Growth and change are two hallmarks of a good blogger, or indeed anyone who excels at their craft! As each season changes, we see growth, but we are also often faced with the urge to purge. Clean. Reorganize. Just as in life, each change of season is a great opportunity to get organized in our home on the internet.
As bloggers, our online “homes” (our blogs!) most likely fall into one of the following categories:
- You are in the midst of a big move (from wp.com to self-hosted wp.org, like me, perhaps?).
- You are working through the rebranding process (Simple Mom to The Art of Simple ring a bell?).
- You have been blogging for a long time and need to refresh your site (what seasoned blogger doesn’t?).
When I created my new WordPress.org blog last fall, I didn’t just want to bring my dusty and disorganized post archives from WordPress.com along with me. I wanted to clean and polish my posts up as I brought them to my new home. And I wanted to do it all without paying to redirect my reprezent98201.wordpress.com URL to my new personally branded domain name rachelzupke.com. There’s not exactly an easy tutorial out there for that. And it’s taken me a long time to get a feel for how to go about it, let alone actually make some progress.
Meanwhile, Gretchen messaged me that she felt like the disorganization in her archives was keeping her from writing and being productive with her blogging time. Not only did she rebrand from Little Pink House to Gretchen Louise, but she has posts she originally wrote on YLCF (now Kindred Grace) that she had duplicated on both sites and needed to clean up. She knew she wouldn’t get the project done alone, so she asked me for some encouragement and accountability in the process.
As a former high school teacher, I have a lot of experience making SMART goals. I realized that the only way Gretchen and I were going to get our blog archives organized was to set and achieve some! We’re looking for goals that are Strategic, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Relevant, and Timebound. (Yes, there’s a double R in there. Pardon my pirate-like rolling of my R’s. These are really SMARRT goals.)
We’re calling it a #bloganization (blog + organization, get it?). And we’d love to have you join us. Let’s break it down and then get started!
What do you want accomplish? How and why will it be accomplished?
I am currently in the midst of moving everything (okay, it’s only a year and a half of posts) from a WordPress.com blog to a self-hosted WordPress.org site. I want to sift through my archives, reorganize my posts, refresh old content (that is worthy of refreshing!), and create opportunities for my readers to easily access what I consider my best work. I will accomplish this by:
1. Removing obsolete content.
I really don’t need to keep that post about _____. I can change its visibility to Private or just Trash it.
2. Creating landing pages for cornerstone/evergreen content.
Organization here we come! I want to create landing pages for topics like motherhood and marriage under my “family” heading and DIY/crafts and cooking under my “for the home” heading. Each content landing page will feature links to my best posts on the topic. And by providing a link to the relevant category at the bottom of my content landing page, readers can easily find the rest of my related posts.
3. Finding and fixing broken links.
Sometimes the posts with broken links are the best place to start deleting or refreshing old posts. Gretchen suggests using the plugin Broken Link Checker or the offsite (and thus not resource-intensive) options W3C Link Checker or Free Broken Link Checker.
4. Adding or refreshing pinnable images.
I don’t know about you, but Pinterest is a big source of traffic for me. I didn’t take advantage of that in my early days of blogging, however. Not to mention the fact that I’ve learned a lot about what makes a great pinnable image. So an important part of organizing my blog archives involves creating new pinnable images for a lot of my posts.
5. Refreshing old content.
This is all about updating your post without duplicating it. I’m leaving some of my posts in my archives and just adding a new image or changing the post title for better SEO, then linking to them via my landing pages or highlighting them in my weekly email newsletter. Other posts I am rewriting so much that I am changing them to the current date and publishing them anew to send them out to my RSS feed readers.
Choose at least 2 things you’ll use to gauge whether or not you met your #bloganization goal.
- Did I create a landing page for each of my most popular categories?
- Did I update the categories and tags on each post?
- Did I create links for each relevant post on the appropriate landing page?
- Did I create new pinnable images for key posts?
- Did I take advantage of monetization opportunities in key posts?
- Did I optimize the SEO of my evergreen posts?
Do you have the needed skills, abilities, resources, knowledge at your disposal?
If not, do you know someone who does that can help you? Is your goal too lofty or just high enough you will be challenged to reach it?
Don’t sell yourself short but don’t overestimate your abilities either. I have no idea how to code. If this goal was CSS related, I’d have to hire someone (Gretchen, ahem). But it’s sifting through my own work and deciding what to do with it. While it is time consuming (see below), it is not too lofty in terms of skill. Sure, I’ll need to do some digging if I need help with redirecting links, etc. but for the most part, I wrote the stuff so I can decide whether to keep it, hide it, or rework it.
Are you willing and able to put in the work to reach your goal in the time allotted?
I have just under 200 posts to go through in a little over a month. That is doable but it gives me a challenge. It’s not like I have to write 200 posts in a month, right? Plus, I am sure I will come across some that just need to be deleted. End of story.
Why is this goal important? How will it help you achieve your goals as a blogger?
This is probably the most important part of this whole process: why even do it? Is this worth your precious time? Let’s face it, most of us don’t blog for our main income (and if you do, awesome!) — will we really see any return on this investment?
Organizing my blog archives is important to me because I finally feel like I have found my place in the blogosphere and it’s time to move in and make it homey. But I can’t do that with most of my writing missing. As a blogger, I want to encourage people to live with perseverance, passion, and purpose, and most of what I write about are examples from how I do that in my own life. But, like I said, so much of me is somewhere else, in serious need of coming home.
Gretchen has the desire to simply know what’s in her archives, to help highlight her favorite posts and make them stand out among all her archives. This is a key part of #bloganization for every writer. It’s important for your visitors – whether old friends or new-ish readers! – to be able to easily find your best writing, even if it is more than a year old. Each blog’s archives has gems that need to be help up to the light. And then there are those that just need to get buried forever: irrelevant or just plain bad writing doesn’t need to clutter our archives.
What’s your target date for finishing?
Be sure to weigh your other responsibilities so you can set a realistic time frame for yourself.
Summer is often a time bloggers take a break – or at least slow down – from blogging. Whether it’s to spend more time with family, travel, or simply live life sans internet (it’s called the art of “unblogging”), a lot of bloggers I follow pre-plan their summer posts. Personally, my goal to complete my #bloganization is by the end of May. My husband is a high school teacher and time together during the summer is precious in our family. I do have a part-time job (coaching) on top of my full-time responsibilities to be a wife, mother, and homemaker, but I think a month is totally doable.
Do you have accountability to keep you on track?
Gretchen and I decided to race to the finish and, being uber competitive, I took her up on the challenge. We’d love for you to join us in whatever capacity you find yourself as a blogger. You don’t need to be doing a big ole move like me or digging through a decade of writing like Gretchen. Perhaps you just want to create a landing page and accompanying Pinterest board for your guest posts sprinkled throughout the blogosphere. Or maybe you have a decent amount of great posts but they aren’t well organized.
However big or small your project, now is a great time for a #bloganization. Gretchen and I will be working through our respective goals throughout the month with the hastag #bloganization on Twitter and probably Instagram, too (follow us at @GretLouise and @MrsZupke). We’d love for you to join us! Share what’s working for you, other blog posts you found particularly helpful or inspiring, and keep us updated on your progress (what’s your #bloganization task today?).
Want to take the challenge?
Comment below letting us know what your SMARRT goal looks like. Be sure to include a link to your site so we can watch your progress. (And if you run on the competitive side, let us know how many posts you have to sort through in your archives.) Here’s to a cleaner, more organized, and better blog!
Resources to help you along in your #bloganization:
- Writing S.M.A.R.T. Goals
- Top 10 Questions to Help Organize Your Blog Archives
- How to Organize Your Blog Archives
- How to Refresh Old Posts
- spring cleaning: 5 quick ways to freshen up your blog
- One Activity You Should Do On Your Blog Every Day
- The Differences Between WordPress Categories and Tags
- How to Use WordPress Bulk Edit and Quick Edit