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!
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.
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.
To 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