Restructuring Your Blog

I’ve been thinking a lot about Nose Graze and where it’s headed. I recently talked about why we should stop being obsessed with ‘features’ on our blogs, but that has also gotten me thinking about my category structure on Nose Graze.

I have a lot of old, messy, unused categories. I used to be big on features and memes and still have categories left over from that. In fact, I actually have 37 categories in total, which is a lot more than I’d like.

Additionally, my categories have the look of a book blog. By that I mean, almost all my categories are about books, so they then divide bookish topics into more specific ones. While that’s not a bad thing, I’ve decided to stop viewing Nose Graze as a book blog. Instead, Nose Graze is just my blog. Period.

While a book blogger might have specific categories in the book department (blog tours, author interviews, giveaways, book reviews, discussions, book events, etc.), I think just a general “blogger” would want to be more vague. I might talk about books, but I might not. And this is where my category structure has started to get confusing. I have a category for “Discussions”, which was originally intended as bookish discussions. Then I created a category for “Real Life”, which was intended to be for personal posts. But what happens when I want to post a non-book discussion? Does it go in Discussions or Real Life?

My new structure will be vague and simple

I’m going to spend the next few weeks completely revamping my categories. They’re going to be extremely broad, which will allow me to have fewer categories. When I want to get more specific, I’ll use tags.

Here’s my current category set and the new one I’m thinking of adopting:

Old Category List

The number in parenthesis is how many posts I have in that category. You can see how many of them have barely been used!

  • Author Appearances 5
  • Bitchin’ Book Blog 155

    • BBB Questions 51
    • Blogging Tips 63
    • Coding Tutorials & Plugins 46
    • Graphics Tutorials & Freebies 6
    • Moving from Blogger to wordPress 11
  • Blog Tour 32
  • Book Events & Signings 10
  • Business 3
  • Challenges 4
  • Cover Reveal 10
  • Cover Wars 1
  • Design 2
  • Discussions 74
  • Excerpt 13
  • Feature & Follow 1
  • Giveaway 75
  • Guest Post 11
  • Interviews 6
  • Misc. 5
  • Monthly Wrap-Ups 1
  • News 16
  • Real Life 23
  • Sitting at Starbucks (formerly Stacking the Shelves / In My Mailbox) 92
  • Surveys & Polls 6
  • Teaser Tuesday 5
  • The Collector’s Shelf 2
  • The Perfect Cover 16
  • Top Ten Tuesday 2
  • Trailer Reveal 1
  • TV Reviews 1
  • Upcoming Must-Reads 2
  • Waiting on Wednesday 72
  • Year Recap 3

New Category List

  • Blogging
  • Books
  • Business
  • Design
  • Life
  • News
  • Reviews

Redefining & simplifying the blog

Ultimately I have two main goals with this new structure:

  • Clean up old, unused categories. I’m primarily talking about the ones that only have 1-10 posts. Sometimes I decide to participate in a meme, then only actually do it once and then bail. No sense in having a category hanging around for it!
  • Less of a focus on books. I’m NOT changing any of my content on Nose Graze. But for a long time now I’ve done just as many coding/tips posts as I have bookish posts. It makes sense for a blog like mine to have more vague categories than really specific bookish ones.

Again, I want to reiterate that the actual content and posts on Nose Graze won’t be changing. I just want to change my category structure from one that’s very feature-based to one that’s more topic-based.

This is really freaking scary

I’m not going to lie. Changing all my categories and deleting most of them is SCARY AS HELL! This is not something I’m going to dive into. I have a lot of other things I’m thinking about in terms of site structure, so I’m going to spend time mulling this over and carefully planning before I actually get up and do it.

How about you? How are your categories laid out?

Do they feel messy, disorganized, and maybe even irrelevant like mine do? Or are yours all neat and tidy and perfect?

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    1. Yeah most of the categories are from 1-2 years ago before I fully realized what I was doing lol.

  1. This post is talking to me πŸ™‚ I also started my blog as a ‘book’ blog, but the past couple of months I’ve really been feeling led to make not book focused anymore. Yesterday I blogged about a recipe (rainbow cake woot!) and I loved it. I really need to look at my own categories and do some restructuring as well.

    Finley Jayne recently posted: Rainbow Cake!!!
    1. Oh gosh that cake looks DELISH!

      I’ve thought about incorporating recipes into my blogging too, mainly because I’m on a low carb diet now so I’ve been really branching out with what I eat. But I think I’ll just post a few pictures of the meals I eat. If I’m being honest, I think I’m getting more addicted to food photography than the actual recipes, haha.

  2. This is something I’ve been doing from the beginning because it seems to make sense. I think Parajunkee talked about it at one point when I was a fairly new blogger: general categories and use tags to describe it further. So I have a “Meme” category and then a tag for the various memes (that I don’t really participate in anymore, ha!). Same goes for say, Features.
    So I support this decision! Less is more!

  3. I have 15 categories but they are mostly bookish, I do have one for movies and one for product reviews and then a misc. for things I don’t have a category for. I did notice that some of them I have only uses a couple of times but for the most part I have used mine a lot. I have always said my blog is a review blog but it tends to be more of a book review blog..but I leave it open for movies and πŸ™‚ I think your small list would fit your blog.

  4. I keep meaning to redo all my categories, tags, and permalinks before I have too many posts. My blog is relatively new so it would be easiest now. My categories so far are reviews, new releases, announcements (personal posts and my weekly sale alert), excerpts, cover reveals, and interviews. I don’t think I need to change them, but my tags are a mess and I want to change my URL structure.

    Brittany Berger recently posted: Review: No Weddings by Kat & Stone Bastion
    1. Hm I’m not sure why they got an email. I haven’t used either of those plugins for email subscriptions. Sorry. πŸ™

  5. My blog didn’t start off as a “book” blog, so to speak, in the beginning I was posting more about my life in general and just recommending books. Lately, I’ve become bored with blogging just about books so I decided to change things up a bit. Now, I have a feature on my blog called TV Talk, where I will be talking about my favorite TV Shows, and I want to incorporate music on my blog somehow. I really like your idea of posting recipes. Sometimes simple is best, I think your new category list fits your blog perfectly.

    Brittany recently posted: Blog Tour: Rival by Penelope Douglas
  6. Oh wow you do have a lot. Though as a blog reader I’m not against tons of categories (well there’s always a line of course lol) – you can click through and get the posts you most want to read from a more specific category. But then on the other hand, I might miss out on some posts that I’d find interesting but did not quite fit in the category. I think the new ones will be great though they’re pretty clear and really fits your posts. I’ve got maybe 10 I use regularly. I don’t post content as wide as yours though mine is still a pretty full out book blog. I do love that your blog has kind of become the one-stop-shop for anything blogging (with an emphasis on our book blogging community with tips and plugins we can use) – and we all love your life posts, too! – so it’s awesome! πŸ™‚

    Giselle recently posted: 3 Year Blogoversary!
    1. Wow! Even for a review blog I’d think that having author categories would make things super difficult. It must take you ages to sift through your categories to pick the right one. I think tags would be easier because you only have to start typing the author name and then it will auto-complete for you.

  7. For the moment, I have only two main categories:
    1) Reviews (with a subcategory “Science-Fiction & Fantasy World Tour Reviews”)
    2) Discussions, in which I put anything that is not book reviews.
    I’m trying to use tags instead of “hard” category to link articles together. For instance, I didn’t create a category for “Thursday Thoughts” (a meme by Ok, let’s read) but I created a specific tag. I find it more flexible.

    AngΓ©lique recently posted: The Trillionist by Ed Lukowich
  8. I love this post and what you are asking us: is your blog too cluttered and doesn’t reflect your ideas? I love the idea of simplification. I tried to tone down my theme, but I still have too many widgets and have to clean up my tabs. I think this can be an ongoing project for some of us. I have been talking about my real life and sharing photos that have nothing to do with books. I was thinking of making a separate blog to host this, or maybe I can just separate things on my current blog.

    Anyhow, kudos to you for figuring out what you want and going for it!

    Rita @ My Home of Books recently posted: I Joined R.I.P. Challenge IX
  9. I feel like, yeah, I do have a lot of categories (not nearly as many as you though, wow! hahah), but I went through a category cleanup lateish last year, so it’s not too bad. I find subcategories super handy.

    + “Awards, Blog Hops, etc.” is anything I get tagged/participate in.
    + “Caps Lock Thinks” for all my reviews.
    + “Honoring the Followers” is its own beast, but too specific to place elsewhere.
    + “Life and a Little More” – self-explanatory.
    + As is “My Projects.”
    + Now, I have a “Reviews” category from before I ditched and then re-integrated reviewing as part of the blog. Need to do somethin’ about that. :\
    + Then there’s “Support Indie Authors” and “Thoughts about Writing.”

    There’s a lot of overlap between my categories and sub-categories, though. If a post is in a sub-category, I always set it in the parent category as well.

    Guess I’m off to do a little cleaning of my own!

    Also, don’t be a-scared of it. I think a little streamlining is good for any blog. That new category list of yours looks super sexy!

  10. I have very few categories. I have a lot of tags, but I kept the categories to a minimum. I don’t think it was intentional, more like I didn’t have a lot of posts of too many different topics. Now, I’m glad about that.

    Carrie recently posted: Undeclared, Jen Frederick
  11. This is actually a HUGE reason why I took a summer-long hiatus away from my blog, and even before that was beginning to feel a disconnect with it. I felt like my blog wasn’t personal enough, and I was beginning to feel really unhappy with it. I didn’t like reviewing anymore and just wanted to talk about the books, I didn’t like my older reviews or meme posts, and I felt like my blog in and of itself was just disorganized. I’m not a disorganized person, either, so instead of stressing about fixing it I just…left it. (Not good on my part, I’ll admit.)

    So at the moment I have my blog closed for maintenance and I’ve been steadily working through old posts, deciding what I want to keep, what could use some editing/refining, and what can go all together. I didn’t do this initially because I was really worried that it would show inactivity to publishers, but lately I’ve accepted that ARCs aren’t a huge concern to me so I would rather have a blog I’m proud of than a blog with a ton of posts that embarrass me.

    Good luck fixing your categories! I find that simple categories allow for easier navigation in a blog. And really, categories aren’t supposed to be too specific anyway. πŸ˜›

    1. You can use the Category to Tag converter tool (in Tools > Import). That’s a pretty quick way of moving some of your categories to tags!

        1. Nope. Tags don’t really impact your SEO at all. They’re just there for readers to be able to find similar posts. But authors and tags have their own archives (much like tags do) so you don’t need both.

  12. I’m definitely in the Old Categories…category, aha. I have so many tags and categories for the strangest things that people probably don’t even use when searching. I really like your goal of getting out of the strict “This is a book blog therefore it cannot be anything else” mindset and simplifying all of the categories. It really makes me want to go back and edit all mine, although that’s an intimidating task for me I can’t imagine how daunting it seems for you with so many posts-good luck! πŸ™‚

  13. This is awesome! That’s pretty much how I have mine. I use a broad generalization for categories (reviews, discussions, features, giveaways, tours, memes – although I’m thinking about doing away with memes altogether because I don’t participate in any besides Life of a Blogger, which for me is under features) and get more specific with tags. Looking at my categories now, though, I realize I have more than I thought I had. I may do the same and clean them up! I’ve been needing to fix them for a while, because I still have things going into the uncategorized category still, and for some reason I really hate that!

    Jessi @ Novel Heartbeat recently posted: Review: Blackbird by Anna Carey
  14. I do have a lot of categories too – right now I’m really using all of them, though. I like everything super organized and I’ve never gotten the hang of tags. I use them for subjects, but most the time I forget about them. But my categories aren’t uber specific, I think I have fewer than you used to. I think… Good luck with the new structure, I would be nervous too – but I think it makes total sense that you’re doing this! You’ll have to let us know how goes – if you struggle at all or if it’s an easy adjustment.

    Berls @ Fantasy is More Fun recently posted: My TBR List | September 2014 Results

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