Spring Clean Your Blog

Posted April 11, 2016 by Julie in TopPosts, Website and Blogging / 62 Comments

Spring is here, and many of us are talking about Spring Cleaning this or that, and typically these topics are about some room in your house. Well, why not carry that over to your blog as well? Our blogs can get cluttered over time as well, so I wanted to share a few tips on tidying things up and making our blogs look better. Let’s start at the top and work our way down.

how-to-spring-clean-your-blog

Your Header

The header is the first impression – it is the first blog item that visitors are greeted with, and so it deserves to be wonderful. Ask yourself if you like your header and if it fits your blog’s mood. Do the colors work well together? Is the font readable? Are the colors used in your header carried through the rest of your blog? If you can streamline the colors, it really helps solidify your brand.

Your menu is the next step we should work on. How many menu links do you have? Is your menu cluttered? This is an easy place to end up with too many links as we add new pages. You want to have a handful or so links up there, so think about categories. Can any items be grouped and rather than being listed separately, can something be part of a drop down menu? I had a lot of links on my former menu, but with the rebrand and redesign, I grouped a lot of things.

Be creative with the drop down headers. For example, I created a header “Motherhood” and listed all the mom and family related categories there. Then I created a “Lifestyle” header, and everything else goes under that – such as food, finances, blogging, etc.

Your Sidebar

The sidebar is probably the biggest clutter magnet. I feel like I’m constantly making tweaks to mine and trying to clean it up. The sidebar should start with an icon or headshot with a quick bio and social media icons and be followed by various important items, such as an opt-in form. You also definitely want to include a search bar.

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A sidebar is also a great place to showcase your best posts (I have a featured posts section) and any projects or campaigns you are affiliated with. I have a few rotating banners with the companies I am an affiliate for or projects that I want to showcase. Otherwise, I try to limit things on my sidebar. You certainly don’t want to list out all and every membership you have, as that list can get very long. A footer might be a better place for some images that may be required on each page. I recommend a separate memberships page (maybe in a drop down from an about link) to list all the groups you have joined.  The sidebar should have good information on it, but also not distract from your main content.

There are things that do not belong in our sidebars. I sometimes still see the WordPress “meta” tags – take that out of your widgets. It looks unprofessional. Also, sometimes I still see counters on blog sidebars. You really should focus on your Google Analytics and not try to display a counter that isn’t meaningful.

Your Main Content

The content area of the blog is the prime location for your visitor’s eyes, so it needs to be easy to follow. I like themes that allow for excerpts of the posts rather than the full post on the front page. This gives visitors a quick view of what you have been sharing and allows them to select where to go.

Doing a quick scan down your main page, we next can focus on spring cleaning our headlines. Can you think of any way to re-word your headlines to make them more interesting? If so, feel free to make some changes (just don’t change the permalink to the post).

Another important piece of your main content are images. Do you have a good featured image for each post? If your theme allows it, you can see a thumbnail of the main image near the headline and excerpt of the post. While you’re at it, are there large, long images on your important posts that someone can Pin? Pin-able images are very important for blog growth, so remember to add a vertical image to your posts.

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Now let’s chat about spring cleaning the way we finish our posts. What action do you want your readers to take? Do you want them to leave a comment? If so, ask a question. Do you want them to share – then ask them to do so. End your post with a “call to action” so your readers know what you would like them to do next.

Finally, do your posts have a signature? The bottom of a post is a good place to place your bio and social media links as well as an opt-in form. If someone made it to the bottom of a post, they are likely interested in your blog are likely to subscribe to get more great content.

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JuliepicI'm Julie, a new mom who works full time and blogs, all while wishing I had more time to read fun books. I write about being a first time working mom in order to help myself and other working moms in our journeys to find balance between family, responsibilities, and hobbies so we can thrive both at home and at work.
I can be found blogging at Fab Working Mom Life and Chapter Break, and hanging out on social media: Twitter ~ Pinterest ~ Facebook ~ Instagram


Note: Some posts may contain affiliate links. Should you choose to purchase a product, I will receive a small commission for the sale at no additional cost to you. Fab Working Mom Life is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

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62 responses to “Spring Clean Your Blog

  1. I’m mid Spring cleaning at the moment. These are some good ideas. I’ve been going two months and i really rushed my header etc. I’m taking time to get a rebrand right for me! #kcacols

  2. Pen

    Hi, thanks for this post. My blog definitely needs a spring clean. My blog has evolved over the last year so I have headers relating to topics about which I have only written 2 or 3 posts. The sidebar is less cluttered but I do really like the idea of a favourite posts section. Thanks for the kick up the bum. Pen X. #KCACOLS

    • Yay, glad my post helped inspire you 🙂 Or, if you think those topics are important maybe add those categories to your to-do list for upcoming post writing 🙂

  3. Great ideas. I’m always tweaking around with my blog too. I’ve recently increased my font size and started adding bolding, bullets, and highlights to make my text more “scannable”. I think it’s made a lot of difference in making my posts much easier to read. I’ve also included larger subscription boxes that are a bit more assertive. I think the reason I wasn’t getting many subscribers before was because I had a tiny little subscription link down at the bottom of my posts, almost as though I was embarrassed by it. I’m getting a lot more subscribers now.

    • Yes, font size and adding white space to make it scannable – great ideas. I try to do that, but sometimes I ramble on. Like this post actually. I didn’t bullet too much now did I?

  4. Great ideas! I’m always tweaking bits and pieces on my sidebar as it drives me mad sometimes! Its good to have a look at your blog every now and again and see what you can improve on 🙂

    #KCACOLS

  5. This is such excellent advice – and I was really excited to click on your post – my blog is relatively new so it’s not too cluttered but it does look a tad messy in sections so need to have a look through and sort You’re so right about headings as well because they can really be what draws the reader to your post and hopefully like the post! Thank you for some great pointers #KCACOL

    • Thanks JustSayingMum 🙂 🙂 I’m constantly tweaking something, so even if you are new and haven’t gotten too much stuff accumulated on your blog, you might still find something to change. Although, again, we can keep tweaking forever and at some point need to let ourselves stop and focus on actual blog content hahaah

    • I feel ya. Writing is quite important too! I feel like I’m always making tweaks, but not writing enough new content. So yea it is a balance.

  6. I really need to spring clean my blog! I’d love an interesting header but my design skills are somewhat lacking! Will definitely remove the meta tag too – I wasn’t sure why this was there in the first place! Thanks for the tips #KCACOLS

    • I don’t know why the meta section is there by default either. I don’t think a designer-quality header is required, just something simple and cute that represents you 🙂 Thanks Jules!

  7. This spring, I am hoping to increase my SEO ranking, and will have to go through every post I have written to spruce them up, I also want to update many of the featured images. Hard to find the time to clean up when you have posts to write! Thanks so much for your tips!
    Thanks for linking up with #KCACOLS. Hope you will come back again next Sunday!
    Tori
    http://www.themamanurse.com

  8. I think I definitely need a blog makeover. I do like the design but it’s been the same for about one and a half years. I’ve thought about switching from blogger to wordpress but still thinking on that. Thanks for your tips! I’m visiting from #LMMLinkup.

    • Thanks Gayl! I think it depends on how satisfied you are with Blogger and whether you need the specific features of WordPress for your blog. If you do like the design then it doesn’t need to change. Having that consistency helps your visitors know where they are. Just sometimes a good clean up to find things that don’t belong anymore or maybe some freshening up even with updated colors/fonts can do the trick.

  9. Super suggestions! I know I marked some posts private or changes links inside of the post when the old ones I found were irrelevant. Thanks for sharing your post at the Over the Moon Link Party.

    • Ooh I’ve marked a ton of my former velvet-rose.net posts as private. They were rambly and I was not blogging seriously heh. Marking things private is a great way to not have to delete stuff.

    • My headlines can use some work too. I often draft a simple headline just to get the post started, but then I don’t go back and analyze it, or fix the slug. I need to get better about that.

  10. Great tips, Julie! It’s absolutely the perfect time of year to give our blogs a once-over. Plus, it helps procrastinate actually spring cleaning the house! 🙂

  11. Thanks for these tips! I switched platforms over Christmas from Blogger to WordPress. It’s given me a great opportunity to slowly go through all of my old posts, updating pictures and editing text. And since I only started pushing on social media about a year ago, I can give my old posts new life. I like the idea of a signature at the end of posts. I don’t have one currently, but I’ll definitely be adding one. Thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks Karyl 🙂 Ooh yea moving platforms like that sounds like a lot of work, and yet it really lets you evaluate and update each post as needed.

  12. Great points here! I am realizing that this type of spring cleaning is a constant process. I feel like I’m always cleaning up my sidebar…it’s much better than it was when I first started though. Yes, I had the tag clouds for a few months. 🙂 It’s gone now.

    This was a good reminder to take another look at it. I have been cleaning up my sidebar recently. I just started offering advertising on my sidebar and beneath my posts, I had to clean up my blog so that the advertisements/sponsorships are able to be seen!

  13. Wow, excellent post! And I just realized you are the same blogger I “met” on Twitter last week (fellow engineer, mom, wife, blogger, reader, etc.).

    I need to do ALL of the things you recommend here – an update is way overdue for my blogs. Part of my problem is time and part is know-how. I have written 2 blogs for almost 10 years (and a 3rd one for many years, too), yet, my technical know-how is still minimal! I know I need to update and freshen up my blogs – I need to just set aside some time. I tend to prioritize my writing time for paid work (which makes sense!) but I do need to update the blogs, too.

    I would add one more note to your great suggestions – not to overwhelm your blog (and especially the sidebar) with too much clutter, links, images, etc. Not only is it distracting and difficult to find the real content, but I find that blogs with too much stuff really slow down my browser – it’s just not worth it sometimes!

    Thanks again – I am bookmarking this post & setting aside Blog Improvement Week this month!

    Sue

    Book By Book

    • Hi Sue!! Yes definitely focusing on paid work makes sense, but I don’t think you really need to know the ins and outs of coding and blogging details to be able to clean up a few things. Most can be done with your theme settings in your dashboard (or whatever Blogger options there are). Yes that’s a great point – you definitely don’t want too many trinkets and images that slow down the page loading. Or have music playing! People will leave quick. Thanks for stopping by and yay for connecting on Twitter and then on the blog 🙂

  14. I can honestly say I’ve never thought to “spring-clean” my blog, this is so helpful! I’ll definitely be applying these soon 🙂

    • Thanks Kalli! I think we can become blog-blind and taking a fresh look at details can help us improve. I think I learned and changed quite a bit on my blog during my rebrand.

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