Quick tips to eliminate clutter on your blog

Welcome to day 5 of Marianne’s blog tour, a movement that is supporting women around the world to create a life they love. Marianne from Design your own (lovely) Blog has been helping women to create lives they love by giving them confidence when it comes to their own blog designs. Marianne’s goal is to provide economical DIY ways for them to get started and help them feel better about who they are and what they have to offer.

From November 3rd until November 20th, 14 incredible female bloggers will be publishing a tip or tutorial to help women improve their blogs, mainly through design. That’s 14 FREE tips shared over 3 weeks! Yesterday Kim posted about how to sell your site without killing your design. Today I’ll be sharing some quick tips on how you can eliminate unnecessary elements that are taking up valuable space on your site.

Quick tips to eliminate clutter on your blog

It may seem like an odd thing to “worry” about, but keeping your site clean, organised and free from clutter can really help with the growth of your blog. Eliminating clutter can help eliminate confusion and keeps the focus on your content, services or product. Here are some quick and easy tips to get you started.

1. Tidy content – Your site should be readable, use easy to read fonts and nicely spaced paragraphs that are grouped by headings. Setting your images to the full width of your posts and the text alignment to justify can help create a sleek line that’s easy to follow. Avoid centering the text in your posts. The content on pages should be clear and concise. A lot of text will result in it being skimmed instead of being read so remove the unnecessary information. Each page on your site should have a clear goal or action for the reader.

2. Organise sidebar – The width of your sidebar should work well with your main post area. Make sure the post area is the main focus area. Your sidebar should add to the reading experience, not take from your content. Remove any features that don’t serve a purpose and think about what order the items should be in. Add titles to each section in your sidebar and group similar items under one main title. If social media widgets are taking up a lot of space and they aren’t a huge part of your marketing strategy, bundle them together by using buttons instead of widgets. Consider removing the year/month list of archives and change it to a menu or drop down list instead. Display your main topics so people can easily move around your site.

3. Clean up categories + menu – Having a lot of categories can really affect how visitors find and read your posts. Categories, labels and tags should help your readers. Write down your 5 main topics and create a category for each of those. Take a look at what can be combined and remove the ones with very few posts.

Then organise your navigation menu. Include the most important pages that are likely to be needed and the main categories. On those important pages you can link to secondary pages like your FAQ page or PR information. Think about how you want visitors to move through your site. What’s important from a users point of view? An important thing for me was to make sure I was giving visitors access to information about my services but also making sure that blog readers could find posts easier.

Further reading : how to properly use labels as categories on Blogger, do categories and labels help with SEO? and creating navigation menus.

4. Add white space – Spreading out the elements on your blog can make a huge difference. I’m not saying put big blank spaces in between each part but have sections of content. Add some space on either side of your blog too so it’s not taking up the entire screen. Important element should have priority space, be visually appealing and be slightly bigger or more noticeable.

5. Use features and placement wisely – Is there a feature or plugin you can use that will help clean up or organise your site. You could use drop down menus or accordion menus to hide certain things until they are needed. You could use tabs to combine content under specific headings. Would certain elements work better in a different place? For example instead of having share buttons in the post header or footer where they’ll get lost, could you put them under the post? Instead of having related or popular posts beneath the post or in the sidebar, could you have them underneath your comment box to guide your readers elsewhere and keep them on your blog.

Your task for the day
Grab a piece of paper and a pen! Take a few minutes to walk through each page of your site, what is the most important thing for that page? What elements are distracting from it? What is in your sidebar that isn’t needed or could be moved elsewhere? List down the changes you want to make and spend a few minutes tidying up your site. I promise, it will make a huge difference!

Continue the tour!
Stop by Kristen’s blog on Monday for more tips to design your own blog! Until then, you can check out the blog tour so far. Big thank you to Marianne for hosting, I’m looking forward to the rest of the tips!


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12 responses to “Quick tips to eliminate clutter on your blog”

  1. As someone who has gone a little sidebar crazy in the past, I think your advice in #2 is great! But what about when various forums, link ups and other groups request you put a button in your sidebar? Of course I want to comply, but my sidebars getting a little crowded again!

    1. You could have them as a rotating slideshow, that way they all get attention but are only taking up once space in your sidebar. You could also set up a resources page and have a section for them there. I’ve moved a lot of ads and buttons from my sidebar to a resource page, they seem to get more attention there 🙂

  2. Love these tips Elaine! Taking a step back and looking at your pages as a whole is a great exercise as well as seeing it from your readers’ points of view. Your own blog is a great example of keeping it simple and uncluttered. I absolutely adore your layout/design!

    1. Thank you Marianne! Really glad you think so. I try to do that every couple of weeks and tweaks things as I go to make sure nothings getting too cluttered 🙂

      1. Yeah it’s definitely something you have to stay on top of! I’m a big fan of keeping the sidebar simple, but I recently noticed mine starting to get out of control, so I need to do some reevaluating. 🙂

  3. These are such great tips! Thank you for sharing. One of the things I’m constantly looking at is how to make my website look clean and not cluttered. I think it’s really easy for the sidebar to get a little out of control so I check it often to see how I can pare down and show what’s important.

    1. Thank you. I totally agree, I do this too! Constantly tweaking my site to make it more user friendly.

  4. I am so glad you did this for your #DYBblogtour post. I think it is really easy for blogs to get cluttered. There are so many cool plugins and ads, and features we want to use! Thanks for the reminders.

    1. Hey Kristie, thank you! I know, when I first started I had every widget I could haha. Now I try limit the plugins I use and try to keep the user in mind at all times.

  5. Yes, yes and more yes! Clean and focused is the way to go. Thanks, Elaine.

  6. Your posts are always so helpful! I am looking to give my blog a face lift for the New Year, so I will be stalking your blog!!!

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