Let’s kick start 2018 with organisation! Organising your blog that is.
Do you ever feel like your blog needs a a cleanup? Or that you need to get your blogging shit together? That’s exactly what I’m trying to do right now, so yay, go us!
As I’ve been thinking about what I want to do with Simply Adrift this year, I’ve also been thinking about how I can clean it up. Is there anything I can do to make Simply Adrift tidier? Do I really need all of these tags and categories? Does my sidebar function well? Is there a way in which I can work that will make blogging easier, faster, or more productive?
I’ve started with the list below, and I thought others might find these useful.
Organising your blog
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Blog Layout Pack
I’ve had this lying around in bits and pieces, but I finally decided to collate the information and create a pack.
What I’ve done is created a document that has all of my blogs layout information. Such as my colour scheme and colour hex codes so I can easily find those colours again when creating new images etc. I have a list of the fonts I use on my blog & feature images. This way whenever I’m creating something new, I can easily go to this document and find the fonts & colours I need. Especially if it’s been a while and I really can’t remember the name of the fonts I use.
Other information I have in this document is: Feature-image sizes, column sizing of my blog, header sizing (All for if I want to create new images), important pieces of code that I want to keep collated, such as my blog’s button code.
I also have a folder that has image templates in .psd format (for Photoshop) for my feature images, so I can open up the template, replace the image and re-name the title. This keeps my feature images from changing too much because the layout is the same each time.
Having this blogging pack and folder, keeps everything consistent and “on brand” as the business blogs would say. It makes it so much easier for me to locate the information I need! I think you can use this idea and create it anyway that you want! A mood board, save the colours as images and title them with the hex codes, you can get creative!
Keep on top of categories & tags
Looking through my tags and categories, I thought I had been relatively good at making sure I used my tags well. But then I checked my tags and found I had 9 pages of them… um, so that’s a lot… I ended up deleting quite a few that I felt were useless or duplicated tags! I even merged a lot of tags together. This took a long time.
I highly recommend sorting through your tags & categories and deleting the duplicated ones. If you have a Category called ‘Books’ then you really do not need tags such as ‘Books’ or ‘Bookish’. Cull them down so you only have a minimum of 5-10 categories (This still seems a lot to me), and only really specific useful tags!
You want your readers to use your tags to find posts that are similar and related, so figure out if you REALLY need that tag and delete it. Maybe you have multiple tags for one thing? Such as Blogging Tips, you might have tags such as ‘Tips’, ‘Tricks’, ‘Blog Tips’ etc. You could collate those all into one easy tag.
Only use tags that better categorise your posts and make it more efficient for your readers to find like-minded content.
I like to keep this in mind when I’m creating new blog posts!
Clear out your sidebar
Cluttered sidebars are sooo 2015. I would say I’m joking, but I’m not. Blogging has blown up over the years, its’ a lot different now to what it was when I first started with my first blog. Blog designs have changed, we’re all after a more minimalist and sleek look now. At least that’s my opinion. Personally I love a pretty, and sleek design. A lot of blogs have even done away with their sidebars completely.
If you have a sidebar though, you most likely know that the information there shouldn’t be cluttered, it’s unsightly and gives your blog an outdated look. Now’s the perfect time to figure out what you want in your sidebars, what information will your readers appreciate? What links are important? Personally I think a small photo of you, and a mini about section is a must! Then from there, you can decide what’s important and what’s not.
Organise your post ideas
How do you keep track of your content?
Personally I use Evernote to write my posts and keep them organised between post ideas, post drafts, published posts, and guest posts. Once I’ve finished a draft of a post, I will move it into the ‘Drafts’ folder I have set up, then when I’ve scheduled it to be published, I put it in the ‘Published’ folder. This way I also have a copy of every single blog post I’ve ever written and published!
If my blog dies and I can’t use my backup for whatever reason (It’s horrifying imagining this happening), then I still have this content, and I haven’t completely lost everything… Fingers crossed this never happens though!
You might use Microsoft Excel to keep track of your post ideas, or Microsoft Word (Or Google Sheets & Google Docs). However you do it, I recommend using something other than your blogs dashboard!
Clear out your plugins
Time to check how many plugins you use and decide if you need all of them! I try to not use plugins for everything if I don’t have to. So the plugins I do use are plugins that I find beneficial to the use of my blog, or very handy and saves me time so it’s worth having it.
Get rid of any plugins you don’t use anymore! And when installing new plugins, don’t go crazy and install 10 in one sitting…
Keep on top of broken links
I use the plugin Broken Link Checker for this. I highly recommend it! It tells you when a link no longer works, so you can figure out why and if you need to re-link it to a different place or remove the link completely.
I know I just told you to delete plugin’s that aren’t useful or beneficial to your blog, but this one is useful, I swear! Don’t you hate it when you’re reading an engaging blog post and they’ve linked to someone else’s post that you really want to read, only to find out the post isn’t there? This plugin notifies bloggers as soon as the link doesn’t work, so they can re-direct the link to a different place.
Backup your blog often
As a self-hosted blog, this is hugely important. When I first started Simply Adrift, this was something I learnt about really fast. I did a lot of research on how I should back my blog up, what the different methods were, and how often etc. To be honest, I am still learning the in’s and out’s of self hosting. I feel like there is so much to learn, so I’m not going to explain to you how to do this, but instead link you to a useful article.
First off, you need to know that you should be backing up your blog often. If you post content multiple times a week, backing your blog up every week is recommended. If you post content once a week, then backing your blog up every few weeks or once a month should be okay. It all depends on how often you post/change your blog.
Don’t just rely on your website host to have a backup saved! You can backup your blog yourself. I don’t recommend relying on a plugin either. Personally I use my host’s backup system as an extra option, and I also backup my blog on an external hard drive using Filezilla FTP. Which is free to download! Your website host may have a how-to guide, so check there first, more often that not, they do. Then you can google it.
I recently used this article to remind me how to backup my blog, which helped me a lot after not having blogged for quite a while >> Backing up your blog
The final step is exporting your files from your WordPress dashboard. You can do that by going to ‘Tools’ & ‘Export’ on your dashboard menu!
I don’t keep all of these backups, I keep the last couple that I did and delete any older files. They’re way too big in size for me to keep, and if I need to restore my blogs content, I’m not going to use a backup from the other month that is missing all of my recent blog posts! I keep the last couple though just in case my most recent backup is corrupted.
Write Original Content
I love discovering blogs that are consistently churning out original content. You know, they’ve drawn from real life stuff to talk about. They’re drawing from personal experience. I LOVE this kind of content, it really gets me reading. I also love discussions, and how-to guides. Do away from all of the meme’s and things, you can write such better content I swear! If you need motivation, I discussed how I create original content, and give tips on how to write more blog content.
If you’re really having a hard time staying motivated, try sticking to a weekly or monthly theme of content. That way you know what you’re going to write about and it narrows down the overwhelming amount of ideas!
I hope you find this useful and it helps you clean up your own blog! Organising your blog and keeping on top of it, really makes a difference when you’re in a blogging slump.
Do you have any 2018 blogging goals? Have you done a tidy up of your blog too? Do you have any other tips on organising your blog?