Observation and Design

Richard Stowey's localised view of the world.

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How to Prepare your Blog for (possible) Growth

February 10th, 2011 @ 19:52 BST by Richard Stowey

I’ve been increasing the volume of posts here recently, and therefore the size of this site has started to increase. I’ve therefore worked out some changes to allow the blog to grow and the site to develop and not become an unweildy mess!

Here are the steps that I will be putting into practice to allow for blog expansion, planned growth and controlled increase.

Step 1: Re-organise the Blog Categories

Target: Improved Usability

I used to have 28 blog categories for various different things, all at pretty much the same hierachical level. So I took these, converted the pointless ones into tags using the easy category to tag convertor in WordPress. The remaining tags, I grouped into categories until I felt that the parent category would reflect what is under that section. Because of the range of things I talk about, the idea is to allow people to easily find what they might be interested in.

From a user point of view I also want to make them more understandable, and searchable (both internally and externally).

Step 2: Re-design the template

Target: Reduce bounce rate.

I have re-designed the template I use for the blog. Starting pretty much from scratch, the sidebars and the footer are all customisable from within WordPress admin panel so I can customise without having to edit the code. I could also release this as a theme in the future if there was any demand for it.

It’s also moved from a two column layout to a three column layout. This should bring more information above the fold, in the hope of capturing fleeting visitors and reducing the bounce rate.

Step 3: Introduce a quick filter to the main categories

Target: Improved Usability

The quick filter at the top of the blog should help people to find something specifc they are interested in, rather than finding too much random content.

Step 4: Introduce additional features

Target: Increase Blog’s Accessibility and Shareability

I’ve added some sharing tools to allow people to share content on facebook and twitter. There is the possibility of adding more over time, but I see these as the key places where people would share content.

Step 5: Pull in some old content

Target: Continue Content Life, Improve Resource

In order to extend the life of some old content, I’m going to be looking at importing older posts from previous blogs to keep them alive, should I decide to downgrade my older blog.

Conclusion

So overall, it’s a general reflection on what I have been doing and what I want to look towards. The categories are much clearer with some form of hierachy which should allow for the increase in number. There is plenty more space for related content on the right hand side, and it generally feels more me.

Of course, not everyone has the chance to change everything about their blog, but I would definitely advise a category revision before your blog expands too much. Or, plan them out before you start writing any posts at all.