4 More Blog Maintenance Ideas

It’s time to tackle a familiar theme on this blog but I’m going to touch upon some different types of things… I hope. It’s time to talk about blog maintenance again, which I’ve done twice before.

blog maintenance
Humunculus; this guy needs
serious maintenance!

The first time I only talked about broken links. The second time I mainly talked about plugins, which once again included talking about broken links, but I introduced something extra.

This time I’m going to talk about new things while still bringing up an old thing; let’s start with that one just to get it out of the way.

1. You couldn’t believe how many blogs and articles I read. I still comment on blogs, though not as much as I used to. Yet I continue to have the same lament I’ve mentioned multiple times before, that being not getting notifications when someone has responded to my comment. I even told people how to check comment notification on their own to verify whether it’s working or not; I really need to work harder to get people to do this because I don’t always remember the blogs I’ve commented on.

I’ve also found that I never get notified about comments from blogs that are on WordPress.com or blogs using the WordPress.com commenting system (which is a feature of Jetpack, per my friend Holly); no idea why. If you respond to some commenters and ask them a follow up question and you never hear back from them, this could be a major reason why… either that or they’re just jerks who never follow up; yeah, I said it!

2. Every once in a while we need to take a step back to look at our blog homepage to see if it’s giving us what we’re hoping it is. I decided to take a good look at mine, and I’ve made a few aesthetic changes which most people won’t notice, so I’ll tell you what I’ve done and why.

The first is that RSS feed icon to the right. The image is still the same but I changed the feed link. It seems that Feedburner is dying and I’ve lost about 70% of my former subscribers from the service. There’s talk that Google Plus (they seem to own everything) could be closing it down (which they did), so I thought it was a good time to change the feed.

Next, I changed my YouTube script to one that more people who visit that site will recognize. All people have to do is click on my professional face and they’ll be taken to my channel there. It’s not only much more streamlined than before but they dropped their previous iframe format which makes everything look better.

well maintained desk

Underneath that you see the one affiliate program I’m still running on this blog, mainly because it’s the one product I’m still using that I bought from them. Mailwasher is a program that allows you to check your email while it’s still on the server so you can protect your computer. Even my friend Peter bought one from me, though I’m not sure if he’s still using it. I moved it from the left sidebar to the right so I could have it higher than it was, thus making it more visible. I know most of us are “ad blind” at this point but you never know…

Those are the few changes I’ve made; take a look at what you have to see if you need or want to make any changes on your blog’s homepage.

3. Back in September 2016 I had a series of posts talking about my quest for mobile speed. I mentioned WP Smush as a program to use to see if you can reduce the size of your images. By size, I don’t mean how big they are when you look at them; I mean how big they are when it comes to kilobytes and megabytes. I’ll be coming back to how big they are when you look at them, but let’s talk about kilo and megabytes.

Dense images are heavy and they slow down how fast your blog and your articles will load. My initial efforts only concentrated on my homepage, and when I test that using the Google Insights page I’m still doing very well on all my blogs and websites. On all my articles, not quite as well. Most of my article, like my last one on authenticity, end up being in the “needs work” category. We can all live with this level as long as our homepage is up to snuff, but something that helps is reducing the density of as many images as possible.

WP Smush will allow you to go through your image archives and reduce any images you have that are less than 2MB, though you might have to deal with smushing only 50 at a time if you’re using the free version (which I am lol). This is a smart thing to do as it’ll improve your site immensely for your mobile audience.

4. Now let’s talk about the size of images on your blog. When I first embarked on this quest I was reducing the sizes of my own images so they would be closer to the size I have them in my blog posts, which is between 235 and 240 pixels (this has been updated after I had a major theme change in 2020). What I found was that when I posted my articles on Facebook, those images wouldn’t show up as options because they were too small. What I ended up realizing is that I need to leave the width of the original image somewhere around 700 pixels, which I can still code down to the above numbers, and by using WP Smush the density of the images is still reduced. Now I get to use my original first images on those two sites; that’s pretty cool.

That’s all I’ve got for the moment. Take a look at your blog to see if these are things you need to be working on.

15 thoughts on “4 More Blog Maintenance Ideas”

  1. great blog maintenance ideas. Never thought dense images could slow down the loading time. How many images do you think should one include in a blog post of say around 1500 words?
    Thanks for sharing these awesome ideas.

  2. I wonder if your Mailwasher thing is the culprit, here, Mitch? Any way you can check with them? (After all, I checked with JetPack and my hosting company for you!) I’m glad, at least, that you get updates in Flipboard!

    RSS icons do help, I think, now that there are less intuitive ways to follow blogs and not so many nice, easy blogrolls and such. There’s been talk of Feedburner shutting down for YEARS, but they haven’t, yet. I think many of our old subscribers from back in its heyday have left, changed emails, or simply don’t ever click through – even if they still get the emails.

    Life intrudes. It’s all about the latest pretty shiny thing. Or the EASY thing. Facebook reached critical mass; prying people off that site to read anything other than the latest political drama is a challenge.

    Easy to find your YouTube channel! Not that it was hard before…

    Yep, we’re all ad blind. Or ad blocking. (We’ve had this discussion, I know. I won’t run ad blockers because I like free internet and I know TANSTAAFL. I honestly wouldn’t pay a plug nickel for most of it, so the idea that ISPs are going to start bundling and packaging stuff like Facebook, Twitter, etc. is laughable. People were willing to pay much, much more for less – totally ad free and unintrusive, text-based, and relatively uninhabited. But since AOL and Prodigy introduced “all you can eat” for < $10/month, no one's going to pay more for this crap. Not talking about your blog or mine, but social media in general. Why would they?

    What WILL advertisers do, if the web just withers and dies? And I can see it doing just that. (I'm old enough to remember a time before the internet. We thrived.)

    I did install WP Smush at your recommendation!

    I have fairly standard image sizes, now, too, and you know me – I rarely use more than one or two per post.

    I didn't realize you were having issues with your images on Facebook shares – should have, I realize that's a damning admission. Each site has standard image sizes. I'd give you a link, but your site hates me as always, and won't even allow it if I take out the protocol and put spaces before the dots. So 😛 – no cheatsheet for you!

    (I'm tired. I just filled in YOUR name up there in the Add a comment thingy, instead of mine. That might've thrown you off for a minute, eh?)

    1. Hey Holly,

      Mailwasher doesn’t work the way you might think it does. It doesn’t filter messages unless you tell it to, and even then you still see messages you filter just in case you change your mind. All email remains on the server… so if it never hits the server then it never shows up on Mailwasher.

      I think the publicity surrounding Feedburner is what helped kill all those accounts that were following me that way. The email thing was nice, but very few people used it so it won’t be missed. My changes were relatively minor, yet it was something that had to be done. I usually look at it every 3 or 4 months to see if something’s irking me or looks like it’s not working the way I want it to.

      I came upon the images solution by accident, and I’m glad I did. It also helps my images show up more often if I use Buffer to post them on Google Plus. However, that site’s still unreliable with Buffer so I rarely use it for that purpose. Why can’t technology work the way we want it to? lol

  3. Oh, and your comments via email thingy isn’t checked by default, either. (I do forget, quite often, myself. I generally only remember when I’ve left a comment that’s likely to lead to conversation, too. I’m not going back just to say thanks for telling me thanks for commenting – that road leads to madness, and I was broken of the habit at work, actually. There comes a point where you smile and walk silently away.)

    1. You know how I am; I want people to make those choices on their own without me tricking them into it. I know it’s not really tricking them but come on, if folks don’t know to click a box by now whose fault is that? 🙂

  4. I try to make a point of checking out all the doodads, bells, whistles and clanky things on all of my blogs with some regularity.

    Plugins stop playing nicely and things break and all goes to hell. It usually happens in places I don’t notice and then I wonder how long my place has been defective and how many people noticed.

    It is one of the few things that embarrasses me in blogging.

    1. It’s the smart thing to do Joshua. I don’t get embarrassed by it (or anything else lol); instead I get irked, realizing that something probably failed during a WordPress update without an announcement (like what’s happening with Firefox right now; we’re fighting… sigh…).

  5. No kidding, Joshua! A lot of what I do with my blog can be charitably described as playful tinkering and experimenting with shiny new things. There’s a lot to be said for keeping it simple, though.

    WHY WON’T PEOPLE TELL US WHEN SOMETHING’S NOT WORKING? Drives me crazy to realize and wonder how long everyone else has known about it? Or maybe they didn’t notice at all? Maybe I have no readers left. Are they secretly laughing at my misfortune, or worse, PITYING me? (Fortunately, on the flip side, there’s Mitch. Thank goodness for Mitch. And for the T-Mobile support guy who told me I have a bad twitter bio link to my Amazon page. I need to go fix that.)

  6. I stopped using Feedburner maybe two years ago. I switched to Aweber and so far so good. I have never heard of mailwasher but will check this out shortly. My web designer also recommended to use Smush and it’s working pretty well for us. I’ve been using bigger size images on my blogs and have upgraded my hosting services as well.

    What plugin would you recommend to detect broken links?

    Thanks for sharing these wonderful tips.

    1. First, I thought Aweber was only an autoresponder program; sounds like you use it as a RSS reader.

      Second, I use a plugin appropriately called Broken Link Checker. It works great, but it also takes up a lot of resources, so I run it, check the links, then disable it for at least another 3 or 4 months before running it again.

  7. Oh yes, I’ve been doing a bunch of “maintenance” on my main blog. We had to switch servers and to make a long story short, it was a mess. A whole bunch of pictures got “lost” in the process. So, I’ve been going through article by article uploading them again (because there doesn’t seem to be an easy way to fix this wo/ breaking other things.

    Like you mentioned, I’ve been trying to improve speed and condense images. I’ve used bulk smush it, but now as I’m replacing the photos, I’m taking the large ones and condensing them before reuploading. then, it smushes it from there. So, at least that’s helping a bit.

    My goal is to fix the top 20 articles by the end of the week (that’s 64% of my traffic).

    1. Something I do every 6 months or so it go into the WordPress software via FTP and download all image files to my computer. I do that in case something ever happens like what happened to you; all you’d have to do is copy the files from your computer back to where they’re supposed to be on your website/blog and all is right with the world. You wouldn’t have to do anything extra since the code would find the images like it’s supposed to.

  8. sir, I am continuing read your article but I want to add something in my blog.
    can you write about WordPress plugin that can allow me to send a message to mobile for free?
    which plugin should install on a WordPress blog like an email list, contact form, analytics, post notification through email.

    1. Unfortunately Shahrookh, I can’t because I don’t know any of those things. The only one I do know a little something about is the Analytics piece; in that regard I know that you can add Google Analytics right into your blog if you have a WordPress blog; there are many choices to choose from, in case you want to test them out.

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