General

Blog Spring Clean

I’ve really got back into blogging over the past few months. I’ve got into a bit more of a blogging groove, and feel like I have a little bit of a blogging routine forming. The more I fall into blogging, and planning, and writing, the more I notice that I am unhappy with aspects of my blog itself. With this in mind, I have been looking into different aspects that can be tweaked and improved, and little things that I can do that will make me happier overall.

It’s time for some blog admin, an e-spring clean if you will. There are so many little bits of my blog that I am not entirely happy with, and I don’t quite know how or if it’s possible to fix them. There are aspects of my blog that I am debating upgrading and think now is the perfect time to consider them.

Pages, Categories, and Tags

I really like the blog layout/theme that I have. I use the basic WordPress Fictive theme, and like the way it transitions from devices and mediums. The endless scroll appeals to me, even though I don’t read my own blog, and the colour schemes are right up my street. The problem? The side bar. I don’t love the side bar and feel like this could be hugely improved, but, I’m not quite sure what I want to do with it.

For me, the pages and the categories are a bit much whilst easy to miss on my blog. They appear in the side bar and scroll down with the blog. I have a few on each, the obligatory about me pages, and the categories for my blog post topics, but I’m not quite happy with how they appear now and know that I would actually quite like to have more. I am sure it’s all easy to fix, and to play with, but I’ve not made a major change to my blog, well, since I got it nearly 4 years ago, so I’m hesitant to begin changing it when I am not 100% sure what will happen.

I also think that my tag cloud, which I once thought was a great addition to my blog, looks a bit ridiculous. I use it all the time, to take me to a post that I want to read or use as a template, but I never use it on anyone else’s blog, so do people do it on mine? Do you really need such a large tag cloud, because realistically the tags I use the most will also appear in my categories surely?

Widgets

I am a sucker for a blog widget. I have things for pretty much everything. I don’t mind it, mainly because it then links in my social media platforms in one place, but the more I look at other people’s blogs, the more I think it looks messy. I’m just not sure I am happy with it. I like having recent Instagram photos, and my Goodreads, and my recent tweets, because it is representative of my online presence and it shows exactly what I am up to.

The problem is that it’s starting to become too much. My twitter is often related to my blog, and my instagram, and I find that as their is more and more overlap, the more that these widgets become redundant. But, do I want to get rid of them completely? Do I want to lose this aspect of my blog entirely, do I just want to scale it back?


All of this has got me thinking of the bigger picture. My followers number has increased quite a lot in the last year, and I have certainly devoted a lot more time to my blogging presence. Realistically, I spend a chunk of every day on my blog, but I’ve never invested anything other than time into it.

Purchasing a Domain

I have been toying at buying my domain for a little while now. The domains that I would consider all seem to be available, the problem is that having your own domain costs money. It involves making decisions about hosting and about domain provider. I liek the idea of losing the .wordpress. section of my blog name because I do think it adds a bit of gravitas, it makes it clear to the reader that you have invested something into your site, and it makes the whole thing seem a bit more professional (?).

Hosting

Purchasing a domain leads into a rabbit hole surrounding hosting your blog. I favour WordPress at the moment. It’s easy to use, I like the features and themes that come with the free site level, and it has so far been good to me. But the more I blog, the more I realise that it has limitations. I’ve just begun to enter the scary world of HTML, and although I such a beginner that the word beginner gives me a higher title than I deserve, I have realised that being able to tweak things in the base programming is the easiest way to get things to look how you want (when you get it right).

Realistically, I ma way off every being able to host my own blog. I am rubbish technologically, and I don’t know much at all about creating webpages and themes, which means that self-hosting would take more time and effort than it is currently worth. This leaves me looking for a site that hosts it for you, in the same way WordPress currently hosts my blog.

The primary candidate at the moment is to stick with a paid WordPress. This will give me my chosen domain, and increase my online storage capacity that is filling at a rate on knots. It should give me a little more freedom to do what I would like to do, but the problem is that it is still limited. It will still hold me back to a degree, and it costs quite a lot for what it is. I don’t know if the investment is actually worth it for what you get, at least at the base level.


The crux of this is that there are probably going to be a few changes around here over the next few days. Some may stick, some may not, but please be patient with me. If you have any advice or tips, please let me know, I’d really love to hear from you! And if you like something that changes, please show your support too!

9 thoughts on “Blog Spring Clean”

  1. I’ve just recently started rejigging my sections and categories myself. Things could be cleaner and easier to find on my blog and I’m really happy with the changes I’m making.
    But I don’t understand why everyone wants to host and have domain names? I mean I get that dropping the .wordpress off the end would be cool (can’t that be done without hosting though?) but moving your blog just makes everything harder for followers? One of my favourite blogs moved over to self hosting recently and I can no longer comment on their blog through the reader. Which is the only way I view blogs. So…. I haven’t commented on their blog since. And if I find blogs I like that are self hosted i am much less likely to try to find a way to follow them because even if they’re wordpress compatible (which they often aren’t) and I can follow them on here, I still can’t comment on them so what’s the point?
    But then everyone seems to want to do it? So maybe I’m in the minority about not wanting to follow self hosted blogs!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s exactly what I want to do, clean mine up and make things easier to find.
      To be honest, I don’t want to self host, but as everyone else is doing it I have considered it. I’d like my own domain name, can’t lie to you, but I think writing this has made me realise that I’m not ready for all of that quite yet. I may upgrade my WordPress level to get more memory and a domain and see how I feel then, but I’ve realised I’m not quite ready for that even yet I think. I dunno.

      Like

  2. I think you need to consider your long term goals for your blog. I went self hosted (oh the stress if doing that!) about a year ago as I want to earn money from it, set up an online shop (still not happened because of the impending move). I like the freedom I get, I can change things easily and it tone looks more professional. Though that could of course be because I’ve put the time in. You will loose people absolutely, but I’ve gained more than I’ve lost. So in short, work out what you want from your blog. And buying your domain through WordPress is actually more expensive than going self hosted

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think the problem is that I don’t know what I want, but I very much know what I don’t want and what I am not capable of doing right now. I think self-hosting is a bit much at the moment, and I’m not sure about the intricacies and side effects of it later, but I know it’s a lot less money than WordPress. I know it’s not all about that, but it’s something to consider.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m not tech minded either so I outsourced a few things to start but now manage ok. I just know I’ll break things every now and then so I need to know exactly what I’ve done to be able to unwind it!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I don’t have a particular urge to make money or find a way to at the moment, and I don’t feel like I yet have enough influence to make money, so I don’t think self-hosting is yet quite worth the effort, but I also like the flexibility that it brings. I don’t know, it’s a difficult decision to make.

        Liked by 1 person

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