When working on rebranding your blog, one of the most frustrating things can be trying to figure out the navigation. If you’ve been blogging for a while before finding your niche, you very likely have a huge hodgepodge mess of tags and categories. We’ve had to deal with it ourselves and we’ve seen it over and over again with others as well.
We’re still getting our site navigation set up, but I’m going to share a few simple tips on how to organize your blog as well as a couple very handy tools that will make the process easier!
3 Essential Tips for User-Friendly Blog Navigation
1. Categories are for big picture. Tags are for details
If you’ve walked through the steps of finding your blogging niche or personal brand, you should be able to pinpoint around a handful of categories that will encompass the majority of what you will write about within your focus.
We have only narrowed it down to 7 categories so far, which is probably a bit much, but I want to try these out for a little while to see what will make the most sense. So currently, to go along with our Uncommon Life focus, our categories are:
- Uncommon Mindset – for posts with a focus of the way you think, spirituality, etc.
- Uncommon Relationships – for posts about marriage, parenting, friendship, etc.
- Uncommon Livelihood – for posts on small business, blogging, residual income, etc.
- Uncommon Productivity – for posts with tips and tools on how to do life better, minimalism, simple living, etc.
- Uncommon Finances – mainly for posts about becoming and living debt free
- Uncommon Education – mainly for posts pertaining to homeschooling
- Uncommon Groove – for pretty much everything else, like traveling and personal life
I haven’t quite decided yet if it’s one of my “pet ideas” that’s just a little too cheesy 🙂 But after deciding on the categories I noticed that it loosely aligns with Zig Ziglar’s “wheel of life” areas – spiritual, family, career, physical, financial, intellectual, social – so we’re going with it for now.
Examples of some of the tags we use include branding, blogging, homeschooling, travel, Costa Rica, etc. Tags can also work well for regular features, like in our case, Make it Work Monday, Creative Juice, and Weekly Freebie.
2. Make sure your “about” page is easy to find from anywhere on your site and make it awesome.
I still constantly run into blogs with no “about ” section, or a very sparse “about. Don’t look at our current site as an example because we don’t even have any navigation right now, and I definitely haven’t fixed up our about page yet (soon).
Things to keep in mind for your about page:
- Share a brief overview of your story.
- Share some highlights.
- Share some quirks.
- Make sure you tie it all into the focus of your blog – word it in such a way that your reader can quickly understand what benefits there are to them sticking around and reading more from you. In other words, craft your “about” around how you fit what your target audience is looking for.
- Be sure to link to as many relevant posts from within your about page as you can. I would have to say this is one of the best ways to connect with your readers quickly.
- Don’t forget to add a great picture or two of you that lines up with your brand!
- Include a call to action – ideally a nice incentive they’ll get when subscribing to your list 🙂
3. Don’t distract your readers with lots of bells and whistles.
I mentioned this in 7 Design Tips for Rebranding Your Site, but it’s an important part of user-friendly navigation and bears repeating several more times: Establish what you really want your readers to do and help guide them in that direction.
I’m the first person to be tempted to have a million and 1 widgets with every functionality under the sun. I think it’s the grownup version of playing dress-up and accessorizing is just too fun. But ain’t no one impressed by someone wearing their whole jewelry box at once…
As much as I think I like options, the older I get, the more I realize what a burden they can be. I like Mexican food, but somehow whenever I’m at a Mexican restaurant I just stare at the menu and wish someone else would order for me because I find it too overwhelming. If there were 3 options I’d make a decision in 2 seconds.
Don’t make your blog into a Mexican restaurant menu. OK? Thanks. We’ll talk about creating a call to action in next week’s installment of the rebranding series.
2 Handy Tools to Make Organizing Your Blog Easier
1. The first tool will be most helpful when reorganizing, particularly if you have a bunch of categories that should really be tags and if you have multiple tags or categories that you want to merge into one. Check out the Term Management Tools plugin for WordPress. Here’s what it does:
- Merge – combine two or more terms into one
- Set parent – set the parent for one or more terms (for hierarchical taxonomies)
- Change taxonomy – convert terms from one taxonomy to another
You do have to be a little careful with this and understand what you’re doing so as not to break anything.
2. Another tool that I really like using is the Organize Series plugin for WordPress, yep, I’m using it in this post. Here’s why it’s so handy, as outlined on their site:
- Helps SEO because Organize Series presents topics/posts in a logical and easy way for search engines to crawl and index.
- Improves page views. People will click through to continue reading a series because Organize Series makes it easy for them to do so.
- Eliminates a huge amount of time in setting up series on your website. Get rid of manually inserting other posts (and their links) in your post content. Let Organize Series take care of it for you!
- Easy customization – control how you want Organize Series to look on your WordPress website with the powerful included options page.