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How to spring-clean your blog

(spring-cleaning your blog)
Here are ways I found to clean up a Blogger blog. I've found and fixed many things with content, images, navigation, theme, descriptions, and analytics. [4 minutes]

Spring-Cleaning Steps

Clean up the content

  • Remove old posts: delete old posts with no traffic and no usefulness to readers. Also delete the comments.
  • Use headings: create proper headings and subheadings, since Blogger added support.
  • Remove cruft: remove broken links, outdated information and unhelpful asides.
  • Enhance clarity: clean up rambling bits, convert list-paragraphs to bullets, add bold titles to bullets.
  • Clean HTML: remove random HTML elements that crept in over time, to be tidy.
  • Remove blank paragraphs: remove white space to improve post appearance.
  • Add read times: add [5 minutes] etc time estimates to help readers decide.

Clean up the images

  • Replace hotlinks: replace hotlinks with uploaded images. Prevents dead images and mixing of HTTP with HTTPS on the page.
  • Design images: using Adobe Spark to create post images, it can dynamically reshape the image for each social network.
  • Replace old images: pick higher-resolution images for old low-res ones.
  • Alt text: add a text description of the image. Alt text overrides the page title for Pinterest description. Warning that if you don't set a Search Description (meta tag), description comes from first 140 characters of the post, which includes alt text from heading images.
  • Title text: optionally add text to show up on mouse-over. It overrides both page title and alt text to be the image description on Pinterest.

Clean up the navigation

  • Revise titles: rework post titles be more direct (8-12 words, under 60 characters) using one or more key phrases from top organic searches.
  • Make intro concise: write intro paragraph under 200 characters to avoid truncation in mobile post list or Pinterest description. Keep each sentence under 140 characters to avoid truncation in search result snippets or shares.
  • Add Search Descriptions: enable under Settings:Search Preferences:Meta Description. Then add a Search Description to each post based off the 200-character intro.
  • Use broad labels: re-label using only a few categories, a category for each major audience, each post in 1 or 2 categories only.
  • Add internal links: add internal links to other posts a reader of this post might be interested in.

Clean up the theme

  • Pick theme: change from Contempo to Notable since images are not important in my posts.
  • Tweak timestamps: I removed the year from dates shown on the blog. My posts are so old 👴
  • Revise blog description: rewritten to sound better when sharing blog on social media.
  • Enable comments: switch from Google+ comments to Blogger comments, since commenting dropped off radically under Google+.
  • Tune AdSense fill rate: reduce fill rate from 60% to 5% to show fewer ads. I'm just playing with AdSense, only made €15 in 5 years anyway.

Improve discoverability

  • AdWords: run a campaign for niche posts that aren't ranking yet, with custom redirects for a short URL for the ad.
  • Set up HTTPS: enable HTTPS by default and HTTPS redirection.
  • Webmaster Tools: added https:// domain and sitemap.xml to Google Webmaster Tools, also register with Bing Webmaster Tools.
  • Google Analytics: add filter to exclude referrals from spam domains ("Campaign Source" filter), and exclude "m" in "Exclude URL Query Parameters" on the view, so you don't have two rows for each page.
  • Sharing + Follow Buttons: add proper sharing and follow buttons as Blogger built-in ones aren't great. Right now using Shareaholic with all the tracking and advertising crud turned off.
P.S. After you've decluttered your blog, try decluttering your home with the outbox method.


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