Spring-Clean Your Blog in Five Easy Steps

Spring-Clean Your Blog in Five Easy Steps

From your sidebar to your comments section, these tips will help you clean up your blog in just a few minutes.

The first day of Spring is just around the corner, and with it comes the annual ritual of airing, dusting, and decluttering our homes. While you’re in cleaning mode, why not devote a few minutes to streamlining your blog, too? (Note: if you live south of the Equator, these tips are still valid!)

This isn’t just about appearances (though those matter), but also about traffic — a clean, attractive, easy-to-navigate site is one readers are more likely to visit again. Here are five things you can do in the next ten minutes to see immediate results.

#1 Unload your unused widgets

The problem: Widgets are a great tool for organizing your content and customizing your blog’s look. Overstuffing your sidebar (or other widget areas), though, can make your blog look busy, disorganized, and less professional.

What you can do: Look at your sidebar as if you were a first-time visitor. Which widgets are essential? Which ones are you least likely to click? Is there any obvious redundancy there — for example, a Blogs I Follow Widget and  a Links Widget? Remove any widget that doesn’t serve a clear navigational or visual purpose, or consider tweaking its visibility settings so that it doesn’t appear on your homepage.

#2 Declutter your social sharing buttons

The problem: The sleek new sharing buttons we introduced recently make it easy for your readers to spread your content across multiple platforms. Displaying every single sharing button, though, can be visually distracting, and giving readers too many choices might make it less likely they share your posts.

What you can do: Think strategically about the buttons’ lineup (you can change your selection from your dashboard, by going to Settings  Sharing). If you’re a personal blogger, do you really need a LinkedIn button? If you write longform posts, is a Tumblr button crucial? Limit yourself only to the top three or four places where your content is most likely to be shared. Having less options might actually help your visitors decide to click on the button, as they’ll be less distracted by too many irrelevant choices.

#3 Remove the cobwebs from old drafts

The problem: Your publication frequency has stalled, while your dashboard is littered with unfinished drafts, idea fragments, and unused media.

What you can do: Mine your drafts to plan your next three posts. You could finish a post you’d forgotten about, or combine material from several drafts into one post. You could even write a new post based on a photo (or other files) you’ve uploaded, but have yet to touch.

#4 Sort out your tags

The problem: You’ve been tagging your posts inconsistently (or not tagging them at all). This makes it harder — if not impossible — for new readers to find your content.

What you can do: In your dashboard, go to Posts → All Posts, and look at the Tags column. If your posts have no tags, add some (no need to go into each post individually — just click on “Quick Edit” and add them in, separating each tag with a comma). If any post has a total of more than fifteen tags and categories, remove several of those — exceeding that number makes your posts invisible in the WordPress.com Reader. If posts about similar topics are tagged differently, edit them to add consistency, as this will help readers find related content more easily.

#5 Scrub your comments section

The problem: You’re clearly doing something right if you inspire people to leave their thoughts on your posts. An unmoderated comments section, however, is counterproductive. It makes you look like a less-caring host, and might discourage some visitors from sharing their thoughts.

What you can do: Go to the Comments section of your dashboard, and review all the comments from the past few weeks. Delete all those that are non-substantive, or only serve as a plug for your visitor’s site. Consider adhering to an even stricter standard, like deleting reblogs with no added content, or changing your commenting settings to add more control.

Enjoy your cleaner, brighter blog! If you’re looking to go beyond cleaning into remodeling, check out our customizing tips, or try out a couple of new themes.

Posted by WordPress Guru