Spring is just around the corner. Soon, many of us will be taking the time to thoroughly clean our homes.
Did you know that you should also take some time out to clean your blog? At least a couple times a year, I recommend that you take the time to clean up your blog.
Cleaning your blog will ensure that it's properly optimized and organized for yourself as well as your readers.
In this post, I'm sharing 5 quick and easy ways to clean and organize your blog.
1. Fix Broken Links
Broken links are links on your blog that are broken. A broken link happens when a link on your blog is pointing to a page that no longer exists. These links can be internal (links pointing within your blog) or external (links pointing to websites outside of your blog). This page could have been deleted or moved to a new location.
It's important to fix broken links because broken links can negatively impact the user experience on your blog.
Think about when you're visiting a web page that appears to have exactly what you're looking for, only be served with one of those dreaded 404 error pages.
Here's an example of a 404 error page:
When users are served with 404 error pages, they usually don't stick around to find what they were looking for. This means, if your site has broken internal links, you could be missing out on the opportunity to gain loyal readers and followers.
To check for and fix any broken links on your blog, make sure you read my tutorial, How to Fix Broken Links on Your Blog.
2. Remove Unnecessary Items from Your Sidebar
Your sidebar should only include the essentials. That means it should have your about me widget, social media icons, your 3 or 4 most popular posts, and possibly a search box. You can also include an advertisement for your products or services, and of course, ads from your ad network.
Including things like blog awards (such as the Liebster Award) and blogrolls (links to your favorite blogs) aren't beneficial for you or your readers.
Your sidebar is valuable space that should only be filled with useful information.
Summer from Coffee with Summer has a great post about How to Craft the Best Sidebar for Your Blog that you should check out.
3. Turn Full-length Posts Into Excerpt Posts
If you write long or image heavy posts, I recommend turning your full-length posts into excerpt posts. Turning your full-length posts into excerpt posts will make your blog easier to browse, look more organized, and help to reduce your blogs loading time.
If your WordPress theme doesn't provide the option to automatically turn your posts into excerpts, you can do so by using the Advanced Excerpt plugin. This plugin will turn all of your posts into excerpt posts. You can also manually insert a "read more" break into your posts.
To insert your excerpt manually in WordPress, in the post editor, select the "Insert Read More Tag" button when you reach the area that you want to place the excerpt. You can also do this by selecting Shift+Alt+T on your keyboard.
4. Reduce the Number of Links in Your Navigation Menu
Like your sidebar, your navigation menu is valuable space for your blog. Your navigation menu should only include links to your most important pages.
Again, this is a great way to steer your readers towards the content you want them to see the most.
To make your navigation menu easy to navigate and more effective, I recommend having no more than 7 items in your navigation menu.
Marianne from Design Your Own Blog has an in-depth post on How to Prioritize Your Blog's Menu Like a Pro.
5. Reconsider Your Plugins
Having too many plugins installed on your WordPress blog can not only slow down your blog but can also cause conflicts with other plugins, as well as your theme. Not to count, some plugins can increase the CPU load time on your server, which can not only hurt the performance of your blog but also put you in hot water with your host.
There is no magic number for how many plugins is too many. My rule is, if I don't need it, I don't install it.
Related Post: 5 Must Have WordPress Plugins
Additional Ways to Clean up Your Blog
If you want to go a little deeper into the cleaning and organizing of your blog, here are a few other things you can do.
1. Clean up your categories and tags.
If you have a lot of content on your blog, it may be time to consider cleaning up your categories and tags. You can use the Term Management plugin to merge your categories. For example, if you have both a "Recipe" and "Recipes" category, those can both be merged into one category.
2. Update Old Posts
When visitors land on your old blog posts, you want to make sure your content is up-to-date, relevant, and in line with the style of your newer content. For tips on updating your old blog posts, check out my post 7 Ways to Update Old Blog Posts.
3. Delete Spam Comments
If you're not using an anti-spam plugin, there's a good chance you have quite a bit of spam sitting behind the scenes on your blog. You can easily delete spam comments on your blog by going to the comments section in your dashboard, clicking on the "Spam" tab, and then clicking on "Empty Spam."
After you delete your spam comments, I highly recommend installing an Anti-Spam plugin. My favorite anti-spam plugin is Antispam Bee.
Cleaning Up and Organizing Your Blog
Removing clutter from your blog is important because it allows visitors to easily navigate your blog. Periodically cleaning up and organizing your blog is also a great way to ensure that people are visiting the pages, posts, and links you want them to check out when they visit your blog. If something doesn't help you or your readers in some way, reconsider whether or not it needs to be on your blog.
Following these tips will help you organize your blog, and may even increase your conversions.
Do you have any tips for cleaning up your blog?
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