Blog Love // Spring Clean Your Blog!

Spring has sprung! Almost – as it technically arrives on Thursday, March 20th!  Have you started your spring cleaning yet?  I have…AND…I have extended it to my blog!  There are a few *subtle* changes I have been making over the last  week.  There were a few organizational tasks that I had put off for far too long – and I bet I’m not the only one – wink, wink, nudge, nudge!  Please accept this challenge and tidy up your blog this week!  Even the pros at WordPress have shared their top 5 tips! 

SpringCleanBlog

{ Refresh Your Appearance }

Perhaps now is the time for a BLOG REFRESH!  Do a bit of research to identify some of the elements that attract you to the blogs you read, and see how you might be able to incorporate them into your blog, giving it a fresher, more appealing appearance.  For example, if your blog’s current design has a clunky sidebar, consider redesigning or removing it.  Or, you might be up for customizing your header image.  (<– Did you notice my new header?  It’s a work in progress!)  Whatever you do, make sure that the end result is responsive and satisfying.  You may also want to think about customizing your tag line and social media badges.  (<– Post coming SOON on how to do this!  Check out my new buttons on the right!)  And while you’re at it…when was the last time you looked at your own blog?  I mean, really looked, as if you were reading it for the first time?  Take an outside view and see if you need to update your About page, Contact page, and any other key pages that are part of your blog – part of YOU!  (<– I changed my tabs across the top to be more “streamlined!  I now have “Daydreams” page and a “Shoestrings” page!)

{ Cleanup Your Sidebar }

Your sidebar can be a great place to display additional information about yourself and your blog, but it can also quickly become a cluttered mess of buttons, badges, and links.  Take a look at your sidebar and pare it down the bare essentials.  Do you really need that Twitter feed widget AND a twitter social media button?  That blogroll with your fifty favorite blogs?  You may want to consider moving some of your sidebar information to external pages and simply add a tab or link.  Consider a “Recent Posts” widget or an “Archive” widget…whichever fits your needs best.  Also, if you are an Affiliate or Ambassador, make sure your links and badges are up to date! 

{ Organize Your Tags }

Improving the navigation of your blog is one of the best ways to get readers to stick around on your blog for longer – so take this opportunity to streamline your tags!  You really only need 7-8 categories, and the more simplified your content is, the easier it will be for readers to discover posts they will enjoy.  (<– Ok, Ok, I couldn’t QUITE get it down to 7-8 categories…but it IS getting cleaner!)  Once your categories are organized, you can choose to make them easy to access by adding text links or buttons to your (newly cleaned) sidebar.  Can you lump some categories together?  Make sure you do not leave the “Uncategorized” category…to look more professional you should rename it.  For example, I chose a “Random Thoughts” category…which will take over anything not labeled directly to Fitness, Running, Mario the Cat, Calgary, etc.

{ Double Check Your Links }

Click on all of the links in your navigation menus and sidebar: do they take you where they should?  Incorrect links can cause your readers to get lost and frustrated, and you don’t want that!  And although it may take a bit of time, you should also check out all the links in your archived posts…  I used Broken Link Check and discovered that exactly 200 links were not properly working in my past posts.  Oops.  I realize the internet is a dynamic environment…I just never gave a thought to the idea that links would disappear!  But a lot of links were *old* blogs that are no longer active….or websites that have moved.  It is a really simple fix to give you peace of mind.

{ Draft Department }

You know what I’m talking about….all those “This would be a GREAT post” ideas that you start….and just never finish…or hit publish.  You may have uploaded a picture…or tagged a restaurant for review…or quickly scribed a paragraph to capture the main topic.  Some people suggest that you delete these old drafts and just start fresh.  Some people suggest you combine material from several drafts into one post – a sort of “What’s On My Mind” post.  My grand idea…if I still really like the topic, I’m going to title it “Draft Department: XXX” and post it on a day that I don’t have any fresh ideas, or I’m in a blogging slump, or taking a sick day!  That way, I can trash the posts that don’t seem so important now, but still publish the posts that had good content!

{ Bonus Points }

  • Clean out your blog reader: get rid of blogs you don’t read (or those who have left the blogging sphere) and add the ones you’ve been meaning to!  I currently use Bloglovin’ to stalk all my favorite bloggers!
  • Check that your pins on Pinterest link back to their original sources.
  • Trim down your “following” list on Twitter.

Will you take on my challenge? Brag about your hard work in the comments and post a link so we can all check it out!

Jen

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3 thoughts on “Blog Love // Spring Clean Your Blog!

  1. I’m currently in the process of cleaning up and revamping my blog. I finally bought my own url, so I guess that means I have to make it look pretty. Thanks for recommending the broken link checker, I’ve found way too many that need fixed already!

    PS. Love how the blog is looking

    • EEK – How did I notice your new design but not your new address?! And YAH! for you for getting your own url!!! 🙂 It’s such a big deal…and feels like you really “own” your blog!!! I know for me, I waited a while to make sure that I would stick-it-out with blogging, and not just give up when times got tough. I look forward to watching your blog transform too – it’s kind of addicting 🙂

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