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 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.)
- Open the text editor (it must be a text editor. There are many free ones. Do NOT use Word or a word processor).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- In the text editor, write down “category” that the post should be in.
- Copy the HTML link of the post title and move it to under category.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- Review the new category titles and compare them against your current blog categories.
- 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.
- Identify the holes in your content. What is missing? What should have been published in the series or sequence of posts?
- 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.