Blog Boot Camp: How I Polished My Blog From The Inside Out

In December, I pulled a Houdini and went ghost for almost the entire month. This wasn’t planned, and nothing was wrong… it’s just that when I’m in the zone it’s pretty hard to break my focus. My blog was unorganized, so I spent some time in the shadows whipping it back into shape. If you find yourself in the same situation, use my experience as a guide and your blog will be on the road to recovery in no time.

Self Discipline and Setting Guidelines

My blog had gotten so out of hand because I’d write about nearly anything and I operated like a chicken with it’s head cut off. No gods, no masters. Click here to read my post about my blogging mistakes. 😱 YIKES.

To put myself in check, I sat down and made a few things crystal clear: my purpose, my ideal reader, and my goals. These things had to be set in stone before I could accurately define my brand. After I figured everything out, guess what? There were a lot of things that didn’t have a place on my blog anymore.

It was time for me to lay down the law. On myself.

Kicked My Content’s Ass

Before my little blog boot camp session, I had about 300 posts. Now I’ve got about 125. My navigation bar had to be slimmed down as well because there were a lot of categories that didn’t fit my brand’s intention.  I’m sticking to about 10 solid categories for my blog, and if it doesn’t fit it doesn’t sit. And poof! They were gone.

Figuring Out What To Delete

In order to figure out what to delete, I used Google Analytics and picked out my 10 most popular posts and set those aside. Unsurprisingly, all of the popular posts did fit my blog. Eureka! I was onto something here. My thought process when I was sorting through posts was this:

  • does it have a place?
  • is it valuable?
  • is it interesting?

Determining whether a blog post “has a place” is as simple as sorting them into my new and improved categories.  Soon, I discovered people weren’t really interested in my life update posts because it wasn’t valuable to them.

Pro Tip: When you go on a rampage and delete almost all of your posts, don’t forget to redirect the old links to your homepage or a relevant post. If you’re getting a lot of traffic to your 404: Page Not Found page, you can lose authority with the search engines. That’s bad news, we don’t want that.

Diamonds In The Rough💎

Remember that list of popular posts I set aside? My 10 most popular posts had priority as my main sources of traffic. I simply polished them until they were pristine. This included spellchecking, formatting, adding more useful information, higher quality photos and the like. Most of my traffic is from those 10 posts, and I want to make a good impression.

Gone Paperless

Earlier this year, I was all about paper blog planning and an actual editorial calendar. Wisconsin was my temporary home when I was doing all of this, and I realize I goofed with the whole paper thing. Blogging is something I wanted to be able to do from anywhere, easily.

With that said, I moved all of my blog related spreadsheets and documents to AirTable. If you’ve never used AirTable, you’re in for a treat. It’s an organizational dream come true. It’s a place where you make and keep databases, and in each databases you keep spreadsheets of all of your information. You know how I love spreadsheets!

Finally, everything was easily accessible and in one place.

Housekeeping

It was time to do some housekeeping at Haunted Headquarters. This included:

  • optimizing images to improve site speed, and deleting loose images that didn’t have a home.
  • audits of my social media: Pinterest groups and Facebook groups that I share my content to had to be relevant, helpful, with members that were actively engaging with each other. The rest were axed.

Another thing I did was create a schedule for keeping up with my housekeeping tasks. Each tasks is on a separate list: weekly, monthly, and quarterly. This is going to keep me from making a mess of things in the future. 🙈🙉🙊

Money, Honey

Everything that had to do with advertising also needed to be looked over to ensure I was following the rules. For example, you can only have 3 Google Adsense ads per page and you are required to have a Privacy Policy. O0OoOoO! 😱

Google Adsense

If you’re using Adsense I suggest taking some time to do some studying for yourself. Conduct experiments to find out what works for your blog. My studies have led me to change a few minor things and because of that I’m getting big results. Why didn’t I beat the Adsense piñata until it was raining candy? I’ve been blogging for years! Talk about wasted opportunity. 😪

  • I set my ad colors to my blog, so they look more natural and not BAM! IN YOUR FACE! I’M AN AD!
  • I blocked low-paying websites from advertising on my blog using this list.

Affiliate Links

Affiliate links are thrown in here and there, so I make sure to link when I mention something awesome. Speaking of links, did you know that your link color is a big factor on whether or not people actually click? Here’s a study. I changed my links to fuchsia. This has resulted in more clicks and an increased affiliate revenue.

Blog Boot Camp Graduate

All of the tasks I felt I needed for my blog were complete and the results were epic. My traffic and revenue increased immediately,  and a renewed sense of badassery radiated through me. Blog Boot Camp was complete (for now…). During my research of what worked and what didn’t, I found that emoji use in blog posts is actually encouraged. It’s the new age baby! 🌟

The biggest thing I did during my time in the zone completely streamlined the way I  create content. It’s massive and requires it’s own post, but I can promise you… you don’t want to miss it.

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  • Those are some great tips! I’m still pretty new with my blog so I don’t have a ton of content to weed through, but I could definitely streamline a few of my first posts to make them more consistent.

  • Sarah Jean

    I also deleted posts when I re-did my site. It was painful but just makes everything cohesive!

    • Yep it was painful for me at first, until I started deleting everything haha… then I couldn’t stop!

  • Awesome tips!! Setting goals was game changer for me too. 🙂

  • Jessica Bradshaw

    Way to go! Sometimes an overhaul makes all the difference. I love your tips. COntent is so important. Great tip on the checking links when you delete posts!

  • I did this a few months ago. It’s always good to do some cleaning up of your blog periodically. These are great tips!!!

  • I love all the help. I need to read up on this and implement a few things. Thanks for sharing.

  • Thank you darling! 🙂

  • I’m totally loving airtable! And thank you Alix! xx

  • Divya Budhraja

    Wow, that sounds like a long project that I should probably do! Part of me likes to keep my old, embarrassing posts though. I feel like I’ve developed a lot and it’s nice to see it change over time 🙂

    • I kept a couple! I wish I still had my old old posts on blogspot. I’m sure those were atrocious compared to my newer ones lol!

  • M.

    Awesome tips! Deleting posts and being ruthless about it was the hardest thing I ever had to do for my business.

    • But I’m sure it was a good decision, right?! It’s tough to make the choice but we’ve gotta do it! 😉