Spring cleaning is not just for houses – it’s for websites too. Regularly cleaning, tidying and organising your blog will make blogging less stressful and more successful. Read on to discover 21 ways to spring clean your blog. (Plus grab yourself a copy of my blog spring cleaning checklist!)
We all know that it’s important to give our homes a deep clean from time to time – a really thorough clear-out helps us keep on top of things, and prevents clutter and dirt from building up over time, making your house a nicer more attractive place to live in.
Well your blog is just like your home – over time it can get cluttered, messy and tired-looking. Getting into the habit of giving your blog the once over from time to time will not only make you feel better, it will also make your blog better and more successful in the long term.
In this guide on how to spring clean your blog, I am sharing 21 tips that will get your blog sparkling again in no time!
1. Freshen up your homepage
How long has your homepage looked exactly the same? If it’s been the same for more than a year, it’s definitely time for a refresh!
Take a long hard look at your homepage and decide what you can do to update it and freshen it up. How can you make your homepage best reflect your best work and current priorities?
Pay particular attention to your menu bars, your featured content, your images and your colours – what can you change to freshen things up?
Whilst you are at it, consider whether it might be time to change your blog theme. If your blog theme is looking tired and a little old fashioned, it might be time for a change. Blog design trends move fast, and what might have been cutting edge a couple of years ago almost certainly isn’t now.
2. Review your logos, header and tagline
In the same vein, if you have not changed your logos and/or header image in the last couple of years it might be time to think about updating them too.
Consider also your tagline – does it still represent what your blog is about? If not, then it’s definitely time for a change.
And whilst you are updating your tagline, don’t forget to update your favicon (the little image that appears in the tab at the top of your internet browser).
If you are not sure how to make these changes, consult your theme documents or contact your theme developer.
3. Clean up your sidebar and footer
Take a long hard look at what is in your sidebar and footer – do you absolutely need everything in there? Go through every item and ask yourself if there is really any genuine benefit to it. If not get rid of it.
Definitely get rid of that jumble of assorted buttons and links – these typically benefit the site you are linking to far more than they benefit you.
De-junking your sidebar and footer will also make your site run faster, which is good for user experience and SEO in general.
Cleaning up your side bar is especially important if you feature ads there – typically the shorter your sidebar, the better your ads will perform here.
4. Update your profile photo
There is one area of your sidebar you should definitely update on a regular basis and that is your profile pic.
Ditch that old slightly blurred selfie of you at a party 10 years ago and change it for a fresh, up-to-date, professional looking headshot.
And if you are still using a logo here, now is the time to change it for a happy smiley photo of you instead – people want to connect with people, not a faceless corporation.
If you have a short ‘about me’ blurb under your profile pic, consider updating this too.
READ MORE => Why bloggers should care about personal branding
5. Check your social media links
Another area to focus on is your social media links – are you linking to the correct social media profiles? Have you included all of them? Are there any that need to be deleted? Do the links all work? And do they look good?
For attractive, clean, modern-looking buttons I can highly recommend the Simple Social Icons plugin which I use on both my blogs.
This plugin, which is totally free, gives you the option to have social sharing buttons in the size and colour you want, with or without a background, and there are a large number of options, including all the main social media platforms, plus email, phone etc.
Just go to PLUGINS => ADD NEW and search for ‘Simple Social Icons’.
6. Refresh your ‘about’ page
This is something you should definitely keep regularly updated – make sure it reflects who you are now and what your blog is about.
A good ‘about’ page is actually more about your reader than it is about you – help your reader to understand what your blog is about and who it is for.
Make your target reader feel like they are in the right place and give them a mini tour of your site – tell them about your main categories and topics, and highlight key information such as how to subscribe, how to contact you and your social media profiles.
You should, of course include a brief blurb about you and how your blog came about, but keep this part brief and check regularly to make sure all the information is up-to-date – especially things like your children’s ages and how long you have been blogging for!
7. Tidy up your other pages
Make sure you have all the pages that are relevant for your blog and check that they are up-to-date. Also ensure that you delete old pages that you no longer need.
To find the complete list of all your pages go to PAGES => ALL PAGES.
8. Have a plugin sort out
Your plugins section (PLUGINS => INSTALLED PLUGINS) is one of the areas that will benefit most from a good old sort out. Unused plugins can really slow your site down (which is bad for SEO) and plugins which are not updated can pose a serious security risk.
Go through each plugin, one by one, deciding if you need to keep it. If so, make sure it is updated. If not, delete it. (Do make sure you know exactly what each plugin does, before you hit delete!)
Resist the urge to update all your plugins in one go, though. Go through them one at a time so that, if anything happens, it’s easy to pinpoint which plugin is causing the problems.
Before you start updating and deleting plugins willy nilly, it’s good practice to do a full site backup first. That way if anything goes wrong you can get your site back up in no time.
The ‘on demand’ backup tool is one of the reasons why I love having SiteGround as my host. Any time I do work like this, I can make a quick backup before I start and feel confident that, should the worst happen, I can quickly and easily revert back to my backup!
And whilst you are at it, make sure you are running on the most up-to-date version of WordPress. To check this, go to DASHBOARD => UPDATES.
Finally, make a plan from now on to update plugins on a weekly basis!
READ MORE => 15 essential plugins for WordPress blogs
9. Delete any unused themes
Go to APPEARANCE => THEMES and check how many themes you have – you may have more than you need!
Make sure you keep the theme you are using (and the parent theme if this is applicable – for example I have a Restored 316 Child Theme which runs on the Genesis Framework, so I need to keep both of these themes) but then delete the rest!
To delete a theme, click on the theme (THEME DETAILS) and then you will see the option to delete in the bottom right hand corner.
Make sure the theme you are using is up-to-date (though take care with updating some themes, as you may lose customisations. This is why it’s best to have a parent and child theme configuration – you can update the parent theme, e.g. Genesis and you don’t lose the customisations, as they are made to the child theme. If in doubt, consult your theme developer or website designer.)
Again, make sure you do a backup of your blog BEFORE you update your theme, just in case there are any problems.
10. Clean up your comments
How tidy is your comments section? If yours is cluttered and messy it’s time for a deep clean.
Take some time to approve and reply to your comment backlog. If someone has taken time to comment on your blog, it’s only right that you take the time to respond.
Also make sure you empty your spam (go to COMMENTS => SPAM => EMPTY SPAM)
To help you keep on top of comments going forward, take a moment to check your comments settings at SETTINGS => DISCUSSION.
Commit to checking and replying to comments on a regular basis in the future, so you never end up with a backlog again! Personally, I find it easiest to check and reply to comments and delete my spam on a daily basis, that way it’s never a big job.
11. Sort out your tags and categories
Tags and categories are another area which can get very messy and disorganised. A clear category structure and judicious use of tags is ESSENTIAL for SEO. If you get this right, it can really help increase your traffic and boost your search engine rankings.
Take some time to check your category structure and ensure that it makes sense to both readers and search engines. And be ruthless with your tags – only keep the ones which genuinely serve a purpose and delete the rest!
For more information on this topic, check out my article on Site Structure.
12. Delete all those random drafts
Next, turn your attention to all those draft posts you started and never actually finished. To find them, go to POSTS => ALL POSTS and select DRAFT.
Delete all the ones you know you will never finish. Add those you do intend to finish to your content calendar.
13. Update or delete old posts
Take a look at your very oldest posts and those which get little or no traffic and decide what to do about them. See if there is any way of salvaging them – could they be updated to make them fresh and current again? If so, either do that straight away or make a plan about when you are going to do that.
If not, then delete them!
Having out-of-date, poor-quality content on your blog is bad for SEO and can mean your ‘good’ content gets less traffic.
For more information on what to do with out-of-date and poor-quality posts, and why having them hurts your SEO, read my guide to site structure for bloggers.
14. Tackle your orphaned posts
Orphaned posts are posts which have no internal links pointing TO them. Orphaned posts are generally seen as less important by search engines and this can affect their ranking in search engine results, so it is important to tackle them.
Follow the instructions in my post on how site structure affects SEO to make sure you don’t have any orphaned posts on your blog.
15. Check for broken links
It’s important you ensure you don’t have any broken links on your site. Google sees a site full of broken links as poorly maintained and this will have negative repercussions on your rankings in search engine results.
Use Broken Link Check to find out where you have broken links and work through them line by line fixing or deleting links.
Plan to make this a monthly habit from now on!
16. Update your social media profiles
While not strictly ‘on’ your blog, your social media profiles are a very important part of your blog. Go into each one and update your profile pic, description, header etc. Make sure each one is representative of what you and your blog are about right now!
Pay close attention to details which might have changed and other information which needs updating or amending.
Pro tip: use the same profile pic on your blog and across all your social media files for continuity and consistent branding.
17. Ensure it’s easy to subscribe to your blog
One thing which has changed enormously over the last few years is the rise in importance of email marketing. Make sure you have a good email marketing provider (if you are still using Jetpack it’s definitely time to change) and that you have lots of subscription boxes all over your site – gone are the days when having one in your sidebar was enough! Put them everywhere: your homepage, a landing page, at the end of your posts, in the middle of your posts, on your about page, on an exit intent popup and anywhere else that makes sense!
18. Update your opt-ins
To seriously up-level your email marketing efforts, you need to offer opt-ins on your blog. If you don’t already do this, now is the time to create your first opt-in.
If you already have opt-ins on your site, check through them and update them as necessary.
19. Clean your email list
If you have been into email marketing for a while, there are likely to be a lot of subscribers on your list who NEVER open your emails.
Not only is having these inactive subscribers on your list pointless, it can actually mean fewer of your active subscribers are seeing your emails as you are seen as a spammy sender.
Take a few minutes to delete any subscriber who has not opened any of your emails in the last 3 months.
To find out how to do this head over to my post on cleaning your email list
20. Detox your inbox
Although not strictly ‘on’ your blog, this is a vital part of blogging, nevertheless. If your inbox is messy and out of control you could miss important blog related emails, such as offers of paid work from PRs or emails from potential clients.
Plus, a messy inbox tends to lead to a feeling of being out of control and overwhelmed. Which in turn will make you less productive and more stressed.
Start by deleting the junk, then filing what needs to be filed. Then you can focus on reading and actioning all the rest of your emails. And don’t forget to unsubscribe to anything you no longer want to receive!
Find out how to get on top of your inbox here => How to sort out your overflowing inbox for good!
21. Update your media kit
And finally, if you are hoping to get sponsored work in the future, you need to make sure your media kit is up to date.
Make sure it is attractive, matches the rest of your blog and all the details are correct. Pay particular attention to making sure your blog stats are up to date.
Don’t forget to download your free checklist!
21 ways to spring clean your blog – what next?
Massive well done if you have got this far – your blog will be looking so much better and hopefully you will be feeling better too. Spring cleaning your blog will make your blog faster, more attractive and give your readers a better user experience, which in turn will have a positive effect on your search rankings and traffic.
Take a few minutes now to make a plan about how you are going to keep on top of these things in the future, so they don’t get so out of control – add them into your weekly or monthly blogging routine. And mark on your calendar when you will next give your blog a spring clean (pro tip – it doesn’t have to be done in the spring!).
Getting organised like this will make you feel happier and more on top of things, which in turn will make you much more productive.
If you’ve given your blog a spring clean, I’d love to know how you got on. Let me know in the comments below. And do let me know if you have any questions or extra suggestions too!
Want to read more productivity tips?
If you’ve enjoyed this post you may like to read more of my productivity tips. Here are some of my most popular posts on this topic…
- 10 ways to be a more productive blogger
- How to get more done in less time on your blog
- How to write an effective to do list
- 22 ways to avoid blogger burnout (and get your blogging mojo back!)
- How to automate your social media
I’d love to help if you have any questions about this topic. Let me know in the comments below or over in my Productive Blogging Community.
Don’t miss a thing!