Is your blog due for a refreshed look and feel?
Although it’s usually better to launch an imperfect product than never getting started, it’s no excuse to ignore the things on your blog that aren’t doing you any favors.
If you’ve been blogging for several months to a year or more, it’s time to take a look back at your blogging so far. Here are 10 things to remove from your blog that make you look unprofessional, distract your readers, or are just plain annoying.
Content that isn’t yours
Guest posts are great, but are they original content that was created just for your blog, or are they copy/pasted from the writer’s blog? Stay with me – It’s an important distinction.
One thing that many bloggers don’t realize is that if they’re publishing duplicate content, or content that has been published first on another website, their blog may be hit with search engine penalties.
So if you’ve shared the exact text of another blogger’s recipe, or even a whole post that was originally published on their blog, get rid of it – immediately. Find other ways to incorporate other bloggers’ content without putting yourself at risk for duplicate content penalties.
There’s this old trend in web design that’s past due to die out – traffic counters. Popular blogs like PostSecret perpetuate this trend and make it seem like an OK practice.
But do you really want the world to know how many (or how few) people have visited your blog? Save that information for brands who want to work with you and specifically ask for it. A counter on it’s own doesn’t really provide any useful data, anyways.
Auto playing music and video
There’s nothing more annoying than a video that autoplays when you visit a website – oh wait – except for music that auto-plays when you visit a website.
These things are becoming more commonplace and accepted on social networks like Facebook and Instagram, but really have no place on a blog. It’s more annoying than you may think.
Advertisements that don’t make sense or distract visitors
A really bad practice in blogging is allowing ads on your blog that have absolutely nothing to do with your content or audience. But what’s potentially worse than that are ads that completely distract visitors from your content.
Less is definitely more when it comes to ads, so be choosy with your blog real estate, and the advertisers interested in it.
Too many social widgets
If you have a Facebook like box AND a Twitter stream on your blog somewhere, you’re overdoing it. These social widgets are incredibly distracting from blog content, especially when used in tandem.
A better approach to directing followers to your social accounts is to incorporate social media buttons in your header, sidebar, and footer.
Many blog influencer programs require you to install a badge on your blog to verify that it’s yours. But most people forget to get rid of the badge once this process has been completed, and it just looks tacky.
Ask yourself what you’re really getting out of displaying badges. If you’re stuck on keeping them for whatever personal reasons, at least try to keep badges to a minimal number.
Tag cloud and long category lists
Have you ever seen a blog with a giant, annoying tag cloud in the sidebar or footer? What exactly do they do for visitors? For the most part, tags are an unnecessary element in blogging. It’s also a good idea to get rid of long, unsorted category lists. Instead, pick your main categories and add them to a specific menu.
Too many links in main navigation
Try to keep your main menu as simple as possible – there’s no reason to put a link to every page on it, especially if the category in question is not one you often create content for.
Dead links and unused plugins
Here’s a great blogging rule of thumb – if you’re not using it, get rid of it.
Dead links (to pages that no longer exist or with changed URLs) should be changed or completely deleted.
If you’ve downloaded a lot of plugins, but are only using some of them, completely delete (not just deactivate) the unnecessary elements. The same idea applies to old themes you’re not using.
Categories people don’t care about
When you first start your blog, you may create a category that’s a labor of love, but readers aren’t responding to. Now’s the time to take a critical look at what you’ve been writing, and what’s not worth the continued effort.
If there’s a category that isn’t working, delete the posts or move them to draft mode.
In your opinion, what are the most important things to remove from your blog? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!