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Blog Exercises: Organize Your Content

Blog Exercises on Lorelle on WordPress.In “The Giant Blog Exercise Check List Part 1” I presented you with a giant list of all the posts I’ve published in these Blog Exercises so far in 2013. It was an amazing exercise and it is now your turn to do the same exercise.

Your blog exercise today is to create a link list of all the posts you have ever published on your site, then organize them by topics.

Before you freak out over the magnitude of the task, there are some easy ways to do this.

My favorite post list-making technique involves the Firefox Web Browser and a powerful Text Editor.

I use the CoLT Firefox Add-on in Firefox. Before using CoLT or another HTML linking tool, ensure it is set up properly to capture the link in the legally required HTML link format.

I combine CoLT with the AutoCopy Firefox Add-on and a text editor such as NoteTab Pro and its powerful Paste Board feature which acts as a clipboard to preserve all text copied from web pages and elsewhere. While there are other ways to accomplish the same process with different tools, these three tools make up my powerful speed blogging work horses and have served me well for many years of blogging. (There is a free “light” version and an inexpensive paid version. Get the paid version of NoteTab Pro if you choose to use it. The light version has only one undo, which can be painful.)

HTML list of categorized blog post titles in text editor - Lorelle VanFossen of Lorelle on WordPress Blog Exercises.

  1. Open the text editor (it must be a text editor. There are many free ones. Do NOT use Word or a word processor).
  2. Display the “front pageview” of your blog posts on your site. Your site may feature a static front page or other blog structure model, so go to the starting point of your most recent posts.
  3. On the post title of each post, right click and copy the post title link as an HTML link.
    • If you are using the combination of AutoCopy Firefox Add-on and the Paste Board feature of NoteTab Pro, go to the next link and copy it the same way.
    • If you are not using AutoCopy and a text editor with a Paste Board feature, switch to the text editor and paste the link on a line and switch back to the browser and repeat this with the next post title.
  4. When you come to the bottom of the blog posts on that page, click “Older Posts” or “Past Entries” to move to the next pageview of posts and continue the copying and pasting.

When completed, you will have an HTML list of all of the post titles you’ve published, it is time to start sorting and organizing.

  1. In the text editor, write down “category” that the post should be in.
  2. Copy the HTML link of the post title and move it to under category.
  3. Continue through each post title in the list, copying the entire HTML link carefully, adding new categories to group like content together. If you need to change the category title to more accurately reflect the topics, do so.
  4. If you have more than 20 posts in a single grouping, break that group up into sub-categories, micro-categorizing the content.

When you are done, you should have a table of contents listing of all of the posts you’ve published to date.

Blog Exercise Task from Lorelle on WordPress.Your blog exercise today is to make such a site table of contents. Group all of the posts under the appropriate group title.

It may feel technical but once you get into the copy and paste flow of things, it will move fast. I was able to copy the more than 100 posts in my list in about 8 minutes. The sorting took much longer as I kept moving things around, rereading posts to determine what they were really about, and rethinking much of what I was doing in these blog exercises. You will find your own pace as you go through this, but don’t be overwhelmed by the task. The rewards will be worth it.

Once done, do the following.

  1. Review the new category titles and compare them against your current blog categories.
  2. Review the list for groupings with less than 10 posts. Consider merging the group with another group or create a to do list of articles to add to that group.
  3. Identify the holes in your content. What is missing? What should have been published in the series or sequence of posts?
  4. Which groups have the most posts? Clearly this is a topic you are passionate about. Give that some thought.

As with all of these lessons, this one is about learning more about what you are really doing on your site. What are you doing? What are you publishing? Does what you are publishing match the purpose and goals of your site? Does it match the design and presentation style of the site?

Most of all, is this what you really wanted to blog about?

When complete, and this may never be a completed task, share your thoughts about what you have published with us here in the comments or on your own site, linking to this post as inspiration to generate a trackback so we can read your lessons, or leave a properly formed link in the comments below.

In next week’s part 2 of this exercise, I’ll talk more with what to do with this list in our next blog exercise.

If you complete the list with all of the posts you’ve published done before Monday, spend some time with it. It will speak loudly. Listen closely.

You can find more Blog Exercises on . This is a year-long challenge to help you flex your blogging muscles.


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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen.

2 Comments

  1. My Zany Life
    Posted July 26, 2013 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    Lorelle…I have a few questions about “blog” mechanics and would appreciate your input greatly:

    1. trackbacks and pingbacks – this is a confusing subject. I’ve read mostly where they are a bad thing and search engines penalize you for them…wrong? I believe I have them currently turned off

    2. gravatars and blog presence(s) – I started with a wp.com blog and abandoned it and moved on to .org but created a presence/gravatar with the .com and that’s the one that comes up when I’m on a .com blog such as yours…should you have more than one? What’s the thought process behind the identities? Since I no longer have a .com blog should I not use the “My Zany Life” which is tied to that blog?

    Thanks!
    marion

    • Posted July 26, 2013 at 10:49 am | Permalink

      Don’t know who you are reading but there are nothing wrong with trackbacks and pingbacks. Like everything, there are people who abuse anything, including air and water, but trackbacks are the backbone of the web and blogosphere. People are just freaking out over the abusers not the trackbacks. Destroy those who abuse and all will return to normal. I wish. :D

      You can have as many Gravatars as you wish. They are linked to the email account you use to leave comments and such. The data associated with that email account goes into the comment form unless you manually change it in the comment box.

      I’ll let it go right now, but “My Zany Life” is an inappropriate “name” for a human being on my site and many others. We want to know who you are not some tag line. We want to talk to you as a person, not call you by some CB radio handle. This applies to everyone, and is another example of something good that people abuse. When a non-human sounding name is used in the comment box, people assume now it is a spammer and you are more likely to be marked as spam, which is painful. I know you don’t want that, so make sure your Gravatar profile is set with your name as well as the link to your site.

      Thanks.


5 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] taken up Lorelle’s huge challenge, Blog Exercises: Organise Your Content, to organise all my posts on this blog. I’ll explain in my next post the sweat, tear, and joy […]

  2. […] This is especially handy when I’m looking for a variety of posts to link to. I will scan down the list and copy any links that look appropriate to add to my article using the same copy and paste to a Paste Board text file described in the last blog exercise. […]

  3. […] First: Read this post at least three times: Blog Exercises: Organise Your Content […]

  4. […] Blog Exercises: Organize Your Content […]

  5. […] Blog Exercises: Organize Your Content […]

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