This is a guest post by Tom Walker who is a blogger and designer from a specialist provider of cartridges next day and print media supplies. If you are interested in guest posting on Sam’s Web Guide, please visit our guest post guidelines page here.
Failure to monitor your blog can result in the advent of non-standards compliant code that not only gives your blog a cluttered look, but sometimes causes your blog’s pages to load improperly or not at all. With all the modern emphasis on productivity comes an equally important emphasis on simplicity and order on the Web. A successful blog needs to be useful and visually appealing which means that to keep yours on the radar, you’re going to have to clean it up a bit. Here are some steps you can take to keep your blog simple, clean and in tip-top shape.
1. Offload or Reduce Your Blogroll
It’s nice to list some other blogs that you and your readers might be interested in, but does it really have to be on every page? That’s up to you, but you should carefully consider moving it out of the way and planting it on its own page rather than cluttering up your sidebar.
2. Delete the Spam Kill Count
Useless elements like Akismet’s spam counter do nothing to contribute to the mission of your blog, so why bother? Everyone knows about the Akismet plugin for WordPress and that it indeed does kill spam, but what value is the kill count to your blog. Think about taking that off your blog so users can pay attention to you instead.
3. Remove RSS Feeds for Posts
Most people aren’t interested in an RSS feed for a post anyway: if they are, they can bookmark it. Besides, too many feeds complicate your blog, so removing all but the main one should help your blog.
4. Ease Off the Social Bookmark Buttons
Many people find all those submission buttons for each post to be distracting, so why do some blogs have the icons and links plastered everywhere? If you want to get your posts submitted to these services, either the links or the icons should do. Be sure to discard the one you don’t want to keep. And you don’t need to list fifty options: stick to the main players, ie. Twitter, Facebook, Digg, StumbleUpon, Reddit, Delicious.
5. Delete Your WordPress Version Number
By default, WordPress shows the world what version of the software is running your blog. First, that is not interesting to most blog readers. Another thing is that hackers can judge by the version number what vulnerabilities exist on your site, so it’s always best to keep this information off your site.
6. Reduce the Number of Categories
Category lists can get excessively long, and they aren’t the most popular part of a blog anyway. Besides, if it is shorter more people will be likely to browse through it. Make your blog less complicated by keeping your number of categories low.
7. Put Polls in Posts, Not in the Sidebar
It’s great to learn the opinions of your visitors, but how about writing a post and including your poll there? Polls in the sidebar give your blog a cluttered look and can distract visitors from the real you.
8. Move Your Archives
Readers who are interested in learning more from your site will be happy to click on a separate page to navigate your archive. Your blog will look much cleaner too.
9. Counters and Alexa Widgets Have to Go
These gizmos take up real estate on your blog, but don’t contribute anything to a positive user experience: take them off.
10. Have a Utility Area
Consolidate site policies to your “About Me” page so people can learn about your blog all in one place. If you offer services, then create a dedicated services page too. Same goes for your contact form.
Now that you’ve tried these steps, your mind is probably coming up with more ways to clean up your blog. Keep working at it and soon you’ll have a clean blog that meets modern expectations. You and your readers will be pleased with the results.