I’m all about spring right now.
Last week, in the intro of our Friday Favorites article I mentioned that our Parent Company (Deco & Grace) is taking the arrival of spring as an opportunity to clear out all things dated and dusty from our blogs and revive them with fresh new designs, concepts, and opinions! Since then, I have received so may questions and comments about the process of spring cleaning a blog, that I thought we’d just make it a whole post for today!
So, Grab your canned air and dust off that keyboard, cause we’re gonna show you how to whip that blog into spring fighting shape. ♥
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♥ Emma Rae Thomas + The Poor Little Blogger Team
How to Spring Clean Your Blog
A Picture’s worth a thousand clicks – As time goes by, it’s not super uncommon for the file structure or link structure of your blog to change (we even talk about permalinks later in this article), and this can leave your site with links that go nowhere, and images that no longer show up. Bummer. Go back through your articles and pages and test all of the links and images to see which ones don’t go anywhere. Update, replace, or remove these so that readers reading old articles aren’t annoyed when they follow that old link right to a 404 page of doom.
Pomp and Circumstance – Most blogs will have pages like Terms & Conditions (or something similar). Despite the fact that no one ever actually reads these (be honest, have you ever read a terms page…like ever?), for various legal reasons these are actually pretty important to have on your website, and they are also important to keep up to date. Read back over yours and make sure that the information in it is still accurate, and up to date with the current set of laws. This helps to keep your site clean and gives you added legal protection as well.
Plug it in or Throw it out – This is a huge problem we ran into! Take a look at your plugins page and ask yourself how many of these you actually use. If you aren’t sure what a plugin does, there is a good chance you aren’t using it. Start to deactivate these old plugins to speed up your site and keep extraneous code from causing errors when it updates. Be super careful not to delete the plugin until you are 100% sure it’s not necessary (nothing is worse than deleting a plugin only to realize that it was keeping an important aspect of your site running).
Keep it Clean – It’s a good idea to periodically check the categories you have for your posts to make sure that you don’t have a whole bunch of empty or almost empty categories. Check the number of posts you have in each category, looking for ones that only contain one or two posts. Unless you are planning to add additional posts in the near future it is safe to say that these unused categories can be removed. We often create categories with the full intention of filling them up with a new post type, but then these plans go by the wayside. The problem that this creates is that your blog has to pull down a list of categories fairly regularly, and having a number of unused ones will slow this down considerably.
Too Much Junk in Your Trunk – This is another one that we should be doing periodically already (but it often gets lost in the fray). Aside from telling your users where your content is, permalinks are extremely important to your site’s SEO. Consider the link structure that you currently have and see if it matches up with current standards. Evaluate it for usability as well (from looking at their current location can a user tell where on the site they are?). If your links look like this: www.YourSite.com/spp012/skd49_dog.html they are telling your readers virtually nothing, and they are telling search engines even less. Scrap that nonsense and Regenerate them.
I will not read them Spam-I-am – In today’s world of high-tech spam filters and plugins that block spam from ever being displayed to your readers, it’s pretty easy to ignore the loads of spam that you never see. Check these filters though, there is a good chance that they are packed full of great offers from the princes of various African countries eager to give you their fortunes! Even if your readers never see these comments, your site still deals with them, and that could be using up resources you don’t even realize you could be using elsewhere. Purge that spam from your system (and make sure that no legitimate comments were caught by the filters).
It’s a Gettin’ a little Drafty in Here – If you make drafts as you think of ideas for new posts you will end up with tons of drafts over time with little to no content in them, but they often contain usable ideas for new posts. Go back and look at the list of drafts that you have and see which ones you still want to keep, and which are still relevant posts (if you aren’t sure what the post was supposed to be about there is a good chance that it is no longer relevant). Purge the ones you don’t need anymore, and write the ones that are still good.