Do things look a little different around here? I did some general blog maintenance and made some changes and updates. I decided I wanted to increase efficiency, specifically: easier navigation and quicker load times.
I made myself a cup of tea and clicked through my whole site. I recommend doing this occasionally. I found several ways to increase efficiency, below.
New Theme: It’s similar to the previous one with a slightly sleeker look. This probably has minimal effect on efficiency, but I wanted a change. This is the 2nd theme I’ve used since I started blogging. The transition was smooth except for the widgets — they disappeared.
I recommend manually backing up your entire site content to mitigate any panic-induced chest pains you may experience when you see whole sections of your blog disappear. 🙂
New Image: I changed my header image. This image reflects how I feel much of the time about my new writing ventures! It probably has no impact on efficiency; I simply wanted a change. I still like the previous header image and may return to it in the future.
New Font: I changed the font and added some color. This new font is easier to read and a splash of color is always nice.
Fewer Pages: I reduced the number and renamed static pages. I might add another page with a site overview or map. I think my site is easy to peruse but a new visitor might disagree.
New Translate Feature: I added a translation option. You may now translate my blog to the language of your choice (except Klingon).
Post Summaries: The main page now shows post summaries instead of complete posts. A visitor may read the first few sentences then decide if it’s worth the click to continue reading.
Fewer Visible Posts: I reduced the number of visible posts on the main page to the three most recent. A visitor may click “Older Posts” to view more.
Reduced Sidebar: I moved some sidebar features to footers and removed other sidebar features altogether.
New Footers: I added footers. They’re visible fairly quickly with the small number of post summaries on the landing page.
Fewer Recent Posts: I reduced the number of listed recent posts. I may experiment more with the number.
Your Favorites: Your favorites are now determined by views rather than likes. The new list seems a bit wonky. Maybe it will settle down over time. This change has no impact on efficiency; I was just curious.
Fewer Categories: I reduced the number of categories and re-categorized existing posts accordingly. Better? Let’s see.
Category Menu: I changed the category section to a drop-down menu. It looks cleaner and is probably as user-friendly as a static list.
Fewer Tags: I deleted several tags on existing posts. For example, “Fiction, Short Story, WWII, death, time-travel, Yoda” is now “Short Story” + surprise(s). I’m not sure this is an improvement so we’ll find out.
Fewer Share Buttons: I kept the most popular share buttons and moved the others under a “More” button.
New Options: I added Email and Print options — probably easier than copying and pasting, yes? I thought those options were already in place… so, it was a good idea to review and update.
RSS: I had it in there initially and later removed it. Apparently, we still use RSS! So, I put it back in.
New Domain: I changed my domain so you don’t have to look at those ads anymore. Who loves you, baby? 😉
I hope these changes improve navigation and create the best possible reader experience. Let me know!
While I had a goal in mind when making these changes, I recommend playing around and tweaking your blog even if you don’t have a specific goal. You don’t have to make big changes and you don’t have to do it often. Even a small change can make you look at your blog differently and inspire you in a new direction.
Evaluating your blog objectively can also highlight aspects you may not have noticed. For example, you might discover several posts dedicated to do-it-yourself car repair. You can create a new category and group these posts together — and attract that niche readership.
You never know what you might find so click away! Your blog will thank you. 🙂