4 Tips For Housekeeping Your Blog And Improving Its SEO Rating

Performing housekeeping on your blog has many benefits. After all, who doesn’t want their blog to look like a friendly, easy-to-use and inviting place old and new visitors will want to keep coming back to?

If you’re a blogger looking to expand their readership, performing housekeeping on your blog is something you should seriously consider.

But what blog housekeeping jobs should you consider doing?

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This is why blog housekeeping is essential.

During a 4-day heatwave last month, I couldn’t venture outside, so I took the opportunity to do some blog housekeeping. Here’s what I did.

1. Delete old, out-of-date blog posts.

I always feel that old, out-of-date blog posts that can not be updated or rewritten do nothing but drag down my blog.

They hang around like some uninvited members of the family you hardly ever see or have contact with. You know they are there but feel afraid to ask them to leave.

I had over 400 blog posts on my blog, some of which were doing nothing apart from attracting spam comments. They were dead ducks. They were not attracting any new views, visitors or comments.

I ended up deleting over 80 posts. Not only did I feel good getting rid of what I considered clutter, but I was also able to cut the number of spam comments by deleting those old posts.

After deleting them, I felt a lot better about my blog. I felt much more positive knowing I had removed all the deadwood.

Some bloggers claim that deleting old posts is not a good idea because they can look back and see how much they have improved since those early posts. But when you’re somebody who never goes back to read old posts, mainly because you don’t have the time to do so, deleting these old blog posts is like cutting away the string tied to the brick holding your blog down.

2. Fixing broken links.

A downside of deleting old blog posts is that any pingback and links you have to them will become broken.

I used Broken Link Check to run a report showing me broken links on my blog. It’s free to use.

Since SEOs like Google rank blogs lower that have broken links, cleaning up and fixing broken links is a job every blogger should consider.

That first broken link report could be long and overwhelming, but once you start running a broken link report every month, you’ll soon conquer that job.

Fixing broken links was the best bit of blog housekeeping I did because it improves your blog’s overall ranking, meaning more traffic and visitors to your blog.

3. Categories and tags

When I checked how many categories and tags I had on my blog, I was shocked by the number.

What amazed me was that many categories and tags were no longer active. Like some of my old blog posts, they were deadwood.

Checking which categories and tags are no longer active is easy.

Follow this guide.

  • On your blog’s dashboard, click on Posts and then Categories. (Click on Tags to manage Tags).
Image highlighting where to manage categories and tags on your WordPress blog
How to manage categories and tags on your WordPress blog

A list of all your categories will show how many posts you have under each category.

  • To delete a category, click on the meatball menu next to the number and click on ‘delete.’
Image showing how to delete categories on a WordPress blog
How to delete categories on your WordPress blog

Follow the same process for managing the Tags on your blog.

4. Menu Bar

I also took the opportunity to tidy up the menubar on my blog. Although it was not what I considered ‘top heavy’, I moved some items to sub-categories.

Here’s an example. I moved some fictional stuff to sub-categories under ‘Fiction.’ When you now hover over ‘Fiction‘ on the menu, you’ll see the sub-categories pop up.

Blogs with top-heavy menus can look overwhelming and messy to visitors.

Click here for more help with menus on your blog.

Once you start housekeeping your blog, it will make you feel much more positive about your blog.

Try and get into the habit of housekeeping your blog at least once every six months, although I’d recommend running a broken links report at least once a month.

Let’s wrap it up

  • Performing housekeeping on your blog is something every blogger should perform at least once every six months.
  • A well-kept blog is a blog that old and new visitors will want to keep coming back to.
  • Fixing broken links on your blog will improve your blog’s SEO rating.
  • Run a broken link report for your blog once a month. Fix any broken links.
  • Delete categories and tags that are no longer being used on your blog. Too many categories and tags can confuse readers.
  • Delete old out-of-date blog posts, especially if all they are doing is attracting lots of spam.
  • Try and keep the menu of your blog to a minimum. Top-heavy menus can look messy and overwhelming.

How often do you perform blog housekeeping? What do those jobs involve? Do you have any simple tips for housekeeping your blog? Share them in the comments.

Remember that a well-kept blog is a positive and friendly place for your visitors and readers.

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110 thoughts on “4 Tips For Housekeeping Your Blog And Improving Its SEO Rating

  1. Thanks for these great tips Hugh. The broken links one is overwhelming but as you say once you get it under control it should be easy to stay that way. I’ve just gone and looked at categories and tags and had a cleanup as I read your post and will start deleting posts and tackling the subsequent broken links. Do you know if when you delete a post and the images in the post as well I presume, does that free up space in your media section?

    1. Hi Debbie, good to hear you’ve started some blog housekeeping. Unfortunately, when you delete old blog posts, the images from that post are not deleted from the media library. You have to go in and delete them yourself. I think it’s something WordPress need to take a look at so that images are deleted when posts get trashed. I’ll send them a suggestion about it. Also, before deleting old posts, disable any links in them first before deleting the post. That way, they won’t show up on any broken link reports.

      1. Oh that’s a great idea to disable links before deleting posts Hugh. Thanks for the tips! I think it would be good if photos were deleted when the posts get trashed, so suggesting it to them makes sense. You are always so helpful – thank you!

  2. Hugh, Congratulations, you have made the top three for last week’s entries and will be featured on my FB Page. Bloggers: Share, Care & Inspire.

  3. I’m happy that I now know how I can get rid of old tags and posts categories – thank you Hugh. I would like to make the categories and tags more uniform. For some reason, some are all in lower case and I don’t think I intentionally put them that way. Something to do over the Winter when I have a little more time.

    1. Yes, the winter is a great time to do some blog housekeeping, although the recent heatwave was also a great time to get some of my blog housekeeping done, Linda. I dislike the heat, so it allowed me to do some blog cleaning.

      1. I don’t like this intense heat either Hugh – it saps your energy. As an avid walker with a goal of 2,022 kms/1,256 miles to reach before year-end, I have resorted to walking in a large grocery store on the really hot and humid days.

        In your post you mentioned freshening up your blog – I am guilty here as I have not tweaked my blog theme as it is old and I suspect if I experimented with it, that theme is obsolete, so there would be no going back. My blog is set up fairly simple and I may do some tweaking when I am retired and have more time. I have left early posts on for now … I wrote my initial long post about walking and entering “The Blogosphere”, then we had bad weather, I went on no walks, so I just put a few quotations for blog posts. (???)

        Then I got this idea that it would be clever to have a one-word title and a one-paragraph post, with no photo or a stock photo. So now I have morphed into long, picture-laden posts. I like looking back sometimes to see the progress as I near the 10th anniversary of my blog which will be in February 2023.

        1. If you’re happy with how your blog looks, keep it that way, Linda. I always say, ‘do whatever works best for you.’ The tips and recommendations I give are there for help and guidance. There may come a time when something goes wrong with your theme. If it has been retired, then WordPress won’t offer any support or fix anything that has gone wrong. But that may never happen.

        2. I see a lot of people with the same theme Hugh and I suspect they went with the 2010 theme like me … just because it was simple and straightforward. I’m guessing (hoping) that we will get notice about the retirement of a theme, either in an e-mail or in a notice like we receive in our Reader feed.

        3. I’m afraid WordPress does not tell users when a theme is retired, Linda. I only find out if I report a problem to the Happiness Engineers, and they inform me that the problem can not be fixed because the theme I’m using is retired, and they no longer support it.

          The Themes page also used to let you know if the theme you are using is retired, but that opinion seems to have disappeared to be moved elsewhere. I’ll let you know if I find out where it has been moved. I searched for the 2010 theme, but nothing came back, so it could be that it’s already been retired. Next time to speak to the Happiness Engineers, ask them if it’s been retired. They’ll certainly know the answer.

        4. Thank you for your insight Hugh and for checking the themes info as well. I have not looked at any themes since I created my blog but I do see many people are using the same theme as me. I will ask the Happiness Engineers the status the next time I have to contact them. Knock on wood, I have not had any WP issues in a while.

  4. I have heard about deleting dead wood/posts but then also not to do it as you may have pins or SM with that link so always hesitant to delete those posts. What’s your opinion on just marking them private not to attract attention or do you feel deleting them is best

    1. It’s a personal choice, Esmé. I much rather delete old posts.

      All the recent ones I deleted were well over a year old, so the links to social media platforms would be old and way down anyone’s timeline. They say the average lifespan of a tweet is 20 minutes. I have tweets going out on posts for 12 months after publication dates, so I never delete posts under 12 months old. I concentrate more on Twitter because it’s where most of the traffic to my blog comes from, other than the WordPress Reader and search engines.

        1. I’d tell that person that the link to their Gravatar is broken. And I’d recommend that you remove the link in the meantime. Any kind of broken links is not good.

  5. This is a great post Hugh. I am currently, slowly in the process of operation blog cleanup. I’m halfway done on my menu – which became a nightmare after moving from my old self hosted blog back to paid WordPress. And yes! Omg, I get at least 60 spams daily. I noticed that they are coming in on oldddddddddd blog posts. What’s up with that and why? That will be my next mission! Thanks for the broken link checker! ❤

    1. Thank you, Debby.

      The spammers tend to go for old posts. That’s why some bloggers close off comments on them after a certain amount of time has passed. I’m not a fan of preventing visitors from joining the discussion on my blog posts by closing off comments, so if an old post is attracting nothing but spam and can not be updated, I choose to delete it instead. I feel much better about getting rid of dead posts that are not attracting new life other than spam. It works best for me.

    1. Yes, some of those posts were attracting nothing but huge amounts of spam, Terri. It was time to say goodbye to them (and the spam). I got the same thing on the reports I run in that reblogs and pingbacks links in comments sections of posts are broken because those sharing the posts have deleted them from their blog. Many bloggers have been doing some housekeeping (which is a good thing).

      1. I had to reduce the days comments would be allowed on old posts. Sometimes I wonder if bloggers realize that admin and blog maintenance is necessary even with a hosted blog. When I self-hosted, there was lot to do, but any blog needs looking after. Thanks again!

        1. The blogs that don’t have any housekeeping performed on them stand out like a sore thumb, Terri. I’ve learned to spot them from miles away. Now, I seldom visit them. They tend to look stale and dull and give the impression of overwhelmingness. Finding many broken links on a blog is a sign that you need to move on quickly, as the host obviously does not care about looking after their blog (or their readers).

          As you know, I’m not a fan of closing off comments on my posts. I like to keep the door open for any further discussion. That’s why when an old post stops receiving any hits, likes or comments, I feel it’s time to thank it for its work and wave it goodbye. But, as I always recommend, we should do what works best for us.

  6. Beyond helpful, Hugh! I’d been wondering how to delete categories and tags. Deleting old posts helps delete the old images as well that take up space in our media files. Housekeeping is super important and this is a great reminder as we move into the autumn season where blogging tends to pick up 🙂 I’m going to check on the broken links, too. This will apply to the Sunday Stills challenge as many links are left in the comments, good call! I also like to refresh my appearance and theme with new colors and headers seasonally. That can do a lot for a fresh appearance. Always delighted to read your how-to posts! Thanks!

    1. Hi Terri, when deleting old posts, sadly, any images on those posts do not get deleted from the media library. You must go in and delete those images; otherwise, they remain there. I tend to check what images on a post I want to delete and delete those images in the media library first. Then delete the post.

      I think refreshing the look of a blog is an excellent thing to do. Otherwise, blogs can look dull and uninviting. I know a few blogs that haven’t changed since I started blogging. I seldom view them now because they’ve lost their appeal from their appearance. They haven’t moved on with the times. Sitting still and doing nothing isn’t good for anything.

      I’m glad this post has been helpful.

  7. Excellent advice, Hugh, as always. Sites that have been around for a long time can also benefit from a complete rethink and redesign. Not to be undertaken lightly, of course, but sometimes what worked when you first set up a website doesn’t work any longer after years of adding content.

    1. Thank you, Jen.

      I agree with what you say about those sites that have been around for years and have not changed. After a while, they look dull, uninviting, and the ‘same old, same old…’ A refresh is something I undertake on my blog about once every 18 months (or when the theme I’m using is retired). Many of the problems I hear other bloggers blaming on WordPress is because the theme they are using has been retired and is no longer supported, yet they still refuse to change it.

      1. Technically, if you’re using a retired theme on your site you can continue to use it. You just won’t be able to activate it on a new or existing site. But with older themes, eventually something will break, so future-proofing one’s site with a currently available theme is a good idea.

  8. I always appreciate these posts because I learn something new every time. I had no idea there was such a thing as Broken Link Check. What a time saver!

    1. And it works great, Pete. That first report will be somewhat overwhelming, but if you fix any broken links in chunks (rather than try and do it all in one go), you’ll soon whizz through them.

      1. Ive made a start! Ive just switched to a different broken link checker because the one I’d installed was not of much help. It told me which URL wasnt working but not where on the website that link appears so it became impossible to fix it.

        1. That defeats the object of what it’s supposed to do when it tells you that you’ve got a broken link on your blog but fails to tell you where. Good to hear you’ve switched to a tool that works.

  9. I deleted so many posts but still, I am working myself through old posts and renovating them… lol. Checking the categories is still on my to-do list. Thanks for the reminder.

    1. It’s free to use and does a great job, so please use it. Your first report may be somewhat overwhelming. I stopped the report when it got to 30 broken links, fixed them, and then ran the next report.

      1. I ran the report. It stopped at 3,000 Pages which was okay. However, it seemed like a lot of the links were not in my post but rather related to my commenters.

        1. It’s worth removing those broken links in the comments section too. If the blog posts are out-of-date, attracting no new comments, views or comments and can not be updated, it’s worth considering deleting the post. That way, all those broken links in the comments section will also be taken care of.

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