A few years ago, Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, was such a hit that her surname became a verb. A second book, Spark Joy, shortly followed and now her Netflix series is sending the world into another decluttering frenzy.
While Marie Kondo doesn’t address her readers’ digital lives, businesses
So are you ready to declutter your blog so that it sparks joy (in both your heart and your reader’s heart)?
As your blog grows, it’s only natural for your content to evolve with it. Maybe your mission statement has changed, or you’ve never quite pinned down what your blog is about in the first place.
Over time, even the little consistency you had has vanished, the design looks messy, and your audience has a hard time finding what they’re looking for (or what you want them to find!).
Don’t despair! Sometimes, a little decluttering can do the trick! Here’s how you can use Marie Kondo’s advice to clean up your blog and make sure you’re serving YOUR target audience and even increase your conversion rates.
1 | Make sure your blog sparks joy and makes you proud
The KonMari method revolves around one fundamental question – does it spark joy? Of course, she talks about shirts and grocery receipts, but when you rephrase it and make it about
So how do you know if your blog sparks joy? By simply asking yourself these two questions:
- Does my blog make me smile every time it loads in the browser?
- Do I feel proud every time I hand my business card or give my URL to a stranger?
If your answer is yes, that’s JOY!
Otherwise it’s time for a little visualization exercise.
How would your blog have to look like (colors, typography, mood) to inspire you to wake up one hour earlier than everybody else just so you can write a new post?
With Marie Kondo’s method, you are only choosing what to keep. And you are supposed to keep only those things that bring you joy.
But how can it bring joy when your personal brand is all over the place, right? When your blog doesn’t flow and your readers never click through to read more than one post?
In order to build trust with your audience and position yourself as an authority in your field, you need to build a strong personal brand.
It all starts with a custom domain and a good web host and continues with the look and feel of your blog.
Good design captures your personality and message and helps you better connect with your ideal audience.
So if you’ve outgrown or fallen out of love with your blog design and layout, it’s time for a makeover.
Maybe all you need to do is to get rid of that ugly background and make the font bigger. Or use some pretty images to elevate your brand. These are my go-to sites for feminine styled stock photos – Styled Stock Society and SC Stockshop.
But maybe your theme is beyond salvage and you know deep down that it’s high time you upgraded to something more professional. If this is your case, check out this post on how to choose the perfect theme for your blog.
Tidying is a dialogue with yourself and a journey of self-discovery. By eliminating the noise you allow yourself to grow. And by understanding your priorities you allow for new opportunities to come into your life.
2 | Declutter by category, not by location
Marie Kondo warns that if you continue to tidy by location, you’ll be tidying for the rest of your life. Instead, she recommends you tidy by category. Sure, she means old sweaters and socks, but I believe her ideas can apply to all aspects of life, including blogging.
So instead of decluttering your sidebar, top bar navigation, and footer, you should tackle your plugins, blog categories, and old posts, in this order.
Start by discarding, then organize your blog, thoroughly, completely, in one go.
I find it really sweet that Marie Kondo treats her old clothes as she would people. She genuinely worries
Declutter your plugins first
Let’s start with the inactive plugins. Do you think they are happy? They can’t serve their purpose and they probably feel trapped. Set them free by deleting them.
Now let’s take a look at all the other plugins you have installed. Go through them one by one and ask yourself if they still bring you joy (if by deleting a plugin your blog stops working, obviously it’s an essential one and it DOES spark joy, even if you don’t know it).
If the answer is no, thank that brave little plug-in for all its hard work and set it free. It may no longer fit with your brand, but for a while, it expanded your blog’s functionality with the best of them.
Before you add any new plugin, ask yourself, does this extra functionality spark joy? If it doesn’t, refrain from installing it.
The less noise you add to your blog, the lighter the design will be. And a light design makes it easier for your personality to shine through.
Also, your website will be faster which in turn will boost your page views. You can also increase your load speed by moving your free blog to self-hosted WordPress.org.
Reorganize your blog categories and tags next
Many bloggers add their blog categories in the top navigation menu or in the sidebar. But the more options you give the reader, the closer you push them towards analysis paralysis and the further away from what you actually want them to do.
Keep your navigation menu to a minimum (ideally 3 to 5 items!) and remove the categories and tag cloud from your sidebar.
You can never go wrong with a clean and simple design.
The categories and tags should help the reader navigate your blog.
If your blog were a book, then the categories would be the chapters. The tags, on the other hand, would be the book’s index.
In an ideal world, you would know exactly what topics you will write about even before you start a blog. But in practice, this rarely happens.
Every 6 months take a look at your categories and tags to see if they need some decluttering.
Say goodbye to categories you’ve only used once or twice.
A brainstorming exercise can come in handy here. Create a mind-map to help you visualize your blog’s structure. Your first draft might not be perfect but you will gain greater clarity as you continue tweaking it.
There is no right answer when it comes to the number of categories a blog should have but as a rule of thumb, the fewer, the easier it will be for you to stay focused and on-topic.[clickToTweet tweet=”Every extra option pushes the reader closer to analysis paralysis and further away from what you want them to do. You can never go wrong with a clean and simple design.” quote=”Every extra option pushes the reader closer to analysis paralysis and further away from what you want them to do. You can never go wrong with a clean and simple design.” theme=”style3″]
Tidy up your drafts and old posts
This is a twofold task.
1. Set free your abandoned drafts
First, log into your blog’s dashboard and have a look at all those drafts that have someday as their publication date. In my experience, someday means never and I doubt your experience is much different.
Don’t these drafts look miserable and abandoned? Express your gratitude for teaching you what you don’t like to write about and click the delete button. Free yourself from the burden of feeling the need to finish writing them.
2. Nurture your old posts every once in a while
One of my favorite productivity tips for bloggers is to get comfortable with publishing stuff that is less than perfect.
This doesn’t mean you should hit publish and COMPLETELY forget about it. Old posts are like old friends. You need to make time to visit them every once in a while.
Rewrite, update, format, add Pinterest-friendly images, and so on. This will not only lower your bounce rate but it’s good for SEO too.
Happy posts + happy bots + happy readers = HAPPY YOU!
3 | Use systems so you can blog with minimal effort
I have a confession to make – I have an issue with repetitive tasks! Perhaps that’s why Marie Kondo’s book speaks to my heart. She is all about creating a system so your house will stay tidy with minimal effort.
So think about it… as bloggers, we have to perform a ton of repetitive tasks every day. Many of those involve social media updates.
But you can’t reach for your phone to tweet or pin every hour on the hour because you also have a life. So using a scheduling tool is non negotiable.
I’ve been batching my pin scheduling with Tailwind for well over a year and I can wholeheartedly say it’s well worth it. I schedule all my pins and other people’s pins in half an hour per week. Tailwind then publishes them one by one when people are most likely to see and interact with them. See my favorite strategies to drive traffic with Pinterest.
Additionally, Tailwind tribes are a big part of the reason my pageviews skyrocketed lately. If you blog about blogging, you can join my tribe here (if you are new to Tailwind, you’ll even get $15 credit towards your account!).
Moving from social media into your blog’s dashboard now
Imagine if you were to style the color of your subheaders one by one. You would have to go through all your posts and restyle them every time you decide to change the hue.
But if you add a tiny line of code in your custom CSS file, it will allow for great flexibility, create visual continuity and
In the same line of reasoning, when you decide to purge your blog of broken links, for example, you should do it all at once, using a broken link checker.
You should never declutter your blog one post at a time (except when you are updating old posts, of course!). You really don’t need to add one more thing to your pile of daily chores.
Life altering transformation can only be driven by sudden change. If the process is gradual, the same impact can never be achieved.
This is why getting into the habit of asking yourself the spark joy question every time you are about to add another gimmick to your blog will keep the design looking minimalistic and professional.
Successful blogging truly begins after you put your blog in order.
Hey girl hey! I’m a writer, designer and the creator of I Am Unstoppable: A Journal For Winning At Life. I’m on a mission to inspire and empower women to simplify their blogs and business so they can show up for their dreams in a sustainable way. I also love to travel, play with kitties and decorate my home.