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Spring Cleaning for Your Blog (Yes, I Know it’s Winter)

Do you hate that cluttered feeling? Me too. I’m the sort of person that can’t stand a stack of papers, inbox full of emails and the like – and every so often I really have to purge it. Otherwise, my creativity feels stifled.

So, I went on a little purge of blog clutter. Skellie had a wonderful visual for the usability impaired representing the real value of simplicity on your blog:

Why less is more on your blog

That being said, here are some ideas on how to clean up your blog:

1 – Kill the badge clutter. Only put out the badges that are really relevant that you’d like the user to invoke some action on. For example, I killed the Blogrush widget (which they suspended my account for), since it was not driving any real traffic to speak of, and it did not enhance user experience. On the other hand, My StumbleUpon badge is useful for people to see the different site that I recommend. An added bonus of removing some of this junk is that your page will load faster.

2 – Remove footer junk. On the same thread, do you really need to have another bunch of RSS icons and links to WordPress? Don’t be a packrat, throw it away.

3 – Reduce and organize your categories. As you post over time, you’ll be amazed at the number of categories you’ll make up along the way. I just reduced my list by half, and I’ve set it up hierarchically for faster navigation. How do you do this? Simple.

(Note: WordPress only)

  • Log in to your admin section and click Manage -> Categories
  • If you think you can consolidate into a hierarchy, click Edit
  • Find the category parent from the drop down and save
  • To change categories on an existing post, just edit the post and change the category

4 – Shorten the number of blog posts. I recommend no more than 5 posts on a blog homepage.

5 – Remove under performing ads. If you have Google Adsense plastered everywhere and wonder why you get buried on Digg, get rid of it. Especially not in the middle of the content area.

6 – Use of the More tag. When you write significantly long posts, try to put in a more tag to allow equal room for several blog posts on your homepage.

7 – Update your blogroll. People like to see who you’re reading up on. Be conscious of this.

Simplicity doesn’t just mean taking away, so what’s new?

  • Updated about page with a little bit more about me
  • Added a contact page

Was also considering a redesign of the site. Do you think the site needs a redesign, or should it stay as-is?


  1. that jon jackson

    if only I could do this for everthing i interact with. (You should see my desk… Ugh. I keep telling myself that I’m too busy to clean up, but I’m begining to think I might just be lazy)

    Nice article BW.
    that jon jackson

  2. that jon jackson

    Also about the design.
    It’s fine, nothing to write home about, but it’s a nice unobtrusive design.
    easy on the eyes and easy to navigate.

  3. Monica

    Thanks for this useful post! Certainly gives me food for thought for how I can make my (new) blog better…

  4. Andrew

    Great article. It’s so easy for a website/blog to get cluttered. Over time, you just keep adding stuff. A widget here, and ad there. Before you know it, the once clean and simple design is now a cluttered mess.

  5. Kevin Rose

    My site pwns yours, and you no it!

    NOW BURY ME!!!

  6. Mario

    good job. will hopefully be using it on my site!

  7. Garion

    If you use wordpress, I think its against the rules to remove the wordpress link.

  8. Keith

    Sounds like a great tip to enhance one of my sites; only with the exception that it does not run WordPress. Hence, re-categorising is going to take some time, but I agree with you that it’s going to be worthwhile.

    So, spring cleaning for my blog this coming Christmas.

  9. Best Desi

    I am facing almost the same situation as you mention in your post..my blog is very cluttered.. people don’t last even 50 sec on my site for a avg..i very badly need to find a suitable theme since i tried to get someone to design for me a unique but i couldn’t afford his services..do you have any recommendation’s for a theme?

    note: my readers are not web 2.0 savvy so i need something which is simple yet productive.

    take care.

  10. A digg user

    Stop spamming Digg with your lame ass wannabe articles. Anyone who will ever hire you to do “Social media spam” is retarded.

    Here is a tip. Write relevant articles and people will have a reason to stay.

  11. jackie

    Yeah…maybe you’re right! Nice blog here.

  12. brian

    @jon: thanks for the critique. Guess I’ll leave the design as-is for now.

    @monica: you’re welcome, hope you put it to good use.

    @andrew: widgets can become a blogger’s worst nightmare.

    @kevin rose: prove to us you’re kevin rose πŸ™‚

    @mario: thanks, hope it helps you.

    @garion: do you have a source for this opinion?

    @keith: yes, you should do some de-cluttering. What platform are you using?

    @best desi: just checked out your site and it appears overwhelming with the amount of objects.
    I’d suggest a much more simple theme, even Kubrick would be better for your purposes.

    @a digg user: thanks for sharing your comments. Any suggestions on what kind of content you’d like to see?

    @jackie: thanks

  13. Chris Lorensson

    Although I can’t say I always do this, I think that since WordPress is such an amazing product that a lot of us make money on, it’s the least we could do to leave a link to them on the sites we create.

    @Garion – I’ve never seen WP say it’s “against the rules” to remove their link, but come on– it’s not asking much!

    And dude, please don’t recommend to people that they remove the only sort of advertising that WP gets!


    Other than that, love the post!

  14. brian

    @chris: I’m a huge fan of WordPress, and support/blog about them often. Really point #2 was a call for bloggers to remove unnecessary footer stuff, and I only put the WordPress link in there to name a link that people would commonly identify with.

    That being said, if WordPress does not require a link, I believe that it is the blogger’s discretion. WP has no shortage of links. If you go to WordPress.com, you’ll see that there are 1,932,519 blogs with 52,067 new posts today.

    Your point is well taken, but unless WordPress had the sort of license that forced a link, that’s how it is.

    Point aside, glad you liked the post and hope you found it helpful – thanks for checking it out.

  15. Dan

    In regards to the WordPress link, every WP blog I see has about 8 of them on the front page alone.

    Several links in the blogroll (most of which are pointless)
    1 in the meta widget (which is the one I prefer)
    and at least 1 in the footer, depending on the theme.

    Add to that the number of times you’ve mentioned about how great of a platform they are, and that’s plenty of advertising.

    Instead of encouraging their link spam, throw them some spare paypal change.

  16. Jenny

    This is what I intend to do if I ever get my new layout done.

  17. CCassil

    I’ve wanted to start a blog for a long time … but I’m not sure where to start. I know html, I am a writer, I’m attuned to social media … just not sure where to begin. Any advice?
    Thanks, CCassilh

  18. Heartburn Home Remedy

    I can tell that this is not the first time at all that you write about the topic. Why have you decided to touch it again?

  19. Nickie

    I just created my first blog yesterday! But your site is inspiring, fresh, and easy on the eyes!
    I love your “subscribe area and would love to do something just as simple and clean on my blog but can’t figure out how to get more than 1 button side by side { see my blog}. Any tips or advice on how to achieve that?
    your site a firm example of the old saying: ” less really is more”! I love the clean fresh look! Excellent job & great post!