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One Year Anniversary Review: Blog Housekeeping and Maintenance

Remember the old term “home pages” to represent a website? It was used in the earliest days of website design and development and had two meanings. The first was the term “home page” which meant the front or first page of a website. The second reference was to “home pages”, your personal website. In a way, I liked the term because a home is not just a building but a place you fix up and decorate to reflect your personality. In many ways, your website or blog is a reflection of who and what you are.

As with any home, it needs careful attention to housekeeping and maintenance, and to help you keep your blog’s plumbing working and in good order, and helping you keep your blog clean and truly a reflection of you, I’ve written a few articles over the past year to help.

A lot of people put so much energy into getting into a new home (or blog), thinking about the architecture, design, layout, colors, and pictures on the walls, that they forget about the day-to-day maintenance after the thing is built. A blog is no different. There is code to check, cracks in the walls to repair, traffic to monitor, and a lot of technical data to read to keep abreast of changes in technology which impacts your lovely web pages.

In “Make a Schedule and Calendar”, I encouraged bloggers to create a calendar to help them keep up with their maintenance responsibilities, and in “Spring Cleaning or Fall Brush Off – Season Blog Cleaning”, I offer some specific seasonal cleaning tips for your blog:

Here are a few of my tips for cleaning up your blog, for Spring cleaning or Fall brush off.

* Add Some Sparkle: Is something boring, dull, or needs some dusting off on your site? Add a bit of color, spice up the footer, change a background or header graphic, do something to add some spice and sparkle to fresh up the look of your site.
* Clean the Dust Bunnies Off Your Links: Links to external sites die, often more frequently than you can imagine. They are left collecting dust on your site, leading visitors to nothing. Go through and test your external site links for current and update the old ones if you can.
* Look for Dead Ends: While you are cleaning out dead links, take time to check your site’s statistics for 404 Page Not Found errors. If you have been messing around with permalinks or imported your site from a previous blogging or site management tool, take time to go through your internal links and look for links that lead nowhere and update them to the new link address.
* Update WordPress or Your Site Software: If you are using WordPress or any other HTML or blogging tool, make sure you have the latest version or upgrade as there may be critical security patches you need.

One of the hardest housekeeping tasks for all websites is cleaning out 404 Page Not Found Errors, links that die off or change. In order to keep your house in order, these lost links need to be found or deleted. I wrote “Checking Loose Links”, “Those Pesky 404 Page Not Found Errors”, and “Check For 404 Page Not Found Errors” to help you clean out those dead ends.

Two popular articles I wrote helped people understand how to maintain a blog on a daily basis. “My Daily Tasks With WordPress” gave people a quick run down of daily tasks with WordPress, and then “A Day in the Life of a Paranoid Website Administrator” helped people understand about the downside of blogging, dealing with comment spam.

Hosting your own full version blog involves maintenance and housekeeping associated with developing and designing your own blog or site such as validating code, fixing code errors, and monitoring your blog in case it breaks.

Part of the responsibility of a blog also includes dealing with updating posts or posting updates of your post information, software, tools, or other products or services you offer.

The downside of blogging is burn-out, and I wrote about dealing with this in “Have Your Favorite Bloggers and Blogs Run Out of Steam” and “When the Burden of Support is Too Great”:

Developing a WordPress Plugin and Theme is exciting. It challenges the mind and pushes you to think not only out of the box but around the entire box. You even jump up and down on the box to get it to work.

Once the thrill is over, and the thing works, the beta testing ensues. You put it out there for other people to jump on. You plunge back into your beloved code to toss things around and make it work in a variety of the situations which the users use. You make improvements to its features. You strip back the excessive coding towards simplicity. You do a little dance around your newly updated box, and put it back out into the hands of your public.

It’s exciting when it starts. The feedback is excellent. There is a lot of appreciation and a lot of reward for doing it well. But then comes the dragging times: support.

…They tend to ignore your carefully worded instructions, especially the ones in bold that say “DO THIS” and “DON’T DO THAT”. They don’t read the comments explaining how to do X, Y, and Z. So you get a lot of redundant comments on how to do X, Y, and Z.

You start to spend more time answering questions then working on the project or the new projects you have in mind. You become a support maven for your WordPress toy instead of the inventor and creator.

It just isn’t fun any more.

Blogging is fun, but blogging can be work. In order to keep it fun, do frequent upkeep and maintenance to make sure everything is working right and is up-to-date. And when things start burning you out or wearing you down, dig down deep and remember why you got into blogging in the first place. Hopefully, it was for the right reasons and that reason included fun and passion about what you are blogging about.

Then keep on blogging.

Here are more articles I wrote about housekeeping, maintenance, and blog administration over the past year.


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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen, member of the 9Rules Network

Member of the 9Rules Blogging Network

2 Comments

  1. Posted September 4, 2006 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    Lorelle:

    Really comprehenisive and helpful hints and suggestions for bloggers.

    Thanks for sharing.

    kamla

  2. Posted August 14, 2009 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    I am new to blogging but it wasn’t until recently that i realized how time consuming it can be. I appreciate your help with WordPress as it has really helped me


5 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. [...] Some of her (I think it’s a her!) about  maintenance,  accessibility/usability & keywords are very pertinent – and things that I have though/ am thinking about. [...]

  2. [...] Recently Lorelle was doing a one year retrospective of the various articles she’s written on blogging. She brought up the topic of “blog housekeeping“, which is very important. Blog maintenance can be broken into different categories: [...]

  3. [...] One Year Anniversary Review: Blog Housekeeping and Maintenance [...]

  4. [...] I did. They included bloggers, blogging tools, WordPress.com tips, accessibility and usability, blog housekeeping, blog writing, blogger’s rights, blogging tips, choosing a WordPress Theme, blog comments, [...]

  5. […] One Year Anniversary Review: Blog Housekeeping and Maintenance […]

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