You may have noticed the site has been undergoing some slight changes. Nothing drastic, just a little house cleaning. When you’ve been blogging for as long as I have (and I’m no great blog founder), you tend to acquire things. Plugins, links, clutter. You know – stuff. Stuff that makes you lose sight of what you wanted to do and how you wanted to do it. So, you clean house.

First, I’ve restructured my sidebars. They had been getting disorganized and distracting. Too many things going on at once and some of them ended up being several tiny things. Basically, there was no real focus. So I dumped the small items and focused on the big items.

Pages, I deleted a couple of pages that had become obsolete. They included the Baby Registration page – Corbin’s 15 months old already! The What to Read and DVD Library pages also went out the window since The Company Store really serves the same purpose. It even replaces the Baby Registry for that matter. Check it out.

While I kept the embedded page for The Company Store, I don’t list it in the sidebar (top left). I figured the larger tower ad was more useful and you could bookmark individual item pages if you went to the stand-alone version. I basically stripped the “Pages” navigation to what was most critical to my visitors. Oh, and I renamed it to be more personal.

Also getting stripped was the Blog roll aka “Other Sites”. I had come to realize that most of the links (that weren’t my other sites) were inactive or dead, so…off they went. I also only list them on the front page. In their place you’ll find a list of categories. I figured this would help with internal navigation which seems to be a need I have.

You see, I’m not very social on the net. I don’t myspace or facebook, or even tweet. I blog. And I basically blog about nothing. I have no niche, no over-arcing theme, no clear purpose. What I do have is a bunch of random thoughts that I try to pull together in a cohesive way so that I can share it with anyone who happens to be looking for the same thing.

That’s why I rank very well for Corinthian Leather, the Cost/Address/Reviews of Grand Canyon Skywalk, and Black Tie Optional. Some of the things I rank well for – I’m not so proud of and have a hard time understanding. I understand how I meet the search criteria, I just don’t understand why I am so near the top of the results page for elf xxx (completely innocent, I swear).

But that brings me back to my other cleaning projects. Most of my housecleaning has been behind the scenes. Deleting old plugins that no longer work or serve their purpose, tweaking little things like how things are displayed, figuring out the best font size and color to make the site pleasant and easy to understand…all so I can make money.

Yes, I want to make money with this site. and I do – close to $200 year. But I want more. That’s why I’ve expanded my site ads and added them to the feeds, you read. But I fear this is counter productive. Will I drive away my few regular readers? Will they feel used and abused if I flood them with ads instead of quality content? But then random visitors make up about 99% of my traffic. They don’t care about the ads since they only see them once. My visitors see them all the time – both of you.

So I don’t know. You tell me – what do you like and dislike about this site. How can I make it better for you and how can I attract more regular visitors? Because, frankly, I’m lost.

14 thoughts on “Cleaning house

  1. I had come to realize that most of the links (that weren’t my other sites) were inactive or dead, so…off they went

    That’s a good thing to clean out. I’ve been to sites where more than 80% of the external links are dead. Which is terribly ironic, since those same sites warn when more than a few links on the external sites – are (also) dead.

    In the end it makes it look like you don’t update, even when you’re updating everything *except* that.

    I’ve expanded my site ads and added them to the feeds, you read. But I fear this is counter productive.

    I’ll continue to mostly ignore them, except when they’re a highly amusing juxtaposition to the article in question. Then I will point and laugh.

    How can I make it better for you and how can I attract more regular visitors?

    As your content is, as you admit, pretty random it’s hard to say what your audience is. I’d say it’s probably made up, in large part, by people who know you in some capacity and are curious to see what you’re up to/find interesting at the moment. In that niche it does very well.

    However, that’s a rather limited circle.

    There are a few things that seem to do well. Namely children’s photography and WordPress.

    You seem to have answered quite a few WP questions over at PhotoJulia – thought about expanding that topic?

    As to photography, there doesn’t seem to be a lot out there. Most things are either guides for the kids taking pictures, how to market pictures or whole books you have to buy. Or the mechanical basics of taking a picture. This is a good, if short article – something like this.

  2. I didn’t like they way it was working so I deactivated it. There’s a better one my friend uses. I just need to find out what it is and install it.

    Oh, and thanks for the feedback.

  3. I keep my links just for me, it’s a convenient place to keep together the blogs I consistently read. On other people’s pages they provide interesting ways to go to places I would not otherwise find.
    As for ads, sorry, I ignore them.
    Oh – Hello, Michele NetChick sent me.

  4. Sorry, that should read Comment Cheer. Its a concept started over at Michelle Agnew’s (now defunct) where you post a “hello” comment on NetChick’s site and on the site of the previous commenter. Look here for this week’s Meet n’ Greet. It’s just a way to meet new people/blogs and encourage interaction.

  5. @Joe, thanks for stopping by. I’m glad you can ignore the ads. They’re mostly so I can benefit from the random visitor. I try to keep it subtle but its easy to get carried away. Plus, they’re contextual which doesn’t always seem fitting.

    P.S. Hope Buster recovers quickly.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.