Your Blog Archives: Dealing with Clutter


I've got over 650 posts on my site.  Some of them are a testament to how much I've grown– as a writer, as a designer, and as someone who can smack around a little HTML.  Some of them? They are blog clutter.  They're posts that may be a silly blog meme, a post doing nothing more than apologizing for not being around, or a promotion/sale for something that may no longer exist.  They use up server space, cache space, and bring nothing of value to my site or to my readers.  (I'm okay with admitting that.)


I like to think of my blog as a living portfolio: I want my writing and voice, along with the quality of content,  to be strong and consistent.  Though I'm guessing the odds are low, there is the occasional person who stops by, falls in love with my site, and reads every post.  And I want to give every reader something worth giving in each post.  I want brands to see a strong message and vision in everything I say.


We're all going to have different responses to how we treat all of our posts– after all, each one is a painstaking act of creation, with lots of love and passion put in to it.  Some of us see each post as a sign of progress and have no desires in changing that.  Some of us, like myself, want to create cohesion: like our blogs are one giant magazine.


Ways to Deal with Blog Clutter:

  • Edit, edit, edit! This idea came from Elle Enchanted, who mentioned going back in to her archives and editing posts she thought were lacking.  I think this is a great idea, especially as we grow in areas like SEO.  A little bit of tidying can help drive more traffic in!
  • In lieu of editing: rewrite.  Say you have a great post idea, but you think that there's so much more you could have done.  You have the opportunity to edit it (and link back to the original post), or you can simply re-write it.  Promote the rewritten post like you would a new one.  I recently did this with a post where I spent half of it talking about my exhaustion and the other half talking about a magazine interview– I cut out the exhaustion bits, and focused JUST on the magazine: sharing my views on fashion as art.
  • Trash the trash. I'm a fan of hitting the “Send to trash, clear from page cache” buttons on posts that I feel will NEVER be up to snuff.  Going through my archives, I realized that there were too many posts where I apologized for not being around, for taking a vacation, or enjoying the holidays.  There's no place for excuses on my site.  If I don't post, I don't post– I realize NOW that I don't need to apologize for missing a week (and neither do you!).


It's worthwhile to note that some sources say trashing posts can be bad for your site, as you're reducing the SEO on your site, may create broken links, etc.  So if you're going to trash posts, it's important that you make sure you're really getting rid of trash posts only.


After you do it, you should go back through after with a plugin like Broken Link Checker to find any link errors you may have in other posts (for the non-Wordpress users, you can use Google Analytics to find out which pages are broken on your site).  You can manually fix broken links within the posts, and I'd also suggest adding a plugin like Redirection.  Redirection will give allow you to direct traffic from external sites to new pages if they happen to be linking to one of those posts you deleted. Afterall, no one wants to land on a site expecting one article and getting a 404 error!


How do you feel about cleaning up your blog archives?  Have you done it before?  Any tips to share on how to do it without messing up your site's optimization?


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8 Responses

  1. MJ

    Love the idea of erewriting old posts! It is a great way to bring back those golden nugget posts that may not have gotten the exposure back then and your new readers can enjoy it now. Awesome idea!

  2. Loren

    The general feel of my blog has grown and drastically changed in the past 6 months I’ve been blogging.
    But rather than take down some of those arty, or complainy, or off topic posts that have no meaning to anyone but me, I just make them ‘private’ so that I can still look back at my blog as a journal (but no one else has to read my sappy thoughts about my relationship or whiny-ness about family and friends.)

  3. No Guilt Fashion

    I’m actually doing this right now. Well, it is taking awhile to complete it. However, I know it has made a difference for me. I’m actually receiving more traffic on old posts.

  4. lisa

    Interesting topic. I’d never considered cleaning my archives before, and I don’t know if I want to put the effort in now with so many other conflicting priorities. But your reasons for archive cleanup sound pretty compelling!

    I didn’t clean up my archives, but I did do some navigation layout tweaks to draw attention to certain posts or recurring features on my blog. I changed the labels list/tag cloud into a dropdown list, and put hyperlinks to important recurring blog features under my banner.

  5. Christine/Hexotica

    I’ve debated this dilemma as well, so thanks for the ideas. I have also come to realize the best way to deal with absence is to pretend it didn’t happen; mainly because of how I feel as a reader when I stumble upon a good blog and am reading several posts in one go; the apologies are pointless clutter getting in the way of my finding the grit and nature of the blog. I might write a couple of lines of what I’ve been up to, but no apologies.
    With reading blogs, as well, I find I enjoy seeing how the blogger and blog have evolved, so don’t edit or trash too much from the past! I find bloggers who leave a little from the past are kind of sharing a little humility, and I don’t judge their blogs to be any less awesome when I see how far they have come–I admire them more, in fact! 🙂

  6. Anna

    you have a very good point there! I’d love to go over my old posts and edit them!! especially the photos. In the past I made them super small, but nowadays I value the power of a big nice photo. I need some planning to do that though! It will take me a whole day!

  7. Mary @ stylefyles

    I’ve very lightly edited old posts (mostly photos and whatnot that I grew to be embarrassed of) but felt somewhat unethical doing so. (not sure why). Glad to hear that others do the same. I feel much better about altering old material.