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“It’s not pretty enough.” This is what I’ve been telling myself every time I redesign my blog. I like to think that my blog helps me improve my skills in WordPress development. But sometimes, it’s frustrating when I cannot satisfy my taste in aesthetics. I can’t remember how many times I have changed themes, accent colors, and font styles. Lo and behold, I finally settled with a minimalist theme, with custard yellow as my accent color. Do you like it?
Another reason why I decided to do the minimalist route is to eliminate distraction. Sometimes, it’s eye-straining if there are too many colors and too many details. I want a simple, honest, and very straightforward website. No sugar coating. No fancy formatting.
I only want an honest, raw, simple, and very straightforward website you will always love to come back to.
If you’ve been blogging for years and finally decide to declutter your blog a-la Marie Kondo, you may want to back up everything first before proceeding. In case you change your mind, you can always reset it to what it was. For this I use the UpdraftPlus WordPress Backup plugin. The backup files go to my Google Drive.
Always, ALWAYS backup your website. This is another blogging basics tip you cannot ignore.
So how do you declutter your blog a-la Marie Kondo? Here are the steps I did over the weekend to make my blog “squeaky clean.”
1. Choose a minimalist theme
I started Bringing Up Business using the OceanWp theme and Elementor page builder. I still highly recommend this combo. The free versions alone can help you fully customize your website. If you’re planning to sell products and show them on your homepage, just install the woo-commerce plugin and you can start working on your product listing.
Right now I’m using the Olsen Light theme. My web pages are still built with Elementor. Then, I removed my static homepage and set my blog page as the homepage instead.
It’s definitely up to you if you want a fancier and more feminist theme. Make sure you have your readers in mind when you decide to make the change.
2. Delete images you’re not using
If you’ve been updating old blog posts, you may have dozens of unused images on your media folder.
To delete, go to Media, click the image you want to be deleted, scroll down and choose Delete Permanently.
If you need to remove more than one image, click the Bulk Select button, choose the images you want to be removed, and click Delete Permanently.
3. Delete unwanted themes
When you install WordPress in CPanel for the first time, everything is in default settings. WordPress provides you with a selection of up to 3 themes to choose from. If you’re not going to use any of these, then it’s time to delete. Doing so will free up space on your website and increase your load speed.
To do this, all you have to do is go to Appearance, select Themes, choose the theme you want to be deleted, click Theme Previews, and click Delete.
4. Delete inactive plugins
Using the same principle in removing themes I don’t use, you need to remove inactive plugins as well. Besides, it doesn’t make sense to keep unwanted plugins and constantly update them.
All you have to do is go to Plugins and click Installed plugins. Choose the plugin you want to be removed, then click Delete.
5. Delete spam comments
Every day, it has become a daily habit to delete spam comments. It’s annoying, believe me. If you’re using plugins that block spam comments, you don’t need this step anymore to declutter your blog.
I never liked Akismet, but you will find a lot of blog posts raving about how good it is in removing spam comments.
I’m liking Antispam Bee. I discovered it over the weekend, and so far it does the job.
Related post: 10 Best Anti-Spam Plugins for WordPress in 2020
6. Delete saved-for-later Elementor templates
Every time I edit my web pages, I make it a point to save the blocks I want to use for later. These blocks are saved in templates. Over the weekend, I was shocked to realize that I have over 50 templates
I deleted them one by one by going to Templates, Saved Templates, and then click Trash.
7. Delete blog post drafts
Are you guilty of saving blog post ideas in the form of a blog post draft? Me, too. But in the process of decluttering my blog, I realized how much of a visual clutter it was. I thought saving them can be a constant reminder for me to finish writing them. Turns out, it’s a bad idea.
So I removed all of my blog post drafts, and saved these ideas on my Google Drive instead.
8. Organize your categories and tags
After months and months of niching down my blog, I FINALLY decided to stick to 5 categories, all related to blogging. These are:
Goal Setting Tips for Bloggers
Pinterest Strategies for Bloggers
I realized these categories are my strengths. Therefore, I’d like to focus my time and expertise in providing relevant content and offer my services around these areas.
For my tags, I use my SEO keywords instead. For example, my blog post, A Complete Beginner’s Guide to Pinterest for Bloggers (with free checklist) uses the categories Pinterest Strategies for Bloggers and Blogging Basics.
Meanwhile, my tags are Pinterest for bloggers, Pinterest for blogging, Pinterest tips for bloggers, and Pinterest tips for new bloggers.
If you don’t like this idea, here’s how to declutter your blog by means of labeling them according to categories and tags.
Categories are general labels.
Tags describe blog posts in more detail.
9. Remove inactive user profiles
Do you have other users logging in to your WordPress website aside from you?
Are they active users?
If not, now is the best time to remove them.
You don’t want strangers logging in to your blog without your knowledge.
Last night, I saw a blogger shared her experience on Facebook that her blog was suspended by Bluehost due to malware.
To avoid this from happening, make sure you and only YOU have access to your WordPress dashboard. If you want to hire a WordPress developer to help you out in fixing techie stuff, DO NOT give your admin login. Instead, create a new user profile for him/her.
This way, you can set limitations for this person on your website.
As soon as the job is done, you can delete the user profile permanently.
To delete a user profile, just go to Users, All Users, and Delete.
Related post: Bluehost Account Suspended? Here’s How You Can Fix it
10. Organize your sidebar and footer widgets
When you declutter your blog, it is such a relief to start with a clean slate. That is, if your blog is fairly new. A blog with hundreds of blog posts is kind of hard to reset.
Same thing with your sidebar and footer widgets. If you have custom HTML added like mine, it’s hard to redo everything. Unless of course, you have saved the HTML code somewhere in your notepad or Google doc.
There isn’t a universal rule when it comes to decluttering your sidebar and footer widgets. For my blog, I treat my widgets as Call-To-Action (CTA) buttons. Of course, I have a short introduction about myself, blog post categories for you to explore, links for you to follow me on social media and Pinterest, and of course my affiliate links and services.
This way, I am telling my web visitors (old and new) about what my blog is about, and how I can be of service to you.
Remember, blogging is a business revolving around helping people. So, if you don’t proactively inform your readers what’s your deal, most likely they’ll exit right away.
11. Fixing the Menu
Since I recently changed my WordPress theme, I decided to create two different menus. One at the top, and one at the bottom.
My top menu (also known as my main menu) shows my web pages (About Me, Services, and Work with Me).
The one at the bottom is for my legal pages.
Related post: Protect your blog legally: The stress-free guide to legal pages for bloggers
I should’ve used the same set of the menu at the bottom. But I have become more aware of legal disclosures to protect myself and my blog. A simple step such as adding legal pages on my website makes a lot of difference.
I got my legal pages from Amira’s Best-selling Legal Bundle. Having a lawyer draft your legal templates will definitely give you peace of mind.
12. Tidy up your WordPress dashboard
Last but definitely not the least, is to tidy up your dashboard. Imagine logging in from your admin page and be greeted with chaos.
Tidy up your WordPress dashboard by rearranging the reminders and expand them only when needed.
And there you have it, my 12 easy steps on how to declutter your blog a-la Marie Kondo.
Again, do not forget to backup your files, in case something terrible happens while your doing your website makeover.
Another plugin you can use to declutter your blog is the WP Sweep. This plugin allows you to clean up duplicated and unused data.
Everyone is in decluttering mode at home while in quarantine. Let’s do the same on our websites.
Which part of your blog do you want to be decluttered first?
What’s the easiest? The hardest?