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Reduce Blog Clutter to Increase Traffic and Monetization

Your blog setup can make or break your blogging efforts.

And the major problem is that many new bloggers have a “more is better” mentality.

Their blogs up as a dumping ground for too many unnessary plugins, icons, and “Top Blog site” tags.

You are a “Top Blog” because your readers come back constantly to check the content.

You are a “Top Dog” when other bloggers point at your blog posts as a resource for their readers to check out.

So if you’re guilty of abusing the social WordPress plugin (which allows readers to bookmark your post at popular social bookmarking sites) in the following manner:

social wordpress plugin

or even:

blog debris socialble plugin wordpress

So if you choose it, don’t go hog wild and display 20 services. Plug 3 services, or a maximum of 5 if you have to.

StumbleUpon is good, so’s Digg and Reddit.

There’re even worse things you can do however, and that’s to icon dump to services like blog reader services in the following manner:

blog dump


blog debris


blog debris


blog debris

If your mission was to annoy your readers with garish icons, it only serves to cheapen the look of your blog.

It’s fine to go overboard for the first month or so, but if you look at your blog statistics, you’ll have a fair idea of the profile of your blog traffic and refine your blog accordingly.

Leaving everything on your blog and not making the necessary adjustments reminds me of my visits to my bank’s cash withdrawl machine. It prompt me to select from the offered languages of “English, Mandarin Chinese, Tamil (an Indian dialect) and Malay” every time I insert my bank card.

You’re think that after withdrawing cash at least 1,000 times in the last 10 years, the machine would’ve learned a thing or two.

So the lesson is to increase the usability and blog design to optimize traffic, and as a result up your monetization efforts.

Leaving your blog in its ‘status quo’ position is easier in the short term, but it’s bound to hurt you in the long run.

If you’re new to blogging and eager to enhance your skills, be sure to check out this tool.

28 comments on Reduce Blog Clutter to Increase Traffic and Monetization

  1. Brian Gilham
    March 15, 2007 at 10:30 pm (5060 days ago)

    Of course, if you’re really set on providing links to a large number of social bookmarking sites, you could always employ Alex King’s Share This plugin. I’ve been testing it on my site for a while now and it’s done quite well.

  2. Mind Reality
    March 15, 2007 at 11:27 pm (5060 days ago)

    LoL! This post is brilliant Andrew Wee. I was always wondering what’s up with all those icons that people put on their blogs… It’s really a clutter to the eyes like you said. Glad someone has finally pointed that out. I used to think if there’s any good putting all those stuff as well since lots of top bloggers are doing that. Now I know it’s absolutely redundant.

    Less is MORE. Hack away all the unessentials. The art of zen is not daily increase, but daily decrease. Strip away more and more each day until you are left with the core. Everything else will be reached from the core.

  3. eparchments
    March 16, 2007 at 12:54 am (5060 days ago)

    Dear Adrew Wee,
    I do agree with you, no doubt. This problem/act makes any website or blog bit upset and disturbed while browsing. People think, the more they will add into blog by advertisements and feeds links, more cash they will make. To tell you truth, I know many people (including myself), who just don’t like to see so many unwanted items over any blog while reading serious content.

    Any blog’s material can be highly demanded subject for reader, but when it comes to published page’s infrastructure, people might leave it as unread or don’t want to click here and there over given feed links or advertisements. Moreover, I assume 60% readers do know that feed links or any blinking advertisements are placed over blog for site-administrator’s profit. People do click them, but most of them just read whatever they want and leave the page for next task.

    I believe, there are many other ways to earn cash online, but when its comes to private/public blog for serious reading materials, feed links and advertisements make reader bit sadden. I do appreciate, you have initiated this theme, it’s very common but most of people don’t realize it, and its reactions.


  4. Wade Tonkin
    March 16, 2007 at 1:33 am (5060 days ago)


    Nice write up. I think one of the reasons I enjoy blogs is that it is about the content and not the flashy look and feel.

    When people dump in 85 options for adding a feed or making a recommendation, especially with bigger tiles, it can start to get distracting. Besides – a pretty big majority of activity and traffic are coming from the 4 services that you use to promote your blog, so why take a shotgun approach.

    Keep it clean and real :)


  5. Adam
    March 16, 2007 at 2:07 am (5060 days ago)

    Hey! That’s my sidebar! ahhahahaa

  6. Rachit
    March 16, 2007 at 9:45 am (5059 days ago)

    May I suggest buttons from AddMe.com … that have subscription & bookmarking options all compressed into one button (people serious enough to blog will be OK with one extra click)

    Or a script that causes a drop-down menu of options when clicked? It’s a space saver, and you won’t wreck the look of the blog.

    (I mean seriously, how many people subscribe to your blog using bittybrowser … either compress the options, or use only a few major ones like Google Reader, Yahoo & Netvibes maybe).

    For a demonstration of small buttons for subscriptions, check out any of my blogs Rachit.org or RachitDayal.com

  7. Calvin
    March 16, 2007 at 10:11 am (5059 days ago)

    Hi Andrew.

    I agree with you totally. Frankly these icons are quite an eye sore. I think there are many who simply put the icons up with little knowledge of what purposes it serve.



  8. Andrew Wee
    March 16, 2007 at 1:32 pm (5059 days ago)

    Hi Brian,
    I guess since Alex’s part of the WordPress dev team, it should be WordPress 2.1.x compatible, right?

  9. Andrew Wee
    March 16, 2007 at 1:34 pm (5059 days ago)

    When you’re new, anything goes.

    I was guilty of that too.

    As time goes by, we should all strive to improve and enhance whatever we’re doing.

    The “nose to the grindstone” approach doesn’t agree with me.

  10. Andrew Wee
    March 16, 2007 at 1:34 pm (5059 days ago)

    Anything more than 3-5 options gives me a headache…

  11. Andrew Wee
    March 16, 2007 at 1:35 pm (5059 days ago)

    Guilty as charged!

    Fix it!

  12. Andrew Wee
    March 16, 2007 at 1:36 pm (5059 days ago)

    The “eyesore” buttons are a necessity if you’re planning to build up readership.

    The level of intrusiveness should be managed though.

  13. eparchments
    March 16, 2007 at 5:42 pm (5059 days ago)

    In response to “nose to the grindstone”:

    I do apologize if I wrote any wrong comments. That was just my private opinion. Anyhow good luck! We all do appreciate your sense.


  14. Jhong Ren
    March 17, 2007 at 10:35 am (5058 days ago)

    agree with u….afte reading ur posts, i removed my clutter and tidy my sidebar…love reading ur blog, andrew! :)

  15. ilker
    March 17, 2007 at 11:23 pm (5058 days ago)

    Me too.. especially those “Add feed” chicklets

  16. Andrew Wee
    March 18, 2007 at 8:51 pm (5057 days ago)

    I don’t think you need to.

    All opinions are welcome here.

    There’s always the easy and the hard way of doing things.
    Neither is right or wrong!

  17. lee
    March 18, 2007 at 11:31 pm (5057 days ago)

    Andrew, thanks for the great post. I’m very new at blogging. I’m currently using the WordPress default theme just to get things going. I see a lot of sites that look like what you’re talking about, and like you I really don’t like them. Your site is a very good model for me to aim at. Now that I’ve discovered you, I’m looking forward to reading your stuff. Again, Thanks!

  18. Connie
    March 19, 2007 at 3:07 pm (5056 days ago)

    Hi Andrew

    Hahah you caught some of us ya? So i also belong to the over do-it/over done? :-)

    At least for the first month or so it brought up my alexa ranking and i have gotten visitors too……hmmm cut down or leave it?

  19. Andrew Wee
    March 19, 2007 at 3:23 pm (5056 days ago)

    great to have you visit.

    Your blog’s a good read too.

  20. Andrew Wee
    March 19, 2007 at 3:26 pm (5056 days ago)

    Hi Connie,
    If you’re refering to the bookmarking applications in your right sidebar, they won’t generate much traffic.

    I’d go with 3-5 bookmarking apps.
    Use your analytics, study the traffic sources and focus on those sources.

    At Alexa rankings above 100,000, it’s fairly easy to improve your ranking easily.

  21. Sueblimely
    March 22, 2007 at 5:22 pm (5053 days ago)

    Showing the examples you did made your post much more powerful in its message. I was guilty of cluttering myself, running a blog that talks of blog-tools, until I purged the site, ridding it of all but recent examples. Apart from the messy look it created, the site was getting extremely slow to load.

  22. shokthx
    March 24, 2007 at 2:50 am (5052 days ago)

    I admit I needed to check my blog (funny I didn’t know what I had up). Not too many though. I did drop a few more. :)
    I think I am going to try that share this plug in. I’m not happy with what I have now.

    Good post Andrew.

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