Is Your Blog Cluttered?

blog-clutter

(Photo Credit: Boltron)

When’s the last time you took a good, hard look at your blog? Was it a month ago? 6 months ago? Either way, it’s important to evaluate your blog on a regular basis.

Why?

If you don’t analyze your blog on a regular basis, it can easily become cluttered. It’s a common occurrence to constantly add new plugins, widgets, and other features as you discover them.

The problem is that you usually don’t remove other features when you add new ones. This leads to things piling up, which can cause blog clutter. This is bad, very bad. You’re readers want to read your content, not sort through your garage looking for things that might sell for 10 bucks on eBay.

The Dreaded Sidebar

A perfect example of this is on blog sidebars. One day you find an awesome new widget that shows your recent posts, the next day you find a cool badge to show off your backlinks.

Here’s just a few of the hundreds of widgets available:

widgets

Before you know it, you’re sidebar looks like your attic and it has stuff piled up everywhere. It actually distracts you’re readers more than anything. Do your blog readers really need to know your Alexa rank in the sidebar? If they want to know it, they can check themselves. Same goes for Technorati, PageRank, or how many spam comments you’ve blocked.

Do your readers (and yourself) a favor and take a long look at your sidebar. See what readers might find useful and what does nothing but distract them from your content.

The Plugin Wasteland

Manage Plugins

Another great example is the manage plugin page. When’s the last time you actually went in there and took a look at which plugins you were using and which ones your not?

I’m not going to lie and admit that I do this as well. I find a great blog post about a new plugin, install it, and play around with it for a bit. A week goes by and I decide I don’t like it anymore, so I remove it from my sidebar or theme.

Then a new plugin comes along and I do the exact same thing. Before I know it, I have a bunch of plugins that need to be deactivated (better yet removed entirely). So go in and take a good look at what you’re using and what you can do without. It actually feels good to delete stuff you don’t want anymore. You feel lighter and faster than ever before (just like when you buy new shoes).

Schedule A Blog Cleaning Time

So make it a goal to schedule a cleaning time for your blog. It could be weekly, monthly, even bi-monthly depending on how often you use your blog.

This will ensure that you keep your blog up to date and that you don’t have any unused cluttering taking up space. Remember, it’s always easier to clean a little every day than it is to clean everything at once.

Posted By: Justin Wright

This post was published by Justin Wright on October 5th, 2009.

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14 Comments

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  1. LaVonne 5 October 2009 at 12:06 pm permalink

    Great job title: WordPress coach. I’ve been doing that for free for years, without giving it a name. Hmm…

    • Justin Wright 5 October 2009 at 12:51 pm permalink

      haha yeah me too. I figured it needed some sort of title, might as well make it the obvious :)

  2. LaVonne 5 October 2009 at 1:23 pm permalink

    You’ve invented a new career!

  3. LaVonne 5 October 2009 at 1:25 pm permalink

    Ooh, and blog consultant–I think I’ve found my purpose in life!

    • Justin Wright 6 October 2009 at 9:16 am permalink

      It’s a great gig and helping bloggers is a really fun job. Highly recommend it!

  4. Melvin 5 October 2009 at 6:41 pm permalink

    This article is so true. I think this is the biggest problem with plugins. Since they work wonders and they are really useful, a lot of people are addicted to collecting and collecting them even if it has no use in their blog.

    I used to have a cluttered blog but I was able to fix it a long time already.. retweeted. :D

    • Justin Wright 6 October 2009 at 9:14 am permalink

      Good job on fixing it early on. It’s definitely easier to keep a blog clean if you do it on a consistent basis.

      I guess it’s no different than cleaning your room…people just like to procrastinate.

  5. Tamahome Jenkins 5 October 2009 at 9:10 pm permalink

    I’m a bit of a plugin/widget packrat, so I have to go in at least once a month to deactivate unnecessary plugins. I think I might have finally reached plugin equilibrium, though, because I haven’t had to do this in a couple of months :)

    • Justin Wright 6 October 2009 at 9:11 am permalink

      Haha, I’m the same way on a few blogs. I find all these awesome plugins and want them, even if they don’t do anything for me.

  6. Adam Pieniazek 7 October 2009 at 10:16 pm permalink

    The best way to manage your widgets and plugins is to drop the sidebar completely.

    Having done so a couple months back, my blog is now much less cluttered because, well, there’s no place to put the clutter!

    • Justin Wright 8 October 2009 at 11:03 am permalink

      Yeah that’s another great idea. I just haven’t been able to get myself to do it yet! I’d feel naked without it…

      • Adam Pieniazek 8 October 2009 at 11:51 am permalink

        Think it all depends on what’s in your sidebar. If it’s useful information like here, keep it. If it’s mostly junk (like it was on my personal blog) drop it.

        We just did the same on the new The Lost Jacket site, where we dropped the sidebar on the blog and moved recent posts and recent comments to the footer. Everything else was mostly junky logos and other stuff most readers don’t care about.

  7. jan geronimo 8 October 2009 at 3:28 am permalink

    Great observation especially about the sidebar. That’s a common blogger’s weakness – saddling the side bar with anything under the sun. Some shiny, some blinking, usually unnecessary.

    Your anecdote about plugins is very funny. I can identify with it. “,)

    • Justin Wright 8 October 2009 at 11:05 am permalink

      Haha, yeah plugins are a tricky thing to keep track of. And I agree about the sidebar, I’ve seen some wicked widgets in the past. I’ve seen a few that made me think “What was the creator thinking?”


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