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First the books, then the Netflix reality series, you’ve got to be living under a rock if you haven’t heard of the KonMari method by now. Made popular by a woman named Marie Kondo and inspired by her Japanese roots, the KonMari method has been revolutionizing the way people simplify and declutter their homes.
She’s in everyone’s head (and feeds) this past month, so much that KonMari is no longer just a name but also a verb.
After reading the book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and watching a few episodes of the Netflix series, I’m convinced that Marie Kondo’s principles can be applied to tidying up blogs too. (Ahhh, but of course!)
A blog, after all, is a blogger’s online home. And if you’re like me who’s been blogging professionally for years, you know well that a blog, like a home, has its way of getting cluttered with unnecessary “stuff”.
Files and photos that eat up too much space and slow down your server, blog categories that do not anymore reflect your blog’s purpose, old posts that do not any more “spark joy”.
It can go unnoticed for years but the unnecessary clutter on our blogs has a way of slowing us down, taking away our joy, and before we know it, making us distracted and uninspired to create.
If you’re feeling that way about your blog, perhaps it’s time for a major decluttering! Here are some ways to declutter and tidy up your blog, KonMari style. Let’s begin.
Applying the KonMari Method to Your Blog
1. Commit yourself to tidying up.
Many of my blogger friends have quit blogging and when I listen to their reasons, I find that some of their issues can be solved by a little tidying up.
I know somehow who, after months of trying to solve malware problems from her blog’s host, just stopped trying altogether. I myself almost quit blogging because of web host issues. Others stop being interested simply because it’s not fun anymore.
Understandably, it takes a lot of work to keep a blog running. To revive or relaunch an old blog is a bit of a process, and this is why you have to be committed to doing it.
So first things first, commit. There’s work to be done and you have to be willing to commit to see it through to completion.
2. Envision how you see your blog moving forward.
Without vision, blogs perish. There are millions of blogs out there (and hundreds more being launched each day), but do you know that 95% of these blogs end up being abandoned?
Yep. So don’t be intimidated by the number of blogs you seem to be in competition with. Most of them will fold. YOUR goal is to be in the top 5%.
What sets successful bloggers apart from the ones who eventually quit is their clear grasp of what purpose their blogs serve them and the world. And this is why it’s important to periodically go back to the drawing board and reassess if your blog’s direction is on track your vision for it.
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More importantly, envision how you see your life and what purpose your blog will serve you moving forward. Some questions to ask:
- Do you see blogging as something you can eventually do full-time?
- Do you aim to grow your blog audience so you can eventually be a book author?
- Do you see your blog as a tool to grow your business or pursue a career?
When you know what your blog’s purpose is, you begin to have a clearer direction for it. You also begin to rekindle the joy in blogging, allowing you to create more purposeful content and establish a more consistent content creation process.
3. Tidy up your posts by category.
If you’ve been blogging for years like me, chances are, you’ve created dozens of content across a broad set of content topics and categories. This is even more true if you started blogging just for fun and without a clear strategy or direction.
My other blog did not have a specific niche when I started it 9 years ago. It started off as a personal blog, which somewhat became a lifestyle blog when I started attracting brand sponsorships; and then it became a design portfolio that I used to score freelance projects; and then it became a full-on Boutique Design Studio when I started offering branding and web design services; and then it became an online shop when I started selling merch; eventually transitioning back to the family and lifestyle blog that it is today.
Through all of those shifts, my list of blog categories kept growing too. Eventually, when I finally decided that it’s going to be just that—a family and lifestyle blog—I decided to let go of old posts that don’t fit into that niche.
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I know it’s hard to let go of old posts but there are important reasons why you have to stay within your niche and to not dilute your content with topics that are too scattered or broad.
You want new readers to easily find what they’re looking for and not be neck-deep in content that is not relevant to them. More importantly, you want your blog to have related keywords for better search visibility.
And just like Marie Kondo’s method of “tidying up by category, not rooms” (as in, gather all the clothes you can find from all rooms, put them in a pile before you start the purge), you can also tidy up your blog posts by category. Here are some suggestions:
- First, finalize and organize your blog categories. Then start deleting posts that don’t fit into any of those blog categories and the overall theme/direction of your blog. For example, with my family and lifestyle blog, this means deleting some of my old design-related posts that don’t any more fit into the “lifestyle” niche I was aiming for.
- Dig into your Analytics and see which posts are not gaining you traffic or serving any purpose to your new direction. Be ruthless. Don’t be afraid to let these old posts go. (Or if you’re feeling sentimental about these old posts, put them into private mode so it won’t clutter the front-end.)
- Consider those instances where you have high traffic posts that don’t really fit into your final blog categories. You can either update/repurpose these posts, or use a redirect plugin to direct these URLs to your main blog page.
Or consider starting fresh with a better web host.
Sometimes, a fresh start is what you really need.
I’ve seen this happen many times. Mommy bloggers who want to get out of the “mommy niche”, or bloggers who don’t anymore find themselves connected to their old brand. There are also some who are just really frustrated about the technical stuff like web hosting problems, malware issues, etc.
If your old blog is dormant—meaning, you have not updated it for months or maybe even years, and it doesn’t get any significant traffic at all—then those old posts are likely outdated too. Let. Them. Go.
If your blog is active—meaning you have old blog posts that are ranking in search engines and you’ve been consistently publishing content—BUT you’re experiencing technical issues, I suggest starting fresh with a new web host.
I feel strongly about this because I experienced this very same ordeal in 2017, and all the web hosting problems completely took away my joy for blogging. Everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) changed when I moved to Siteground, and to be honest I wish I made the shift sooner.
The technical stuff
Improve overall blog performance with Siteground.
After years of trial and error, I have come to the conclusion that Siteground is the best web host for bloggers. I’m not even going to tell you to look around. I’m saying I’ve done the legwork so you won’t have to waste more time searching.
I feel so strongly about this because I can attest to how important it is that your blog is hosted on a fast loading, high performing, and secured web space. It makes a lot of difference to your creativity, your website’s performance, and your time management too. There’s more to blogging that you want to spend your hours on, and server problems are unnecessary baggage you don’t want to be carrying around.
If you’re having issues with your web host right now, I highly recommend you move to Siteground.
Or, even if you’re not having problems with your web host (in case you’ve practically abandoned your old blog anyway), I suggest you start clean with Siteground too.
Register a new domain name?
Should you register a new domain name or not? You could be asking yourself this question for days, for months even, and still find yourself undecided. I personally had to think this through for a long time.
There a few reasons why you’d want to keep or let go of an old domain name.
When to keep an old domain name
- You had the domain name for a while, and domain authority matters to you. Domain authority is a discussion for another time since this topic has more to do with SEO. Specifically, in the eyes of Google, a domain’s age can be an indication of authority. So if you had the domain name for more than 5 years, AND you’ve been consistently publishing content on it as well, you might want to think twice about letting your old domain name go.
- Your old domain name still reflects the vision you have moving forward, maybe you just need to restrategize, reorganize or redesign your blog.
When to register a new domain name
- Your old blog is hosted on a free space, i.e. blogspot, tumblr, or .wordpress.com. Without a doubt, you should get yourself a domain name and self-host your blog, stat.
- Your old domain name does not anymore reflect your season in life or the direction of your blog. For example, you have “mom” or “mother” in your old domain name but you don’t really want to target just moms, you want to target women (or vice versa). Or, your old blog’s name is too broad and you want to make it more targeted.
- Your old domain name is less than 2 years old, you have not created a lot of content, your website is not ranking in Google for any relevant term (or you don’t even bother checking). In other words, you’re not really losing any SEO juices here. Again, just.. let it go.
- You don’t want to bother with migration! You don’t want to keep any of your old content. You want to treat your new blog as an entirely new project.
- Fresh start, fresh start, fresh start.
Whether you want to keep your old domain name or register a new one, you just have to indicate that when you sign up at Siteground.
Indicate whether you want to “Register a new domain name” or You “already have a domain name” when you sign up. If new, type in your preferred domain name in the field to check availability.
Once you’re done with the signup, you’ll receive Welcome messages in your email inbox. Follow the trail to your Siteground dashboard where you will see an alert like this.
This will take you to the Siteground setup wizard, which will guide you through the step by step process of installing your WordPress blog. It only takes a few clicks!
Migrate declutered content to the new blog
Siteground makes is super easy to transfer old WordPress blogs to their server with a Siteground-exclusive plugin called WordPress Migrator. Take note that some web hosts (like InMotion Hosting and Bluehost) charge a fee if you want to transfer your old website to their servers. Siteground does this for free.
I used the WordPress Migrator for ChasingDreams.net since I intended to keep some of my old content and files. If you have years worth of blog content and photos to transfer (like I did), migration can be super stressful! Siteground makes this seamless and painless, with little to no downtimes! Epic.
That said, I only transferred a few pages from ChasingDreams.net over here to ThePurposeblog.com. Naturally, I only transferred here the posts that have to do with blogging.
Again, I know it’s hard to let go of old posts (trust me, I know!) even when they don’t have any real value to your bottom line. For all you know, these old irrelevant posts might cause your website’s performance and visibility more harm than good. I personally deleted and removed an enormous amount of old content (the LiveJournal-esque ones LOL) from both my blogs. I highly recommend you do the same.
4. Tidy up your WordPress.
Once you’re done with tidying up blog posts (and/or migrating content), it’s time to tidy up your WordPress too!
Back end stuff
The thing is, old versions of WordPress are much more susceptible to hacks and security issues. In the same way, un-updated plugins might cause bugs or slow down your blog, if not stop functioning altogether. Just like regularly updating computer operating systems and mobile apps/os, regular maintenance of your WordPress theme and plugins is also highly recommended.
Take note, do this step with CAUTION.
Experts would recommend you backup your WordPress site before updating anything in case something breaks in the process. I’ve recently observed, however, that the more regularly you update your theme and plugins, the lesser the chance for breakage.
Furthermore, ever since I moved to Siteground, I have not experienced any update errors and downtimes. Unlike with my old web host (where my blog would just constantly crash through updates), I never had any issues nor fear of updating my WordPress now with Siteground. And even if I encounter errors, I’m confident that Siteground’s 24/7 customer support is always available to help me through any technical issues.
So you’re done tidying up blog posts, categories, theme, and plugins. Now make sure that your sidebar, navigation, footer, and other site-wide sections would reflect your decluttered blog content. Make it easy for readers to navigate through your posts and main pages. Your sidebar is a prime spot on your blog so make the most out of that space and remove elements that are not important.
5. Apply the magic KonMari sauce: does your blog spark joy?
I’m a firm believer that your blog should inspire YOU first before it can inspire others. I find it hard to imagine how to consistently create content with topics that don’t give me joy or to keep working on a blog that doesn’t inspire me first and foremost.
So after you’ve discarded old blog categories and old blog posts, and after you’ve updated the back-end and front-end stuff, look around and see how else you can improve your blog in a way that it sparks joy for you and for your readers.
Is it reader and mobile-friendly, loading fast and easy in all devices?
Does your content bring joy, answer questions, provide solutions, and inspire readers?
Are your blog photos easy on the eyes, attracting viewers to actually dig into your content?
Think of all the things that spark joy when you’re reading or bookmarking other blogs. Chances are, these are the very things your target readers are looking for, too.
Consider a quick blog redesign
Through the years I’ve found that a quick blog redesign does bring joy and affect creativity.
As a Web Designer and a creative, design is something I don’t take lightly.
As a creative person, I find that having a blog I love looking at helps me in my creative process. Not to mention, a good aesthetic attracts readers and keeps them on your website too.
Question: Do you need a fancy WordPress theme to have a successful blog? In general, not necessarily. However, if your blog belongs to the creative or lifestyle niches and naturally you want to attract readers within that space, then a proper WordPress theme may be necessary.
But I also know that hiring a web designer can be costly. So if you don’t have the budget yet for a web designer, investing in a premium WordPress theme is your next best option.
Here are some of my favorite WordPress theme resources:
If you love classic and sophisticated, you’ll love 17th Avenue. This was actually a recent discovery for me but already a favorite! Highly recommended for lifestyle and beauty bloggers, as well as for personal blogs. Chasingdreams.net is designed with a theme from 17th Avenue.
Station Seven is known for its clean and minimalist WordPress themes, designed for creative entrepreneurs. I’ve been using Station Seven WordPress themes for years. In fact, this website you’re on right now is designed with a theme from Station Seven.
Restored 316 is known for its feminine WordPress themes that are perfect for creative entrepreneurs and bloggers who have online shops. If you want your blog looking more like a website (than a blog), if you know what I’m saying, I highly recommend Restored 316.
How to Install your WordPress theme
Installing your WordPress theme is as easy as uploading a zipped folder and clicking on few links.
What I love about Station Seven, 17th Avenue, and Restored 316 is how easy they make it for you to install their WordPress themes. Once you purchase your preferred WordPress theme, you will also receive a step-by-step instruction on how to install it.
6. Have a renewed appreciation for blogging.
Marie Kondo teaches us to say a quick “thank you” before discarding stuff. I find it a little weird to be honest, but I do like the principle behind it.
Gratitude is a real game changer, even in blogging. When you appreciate the art of blogging (and the many benefits that come with it), it follows that you don’t also take your blog for granted. This is key in bringing the joy back into blogging and eventually achieving blogging success.
All done? Now it’s time to get to actual blogging! Here are a few more resources to help you on your way:
Download Your FREE Blog Planner
Minimalist Blog Planner printables for the purpose-driven creative blogger.