April 24, 2012

Spring is that time of the year many turn to clearing out the clutter. They go through pantries, closets, and attics throwing out old items to make room for new ones to store. They sort through clothes, giving away too-snug items and discarding old, out-dated fashions. Carpets are cleaned, blinds scrubbed, and paint retouched. And the more effort put into spring cleaning, the greater the ability of enjoying all of the benefits of a uncluttered life.

Spring cleaning isn’t just limited to our houses and yards, however. For those who blog for pleasure or for profit, your blog may need a little spring cleaning as well. If it’s been a while since you’ve spruced up your WordPress blog, here are seven ideas for spring cleaning your blog:

  1. Sweep through early posts – in reviewing older posts, look for outdated content, images with missing Alt tags, and unclear meta tags. Also, review older posts to find opportunities to create links to newer posts. Linking within your site is a good way to encourage more page views, as well as boost your Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
  2. Weed out and update plugins – one major cause of slow site load time is having too many plugins. Check your installed plugin menu for ones no longer in use and remove them. Also, look for outdated plugins and select the option to update them to the latest version. If you are holding on to some plugins thinking you might use them in the future, make note of them and remove them for now. If you need the plugins in the future, you can always add them back using your list.
  3. Toss unused tags and categories – the more categories and tags you use, the more they can slow down your database and decrease your site’s performance. Also, unused tags and categories can potentially create 404 errors (that blank page you get when the link you click no longer works). A great tool to help you fix this common problem is WP-Clean Fix. This all in one tool will check, repair, fix, and optimize your blog for better performance.
  4. Dust for errors – speaking of 404 errors… These site errors can creep up on you, so actively checking your site for them is a great way to keep visitors from getting lost in cyberspace. A good tool for identifying this type of error is BrokenLinkCheck.com. The site checks your website for dead links and provides you with a report that shows exactly where those bad links reside.
  5. Unclutter your database – each draft you save while writing your blog posts gets stored in your database. Over time, these entries can accumulate into a large amount of data. You can easily remove this extra, unneeded data by using WP – Optimize. Once installed and run on your site, you’ll be able to see the extra space you’ve saved.
  6. Rearrange your sidebar widgets – If you’re looking for ways to improve your page load time, reviewing your sidebar area may provide you with several ways to minimize this time. Take a look at your widgets and determine if you have too many housed there. If so, look for ones you can remove. This will not only help improve your SEO and page load times, but can also provide easier navigation for your readers.
  7. Inspect your cleaning results – wondering if your hard work will get you results? Inspect your spring cleaning efforts with Marketing Grader from Hubspot. This free tool will show you how well your site is performing.

Though these tips are geared mainly for WordPress blogs, many can be applied to other types of blogs as well. By taking the time to spring clean your blog, you not only help to improve your blog’s SEO, but also make it a better place for your readers.

How do you spring clean your blog?