Sunday, July 13, 2014

Reorganization Phase I - Feedly Purge

Every once in a while, it comes time to do a little reorganizing. Some purging, some realignment. It's about that time. In oh so many ways.

I have had the week off for a little bit of a staycation. Really that's just a fancy word that people use to say that they couldn't afford to go anywhere awesome for their time off from work. Yup. That's the case. But while Collin continued to be stuck at work for the Monday through Friday grind (and Saturday and Sunday in his particular case), Darian and I had a nice week of doing nearly nothing. It was grand.

But along the week, I came to realize that I'm totally getting behind on just about everything and I have messes nearly everywhere. So it's time for some reorganization of me. I kind of go willy nilly with my time and have difficulty keeping focus on tasks at hand with regularity. So I need to buckle myself down a bit.

I'll be breaking it up into a few posts, starting with this one. After today's post, I'll also be reorganizing my weekly schedule (including chores and hobby time), reorganizing some pieces of the house, and doing some purging. Right now I'm planning on at least four posts, but that could grow. We shall see. The posts won't necessarily be back-to-back, but the reorganization bug has plan on reorganizing posts in some capacity for the remainder of the month.

Ready to join me?

Feedly Purge

A little over a month ago, I mentioned that my blog feed had grown unbearably large and it was time to thin the herd. I just can't manage reading through 200 blog posts a day. It's not really feasible without totally losing all of my free time or not really paying attention to the posts at hand. And so, even though some pieces of me hurt to do it, it's time to rip of the band-aid and toss some blogs.

When I started the endeavor, I had 207 blogs in my reading list. I'm slightly embarrassed to admit that during this purge time, I actually added two blogs to my Feedly. I just. can't. help. myself.

The goal was to remove the blogs that I just don't read or those that have become inactive (because some haven't really posted for 6 months or more). Before the final purge began, I had already marked 64 blogs for saving (not including the 2 new blogs). These were not only the blogs that I read during the thirty days with regularity, but also that had posts that caught my interest in some way. There are no free rides in this stage of the game.

Now there were 143 blogs to evaluate.

Phase One...

Evaluate those who haven't posted in more than thirty days and determine which are likely dead and those who have moved on to another site that doesn't dump to my Feedly (i.e. broken links...because they totally happen). Save or eliminate the rest based on interest.

This is a pretty easy task. I simply click down my blog list in Feedly and it brings up each blog with the most recent post. If it's older than 30 days, visit the page, see if there's any notification of a move and then either delete or add the correct feed. If the blog is still active, evaluate if it's something I still want to read.

Stats after this phase:
79 blogs saved
4 blog links corrected
43 blogs eliminated
It's progress.

Phase Two...

This is where things start to get difficult. Now that I've taken care of those who haven't posted in over 30 days, it's time to evaluate those blogs who did post within the 30 days that I've been evaluating.

It's time to get brutal. Now it's "cake or death" time. I need to start being honest about the situation. If a blog really isn't jiving for me and isn't really catching my interests, then it has to go. It doesn't mean it's a bad blog, it just means that it's not my style anymore. This is the final gauntlet. After this, the trauma is all over and the final count is ready to roll forward.

To do this, I visited the blog pages for all blogs that haven't yet been saved or eliminated. This means 89 blogs to evaluate, one at a time. Let me tell you, that's a long time. It can be easy to get distracted (not that that would ever happen with me...). Thank goodness I only do this every year or so. I just have to keep reminding myself that it's a long one, but it will be worth it. The feed will be cleaned up, streamlined, and hopefully less daunting.

Final stats:
136 blogs saved (including 2 new blogs added during this process)
73 blogs eliminated

About the Eliminated Blogs...

I will admit that I am a little bit of a hoarder with some things. Blogs apparently is one of them. Out of the 73 blogs that I eliminated, there were a handful of blogs (5-7) that I really had a hard time letting go. So why did I eliminate them? These were blogs that have obviously died. The writers haven't posted for at least a year (in some cases nearly two years) and show no signs of returning. But I loved those blogs so much that it hurt to say goodbye...even though they had disappeared long ago.

Of the remaining 73 blogs, there were a few traits that I found made me lower the blade a little quicker. This became a nice little lesson for me in things I want to make sure I don't do with my own blog. First off...truncated posts in the Feedly feed. I get it, you want to protect your content, blah, blah, blah, but there are other ways to help this and this honestly really irritates me. 

You want to truncate your posts on your homepage? Sure. Fine. I'm totally cool with that. It makes sense to me that you want potential readers to be able to see a lot of samples when they pop over to your page browsing. But when you have regular readers who also have a large handful of other blogs they read, clicking over to another page everytime they want to read one of your posts is totally annoying. This frustration is increased in the case where the post does not have a photo header for the item it is about. Picky? Yes. Honest? Of course. I'm being somewhat brutal here, but I hope that this will serve to help other blogger see what things can turn off a reader.

That being said, there are a few blogs that I have been reading for a long time that I adore and don't mind clicking over for once in a while. I left them in my Feedly because their content is totally worth it, but I still do find myself mildly irritated.

The next thing that turned me off on a blog most often was very inconsistent posting. Now I'm not talking about the case where you took a week off on vacation and didn't post for ten days. I'm talking about those blogs that did a post in October, another couple in January, and then maybe showed up again in March and May. That's too infrequent for me to stay interested. I need to see you posting at least a couple of times each month. I'd probably even give you a free pass if you only made it onto the blog once a month if I love your content. I get that people have lives (I sometimes have one too), but if you want readers, there has to be a little consistency...and frequency.

Because I use Feedly, blog design, hosting choice, font choice, color of page/text, and all that design stuff didn't matter. That evened the playing field pretty well. If you're a frequent blog reader and don't already do so, you need to find a reader for yourself. I like Feedly, but I've heard that Bloglovin' is pretty good as well. There are other choices out there, I just know literally nothing about them. Whatever works for you. Just find something that will help streamline the job for you. 

Additionally, since you're going to be using a reader, give bloggers a break. Some like more color on their pages than others, some have overly crowded sidebars or their menus are in odd places. Whatever. This really shouldn't matter. Look for the content. This is what will be seen in your reader anyway. If you like the content, read them. Don't let silly design choices take you away from someone who has a real talent.


Now that it's all said and done, I'm really glad I took the time to do this. It took a LOT longer than I thought it would, but I think it will save me a lot of time when it comes to reading blogs and I won't feel so overwhelmed or start to feel burnt out (which was a real possibility there for a bit). The other nice thing is that it will allow me to feel like I have the time to pop over and comment more often. As a blogger who loves comments, this will be a good thing. A little spring (or summer) blog cleaning can be good for the soul.


  1. I've heard of Feedly but I haven't looked into it yet. I use bloglovin, with a few email subscriptions sprinkled in :) I think right now I follow around 250 blogs, but I usually only visit and comment on 15-30 a day. Blog lists can get out of hand so quickly! I really should do a purge too.

    1. I love my Feedly. I used to be a Google Reader fan, but then they up and killed it.

  2. +JMJ+

    Believe it or not, I've never used a feed reader! I started blogging (but not on my current blog) long before Google Friend Connect, and I remember what life was like before everyone started worrying about "followers." What we did then was put the links of the blogs we liked on our sidebars. I still do that--and many of the blogs I've kept on my sidebar for years, I've never officially followed.

    Keeping it updated is another issue! Like you, I don't really have the heart to trim it down. One blog has been inactive for almost two years, but the blogger was such a good blog friend that I'm still holding out hope that she'll come back. The friend behind another inactive blog is still a regular commenter, but he admitted that he's done as an active blogger. Since his posts are of the "classic" variety, I keep his link up anyway.

    The last time I did a big purge, the main question I asked myself was: "Does this blogger really care to talk to me--either on this blog or when I try to start a conversation on his own?" If the answer was yes, the link stayed. If it was no, well, even if I did like the blog, I had to admit that there were better things to do with my energy.

    Then there was the time a blogger who likes writing advice posts recommended removing from your sidebar "anything that takes readers away from your blog." Just to be funny (not that anyone knew I was making a joke =P), I removed her link from my sidebar as well. And that's why, although I still get notifications for her posts on my Dashboard, I rarely visit her these days! Since she has tons of followers, I doubt that she noticed, though.

    1. I used to manage all of my blogs in bookmarks on my browser, but it quickly got out of hand. My desktop upstairs still has the bookmark folders all set up. I also still have my blogroll on the right side of my blog, but it hasn't been updated for quite a while...I'm terrible at remembering to do that.

      I can understand keeping the interactive bloggers. It makes more sense to me too. I do have a few that I've never had an interaction with, but have still followed for a long time just because I find their content interesting. I can say I feel a lot better having lightened my reading load.


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