This post is sponsored by PadSquad.
By Ryan Hazelton. Photography by Curious Mess.
There are a few times during the year when people tend to do a cleaning and re-organization of their home, closets, or office. The turn of the year tends to be one of these, as it is a means to starting the New Year fresh. It is a great time to reorganize your closets or shelves, get rid of things that may not be needed anymore, and allow space for new items to come in – perhaps the new jacket you bought at a holiday sale, or the new book on your bookshelf. You know how good it feels grab a shirt out of your newly organized closet, or to admire your keepsakes neatly arranged on a shelf. Why not give your blog the same attention?
Over time it is easy to collect buttons on your sidebar; stacking buttons and proudly showing the marks of your blogging friends, and building search rankings through shared links. Like your closets and drawers, sometimes it is easier to keep adding extras to your blog, rather than sorting through the content and making decisions on what should stay and what should go. Having a lot of extra plug-ins and buttons on your blog’s sidebar can seem organized, but just because they’re aligned doesn’t mean they are organized, or as relevant and helpful as they were when you first posted them. If your blog starts getting overcrowded with links, buttons, ads and more, you could benefit from a blog clean up and re-organization.
Separating the Critical from the Clutter
Reorganizing and cleaning up your blog has a variety of benefits. By removing extra buttons and plug-ins, and prioritizing the pivotal items, you will:
- Decrease blog load time, which helps with Google rankings
- Help readers to focus on what is really important, your content
- Provide an exceptional, consistent user experience for visitors on desktops, tablets and mobile devices
A Bonus Benefit: Getting Ready to Take Advantage of the Mobile Revolution
The last bullet point is becoming more important as readers are increasingly consuming content on tablet and mobile devices. In fact, many blogs and websites are seeing nearly a quarter of their traffic arriving from mobile and tablet devices. With such a significant percentage of visitors coming to your blog via their tablet or smartphone, it’s important to keep their needs in mind. Crowded sidebars and footers can have an extremely negative impact on a mobile user’s experience. They can increase the blog’s load time, or force users to swipe around to find the content they came to read.
In response to the growing mobile market, many publishers are shifting their sites to HTML5. HTML5 is a responsive design technology that allows sites to be optimized for viewing on mobile/tablet devices, and provides a more consistent experience for readers. There are a variety of ways to take advantage of this technology (including a free HTML5 website service we provide—imagine that!), but no matter how you get your blog to HTML5, one thing remains the same: this new, responsive design version of your site is going to place more focus on your content and tablet optimized ads, and less focus on all the extra plug-ins or buttons. Cleaning and reorganizing your blog will help you provide a better experience for users on all devices, and will help prepare you to make the move to HTML5.
A Fresh Start for Today and a Head Start on Tomorrow’s Technology
Where the readers go, the advertisers follow--and as more readers move to tablets and mobile devices, more advertisers are seeking out opportunities to engage readers outside of the standard banner ads on desktop sites. When you take the growing tablet and smartphone use into account, it’s easy to see that the time to reorganize and clean up your blog is now. Not only will it feel like a fresh start, but it will also help position your blog for success in the mobile revolution.