Get out your duster – it’s blog housekeeping time!

Blogging is all about writing and reading, right?  Well, not necessarily.  Of course there’s nothing wrong with writing and reading, but just like a house tends to function better when it’s neat and tidy, so does a blog.  Devoting some time to blog housekeeping on a somewhat regular basis gives you a finely tuned blog machine that is performing optimally.

Rory at A Guy Called Bloke and K9 Doodlepip is legendary for his work deep inside the catacombs of his blog to make it the most orderly blog that it could possibly be.  I bow to his greatness, but we’ll forge ahead with my own housekeeping strategies.

Comment spam clean-out

WordPress’s Akismet spam filter will sometimes decide legit comments are spam, including legit comments from your regular readers.  Check your spam every so often to make sure you haven’t missed anyone’s comments.  This post tells you how to find your comment spam.  I’ve blacklisted some of my frequent spam sources so they go straight to my trash folder which saves me some time in sifting through the spam folder.

Home and about page freshening up

Take a look at your actual website, not just the WordPress editor version.  Is everything looking the way you want it to?  Is there some random widget that you didn’t even realize was there?  Is there any information that needs updating?  Is there anything you can do to make it easier for people to navigate around your site?

Link-building

This matters for two main reasons.  One, search engines look more favourably on websites that are well linked.  Primarily, though, it’s easier for your readers to find relevant content if you show them how to find it.

Let’s talk a bit more about the second reason.  Your readers want to read your work, but they don’t want to hunt for it.  If you give them links, it means they don’t have to put in any effort.  It can also save you time spent re-explaining things you’ve already covered.  A few sections back when I was talking about comment spam, rather than explain in this post how to find it, I offered a link to another post that already did that.  It makes things easier for me as well as for the reader.  There’s also the benefit that Google likes that kind of thing, and that reflects in search result rankings.

That’s the why, now here’s the housekeeping.  When you’re writing new posts, you can include links as you go to past content.  But what about the content that’s you’ve written since then?  Once a month or so, I’ll go back through most of my posts and update them with any new appropriate links.  Depending on how often your readers are checking out your older posts, this may be most useful for search engine optimization, because the search engines care more about whether the links are there than whether anyone’s clicking on them.

An extra step if you’re working on search engine optimization is to use a link checker tool, such as this one from Internet Marketing Ninjas, to check if there are problems with your links, such as broken links or links that need to redirect to the current URL.  This does end up helping the user experience because it makes sure that when they click a link on your blog it takes them to where they’re supposed to go.  Broken links don’t help your reader, and redirects slow them down when they’re trying to access something.

Add structure

You can really see this on Rory’s site that I linked to above, and to a lesser extent on my own site.  By creating directories with links for related posts all in one place, it makes it easy for your reader to find things.  There’s also the option for readers to find posts by category, but personally I like the directory idea, and it also creates some great internal links for you.

If you decide to do this, it’s something that you can choose to do a little bit of maintenance housekeeping on on a regular basis, or update it intermittently.

Streamlining

This may be my own personal fussiness, but I believe that less is more.  If there are images uploaded to my blog that I haven’t actually used in a post, I get rid of them.  If there are outdated promotional posts, like a reblog of someone’s free book day promo from 6 months ago, I will eventually weed those out and delete them.

Check search engine webmaster tools

I take a look at Google’s Search Console and Bing’s webmaster tools about once a month or so, to see if they can give me any new insights or flag things that aren’t working properly.

I think that’s it for me.  Do you have an housekeeping tasks you try to keep up with on your blog?

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24 thoughts on “Get out your duster – it’s blog housekeeping time!

  1. Meg says:

    Wow, at this point, I’m convinced you’re a computer genius! 😮

    It occurred to me that I could link all of my relevant posts to categories such as: Annie Lane, Ask Amy, Carolyn Hax, Dear Abby, etc. Huh. I might do that soon!

    • ashleyleia says:

      I don’t know about genius, since I’ve been working on figuring this stuff out since I first started. But yes, linking to those site would be a very good idea.

  2. Paula Light says:

    That’s great! I deleted a ton of posts back in the day when I had a lot of complaints about dating… and then I started dating again. A few cycles of that. So, even though my blog is old, there are lots of “gaps.” I went through and deleted images that didn’t belong to posts because that bugged me. Thank you for posting the link checker ~ I’m going to save that! Recently, I made a few tabs to direct readers to my favorite poems and flash fiction, etc. I have more plans along those lines. Great ideas here!

    • ashleyleia says:

      I’ve never gone through mass purges of old posts, but I think it’s much better to do that than have things hanging about that really aren’t serving you anymore.

  3. Barb says:

    I can’t do a whole lot of housekeeping because it brings out my OCD tendencies. These are great tips, however, and I will try to incorporate them in my blog.

  4. Melanie B Cee says:

    My efforts are feeble at best. The sole area that I really tend to ‘houseclean’ is the yearly A-Z Blogging Challenge. I keep those, tidily, on separate pages on my .com site. I have also kept the images all each in their own folder on my computer, labeled by year. For me that’s a lot of effort. I’m really poor at any other area of my blog, but you’ve given me some great ideas. And I think Rory is awesome too. 🙂

  5. Karen says:

    I really need to do some blog housekeeping and your tips are certainly pointing me in the right direction! I need a good checklist to organise my scatty brain 😀

  6. Invisibly Me says:

    I definitely need to invest some time & effort into blog housekeeping. I just feel so snowed under and behind lately.. yikes. It needs to be done though. The link checker is an interesting one, I’ll have to check that out as it would be handy if it can be done automatically to pick up on any linky errors. xx

    • ashleyleia says:

      When time is short it’s definitely hard to make this a priority. But I do like the link checker, since it finds errors I never would have found myself.

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