look at your most popular posts (either by page views or by comments). See if you can figure out why those posts are the most popular. What do they all have in common?
  • Outline a “personal” post, where you talk more about yourself yet still convey useful information related to your topic. A great way to do this is to tell a story where you learned about something in your niche.
  • Go back to older posts and create links to newer posts.
  • Create a My Guest Posts page.
  • Write a guest post guidelines page for your blog.
  • Start writing a “My Story” post about how you came to be involved with whatever it is you’re blogging about.
  • Write a blog post asking for feedback or ideas about something (blog post ideas, direction of where your blog should go, etc.).
  • Create a poll.
  • Make a list of general topics you haven’t covered yet. What are the “holes” in your blog content?

 Comments and Commenting

  • Reply to comments.
  • Comment on a few blogs.
  • See how many blogs you can comment on in 15 minutes. Then try to best your time later.
  • Comment on a few posts on a single blog. I love it when people do this on my blog.
  • Write one BIG, epic comment.
  • Delete your blog’s spam comments that you haven’t gotten to yet.
  • Empty your blog’s spam filter.
  • Make a list of a bunch of blogs to comment on in case you ever do a marathon commenting session.
  • Take some of your readers’ best comments and turn them into a blog post. You might want to just start a dedicated Word document that you can paste the best comments into as you find them.

Learning

  • Read a chapter in one of those ebooks you’ve downloaded but never read. (I can’t be alone in this? I have literally hundreds of unread ebooks…)
  • Check out that ebook/course/membership site you paid for but never cracked open.
  • Try out (or get more familiar with) a new app, extension, or service. I’m currently a big fan of Dropbox and Instapaper.
  • Watch a YouTube video tutorial for some bit of software you’re using or would like to use.
  • Dive into your favorite blog’s archives. Here are Blogging Bookshelf’s archives :)
  • Explore another blogging platform that you’re unfamiliar with, like Posterous or Tumblr. It’s nice to just be aware of what your options are, you know?
  • Learn how to backup your blog, or start the backup process.
  • If you’re thinking of selling an ebook at some point, go look at e-Junkie to get familiar with the service.
  • If you have a self-hosted blog, spend some time digging into your hosting control panel to see what other options and settings there are.

Planning

  • Plan out what posts you’ll be writing and publishing in the next week/month. Check out my blog planning calendar for some help there.
  • Do some keyword research using the Google AdWords Keyword Tool (free) or Market Samurai (not free). This is useful both for coming up with blog post ideas and for deciding what exact keywords to use for a topic you’re going to write about.
  • Brainstorm a big list of something. This can be post ideas, new blog ideas, product ideas, or anything else.
  • Plan a contest on your blog. What will you give away? How will you promote it? How will you choose the winners?
  • Create and/or analyze your goals.
  • Read my ebook ideas post and come up with some ideas for free or premium ebooks.
  • Make a list of blogs you want to guest post on.
  • Make a list of guest post ideas.
  • Plan out what you’re going to do tomorrow. Teux Deux is my favorite digital planner/to-do list, though I usually just write things out in a little notebook.
  • Make a list of your favorite blogs in your niche. Make it a goal to personally connect with the person behind each blog.

Miscellaneous

  • Go through your installed plugins and get rid of any that you aren’t using. More plugins slow down your blog. Also update any plugins that need to be updated.
  • Create a new account at a site that will open up new marketing opportunities for you, like YouTube (videos), Scribd (ebooks), or Slideshare (slideshows).
  • Find new blogs in your niche to spy on subscribe to.
  • Do some freewriting. That is, just start writing whatever comes to mind without filtering or censoring it. You probably won’t want to publish it, but see if any good ideas came from your writing. If nothing else, this is usually pretty relaxing.
  • Click on ever single menu and explore every nook and cranny of the WordPress (or Blogger or Tumblr or whatever) dashboard. You’ll likely find some features you’ve never seen before.
  • Organize something. You could organize your blog post ideas, your drafts, your RSS reader, your photos, your desktop…
  • Go register your name or your blog’s name on whatever services/networks you might want to check out in the future. You might as well at least save your name now, even if you’re not going to use the service immediately.
  • Spend some time browsing Amazon, adding new niche-related books to read to your wishlists.
  • Look at your stats to see what keywords people are coming to your blog through. Can you further optimize those posts so that you appear higher up in the SERPs?
  • Write and submit an article to an article directory.
  • Write a post that contains links to your underappreciated blog posts.
  • Link to other bloggers’ underappreciated blog posts. Now that is a great way to earn brownie points…
  • Browse the WordPress plugin directory and see if anything there tickles your fancy.
  • Check for broken links. There are a few different free online tools to do this, plus a couple WordPress plugins.
  • See where you’re ranking in the SERPs for your big target keywords. Check again at some point in the future to see if you’re getting higher or lower in the rankings.
  • Make a quick list of your favorite books in your niche. Either create a post around the list, or keep the list for future reference and write about each book over a period of time.
  • Make a list of ways to improve your blog (use this list as inspiration!).
  • Create a video response to one of your favorite YouTube videos.

Email

  • Ask another blogger a question. What plugin do you use to get that one thing? What theme are they using? I wanted your opinion on this one thing…
  • Email fellow bloggers and ask them to share a particularly awesome post of yours. Use this sparingly, though.
  • Respond to those emails you’ve been putting off.
  • Clean out your inbox. Maybe even go for Inbox Zero.
  • Edit some social media/networking email settings so your inbox isn’t bombarded every 30 seconds with alerts.
  • Send an email to another blogger. Introduce yourself or give them ideas of what posts you’d like them to write on their blog. My email address is tristan at bloggingbookshelf dot com if you want to do this with me :)
  • Write an email for your newsletter/list.
  • Send an email to someone (authors, bloggers, etc.) to see if they’ll consent to doing an interview with you.
  • Look at your stats to see what other blogs are linking to you and sending traffic your way. Go share those posts and/or shoot those bloggers a thank-you email.
  • Invite someone to write for your blog.

Twitter

  • Rewrite your profile.
  • Change your background and/or colors.
  • Unfollow some of those people you’re not crazy about anymore. Tweepi is a great free tool for figuring out how long it’s been since someone has tweeted. So you can see and unfollow people who haven’t logged in in 2 months, for example.
  • Create and organize your lists.
  • Retweet other people’s posts or tweets.
  • Thank someone for following you.
  • Thank people for retweeting your stuff.
  • Join a conversation and respond to other people’s tweets.

Facebook

  • Create a Facebook page for your blog.
  • Comment on someone’s Facebook page (like their website page, not their personal page) and/or leave a link to a useful article.
  • Friend other bloggers in your niche.
  • Update your personal information, making sure it’s all current and up-to-date.
  • Post some awesome links to your blog’s Facebook page.

Google+

  • Write a blog post (it can be short) specifically for Google+.
  • Read my post on Google+ tips to figure out what the heck it is and how you can use it. The post has been +1’d more than 100 times :)
  • Add a Google+ widget to your blog. This is the one I used here on Blogging Bookshelf.
  • Update your Google profile.
  • Organize or reorganize your Circles.

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Alright, that should be enough to keep most of us busy for, er… several weeks.

Don’t forget to share this post if you like it :) And if you haven’t found me on Google+ yet, I’m here.

  • What other ways can you improve your blog in 15 minutes or less?
  • Which ones of these are you going to try first?