Spring-cleaning the blogsite

springcleaningI know officially we are still in winter in the northern hemisphere so it might be a little premature to think about spring-cleaning. And indeed I’m nowhere ready to throw open all doors and windows into the house to let in the clean air which was my grandmother’s preparation for cleaning the house top to bottom. It’s far too cold right now for that kind of malarkey.  But with the fifth anniversary of this blog imminent it feels the right time to do a bit of a dust and polish of the site. I’ve also been goaded into action by some tips shared via a podcast I follow called Pro-Blogger which has some useful advice on how to make your blog more effective.

I’m gradually working my way through all the 100-plus editions of the podcast. Some are not relevant because they are designed for people who want to monetise their site or have a self-hosted domain. But one piece of advice I’ve started to follow is about improving old content.

Darren, the guy behind Pro-Blogger says he has a weekly habit to revisit old posts and assess if they can be improved – maybe redirecting links to more recent content, adding new ones or updating the content with more current information.   His point is a few minutes spent on tweaks can mean readers get a better experience of the site. Plus each time you refresh the page, it is crawled by Google so you get more chance your site will be included in search engine results.

I’ve started with my posts from year one of the blog. What an eye-opener that has been. When I started back in 2012 I really didn’t know a) how to blog b)how to write a good review. So the early posts were very insubstantial. No links, no formatting of text to help guide readers around the page more easily, no photos to break up the text. These are all changes I’ve been making over the past week. I’ve also changed categories, tags and headings. Often I’m making small cosmetic changes such as ensuring consistency in the format and colour used for headings and book titles. I don’t want to alter the actual content unless I think a reader would get to the end of it and wonder why they bothered wasting their time. So with a few of them got more of an overhaul – like my first Booker prize title review The Elected Member by Bernice Rubens where I combined the review with some earlier published content about the author.

I’ll finish 2012 by the end of the week and then move onto the next 12 months. It’s something I can do easily in about 20 minutes per post and watch TV at the same time.

One positive thing has come out of this exercise – it’s shown me than in five years though I still consider myself to be still very much a learner, I have definitely improved.

How are your blogging skills?

Though I’ve learned a lot in the last five years there are still aspects of blogging that mystify me so I’ve been making a conscious effort to learn how to fix issues and some new techniques. What have you learned recently that has made a difference to your own blogging?

BookerTalk

What do you need to know about me? 1. I'm from Wales which is one of the countries in the UK and must never be confused with England. 2. My life has always revolved around the written and spoken word. I worked as a journalist for nine years then in international corporate communications 3. My tastes in books are eclectic. I love realism and hate science fiction and science fantasy. 4. I am trying to broaden my reading horizons geographically by reading more books in translation

26 thoughts on “Spring-cleaning the blogsite

  • February 21, 2017 at 3:13 pm
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    I don’t do rigorous spring-cleaning – but every now and then I check past ones for some reason or other. I did do links and tags etc from the beginning, because I had already practised for a few months on a group blog (in blogger) I had established for my reading group and so I’d learnt some of those skills from that. I now administer two group blogs, am a contributor and editor on another one, and run my own. What’s wrong with me!

    I hadn’t realised that refreshing old posts would expose them again to Google. I might start doing some more spring-cleaning!! Like you, I do that sort of thing while watching TV.

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    • February 21, 2017 at 8:30 pm
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      from what I understand, Google’s web crawler is constantly sending out tentacles looking for fresh fare . Pages that dont get refreshed tend to go to bottom of the search results list

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      • February 21, 2017 at 8:53 pm
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        Yes, makes sense of course. I just hadn’t put two and two together.

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  • February 19, 2017 at 1:24 pm
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    I just saw the announcement of the Spring Bloggiesta in March! I’m going to wait till then, but I don’t know if I really want to look back at early posts! I don’t know if you’ve heard of the WP Evergreen plugin that automatically tweets links to past posts on a schedule you set up. Even when my blog was inactive, it was still tweeting away, which made me feel my blog could be brought back to life more easily!

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    • February 19, 2017 at 3:11 pm
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      i don’t have much success with plug ins maybe because I dont have a self hosted site?

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  • February 13, 2017 at 6:37 pm
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    I don’t know how you find the time to read all the books you do, write so many great reviews, respond to comments – plus upgrading five years of past posts! But I’m glad you do. Your blog is excellent. Thank you

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  • February 13, 2017 at 6:08 pm
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    There are a lot of old posts I would love to tidy up – some I know are shocking. It’s finding the time.

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    • February 14, 2017 at 8:06 pm
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      When you are still working it is impossible to fit everything in

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  • February 13, 2017 at 6:16 am
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    Must admit that I cringe looking at some of my old posts (also from 2012 when I started) and I have also considered how I could update things. Since starting, I have streamlined a few things, dropped some categories that are no longer relevant but that’s about as far as I’ve done – I really should check old links as a minimum!

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    • February 13, 2017 at 2:00 pm
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      I’ve tinkered with things like the navigation and categories but this is the first time for me to really get into the old content. I cringed too!

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  • February 13, 2017 at 12:37 am
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    Really good suggestions. i just wonder if anyone even looks at my old reviews. Ever? I can’t even find them if I am searching the web and i specifically know what the title of the blog post is. ha!

    My Sunday Salon

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    • February 13, 2017 at 2:02 pm
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      The stats from your hosting platform should tell you whether some of these are being viewed. Whether you show up on Google search relates to things like keywords and how you used them, and whether other people link to your site.

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  • February 12, 2017 at 9:54 pm
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    Must try and listen could always get some new tips my traffic is steady used be a lot more before it lost lot image search traffic

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    • February 13, 2017 at 2:04 pm
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      You can find a list of the episodes via the link I posted Stu -then choose what interests you most. You’ll find a lot of topics are repeated …

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  • February 12, 2017 at 9:38 pm
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    How interesting! I should go and update my old reviews at least when I re-read books. I am not bad at blogging because I use my professional blog to bring people to use my services, including all that SEO stuff; my book blog is more for my own benefit and maintaining contact with friends, so doesn’t get so laboured over.

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    • February 13, 2017 at 2:17 pm
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      Sounds a sensible plan Liz. I bet that even if you are not making a conscious effort to do SEO etc on your blog site, some of the habits you use on your professional site will trickle over. I know all the theories around SEO and used to manage keyword ad programs in work but can I get it to work on my blogsite. No way ….

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  • February 12, 2017 at 8:33 pm
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    I have done a variation of this……I’ve posted Twitter links to posts, in the absence of any newer content. Some posts have been in the last 5 months or so, some have been based on the number of comments. I’ve actually had a decent amount of traffic as a result, generally squalling the traffic I would have seen had I produced new content

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    • February 13, 2017 at 2:05 pm
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      I never thought about doing Twitter posts to older content. Good idea

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  • February 12, 2017 at 5:27 pm
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    What an excellent idea! I haven’t been blogging as long as you but I am sometimes a little taken aback when I link to a much earlier review. I think it takes a little while to get the hang of writing for a blog. All my previous work was for print which requires a more formal style.

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    • February 13, 2017 at 2:13 pm
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      There’s a lot of technical stuff to get the hang of for one thing. Then you have to try and work out what style you want – how personal do you want it to be for example. And that’s before you even get into things like search engine optimisation. So its not surprising with all that going on it takes time to get the blog you way you want it.

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  • February 12, 2017 at 5:18 pm
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    Of course I had to hop on over when I saw your title, as I love spring cleaning (blogs, that is). The house…not so much. LOL.

    I know what you mean about those older posts…my biggest task has been finding and correcting links that no longer work. That happened to me a lot in those older posts when I started the task (during bloggiesta). Back then I had more blogs, and links to those end up DEAD.

    I think I’ve cleared those up…but I’m always surprised at what I find.

    Have fun!

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    • February 13, 2017 at 2:14 pm
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      By checking those links you are already following one of the best practice tips. I think there are tools that help you do this more easily than going into every post and doing a manual check. If I find the info again I will send it over to you Laurel

      Reply

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