Bigger, Better, Bolder: A Little Blog Housekeeping
By: Taylor Davies

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This is the next post in a very exciting series we’re bringing to you on IFB in anticipation of the upcoming #IFBcon. Each day in the month of August, we’ll have a different post designed to help your blog become – you guessed it – bigger, better and bolder.

You know that satisfied, accomplished feeling that comes from purging your closet of all the old clothes you never wear? It makes you feel good, right? You feel more organized, a little lighter-of-foot, and there’s room for new things! Applying that same logic to your blog is a touch more tedious, but some pre-conference housekeeping will ensure that you’re ready for new visitors and looking your best come September.

*Just a quick note: Keep in mind that some of the Bigger, Better, Bolder topics have been covered in the past on IFB. We hope that by reviewing and refreshing them and tagging the posts into one easy-to-access place, you can pick and choose the relevant tools for your blog in an effort to put your best foot forward at IFBcon.

 

Here are 4 places to clean off the dust, re-organize and weed out what you don’t need!

 

Your Blogroll

Make no mistake – your blogroll is hot property. This is where you showcase your favorite blogs and daily reads, and it’s more important than you might think. By including a link on your blogroll, you’re endorsing that site’s content, as well as driving traffic to that site. Depending on the traffic numbers for your site and theirs, your blogroll could be a significant source of traffic for that site. For this reason, you might want to include blogs of all different sizes. Look through your current roster and see if there are any that you’ve stopped keeping up with (and can delete), and add in your newest finds. Your blogroll is one more way to let your readers know your taste and support your friends.

Categories & Tags

One element that can be really distracting on a blog’s sidebar is the “categories” widget. Left untended, it can become a never-ending list of words, designers, trends, and garments that don’t actually benefit your readers. If you have a categories widget, spend some time combing through it, combining similar topics and weeding out irrelevant ones. (If you’re on WordPress, Amanda recommends the Bulk Category cleaner.) In general, you want to keep your categories broad (each post should only be labeled with one), and your tags more specific.

Tags should be used to compliment your categories. (There’s a wonderful post explaining this further on ProBlogger.) It’s helpful to use the same tags repeatedly, so that readers can find all your posts that touch on a similar topic, like “celebrity style” or “local boutiques” easily. Accessing your blog’s dashboard and list of posts should provide a clear display of your tags, or posts that could use them. Add, update, condense! By examining your Google Analytics and Insights, you can see what keywords people are using to find your site. Using those terms as tags (if they’re relevant) will help improve your SEO as well.

Archives & Dead Links

It’s amazing the things you can discover if you take a trip through your blog’s archives. Take some time assure that your posts are organized by month and year, and if you haven’t already, make them easily accessible from your landing page (a widget or page will do nicely). With WordPress blogs it’s a breeze to get organized with plugins like Simply Year Archives, and your posts should aggregate by date automatically in Blogger.

Dead links are a fact of life on the Internet, and seeking them out can be a nightmare. Again, WordPress has plugins for this, and Blogger does not. Despite the dreadfully tedious (and admittedly, sort of boring) aspect of this task, it’s important to have a circuitous and easy-to-navigate site.

Social Media

Chelsea did a great round-up of tips and tricks for cleaning up your social media before the conference, so be sure to include these elements in your “housekeeping” sweep. Social media is how we amplify the message we’re sending out, so keeping things as organized and optimized as possible will aid in hearing the important things and being heard ourselves.

 

Will you make any other organizational changes or updates to your site in time for IFBcon? What about updating your design or re-formatting your images? Let us know your best housekeeping tips in the comments.

 

Digital fashionTo get your tickets, head to the Eventbrite page and buy either:

Regular One-Day Pass: $125

Regular Two-Day Pass: $185

Corporate/Non-IFB Member Tickets: $600

Comments

  1. faye says:

    I’d also advise clearing up your sidebar and only keeping widgets that are of use. Don’t litter it with a million different widgets if they aren’t useful then get rid. The more widgets you have, the longer the site takes to load.

  2. Avatar of the wild swans

    Thanks for that girl!

    I really need to do some dusting on my blog :P

    http://www.thewild-swans.com

  3. Avatar of Kristian
    Kristian says:

    Great tips! I think my tags need a good overhaul to them.

    http://www.neverfullydressedwithoutastyle.blogspot.com

  4. Kieran Murphy says:

    Cluttered sidebars irk me the most, especially when they’re just widgets copy and pasted from sites.

    I think it’s best to make an image on photo shop with logos of all the ways to connect then linking to them with an image map.

  5. Avatar of emilyjenny
    emilyjenny says:

    LOVE this article on housekeeping. I cleared out my social media and tags segment but totally took away my blogroll because I thought it didn’t really matter. I will definitely look into this and create a concise list of my favorites.

    Thanks a bunch for the tips!

    xo
    Emily Jenny

    http://www.stilettobeats.com

  6. Avatar of moiminnie
    moiminnie says:

    I think I’m doing a pretty good job maintaining my site. I often delete tags that I later on see don’t apply to some of my posts and always correct dead links, if I come across them. I have an archive widget in separate page right below the header so every post from every month is easy accessible. It’s also good to have a search bar on your site so people could directly type in what they’re interested in. Great tips!
    xx, minnie @ http://www.moiminnie.blogspot.com

  7. de la Pen says:

    I definitely need to do some blog housekeeping. I would like to reach out to a brand about a collaboration and I went to the post I already did only to find that the YouTube link isn’t working properly. I just transferred my site to WordPress.org so I’m still fixing the kinks. However, I’m learning how important proper links are because if someone discovers a bad link on your site they are not likely to return. And anyone in advertising and marketing will tell you, it’s easier to retain a customer than get a new one. The same applies in blogging!

  8. Toni Styles says:

    These are some great tips! Time to dust the blog off…

    http://rhythmandruffle.com <3

  9. I did a sidebar makeover, ensuring that my social media links are at the top and adding a list of youtube videos with thumbnail images of each video underneath. I also added a PRESS section. Thanks for these tips!

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