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?