Blog Reboots and Digital Spring Cleaning

Blog Cascade

The birth of the megablog was almost eight years ago and it’s been running at a chaotic gallop ever since. Spring always makes me want to rearrange things and after looking over the archives I think it’s time for a blog reboot (of sorts)!

I was given a free PDF copy of Make Money From Blogging in exchange for a review (that is not an affiliate link) and it got the gears turning. The books is focused on folks brand new to the blogging world and stepping through the basics again made me rethink a few of my foundational elements.

Content! Layout! Ideal Readers!! *flails about*

This isn’t the first time I’ve tweaked the blog, the Coding & Blog Design archives are full of my playing around with the layout and content schedules. Each time I get a little closer to where I’d like to be, so I’m hoping this time is no different! ๐Ÿ™‚

Making the Blog Mobile

The most visible change for the blog reboot is making things more mobile friendly. Looking over the analytics for this year there’s now a significant gap between the desktop and mobile users. I’ve historically designed my blog to be seen on a desktop, so it’s time to shake things up!

Thankfully the Iconic One theme is already designed for mobile, so I don’t need to use Jetpack or grab a plugin to make things fit. I’ve been kicking around the idea of swapping over to a Genesis package, but for now I’m still hoarding my pennies.

Mobile Friendly Images

The most obvious change that needed to be made was moving all of the images. For years I’ve had them smaller and right justified, but on a mobile device that makes the text look squished. So I’ve started to go back through the 2,700+ posts and resize and center them. I’m starting with the most visited ones (like the molding and casting posts), but it’s going to be a long slog… Hopefully this will make things easier to read!

I’m still not positive which image size is ‘best’ now and my initial research shows a lot of conflicting opinions. The only thing I know for sure if that I’m not going to be turning Photon back on!

Short and Sweet Summaries

The other thing I already did for the blog reboot was change the main page and category/tag pages to used excerpts. Previously they showed everything before the more tags, which for some posts was the whole darned thing… and that really looked horrid on my phone.

So I swapped to excerpts and have been using Yoast SEO to help make it clear what the post is about. Tiny TL;DRs that will hopefully draw in a few more eyeballs!

Slimming down the excerpt view by removing sharing buttons and tags - wordpress blogging

I do miss being able to just read through the Saturday Story Prompts page by page, but looking over the Google Analytics that wasn’t how folks were using the archives. So more power to the Related Posts and so long to the endless scrolling. *pats old blog layout fondly as it heads to pasture*

I also turned off the sharing buttons and tags on the main and category pages to save space. (I don’t think anyone was using them.) ((Except me.))

Blog Reboot vs. Blog Revamp

If this was a true blog reboot, I’d toss out all of my old content (except for the posts that get the most traffic) and start over. Many of my old posts need some serious TCL. The images are bad, the writing and SEO confuse the heck out of search engines… and some of them are chatting rambling from my old LiveJournal days and aren’t worth keeping.

Post Archives 2005 to 2018 WordPress Blogging

Instead what I’m trying to do is rework my old posts! Where I can I’ll be creating new images, but a lot of the changes will be rewriting and improving the SEO. I’m also going to be doing some summary posts and pages to help cross-link the content so it’s easier to find things. What’s new is old again… or something like that.

There’s a lot of great content in the blog, I just need to make it so folks can find it! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Buy My Stuff… Please?

If you want to make money, you have to ask people to buy things. I’m really not interested in adding affiliate links or putting AdSense back so the only way to monetize my blog is to sell my own stuff.

May 2018 Etsy Story Starred Listings

I am pretty darned bad at this– while the Saturday Story Prompts have a call to action at the bottom, most of the art and writing posts don’t. While I’m not sure I’m willing to go all out and making true landing pages, I do think I need to be a little more focused. Just throwing the Etsy and Amazon links on the menu bar and hoping for the best is not a good plan.

So it’s time to play around with Canva and see if I can’t come up with a fun ‘Buy Me!’ banner. Or something. *pokes Muses*

Predictable Content

Other than the Saturday Story Prompts there isn’t much on this blog that comes at standardized days or times. I’ve played around with content schedules in the past, but nothing has really stuck. Part of the blog reboot needs to be another attempt at getting an editorial calendar going again.

My blog is primarily about my artwork and writing, with a few other topics scattered in. My posting plan from 2017 (above) was solid… but I didn’t commit. I would post things the same day I wrote them instead of sticking to the schedule. (I was also backdating a lot of the old fan fiction, which spammed the poor mailing list folks).

So, no more backdating. If I miss a timeslot, it goes in the next slot… no exceptions, not even for the NaNoWriMo posts!

I need to be creating content on the weekends, not trying to get my post-workday brain in gear. If I want people to come to the blog more than once I need to start giving them a reason to! *rolls up sleeves*

There is Always Another Chance

The best thing about blogging is that there is no one right way to do anything. My own version of a successful blog is not going to look like Copyblogger or Fuzzy and Birch or Shoestring Stable.  I’m going to have to keep trying new things until I find the combo that works for me, even if it takes me a few more fails. Somewhere out there is the perfect unicorn of writing and art and random… I just have to find it! ๐Ÿ˜€

So the blog will be in a bit of a chaos for a bit. I have the urge to put up a really old Under Construction animations from when the web was young…

With luck by the time May is over the blog reboot will be too. I won’t be all the way through the cleanup of the old posts, but hopefully the new content will be on track.


Martha Bechtel

My name is Martha Bechtel and I write fantasy and science fiction stories, paint small model horses silly colors, cast resin and plaster magnets, code random code (and Wordpress plugins)... Come on in and join in the fun!

Leave a Reply